Friday, January 17, 2014

Frock Fridays: A Goal (And A Reward)

summer 2009, 15 lbs above goal weight in the dress I wore instead of the pink dress (below)

We go through trends for New Year's Resolutions, have you noticed that?  A couple of years ago, everyone and her mother swore they were going to get into a health plan, one that had a structure and concrete goals; it was all very quantitative.  These days, we're more holistic.  It's all about being healthy inside and out, which means no stressing over numbers, whether they're for calories consumed or burned, and no absolute restrictions - unless, of course, you're Paleo, in which case I'll let you make the argument that dietary rules are actually incredibly freeing.  In fact, I had my own vlog on health last January in which I lost track of how often I used the word "mindful" to talk about my attitude towards eating and running (and if you want to read a fabulous series along similar lines, please let me point you to Leaner by the Lake).  A lot of people seem to be feeling really good about approaching their health more qualitatively, and that's great.

The thing is, it's not what I need right now.  It was fantastic for me last year, both physically and mentally, but I've gotten a bit stuck.  Complacent is actually a better word for it, I think.  I eat decently enough often enough that I haven't gained much of the weight back that I lost and I've increased my level of fitness through running to the point where I can jog out a few miles without significant complaint after not having exercised for a couple of weeks prior.  But I'm definitely stuck and I'm not as healthy as I should be.

From when I moved back to DC on May 31, 2012 through March 2013, I lost 25 pounds out of the total 60 that I wanted to lose by the end of this past summer.  Then I plateaued, and, since my wedding, I've bounced around in those last 5 pounds - at the moment, they seem pretty comfortable on my bones and reluctant to go anywhere regardless of how decently I eat or run.  Sure, I'm wearing a smaller size of jeans than I was before, but I've turned complacent and I won't get any healthier with this attitude.

So I'm going back to basics even though the myth of "eat less, exercise more" as a surefire way to lose weight has largely been disproved as reductive.  I've downloaded MyFitnessPal again - my username is btransatlantic, if you want to connect - and will be journaling my food in the hope of not exceeding 1300 calories a day.  I haven't yet signed up for a half marathon in the late spring but I am now registered for the GW Parkway Classic 10 Miler on April 13, so I've based my training plan around that.  And I'm setting my eyes firmly on the goal of having lost the remaining 40 pounds by August 24, my wedding anniversary.

If I do, my reward to myself will be this Reiss dress, which I snagged on sale in London just before moving back to DC in the summer of 2009.  It was actually a little snug when I got it and so I didn't wear it to the party I bought it for; I haven't been that size since then and it's just languished in my closet.  How fun would it be to take it out for a spin to celebrate one year of marriage and a return to my healthy when-I-met-Jon weight?



 photo 866de425-8336-4c63-9efd-1c4dd8bf0e62_zpsafe0d56b.jpg

31 comments:

  1. LOVE that dress! If you're curious about cross-training, I've had good luck with that. I did Insanity (it is aptly titled...) and got great results, including being able to run faster than I've ever been able to run in my life! Now I'm doing T25, which is still intense, but much more schedule-friendly, and it's easy to modify the moves. Can't wait to see a pic of you in that dress!

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  2. Oh my goodness, Betsy! That dress is so cute! Wishing you the best of luck, friend. I know you can do it. I'm rooting for you!

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  3. Personally myfitnesspal is the only thing that works for me. When I am religious about recording my meals and snacks it really makes me think about everything that I am putting into my mouth. I think that serving sizes are tricky and using mfp makes you hyper aware of them.

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  4. Thanks for the shout out! I'm a big fan of the "a little this, a little that" mindset. Right now I'm trying to be patient and kind to myself but I'm also sort of kicking my own ass back into gear with healthy eating, daily tracking on My Fitness Pal, and Fitbit step count. I know how you feel and how plateauing is. I've been to like a ZILLION doctors about weight loss because for me, it's just incredibly hard to get it off my body. But, regardless of the outcome, when I'm kicking my butt, and happy about it, I tend to care less about the scale. It's when I feel like I'm off track with my healthy habits that the scale and my pants seem to matter so much more.

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  5. And p.s. I just want to say you're stunning and an inspiration to me (half marathon what what!) with how you've tackled getting involved in running.

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  6. So rooting for you. And so impressed, because it definitely seems to be a THING now to not say "I need to lose weight" or "I'm going to be more quantitative." Like you said, everyone is all about mindfulness. And I am so in support of that, too. It's just...both are important, or at least they vary in importance depending on what you need as a person in that particular month or whatever. We should feel comfortable setting goals for ourselves and not feel judged for not just being zen all the time.

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  7. I know you know what you're doing, so feel free to ignore me, but I was a little taken aback by 1300 calories. I don't disagree with or discount anything you've said in your post, it's just that... even when I'm being really good, I'm RARELY able to stay beneath 1300 calories. Also, I hope you mean net 1300. ie, you can eat 1600 if you burn off 300 exercising? I think it would be ill-advised to try to train for a 10-miler if you were only consuming 1300 cals each day.


    Sorry, sorry, I know it's annoying when everyone piles on with all their faux exercise/diet expertise that you already know. Sorry if annoying. Intended as friendly caring!

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  8. I love it!! I want to join myfitnesspal just to root you on! And when you do wear that dress, may I buy your first glass of champagne?

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  9. NET! net net net :) the app comes up with the calorie threshold based on how nigh you currently weigh and how tall you are and how much you hope to lose every week (.5-2lbs).

