Thursday, July 31, 2008

More Thinking

I can't stop thinking about my earlier post and how unclear I was being in the correlations I was making. I think what it is... is that, I have been using my morning exercise to "make up" for my evening transgressions (the brownie, the popcorn). To me that is practically a binge/purge scenario, though certainly not as extreme as a session of uncontrollable eating followed by, say, forced vomiting (which I could never bring myself to do) or taking laxatives (which was my purge of choice way back when).

The good thing is, I guess, that the eating involved now is not binging but considered choices, (I chose quite consciously to have a bowl of popcorn or a brownie knowing that I didn't have the room for them) and that they resulted in positive action, doing something I was going to do anyway. But you can see now more clearly how I equated each situation? I do.

As I said before, self-awareness goes a long way on this journey. It's nice to make these discoveries about myself and the reasoning behind my actions and thoughts.

Thanks for reading.

On Binging and Purging

This topic has been one that I've been thinking about a lot the past few days. I've never really binged and purged, but I've done other things that are not particularly healthy, like plain old binging and plain old purging. When I was in high school, I got to a point where I was eating very little (I remember trying to keep my food intake to 500 calories) and taking laxatives and over-exercising to keep losing weight. How I managed to get through a day at school without collapsing on that lifestyle, I have no idea, but I did. Later on, after college and gaining almost 100 pounds, I lost enough weight to feel fairly good about myself but I never did come to terms with food and my relationship with it. So, I would binge, feel like crap, and to absolve myself of the deed, head to the gym to work it off. In this way I was able to retain an unhealthy way of eating while maintaining my weight.

In subsequent years, I gained weight again. I dealt with it mostly by attending Weight Watchers meetings, which I pretty much hated (ugh, diet mentality galore!). I would lose 20 or 30 pounds, gain 40 or 50, and over the years I ended up with a higher and higher "highest weight ever". I remember in my college years it was 229. In the late 90s, it was 250. In 2001, I was horrified to see that I let my weight go to 310. Of course, now, as you know, my latest (and hopefully last) highest weight was 350, and even that is an educated guess since I didn't have a scale when I first decided to lose the weight for good, once and for all.

Well, now that I have lost 50 pounds and I am back down to 300, I realize that I still have a lot of issues to work through -- I mean, of course. Years and years of flawed eating and psychological crap do not get fixed in a few months. Anyway, I have been thinking about the binging and purging thing because since last week when I amped up my exercise and saw consistent daily losses, I've been doing some things that I'm not sure are good for me. Or maybe I should put it this way: My mindset is shifting in a way that I am not sure is entirely healthy. Let me tell you about it and will you tell me what you think?

As you may know, I weight myself daily according to the tenets of the Physics Diet, which really isn't a diet (see sidebar for link and check it out yourself). This has been great for me, as it keeps me accountable and has also taken the emotion out of the number on the scale; I don't base my self-value on it any longer, and I don't freak out over weight fluctuations (though I certainly get annoyed, as anyone would -- I just don't let it ruin my day, is all). Since I started running, my daily routine is to get up, go to the bathroom, go on my run, come home and get undressed, go to the bathroom again if I need to, and then weigh. But now I seem to have taken it one step further. Initially out of sheer curiosity, I weighed myself pre-run and post-run just to see if there would be a difference. And of course there is, always, because I sweat. I mean, no big deal, right? Not really. Except since then, I do this all the time now and use it as a motivational tool to get myself out the door on the days when I just don't feel like doing it. Like, I will get on the scale first, see a number I am not happy with, and then have to exercise. When I get home, my weight becomes satisfactory.

*sigh* I don't know what this is about. I mean, it's not like I am killing myself exercising. I am still doing the same things, same amount of time spent, same exertion. It just feels funny to use the scale in this way. Like I said, before I started doing this I would always weigh in after my workout, so I am getting consistent readings, and I was blissfully unaware of this effect the workout had on my weight so immediately.

I don't even know why it makes sense to me to connect it with binging and purging; maybe it's because it feels so odd and slightly obsessive. It seems to me that a simple solution to fixing it would just be to weigh myself like I always used to, once in the morning after my workout, and just stick to my training schedule no matter what because I want to, not because my scale reading was frown-worthy.

Just keeping on keeping on seems like the thing to do, but you know... I can't help but freak out about this stuff once in while. Trying to break myself of obsessive behavior and my poor relationship with food is one of my highest priorities, after all. It's not just about losing weight.

I'm sure it also doesn't help that I have slightly overeaten the past two days. Nothing major, just a bowl of popcorn that I didn't need one evening, and a leftover brownie the next (yes, of the brownies I made that I didn't care about!)... but, it's those extra indulgences on a regular basis that really add up and are the reasons I got to where I found myself in the first place. Processing all these icky feelings and missteps, I am realizing, is just as important as exercising or eating enough fruits and vegetables to ensure my success at this.

