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Author Topic: Here We Go Again - The Rest Of My Life - A Healthy Life  (Read 282 times)

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Offline IzuTopic starter

Here We Go Again - The Rest Of My Life - A Healthy Life
« on: August 30, 2016, 02:31:02 AM »
Yes, once again I'm starting a new Healthy Life / Weight Loss blog. It's a continuation of my previous ones The 90 Day Challenge and the original The Rest of My Life. Why a new one? Because it's a new attempt to stick to weight loss and to find my path down the road towards a truly healthy life. And it's been a few years since the previous blogs, so I just want a fresh start.

Why the blog? Because it counts for accountability. Even if only a few people read it or post here, it still makes me feel like I have a safety net around me and people to support me (which is always the case here on E <3 ). So I'm going to post as often as possible, marking everything that comes across my way to a healthier life. It's not going to be only about weight loss, but also about anxiety and stress. And to be honest I'm quite sure that if I get rid of those, I'd shred the pounds off myself without a problem - simply because I'm a stress eater, food gives me comfort in my anxiety, it feels a void in my chest when I panic. I know where my problems are, trust me, I've been battling them for long years.

Sometimes successful, sometimes not so much. I've lost and gained weight so many times that if I count them I could easily come out of saying that I've lost and regained myself in pounds. My biggest success was actually reaching my current goal weight, losing a total of 60-ish pounds. I slowly gained about 20 pounds around my university graduation, the stress of searching for my first job. I stayed at that weight for a while, and then a couple of years ago when I started climbing the hierarchy ladder at work I've gained about 20 more pounds. The stress of going from a developer to team leader to product leader to second-in-command kind of caught me, and while it was great for my career and my bank account, the stress was through the roof. Last summer I had just gotten down to working out with a personal trainer, working on building muscles and shredding fat, then the latest promotion happened, then I sprained my ankle, and just when I had finally recovered from it, I tore my ACL, following tons of doctors, surgery and now recovery.

It's exactly 2 months post surgery. And I've regained my full knee range of motion. For a little over a month I've been back on track with calories, slowly working off some pounds. From the day before the surgery until today I've lost about 7 pounds. Slowly, but I don't mind the slow pace. Actually I prefer it, because the slower I lose them, the longer I keep them off.

My secret to losing weight is in the calorie intake. I'm using the method of TDEE-20% - in other words I calculate how much calories I need to maintain my weight with my current activity and extract 20% of these calories, and this is the number I eat at. I do not eat under my BMR, so if that number ends up under my BMR, I end up eating at my BMR. I use this online calculator to do all the math:

For anyone who is working on losing weight I'd really recommend to research TDEE and BMR. And of course, keep in mind that these are estimations, so you might have to adjust a bit once you start until you find your true numbers.

I follow the calories and my macros intake through MyFitnessPal. I've built a small circle of "friends" there to keep each other accountable, and this helps a lot. The only macros values that I follow are carbohydrates, proteins and fats. There are a lot of people who follow others and tons of micros, but I'm not at that level of fixation. Food is actually easy for me because I eat only a few things, so I've built my own database on MFP with the items I have, the recipes I use. However, once the moods hit me, it all goes to hell... quickly.

The truth about weight loss is that it's all about CICO - calories in, calories out. And if you are able to control the calories in, then just by being alive the calories out could be enough to lose weight. In other words - you don't need to workout in order to lose weight. Working out helps to built a better looking body, healthier, stronger muscles. That's it. I do love working out because it helps with my stress. It's the best anti-depressant out there! I love pushing myself, I love facing a challenge in the gym, I love finishing a workout and then just having to sit down and breathe to get a bit of strength.

I love it.

But it will be a while before I can get there because of the ACL.

Because of it, I'm facing a long and slow rehabilitation. And while my range of motion is back, the new ACL needs a lot more time to become a proper ligament, the muscles that were affected by the surgery to regain their mass and stability, and my knee to be as strong (and stronger) than it was before.

