Hi, I'm Petra and this is my weight loss/fitness blog.
I used to be on Weight Watchers from January 2011 to October 2012, dropping approximately 45 lbs. I've made the transition from unhealthy and unhappy to athlete and this is my journey to becoming a healthier, happier me. I frequently post about my exercise (mostly running, yoga and lifting), the foods I eat, recipes I liked and my daily struggles. You'll also find the occasional tree hugger post, (travel) photography or anything else I find worth remembering and collecting.
I follow most blogs back that follow me. However, I do stay away from blogs that promote EDs, unhealthy methods of weight loss or negative body image.
Feel free to say hi any time!
I’ve had a really busy weekend as I celebrated birthdays, walked bridges, prepared for visits, got my ass kicked at Kamp. Here’s a quick update in le forme du bullets:
I’ve done very little running lately and even slept through my the 6 miler I wanted to do this morning. Brooklyn is this weekend. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so unprepared for a race.
How’s everybody else doing?
Seriously jealous of all the people who post about their awesome runs along the water and through parks, while I’m stuck in the office, operating on way too little sleep and way too much junk food.
I’m really busy this week. We’re talking staying at the office until/past midnight and being back by 7:30 AM the next morning. It means very little sleep and while I generally don’t sleep enough, even for me 4 hours is tough. Unsurprisingly, my eating has gone down the drain. Seriously down the drain. I’ve fallen back into my stress-eating habit and obviously not binging on healthy foods when overeating. Ugh. I feel really fat and sluggish right now.
I’m also supposed to start my period this weekend and it’s contributed to my cravings for sugar and chocolate and sweets and all the stuff I should not eat in the gigantic quantities I’ve been eating.
It has also not helped that the store was not yet open when I left for work and already closed by the time I got home.Yesterday, I literally had nothing in the fridge to make a breakfast and take to work. (There goes my May goal to cut back on spending money.)
Overall, I’ve not set up myself for success this week and I’m sure I’ll be paying the price for it soon. However, I am proud that I said no yesterday, something I don’t do often enough when it comes to my job and prioritized my personal life over my job. I actually left the office at 7 and headed to the gym for Drop Zone. Given, my workout was sluggish and I felt week (thanks too little sleep and junk food), but I went and that’s all I wanted last night. We did a lot of stair work and strength training and I was so low on energy that I couldn’t even throw back a snarky remark when Bishop teased me. That’s sad.
Anyway, the last few days have put everything back into perspective. As much as I hate my job sometimes and office politics, I am fortunate that I only have to work one job to pay for my living. I cannot even begin to imagine how it must feel to work two, work 80 hours on a regular basis, maybe work and go to school AND try to train for something like a marathon. You guys are rockstars.
The last few days have once again put body image and goals into perspective for me. If you haven’t been following this blog for a long time, let me summarize my history very briefly:
I started losing weight about 2 years ago, when I weighed nearly 200 lbs. I took up running, eventually found another passion in cross-training (mostly yoga and bodyweight exercises) and ended up dropping down to 140 lbs - 10 lbs away from my UGW of 130 lbs. I plateaued very badly, gave up for a bit, gained weight and now struggle around 155 lbs. During the plateau I became very obsessed with my flaws and the way I looked. Food became the enemy. My list of bad and verboten foods became longer and longer every single day (including at one point bananas). I developed a lot of anxiety and guilt over wanting/needing food. I started restricting, binge eating and occasionally purging, as well as punishing myself with exercising for not being “good enough” or “strong enough”. I’m not sure whether that puts me into the disordered eating or eating disorder category, and I’m not sure the label matters. I hit rock bottom.
I eventually started seeing a therapist because I did not want the occasional purging to grow into bulimia. I wanted to get better and not worse. Everybody who’s ever dealt with DE/EDs or somebody who’s struggling knows that recovery doesn’t happen overnight and that it’s not linear either. You get better, then some days you’re worse again. I’ve become a lot better and I’m mostly back to appreciating food as the fuel my body needs and most importantly, deserves. I’d like to be back down to 140 lbs (not 130 lbs) because I’ve gained a good amount of muscle. I work hard for those muscles - I don’t want to lose that.
Every once in a while, I have a day like yesterday, where I fall back into old patterns. I’ve had, quite frankly, a shit week at work. My client’s been a pain to deal with, so when we were treated to lunch by a business partner on Friday, I did not say no to the glass of sangria. Or the refills. It’s been a while since I’ve been drunk midday during the week. But it was fun. I needed it.