If I'm purging anything these days, it's that ickiness exactly that's got to go.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Let the Records Show

...that I am actually wearing a shirt that is not black, and that I am fully accessorized! (I've got earrings on which you can't see here, just plain studs that are close in color to the red of my necklace).

This is a really rare occurrence, but I like it so... perhaps it is the beginning of a new leaf? Likely so, as all my black jersey tops that I wear the crap out of are, well, crapping out. This salmon-hued button-down is yet another item of clothing I haven't been able to wear for a long time. It's a size 22/24 and fits well everywhere except across the back and in the arms, because I have a wide back and BIG arms, where it's a tad tight but workable.

Wearing color makes me feel so noticeable. It's weird.

In other news, I walked 5K this morning on my "rest" day. It was awesome, sprinkled with the occasional few minutes of running. I just love my neighborhood so much. It is perfect for running and walking, and really gets my wishful thinking going... so many beautiful houses to shoot for someday when I have my finances in order and I'm (hopefully) making more money. Not that I don't love my house now, but I love to dream, and there are some lovely English tudors and Craftsman-style homes over there...

Dare to dream, right?

PS Isn't it funny how I can get these face shots of myself to always look almost exactly the same each time? It's kind of creepy, if you ask me.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

HYC Check-In: I am still fat

Weight: 300
Total Weight loss: 50 pounds

Ha ha. Well, I have lost 50 pounds but I am still fat. I have to remind myself of this fact sometimes. You can imagine how chuffed I am about getting through the first quarter of my journey and feeling a little cocky. But still, here I am in my size 24 pants and my double chin, still a fat girl.

It's OK. I don't mean this in a disparaging way. I guess I am trying to remind myself not to rest on my laurels and that I still have a lot of work to do. It would be easy to kind of sit back and take it easy for a while, or tell myself that I don't need to do this anymore because of how great I feel. But that couldn't be further from the truth. I'll probably be at this my whole life, which is fine. I'm totally adjusted to this lifestyle and shudder at the idea of going back to how things were. Back then, every day was full of fattening, atery-clogging treats. Sure, it's fun to stuff your face indiscriminately, but really? Honestly, I like it much better nowadays, when I still indulge, but just not every single day for every single meal. "Treats" have become much more enjoyable and tasty. They are also way more resistable, unless I am dealing with hardcore female issues. I made brownies the other night at C.'s request... and they looked really good, and I could have had one (or more!), but... eh... I cut myself up some kiwi along with some blackberries instead. And I did it most sincerely.

Last night I found a bunch of size 22 pairs of pants that I had saved from my last weight loss. They're not far from wearable, definitely by September if not sooner. I am excited about that -- they are very cute pants -- but at the same time, I am so ready to blow right past them, too. I'm all like, "Oh, 22s? Yeah, I got to them last time... give me some 20s, give me some 18s!" I do have a few smaller sizes tucked away, ready to see the light of day after so many years... like that poor Gap skirt I bought on super clearance years and years ago, size 16 that I was sure I would fit into again one day. I could never find it in myself to give it up for some reason, and I'm glad I didn't, because I am going to wear it for the first time next year, mark my words. The thing's still got its tags on, for chrissakes! "Wear me, already!"

This morning I felt kind of crappy (it's still that time of month) and really was having second thoughts about going on my run. I took my time in the bathroom, weighing the pros and cons, until I finally got off the pot (figuratively and literally), got my gear on, and headed out, once again promising myself the option to only do a mile if it felt bad. A 1.75 miler was on the schedule, and I really didn't think I could handle it.

But handle it I did! I also let myself take it slow and easy today, so it was totally manageable. I had no problem getting through the run at all, and I even jogged in place through a conservation with a big guy who was driving around in his pick-up garbage picking (it was garbage day today). He passed by me a couple times, and the third time, he stopped and said that I should lose some weight for him, too. He couldn't believe that I weighed as much as I do, and seemed pretty impressed by my loss so far. That was kind of neat and really kept me motivated to complete the run. I am so glad I did.

My goals for this week are pretty much the same as ever: to successfully complete my training for the week, and to keep the numbers below 300. At this point I don't even care so much about losing a lot; I just want to keep it in the 200s, even if it's 299 all week.

Hope everyone's doing well -- here's to another successful week!

Monday, July 28, 2008

What Minus 50 Pounds Looks Like

(Edited a bit since my original post to include older photos and more commentary.)

