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Primal Journal ~Mariha~

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  • Primal Journal ~Mariha~

    I set a 3 month challenge for myself... a little over 3 months ago. I did well! However, since the end I find my motivation to be failing. I don't check myself as often or go to the gym because "by god I will meet my goal." Instead, I convince myself that I put in a long day at work, that I deserve these cookies, that I've done well and deserve a break. This is the type of thinking that led me to my former body. Unacceptable... So I am going to try this Success Story in the Making and get motivated again!

    I will likely post my weekly updates from the previous goal here. Just as soon as I figure out how to do it. It was done in a facebook Note and I like to read it over and remember the struggle and how far I've come. I think it will be helpful to have here as well.

    Here I go...

  • #2
    The Original Challenge (FB Note)

    ~Sept 22, 2011

    Some preliminary numbers, 'cause the humiliation has to start somewhere. It is worth noting (to me) that these numbers come from the gym's equipment and my scale is much more kind.

    Weight: 201#

    percentage body fat: 31.1% (the HORROR)

    of course there are other measurements, but I'll have a Dr do all that.

    ~The story:

    I'm pretty. Not beautiful or gorgeous; just pretty. Even that depends on the right set of circumstances: lighting, surrounding colors, mood...whether I've combed my hair. I'm also fat and that doesn't depend on anything but mirrors and a sense of sight. I've held on to this excess weight for a very long time. I have very few friends who have been with me as long as those early pounds. Oh, sure, I've done the fad diets, resolved to "eat right and exercise," and I've lost weight then gained it back plus some. It’s the same old story you’ve heard a million times from almost everyone who has struggled with the issue.

    I was in my very early 20s when I recognized that I didn't really want to shed the pounds. I went through weight loss motions like I knew fat girls should, and every time there was loss I got a lot of notice and praise. And lots more attention from the men in my life. This was a problem because my husband was overseas and I was lonely... that's the first time I consciously decided to hold on to the extra pounds and a light bulb turned on. Duh-- I'd been simultaneously vying for and dreading male attention my whole life. By keeping myself fat, I was narrowing the possibilities and maintaining some semblance of control (however shabby) over who was coming 'round. And I could tell myself that they must care because I'm not much to look at. I wouldn't go back to that time for anything...

    In the last 4 years, I have been hit with insight after insight and I have concluded that I don't like me very much. But I love the potential me I see inside. With inspiration from a few very special people, I have begun to let my outside match that beautiful woman gracefully waiting for my trust in her ability to hold her own in the world I grew up in. And it's about time I let go.

    So, as a Christmas present to me, I am making a 3 month commitment (still a commitment-phobe; baby steps!) to make 100% effort to eat right and kick my ass into shape. "But, Mariha, WHY are you making it so public?!" I'm so glad you asked. By making this almost public announcement, I have taken the accountability factor up a notch or three. I make excuses to myself all the damn time. They are especially easy when I am the only one who knows I'm making them. So I am writing it down and posting it where many of those closest to me can see it and ask me how it's going. I will write weekly updates and take weekly photos to track my progress and you can follow along or not. Frankly, I'm not doing this for you; I'm doing it for that great and terrible beauty inside.


    • #3
      September 2011 (FB)

      ~Sept 29, 2011
      Weight: -1.2#

      Week 1 is over and it's actually been really great. Yes, I hurt all over. Yes, my time is really tight. But, ya know, I feel like I am doing a good thing for myself and that I deserve it. So, a few things about this week:

      • I am still NOT graceful. Still holding out hope that will change as I become more comfortable in my body.
      • Women are freaking diabolical when it comes to creating a workout. My concern that I won't perform as well with a female trainer is being pushed aside as her confidence in my ability to do the given task increases my own. And I am only concerned with proving something to myself...
      • Attitude is everything. My 2nd one-on-one nearly had me in tears I was so disappointed in myself. I hurt all over and my legs felt like jello from the previous workout, but I freaking finished. And I did it in 16:00 minutes. It was the ladies at work who convinced me that I should feel good about not dying rather than bad about my muscle fatigue. "Power through it" can really only take you so far.
      • Friendly people are awesome even if they sometimes create an awkward situation for me. I met someone at the gym who, upon hearing my name, said, "oh, you're 'Xs' friend!" Now 'X' is a very private person and has kept me in a very tiny half-niche for as long as we've known each other. I have been introduced to exactly 2 of X's acquaintances because the situations absolutely demanded it; no family, no roommates, no romantic interests. Sensitive to this, I have been very careful to only use X's name when asked very specific questions for which it is an appropriate response. Thus, to be immediately identified as "X's friend" had me a li'l bewildered. Turns out, this person is one of the aforementioned acquaintances. Then I heard that they were dating.... and shit got weird in my head. No worries though; rowing took my mind right off it It's none of my business.
      • I cannot jump rope. Couldn't do it in 3rd grade; can't do it now. Apparently, I will learn.


