5 things that are keeping me from losing weight

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239 pounds – January 2016

I thought it might be time for a new progress picture. The last one I posted was in August. In the five months that have passed since then, I’ve lost about 8 pounds. If you do the math, that’s about 0.4 pounds a week. The downward trend is nothing to sneeze at, but rate could be better.

So, what’s holding me back? Well, as you probably figured out from the title, I have a new list of five things to answer that question.

  1. Intentional maintenance breaks: When the gyms were packed and the stores were all pushing fitness gear during the first week of the year, I was eating at my maintenance calories. I enjoyed the extra food and the lack of pressure.
  2. Getting sloppy: I’ll admit I’ve been cutting corners here and there. A few too many skipped workouts, extra bites of dessert, and a few too many days of sleeping in when I should be getting things done has added up. This is not new to me, so at least I know how to come back from it.
  3. Divided attention: Fitness and weight loss is not my whole life. Along with my every day responsibilities and relationships, I have been working on keeping my house clean and taking better care of myself. It’s a challenge to balance all of these goals, and weight loss has taken a back seat on occasion.
  4. Good food: I like to eat. A lot. Anything, really. I’m not picky. However, there has been an extraordinary amount of very good food in my life recently. I have decided to eat it more often than not. I stand by my choices.
  5.  Excuses: No matter what’s holding me back, I have to admit that most of it has been my moment by moment decisions, for better or worse. I’m not going to beat myself up about it, but it’s time to act like a grown up and take responsibility. It’s time to rein it in.

 

Hair Helplessness

When I was taking classes for my education degree, there was a lot of talk about learned helplessness. Basically, if you fail enough times in a certain situation, you just stop trying (there’s a lot more to it, so feel free to head over to Google if you’re interested). This is how I feel about my hair. Some may think I’m crazy. I’ve gotten plenty of compliments on my hair on various occasions. So, what’s the problem? Well, let’s go back a bit.

From the time I was around 8 up until maybe 22, I was a classic tomboy. I ran away from all things I considered girly. One of those things was doing my hair, my friends’ hair, dolls’ hair, or any hair. I washed it and brushed it when needed, and that was it. Sometimes I would put it in a pony tail for sports or for times I had gone too long without washing it (sorry if that’s gross). Because I was heavy, I didn’t feel pretty or feminine. Instead of putting in an effort and potentially failing, I created a new identity for myself. (Note: This is not meant to be a projection on anyone else’s experience. It’s just an honest assessment of my own.)

This strategy stopped working when I was about halfway through college and started to be seriously interested in getting married and starting a family. I thought a good first step might be shopping in the women’s clothing section.

College hair

This is me in college right before I started “making an effort.”

This led to things like watching a lot of What Not to Wear and buying hair products that I had no clue what to do with. When something didn’t look right, I figured I should just buy a new product or get my hair colored or cut and see what happened. I would spend time in front of the mirror trying to figure out how to style it. Eventually, I would give up because I didn’t feel like anything worked. Enter my good old friend learned helplessness.

The cycle continued when I met my husband. I (actually, the Holy Spirit) had chipped away at a lot of my image issues, but I was still unsure of myself and vulnerable. I put a lot of pressure on myself to figure things out. I started working out, wearing makeup regularly, sifting through my closet for what I thought he would like, and doing something (anything) with my hair. While it’s good to make an effort to look attractive to your significant other, I was yet again finding my identity in the wrong place. I felt lost and inadequate. And, it was all self imposed.

After we got married and the pressure lifted, I started gaining my weight. When I was looking at a picture recently, I noticed that my hair was also neglected. My hair routine is the same now as it has been since I was a child. Wash and brush. That’s it. The simplicity of it isn’t the problem. The problem is that I still feel helpless, and I’m ready to change that.

Here’s what my hair looked like a few days ago:

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It’s been over a year since my last haircut. Pretty, long, and wavy. Also, damaged from impatient brushing and weighed down by the grown out layers.

Because I know that any change is a process, I am starting small. When I look at hair tutorials and articles online, I find the instructions are way too complicated. “Just a braid” is never that easy for me. I need the very basics, and I can’t find them. The first step was a haircut. Starting with the existing hair length would be overwhelming to me. By the time I’m done detangling, I’m just done. So, here’s my just-cut hair:

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Just to be clear, I did NOT style this. 🙂

I am not my hair or my weight or my appearance, but how I present myself is a message to the people I meet about who I am. I’ve given people a lot of different messages over the years. Today, my message is that I rejoice in my Creator who has designed me to look the way I do for a reason, and I am taking steps to care for His creation.

