There have been several big changes to my life this week. Covid has spiked so badly here that my hiking group has canceled the remaining June hikes and decided not to schedule any for July. That’s a big part of my exercise and social life extinguished. Furthermore, the covid spike means that it’s not safe to go to the gym anymore, so Laurence and I have quit going for the time being. That removes the possibility of treadmill runs, which while I disliked them were the only kind of running option I still had left. The weather is BAD here, with 80-degree-with-95-%-humidity sunrises and 90-degree-with-over-100-heat-indexes sunsets. So any running that doesn’t involve me doing mini-laps around my bedroom is out. Lastly, my coffee addiction has become bad enough that I can’t ignore it any longer.
It has understandably been a hard week, but I refuse to let 2020 get to me. Despite everything, it has been a good year, the best year I’ve had since before my family’s move to Boston in mid-2014. I’m taking mental health days when needed, and letting myself grieve, nap, shout at folks in my head about not wearing masks, worry, stay up too late looking at news, etc. But I also refuse to let those mental health days morph into weeks and months, not when I have the energy, positivity, and desire to channel my energy into something different.
So: running is out, hiking with my group is out, the gym is out, and coffee has entered a danger zone. It’s time for change. It’s time for First Steps.
My friend Stephanie has finished moving into her new house, and wants to get back into doing some exercise on a regular basis. Tonight, we’re going to hike together, masks on. I hope we can do this a few times a week, or conversely, that I can buddy up with one or two of my other fellow hiker friends and do this a few times a week. If I have a relatively small set of people in my support-bubble of sorts, and we keep masks on, we should be okay. Furthermore, I can hike alone. There’s really very few locations that I feel safe hiking alone, so I’ll stick to them, but that’s okay. Something is better than nothing, and will make the larger group hikes sweeter when we can return to them.
Well, if my group hikes are out again for the foreseeable future, I need a new way to socialize. Yesterday, I decided to call out to folks to see if they’d be interested in a virtual Zoom-based book club. I’ve run book clubs in the past, and I’ve wanted to start another one for years. A half-dozen folks responded, and I hope I can get us all together for this. Eventually we can move to in-person meetings, but Zoom will do for now!
I’ve put this issue off too long. I know that coffee affects me, even before I had a major addiction to it. Over the years, I’ve seen time and time again that cutting coffee down to once a day often led to the ability to lose weight slowly. Since my rapid weight gain only started around the time that I began to drink coffee more regularly (and often twice-daily), and nothing else I’ve tried for the last six years has helped, I have a strong suspicion that coffee is the key thing holding me back. Starting this morning, I’ve switched back to hot coffee in the morning. I prefer iced coffee. I prefer it so much that I was drinking three times the amount of hot coffee I used to drink. I prefer it so much that I used it as a substitute for wine to soothe anxiety when I had PTSD triggers. I have no regrets about this last bit, but I need to move iced coffee back to the realm of an occasional anxiety relief rather than a three-to-four-times daily habit. This is the first step, with the goal of eventually cutting coffee altogether.
Girls Gone Strong
Other than the coffee situation, I’ve done EVERYTHING a person could possibly do over the last six years to attempt to get my body to budge and let go of weight. Eaten less, eaten more, giving up sugar, cutting carbs, cutting fat, cutting animal products, exercising more, exercising less, exercising differently, rebalancing hormones with the help of my doctors, dealing with mental health, tracking calories religiously, eating intuitively, etc etc. My long-time followers will know just how dedicated I am to my body and its wellness. A decade ago, after my eleven-year-long illness was finally diagnosed and cured, I spent 3.5 years losing 100 lbs (pic below), and then kept that weight off for a 1.5 years without any problem at all. I’m not saying it was easy – I lose weight very slowly, due to PCOS – but I’m a determined person and when I put my mind to something, I do it.
But then I gained 80 lbs in about 15 months with almost no changes in my habits. The two changes that I can pinpoint were that I began drinking wine a couple times a week, and I began to drink coffee regularly (often twice a day). All other changes from when I began to regain weight have since been dealt with and negated, but still I can’t lose weight. Even the alcohol thing has been nixed. I’ve had maybe a half-dozen glasses of wine since last June, and none for months now because I don’t like how it affects my body longterm. And who knows? Maybe now that I’m FINALLY addressing the coffee issue, things will improve. But it’s equally possible that I just need help, which is where Girls Gone Strong comes in.
I’ve followed Molly Galbraith from GGS for seven years now, and I love their brand of women-helping-women. Twice a year, they open slots for personal training, a year-long intensive course in fitness, nutrition, mindset, and more. It’s expensive. Honestly WAY more money than I ever wanted to pay for this kind of thing. But I’ve done just about all I can on my own, and with running and group hikes nixed, Jason and I discussed the situation and decided that I should take the plunge. I’ve signed up, and the program starts Sunday. I’m nervous and excited in one. It’s another first step toward (hopefully) a healthier future.
I’m sorry to hear that. Gyms won’t be reopening here until mid-July at the earliest – my gym’s currently being used as an emergency homeless shelter. And I sympathise so much about the weight situation. I also lost 100lbs, between about 2006 and 2008, but then put a lot of weight on due to the side-effects of anti-depressants in 2013 – one reason I won’t take them any more – and have struggled since. I eat one big meal and put 2lbs on, and then it won’t come off! My sister saw a specialist and was told that it’s very hard for us to lose weight because of PCOS/genetics, but that doesn’t help!!
I’m pretty sure Zoloft was a big factor in my regain – 60 of those 80 lbs were in the 10 months I was on it, and the gain slowed up majorly afterwards. But the one I’m on now doesn’t cause any issues with weight, just feeling the heat, so that’s okay. As for the PCOS thing – I had it last time, too, which is why it took so long to lose, but now I can be diligent and square on my food every day for months and months and not lose an ounce. This only happens when there’s something WRONG in my body.
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Good luck with the new program! That sounds really exciting.
Your coffee addiction is like my Diet Coke addiction. I know it’s bad for me, but I love it and crave it. Ugh!
The funny thing is that seven years ago, I didn’t drink coffee at all. I only began drinking it when my marriage went through a really bad patch, and for years I wouldn’t have considered it an addiction. I don’t get any “wakeful” effects of caffeine and never did. It doesn’t give me energy. It was the ritual of it that soothed me, and the smell more than the taste. In times when I didn’t need the soothing, I would cut back to a single cup in the morning, and those would be times when my calorie-tracking would start to work. But then something would happen and I’d add back an afternoon cup. Only once I started drinking iced coffee a few months ago do I feel like it’s turned into a major addiction. Hopefully one I can nip in the bud quickly!
The new program sounds very fun! I went through a similar situation and what really helped me was to think about mu journey as a lifestyle as opposed to a goal. I hope this helps and I can’t wait to hear about the program. 🙂
Unfortunately, mine isn’t a mindset issue but one of a physical ailment that my doctors have yet to pinpoint despite years of tests.
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