Things are rolling at a glacial pace…

I anticipated healing from my plantar fascia tear taking a long time. I felt like had a pretty good handle on the timeline. I have been doing my stretching and strength exercises to rehab my plantar fascia and strengthen my calves to prevent future injury. I’ve what my coach said and scaled my workouts accordingly [most of the time]. I’ve gotten impatient and tried to move ahead and done movements I wasn’t cleared for. Then, I got put back in my place and reminded that moving forward too fast could set me back for even more time than necessary.

I tried running twice. The first run, I did a mile around my neighborhood doing intervals. I felt some pain in my forefoot as opposed to my arch or heel. I’ve had issues there before. It’s commonly known as ‘turf toe’, which I thought was funny when it happened to NFL players. Not as funny when I got it. My second run, I set out for a mile on a flat part of trail. It was slow and hard to push through. There wasn’t pain during, but I had a lot of soreness in my heel afterward.

Neither of those runs were what held me back from going further. What happened was kind of predictable and I didn’t really tell anyone about it or post to my socials. I did an obstacle course run. When I say I stunk at it, I’m being generous to myself and my ego. I probably got 1 point on the whole course because I didn’t finish most of the challenges. I did have fun and would totally make an a** of myself again for the experience. The end of the race was the “warped wall,” which I got myself up and over. I jumped down onto a mat and landed hard on my uninjured right foot. I wanted to protect the left one. Dumb. I should have landed on my rear end. I felt pain in my foot, but when I pulled my shoe off I didn’t see any swelling. Later in the evening, it was swollen and it hurt to rotate. I’d sprained my ankle. Shoot. I babied it most of the week to allow healing time. It went away without needing to see a doctor. Thank God. I don’t know that I could have mentally handled another setback in this recovery.

Poorly planned landing…

I intend to try running again this week using intervals. I also intend to work in some cardio on a machine of some sort for 30 minutes for more a couple times a week. I hadn’t taken into account how badly my endurance would suffer by taking off of running for so long.

I haven’t been swimming because the pool where I would practice requires reservations and I typically don’t plan very far in advance for that. I don’t think a triathlon is in the cards this year. I do look forward to trying to train for Mo Cowbell Half Marathon in October. That’s really the only race I have on the schedule and its because I deferred it to this year from last. I’m hoping to be able to do more things with crossfit. I’m still working out most days of the week with that. My confidence in myself with that ebbs and flows. Some days, I have no idea why I keep trying and others, I can’t believe I went so long without it in my life. I honestly enjoy it.

My eating is still out of control. I can’t seem to be consistent. I eat too much or I wait too long to eat and feel sick either way. I started doing a subscription meal service for dinner to help with the problems that were stemming from me being frustrated planning meals. I’ve been sloppy with my lunchtime eating. Part of that is my work hours. School, and my job, will be coming to a close in a few weeks and that will change my schedule once again. My overall plan is to prep the meals in advance.

I’m extremely disappointed in myself for not losing more weight by now because vacation is quickly approaching and I’d hoped to feel confident in my two piece bathing suit. I don’t even feel confident in a t shirt and jeans right now. I know much of it is that I’m slipping into depression again. I can feel the exhaustion, irritability, and self doubt setting in and I’m trying to fight against it most days. I’m just so tired.

Thanks for reading! I will try to write more than once a month. It’s hard when I dip into depression because everything feels more like a chore.

I feel “tenacious” is a good term here.

Tenacious means not readily relinquishing a position, principle, or course of action; determined. I’m going to use that term instead of “obsessed.” I am determined to get back to running, to get on the right track with my nutrition, and to get better at my workouts. I find one of my most positive traits is my tenacity/persistence.

I have been stretching every day to help with plantar fasciitis that I actually suffered in both feet, but was more severe on the left side when it partially ruptured. I’ve been doing exercises to increase the strength I need in my legs to help prevent a repeat of the injury or a new one on the other side. I’ve been more consistent because I am consumed by the urge to run again. The thought of not going back to running has crossed my mind. I’m not fond of that option. I’m aware that I probably won’t be back to long distance for some time and I might be done indefinitely with 2 half marathons a year.

