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Enjoyment.

Saw this on Facebook this morning, and it summed up why I'm not logging my food at the moment...

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I've been here for almost three years. I've been logging most of that time, with a few breaks here and there. I reached my goal weight in the first six months, and have been maintaining since. At least maintaining my goal size, if not weight. I'm currently maybe 5 pounds off from my ideal. Which is to say, close enough to goal.

What I realized recently was that I don't have the same appetite every day. There's days when it's hard to reach my goal, and days when it's hard to stay near it. That's how my body naturally wants to eat, how it was all my life. And before going on depo provera for the first time about 10 years ago, and before depression kicked me in the ass, I always maintained my weight and size pretty well.

So I'm trying an experiment this month. No logging, and let's see where that takes me. Halfway through the month, so far, so good. I'm enjoying having a handful of pretzels if I want a handful of pretzels, rather than checking the package for serving size and counting them out and logging them. And I'm enjoying focusing on painting portraits and designing our Halloween costumes rather than grams of protein.

If October 1st rolls around, and my pants don't zip and I feel like crap, back to logging I go. Hell, at any point in time, if my pants don't zip and I feel like crap, back to logging I go. It's always there as an option. I'm just enjoying not having it a requirement. 

More Metal Than You.

The other day, I posted on here about how to fix pants or shorts that gap at the waist. http://www.isthisbliss.com/first-world-problem-solution-squat-butt/

The shorts in that demo were bought for a costume event, and that event was this weekend. A "Headbanger's Ball" themed party at a local club, encouraging people to dress in their finest spandex, leather and ripped jeans, with prizes to the Most Metal Warrior and Most Metal Wench.

Now, anyone who knows us, knows that yeah, we like music (mostly rock, metal and punk), and yeah, we have some tattoos, but mostly... we're a couple of dorks. A label we wear proudly. He's a D&D and MORPG nerd;  I'm a bookworm obsessed with Outlander, Game of Thrones, Harry Potter, etc. So leading up to this, we kept making up our own verses to the hilarious Brian Posehn song, "More Metal Than You." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y24MmylTeY4

For instance, "I took a nap this afternoon... I'm more metal than you." 

My husband dressed as Lemmy from Motorhead. He's been growing out his muttonchops for about a month for this. I painted and modified a frumpy straw cowboy hat and stitched some hair extensions inside, painted the Motorhead logo on the back of a denim vest (actually, a thrift shop denim shirt with the sleeves ripped off), topped with a ginormous iron cross necklace I've had for AGES and some dogtags, then I drew a couple of "Cocoa Puffs" on his face (thanks, Beavis & Butthead, for putting that mental image in my head: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s9fZRcqZWoE ) with eyebrow pencil for Lemmy's moles. 

I was... yeesh. I was mutton dressed as lamb. I had my booty shorts that I just got, with some silver studs applied to make them more glam, but the rest was all straight from the vaults of my youth. Stuff I used to wear when I'd go see local hair bands at under 21 clubs in the late 80s and early 90s. A chauffer's cap with a peace sign on it, a choke chain, an arm full of bracelets, a studded belt and leopard print scarf flowing from my waist, fishnets and cowbow boots. And some extra hair. No... Lots of extra hair.

Here's the photos, in all their ridiculousness.

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Oh, and by the way, we won. We're not only more metal than you, we're most metal of all. 

Motivation vs. Excuses

I started this as a status update, and it got really long winded.

I'm in an odd place.... somewhere between motivated and not giving a shit. Maybe I'm just making excuses, but sometimes I wonder if my motivation to be fit is more of a "disordered" thinking of sorts than my lack of motivation is just excuses. I just wonder, "Is it all worth it?"

As in... does it really make any difference in my life if I'm normal-fit-healthy, or insanely-fit-healthy? If my body fat percentage is 25% or 18%? If I can run a 5k in under 25 minutes, or run/walk one in 35? If I can squat 1.5 times my bodyweight, or lift about 50-75% of my max and not be sore and achy every day? 

I see so-called motivational fitspo posts on Facebook, and I just think, "That's f'n nuts." I'm not going to keep going until I faint or puke. I eat right and exercise to make my life better, not to feel like shit, not to punish myself. A lot of things DO taste better than being skinny feels. And as much as I love what lifting weights has done for me, and as hippocritical as it is coming from someone in a bikini in her profile pic, I'm stick of the implication that the greatest benefit from lifting comes from becoming more sexually attractive. 

I think fitness is like money. It doesn't buy happiness. Now with money, going from poverty to above poverty does make a difference, and going from totally unhealthy to healthy makes a difference, but I don't think going from ordinary fitness to mega-fitness is going to make a huge difference, unless you're an athlete or model. And I'm not either. 

I'm rambling. I don't really have a point. It just seems that there's rarely middle-ground. It's go big or go home. I'm not going back to when I was a couch potato who could scarf down a bag of Butterfingers in a day. But I'm not convinced that the relentless persuit of fitness is always healthier, at least emotinally.

