It's time to get a bunch of stuff off my chest and out of my brain that I've been carrying around for several weeks. I'm tired of letting it weigh me down. I wasn't able to share any of this during the challenge because I wanted it to be upbeat w/o any depressing stuff. I thought if I kept it to myself it would just go away as time passed, but instead, it seems to be festering. Using the therapeutic qualities of blogging it out always seems to help when I just get it out....makes it easier to move past it. It's nothing too major, just a a few little irritating things that bring me down and make me feel bad.
Quite a while back I posted my bat wing pics, telling you that I was starting out with arms that were 17.5" around at the droopiest point. I set out to improve them by doing tons and tons of arm exercises in the gym, with the main concentration on the triceps. The trainer at the gym measured them when I joined, and then measured them again with the same tape a month later, and told me they were now 16". I was unbelievably ecstatic that it looked like there was actually going to be hope for shrinking up my arms. I worked them out like a mad woman after getting that 16" reading...working 2x as hard as I did the prior month. About 6 weeks later (which was a few weeks ago), I had the main trainer, Kyle, re-measure them. He used a different tape measure. He told me they were 19" around. WHAT????
He finally found the other tape measure the other trainer had measured them with, and it has a little "snap back" feature, that cinches up part of your arm, giving you a terribly inaccurate reading. Kyle used that one, and my arm measured 16"....same as it did 6 weeks prior. Two depressing things here. Number one....going by the normal tape measure, and not the one with the "snap" feature, my arms were 20.5" when I STARTED...not 17.5". Number two....I had lost ZERO inches in the last 6 weeks, despite having worked them out at least 2x as hard. I was shocked, stunned, my heart was in my throat and I was choking on it. I thanked Kyle for measuring me, then turned to walk out of his office. He could see I was dying inside. He said, "Hey...." I turned to look at him....he patted me on the shoulder and smiled, saying "Cheer up Tammy....it'll happen."
My eyes filled up with tears immediately and I turned quickly and ran out the door. I wanted to keep running, straight out the front door, never to return. I wanted to scream out loud, "NO!! NO, it WON'T HAPPEN. I'm going backwards for God's sakes!! After all this work, after all my effort...I was so deflated. I trudged over to the treadmill....making myself get on that thing was the hardest thing I'd done in a long, long time. I really just wanted to go sit in my car and cry and feel sorry for myself. But I got on the treadmill for 45 mins of cardio...and the tears streamed down my face the entire time. I couldn't stop them. I was defeated. And I'm still feeling defeated over my arms. I feel like I've got such a huge loose skin issue that no matter what I try to do, nothing's going to fix them except surgery.....a surgery I truly don't think I'll ever be able to afford. And I've got this problem ALL OVER my body....not just with the arms. The arms bug me the most because I've never been able to wear short-sleeved shirts or tank tops in public. It's too embarassing. I took a pic of my arms this morning to show you just how bad it is. They're 19" around. After you look at this....I'll tell you another "arm" story that happened about a week after the gym story.
Now for the next story. About a week after findout out my TRUE arm size at the gym, I went to Cato's to find a white, summer sweater to wear over my tank tops when I went to the beach. I've been in this store several times before and have chatted with the always-friendly manager that was working that day. She has a very bright personality, always smiling and chatting up the customers, constantly laughing out loud, and seems very comfortable in her own skin. I used to weigh 340 lbs., so I'm a pretty good judge at what certain weights look like, and she has to weigh every bit of 375 lbs. if not more, and I've always been a tad jealous at how comfortable she seems to be with herself at that size. I wish I could be that way.
So anyway, I walked in and she greeted me the way she always has and I told her what I was looking for and why I needed it. She was saying, "Oh honey...don't worry about your arms! You're going to the beach!! Be comfortable and have a great time!! Besides, it's not like you're ever going to see those people again, so just let loose and enjoy yourself!!" Well....I let loose right there in the store. I pulled up my sleeve to show her why I was so self-conscious, and let the big, fat, droopy part fall out of my sleeve and hang there.
I shocked her to bits. Her eyes grew wide and she started stumbling all over herself. She said, "OH! Well...ok..um...hmm...let's see here...(stumbling for something coherent to say)...then says Well you must have lost a bunch of weight!" I said yes, I've lost over 100 lbs from my highest point. Her eyes grew wide again, and then they immediately got this "knowing" look in them and she said, "Oh ok...you had gastric bypass" with a smile on her face. I simply said "no", and smiled back. She looked puzzled and questioned, "Lapband?" I said, "No, I did it the old-fashioned way. I counted calories and started exercising..mostly walking."