I’m tracking my food on a free version of My Fitness Pal and participating in a free challenge with my gym called the Lazy Macro Challenge. I’m eating healthy, but having a rough time avoiding snacks that are high in sugar and useless calories [hello peanut butter and chocolate]. I had my body composition measured today and the results weren’t great, but I had a good chat about it and I feel confident I’ll get where I need to be once I get myself on track. I’d probably have an easier time if I could run, though. Not because I want to outrun the snacks. I don’t crave as much junk when I run regularly. How do I solve that? I’m adding other cardio back to the mix on the days I used to have running. That way, it won’t be as hard when I finally go back.

I’m starting to become convinced I’ll never really be good at Crossfit, but I’m determined to get a few things right. Besides, I am getting stronger. My legs gained muscle since my last body composition measurement and I was pleased. I also used heavier dumbbells for bench pressing this week than I have in the past. I’m still tormented by attempting my first pull up. I think I’m even more obsessed with that goal because I can’t yet work on trying to box jump or string together a bunch of jump rope double unders. I’m having to keep my feet planted for olympic barbell movements and it adds a level of complexity. I often feel out of place and wonder why I’m applying so much of myself to something I know is basically sisyphean. I can’t quit, though. I don’t know how I would.

I have meant that literally sometimes. I finished a half marathon once where I was miserable, but didn’t know how to quit. My finish time wasn’t actually bad. The conditions were despairing. I was dressed too warm, the wind seemed to be head wind no matter which direction I turned, and I went out too fast and lost my power halfway through the race which had a hilly second half. I carry”I don’t know how to quit,” with me almost as a mantra. I might feel discouraged sometimes. I wondered why I didn’t just give up because it seemed like just when I’ve dusted off from a fall, another obstacle appeared and there was no end in sight. I still carry on. It isn’t really that I don’t know how to quit, though. I don’t WANT to give up. My faith, my God will carry me through if I need Him. I also want to be strong and I know that it’s built through discomfort. Those moments when I don’t see a way and I push through have been the ones I remember. Those have been the moments that helped build my strength.

I’m impressed with my body, though. I have grown 3 babies in my belly. I ran a marathon, 9 official half marathons, countless 5k races, and mentored people running 5k all the way up to half marathons. I can deadlift more than I’ve ever weighed in my life and I can jerk 100 pounds over my head. I’m trying to take care of a magnificent machine here and I need to stop and appreciate how badass I am sometimes. Especially when I’m picking on the things I can’t do. Yet.

Thanks for reading! I hope you’re brewing some goals or in the midst of conquering something. I also hope you give yourself grace and stop to think of how much you CAN do.

20 workouts in March! Gotta stay on track.

All healed. Now what?

My doctor said my plantar fascia tear has fully healed. He released me from his care and advised me to obtain a home program from my physical therapist. I wrapped up doing strengthening exercises, stretching and getting electrical stimulation (e-stim) to my foot 3 days a week and got my home exercise plan. I left with an appointment in 3 weeks to check in on my mobility and pain. When I started, my left foot was weaker when I resisted inversion (pushing my feet out like a duck against pressure on the outsides) and my left ankle couldn’t flex as far as my right by 3cm. I’ve been terribly inconsistent with doing my exercises more than once a day and for the amount of time I need to. I’m impatiently awaiting the day I can run and jump again.

Neither doctor explained exactly how to go about increasing my activity to get back to normal. The exercises don’t change in time or frequency as I get stronger. I have a timeline of when to try things out, but I’m not sure how to get back running. I’ve been looking at articles and recommendations for people returning from injury and the consensus is that I’m not ready to try to run yet. It’s unlikely I will be ready for another couple of weeks. Mentally, I’m ready NOW. The time alone, listening to music, and clearing my head was important to me and to my mental wellbeing.