Unfortunately, another business partner had sent us candy that day to thank us for recent business we’d given them. Slightly tipsy, my inhibitions were low and I ended up eating a whole bunch of chocolate covered pretzels and cookies; way more than I should have. I’d been so good with my food and really, really tough workouts all week that blowing it felt like the worst thing ever. (I was also meant to bid a dear friend farewell last night and I knew I wanted to drink at his party.) Long story short, I ended up stressing majorly over what I ate and the food guilt came back with a vengeance. I thought I blew it. I thought I was going to wake up fat the next day. I thought I failed. But most importantly, the idea of having to weigh in on Sunday filled me with so much dread. The fear of the scale confirming what my disease-infested mind was telling me: you’re a failure.
Obviously, in the back of my mind I knew very well that you don’t wake up fat after one bad day, especially if you’ve had a very good week. I knew that indulging occasionally is exactly what I should be doing so that I don’t binge anymore. But still, my mind was racing and thinking, you’re never going to reach goal.
And that’s exactly where I started thinking more. What IS my goal? And what should it be?
Just earlier that particular day, I was looking in the mirror and felt a moment of pride when I saw how nicely my biceps is starting to take shape. I then remembered how during my last few workouts, I kept asking for more resistance when we did partner-resisted rows and runs. I remembered how strong I felt and how strong I looked in this particular moment. I remembered how I had beat everybody else at bear crawling around the track at Reebok the night before. I remembered the pride I felt.
One of my friends that I work out with is extremely toned and I find myself admiring her for her definition and strength a lot. I look at her and I think she’s so beautiful. I think how I personally find an athletic body more aesthetic than skinny girls. And as I kept thinking about my whole overeating, food guilt and OMG the scale!!! episode yesterday and how this is not what I should be focusing on.
Having a goal weight and a certain body type that you’re thriving for can be contradictory - like in my case. If you want to be athletic, you need to continue building muscle. While a pound of muscle weighs exactly as much as a pound of fat, i. e. one pound, when you’re building muscle and becoming athletic, you’re not going to be a petite, skinny girl that is only bones and skin. Maybe I will never get down to the 130 lbs I had originally set as my goal weight. And that’s fine. Maybe I will never reach 140 lbs either.
At the end of the day, it really comes down to what I want. A low number on the scale or a muscular body?
And as I kept thinking, I realized that it’s the latter. Does it mean I probably will never fit into the cute J. Crew dress I spent a shitload of money on? Probably. Does it also mean I will probably never fit again into the really cute jeans mini-skirt I bought? Probably. But at least, when I buy new dresses and mini skirts, my legs will look more fierce than ever.
For now, I should focusing on becoming as strong as I possibly can be, while appreciating and loving my body for all the amazing things it can do.
(Side note: I’m running the Brooklyn half in mid-May and haven’t really trained for it. I did a 7 miler a while ago and ever since only have done shorter runs on the treadmill and done my Street Kamp and bootcamp workouts. So today, I set myself the goal to run 10 miles to check where I stand.
I felt so strong that I ended up doing a little over 13 miles. I was really slow and I was definitely done by the end of the 13 miles, but I felt so, so empowered. At the end of the day it comes down to this: I might not be at the weight I wanted to be, but right now just based on the daily training I do, my baseline fitness level is being able to run a half-marathon. That’s pretty badass. The girl who couldn’t run a mile 2 years ago has come a really long way.)
Yesterday was such an awful food day. It already started bad when I woke up so hungry that I needed a snack before my workout. I never eat before my workouts - except on the weekends when I do a long run or two back to back classes at the gym. But yesterday, I was so hungry, that I ate a banana on the way to meet Sherry at the gym.
I continued feeling hungry, despite having my regular breakfast. I ended up eating my first two snacks (some nuts and pretzels) before lunch. Lunch turned out to be a total disaster. We got lunch catered and it was BBQ. Usually when we get BBQ catered, there’s at least a bunch of grilled vegetables and salads, so I can load up on those. Yesterday, the only vegetarian options were pickles, mac and cheese and cornbread. Now that’s for a healthy lunch. I ended up using all my daily Weight Watchers points by the afternoon, when I had some yogurt and a piece of fruit. But I just continued being so, so, so, so hungry. And all I wanted was simple carbs too.
I know that I tend to have an increased appetite after workouts, especially after hard workouts like yesterday. And usually that’s perfectly fine. It makes sense. You take away additional energy, your body wants some of that back. Feed your body. Eat healthy stuff. The only problem for me was that I already went through all of my activity points throughout the week because I had a beer on Sunday and because I’ve been hungry all week. And I’ve gone through my activity points and dipped into my additional weekly points – something I don’t like doing.