Here's a photo from sometime in the fall of 2006, when I must have weighed close to 350... I had stopped wanting to know by then. I looked like I was pregnant, my stomach was so bulbous! I was in grad school for art so I had a nice haircut and dye job, cos, you know... artsy fartsy and all... ;)

OK, well, I didn't start taking progress photos until 20 pounds in, this is technically what my last 30 pounds or so looks like. Anyway... quite a difference, I think! I see the most difference in my width, especially through the arms. In the first two photos I am wearing size 26 pants (tight, then loose), and in the third I've got my size 24s, which fit nicely. (Not for long, though!) And look at my hair! It's grown like a damn weed. ;)

And, from dates as marked:

Here is a face shot from back in January, when I started. You can see how I use my hair to hide sometimes... I have a lot of these photos where it is so obvious I am trying to hide how fat my face had gotten:

And here, subsequent shots:

Sunday, July 27, 2008

50 Pounds Gone!

Weight: 299.2
Total Weight loss: 50.8

That's all I have to say. Wow! I did it, finally. Now, just 150 more pounds to go.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

One More Little Post...

Weight: 300.2
Total Weight loss: 49.8


Ack! I am so, so close to 50 pounds lost. I mean, I am basically there. It's thrilling, but at the same time a little anti-climactic. It's definitely a great achievement, but I have a long road yet ahead and lots more to accomplish -- which I am excited about! Just think... I just have to do this three more times. Not bad! I can handle that.

I asked C. this morning if he thought I should wait on the celebration, and he was like, "You should wait until you're at 295 or so, so you know that you definitely won't see 300 again." I agree and disagree with this, but mostly I disagree so I am celebrating today with just lots of good thoughts for now. I don't really have any rewards in mind.

This morning I got hit with the first day of my period, and felt pretty crappy. I was considering not heading out for my 3rd run of the week, but did it anyway, telling myself that if it felt really bad I could just run a mile instead of 1.5. Also, I wasn't out to set any new PRs or anything... I was running strictly to get it done, not to see how much faster I could go. Turns out, I was still running at under a 17 minute pace (16:46, to be exact). Not too shabby considering I thought I toned it down quite a lot.

It'll be nice weekend. I am going to my company's picnic today, and tomorrow heading out for visits with my uncle and his wife, as well as my mom and stepdad. Should be fun! And I am going to be glowing the whole time, you can count on that.

Hope you have a great weekend, too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

It Just Keeps Getting Better

Weight: 301.2
Total Weight loss: 48.8 pounds

I just have two words for you: Holy crap!

The weight is just falling off me this week. Making up for lost time, I suppose. Not to mention that I have been making a real, honest effort, too -- and it hasn't been one whit of hard, either. Seriously. Something really clicked in me this week, and food has been a non-issue, basically. The exercise has been phenomenal. Today I quite reluctantly got into my gear not really knowing what I was going to end up doing... it's a "rest or run/walk" day on the HH 5K (which is my shorthand for the Hal Higdon 5K Training for Novices, see sidebar), so I could have done nothing and technically not felt bad about it. But, I wanted to continue the good vibes for the week and, I admit it, I wanted to see more weight loss if I could help it. So I went out with the intention of walking "however long", and ended up covering more than 2 miles in about 40 minutes. I probably ran anywhere from a third to a half of it, I didn't really keep track. I just did what I felt like doing, and it was totally awesome. The best part was, once I was out there, I was doing it because... wait for it... I ENJOY it. I like being active. Wow.

That said, there are a couple more things I want to do eventually, but I don't think I want to add to my routine just yet... I think it would be more self-inflicted pressure than I would enjoy at this point, and I really do not want to upset the apple cart. Baby steps... gradual changes. I've already achieved so much in just six months! Anyway, I want to do the 100 push-ups and 100 crunches challenges that I've been seeing everywhere. They're kind of like Couch to 5K in that you start off very slow, and you gradually build up to more and more repetitions, until one day... voila! You're totally hard core.

I know I need to be doing more strengthening exercises to supplement the running, but it's going to have to wait for now. Perhaps in some more pounds lost I will feel more comfortable adding on, but for now, those tools will remain on the shelf. And I am OK with that!

I feel like such a powerhouse today. It's a great way to end the week.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Making Progress

Weight: 303.2
Total Weight loss: 46.8 pounds

Steady dropping all week, and here I am at another low! Ah, the power of accountability and regular exercise. I am STILL in awe about how this works, even after months and months. You'd think I would be used to it by now. I had my second 1.5 mile run of the week, and I pushed myself a teeny bit -- not enough to kill myself or anything, but just to see what I could do -- and lo, my pace was an amazing all-time low of 16:06! I'm almost running 3.73 mph, people! That is huge for me. And I must note that it really didn't take a lot more conscious effort, it's happening naturally. I can feel a difference in my gait, most definitely; it's doesn't resemble a shuffle at all anymore. It's cool.