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  10. You're right, we do go through such trends when it comes to setting goals. I've been purposely trying to avoid the scale and instead attack fitness from a time management aspect, but this was more tailored to a personal problem - NOT making the time for fitness and then beating myself up when I didn't lose weight.


    Anyway, I think all of your goals are totally reachable. The lowest calorie intake a diet ever put me on was 1200, but it was spread out between meals and snacks during the day - and I found that it didn't force me to eat less, it forced me to eat better. You can do a lot with 300 calories for a meal. It might translate to one teeny piece of steak, but it's a whole heaping pile of veggies or curry or a lot of other things that keep you nicely filled up and energized!


    And I'm probably offering a lot of advice that you neither need or want, so let's just leave it at I'm excited for you and wish you the best success!! :D

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  11. Happyeverafter_BrideJanuary 17, 2014 at 10:41 PM

    Betsy, you're so sweet and lovely regardless of your weight, but I like your approach to weight loss anyways. IT's non-punishing and actually very encouraging. I look forward to seeing you don the Reiss dress this year!

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  12. want to come down and kick my ass too please? haha :)

    I wish the only thing that mattered to me was how I feel - and I know that from an emotional/wellbeing perspective that it's just important as the scale - but alas I have diabetes in my family (plus my grandfather is a cardiologist...) so there are consequences for me that go beyond feeling good at any size :(

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  13. If you are looking for a half marathon to run, I ran one in your area last year and really loved it. We traveled from Pittsburgh, so we stayed at the hotel with the expo and race group discount and we absolutely delighted when we realized the start and finish were in the parking lot of the hotel. On a chilly April morning this was ideal! We only had to wake up in time to eat, and get dressed and run outside to the start line. Then we were able to hop directly into the shower and get a power nap before the drive back to Pittsburgh.
    It was also my first all women's race which I loved. It is quite hilly but the last two miles are downhill! Its called tricolumbia iron girl half in Columbia, MD. If you do it I HIGHLY recommend staying in the hotel the night before. Totally worth it.
    I still think about you traffic horror story from your last half when driving to races early in the morning!

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  14. Georgia ChristakisJanuary 18, 2014 at 4:53 PM

    I've done 1300 calories before, and I am a VERY small person (5'3" and normal BMI,) and I'd agree to be careful about such a strict diet. I guess if you run off 300 calories in a day that means you can have 1600, right? So that's not so bad, but still...just keep an eye on the mindless snacking and balance, balance balance! But of course you've heard this all before... anyways, just wanted to say weight loss is HARD and I wish you luck, but more importantly, health! Good for you for taking care of your body.

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  15. my friend Liz texted me about cross training after she read this post! I will mention T25 to her- thank you :)

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  16. WOOP thank you! expect panicked HELP emails about running over the next few months...

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  17. YES that's it! it's not even necessarily about the # of calories consumed but just being aware of them.

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  18. mindfulness is great, no question! and I think that if I hadn't spent the last year being so mindful that I got complacent. this I NEED TO LOSE WEIGHT attitude could get unhealthy quickly. but hopefully together the two approaches will work!

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  19. YES so over the past couple of days I've clocked in around 1500 rather than 1300 - keeping to under 1300 would be / is really hard. but what having that goal seems to have accomplished is that I don't snack throughout the day and I'm much smarter about my pre-dinner and post-dinner food choices because I'm either trying to meet the 1300 goal or not exceed it toooooo much. (dinner is my weakness because I love cooking so just having, like, plain grilled chicken with a head of broccoli isn't an option. haha!)

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  20. p.s. not annoying at all - I know you care friendlyily!

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  21. yay, thank you! one good thing is that it's forcing me to be more creative with my recipes, that's for sure!

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  22. So I'm just throwing some stuff out there, because you know I'm no fitness person. But I do know that when I did yoga regularly I got WAY more out of any other exercise- not just feeling better, but my muscles seemed to work better/smoother and I was much more limber and flexible/not as sore afterwards. Also, I know that if you do any weight exercises (even basic arm curls and tricep dips in front of the tv) it's supposed to help you burn calories better when you do cardio and such. I don't have personal experience for that, although I was quite good about arm exercises for a year or so several years ago, but I've never been a runner so I don't know. But Paul says it's better, and when he gets into a running habit he usually puts his weights in the middle of the living room so I break a toe ;)
    But I think your mindset is good, going at it from lots of angles. I was startled by your 1300, but if you're doing that as a net total that's reassuring to me. I was worried you were only INtaking that, then training/running on top of that, and DON'T PASS OUT ON THE STREETS, BETSY!! ;)

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  23. I don't think it has to be! So much of it is portion control; portions are WAY too big in this country. We also wolf down food mindlessly to rush to the next activity. It helps to drink water before a meal (you probably need it anyways,) eat slowly, over 20 minutes, and give you body time to communicate to the brain that you've had enough. Hope this isn't too preachy, it's just good advice (bariatric surgeons recommend these things to help post-op patients learn how to eat appropriately.)

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  24. I do agree about the value of journaling. I did My Fitness Pal briefly (oh so briefly) last year, and was STUNNED to learn how much I was eating, given that I don't eat big meals and my body has so far been forgiving. I was regularly logging 3,000 calorie days without even knowing it!!! :( If aiming for 1300 lands you on 1500, then that sounds like a good way forward.

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  25. I think that dress is a great incentive! x

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  26. Totally get this post, but when are we going to see how you wore your new booties?! :)

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  27. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH FOR ASKING THIS. hopefully this Friday - I wanted to wait until my new (to replace the old dead) jeans arrived so I could try them on with the boots :)

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I love reading your thoughts and suggestions! Please do leave a comment so we can get to know each other better.