Saturday, August 29, 2015

Still Learning

OK, I just had the most amazing run this morning.

4 miles at a respectable 14:42 average pace. For a longer run, that is phenomenal! Hooray!

(Anything over 3 miles is a long run for me at this point, in case you were wondering.)

It was with my running group, but the meeting was a little different than usual: We met at 7am instead of 8, and it was for an event sponsored by Brooks called the Power Hour. Anyone could join and all anyone had to do was walk or run as far as they could in one hour. So that is what I did! My goal was to get a solid four miles in, and I happened to do just a smidge under 4.1! So there. I was thrilled. It even felt pretty good, like I could have kept running if I had to. I probably could have run five miles with not too much trouble, to be honest. (Wow!)

And then, there were the photos on Facebook, again. OK, so I am learning to deal with seeing my body in ways that I don't usually get to see it. Today's featured photo is one to which my initial response was, "God! I'm built like a truck!" Said photo is, for your reference:

I'm the figure in all black with her back to the camera toward the right of the photo.  Built to last!
Even though I am getting more used to seeing shots like these, it's still always a bit of a shock at first. I know I talk about this a lot here, but it is a big issue for me and I figure the more I take it head-on, the better it will get. Also, sharing the photos that I have a hard time with seems to help somehow. I'm putting myself out there as a big, dare I say it?, athlete. It's scary but it's something that I need to do not just for me, but for everyone else out there in the world who is not used to seeing people like me doing things like running.

Since I started writing this post and looking at the photo over and over, I am happy to say that I am feeling better about it. I mean, I have a body and it is doing stuff and it looks fine. So why was my first reaction so harsh? This is what I am trying to get past and this is why I makes posts like this one. (Edit to add: Photos taken of me from the front never bother me, and neither does looking in the mirror. I think it's because I never get to see myself from these other angles that gets me.)

I'm learning. And boy, did I ever kick ass this morning... and now I am about to head over to the lake for some outdoor yoga. GO ME! 

Friday, August 28, 2015

Still Struggling

Since I last wrote on Monday, it's been a roller coaster week. There have been a couple pretty darned good days, and a few not-so-good ones. I'm trying to keep focusing on the positive so that I can continue moving forward and not get hung up on mistakes. At the same time, it's good to learn from mistakes, so I'm not totally discounting them, either; I just want to be kind to myself and stay on track as much as I am able at any given moment. #wycwyc (what you can when you can) definitely applies here.

For as much success I had in July, August started out with high hopes to continue that. It ended up turning out the complete opposite – it will undoubtedly be the first month since I started back last May that I'll have shown a gain from the last one. On one hand, that makes me really sad, really mad, really disappointed, but on the other, it's a stark reality check that really snaps me to attention about how diligent I must be at this effort in order to keep it going in the direction I want it to. It's way too easy to fall into those old bad habits and the weight can come back on way too quickly. It's pretty scary, if you want to know the truth.

Despite all this I am more determined than ever to finish what I started, even if I am still struggling as I write this – and there is no if about it, I am struggling! I'm trying to stay on track with eating as best as I can with each choice I make, whether it is about quality of food or quantity, but I think what is going to get me through this rough patch is keeping up with physical activity. I have developed into someone who really likes doing stuff – running, hiking, bicycling, tennis, yoga – and this motivates me to do better in most other aspects of my life as well. Not to mention, those extra calories burned helps a little when I haven't been quite so great on the eating part.

To recap this week along those lines, here's what happened.

Sunday: Ran 2 miles

Tuesday: Ran 3.4 miles with NoBo

Wednesday: Walked a brisk 3.6 miles on my lunch break

planned for Saturday: Running 3-4 miles with NoBo in the morning, plus an hour of lakeside yoga on lunch break (making up some hours at work)

It's not as much as I have been doing the past few months, but again, considered all that's been going on, I am pretty happy that I managed what I did. Tennis has been on hold because my partner hasn't been feeling well – he's got a nasty pinched nerve, and because my schedule hasn't been cooperating. We have plans to play on Sunday, and hopefully become regular again until the snow falls.

I've also been taking it a little bit easier since my walk on Wednesday because I made the mistake of not wearing adequate footwear – I had on an old pair of Converse lo-tops with little support and no padding of any kind. I thought I would be OK and I was wearing my fabulous Balega Hidden Comfort socks, but I was wrong: I got big blisters on the balls of both feet, and I exacerbated an already twingey left leg and knee. Hey, otherwise it was great and I probably could have kept going had I the time and proper footwear! My pace was in the 17's which is about what I used to run not so long ago.

But I've been paying the price. Today I've got some comfy running shoes on and things are starting to feel better, which is good because I want to be able to run as far as I can in an hour for our group workout tomorrow morning (7am! On a Saturday! Help!), and I just want to be in good shape to getting back to my usual 5-6 exercise sessions a week. I miss it! Sometimes, though, we have to take it a little easy and give our bodies a rest.

