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!
So, food. The ongoing theme.
I’ve been very mindful most of my week. Sticking within my daily Weight Watchers points and eating only some of my activity points. I met a friend for her birthday celebration on Sunday and had planned for that to be my “let loose a little and enjoy life” - we had a great time together and it was all guilt-free. After all, I was going to make up for it this week.
Monday, Tuesday and most of Wednesday were great. I stuck to my goals, I trained hard. Very hard. 3 workouts on Monday, a 5 miler on Tuesday, Street Kamp on Wednesday.
Kamp was brutal. It was so hard. It was Sherry and myself and then a new guy. The new guy was fit, so rightfully, Bishop worked us hard. But ever since, I’ve been RAVENOUS. I ended up eating a lot of simple carbs on Wednesday after dinner and I just let it go, because well, I had worked really hard that day and I still had a little buffer of weekly points. But then last night, I went to Drop Zone at Reebok, and again, it was a hard workout. I’d been so good with my food intake during the day, but at night, I went on another half-asleep binge.
I know there is nothing I can do to change the past. I can only get back up and move forward. But man, I’m so frustrated. I really, really want to lose those 15 pounds I’ve gained. But I’m not helping myself.
I also know that hard workouts tend to make me hungry. It’s not rocket science. I burned about 2,700 calories through exercise within the last 4 days. That’s quite a lot. My body is going to ask for some of it back. But I need to find a way to better control the urges and find the fine line between, yes, keeping myself fed so that I can continue working out hard and also not killing my progress and remaining in this same spot forever.
I’m doing a dance class tonight and then for tomorrow, I’d like to squeeze in a 10 miler before Brooklyn. Sunday is for Street Kamp, Monday Drop Zone, quick treadmill workout & Yoga and then I collapse and die on Tuesday’s rest day. ;)
I think I need a new scale. Or, you know, throw out the one I have and forget to replace it. My weight has been all over the place, thanks to bloating, water retention, etc. But still, it told me that I’ve “lost’ 10 lbs in the last 2 weeks. Yeah, that sounds right.
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.)
Things are hopefully about to calm down again soon. I’ve been part of my new account for about 4 weeks now and I’m feeling like I’m getting the hang of it finally. My new team is really nice and my supervisor and assistant are both great. I’ve been extremely busy and planned and presented 8 campaigns to the client within the last 2 weeks. I only have 4 to go. I’ve been given my performance review last Friday and while I’m happy that I got a good review, I’m disappointed that I won’t find out for another 2 weeks whether I’ll get promoted or not. At this point surely, they’ve made up their mind who gets promoted and who not. Two of the girls from my very first account got promoted outside of the promotion cycle and I think the whole issue is being handled poorly by my company. Anyway.
My eating has been really poor last week. I decided to give myself a break and try to eat intuitively. I didn’t count a single calorie. And for whatever reason, I just cannot seem to eat intuitively. I ate whatever I wanted. Whenever I wanted. How much ever I wanted. As a result, I’ve continued gaining weight – up to a point where I feel incredibly uncomfortable in my skin, where my clothes feel funny and I’m generally just not happy at all. I’m trying to tell myself not to beat myself up, but I feel so much anger and rage that I want to punch people in the face who tell me to forgive myself. (So please don’t. *g*)
It doesn’t help that I’ve had to take the week off exercising too. The tattoo’s pretty much healed so I think I’m taking myself out for a jog tomorrow morning and then on Wednesday, I have my first date with Sherry again. I need some good SWEAT!!!
I’ve also thought about this long and hard and I’ve decided to rejoin Weight Watchers. I know that I’ve started developing issues while I was on the program, but I think going back (differently) will be good for me. I need to keep track of my food intake. It’s either points or calories. Eating intuitively does not work for me. The reason why I’m favoring points over calories is because it’ll give me a little bit more wiggle room without being too obsessive. No more “if I’m going to eat a small apple instead of a medium apple, I’ll save 10 calories”. No, an apple is an apple and it’s 0 points, so goddamn have it. Weight Watchers hopefully will be a way for me to monitor carb and alcohol intake and not so much everything else. I’ve also decided not to go back to the meetings and do Weight Watchers online this time. I’m just not looking forward to the whole Hare Krishna approach, the reaction to gaining (belittlement, pity, judging?) I’m also not looking forward to having my “failure” being exposed to my previous meeting leader and other people in the group. Plus, a person I used to be friends with sometimes goes to the only meeting that works for me and I’m quite frankly not putting myself through the awkwardness of sitting in the same room as her once a week.
