This is not a success story
As I’m sitting in a coffee shop right now, somewhere downtown Detroit, with a coffee to my right, a salad on its way to me, and a sweaty CrossFit session behind me this morning, let me share my candid thoughts with you.
Weight loss is hard. I actually forgot that little fact a few weeks back when I called my sister to declare I had re-signed up for My Firtness Pal; it had been two days and I saw my weight drop, and I remember thinking this will be easy.
It is not.
I had been in Detroit for just over a month, and with the exception of mentally thinking about trying to lose weight, I had put no actual conscious effort into doing so. It was the usual: just wishing and hoping and obsessing, but not actually changing any of my habits. Sure, I had signed up for CrossFit, but to say I was “half-assing” it would have been over stating it.
The mental toll of watching my weight increase was exhausting. I had told myself when I arrived in this new city I’d have a fresh start to my weight loss voyage, but a month had passed and that wasn’t the case. Then at some ungodly hour one morning, I wrote a very honest letter to myself; there’s something about writing that sets things in stone for me. I can tell myself something 302 times, but if I don’t commit those thoughts to written words, I’m almost guaranteed to forget them the next morning. I won’t go into the details of the letter, but I woke up the next morning ready to officially commit to something I so desperately wanted.
That was just over a month ago, and I have been amazed at how that letter somehow switched a light on from within.
Since then I have been to CrossFit four or times each week. It’s been humbling getting back into it. A 35lb bar is all I can handle right now. I’m the slowest by far in all the workouts, and the majority of the movements I have to modify.
I am fortunate that a lot of the movements and my techniques from doing CrossFit in Melbourne were like riding a bike. And my new Coach here is exceptional. This CrossFit focusses on quality over quantity (often the area where CrossFit gets a lot of criticism) and I am definitely thankful for that (I never really found a CrossFit I liked in Toronto because I thought all the coaches didn’t focus on technique).
If you follow along on my Snapchat you’ll already know this, but I’ve even been getting my ass up for the 6am or 7am CrossFit sessions. Last week I made it to FIVE early morning sessions and got a glimpse into life as if I was a morning person. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but it got sooooo much easier each day, and I had significantly better days when I did exercise in the morning.
I live in perpetual muscle pain these days, but it’s a good happy pain; one I missed.
As we all know, you can’t out exercise a bad diet, and thus on that fateful letter-writing night, I decided to focus on calorie counting. Calories in, must be less than calories out. I set my goal to “1 pound a week loss” which landed me at 1,800 calories a day. Also making this the most generous number of calories I’ve ever aimed to hit. (In my younger stupider days I’d always aim for 1200/1300 a day).
I bought a little kitchen scale and hit the ground running. I measured and tracked everything. E.v.e.r.y.t.h.i.n.g. From the oil on my roasted veggies in the evenings, to milk in my coffee, everything was added to the My Fitness Pal app. I quickly got into the routine of it too, I became more conscious of labels in stores, and more aware of how quickly calories can add up.
One thing I didn’t expect from calorie counting, but am absolutely over the moon about, is how it released me from mentally beating myself up throughout the day. I learned from counting calories that I wasn’t eating that badly before, but mentally I thought I was.
If I ate a Turkey Tom Jimmy John’s sandwich (for Canadian friends, it’s like Subway but more delicious) for lunch (because it was free at the Lunch n’ Learn at work, let’s say) I would be so angry at myself the rest of the day, and think I completely (pardon my french) fucked up my diet that day, which in turn would lead to negative thoughts and not caring about dinner that evening, or worse, trying to hardly eat anything for dinner.
From counting calories I saw that having that Jimmy John’s sandwich for 520 calories was a lot, true, however also completely manageable and normal and I could still easily end my day without going over my allowed calorie intake. A huge amount of mental stress has been lifted from counting calories, and I saw very blatantly how negative I had been previously to myself for no reason at all.
I counted the tomatoes and broccoli and cauliflower and onions and asparagus too, and quickly saw how my current weight is where it’s at in large part because of healthy food. Portions! Portions! Portions! And my portions of healthy food were huge. With the oil on my roasted veggies (carrots / sprouts / asparagus / onions / etc) and half a sweet potato sprinkled with some feta cheese and a breast of chicken on the side, my dinner could and would get to around 600 calories. Yikes. And this makes sense. As I don’t eat McDonalds or candy or go through tubs of ice-cream. I am over weight because of portions. HEALTHY portions.
This post is not a post about my success.
Over the past four weeks my weight has been up and down and up and down and overall I have stayed the same. It’s incredibly frustrating. I am trying really hard. I also have a smart scale which shows no Fat % loss, which busts the muscle weighs more than fat theory.
My jeans, however, are fitting looser, but I also feel like they need a wash… I tried on a dress yesterday which didn’t fit before Christmas, and said dress? Still does not fit. I believe I only went over my calorie intake once, and yet here I sit, seeing no results.
I made a Snapchat story a few days back on how frustrated I am, and a few of you kind people wrote back:
Don’t count calories, look at macros
You’re now in your 30s. This is life.
Eat the majority of calories in the morning
Eat more. Are you adding calories for CrossFit?
Do the Whole 30; it works
You have to wait longer. At least six weeks
8 hours of sleep, more water.
Looking at the above list there is certainly room for improvement. I don’t pay attention to macros, I do eat the majority of my calories in the evening (although I really think a calorie is a calorie to your body, no matter when you eat it), I do not add my CrossFit calories to MFP (It would be about 600 extra calories a day! Which I think is nutty), and I could definitely drink more water. I also side-eye Whole 30, as I don’t want a “diet,” but more of a lifestyle change; truthfully, I’m also nervous of binging on a “diet.”
I am working at being better at all of the above. Except, of course, I can’t reduce my age. I remember people telling me it would get harder, but like with everything else (skin and cancer and terrible things) it won’t happen to me. I think it has.
But I am not going to give up, because regardless of the number between my toes each morning, working out and eating better has helped my mental state a lot. I am more confident, putting effort into dressing better each morning, and not beating myself up any more.
So yes. There that all is. I’m keeping my fingers and toes crossed there’ll be some scale or fat percentage loss movement. Stay tuned!