Other positive things:

• Being handed down a big bag of lovely clothes from my friend Jewel, and fitting into size 20 skinny jeans and a 1X knit skirt (actually a little big on me, but wearable!) among many other delights

• Being able to sit in one (actually, more than one!) of those old style aluminum woven lawn chairs and not breaking it!

• Running over three miles and feeling super strong and capable

• Continued joy over simple things like being able to bend over easily to tie my sneakers and fitting into booths at restaurants

• The realization that having good health and fitness equals FREEDOM, which is way more important than a number on a scale

Oh! And then there is this little interview I did for the awesome Our Freaking Budget blog. It's maybe a little embarrassing to admit so many shortcomings in being an adult, but I think I was trying to get more accountability and motivation to finally fix that issue, much like I have with my body stuff. I answered the questions back in May, and unfortunately not much has changed, but I still hold out hope for myself, as I do in all things. It is pretty amazing how many parallels there are between personal finance and weight.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Conversation with My Tummy

Today my tummy says to me,

"Why are you doing this me?"

It says, "I thought you weren't going to do this to me anymore. I don't feel well."

It's a scary time for me. The last time I had experienced the death of a close family member, I was well into a nice weight loss and running routine. In 2008, my stepfather passed away, and in the days and weeks after that I could never quite get myself back to where I was. And I stopped running, and my old habits returned. It was grossly disappointing.

Now with the death of my uncle I am feeling strange and totally out of sorts. I am eating however the %$#& I want to eat and most of my routine has gone out the window the past week. I can feel that I could very easily head down the same road I did seven years ago.

Today sucked. I struggled at work this morning so that I ended up leaving midday, and I am taking off the morning tomorrow. I think about my uncle a lot, and the other important people I've lost in the past few years. I don't feel like myself. At times I feel fine – kind of – and then suddenly, I break down for no good reason. It's really hard to focus. Honestly, all I want to do is eat and drink. So today has been a relative free-for-all.

It feels like total shit.

This time, in contrast to 2008, I have some things going for me that I didn't have then: Most importantly, a massive support system. I've got friends and family on Facebook who know all about my journey and cheer me on, but I also have a group of runners behind me. These are people I don't want to lose touch with and who inspire me to keep wanting to run. I have a "place" to go to to be with other runners and to run alongside. I was totally solo in the past, so it was easy to give up. I'm also planning to mentor the Learn to 5K group starting in October, so I have to keep going if only for that. In addition, I've been asked to mentor a weight loss group at the running store as well, and that begins September 12th and runs through December.

There's just really no option to give up, see? Even if I've gained 10 pounds in the past week (which I suspect I may have), I have to keep going. What's the alternative? Going back to how I was? I don't think so.

Stick with me. Give me some high fives. Now is a time when I really need some affirmation.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Catching Up With...

This might be one of the longest breaks I've had here on this blog since I started writing again last May. I'm sorry about that!

A lot has been going on. Since I hit the 100 pound lost mark, I bounced back up a little bit. That's disappointing, but it's a blip. I promise that to myself. Things have been outside routine since my last post – first, we spent a few days visiting my dad in New Hampshire. That was great not just for the visit but also for the exercise (swimming in the ocean, a hilly run, a cool hike), but I ended up just about back down to 272 as a bonus. We got back home Tuesday evening, I was back to work on Wednesday, and then...

On Thursday morning I got news that my beloved uncle Chuck was in the hospital and it was likely the end. He'd been sick for a while now, but it wasn't exactly expected that this would happen. My partner and I had planned to visit him this weekend, actually. Too late! I made arrangements with my boss and spent the day at the hospital, and with my cousins, sat at uncle's side as he passed away in a Hospice room at about 3pm. It was very peaceful, so much so that we didn't realize he was gone right away. It was still heartbreaking.

Since then, things have been tough, as you can imagine. My uncle was more than just an uncle to me. He lived a long life and the recent years have been especially good to him. But, he lost his dear wife late last year, and with his own health issues, he was ready to say goodbye.

I haven't really been thinking much about my eating. It's been fair at best, but I'm not too worried about it. Tomorrow I'm back to work and the one good thing about that is that I'll be back to the regular routine. I am anxious to get back on track and continue on my journey. My eating was TOTAL crap today but I am happy that I got a two mile run in at a great pace for me, 14:10. With everything that's been going on in August running has gone to the wayside a bit and I've only been running once a week or so. It is good to know that I am still capable, and I will be ready to finish up this session of my running group at the beginning of September, hopefully with a flourish.

That's all I have for now. I am still here, and I am not giving up. Far from it.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

How Do You Lose 100 Pounds?