Suddenly, she pulled back from me and the smile was gone from her always-cheerful face. She just said, "Oh, I see." and she wandered away! Without helping me look for a sweater! She was suddenly completely disinterested in me and I couldn't believe it. I felt like she slapped me in the face. I was almost a little pissed off. I was PROUD of what I had accomplished the "old-fashioned" way. I've put in a lot of friggin' hard work to get where I am, albeit I still have a long way to go. But I didn't say it in a prideful way to her. I'm just not like that. I was being as meek as I could, because it was obvious she was nearly 400 lbs. herself, and I didn't want to seem like I was gloating in front of her. That would have been rude and hurtful to this sweet woman. But she's the one that shunned ME!! So after feeling horrible about her reaction to my fat arms, I now couldn't even feel good about the way I lost the weight. It was almost like she thought I "should" have had weight loss surgery...either the bypass or the lapband. Almost like that was the "cool" way or something. As Sheilagh would say, I was gobsmacked. I wound up finding a sweater and she had another cashier ring me up. She wouldn't even look at me. I left the store in a heap.
Next story!! About a week before I left for the trip, I went to Belk's to look around and see if I could find anything on the clearance racks. I have VERY few clothes and didn't even have enough shirts to make it through a whole week, but with such a tight budget, I needed to find some cheap stuff, and I wasn't about to go back into Cato's after this last experience. So I went into Belk's and headed straight for the Plus Size section. Talk about defeating. It seems like the closer I get to somewhat normal sizes, the more hideous the plus sizes look to me. I'm talking about the styles and patterns. I feel like I'm a 30-something yr. old shopping in a store for 70-something's. Nothing against the elderly ladies, but you get what I'm saying. How many granddaughters purposely dress to match what their grandmothers are wearing?
I was staring across "the aisle", gazing longingly at the "normal" size clothes. I bit the bullet and crossed the aisle, just to see how far I had to go before I could fit into some of them. I skimmed the clearance racks and pulled off 4 XL tops. I went to the dressing room and tried them on, not expecting any of them to fit. To my surprise, and also my chagrin, ALL of them fit! I started crying, for a couple of different reasons. For one, I just never thought I'd get into a size of clothes that didn't have a number in front of the X. I did post a while back about fitting into an XL gym shirt, that they gave me when I joined....but I thought that was just one shirt and some kind of fluke. I was a little overwhelmed that all 4 of these XL's fit.
But the 2nd reason I was crying was more overwhelming. When you get into smaller clothes, it's supposed to be a wonderful, accomplished feeling. For me though....not so much. You see, when the clothes get smaller, they also get shorter. I've stated before that my body shape is like a potato on stilts, and it's the truth. I have this huge, round, floppy, low-hanging torso/abdomen, and legs that look a lot thinner in comparison. These tops were fitting around my chest and arms and waist, but they're short, so my stomach hangs out below them. The ironic thing about this, is they make me feel even MORE self-conscious about my looks than when I was wearing the tent-like 26/28 shirts that were much longer and would come down past my stomach. I've got a couple of pairs of denim shorts right now that are a size 20. They're too big in the waist and legs, but I wear them because they don't cling severely to my stomach. They "just fit" in that area around my stomach and hips. With these shorter shirts, the shorts look even more hideous. Here's a pic of one of the XL shirts I bought and one of the size 20 shorts. I hate the way I look in this outfit.
People keep telling me that if I'll buy tops that actually fit, instead of the too-big ones, then I'll look smaller. Looking at how this top clings to my tire stack of fat rolls, I'm not so sure I believe that logic. It makes me feel very self-conscious. I'm with Sean. He's always talking about how he can't get past wearing an overshirt, because that's what he's always done for security purposes. Even though he's lost a ton of weight and looks fantastic....he still has the same mental issues with his clothing. I'm right there with him...I fully understand.
Ok....those were all of my pre-vacation issues. Now it's time for a small vacation re-cap. I avoided this after I came back....just posting pics for a couple of days so I wouldn't have to actually talk, lol.
The first night we got to Panama City and were staying in the cheapo hotel, Dwayne actually suggested we make a comprehensive grocery list of things that we could fix for meals in the condo since we knew we weren't going to eat every meal out at a restaurant. He wanted to find things that were healthy enough for me, but things that he would still eat. I was so shocked that he was being so pro-active and considerate of me that I nearly fell off the bed! Especially after he told me he did NOT want to hear me mention the word "calorie" the entire time we were at the beach. So we cheerfully made our grocery list. I knew we were shopping at Publix, so I picked up their sales flyer earlier that day when we got in town.
We laid on the bed and looked at the flyer and made our list. The condo listing said they had a public grilling area, which was just PERFECT, since we both love grilled food. We were going to grill 2 different nights, and have enough food cooked up to cover 4 days...steaks, chicken, chicken sausages, shrimp...we had it all planned out. We decided on turkey and ham bagels for breakfast....I was going to use the Thomas Bagel Thins for 110 calories each, and he was going to use the regular Thomas bagels that were on sale BOGO that week. We were going to get some fresh pineapple, strawberries, and watermelon...fruit that we both like....etc, etc.