      • #4
        October (FB)

        ~Oct 20, 2011
        Weight: +0.7# Total: -6.3#

        I've been putting in 14 hr days this week between work and school and simply have not gone to the gym. I feel like crap, I've been eating like crap, and I am sleeping like crap. This will NOT continue.

        I did "run" 5k last Friday and finished in about 35 minutes. Since I haven't run that far in 12 years, I am not beating myself up about that time. Yes, I can do better. And I will. Perhaps I will add running to my daily activities so I can adjust to the thinner air in Idaho. Last time I ran I was in SC and it seemed pretty easy. Of course, I was 12 years younger and about 15# lighter... and hadn't put my body through 3 pregnancies... and that was my ONLY job: do what I'm told and RUN. Ahh...simpler times. Anyway, lessons of the week!

        *No matter how good they look, don't give in to the office potluck temptations. Your gut will thank you.
        *Tradition means little when said tradition has made you the fatty you are today.
        *Many items of clothing can be worn even after they are slightly too big, panties are not one of these items. If your panties are too big, just go commando.

        So I'm back to the gym tonight and I will be paying for every french fry I ate in a hurry, every pushup and squat I didn't do. I. Can't. Wait.

        ~Oct 13, 2011
        Weight: -2.6# Total: -7.0#

        This week has been an interesting one. I blew off Saturday's workout to hang with my kids and we ended up walking to the river, then around the river, then back home. Best I can tell, we walked about 6 miles and I carried Michael (60 lbs)on my shoulders for the last one. All of us hurt when we got back, but we had a good time playing animal charades while we walked and talked as a family. Tomorrow I run my first 5k though "run" is definitely a generous term. I'll likely run a little, walk a lot, crawl for a while... puke... then start over again. After that, I'll still have 4k to go!!

        *Anger is helpful in getting through a tough workout. Doesn't matter who or what you're mad at, access it and use it. But try not to cry afterward.
        *I have next to 0 core strength. This is where I need the most work just now.
        *I actually need to eat MORE. I'm putting my body through too much to pull off a restricted calorie diet.

        Next week I will check my measurements again using the gym's equipment and a good friend with a measuring tape. Wish me luck!

        "I believe that everything happens for a reason. People change so that you can learn to let go, things go wrong so that you can appreciate them when they're right, you believe lies so you eventually learn to trust no one but yourself, and sometimes good things fall apart so better things can fall together." ~Marilyn Monroe

        ~Oct 6, 2011
        Weight: -3.2# Total: -4.4#

        Still going strong. I went to my naturopath for a consultation and he pulled his regular voo-doo and gave me the go ahead with everything I'm doing. Not one objection; in fact, he was impressed with my choices. It's nice to have a little validation. I'm still sore after every workout, but I am no longer in pain so I'm calling it progress. If I weren't sore, I wouldn't be pushing hard enough. My diet is improving as well. No more little cheats and lots more veggies. Unfortunately, I am still looking for that sweet spot where I'm eating enough veggies and fruit but still optimizing fat loss. I'll get there. Eventually. So! Notes from this week:

        *I need to work on my core strength. Desperately.
        *I have ZERO endurance.
        *Having been released into normal classes, I feel a little more pressure to push myself harder. This is a good thing.
        *It's effing cold. This has nothing to do with anything in this note, just IS.

        I've finally posted some pics of myself to use as a "before" shot. It was really hard for me to post these so please refrain from commenting. At all. I won't believe the nice stuff and I'll be devastated by the negatives...


        • #5
          November (FB)

          ~Nov 30, 2011
          ***I have GROUNDED myself from coffee and coffee beverages (tea is OK) until I have lost that 10 lbs + the 2 I gained over Thanksgiving. Total loss must be at 20#+. That is all.

          ~Nov 26, 2011
          Weight: +2.2# Total: -8.4#

          I don't even know what to say. I thought I was doing well. I feel good. I purchased a few new clothes and they are smaller...but the numbers are telling a different story. It may be time for drastic measures...

          *I had been avoiding "team" wokouts at the gym because I felt like I would be a burden to my teammates. However, on Thursday (Thanksgiving), the group workout was the best option I had. It actually went really well! I pushed myself harder in order to feel like more of a contributor and the results were great! I need to access that motivation regularly.
          *Fell while doing box jumps again. I didn't get hurt, just embarrassed. I still finished the workout and had to laugh-- "improves coordination and agility" indeed!

          Not really much to say this week. The Jello-O salad called and I answered... it's so shameful.