It's a weird thing... On one hand, I feel pressure to keep pushing, to keep improving. On the other, why? What good does it do? What difference will it make? Why does it feel wrong, like I'm giving up or not trying hard enough, to say, "Hey, I'm perfectly fine the way I am?" Does being strong, faster or thinner make me a better person in any way? Does it make me kinder? Smarter? A better wife? Does it help me earn a living? Or does it only make me stronger, faster and thinner?

Cardio vs. Weights? Again?!

There should be no "versus." There should be no "or." Only an "and." It's like saying, "Which is better, bacon or cheeseburgers?" Both are great on their own. But absolutely frickin' phenomenal together.
 
So, yeah. I do both. No one has told me to quit running. Some say cardio ONLY is bad. Some say they, personally, don't do ANY cardio. But that's not the same as saying, "You need to stop running."

On the flip side, though, everyone knows running is "good for you." Since I'd say... mid 1970s? Running has been promoted for weight loss. (I say that because I remember my brother taking up running then, and I don't have any vivid memories from before I was a toddler.) Then came Jane Fonda workouts and Richard Simmons, and aerobics became the hot new exercise. 

Weight lifting, at least for women, has been generally ignored. Having tried aerobics, Zumba, yoga, pilates, running (which I still love) and light weight, high rep type lifting, I am still completely amazed at what heavy lifting has done for my body. And places like this site are the ONLY place I hear about it. In my fitness magazines, I see stuff like this:

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I did see Lara Spencer and Elizabeth Vargas on Good Morning America doing some barbell work the other day with Hugh Jackman. I did a happy dance! It's just too bad it was "How to look like Wolverine," not "If you're a woman, you won't look like Wolverine, more like Mystique or Storm." They also showed Snookie doing some barbell squats that morning, but as good as she looks now, she's not likely to be anyone's role model. :laugh: No one cares if she looks good and is fit. They want to see her drunk and peeing in a garbage can.

So... yeah. I'm going to keep screaming it from the rooftops. No one HAS to do it. But they should at least try it. Just like I tried everything else.

Stupid Fecking Insecurities!

I know better. I know better than to let the scale, or even a clothing size, dictate how I feel. And I know everything I'm doing will eventually lead me to getting back to where I want to be. I shouldn't, logically, feel bad. But I still do. And it's dumb. Really dumb.

Here's what's really frustrating about it all. Before I watched what I ate, before I exercised, before I took care of myself, I was happy with how I looked. Because that's how I thought I was supposed to look. I thought, "This is just what 'late 30s' looks like." And I was fine with that. 

I recently found some photos from 2009 on my external hard drive that I didn't remember were ever taken. I have no idea why they were taken. I wasn't trying to lose weight, so they weren't "before" pictures. Just recording where I was, I guess. Whatever I saw obviously didn't make a big impact in how I felt about myself, or I would have gone "on a diet" right then and there. Or at very least deleted the photos. But I just accepted it.

WHY THE HELL, then, can't I get back to that mindset now? I miss it. I like being fit. I like lifting weights. I like running. I like eating healthier. I just don't like always feeling like it's not enough, that I'm just entirely too aware of my body. Especially after gaining some weight back.

At least I realize it's dumb. At least, if I'm going to be "too aware" of my body and have some unhealthy mindsets, I'm at least too aware, also, to step into unhealthy activities about it. I'm not going to cut calories to starvation level. I'm not going to exercise myself into an injury. It's a weird tightrope act, though, balancing between being ok with who I am, to sliding back into the unhealthy habits that got me overweight.

But at least I do have those photos, and new ones, to kick my ass back into reality.

Here's when I was happy (or at least content) in 2009, and now.

 

 

I'm not quite sure what I weighed then. Which is probably another reason why I was happy. I didn't weigh myself. But I think I was probably around 145-150 lbs. That seemed to be where my body leveled off and liked to be. You know what I weigh in the 2013 pics? About 145. I'm about the same weight. But I look completely different. So why isn't it enough?

Because I know I can do more. I know I weighed less, ran faster, lifted heavier, not so very long ago. I know I wore smaller clothes. And no matter how much I logically don't think that matters - it doesn't make me a better person or smarter or kinder if I have a smaller, tighter, faster, stronger body - I still want it.

So, more photo-therapy is in order. This is me near my thinnest since losing weight. I was 127. I was just starting to get into lifting weights, but just using machines at the gym. It was about a month before I officially went on maintenance after hitting 125. And now. Weighing almost 20 pounds more, a little thicker, especially in the hips and thighs and ass, but not looking all THAT different.

 

Certainly not different enough that I should feel like a failure. If anything, this should excite me. Because it means that while I've gained weight, a LOT of it has been muscle. If I'm too screwy mentally to be completely happy with where I am at the moment, at least it won't take much to take me back to my Happy Place.

Frustrated.

I was going to make this a status update, but it got a little long. It's just a bit of bitching, so feel free to ignore.

I gained some weight over the winter and spring, and I've been  tracking my food and exercise and eating at a deficit (or what was a deficit a year ago) for about two months. And my weight and body are not changing. Prior to that, I was eating at my TDEE, or at least what my TDEE was a year ago.