The next morning we checked into the condo, put away all of our things, and headed straight back out the door to go to Publix and stock up our kitchen. I was excited...we had a plan that I could live with! As we were walking out the front of the lobby, I turned around and said, let's ask them where the grills are so we can go look at them. We went to the front desk. They informed us that they didn't have any grills....at all. None.
You know how emotional I am, so my heart sank right there. 4 days of planned food right out the window. Dwayne doesn't really care for broiled or baked meats too much....he was only as positive as he was towards my eating plans because it was going to be grilled. I didn't say a word, but he knew I was upset. We got in the car...the store was only a mile away. No time to make a new grocery list, and I wasn't in the frame of mind to do it anyway. I was pissed and upset. When we got to the store, I was flying blind on what to fix for lunches and dinners now, and didn't have much input into what went in the cart. I did try to get the bagel thins for breakfast.....sold out. Completely sold out. But they had a gazillion full-fat bagels that were on sale buy one get one free that week. He got white, I got whole wheat.
We checked out the fresh fruit. The pineapple was ruined. Had brown spots all over it....Dwayne remarked out loud that he couldn't believe they even put it out in the case for sale, it looked so rotten. The watermelon wasn't even close to being ripe. It was a whitish/light pinkish color. He said he didn't want something that was going to taste like rind, and I didn't either. We ended up with strawberries, bananas and navel oranges.
Anyhoo, the eating sucked. There was spaghetti, Stouffer's lasagna...and more restaurant meals than we had planned on. It was bad, and my attitude towards eating was worse. The alcohol intake wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be. We had 3 Corona's one night...3 Killian's another night...and 1 frozen raspberry margarita one day at lunch. That was it. However, the water intake wasn't nearly what it should have been either. In fact, it was nearly non-existent. Almost like I had totally forgotten what water even was. Quite the opposite from the gallon a day I normally drink. There was a lot of Coke and tea and coffee....all caffeinated, which is something else I rarely have these days.
I came back home on Sunday afternoon and jumped right on the scale. 241 lbs. I'm in a fog...not back to where I need to be....but I did have the presence of mind to pick Friday after my weigh-in to get back on track. I don't care if I cry all day long trying to get back in the groove....Friday is the day. I got back on the scale again this morning. Still 241 lbs. Haven't lost, haven't gained since I've been home. Just maintaining. Yes...this is the EXACT same weight I was when I started my challenge on April 1st. Yes, the 4 weeks it took me to lose those 15 lbs.....I gained every single one of them back in 9 days flat. True...some of it is probably sodium, so when I get back to my gallon of water a day, I expect a big drop in weight my first week. I think NEXT Friday's weigh-in will be significant.
I cleaned out my fridge and left it bare before we went to the beach, so I re-stocked it with healthy stuff when I got home. I've been eating better these last couple of days, but Friday I'll be hitting it full force. Which brings me around to the topic of whether or not I should post pics of everything I'm eating again. It helped me 150% in the accountability department....losing 15 lbs in 4 weeks is proof of that. But I happened across a blog a couple of weeks ago and that said blogs that put up pics of everything they eat in a day are "obnoxious and annoying", lol. Hmmmm. I realize that's their opinion, but it definitely made me stop and think. I wonder if it bores the hell out of a bunch of other people, too. So I'm not sure about the pics yet. Still thinking on that one.
Also, the weather has been gloomy and overcast with a little rain since I got back. It's hard enough coming back to "reality" with no job to really force you back into a routine....but this crappy weather after the glorious beach weather isn't helping a damn bit, lol.
My brother-in-law came over a couple of days ago and tilled up a little garden spot in the back yard for mom (this is my parents house, I'm renting from them). My mom doesn't seem to have much more than a couple of tomato plants and maybe a pepper plant to put out there though. The sun is peeking out today...FINALLY...so I'm considering going to buy some vegetable plants and putting them out there myself. I think that kind of productiveness will make me feel better. I've grown a couple of gardens in the past, and the harvest is really a fun time. It's a great feeling to grow and enjoy your own veggies.
So...I'm slowly coming back to life. It felt good to vomit out all of those issues I talked about in the first half of this post. I was tired of carrying them around and keeping them all to myself.....so thanks for listening. Dwayne is coming over tonight to help me tweak my resume for what seems like the 50th time since I've been unemployed. I'm still on an extension check, and there's supposed to be another one after this one runs out in June...but I think it's finally time to take my chances with the temp agencies. This is an even more uneasy feeling than the unemployment checks, because at least those are somewhat guaranteed income....as long as Congress isn't screwing around. But with temp agencies, there are absolutely NO guarantees on how long a job will last or whether or not it will go permanent. So a new level of stress is about to ensue, but what's new?? One of these days things have got to get on an even keel. I've just got to hang in there until it does. :)