Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Zumba, Goals, Exercise, Eating, and Maintenance

Today I went to my 1st ever Zumba class! I have been procrastinating on going for a few years now. The classes are free with my membership to the YMCA. I have to say I was a little nervous mainly because I am not the best dancer and I have two big left feet. I had mental images of me stepping on everyone because I was so out of sync (not too far from the reality). The class was 6-7pm. When I arrived to the class I noticed a girl who shops at my store a lot. She recognized me and we chatted a bit. When the class started I rushed over to her side. I told her "I slightly know you so I'm going to dance next to you". I love how awkward I am lol! I told her how I was afraid of stepping on people and she said "Don't worry nobody cares if you don't know all the moves just do your own thing if you don't know what to do...that's what I do". I appreciated her comment because it made me a little less self conscious. The class was pretty fast pace. I was ok with most of the moves mostly because I have been practicing Zumba at home. The hardest parts for me were the dances with a lot of quick footwork. Sometimes I was out of sync but I mostly kept up. I can't help but smile in classes like this they are so fun! My goal is to go 1 or 2 times a week so I can memorize the dance moves. My goal is to get all the moves down and be able to keep up with the instructor. I'm also going to check out a few more classes at the YMCA to see if there are more that I would enjoy. Classes are really helping me switch up my workout routine to keep things interesting.

Recently I have also been motivated by reading weight loss and healthy lifestyle change blogs and watching youtube channels. I recently found a blog by Andie Mitchell called "Can You Stay For Dinner?"  I found her after watching her Ted talk about her struggles with food and her tips on maintenance. I have never seen such honest deep writing about weight loss. Her blog really puts into words feelings I have but have a hard time expressing or thinking about. My currant favorite weight loss YouTube Channel is BlueEyedBetty. This women has lost over 140 lbs! She is badass and hilarious! I love her tips and personal videos she has all throughout her journey. So inspiring! Reading and watching other peoples personal struggles with food helps me feel less alone.

Exercise/ Eating / Maintenance
My current weight is 161 lbs. Since getting to my initial 100 lbs lost goal (158 lbs) my weight has been fluctuating between the high 150's and low 160's. And I am just fine with that. I don't weight myself weekly anymore. I try to weigh myself only once a month. Maintenance for me is going to be more about mindfulness/enjoyment in food and less about worrying about an exact number on the scale. Of course if  I see my weight creeping too high I would re-evaluate how I eat and workout. The past few months I would say I have been exercising 3-4 days per week. Weight lifting 1-2 days per week. I'ts a lot less than I used to do during my main weight loss years (5-6 days exercise + 5-6 days weight lifting). Back then I was learning discipline and motivation just to get my butt moving. Now my day really just doesn't feel right unless I exercise. Days I exercise I feel less depressed, more focused, more positive, stronger, and more accomplished. It's like a meditation...a way for me to let out stress in a healthy way. My workouts are now more focused on enjoying the moving that I am doing and less on that "gotta burn, gotta burn, gotta burn" state of mind that I had while losing weight. I get sick of doing only one thing so I like to incorporate things I love doing. So far these are my top fav workouts to do.

  • Elliptical - (50 minutes)
  • Walking on trails or around Greenlake and back - (1-3 hours)
  • Jogging on the Burke Gilman Trail - (40 minutes)
  • Zumba videos at home - (30-50 minutes)
  • Zumba in a group class- (60 minutes)
I also love biking outside but since it is not part of my commute to work anymore and Todd and I have less time together lately my bike is just collecting dust for now.

I have to say it is rather scary after 2 years of calorie counting to suddenly stop. It involves a lot of trust and letting go of fears. Trusting that I wont binge and can control myself around food. Fearing that I would become morbidly obese again. I don't want anyone to get the impression that I am labeling calorie counting as bad. I just feel that I have learned all that I can from it. I am choosing not to calorie count anymore because I feel that it is not what I need for maintenance and the emotional healing that I am going through right now. The past few months I have been just eating when I am hungry and trying to be more mindful of my hunger/fullness level. Really trying to enjoy what I eat. About 3 meals a day and 1 or 2 small snacks. I have also gone back to being vegetarian. I initially went vegan because I thought I was lactose intolerant right before I started losing weight. What I didn't realize was the impact of the amount of what mass quantities of dairy was doing to my body. At that point I was pretty much a "Cheese-atarian". I was literally eating bricks of cheese and massive amounts of dairy products. Going vegan taught me self control and also got me interested in foods I never would have tried to cook before. It taught me not everything had to be drenched in cheese to be delicious. Since I have gone back to dairy I have been mostly moderate with it and don't feel as sick like I did before. Besides the first week  I ate ice cream everyday. I still like to eat vegan about half of the time because I really love vegan cooking as well!

When I was losing weight it was exciting in many ways. I was determined to reach my goal of 157 lbs to lose 100lbs. It was exciting to watch the weight come off a couple lbs a week. I knew what to do calories in calories out. I really didn't have a plan for maintenance. When I finally got to my goal something scary happened. I felt lost. I felt aimless. In a lot of ways I still felt insecure and unsure of myself. Don't get me wrong I really appreciated my new body and all the new things I could do. I loved that I didn't sweat after walking a block. I loved that I could play with my stepdaughter and little nieces at the park without getting winded. But somehow something that was healthy for me for 2 years suddenly became an obsession without me even realizing it. When I look at it now I think it was because I have a lot of suppressed anger, resentment, and sadness. Stuff I was holding in. Deep down I thought when I got to my goal that I would be happy. That it would magically be the answer I was waiting for in my life. I know that it's irrational to think that way. I know I shouldn't seek happiness outside of myself but subconsciously I think I was and it become obvious with how obsessed I was over each little calorie and each little number on the scale. I don't think that calorie counting and the scale are inherently bad. They are great tools for weight loss, meal planning, goal setting, tracking progress. But they should never be used to sum up our self worth.

When I look back on my "big girl" pictures I don't cringe or tease or call that girl names. I think that girl is beautiful even at her highest weight. I don't ever want to associate beauty with size. I don't do that with my friends and I don't want to do that with myself. I truly do think that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes. On a purely health level when I look at the old pics of myself I see the weight as sign of something that was wrong...emotionally. I do think that excess weight can become a health issue and that is why I started losing the weight because I did not want to be in pain anymore. But I would never take back any of the experiences I've had because my experiences and how I react to them make me who I am today. I have a much better self image than I used to and am much less insecure. But as always I have much more to work on with myself. Once I'm done climbing one mountain there will always be another one to climb. If I stop having goals then you know something is wrong!

Right now my main goal is to be happy, take care, and learn to fully love myself. I want that to matter more than the number on the scale, more than my pants size, more than calories. I feel like I am starting a new chapter in my life. One that starts with letting go.

*So my internet experiment only lasted 1 week. I was trying to embrace the no internet thing but now that I have it back I do feel like someone who just got back together with a long time romance! I love Pinterest, googling recipes, looking at blogs, watching inspiring you tube videos, and sharing family pictures on facebook. I feel like I am having much less screen time than before. I just hope I can learn to moderate how much time I spend on internet a bit more.

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