RheumaBlog

Same dragon, different day.

You know, being a goody-two-shoes about food and exercise can be a real downer.

Yes, today I’m gonna rant a little. And yes, I know the solution to the problem I’m having, but I’m feeling childish today and I don’t wanna do it. If stomping my feet would help any, I’d be stomping my way to China.

Here’s the deal. I know for a fact that eating mindfully works. This means, for me, eating foods that are un-processed (or only lightly so); eating them as fresh as I reasonably can; eating more of some foods than others, like fresh veggies and fruits vs. bread, dairy and meat; controlling the portions I put on my plate; and avoiding sugar in its many forms. This will cause me to lose weight slowly – and in a healthy, easily-maintainable way.

As you know, a couple of weeks ago I reverted back to eating mindfully after allowing myself to indulge over the holidays – and for several months after. I also gritted my teeth and weighed myself. I hate the scale. I’d much rather gauge my weight by the way my clothes fit, and yes, they were getting tight again so I knew I’d gained. Still, I stood on that blasted scale. I figured I’d best be honest with myself, face up to the poundage-truth, and get back on the wagon. And so I did.

I also grabbed wee Finny McCool and started walking again.

After a week or so of careful eating and some rambling along the trail, I was gratified to see, via the scale, that I’d dropped four pounds. Well! I was delighted! But I’d overdone the mileage, and spent four days feeling like my hip joints were disconnected, a rather scary situation. I took a walking break. Then the weather turned cold, wet and windy, so it was easy to rationalize not doing any more. When the sun came back out, I took one shorter walk (two miles) and then … it snowed, rained and sleeted for three days.

I haven’t walked since. Poor Finny.

Still, it was so nice to see that lower number on the scale that, despite myself, I started weighing in every day. I wanted to see those numbers dropping.

Big mistake. Since that initial four-pound loss, I’ve been up three, down two, up two, down three and today, up two pounds again. To make myself feel a little better, I tell myself that at least I’m not actually gaining even more weight. I’m basically in a holding pattern.

The scale is not my friend. I’ve learned that I’m much better off, emotionally, weighing just once a week. Or less. The reason is that our bodies fight weight loss, instinctively trying to hang on to every bit of extra fat to avoid starvation (even though we certainly aren’t starving to death). Women tend to retain water weight, too, and that skews the numbers. Weighing less frequently is a much more accurate way to keep tabs on what’s actually happening.

The good news is that my pants aren’t as tight as they were when I started. There’s a little more space on my lap for Finny, who likes sacking out on it in the evenings. (He really is a Velcro-dog.) I feel better overall, even though I’ve failed the initial exercise test – cutting the pizza, the cheese or PB&J sandwiches, the French bread and handfuls of tortilla chips out of my diet have made a real difference. When Matt’s parents were over on Sunday night for dinner, I didn’t eat the big, lucious baked potato that was part of the meal and instead ate a larger helping of fresh green beans. I did eat a slice of cake and a spritz of whipped cream, but it was a much smaller one than I would have liked.

It’s very easy, when the scale shows little progress, to get discouraged. Why eat so danged carefully when there’s no reward? What’s the point? I could be enjoying regular, made-with-white-flour pasta rather than the whole-grain kind. Sure, the latter tastes just fine once you get used to it, but mmmmmm regular pasta is so much more comforting. I could chow down on white garlic bread rather than small slices of dense, chewy whole-grain bread. I could … well, you get the gist.

Yes, I could. And yes, I’d gain poundage. I’d have to buy fat clothes again. (horrors!)I know for a fact that my body doesn’t process those bad carbs well any more (if it ever did). The excess sugar they convert to upon digestion overwhelms my system and upsets my body’s ability to use it efficiently. That sugar turns to fat and I move slowly but surely toward diabetes, increased obesity and inevitable ill-health.

And with rheumatoid arthritis being, once again, a daily obstacle, giving up on myself will only make me even more miserable. Is eating pizza worth it? I vote no.

So yes, I’m going to keep on working at this eating-mindfully-and-exercising-daily thing. Sure, I’m going to grumble. Occasionally I’m gonna throw a tantrum, like I did a couple of hours ago when that bloody scale said my four-pound loss shrank to a two-pound loss overnight. And yes, occasionally I’ll fall off the wagon, like I did last night when I ate two helpings of cheese-stuffed ravioli – the white pasta kind – for dinner. Couldn’t hurt, right? I’d been good all day …

Sigh. Gotta stop that – or pay the piper.

The sun is out today. It’s nice out there. Not too cold, not yet hot. Finny is gazing at me with that “let’s go walkies!” look in his big brown eyes. Time to get off my behind and hit the trail again.

Update: Fin McCool and I walked two miles today. It was lovely out — flowers blooming everywhere, warm in the sun, cool in the shade — and the walk was just long enough. I’m a bit tired now, but feeling good, and also feeling that I surely can do this again tomorrow. And the next day …

5 thoughts on “Grumpy

  1. Laurie says:

    It’s hard not to get grumpy sometimes, Wren, and you’re totally entitled to!

    The scale can be such a pain, and such a liar!! When I started weight training I learned the truth of that pretty quickly. I learned to rely more on how my clothes were fitting me than what the scale was telling me. It’s a fact that muscle weighs more than fat, so as I gained muscle mass, I invariably put on weight. Horrors! – you might think. But my pants started slipping off my waist because I was actually thinning out – no matter what the scale said.

    You’re doing a good thing by eating well. And you will start the walking again, because you enjoy it and Finny loves it and it will become a habit and your body will want to move and move more and more often as you do more and more. Trust me! I, a non-athlete, know this from experience. Plus, it’s just so pretty where you live! Get out and enjoy it!

    Take care,

    🙂 L

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  2. Wren says:

    Thanks for the kind words, wisdom and encouragement, Laurie. I’m not nearly as grumpy now as I was — moving is good for more than just burning a few calories; it’s good for the mind as well as the body. It’s funny how I have to keep reminding myself of the benefits. It’s so easy to fall into sludgy bad habits. I’m looking forward to loose pants!

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  3. Helen says:

    I’ve been grumpy lately, too – and we all definitely get to vent sometimes!

    I’ve been so inspired by your commitment to your health despite the challenge of RA and all of the other bumps we all face along the way.

    And your 2-mile walk sounds wonderful!

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  4. ValleyWriter says:

    I agree with you and everyone else – it does stink having to be so careful about what we eat and how much we exercise sometime. I’ve struggled with weight since I was a child and I always used to think other people could eat whatever they wanted and stay trim, while I had to account for every little calorie. Now I’ve learned a lot of people go through the same stuff we do. My size-2 friend might eat 2 slices of cake at a work party, but she knows that she’ll be having a salad for dinner and doing 2 extra miles on the treadmill tonight to make up for it!
    Funnily enough, now that I’ve lost 70 lbs and kept it off for a few years, the folks who didn’t know the “old” me accuse me of being one of those “eat-whatever-I-want” people. But I’m quick to correct them and explain that while it takes constant effort – it’s worth it! You can do it, too, Wren! Slow and steady wins the race!

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  5. I needed to read this today. I’ve been frustrated by those little down-three-pounds then up-four-pounds dances my body does, and this was a good reminder that I need to go back to weighing in once a week. It’s just better for me mentally. This post was also timely because just this afternoon, I was pondering this self-sabotaging thing I seem to be doing lately with my eating. It’s basically a tantrum, when it comes down to it! Thanks for the reminder that I’m not alone with this struggle.

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