I still haven’t lost the weight I’d put on from being inconsistent with my eating habits. It’s because I’m better about planning my meals, but still not controlling my snacks. I’m not to the point that clothing fits poorly, but I’m frustrated with myself for hindering my own progress and even taking a few backward steps. I’m having trouble overriding my own “just this one time,” thoughts to justify the behavior.

I have been consistently working out. Last week, I was concerned that a local uptick in covid-19 cases would interrupt that as well. Fortunately, it didn’t. I was able to get a new PR on my push press one day. I took the weekend off from working out and got some much needed rest.

Last week, I went back to working 4 days a week instead of just two days. The number of kids also doubled. It was exhausting, but overall fun to see everyone interact. I am getting in well over 10k steps on the days I work, so my feet are at least getting used to a lot of walking, which I hope prepares me for running.

I have a positive outlook on the situation. I’m going to run soon. I’ll probably be able to do at least one of the “Murph” miles running on Memorial Day. Those who have done it know I mean the first mile and not that last one at the end.

Here’s a totally natural photo that’s definitely not professionally taken (By Annie LeNeve Photography)

Recovery Fatigue

I have no idea whether “recovery fatigue” is an actual term. I’m using it to describe how I feel about being unable to do workouts the way they’re written due to my recovering plantar fascia tear. I even tried to skirt my restrictions a little and step up to a 20 inch plyo box with a 35 pound weight on my shoulders, which resulted in a partial rupture of the recently healed plantar fascia. I heard the old familiar “pop” in my foot as I stepped up and knew that something was wrong. I completely overreacted, though. I’d thought I’d be back in a cast and a boot for more time. I simply couldn’t bear not being able to get around unimpeded.

The podiatrist showed me the tension in the non injured foot vs the one with the tear and said that the damage was minor. He said if there were pain, the foot would likely need a cast and/or boot to allow recovery. He suggested that I was probably trying to do too much activity too soon into recovery. He referred me to a physical therapist. I have an appointment tomorrow. I’ve made a list of my goals to see whether this is the right avenue or I need to see a different physical therapist who better understands my fitness related goals with recovery.

There’s been some extra stress in my life. I would normally deal with the anxiety through running. I’m still not able to run. I have been pushing myself in my functional workouts where I’m able. If I can’t, I push hard on the bike or rowing machine. My main issue with health has been in nutrition once again. I catch myself snacking even when I’ve planned out good meals with the correct balance. I had my body composition measured last week. I gained weight since my last weigh in, but because of the muscle gain, my body fat percentage remained the same. While it is a positive result, I’m not pleased. I’m finding it hard to muster the willpower to take action to resolve the eating problem. It seems especially complicated when I find myself feeling low because of the stress.

I’m still hopeful that I’ll run my half marathon in October in Missouri. That I’ll get my first pull up sometime this year. That I’ll hit some crazy new PR with lifting. I’ve gained a new appreciation for Crossfit. I still love running, but it just isn’t as important for me to get back to right now. I want to be able to do things at the gym. I have so many goals to attain and so many steps to get there. I guess I have a reason to carry on, then. I even have a really good reason to take it slow coming back. I want to do it right.

Thanks for reading! I hope those of you who had daylight savings are making it through this week without too much fatigue from losing that hour.

Have I shared a pic of my pink and purple hair? I did it myself.

Chipping Away at Distortions

I wrote this weekend while in the midst of a breakdown. I don’t feel ambivalent about it. I’m here for the first few baby steps toward getting myself righted from that lean in the wrong direction. I don’t often write when I’m having an episode where I feel… out of options. I can’t say I was suicidal because I wasn’t. I just wanted to fade away and not exist anymore or never have existed. I know the difference because my intrusive thoughts are specific and repetitive. This is part of having had obsessive compulsive disorder. I still have obsessive thoughts. Not neurosis, where one thinks things need to be even or neat. That isn’t OCD, where people cannot move thoughts out of their head and it causes them to behave in a compulsive manner. My doctor once said that I make everything neat on the outside so you can’t see how messy it is on the inside. That’s kind of the best way I can explain it. I took a picture this morning since I changed my hair, but also because I was feeling like I look much better when I’m not crying:

Not crying. Fully clothed.

