Saturday, June 5, 2010

The view from the bottom...

A little over two years ago, I decided that there were things about my life that needed to change. I didn't like what I saw for myself, and I decided that things were going to be different. I was going to alter the course of my life. And so, with much gusto and vigor and determination (that all important #3 from the list) I did. I followed the Zone principles and was a steadfast student. I was certainly not 100% perfect, but in the end, I was doing a great job of changing my diet and losing weight and fat. I was getting healthy. I was stopping the downward spiral.

With all of my dietary progress, progress in the gym happened too. It was a natural side effect it would seem. Once my diet improved, so did my workouts. An old friend referred to me as "a poster child for CF" and the types of changes that hard work and a good diet could make. At my very lowest, I had dropped a whopping 25 lbs. 25 lbs!!!! That's a whole plate that I literally eliminated from my body. It was amazing. It was life changing. I was so stoked about what I had done that I shared it with everyone. I talked to others about changing their diet, not because I wanted to be pushy, but because I was that excited about what had happened that I wanted other people to have the same experience. It was terrific.

Flash forward to the present day. All that weight that I have lost, has returned, with a vengance, with gusto... dare I even say with determination? And now the girl who two years ago was standing atop a pedestal shouting about how great life was, is now slinking along someone at the base of it, trying hard not to be noticed. I keep asking myself how this happened? How did things slide this far? I know that regardless of the "how's" and the "why's", it happened. I can see it, I can feel it, I can tell when I put my clothes on. I'm not just being hard on myself, I'm not just imagining some water weight, it's full on there.

It's incredibly disheartening to know that just a short time ago, I was in a completely different place than I am now. But, broken hearts, busy schedules, lack of energy... all these things seemed to team up to conspire against me, and now here I sit. The former poster child of CF and good nutrition is a washup. An old hag, a has been. I no longer stand on my pedestal shouting about the benefits of eating clean. I now slink along the bottom of the pedestal with a brownie in my hand, hoping and praying that everyone just THINKS it's a Paleo muffin. I'm the girl who spends the majority of her time when she is in her home sleeping because that's just how little she's there. I'm now the girl who eats out almost every night because I have no energy to cook. I've become that which I swore I would never be again. Defeat. It has won.

So what now? I am sure I'm not the only person who has ever gone through this, and I'm sure that I will not be the last. But the question remains. When you hit the bottom, when you look up one day and realize, "Oh shit. This IS the bottom of the barrel." what do you do? I'm sure that there are many people out there who get frustrated and give up. They pull the old, "I'll never get back down there again *sigh*" and continue on being unhealthy. But there is an aternative. There is another way. #3.

I will be honest, I know that hitting my goal for weight loss is going to be hard. I never thought it was going to be easy, but now, I'm slowly becoming more determined. The mental aspect of losing weight has held me back more times than I can count in the past several months. My heart is always in the right place but after about a week, my mental focus wanes. I'm spent mentally and physically from working so much and things not on the "good" list, suddenly have become much more appealing. The more I stare at myself, the more unhappy I am with what I see. I see someone who had a really good thing going for her, and f'ed it all to hell and back. So, now it's sheer determination. I'm determined to get this weight off, and get back on that horse!

Like I said above, I know I'm not the only person to ever go through this, and I'm sure I'm not the only person to be at the bottom and have to look up at this mountainous task that needs tackling. I'm positive of that. The view from the bottom can be daunting, but if you're a CF'er rely on #3. If you can tackle Murph, if you can make it through Cindy, if you can tackle Fran without batting an eye, you can do this. You just need to treat it the same way. I know that this task for me will not come easily, and I will slip. Just like I did when climbing up that hill at regionals with a sandbag. I slipped in the mud and ocassionally I had to stop and rest. I may slip, but eventually I will get up there. I just need to be determined and I need to stick to it.

Getting started is the hard part. Change is hard, especially when you already have that little voice in the back of your head telling you "You did it once and look what happened." Damn, that little voice is annoying and for a long time, I've been shutting her up with cookies and Starbucks. But now it's time to change. I don't WANT to slink around the bottom of that pedestal embarassed anymore. I want to stand on it once more and say, "Look. I'm human, and I did it once and then got too loose with my diet. But now here I am again. You CAN do it."

Diet sucks. I'm not going to lie. For a very long time food has been my nemesis and I thought I had tackled a lot of my issues, but from how I look now and the things that have happened, it's clear that I haven't. So, the washed up poster girl is headed for makeover central. I have a goal in mind. I want to hit that goal in roughly 3 months. (It's still early enough in June that I feel like I have the whole month of June.) So, my goal is to do this the smart and healthy way. It is to shed the weight over a period of time and hit my target weight by August 31. I know that in order to reach my goal, I am also going to need to get back to the box more. I've been going 4 days a week with the goal of getting back to 5 but working as much as I have been has flat out tired me out. With summer coming soon, I'm hoping to have more energy to devote to the box and getting in there more frequently. With no school, and more flexibility in my schedule, that should help since I don't HAVE to get up at 0400 to get to the 0515 class.

So, the view from the bottom sucks, but to get up I have set a goal for myself, which I didn't do before, and I have to set some paramaters. A friend really wants me to go Paleo, but I don't think I can do that, and I don't think I want to. I like to eat Greek yogurt or cottage cheese and fruit, and with a strict Paleo diet, you are supposed to eliminate dairy. I understand that dairy is not something that existed in caveman times, but really?!?! Milk and cheese are bad for me? That seems like a bit of a stretch to me. This is why I like Primal instead. I feel like it's a little more sensible (for me and my crazy life anyway) with most of the same Paleo ideals and I can still eat some of the things I like. Sisson also is a big believer in the 80/20, which I agree with. I know I'm not going to be perfect 100% of the time, and if I think that, I'm setting myself up for failure, because I know the second I cheat I'm going to feel guilty, and associating food with guilt is never a good start to a healthy food relationship.