I think I need to be held accountable for what I do and what I eat. I’ve allowed myself to be very lax with keeping track of my calories, just because there was nobody to say “hey, wait a minute!” Now there’s my wallet. I want to reach a goal weight, so that I can stop paying for something I don’t want to pay for. Maybe seeing that money come out of my bank account each month will keep me focused. Maybe that’s the motivation I need. I want to lose this weight. 20 lbs, that’s it. That’s doable. I did it before. I’ve said goodbye to my initial goal weight and allowed myself to strive for my lowest weight I had under Weight Watchers. Basically, I want to go back to where I once was. 137 lbs – and be done.
My first week back on track has felt so, so good!
I got some exercise in and even though my fitness level is not yet where I want/need it to be, I’m working on it. And that feels empowering. My eating has been on track too. I stayed within my daily calorie limit each day except for Wednesday when we went out for dinner. Most importantly, I felt satisfied with the amount of food I ate and managed to sneak in a few treats - like dinner on Wednesday where I had one bite of all three desserts that were served and felt like it was enough.
I’m weighing in on Tuesday but I already feel like I look better. It’s minimal and I don’t really expect a huge weight loss or even a weight loss at all, but cutting down on simple carbs, sugar and processed foods definitely has made me feel less bloated. Curious to see what the scale will say.
That said, for tomorrow, all my food’s prepared, ready to be grabbed pre-gym in the morning.
Maybe the scale isn’t the right measurement tool anymore. I’m sure you gained loads of muscles as well which played a role in the creeping up weight.
There’s definitely more muscle. If I compare pictures I can actuallyseethe difference, so it’s pretty significant. I’m ditching the scale until the end of the month and I’ve actually about to order calipers for measuring body fat. That said, I also did notice just from the way my clothes fit and look on me, that I’ve become a little softer around the mid-section. It’s nothing alarming yet, but it’s something I need to pay attention to.
How about try myfitnesspal for a while… select sedentary or something along those lines…. then eat all your exercise calories back. That will allow you to still to have a calorie deficit but not starve yourself. Just an idea.
There are calculators online that tell you about calories. Myfitnesspal is an amazing calorie tracking app too (its free). I hope everything works out for you. Cause u need to understand your display picture looks amazing :)
Thanks for your thoughts and nice words, ladies! Really appreciate it!
My only concern is that - given my history with obsession over food and disordered eating - one of the reasons why I canceled WW was because I got too obsessed with tracking everything I ate. I think eventually my goal needs to be tonottrack anything, numbers wise. I’ve used myfitnesspal in the past and I don’t want to go from counting points to counting calories. Ideally, I’d like to keep track of my macro nutrients to make sure I get enough protein and fat and the right kind of carbs, without obsessing over calories.
I wish myfitnesspal came with an option to not display calories but still track food.
This morning I went to my very last Weight Watchers meeting. Having been on the program for 1 year and 9 months, this is a big change for me. It feels like the end of an era. It feels weird knowing I won’t go back next Tuesday and also not the Tuesday after. I talked in length about why it’s time for me to move on and obviously, I stand by that decision. Yet, as bitter as I’ve become toward Weight Watchers, I’m also still attached to the program and more so, the group of people. I have nothing but fond words for Mindi, my meeting leader. She never been not supportive of me and she’s an absolutely wonderful person. If there were a way to keep going to the meetings, not being on the program and quite frankly, not wasting money on something that doesn’t work for my new lifestyle anymore, I certainly would continue going back. That said, I can’t and don’t want to justify spending 40 bucks on something each month that mostly makes me feel miserable and that tells me each week that I’m not successful by their standards. I’ll happily apply this money toward the gym fees or will take myself to Lululemon every couple of months.
Anyway. This morning I went to my very last weigh in to assess where I stand as I leave WW and also to say thanks and goodbye to Mindi. My weigh in was, uh, less than stellar (again). I’m basically back to my January weight and I’m a little mad at myself. I know that some was influenced by my late dinner last night. Some was influenced by the fact that I’m probably retaining water due to girl stuff and the fact that I simply did not drink enough yesterday. But some was also influenced by the fact that I let a little too lose last week. I’m still trying to relearn that healthy balance of enough but not too much and yes, treats are OK, but it’s not a free for all. I overate a couple of times last week and I need to get back to learning again when I’m full and satisfied without ending up stuffed.
So here’s my confession: I currently weigh 146.6 lbs. I’m not happy with that. It’s almost 10 lbs more than the lowest I have ever been and to be honest with you, I’m scared that the weight will just keep creeping up. In a brief moment of panic, I started counting calories for the day, until I realized that this is probably counter-productive to what I’m actually trying to achieve. Moving from one method of restricting to another might not help me get over whatever food/scale issues I have. Besides, I never know how to figure out my daily calorie goal. I got my BMR but then the fact that you should multiply it totally confuses me. There’s the option of “sedentary job/lifestyle” (which I have, hi, desk job!) and the option of “work out hard/exercise 5 – 6 days a week”. Which one do I pick, regardless of the actual calories burned during my workouts? However, without forcing myself to a 1,200 daily calorie goal, I might just track calories for a while to help me remain accountable for what I eat and to actually cut back on mindless/boredom/stress/emotional eating again. I also will get back to monthly goals, not just weight loss/scale related. More to come on this later.
