Happy week, everyone! Let’s see if I can check in a little earlier this time. I’m going to keep the 20/20 stuff brief-ish because I have something else I’d like to spend words on, but we both have big milestones to report!
Our five-week measurements have concluded as of today. For my part, almost all of my measurements have gone down by about one full inch! The exceptions are my bicep measurement (only half an inch down, given muscle increase) and my hips – which have dropped a whopping three inches! I knew my pants were threatening to fall off me, and I could feel the changes in my arms and legs, but my hips have always been the widest part of me over the years. I assumed it would take a lot longer to see results there. I’m also continuing to lose weight at a slow but steady pace. Honestly, I’m over the moon about this! It’s been a great week so far, fueled by the fact that I’m making such good progress both in my head and on paper.
John is also changing rapidly. Most of his measurements were down 2-3 inches! (Blast the male human body’s ability to make such leaps…) His weight also continues to trend downward slightly faster than mine. Neither of us have been quite reaching the ideal 1-2% of body weight reduction per week, but that figure continues to be less of an expectation than we thought it was at first. It’s not the number you have to hit to succeed; it’s the best you can expect, and not everyone will get there all the time.
Our workouts this week have changed to include fewer reps but heavier weights, and the cardio gloves are starting to come off. I just noticed today that I’m starting to feel the right burns in the right places indicated by the weight machines, instead of just feeling tired overall. That means that I’m both strong enough to do them right, AND doing them well enough to hit the right targets. Reaching that baseline means we can start to REALLY work instead of playing catch-up. John has learned a bunch about how this process works from the physical therapist he saw a couple of times early in the program, and it sounds like we’ve now adjusted to using the muscles we built over the first five weeks; now we get to build new ones before learning to use those.
Talking specifics: John has done an amazing job of adjusting to using the AMT machines for large parts of his workouts! I’m still in awe of his ability; every time I get on those things, I burn out in about thirty seconds flat. I can’t imagine the 15-20 minutes he’s been managing. Most of his time is spent between that, treadmill work, and lots and lots of stretching. He’s still much faster than I am, so I have a lot of catching up to do. 🙂
I’ve been making most of my progress spread across the treadmill, the stationary bike, and the elliptical. My average walking speed continues to increase, and I’m taking well to faster speeds for short amounts of time. The bike is the biggest change. When I started, I could barely handle five minutes on the easiest settings. Now I’m managing 30-40 minutes and 4-5 miles for homework days, some of which is kicked up to the second difficulty level. And today… a huge milestone. I tried the elliptical again… and kept going past a minute. And a minute and a half. I got to TWO WHOLE MINUTES without stopping! That was the requested amount this time, instead of roughly half and a mea culpa for time reasons! I hope I keep improving with time.
Diet stuff is proceeding mostly the same as last week. John has joined me in Stage 3, while I’ve decided to remain in Stage 3 for another week. I had an interesting experience with a banana-based protein shake as a “safe splurge” at the bistro last week, and though it was absolutely DELICIOUS, I found that it was a little bit too good. I don’t want to get into the specifics of what we’re learning about food and brains (too long) but suffice to say that several factors in that shake and my meal that night combined to tempt the part of my brain that wants to eat junk that’s bad for me. It’s the first time I’ve had anything like that happen since starting, which is the entire point of the program; teaching you how to eat so that you don’t provoke that impulse on a regular basis.
Now that I’ve seen it in action, I’m a) much more aware of what it looks like and have way more control over it, and b) less keen on adding back the yummy, sweet fruits to my diet that caused it. I’m sure I will eventually move on, but until I get over the urge to drink five more of those banana shakes, I’m sticking to the stuff that I know won’t haunt my dreams for a week! Part of me wonders if some kind of collusion happened to test me there; it was the perfect trigger, and also a perfect way to experiment within safe limits. We’ve heard that many people that follow 20/20 to the letter have to be ordered to “fail” a couple of times so that they can learn to live with real-life situations, and both of us so far haven’t gone off plan at all outside of these little bistro treats that are 95% on plan anyway. Watching how your brain and body react to things really is the best teacher.
Moving on to the other thing I wanted to talk about, and the title of this post: vulnerability. As part of a larger conversation about publishing/releasing projects and having to deal with the many nasty people on the Internet these days, my therapist mentioned the host of a particular TED talk from a few years ago. I’ve always wanted to pay more attention to TED talks, since they’re always given by amazingly smart and talented people with interesting views on the world, but I’ve never made the habit – so today I queued up the talk in question over dinner. I’m kind of glad John was at work, because the talk ended up being almost overwhelming for me. Not only was it a message that I wish everyone could hear and understand, but it put into words so much of what I feel like I’ve unpacked for myself over the last six months. I would never have put it into these words, but hearing her explain it made sense on a level that nothing else I’ve tried to say to others has approached.
I have indeed been learning to become vulnerable – and that’s both a blessing and a curse. It’s enabled me the freedom to be more myself than ever around the people that love me, and it’s enabled me to tell the first story that I’ve ever successfully told in my life. Choosing to be who I am, without fear or fault or shame, is the thing I was missing up until January, when this big ball of change started rolling downhill. There was a time in my life where I was able to do it before, but that was the first thing to go as the result of my social anxiety, and I’ve only now just taken it back. Now I have to put it to the test, by continuing to be myself no matter what anyone says or does. Like every other human being on this planet, I struggle to do the right thing, to make those I care for happy, and to encourage good and beautiful things in life. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make me immune from the folks who want to see my hard-thought-out choices and decisions as negative for their own reasons.
It’s not possible to control what others think of us, and never has been; the only thing you can do in this life is keep being yourself. Those who matter don’t mind… and those who mind don’t matter. Dr. Seuss had it right all along. Just because someone thinks you’re wrong or bad doesn’t make it so; just because someone wouldn’t choose the same things you have doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have chosen them. Life is a rich tapestry (thanks, Dear Prudence) and there’s room in it for all of us.
Even this quirky, story-telling, long-winded, shy, but determined fat girl, making her way toward the future.
And, if you have time, please do check out Brené Brown’s TED talk on vulnerability and shame. It’s a powerful talk, and I can’t recommend it enough. And thanks to Merrill (my new therapist) who has definitely proven herself to be an excellent match for me. I no longer fear being in the wrong hands.