What am I doing to help myself through the distorted thinking?

I’m identifying the thoughts that I’m having and matching them with a cognitive distortion. There’s actually a really helpful article I’ve used before and I have bookmarked as “first aid.” The Article Is: 10 Proven Methods for Fixing Cognitive Distortions. Using notes from when I was using Noom, but having learned them in therapy and in psych class, the most common distortions are:

  • All or nothing [Black\white] Thinking: classifying things in only 1 of 2 categories
  • Mind reading: predicting what others think or will think
  • Unhelpful rules: Adhering to strict rules that disturb progress
  • Justification: Linking two unrelated ideas to justify an idea
  • Delusional thinking: Convince yourself of something you don’t believe to justify decisions
  • Exaggerating thinking: Making a situation bigger than it is.

Now I identify what is inarguably true, and what is based in opinion about and reframe it. Obviously, my thoughts on either being fat or skinny are black and white thinking. I can be healthy without looking the way I think I should because that idea is an unhelpful rule. My thinking is exaggerated in that I gained weight, but my clothes actually do fit the same. I need to think on a scale of 1-100 how likely it is that I gain back over 40 pounds from a slight gain over a few weeks. That’s probably not over the 10’s in how realistic I’m being. I can also point out that my fear of regaining all of the weight is irrational since everyone tends to fluctuate especially women at certain times of the month [and it was that time last week]. I am trying to find different ways to say things to myself. I need to stop “shoulding” myself and work with “I would like to.” I’ve asked myself if I would be so hard on a friend if s/he came to me with similar issues and I know for a fact I would not. That’s a clear doubt standard and I need to be as kind or harsh to myself as I would be to someone else. Finally, I am asking myself: “how will these thoughts benefit me versus how will they harm me?” It is pretty easy to see that believing I won’t progress could hurt my progress more than help.

There are some other methods I intend to apply to this, but this is so far much of where I’ve gone with the most recent emotional reaction to my own thoughts.

What am I doing to help the situation right now?

My husband took my scale away and the battery out of it, so even when I found it, I can’t use it. This morning, I was not amused. I even took a picture because I was feeling lost without it.

My scale is noticeably missing.

I’m going to work through what happened and try to prevent future occurrences the best I can. I wanted to share that I’ve not given up or given in to my negative thinking. I definitely let myself go too far into the negative this time. I intend to use affirmations to help myself out.

  • I am proud of myself
  • I am doing my best
  • I am successful
  • I am strong
  • I choose to be happy
  • My thoughts become my reality
  • I am healthy will make healthy choices

I know people say it’s ok to break down once in awhile, just don’t stay there long. It’s true. I just didn’t want to have when I felt was a complete meltdown.

I’ll check in again soon. Thanks for reading!

Self Image Distorted

Let’s start out with a picture of myself immediately following an inexplicable weighing of myself at the END of the day. My daily weigh in is usually as soon as I get up and only then.

Crying? Yes. Naked? Also yes.

I’m uncomfortable showing this side of me because I see emotion as weakness. For me, to be perceived as having weakness is more embarrassing than being seen naked. I don’t want people to think they can hurt me and that’s how I prevent it. Something really upsetting must have happened. Someone must have said something really cruel that hit a nerve. It was me. My reaction upon seeing my weight on the scale, and I said it to myself quietly without thinking, was “You should just die.” Instantly, the tears flowed. I was unable to leave the room. I stepped into my closet and collapsed next to my clothes and just cried. Then, I decided I needed to capture that reaction; To pause that moment in time to analyze it later. I needed to pick it apart so I wouldn’t get emotional again.