A new era, a fresh start.
The last couple of days have been busy, but I’m making progress on my to dos from earlier this week:
Yesterday I took a boxing class with my friend Sherry and co-worker Sabrina. Afterwards, we had brunch at The Breslin, one of my favorite restaurants in New York. I enjoyed the food guilt free, including the bite of fried peanut butter banana sandwich that I had.
Afterwards, I headed to the gym I had talked about joining to speak to their membership services and receive a three day trial guest pass. I knew the gym would be expensive - I had asked Sherry how much she pays - but I also knew that it’s huge and state of the art. It’s 6 floors that come with all kinds of free weights, weight machines, cardio equipment and fancy things like an all-year outdoor track, a terrace, a pool, a basketball court, a rock climbing wall and a total of 4 studios for classes. It also has a cafe and the locker rooms and showers come with a sauna. I’m pretty sold on joining after the three days. The fact that they offered me a really good deal that includes complimentary personal training sessions and - get this - a complimentary consultation with a nutritionist and a body analysis obviously helps.
This morning I went to the gym to take a spin class and a yoga class afterwards. For my warm up, I ran a bit on the track, did some kettlebell swings (with the weight for my upcoming race on Saturday) and some overhead thrusts. The kettlebell swings felt easier and somewhat doable. The overhead thrusts still scare me and I didn’t even use the full weight. Ugh. At spinning I was strong and had such a fun time, despite it being 8 AM on a Sunday morning. Yoga happened to be an Ashtanga class. And while the teacher was great, Ashtanga is just not for me. I probably won’t go to this class again.
This brings me to my next point. I’ve come to realize something: It’s time for me to move on. I realized that I get immense satisfaction out of being able to do crazy things with my body and being strong when I exercise. I get immense satisfaction when I see improvement (like the kettlebell swings being easier than last time). I want to be able to do this. I want my body to be able to always give 110%. And in order for this to happen, I need to change my approach to food.
As a result, I have finally cancelled my Weight Watchers membership.
I felt that Weight Watchers is not geared towards an athlete’s lifestyle. You can do Weight Watchers, be successful on the program and never even purchase a pair of sneakers. Of course that’s each and every single person’s prerogative! But that’s not my lifestyle anymore.
One my main issues with Weight Watchers is the weight part. If I look at my numbers, I have lost 2 lbs since January. That’s 9 fucking months. That is one hell of a plateau. (If anybody ever complains to me again because they’ve not lost every single week or have “plateaued” for 2 weeks, I’m gonna kick them in the face.) My issue is that Weight Watchers only focuses on weight as a success metric. My body has changed. I’m stronger now. I’m more muscular. I haven’t measured consistently but I’m pretty sure I’ve lost a couple of inches. Yet, according to Weight Watchers standards, I have not been overly successful.
I started getting really stressed out by the number on the scale because I never saw me reaching goal weight: 130 lbs. I’m currently officially 12 lbs away from that. Will it take me another 6 x 9 months to get there? I’m so sick of paying for Weight Watchers. All I wanted was to reach goal so that I could stop paying. But then I realized that I just can do that. Stop paying. Stop going. Period.
Not only did I become obsessed with the weight, but more importantly food in general. I’ve blogged about this extensively. How I don’t like how I’ve started second guessing everything I eat. How I’ve lost my intuition of when I’m full, when I’m hungry, what my body craves and how much. I hate how I always feel restricted and unhappy to the point where I started breaking and then losing total control. I don’t want to be on a program anymore where I’m supposed to eat foods I don’t like (fat-free cottage cheese) or where I can’t eat foods I like because I can’t find them in fat-free.
Switching to Weight Watcher’s Simply Filling technique has made things a little easier but since this is my first week on Simply Filling, I can’t say whether it’ll actually work for me. However, I do believe that it’s more beneficial if I see a sports dietitian who’ll advise me what to eat to be able to train strong and decrease my body fat percentage.
And finally, I’ve started getting really annoyed by the usability issues of Weight Watcher’s online and iPhone tools. The bugs of both the website tool and the app are so annoying that they make tracking a major pain in the ass.
It’s taken me a while to realize, but I think that while Weight Watchers was a great program to get me started on healthier eating habits, it’s just not a good fit for me anymore. I’ve changed. My life has changed by a lot and if I want to continue seeing results, then I need to adapt my weight loss program around this new lifestyle.
Canceling my membership today felt liberating. That’s a sure sign that it was about time, isn’t it?