          ~Nov 18, 2011
          Weight: +0.6# Total: -10.6#

          Seriously? This week I stayed home from work, either with sick kids or sick myself, but I went to the gym. I have no idea what happened... I still don't feel awesome and I'm eating convenient food, but I barely even have bad stuff in the house anymore. It's confusing but at least it's only 1/2 a pound; I should be able to reverse it pretty easily. Frustrating though. Guess it's time to cut back on the bacon and focus on LEAN meats and veggies rather than fruit. I want to lose at least 10 more pounds by Christmas. Thanksgiving will prove just how badly I want it.

          Not many notes this week. We have been working a strength cycle at the gym and I had to up my max on deadlift because I was so unfamiliar with the movement the first time that my 'heavy single' was short due to form. So now that I have it down(ish) it's not challenging to work with that first weight; we upped it by 50# this week... that feels like an accomplishment to me! Pushups are progressing enough that I will start doing them standard for warm-ups (also measurable progress) and my pull-ups have progressed to 'band assisted' rather than ring rows (for warm-up. I'll get there for workouts soon). An actual pull-up is still a long way off, but I can see it coming. I can't help but feel encouraged by that.
          ~Nov 11, 2011 Veterans Day

          "But the past is just the same -- and War’s a bloody game...
          Have you forgotten yet?...
          Look down, and swear by the slain of the War that you’ll never forget."
          ~Siegfried Sassoon, Aftermath

          Weight: -3.0# Total: -11.2#

          My work and school schedules have made it difficult to get to the gym this week, but I have made an effort to be more careful of what I eat and to choose the more active option for any task. Seems to have worked since I managed to lose weight despite the bag of Halloween candy I inhaled. I suspect it had a lot to do with extended fasts. I have plenty of reserves to work with so an occasional fast certainly won't hurt me. Since I haven't been to the gym in 3 days, it actually is a good idea. I'll hit the gym tonight and try for a bellydancing workshop tomorrow after I work (again). Then I'll make sure I do something, anything, on Sunday and next week should be back to my regular schedule! So exciting.

          I remembered to practice skills on Monday so I got to be extra sore. I also set a personal goal for the workout; something I haven't done in the past due to my ignorance. I can't make an attainable goal for myself until I know what I am capable of and how hard to push. Sure, I have long-term goals and an idea of what "healthy & fit" looks like on me, but I haven't been able to translate that to 'x# of pushups in 2 minutes.' And I still can't. What I CAN do is make a goal for each individual workout and push myself, remembering to be forgiving when I truly put in maximum effort but I don't make it. So when I am required to, for example, do 25 burpees for time, I look at the clock after about 15 of those mother-effers (this is where I want to scream "F YOUUUUU" and stop) and make a quick goal. Just for this ONE task. Then I push myself hard to achieve it. If I happen to go over by a few seconds, that's ok. At least I didn't quit. This seems weak to some people but I find that berating myself for failures hasn't worked so well in the past. Let's try some positive reinforcement, shall we?

          ~Nov 4, 2011
          Weight: -1.9# Total: -8.2#

          I skipped writing last week. It’s OK because I figure there are only 2 people besides me who are reading this, but I still feel a teensy bit bad. The end of October for me is... well, rough. Emotionally, I’m a wreck. Physically, I just want to cry into my pasta. Mentally, I am completely checked out. So… I can’t even tell you what happened that week. I DO know that I went to the gym a few times and that I did, in fact, cry into my Carino’s Spicy Romano Chicken (which tasted wonderful but made me sick for a couple days). I also remember that I jumped back on the gym’s scale to see if I had made any progress. According to the ‘magic wand of fat truth’, I have lost 3% body fat and gained 2% muscle in a month. That’s pretty bloody amazing! The pounds don’t matter near as much as the composition so I feel good about the numbers so far. I just have to continue working on it.

          *I had dinner an hour before the gym and found myself sluggish. Could have been apathy, but I am going to blame it on food.
          *I need to make sure I am VERY comfortable with movements before I try to add weight. I am afraid to get under the damn bar and that’s not doing anyone any good. I’m strong (ish) but I can’t fully challenge myself if I’m afraid of the weight. If that makes sense… Action Plan: practice new movements in addition to regular workouts until they feel natural.

          Next week, new pics! We’ll see if the 3% is noticeably missing


          • #6
            December (FB)

            ~Dec 16, 2011
            Weight: -2.8# Total: -12.6#

            I found a muscle on my tummy! It’s still playing shy under about 4 “protective” layers, but it’s definitely there. Of course I see some toning in other areas, but my tummy is the most elusive and I'm pretty darn impressed there's one under there. Maybe there's hope that my belly cave will shrink after all!

            A friend of mine who is a personal trainer at another gym says I am not eating enough. Not enough calories and not often enough… I’m not sure if he’s right. He doesn’t understand my chosen lifestyle (diet) and keeps telling me I should have a ‘carb-load’ day every week to 10 days. I have to admit, it’s tempting. I need more info and I need to talk to someone who knows more about my activity level and dietary limitations.