I'm pretty sure it's from that blasted Depo Provera, since the weight came on like a ton of bricks after the second and even more after the third injections. It's just a waiting game for it to get out of my system. I'm still mostly happy with how I look... until I see pics from last fall when I was a lot leaner. 

It's just so annoying that before I was on Depo, and even after the first injection, I had to keep UPPING my calories to keep from getting too skinny. Last fall, I was eating about 2300 and losing fat. Now, I'm under 2000 and not losing anything. (Yes, there's some blank days in my diary, as there have been the past two years. I'm not binging on blank days, I'm just burnt out on logging everything.)

And honestly, I'd rather stay as I am right now, about 10 pounds above where I want to be, than cut calories further and be miserable and hungry.

 

/end whine. 

What heavy lifting REALLY does to your body.

I understand why they think that way. Why so many women think that weight lifting will make them bulk up and look like She-Hulk. It’s like some dirty little secret that no one, outside of fitness websites, talks about.

The mainstream media, even the fitness industry, never talks about women weightlifting without showing very muscular fitness models. They never show what happens to “normal” women after lifting weights. Or, if they do mention the benefits of strength training, they show itty bitty dinky dumbbells. Three pounds for upper body. You know what weighs three pounds? A ten week old kitten. No one is going to get any kind of noticeable difference in their physique doing kitten presses.

Even in fitness magazines, the light weights reign. I was so excited when one of the mags I get had a feature on their Facebook page about strength training and even mentioned deadlifts. WOOHOO! Maybe we’re getting somewhere! Until I clicked the link and saw they were using 10 pound dumbbells. That’s it. Ten pounds. Pretty close to the weight of a 12 pack fridgemate of soda. Now, if you’re just starting off, low weights are good, but, once again, you’re not going to get a tight ass from picking up a case of Diet Coke.

That’s why I’m so outspoken about the benefits of lifting. I want to bang my head against a wall every time I see a woman say that she doesn’t want to get bulky, that she’s afraid her booty and legs will get too big if she does ANY squats, let alone weighted ones.

YES. My quads and glutes have gotten a little tiny bit larger and more defined since I started lifting. But I’ve also eaten at at calorie surplus and gained weight, and I’ve been lifting for two years. One month of a Jillian DVD while dieting is NOT going to make you gain muscle mass. If you’re getting bigger while trying to get smaller, your math is wrong somewhere.

Compared pound for pound, lifting has only made me smaller and tighter. See for yourself…

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I’m about 140 pounds in both sets of photos. The ones from March 2011 were after I’d lost about 20 pounds and was happy with my progress, but thought I’d have to lose another 15 to get to my goal.

I love being wrong.

Everybody, PANIC!!!

In two days, I’m going to a luau / hot tub party. I’ll be in a bikini. In public. And you know what I’m doing to prepare for this? Absolutely nothing. Well, nothing I don’t normally do.

Judging by the number of “Help me lose weight for _____,” pleas I see, where the blank is a wedding, a vacation, a reunion, a party, or a funeral (ok, I haven’t actually seen that, but it wouldn’t surprise me), I seem to be in the minority. But here is why I’m not panicked:

1) I’ve known about this since, well… pretty much since last summer. If I really wanted to lose weight, shed fat, tone up or anything else you might want to do for an event, I had a long-ass time to do it. I run three times a week. I lift three times a week. I eat well. There’s nothing more I could do. I’m not exactly at my goal, but I’m closer than I was a few months ago.

2) By the time I get into the hot tub, I’m already going to have been eating and drinking quite a bit. Any water weight I might have lost by crash dieting would be back on after the first mojito and first plate of food. And I’m planning on having several mojitos and several plates of food.

3) By the time I get into the hot tub, everyone else will have also been eating and drinking quite a bit. So everyone will be just as bloated as I am, and just as beer-goggled. Or mojito-goggled, as the case may be.

4) Everyone there will fall into three categories: Friends, family and people I don’t know. Friends and family don’t give a damn, because they’re friends and family. And I don’t give a damn about what strangers might think of me.

5) It’s not about me.

So next time you’ve got a big event coming up, ask yourself if it’s really worth feeling like crap in the weeks leading up to it, to starve yourself to lose a few pounds that no one will even notice or care about. I prefer to wear something cute and have fun.

Plus, everyone will be too dazzled by my polka-dot toes to care about anything else, right?

 

Also published on my personal blog, "Is THIS Bliss?!" 

Your "goal weight" is really kinda meaningless.

Don't get too hung up on the numbers. They mean less than you think. 

Larger version of the image on my FB page: https://www.facebook.com/isTHISbliss

Super Amazing Overnight Weight Loss! Or not.

Originally posted, a lot wordier, on my blog Is This Bliss: http://www.isthisbliss.com/the-importance-of-lighting-angles-and-posture/

 

First photo was taken Saturday while shopping. Second photo taken the very next day at home. I didn't lose weight overnight. I didn't photoshop the second image. The difference is about 90% lighting. The harsh overhead lighting in the dressing room, coupled with a suit that might not be all that flattering, coupled with the natural feeling of "ugh," and subsequent subconcious body language, when you see yourself under bad lighting, makes a HUGE difference in how you look.

Remember that while you're taking progress photos. Not all photos are created equal.

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