I’m meeting a friend for breakfast on Saturday and we’re heading to this cute little café that has the best scones in the world. I do not want to eat a salad. I’ve been looking forward to this all week. This is the highlight of my week. I’ve been trying to earn and save up additional activity points so that I could enjoy my scones “guilt-free”. But after yesterday, I have no hopes. Everything I do these next few days until a new week starts is damage control. So what happened?
After I was already through all my points for the day before I even ate dinner, I decided I still needed to eat dinner, obviously. I met Meagan for a jazz concert and I did want a glass of wine. So I ate some veggies and tofu. All in all pretty healthy, right? It made me dip further into my weekly points, but I couldn’t not eat either. Only, even after I’d devoured everything, I was still hungry. Like, I’m gonna kill somebody if I don’t eat kind of hungry. So I ate popcorn (air-popped, but still). And I shared sushi and edamame with Meagan at the concert. I got upset over fighting hunger again. Over having “so little strength” and “self-control” that one glass became two. After I’d gone home, I just totally lost it. All I could think about was carbs, carbs, carbs. Simple carbs. So I ate pretzels. And then I ate trail mix. And hummus. And more pretzels. And crackers. And tomato goat cheese dip. And more pretzels. I haven’t binged this bad in weeks (thankfully) and I didn’t even try to keep track. I have no idea how many points I went over my daily goal yesterday. I just didn’t care.
I think it’s safe to assume that the 26 weekly points I still had left after I stopped tracking last night (right after the popcorn, sushi, edamame and second glass of wine) are gone. If not more. It’s also safe to assume that with that, my chances at a weight loss this week are gone. So what now?
All I can do is pick myself up and try again today and tomorrow and on Saturday. Sunday starts a new week for me. Fresh start. New chance. This is a setback, not defeat. I can try not be angry at myself, despite my initial reaction of wanting to punish myself for failing. What would I achieve by being angry and punishing myself and feeling guilty? Nothing, honestly. I think this is a good indicator of how therapy is helping me and how I’m not just throwing money at my shrink. ;o) I did think about purging last night but decided against it because I’m stronger than this. Because I’m worth it.
A couple more observations:
I’ve been queasy all day, unsurprisingly, after all the crap I put into my body yesterday. Time to make this right.
I just heard back from Mom and while Dad’s still in the hospital, he’s got some more tests at another facility scheduled for Friday. Until then he’s being taken care of and as sad as it sounds, there is nothing I can do.
I talked to my therapist about it today and I told her that, no matter what issues I have with my Dad after years of neglect and rejection, at the end of the day, he’s still my Dad and I love him. The thought of losing him is scary. The thought that there is a known history of heart attacks in his family and the fact that he just doesn’t take necessary care of himself is scary.
I know that Mom’s tried talking to him. I’ve tried talking to him and he’ll be upset for a day when we tell him that his alcoholism and his inactivity and his eating habits are basically just means for him to dig his own grave. But nothing ever changes. And I think that’s the worst part. The helplessness and the vulnerability it causes are driving me mad. The fact that he’s resigned and does not care.
Dad has a history of chronic disease (rheumatic arthritis) and I cannot even begin to imagine what it’s going to be like to wake up in pain every single day of your life, only to go to bed in pain. Rinse. Repeat. For years and years and years. We’ve all suffered from it. Mom by basically having to raise two kids on her own because her husband was absent. My brother and I by being rejected by a father who didn’t take interest in us. I can’t date because I cannot let anybody close to me because I’m terrified of them rejecting me. I wasn’t good enough for my father to take interest in my life. Why would anybody else see me differently? I have years and years of therapy ahead of me.
BUT, I digress. My Dad has changed in certain ways. And I’m learning to forgive him. And you know, I care. I care about him. I love him. Because he is my Dad. We’ve only come around in maybe the last ten years or so and I feel like there should be so much ahead of us. We have lost so much time already. I’m terrified of it being cut short - just because he doesn’t care again.
I also talked to my therapist about Boston and how deeply the attacks affected me. I mentioned yesterday that as a runner, I felt like my community was attacked and it hurts me that somebody would target people who wanted to come together to celebrate one of the greatest sports in history. It hurts me that people were killed, spectators, bystanders, people who - if you’ve ever run a race, you know this - make all the difference to runners. I still don’t understand what happened and I still don’t understand the why, but it also makes me feel vulnerable and helpless.