Well, it's different for everyone. But Dr. Sherry Pagoto asked me some questions about my experience so far for the Real Life Biggest Losers feature on her website.

You can read my responses here!

Dr. Sherry's FUDiet "club" on Facebook has been a great source of support for me. (FUDiet is NOT a diet, by the way.) You can sign up to join here. It's an intimate group of diverse people who I have really grown to respect and enjoy sharing the journey with.

This is on the heels of what has been kind of a crappy week for eating and exercise. But I'm OK – I'm not going anywhere! How could I now especially with this kind of recognition, especially?

(Yes, I love me some proverbial gold stars.)

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Horizontal Stripes and Mirrors

It's been a while since my last post. It's been kind of an off week, to be honest. We had a guest in from out of town for a few days, which was fun but definitely knocks you out of your routine. I also had some issues with what I assume is a pulled muscle in my side that has been affecting my sleep. I even had what I think was a slight UTI! (Sucked.) I haven't exercised much, except, oh you know...


Yep, I ran five miles on Sunday with my friend Jewel. Both of us missed the group run on Saturday so we paired up the next day to assure we'd get it done. It was super hard for me, since I wasn't feeling my super best in the first place, but it is on the books and if I don't want to I never have to do it again: from here on out our running group runs will be four miles or less. (Thank god, for now.)

Also. I am a fat person but I dared wear horizontal stripes and walk around a room made of mirrors yesterday. Proof:

I got my Balega socks on!

Like, OMG, right? This is at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, and it's a sculpture by Lucas Samaras that has been around since I was a kid. (Actually, since before I was a kid – 1966, to be precise.) Anyway. That was fun and even though I should have looked up while taking the photo, I like it. Aren't my Balega running socks the best? The Hidden Comfort style is my absolute favorite. 

Yes, you have to take your shoes off to go inside the room. And you can't touch anything.

And here is Jewel and I just after our massive five-mile achievement!

I look, perhaps, a bit manic, and honestly, I sort of was at that point. I still can't believe I did it.

Now that our guest has returned home, my partner and I will be out playing tennis after work once again. I haven't done much exercise other than the long run since last week and hoping to make up for it in the coming days: tennis today and tomorrow, and then running or walking every day from Saturday to Monday while I am visiting at my dad's in New Hampshire. Friday and Tuesday are long travel days. 

I haven't weighed myself since Saturday, and I wasn't super happy then – up a couple from my triumphant 100 pound loss, of course. I say of course because whenever I hit a big milestone, my weight bounces. I hate it, but that is what seems to happen, so I am trying not to get down on myself about it. I'm going to wait to weigh until I get back from my dad's because I always lose weight when I visit him and my stepmom. We'll see. In the meantime, I just can't deal. And that's OK.

Monday, August 3, 2015

July Goals Recap

I can wear my Swatches again! Finally. Now I just need some watch batteries...

Well, well! The end of July came and went and here I am leaving you all in suspense about how I did on my goals for the month!

Here's the lowdown, with the original list of goals and the results.

... lose 8-10 pounds.
I started at 281, and ended the month at 272. Nine pounds lost! Perfection.

... learn how to kayak.
Ack! Nope. I didn't get out there. But I have been talking to a friend who wants to do it, too, so August may just be the month!

... get my bicycle road-ready, suit up with some fun accessories, and ride!
Yes. I did. I haven't taken as many rides as I might have liked, but I did it. 

... go on a hike, even just a short one.
Aw, shucks. Another no. What can I say, tennis took over our lives! I still have hope to go on at least one hike before the end of August.

... play more tennis.
Well, yes, yes, and yes. We played 3-4 times a week, usually around an hour each time. My abilities have improved quite a lot in just the two months we've been out there!

... run four times a week.
With the advent of tennis taking over everything, I decided to try to balance things out a bit and go for three times a week for running. It seems to be working out pretty well. Of course, if I do four, that is great! But I am not stressing out about it.

... include stretching and strength exercises in my regular routine.
I never really got a good routine going, I am sad to say. I will continue working on this point, too. These two items are pretty important in the big scheme of things!

For the month of August, I want to keep up my physical activity to average 5-6 times a week, 45 minutes to an hour (or more!) each time. I also would love to lose another 8-10 pounds, possibly seeing below 265 if I play my cards right. Right now, after coming off a rather debaucherous and indulgent weekend, my big goal is to get into the 260s by mid-month, before I go visit my dad on the 14th. This could mean 269, or it could mean 265. Who knows? As usual, I just aim to lose something every month and keep the momentum going. That is good enough for me. 

P.S. It's been a really long time since I've been able to wear any of my watches – I have a small collection of Swatch watches that I've really missed wearing. Unfortunately it seems like my wrists are taking forever to shrink at all and it's only just now that I can fasten the strap on the last hole comfortably! From here on out, I will measure progress via watch strap holes. :)