For now I'm allowed only a small set of exercises that include the legs - walking, riding stationary bike, leg extensions, lying leg curls, thigh abductor and thigh adductor; Core and upper body can be worked out through anything that doesn't push my legs beyond standing up. I can't crouch yet, I can't twist my knees, I can't jump. Actually I'm not allowed until month 3+; Depending on my progress, in months 3-4 I can start including other exercises, running is a no-no until month 6; And as much as I love roller blades - it's a huge NO until maybe a year has passed.

I do have a stationary bike at home, so I intend on doing that every day. I'll start going to the gym next week, along with going back to work. I want to concentrate on my health in the upcoming months. I want to recover my knee, I want to become stronger, I want to be better.

Next May I'm turning 30 and while I've never been able to accomplish a 'I wanna lose xxx until my birthday' I do now want to have a goal:
By my 30th birthday, I want to be healthy, I want to be happy, I want to be stronger.

Let's see if I can make it, hm? :)

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: Here We Go Again - The Rest Of My Life - A Healthy Life
« Reply #1 on: August 31, 2016, 09:05:38 AM »
Calories, calories

Well, the greatest thing about counting calories is that you can actually eat anything you want as long as it fits your calorie limit and your macros goals. There's actually a whole movement about that - IIFYM - If It Fits Your Macros, but I'm far from that level of accuracy, I try to reach my macros, but I don't care too much about them.

The way I proceed with my calories is that I have a firm breakfast - something I do know how much calories has in it, then a lunch - which if I'm at home I do know the exact calories, and if I'm at work I estimate as best as possible, and then the rest is left for dinner. Being a picky eater has its good sides, really, because I do know that just about most of my dinners are in the range of 400-500 calories, and with my breakfast usually being a protein bar of under 200 calories, I'm left with 1000 calories for lunch.

But in the end of the day I often have left over calories - on a normal day at home I'm usually left with 300+ calories for snacks. And if I sleep over and skip breakfast - 500+ calories. And that's a lot for a snack. At least to me. I am often facing the question - what to snack on? I can have some chocolate, or some candies, or fruit, or some juice, or really anything that I'd normally avoid due to being too "expensive". I do let myself eat something that most fab diets would stamp as "BAD". Because really... there is nothing bad. Food is food. Calories are calories. It doesn't matter what you eat as long as you eat in moderation.

Today, I had a good 300+ calories left. I did consider going for a big weakness of mine - Haribo Balla Stixx, but knowing myself I wasn't going to stop and would end up eating an entire package or more (really it's like a drug to me x'D). So, I was literally holding the package, eyeing it, put the calories in MyFitnessPal, it was alright, even still under, but... I know myself - that won't fill me. That will only make me crave more sugar. And instead of opening the package and inhaling it, I put it away and went for some yogurt. Much better. Proteins and fibers. So, while calories are calories, and it doesn't matter what you eat, but how much you eat, sometimes it's important to know yourself - what is going to fill you, what is going to make you crave more, what is overall better for your health. Because really - I looooove Haribo anything, but other than a sugar high, followed by a sugar headache (yeah, I'm like a 5-year-old), sometimes it's better to pick something healthier.

The point of this post? Not so sure... Just kind of proud of myself that I didn't give in to my weakness :P And I was just thinking how fun it is to juggle around with calories~

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: Here We Go Again - The Rest Of My Life - A Healthy Life
« Reply #2 on: September 02, 2016, 01:49:05 AM »
It’s Not All About The Weight

A long time ago it did start all about the weight. For a long time I was blaming my weight on all my problems – Kids don’t invite me to their birthday parties? It’s because I’m fat. I don’t have friends? It’s because I’m fat… And this was all around pre-teen years. Hormones were going wild. I was even more sensitive than I am right now (imagine how much that is!!). I had been a part of a volleyball team – city youth team, for a few years when I got an injury on my pinky finger and had to pause it for a few months, by the time I returned my team had changed to a mean group of kids. And I decided to screw them and focus on school instead. And I did. And I got in a prestigious high school – there are exams after 7th grade here to determine whether you can go to some of the more prestigious or specific high schools or you will go to a general one. I got into Foreign Languages High School, where I got to study English, German and Russian, English language being my major. Anyways…

I don’t regret this.