 

Why I Write

0115160956It’s funny how the best pictures tell a story, while the best writing paints a picture. Quality art in all forms seems to transcend its limitations to point to something more than itself. In the same way, I yearn for my art and my life to point to something greater than my own words and ideas.

I am not an artist in the traditional sense. I don’t draw or paint (that’s my husband’s thing). I am also not a public speaker by nature, so I can only admire spoken word artists like Blair Linne, Jackie Hill Perry, and Propaganda. While I love singing and photography, I only dabble. My first artistic love is writing.

When I was eight years old, my friend Anna and I started the Writer’s Club (my inspiration was a combination of Anne of Green Gables and the Babysitter’s Club). From that moment forward, I considered myself a writer. The weird part was that I didn’t always feel like I had something important to say. Or, I would make grand plans for a story or a novel and it would never get too much past the planning stage. I did write, but not as much or as well as I had hoped. I dreamed of becoming a journalist, but chose teaching as my major instead (it turns out, I’m not designed for the typical teacher role). When I was in college, I discovered a love of poetry. I was pretty good at it, but I didn’t stick with it consistently even though I hoped to get some of my creations published.

What I’ve learned recently, though, is that I do have something to say. I may not always know what that is or who will listen, but I have a responsibility to share it. When I write, I feel as if barriers are stripped away and I can truly convey what I mean. I’m far from perfect, however, and sometimes I just write what I think people would want to read. As I stumble through my blog posts, I hope that even a tiny part of my writing hints at something (Someone) greater than these words or this woman. That Someone gives me purpose and meaning. That Someone holds the universe in His hand. That Someone loves me, rescued me, and continues to rescue me daily. That Someone is Jesus.

By His strength, for His glory, in His arms

~ Becky

5 Things That Keep Me Motivated

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A lot of us are fresh out of the gate with resolutions and goals for the new year. Everyone seems to be excited about the possibilities. Soon enough (or maybe already?), though, the excitement will fade and it will be much more difficult to keep going with these goals. While I’m saying these will help everyone, here are a few things that keep me going.

  1. Podcasts: Listening to podcasts about weight loss and fitness can be tricky. A lot of them have a weird agenda or throw confusing information at listeners. I may sound like a broken record, but my all-time favorite podcast is the Half Size Me Show. I’ve been listening to this one for almost a year. Heather Roberston, the host, lost 170 pounds and has kept it off for four years. She focuses on making gradual, sustainable changes that work for each individual. On a completely unrelated note, I also like Serial and A Slob Comes Clean (maybe something to listen to during a workout?).
  2. New Workouts: I LOVE trying new workouts. Back in the day, I would buy VHS workout tapes from thrift stores or check out DVDs from the library when I wanted something different. Now, it’s easy to find something different on YouTube and other sites, like Fitness Blender. I like to make my own sometimes, but it can be nice to have someone else do the thinking. 🙂
  3. Milestone Rewards: I have a list of rewards for different weight loss milestones. For instance, at 235 pounds (just 2.6 pounds away!), I am going to buy myself some fitness gear. At 195, I get to pick something off my fitness bucket list. This is a list of activities that I want to do but didn’t feel like I could because of my weight. One of these is riding the Millennium Force at Cedar Point. The last time I was there, I couldn’t fit (and that was BEFORE I gained 95 pounds in 3 years).
  4. Charts, Graphs, and Check-Ins: Analyzing my progress (or lack there of, depending on how things are going at the time) helps me see how what I’m doing is making a difference. I have always used charts and graphs in some way when trying to lose weight, and this time is no different. Even though myfitnesspal and Garmin Connect (the app for my activity tracker) does it for me, I have my own Google Drive chart that has each weekly weigh-in day listed (this is when I check in with my accountability group on Facebook, too). I also do more extensive 6-week check-ins where I do measurements and check my resting heart rate. I am normally not a math person, but I am when it comes to weight loss.
  5. Non-Scale Victories: The scale is a tool to measure progress, but it’s just one tool. If all you had in your tool box were 12 hammers, you wouldn’t be able to complete as many tasks as if you had several different types of tools. It’s the same with the scale. Non-scale victories are things that I accomplish that have nothing to do with the number on the scale. Example 1: My wedding ring not choking my finger to death. Example 2: Using the heavy bag at the gym even though I knew I’d look ridiculous.