As I was talking to my therapist about both of these things, she kept complimenting me on my compassion and how much of a good heart I have. But honestly, I think I’m just trying to be a decent human being. In the greater scheme, all of our daily struggles seem so insignificant. Am I upset that I got passed over for promotion? Yes, of course. But I’m fortunate to have a job. And to have a job that pays well enough to cover the basics and then some. Am I angry at my roommate for being such a pig? Yes, but I have a roof over my head and a fridge full of food.
Maybe I’m a fool, but I do believe in Karma. I believe that what goes around, comes around. We all need to be the change we want to see. Maybe today is a good day to complain less and do more. Life is too precious to waste it away with negative thoughts.
Perfect start in to the weekend: calling mom to wish her a happy birthday, find out dad’s in the hospital again. He’ll be fine, but there is a history of heart disease in his family (both his brother and cousin died from a heart attack), so the fact that there have been irregularities with his heart again IS worrisome to me. Even in this digital age, Germany feels very, very far away today.
I saw an interesting post on my dash earlier today about naturally skinny people, working out and envy. The post talked about a fitblr getting mad as she was scraping ice from her car at crack of dawn so that she could hit the gym, while her roommate was still sleeping. She talked about the anger she felt at having to work hard at being skinny, while her roommate ate lots of food with poor nutritional value, didn’t work out and yet was blessed with a skinny body.
It made me think. It made me remember all the times I’ve gotten angry at my naturally skinny co-workers who eat cookies and chips and burgers and ice cream, who never workout and yet, they’re the ones wearing a true size 0. While I’m hanging out with my salad, counting calories, counting points, fighting hunger, feeling ravenous after the 6th 6:30 AM hardcore workout of the week. Feeling the guilt over wanting, over needing more food because my body is asking for some energy back. Yet I fight it, fight myself, fight the food, fight the pounds that still refuse to come off. And I grow tired of having done this fight for over two years. And God, I remember the envy. And the anger. Toward them, the anger toward myself for letting myself slip to the verge of an eating disorder, toward the incredible injustice of it all.
I’ve come a long way since I last met the person above. The angry child. I think in a way therapy is really helping. My friends are really helping.
I’m slowly but surely learning again that unfortunately, the world isn’t fair. It’s not fair that I’m living such a healthy life and yet I’m “fat”, compared to my skinny co-workers. It’s not fair that they can eat whatever they want, drink whenever they want and yet they’re skinny. It’s not fair and never will be. But it is the way it is.
During my struggles with my disordered ordered eating, I’ve come to realize though that it’s more than being skinny. It’s about being healthy. It’s about not becoming the 60 year old with a hunchback who is too sick and broken down to travel the world after retirement. It’s about being strong and independent in my everyday life. I don’t need anybody to carry my 4 heavy bags of groceries. I got it. I don’t need anybody to carry my heavy suitcase up or down a flight of Manhattan subway stairs. I don’t need to freak out if the elevator in my building is out of service and I need to walk up a couple of flights of stairs. I don’t need to hide inside in the summer or winter because the heat or cold are too much for my body to handle. I don’t need to take the subway everywhere because walking 4 blocks is all I can do.
I’m strong. I’m healthy. I’m setting myself up for a long life outside of a wheelchair or bound to a bed when age comes. I’m working toward the best version of myself. Now that’s something to be envious of.
Some personal stuff:
I had to find out about two weeks ago that I’m not getting promoted. This is the second year in a row that I’m being passed over, but this year it’s even more bitter because other people have been promoted who I perceive as not as strong as I’ve been told to be. The entire last year, I’ve been told how great an employee I am, how strong I am, that I need to keep doing what I’m doing and I’ve also made it very clear that I’m willing to work hard (and I have!) and that my goal is to get promoted. Yet, it hasn’t happened. When I asked for reasons, I didn’t receive an answer and was just told again to keep doing what I’m doing, that I’m strong and that they’re looking forward to see me grow in the organization. What the fuck does that even mean?? I was extremely crushed when they told me because I’ve been lied to in the past and I feel like I’m being taken advantage of. I feel like I’ve been set up for failure at the agency. In the 2 years that I’ve been in New York, I’ve been moved from account to account twice, each time working under a new manager, with a new team and client and having to prove my worth all over again. Each time they moved me, it was because they said my new account needed somebody strong (that’s why they’re moving me and not somebody else). Yet, all this moving around has been in my disfavor because I’ve never had an advocate who spoke clearly for me (until the last 6 weeks when I moved to my latest account).