So, I think I'm going to begin to follow the Primal diet again, and I'm going to work hard to eat as clean as I can. If I fall off I'm not going to beat myself up, but I'm going to immediately get back on with the next meal. I'm going to do my best to eliminate soda completely (and IMMEDIATELY) which will be hard but is something I have been trying to do for some time now. I know that that is one of the single worst things I've been doing to myself, even more so than sugary snacks or processed food.

Soda is nothing but sugar in a can, and I could probably eat the same and eliminate that and still lose weight! That's how bad that is for you! Not that I'm going to do that though because this is about more than soda, but it's one of the things I know I need to do. Even drinking diet (for those of you who argue that it's about the calories) is not good for you because your body still believes that you are getting sugar and prepares your insulin response. Then lo and behold your body is like, "WTF mate?" and there is no sugar, but still a lot of insulin. Soooo I'm ditching the soda all together. I'm also going to have to greatly reduce my Starbucks intake. My goal initially is to go to 2/wk. (From 7/wk, that's a big step, so please don't judge.) That's still a lot I know, but I'm going to have to wean myself off. I really like coffee.

As part of my goals, I'm going to log what I eat. I did this before with my blog, but that became too hard. If I didn't get to write a blog that day I would sometimes forget what or how much I ate, and if I wrote earlier in the day, then I would have to go in later and edit and adjust and that was just a pain. So I'm keeping a journal. I also started to do this once before, but dropped off after a few days, but now, this matter is more pressing. It's more than just the proverbial five pounds I wanted to lose before. This is more of a serious health risk here. So, I'm going to be logging what I eat in my journal and I'm going to have to stick with it. I'm sure it will be interesting to see after the week what sort of trends I have.

So, if you want to join in on this journey with me, hop on. I'll be blogging and sharing as I have in the past. This time feels a bit different though. It is feeling closer to the way it felt the first time I lost weight than it has in a long time. I have a mindset, I have goals, I have things I want to achieve. It's not going to be easy, in fact I'll wager it's going to be harder this time. But I have a system I want to follow, I have a goal in mind, and I've already set parameters for myself. In the back of my head, I have also set mini goals, markers, along the way. As I reach each of those mini goals, there is a reward attached, as well as a reward for the final goal. They're not food related (they are totally material) but when I reach said points, I will reward myself for the hard work I've done, and continue to encourage myself to do more. I'm not going to tell you what those rewards are because they are girlie and really silly, but let's just say they are things that every girl would like to have.

The view from the bottom sucks, it really does. But the only way to get to the top is by starting to climb. I'm starting. I hope I packed the right gear, but if not, let's hope that along the way I pass some other climbers who will be willing to lend a hand. It's a journey I'm about to start, and it's time to get moving.


Jessi J. Walton said...

Im IN!!! Love your blog, and you CAN do this!!! I cant wait to watch your progress!!!

c wiss said...

I'm totally in. I have put back on nearly 10# of the 20 I lost, and am feeling like I'm dangling on the edge of the slippery slope of the next 10... For me, I want to focus on my relationship with food, and why I binge, so that I don't end up back here again in 6 months. Time to write the post I have been avoiding -- thanks for the motivation.

Anonymous said...
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Katie said...

Ladies, if you want to join in with me, feel free. I'm on day two of no soda and no coffee from Starbucks... I've hidden or thrown away all the chocolate. I'm eating berries like it's my job... and Greek yogurt has become my best friend. It's not Paleo, but more Primal. I'll eat when I'm hungry and fill up with good stuff. I need to do a better shopping run than the 20 minute fly through Trader Jose's I did yesterday, but regardless, it's a start. The tweaking can come later. The initial push will get me going though.

Justa said...


You can do it. Primal is easier than strict paleo. Don't forget to get your good fats. You'd be surprised how much that can sate your appetite for hours on end. You might consider a single day fast once per week. I do that, going from dinner Monday night until dinner Tuesday night without eating, than have a normal dinner on Tuesday night. I like doing it this way, because even though it's a 24 hour fast, you never go a day of the week without eating. I think it's just mentally easier.

As for soda and coffee, you just need to break the habit. I used to drink a ridiculous amount of soda a day. I decided to stop one day several years ago, and now the stuff is disgusting to me. Stick with water. Squeeze a little lemon or lime or even orange into it once in a while when you're craving a bit of flavor.

Now that school is nearing an end, get your sleep in order. Too little sleep can easily sidetrack the best of eating and exercise plans.

You might also consider doing some sprinting one day per week. I've found that to be a great addition to my program.

Here's what I do, if it helps:

Monday through Wednesday, I do a Crossfit workout. Most days have a strength component to start, and then a metcon. Thursdays I'm off, Friday I do my own strength only workout, and Saturday I sprint. Once every 4-6 weeks, I'll run a 5k instead of sprinting. Sunday off. If I'm really beat up, I might skip Tuesday.

Don't forget the good things you've done, Katie. You have come a long way. I have no doubt that you can refocus and accomplish your goals.

Justa said...


I couldn't agree more, Gailbohanan1!!!

uber said...

just wanted to say as someone just starting out with crossfit (literally, it's week 2, and all i can do is dead hang while everyone else does pullups!) and with an excerise programme, how great your blog has been for inspiration!

Katie said...

Uber, I'm glad that it has helped. I've always said that if one person can relate to what I've written and it helps them, then all the the time energy etc I've put into writing it is totally worth it! :)