            Workouts seem to be getting more difficult. The movements required are advanced and I am...not. Some days it is discouraging even though I know there is always a way for me to scale the tasks to my level. So far, I haven't let my trepidation stop me from giving it a shot but, man, it's hard some days. Perhaps I should stop looking at the workout before I go. If I just show up and am presented with challenges to meet, it will probably go better. My pride won't let me just walk out.

            There will be just one more addition to this note as my 3 month challenge comes to an end. One last set of pictures, some measurements so I can calculate total inches lost, and a last hurrah to try to get more fat gone. This doesn't mean I'm not going to continue exercising; I do believe this is becoming a lifestyle for me. Some people are worried that I am becoming obsessed with an unattainable ideal. Their evidence is my choice to eschew certain pleasures for the good of my goals (desserts, pasta, sandwiches and even, temporarily, coffee) but I think this is just smart. There's no reason to believe I can't look how I want. There are many things about my physical appearance that I can't control, but the amount of excess fat I'm carrying is not one of them. So there. If I reach a point when I am no longer getting healthier, I give my full consent for an intervention. Bring pasta!!

            ~Dec 9, 2011
            Weight: -1.0# Total: -9.8#

            Aannnd I'm back to my pre-Thanksgiving weight. Still not at my lowest and still >9# to go until I get coffee again (the headaches are almost gone), but I am back to doing mostly what I should. I spoke with my naturopath about doing a cleanse but, holy cow! Are you kidding me?? It sounds miserable. Three (3!) weeks of toxins eeking from your entire body? That’s dead freakin’ sexy… I am going to put that idea on the shelf for a while. The top shelf of a closet that is rarely opened. I’ll remember it’s there if I ever need to find it. I’m done with my classes so I can attend the gym more often and (theoretically) get more sleep. These things should help get those last pounds off and get me back to drinking coffee and being the charming, pleasant girl you know and can’t help but love. You know you do… just a little.

            I signed up for another year at the gym. It is going to strain my budget horribly, but I feel like there might be a few sacrifices I can still make in order to allow this “indulgence.” Sometimes it’s hard to imagine there’s anything else I can give up… but I’m not resorting to selling bodily fluids yet so I guess there’s a little breathing room. I really feel like this has been good for me and there are still so many positive things stemming from my participation in this particular activity. It's good, I'm good... we're ALL good!

            A few musings from this week:

            *Hand Stand Push Ups? Are you kidding me?!?!
            *Turkish Get Up = fiendish movement that seems alright until you get to 10. Then it burns ALL OVER.
            *Dips: why do you hate me so?

            ~Dec 4, 2011
            Weight: -.4# Total: -8.8#

            Not exactly the success I was looking for this week, but so much better than seeing gain. I know I have been working out and that I am building muscle. However, there is no reason I should be gaining lean muscle faster than I am losing fat. There should still be loss, dammit. Being grounded from coffee has actually worked to keep me from indulging in obvious cheats. I look at the "chocolate-covered-salty-balls' and ask myself if I will enjoy it more than my next cup of coffee. So far, the answer has been unequivocally "nope." I miss the routine, the conversation... the taste on my tongue. I may kill a man before this is done. That man will have a cup of coffee, and I will kill him and take it from his cold, dead hand. It's inevitable. And oh my goodness, no caffeine in the morning makes it really hard to stay awake all the way to bedtime! I'm on a search for morning energy...stat!

            Meanwhile, at the gym, we did a 'test' to see how our strength cycle has increased our max weights. This is the first time I've ever done such a thing, so I was excited by any improvement whatsoever. I know; I'm easily impressed. At any rate, I increased my back squat by 25#, my deadlift by 50# and did a 70# shoulder press. I had never done the third movement before 'cause I always missed that day to go to chemistry, but I am still ok with the numbers. They are directly in line with someone who has been training for the amount of time I have and they will continue to improve.


            • #7
              Hi Mariha- Great progress so far!

              Usually one day a week I do a carb load with more sweet potatoes and maybe even a all natural cheese cake slice. 90% of the time I keep my carbs under 50g a day so the carb refeeds do help as long as you don't delve into the junk food arena. Keep up the awesome progress!
              Self-realization. I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... I drank what?"


              • #8
                Ah, March. Spring is trying so hard to peek from behind the snow-laden clouds and warmer weather is on the way.Won't it be nice to... wait...that means more revealing clothing. Oh, crap!!

                Frankly, I have a LOT of trouble with the concept of food as fuel. I have too often relied on it as a source of satisfaction and comfort. My workouts are greatly suffering from my dietary choices and I am getting more and more disappointed and frustrated with myself. It's time to set another challenge. Apparently, I respond better to short-term commitments that life-long changes. SO... Until July 1. One day at a time, I will make it to July 1 with 100% effort toward eating right.