I briefly spoke to my husband about why I was upset before laying down for the night. I asked him not to give me the usual “I think you’re great,” argument because this wasn’t about how I’m seen by anyone other than me and that I hated my body. I explained to him that this is the only thing I have control over in my life and I’m failing miserably. I woke up this morning, weighed again, cried again, and forced myself to go to the gym to work out. I was able to hold my composure for the workout and socialize a bit after. I searched around for someone I could talk to about feeling down, but I couldn’t even think about it without tears coming into my eyes. I started to feel like falling apart again, went out to break down in my car, and left. I got home and started to clean up and stepped on the scale again. I tried to reason with myself that it’s impossible to gain 6 lbs in a week, but the damage was done. My husband demanded I stop stepping on the scale to which I responded, “What if one time it isn’t bad?” I’ve mostly been okay since then, but I can’t stop thinking about it and I feel like I’m holding back a river of tears.

I have some eye puff going today.

If I were really trying as hard as I thought, I’d have less fat and I’d have more muscle. I saw my body composition from last weekend and I’d gained fat and lost muscle. My bathroom scale says I weigh five more pounds than I did when I had that weight/composition. I weigh 10 pounds more than I did 3 weeks ago and I gained an inch each on my waist and hip measurements. It’s pretty obvious that even though I’m counting calories and rarely deviating to beer or an ice cream bar, I’m not working hard enough. I don’t deserve to enjoy deviations anyway. I must not be pushing myself enough at the gym because I’m not as strong as I used to be. I’m completely consumed by choosing food, ignoring hunger, hating my body, and wondering why I just can’t get it right. Why isn’t anything working?

This is not normal. This isn’t healthy. I’m so obsessed with my physical appearance that I don’t care about any of the things I can do. I don’t know what to do to make myself stop. I’ve been obsessed with being thin as long as I can remember and I’ve never been thin enough. I’ve tried to shift my mind to what I can do. That’s why I ran my first half marathon. It’s why I started doing crossfit. It’s why I still try. It always falls back to knowing that my body won’t look the way I want because I don’t work hard enough at it.

I’m not fishing for compliments or sympathy. I know this is mental illness. I know why I don’t do emotions. I know that this is all distorted thinking. I even have a set of worksheets to help me out of this. I just needed to say something and put it out there that I’m not always ok, but I’ll be ok; That sometimes, I’m my own worst critic even when I’m pouring my whole self into something.

Thanks for reading.

Spinning, Twirling…Whatever.

My positive spin muscle has been tested lately. I can see the positive in the situations that I’m facing, but it doesn’t necessarily make the crappy things less real. It makes them a little more bearable.

After rupturing part of the plantar fascia on my left heel, I’m finally out of my soft cast. I’ve spent 8 days weaning out of the support of the walking boot. I see the doctor again in a couple of weeks. For the time being, I can’t do anything in which I would come up on the ball of my foot allowing my heel to leave the ground. I also can’t run, jump, or stretch my foot too aggressively. Gentle stretches it is, then. I’m getting really frustrated with not being able to run. I miss that time by myself outside. The positive spin on that is I don’t have to bundle up and brave the negative wind chills to get my run time. I’m also not in pain like I was prior to the rupture and the couple days after.

I mentally feel “not quite right”. My head is in the wrong place. I’m having trouble with eating right and I’ve gained 7 pounds and I’m being really hard on myself about it. I don’t like the way I look or feel in my clothes. I am discouraged. Why do I try so hard at being fit and healthy if I don’t look fit or healthy? I haven’t been yo-yo dieting or deviating from my plan for any sizable time and I still look like a fluffy suburban housewife. I hate that after 2 years of work, I don’t look the way I think a hard worker should look. I often want to give up on counting macros and calories and stop eating. I haven’t had energy for sitting to rest my foot some days. I try to make sure I get a healthy snack in when I start to feel lightheaded. I get enough calories and mostly in the right categories. I sneak in snacks when I feel overwhelmed. I’ve not given up and I’m sticking with my meal plans even though there’s a part of me that is discouraged.