What I regret is that I let kids’ words get to me. Honestly, I was already an adult when I realized that I had actually been bullied for most of my life. No one ever hit me, because the few that tried got knocked out (I wasn’t an easily scared kid when facing idiots), and while those that spat hurtful words at me got ones in return (sarcasm 101 – I was a pro at returning painful words), those words actually got me. While facing the bullies I will be okay, once I’m at home I’d think over their words and figure out why they said them to me. And thus my anxiety started about going out. People would laugh at me for being “fat” – I was 172cm (still am) and 65kg (long not), but while most kids were that height they were skinny – 50kgs at most. They would laugh at my hair which tends to curl and when it’s short it goes everywhere, calling me “Elvis” and stuff like that. They would laugh at my glasses. Or at my clothes. Or at me getting straight A’s. Or whatever really.

I think I was 14 when the first time depression got me. There were problems at home as well with father (parents divorced when I was 11), and it was really just the last drop in the glass. I remember that for years to come I would stay home, drink 2l of regular Coca Cola and eat like 1kg of peanuts with it – and that was just snacking. I was eating a lot. And badly. And my mother pointing out that I will never have friends, or find a SO, or be happy if I keep eating like that only made me eat more like that.

I’d lose some weight, and then gain it x2. For years. I hit the worse bout of depression when I was in my first year of university. I didn’t fit. My high school friends moved on. I was alone. I was freaking out. My anxiety stopped me from going to lectures. I ate. I failed my exams. I had to get a gap year to retake the exams or I was going to be kicked out of university. I lost all my old friends. And I hit my heaviest weight that I don’t even know how much it was as I avoided stepping on a scale for months after I saw 92kg…

It was then that I first kicked myself into action. To be honest, it was thanks to my mother. I was online one night, writing on another forum, when she stormed in my room and started her usual – “Study, stop eating, you are going to fail, you are just like your father, you are good for nothing, if you can’t go to that school give up and go somewhere else or work in a store” and so on. I told her to go fuck herself and leave me alone – my life was my life and it was up to me to do whatever I wanted with it. After I screamed it in her face I realized it was true.

It took me a year since that night to get back on track. I retook my failed exams, passing them. I returned to school on the following year. I was dieting for the first time continuously, losing weight. I made a few friends at university. I joined Elliquiy and found more friends, support and understanding.  With the following years my grades at university got better, until the last 3 semester I become a straight A student (which is almost impossible in my major). I graduated. I had gotten rid of some friends that were hurting me. I had made new steady friends. I was getting a master degree. I was searching for a job. Then I was doing great at work and I was being promoted every few months…

And on paper, or from the side, it does look great. And I know I should be proud of all this. And I am. Really, I am. But it’s not enough. That little voice in my head is still there. I keep on losing track. I keep on returning to food as a consolation. My weight kept going up and down, and up, and down. I’ve built walls around me and I’m trying to break them. I have gotten in a routine and I don’t know how to change it. I work, I get paid good money, I do love my job, my friends are nice, I do go out sometimes, I workout on and off, but I do. And I’m not as affected as I once was about my weight. But... that little voice that once started because of my weight is still there…

I’m fighting it every day, every hour. And food is still my biggest consolation…

Somewhere along the way I simply became okay with just existing. It’s nice to have a routine. It’s safe to have one. Nothing to trigger my anxiety or my self-beating mind. But lately I want to break out of it…

I don’t know how.