I talked about this to my therapist yesterday and I’ve had wonderful friends to talk to who gave me advice, picked me up and listened to my crying. It’s not about the money. I don’t care if they pay me more. It’s about not taking me for granted. It’s about being honest to me. It’s about appreciating me as an employee. It’s about not taking advantage of me.
My situation here in the US is a little peculiar. I’ve worked for my current company for almost 6 years now, originally starting out in the Frankfurt, Germany office. About two years ago, I transferred to New York on the L-visa. For those of you who are not familiar with visas to the US, be glad. It’s a giant mess. There are different types of visas, the most popular ones being the H-visa for skilled workers. The H-visa requires at least college level education or lots of work experience. We tried transferring me to the US on an H-visa in the past because US issues the highest annual quota for these and your chances are usually best. Only, I was told by my company’s law firm that I do not qualify for the H. While I went to college, I went to a small, private college and in the eyes of the US immigration services, it’s not recognized as a college, hence, in their eyes I do not have a college degree. It’s a long, messed up story, but eventually, we were able to transfer me on the L-visa, which is designed specifically for employees like me that move offices within the same company. The caveat is though, that my visa is tied to my current employer. With the H-visa, there’s the chance that if you’re changing employers, your new employer can “take over” and sponsor you. I cannot do that for the L-visa.
In a way I feel like my current employer is taking advantage of this. They know I’m tied to them. So what if they don’t promote me? It’s not like I can just threaten to walk out and move to another agency like their US employees or even the foreign employees that are here on the H-visa. They know that for me, walking out means going home. And that’s a big decision. You’re not just deciding that all of a sudden you’ll have to commute to SoHo as opposed to Times Square in the mornings. It means leaving a city, leaving a country, moving continent and leaving your friends and social life behind.
I know Mom wants me to come home so, so desperately. I know I’ve had my struggles with New York and I continue to have them. I know that one of my best friends in the city will be leaving in the summer of 2014. I know that my mentor when I first started working in the industry holds a really powerful position at a good agency in Germany now and offered we could talk jobs once it’s time for me to return to Germany. I know that living in Frankfurt wasn’t awful. So really, what keeps me here? Maybe it’s the friends I have here and that I will continue to have. The workout routine and the amazing people I’ve met through here. The fact that, despite everything I currently loathe, I still love this job and the opportunities it provides me with. When we first went into the performance review cycle for this year, I jokingly said that I was going to leave if they did not promote me. Now that it’s happened and I’d have to make this decision, it’s not quite as easy.
I’m currently working with my manager to determine my options at my current company. Why did I not get promoted and other people did? What else do they want to do? Just give me an answer. Don’t bullshit me. Don’t tell me I’m doing everything right without actions following. I’m also calling another immigration law firm to determine whether my visa situation has changed and whether my additional work experience and the fact that I’m legally in the country changes anything about my eligibility for the H-visa.
I have options. I need to evaluate them and then determine next steps. I’m not gonna let this beat me down.
Ah, LinkedIn and the wankiness it provides…
I mentioned previously that we’re going through performance reviews right now and that part of these performance reviews is determining who gets promoted and who not. I’ve worked my ass off during the last year and I’ve got the mental health issues to prove it.
I just saw that J, a girl who I worked with on my first account has been promoted to a senior role. We were at the same level and I’m currently hoping to get promoted to a senior role. J and myself had the same manager on the account: S.
S never liked me, probably still doesn’t. S has done a fairly poor job at hiding the fact that J was her favorite and S never was an advocate for my career growth or even took interest in my career. Whenever I asked her for feedback on where I could grow and where I could improve, she had nothing to say, yet at the same time, I wasn’t considered for promotion, so clearly she thought there were things I could have done better.
Finding out now that J and another girl who worked under S both got promoted, despite the company recently laying off 9 people, and even promoted outside of the regular performance review cycle makes me so, so angry. My first manager D, wasn’t around long enough to see my progress after I had settled into the account. My second manager S, disliked me and would probably rather cut off her leg than take an interest in my career. My third manager B, who just left, was a blithering idiot/all talk, but never actually did anything. So while he always praised me, he never actually said to his managers, “hey, I think we should promote her now.”
I’m getting extremely frustrated and concerned about the promotion. With the company letting people go because they have to downsize the department and just having promoted a bunch of people, what does that mean? Does that mean they’re done promoting people and I’ll be overlooked again?
I know my manager situation makes me sound like I’m making excuses, but I truly believe that I’ve been working very, very hard the last 12 months and that I honestly deserve a promotion. Maybe more so than the people I’ve recently seen getting promoted. Am I stupid to worry over this?