It doesn’t help that I can’t do things at the gym because of the injury and my restrictions. I feel weak. I am often reminded that if I go against what I’m supposed to, I’m just delaying the healing or prolonging the injury. I’m mostly patient. I understand these things take time. I’m just not patient lately. I’ve dealt with injury in the past. I trained for a marathon fresh off of my right foot injury. It was kind of a disaster, but I finished that race with training help from a friend.

Knowing I finished that race is one reminder that pulls me through the frustration. I embraced the shitty situation and got through it. I improved from there and I look back at it as more of a starting block than a hurdle. Probably because I never figured out hurdles, but that is not my point. I pushed off from that point and I endured and only got better at running afterward.

I’m not a fan of starting over. This time, I’m not starting cold. I’m warming up and am going to go for my goals when I get the “go ahead.” No false starts from me. I actually do have experience in that. One good thing is that I’ve been an endurance athlete in my adult life. I know I have to pace myself. With a little patience and a lot of dedication, I’ll be back to myself [and hopefully better].

I think my point is that I haven’t given up on positivity. I turn my thoughts in that direction when I find myself getting negative. My attitude determines the outcome by ensuring that I look at the possibilities and see opportunities. Shitty stuff happens. Sometimes, I’m still going to get discouraged. The point is that I don’t give up when I feel that way. I keep pushing, I take ownership, and I focus on the goals. I still put in the work.

“Trust Hard Work”

That feeling like I’m in a snowglobe…

Don’t let this be sad for you because it isn’t for me. It’s more of a “Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens,” type of statement. I miss some things and I wonder what you love about the things you do for fitness.

I miss…

  • Putting on tactical clothing to go for a run and feeling like a ninja until I have to top it with lights and reflective gear so I don’t get run over. Perhaps I need a headband that says “Undercover,” lol.
  • Stepping up to a barbell at the gym and thinking “nope,” but then setting it down only to hoist it up and surprise myself with a successful lift.
  • Seeing my dog, Aurora go crazy when she sees me in my running shoes getting ready to head out the door for a run.
  • Tethering myself to her and taking her for a speedy run and trying so hard to get a good post run selfie with her.
  • Working at getting more than 15 double unders on the jump rope. I even miss laughing about how badly I whip myself with the rope attempting.
  • Dragging out the foam plyo box at the gym and then jumping more after I work out to try to be less scared of the wooden ones.
  • Running with my “yak tracks” attached to my shoes so I don’t slide and feeling like a badass for getting out and running in the elements. Especially in the snow when it swirls like I’m in a snowglobe.
  • Being able to squat. There are a lot of things that involve squatting that I didn’t appreciate before.
  • The trail; The courses I’ve made myself over the years. Meeting up with a friend to run a familiar course and chat.

It’s funny how little things can bring me such joy and being excited doing them again can help me out. I’m fortunate that this isn’t a forever thing, but even if it was, I’m finding my way despite the limitations.

Thanks for reading! What little things do you enjoy? Let me know by adding a comment!

This is Aurora the speedy running partner dog. Yes, that’s a red nosed pitbull.

Not a Screeching Halt as Much as a Detour

I’m not big on identifying myself with one label or another, though. The best term I’ve heard from a coach was before my first half marathon. Erik, the guy that wrote the training program said that I was now an “endurance athlete.” That stuck with me. Without the ability to use my body, I’d feel like I was losing part of my identity.

So what happened?

I mention it in a post in December. It was plantar fasciitis that I didn’t take seriously enough. I was referred to physical therapy a month after cortisone shot proved ineffective at pain relief. I still wasn’t allowed to run. I was also told not to jump and that if I came to a place where there was an elevator and stairs, to use the elevator. I had 3 sessions of physical therapy in the rearview and I was doing my exercises as prescribed. I went an entire day without pain on Sunday, which was a first in recent memory.