I’ve been reading tons of blogs and articles about “How to be happy”, “Steps to more exciting life”, etc. etc. And it’s all the same – sleep better (I do), eat better (I do), exercise (I do), drink more water (I do), eat healthy (I do), etc. etc. I do maybe 80% of the stuff that are listed as steps. And then there are stuff that you can just ‘do’ – fall in love (yeah, because that just happens like this), get a hobby (and here I am going liiiiiike what?!), travel (also not so easy), go out (I am, not often, not a lot, but I am). And I know that most of time I’m making excuses or finding explanation why I can’t or won’t do that or this. But my analytical mind seems to be working only when it has to explain why something cannot or will not happen. For example, the hobby bit… I think about what hobby can I get and my mind goes – nothing, you write, you exercise, that’s enough, there is NOTHING else, and then it blocks on the ‘nothing’ and there’s really nothing in my mind. I start listing stuff I can do and my mind goes ‘nah’ to each of them, boring, too expensive, too dangerous, can’t because of my knee, can’t because of that or this and in the end there is really nothing.

And all of this goes to push me back a hundred steps. Triggers my depression and that triggers my appetite and the cycle starts again.  I get better, I get stable, then my mind plays me a trick, I get worse, I stay worse, I kick myself again into action to get better, and so on, and so on.

In the end, my weight problems are not really just about my weight. I don’t want the rest of my life to be described by the cycle from above. I want to be healthy, but not only my body weight to be at a healthy range. I want my mind, my heart, my soul or whatever is inside me to get healthy as well. It’s like I’m in an abusive relationship with myself. Problem is I cannot run away from my abuser. Somehow I have to push them towards the light and rehabilitate them.

And I don’t know how. Other than trying to eat better, trying to exercise, trying to get rid of that first abusive weapon that I gave my inner abuser – my weight issues.

But honestly, my aim to be healthy is really not just about the weight. My aim to being healthy is to be happier, live instead of exist. I just have to figure out how to do that…

Offline IzuTopic starter

Re: Here We Go Again - The Rest Of My Life - A Healthy Life
« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2016, 02:13:30 AM »

I've been told numerous times that I should try meditation. A lot of people say that it helps them clear their minds, calm down, stop focusing on negativity and find peace from within. I guess all things that I do want to happen with me. But it's hard. It's hard to shut down my brain and concentrate and just try to relax. I've never been able to do anything close to that. Even when I was having huge problems with insomnia (I tended to sleep 1 hour or not at all for days), I couldn't get the meditation bit. Maybe it hadn't been the right time, or I hadn't been in the right set of mind. I don't know. But I do know that last night I tried it, and it was... maybe successful.

I already told you that I've been reading a billion blogs and articles about how to be happy, how get out of depression, how to overcome anxiety, and so on. And while most of the points were... well... stupid to hard (I already told you about that in the previous post), there were two common things in all of them: exercise and meditate. Seeing as I am already exercising and when I was able to put in hard workouts I was feeling the best (endorphin for the win!), I decided to try meditating again.

I know the basics - relax, slow breaths, don't think about random things, etc. But I just couldn't get to it. Not yet. I guess I'm still too... wired up to be able to do it just on my own, so instead I searched YouTube for some guided meditation. And jeez... there are A LOT. Seriously. Found one with a guy's voice that I liked, good quality and all and went for it. I did manage to break a smile once or twice as there were some silly lines, but after that I calmed down and listened to it. Honestly, right now, I don't remember what he was saying. I know that I managed to calm down as before that I was declining towards another mood swing low. I was relaxed. I was not panicking anymore, my heart was not speeding, my brain was not over thinking. It just paused. All of it.

When I "woke up" from it I was feeling better. Calm. And I swear I haven't felt that calm in... well... don't know, don't remember being that calm. I actually directly went to sleep after that and I slept. No dreams, no nightmares, no nothing. I slept until the damn garbage truck woke me up at dawn, but until then I slept.

So... maybe meditation is also something I need to start doing on a regular basis. I hope it will help...
I did buy a scented candle that I wanted to use to concentrate on, but I never really got to use it.