The Year in Review

Here we are at the end of another year. I barely get used to writing 2010, and now it's 2011. It is at this time of the year where people assess what went well, what didn't, and what changes might or should be made for the "new" year. Resolutions are made (to be broken) and the cycle continues. I am not immune to the reflection and earlier today when I was logging recent workouts online I decided to see where exactly I was a year ago.

Frankly, I was initially disappointed. The total poundage lost for 2010 was a mere 25 pounds. I was astounded. A full year of work, and that is all I have to show for it? Yes, I'm down at least two sizes and am in significantly better shape, but only 25 pounds?

So I went through 2010 month-by-month, looking at the workouts that I've logged and realized it hasn't really, truly been a year of work. I started off great -- typical January, no? Then February hit, and I went back to work at the IRS. Which meant I was working nights, and I continued to, at least a couple times a week, substitute teach during the day. The schedule was brutal on my body and something had to give. That ended up being regular workouts of any significance, and my eating also wasn't as good as it could have been. The fact that I only gained about 5 or so pounds between mid-February and July was amazing, because not only was I working like a fool but I also had quite a bit of travel during that period. I always put on weight when I travel and sing -- I think it is all the eating out.

So, take away 5 months from the period where I was really working to lose weight. 25 pounds in 7 months? Ok. Still not spectacular, but not horrid, either.

The period of mid-November to the end of the year also didn't really see any weight loss, unless you count the weight gained and lost during "that time of the month." But it was the holidays. Food -- good food -- and sweets abounded. I baked for Christmas gifts, made chocolate-covered pretzels, went to parties and gatherings. I kept my weight stable during a time when the "average" person usually gains 5-10. That is an accomplishment in itself that I have to give myself credit for.

Now we're up to basically 6.5 months where weight loss wasn't practical, if I'm going to be honest with myself. Which means I lost 25 pounds in 5.5 months. That I can deal with more easily!

Also in reviewing my year in workouts, I noted it wasn't until July when I started changing things up. Experts say that can be key to encouraging continued weight loss, that too much of the same workout causes your body to become accustomed to the exertion and the exercise becomes less effective. That is why many folks see a decrease in weight lost after the same workout regimen over the period of several months. In July I added Zumba classes to my regimen, and a few weeks later, weights. This changed up the regular elliptical workouts, and forced my body to exert itself in new ways.

Which brings me to another important point. Muscle weighs more than fat. I know I have gained muscle tone and mass while losing fat. That will make the scale tell a tale that might not be completely accurate.

Prior to these reflections today, I'd already made the decision I was going to do something "new" in 2011: take regular measurements. I'm going to set up an Excel spreadsheet with key measurements, and the first Saturday of every month (isn't it handy that January 1 is a Saturday?) I'm going to take these measurements and record them. This way, even if the scale isn't dropping as much or as quickly as I might like it to, I can see that my body is indeed changing and improving.

And hopefully this time next year, my reflections will be more impressive. :-)


Adjusting Perspectives

There is a no-man's land, or should I say, "no-woman's land," in women's sizing. It is that funny area when you get to the top of the misses sizes and the bottom of plus sizes, where numbers start to not only get bigger but also gain a W at the end. And you learn that a size 16 and a size 16W are two different sizes.

This is the land I currently reside in. It is thrilling to be at the bottom of the plus size section, and in some stores, OUT of the plus size section. I almost don't know quite what to do when I go shopping. But at the same time it is frustrating to be a 16W, because you aren't a 16. The difference between a 16 and 16W isn't just the fit, the curving. At one national retailer, I tried on a dress where the 16W was roomy enough for me to consider grabbing a 14W. Yet, over in misses land, the size 16 dresses wouldn't zip completely. At a different national retailer, size 16 misses skirts fit great. Size 18 dresses crush my bust like a bad corset. Go figure.

Right now, I'm happy to not gain weight over the holidays. My schedule has gone crazy, the sweets are prevalent, and it is way too easy to eat on the run and overindulge. With the schedule chaos, too, gym time becomes compromised. Talk about a one-two punch that can be devastating to my progress! So although the scale hasn't really dropped in the past month, I'm trying to not be too disheartened by it.