Monday, I was working out. Upon walking from my wall ball target to a barbell, I felt a POP in my heel. I planted my feet to pick up the bar, I felt too tender to fully plant my left heel. I finished the workout, went home, rested, and babied my foot. I browsed the internet, which no matter how I looked listed “ruptured plantar fascia” as the cause of the popping. Most sites said it took people from 3-12 weeks to recover and it required a cast and/or boot to heal. I sobbed. I talked to my husband about it and told him that I didn’t want to go backwards in progress and that I was already restless not being able to run. He told me that by not seeing the doctor, I was only delaying getting back to running and being fully healed to work out like I want to. I started to look up “how to work out with a broken foot,” and saved many articles I found.

I went back to the gym the next day and did the workout very scaled down, but worked really hard. After class, I told my coach I was pretty sure I ruptured my plantar fascia and was delaying seeing a doctor. His reaction was encouraging and he agreed that not seeing the doctor would only make me go on longer with scaling workouts and not being at full ability. He said we could work around a cast.

So, I called the podiatrist as soon as they opened and got in before work. I brought my boot with me and left it in the car hoping they wouldn’t need it. They did x-rays to rule out a broken bone, then the doctor came in to examine my foot. He told me that 1/3 of my plantar fascia had ruptured. He could feel in the bottom of my foot that the area that was once very tight was now too lax. He explained that it was possible this was a blessing in disguise because surgery would have meant clipping that third. He listed things not to do and encouraged me to to continue working out because he said he could tell it was something important to me. Then, someone came in to put the cast on, went out to my car for me to get the boot, and sent me on my way.

I’ve been working out each day since. I’ve had a lot of core work and I like to joke that my right leg is going to be super strong after all of this. I’d poured through the internet looking at different things to do without use of one leg, but I haven’t had to use any of those. The coaches at my gym have found ways to keep me moving and strong. I’m grateful that when I spoke up about it, I felt encouraged and positive about my outlook.

Things haven’t been absolutely positive all of the time. I’ve gotten mad that I can’t bear weight on my foot. I hated that I couldn’t pick up the bar. I’ve been more tightly wound because I’m sitting down so much to keep my foot up. Honestly, I’ve been really excited that I finally know this will be coming to an end soon. I have finally gotten a peek at the finish line ahead despite having to pace myself to get there. I’m working on things to still get me to some goals while I put a couple others on hold. Maybe, I’ll finally get that first pull up. Maybe I’ll get famous. The odds are about the same at this point. (lol). I absolutely believe that my faith in God and that my positivity are propelling me forward in this and that there’s certainly a lesson to be learned by me from all of this. Probably more than one lesson. One good one is that pain is more than just for letting us know we’re human and we’re alive. It’s probably a sign that something needs to change.

When I started writing this, I had something so different in mind. This is kind of just what came from my heart. I hope you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading!

My little soft cast.
Of course I had to decorate the boot to my personal style.

Thoughts on Noom

I joined Noom at the end of September 2020. I weighed 179 pounds and set a goal to lose 34 pounds to end up at 145 pounds on my 5′ 6″ frame. Today, 11 January 2021, I weigh 169 pounds. Using the app, before the holidays, I weighed 163 pounds. I was still using the app in between. I just gained 6 pounds on the scale and most of it was fat. *I do body composition every 2 weeks with a store called Complete Nutrition.

The Basics

From the start, there were daily tasks in the app.

  • Weigh myself. I was asked to weigh myself daily at the same time. The intent was to take away the stigma of the scale.
  • Track my food. There was a calorie budget based on information given to the app upon signing up. My budget was 1200 calories per day with half of my workout calories added back if I logged a workout. The food diary was divided into red, yellow, and green foods. The basis for the color assignments was “caloric density,” or the volume of the foods in relationship to the calories they contained.
  • Read lessons based on the psychological aspect of weight loss. Each day, there was a set of lessons to read. Often, there was a larger theme to the lesson that went on for a week. Lessons included how to read food labels, how to deal with cravings, and other helpful things to assist with weight loss. I actually took notes and did some of my own research to help the information sink in. This part is basically dialectical behavioral therapy.
  • Take mini quizzes. These were set up to try to help the information sink in that had been learned. They tend to remind me of that often in the introduction to the quizzes.
  • Step Tracker and Fitness Encouragement: The app can automatically adjust steps and is helpful for people who are not regularly physically active. I did not find most of the advice particularly helpful since I was already active 6 days a week prior to getting the app.

A Goal Specialist and a Support Group with a Group Leader

The goal specialist uses private messages within the app to chat back and forth with a person individually. I would have a quick chat with her weekly and set small goals to help with my bigger goal. She would send me articles with lessons from Noom.

The support group was like a social feed dedicated to people on the app. I think we were matched based on where we were in the lesson plans. Some people posted daily, and some rarely. The lessons would encourage us to share things with the group, but I rarely did. Our group leader would post most weekdays with something that was to be interacted with. It was often a question posed like, “How do you plan to deal with challenges over the holidays?” Sometimes, she would post a helpful motivational photo along with her question.

Self Renewing Membership and Unhelpful Customer Service

Now I’ll share the reason I’m not on Noom anymore. I told my goal specialist I didn’t want to renew when the time came up [in May]. After my 7 day trial, I was charged $169 for 7 months that would automatically renew at the same cost and time frame. My request was sent and answered with a full refund and cancellation. I lost access to my group and my specialist, but could still view my lessons and my food diary. Confused, I got in touch with their customer service and explained the mistake. They apologized, but said I had to sign back up for the program at a discount for my troubles and they would cancel the automatic renewal immediately afterward. I signed up for a month, emailed to remind them to turn off automatic renewal, and received a refund and cancellation again. Upon telling them that this was a mistake, I declined to repeat signup.

My Conclusion

The program/application is somewhat costly, especially since the price is variable and not published anywhere. My cost was $24 a month, but I’ve known people to pay $20 per month. I found the lessons to be informative and helpful to me. There were some parts of the lessons that were annoying due to their repetition and attempts to be humorous. They use the word “nerd” often and themes from popular culture as attempts to be relevant or use entertainment to maintain attention. The cringe or eye roll factor at that and some typographical errors can take away from the lesson at hand. I didn’t feel like my Goal Specialist and I had a particularly meaningful relationship and I didn’t feel at all accountable to the smaller goals she gave me. I disagreed with the food journal colors and I felt like my calorie goal was too low. I tried to adjust my goals and Noom did not adjust my calories in the app. My hunger contributed to some of my slips back into eating binges. I got tired of supplementing with protein shakes, which could be anywhere from a green, yellow, or red food depending on the brand and flavor. Caloric density could be helpful in understanding which foods were more filling, but the colors used led me to feel “guilt” for eating red foods despite the necessity to eat them for nutrition. An example of similar foods with very different colors is grapes vs raisins. 100 calories of grapes is a green food and 100 calories of raisins is a red food. This is because the water content in the grapes makes them more filling than their dried counterpart. While this is helpful information, the system was flawed in other areas. They didn’t have the ability to enter and divide recipes and nor fully accurate listings of some foods.I have experienced a small amount of fat loss while using the program, but I was not 100% following it after about 6 weeks. I think Noom could work for people who have tried a lot of restrictive diets and need a brand new starting point. It might even help someone with disordered eating. It helped me with my relationship with food and my goal is no longer a number on the scale thanks to Noom, but the app wasn’t enough to keep me long term. I think it was helpful in stress management, but weight loss had proven to be complicated for the app to help me achieve.

Thanks for reading! I intend to continue tracking my food so I can ensure I’m getting the fuel I need for my fat loss and for my workouts. I wasn’t asked by Noom or anyone else to write this. I wanted to be open about my journey just as I always have been. Have you tried Noom? Other programs?

Carrots, Peppers, and Grapes are “Green” Foods
Naan is “Red,” but so is hummus.