There are two things I have helping me stay that way. First of all is remembering that muscle weighs more than fat, and I can tell by how my body responds in various classes and situations that my muscles are becoming stronger. I can also see increasing definition, especially in my legs. Secondly is realizing when I look at a piece of clothing that I am indeed that "small." Last week I purchased a set of long underwear, as I'll be attending an outdoor pro football game on Sunday and the temperature will be about 20 degrees. I went by the size chart and my "old" mindset and bought a size 2x. The next day I was back, returning them, because they were too big. Not a little too big, but way too big. Yay for those kinds of victories!

I don't know how best to completely adjust my perspective, if the "fat girl" in my brain will ever be completely silenced. I've never in my life been able to shop in the regular sizes, and I'm about to turn 35. Talk about teaching an old dog new tricks; it will be like a whole new world. And one that I am ready to enter -- and stay in!


Where Has the Time Gone?

Wow. I logged into Blogspot to post on my other, work-related, blog and saw that I hadn't blogged here in almost 2 months. Where, just where, has the time gone?

Weight loss update: I'm now somewhere around 60 pounds lost. I actually did not gain any weight over Thanksgiving, which must be some miracle in and of itself. I did gain about 2 pounds the week prior because I was sick with a bad cold and took the adage, "Starve a fever, feed a cold" a little too seriously! One of my trainers/instructors at the gym said something interesting she'd gotten from a training seminar last weekend: that fat actually expands some before it goes away. Like, as the fat cells start to break down what is inside them, they actually get a little bigger before getting smaller. Whether or not it is true, we don't know.

I have noticed a few additional shape changes that I'm happy with, and in general I'm down to size 1X (or, at one store, the weirdly named 0X) and 16W pants/skirts/dresses. I haven't been this small since I was in high school. Now I don't want to brag, but how many women in their mid-30s can say that?

However... the insecurities still remain... the "fat girl" brain if you will. Just today when I laid out the pair of Old Navy size 16 jeans I'm wearing, I looked at them and this voice in my head said, "Really? You think you can fit into those? I don't think so!" Then I put them on and went out the door.

Speaking of insecurities, that brings us to the other topic I've recently starting covering in my blog: dating. In the last installment, I was bemoaning the reminder of how it sucks to be rejected. Here is where my "social life," if you will, stands at the moment.

I've had a couple more communication requests from guys on this dating website. And I viewed their profiles and chose to not respond. 600 points of compatibility, or whatever, but I didn't feel a connection. Seriously, they should take the advice given by the website and put up a thorough, complete profile. If you're paying that kind of money to try to meet someone, you should take the time and answer all the questions completely and thoughtfully.

Then last week I got another communication. I wasn't terribly optimistic, but I logged in and checked out this guys profile. Cue immediate intrigue. I definitely liked what I saw and read. And HE had made the first "move." Good start! We went through communication phase 1, and liked each other's answers enough to go to step 2. Now step 2 is where you send a list of 10 "Must Haves" and "Can't Stands." Frankly, I don't like this step because it seems like too much of an ultimatum too early on. (Also, it's been at this step where I've been shot down, so maybe I'm just gun-shy.) Apparently he could tolerate my list, and I approved of his, so we went on to step 3, which is open-ended questions. Well, open-ended to the tune of 1000 characters. And that's where things got... weird.

In his answers to my questions he diverged from the actual question (fine) to tell me he was no longer a paying member, he was taking advantage of free communication (fine) and he hadn't seen my pictures. Here I wish I could put in two sound effects: the sound of a record needle being scratched over a record, and that obnoxious insecure voice screaming insults. I had built myself up, thinking "here's a guy that I think is attractive, both in writing and in pictures. He seems to think the same of me, maybe a few extra pounds isn't a big deal to him!" only to find out he may not realize I'm still carrying a "few extra pounds." Or, as I prefer to say, am "voluptuous."

He DID give me his email address. That's a plus. I have to remember that, at the very least, he likes what he's read in my profile and answers. And my profile does say that over the past year I've lost 55+ pounds. So now I'm in twitterpation limbo. I don't know if he's gotten my answers to HIS open-ended questions -- which includes MY email address. I don't know if he's read that although I'm the size I was in high school, I'm still "voluptuous" and that's discouraged him or scared him off. I'm almost 35 and acting like a teen-aged girl, saying, "Omigod he's SO cute! Do you think he LIKES me?!?!"

Do we ever outgrow that phase? Please tell me yes!!

So now, dear readers... if you have any advice: how long should I wait to see if he emails, should I just get over my stupid insecurities and email him, etc., please send him along.....