Another neat thing was that I came across another runner who was just finishing up her run. We totally did that runner's acknowledgment thing, and I didn't feel like a poseur even though the other runner was obviously experienced and very fit. She said, "That was a good run!" and I said, "Good! Keep it up!" and we went on our respective ways. I was about halfway through my run and it really spurred me on.

Finally, I had the biggest treat yesterday. I heard from a long lost cousin, who emailed me after she found me online -- including this blog! It was wonderful to reconnect with her and an added bonus was that she said how proud she was of what I am doing here. S., I kept that in mind when I was out this morning! It means so much to me.

I also want to thank Wee, whose comment about walking in addition to running really helped me a lot this week to come back into a regular training schedule. And Michelle? Holy crap, talk about kicking ass. She amazes me more and more each week and has really raised the bar for my own expectations for myself.

Love, love, love! It's a good day.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

100th Post! Most Excellent!

Today is my 100th post in this blog since I started it in February. If that does not show some real dedication, I don't know what does. ;)


It never ceases to amaze me how much my mood can shift, so drastically, in a matter of a day or two. If you recall I was all doom and gloom on Monday, and today it's 180 degrees. Huh? I can chalk it up to a) crazy hormone stuff or b) the amazing power of positive thinking. Or both, of course.

Still, I am amazed. *shakes head*

Chalk up another day of clean eating yesterday, and another good outing this morning, this time intervals of running and walking (5r, 3w, 6r, 2w, 5r sandwiched in between 5 minute warm up and cool down). Today I stopped at the grocery store before work to load up on veggies and fruits for the day, as well as a couple mutigrain rolls and a spicy lentil soup for lunch. I'm continuing to log my food and will do so until I don't feel like it again. I must admit that there is something very comforting about keeping track when you feel like you're in the middle of a personal crisis.

I tried on the pair of size 22 grey dress pants again this morning to check on the progress there. They are fitting much better even though I haven't lost much more weight, so much that I could wear them comfortably. I would definitely wear a long shirt with them, though, as they still make my belly look like a balloon. Not for much longer, though! I figure another five pounds and they'll be in full rotation. At this rate, I may be able to get into normal sized stores sooner than I originally thought!

I'm going to keep this up, and I will definitely have no problems reaching my goal of under 300 pounds by the end of the month. I can't wait.

Feels SO good!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

HYC Check-In: Back on Track

Breathe a sigh of relief. I'm no longer in panic mode.

I had a good, clean eating day yesterday. Lots of fruit and veggies, reasonable calorie intake, but also totally satisfied throughout the day. It felt good, to be more structured again. I'm aiming for that today again, too.

This morning I ran my best time ever! It was Week 1 Day 1 of Hal Higdon's 5K for Novices, which is a 1.5-mile run, and it was awesome. I felt pretty darned good the whole time, and I could just tell that my pace had improved. Turns out I was doing a 16:30 pace, which is my fastest yet. Quite an improvement from 18 and 19 minute miles!

I think my goals for the rest of the week are to just continue to eat as cleanly as possible, and log my food; and complete the first week of running training successfully, which includes three runs, and three walks. Totally doable, and something to look forward to in the end -- certain progress!

And I must say once again that the power of positive, supportive comments from my readers, and reading my favorite blogs really, really keeps me going. You can't underestimate the importance of those things, by the wisdom and success of those reaching for similar goals. You all rock!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Recommitment, because I have to and because I want to

I need to regain that enthusiasm and pep I had when I wrote the last post. You know, the one where I'm saying how great balance is, and being able to do this whole thing without feeling deprived, etc. etc.?

Sometimes I feel like such a sham (or like that silly commercial, Sham-wow!)


No, I am not conning you. I'm not even conning myself. I'm chalking my feelings this morning up to a plain old bad day. I'm hoping that it won't last the whole day, though. My plan is to nip it in the bud by purging the ugly feelings into my blog. I need to keep telling myself, "I'm human, I'm fallible.. . and it's OK."

Sham-wow! What's going on, man?

Ugh. Not much. Just that getting on the scale this morning was a gross disappointment, even though I made the choice to totally eat dirty this weekend. Oh, it was all well and good when I was maintaining, but watch me show a few pound gain and the whole thing shifts.

It's not just the weight gain, though, it's also that I only ran two times last week and didn't pursue any other physical activities aside from gardening and housework (OK, I should cut myself some slack on that because I totally kicked my own ass on those!). So add two and two and you get the feeling that you're starting to veer off track, which is scary as all get-out.

Of course since I am here in my blog addressing the problem, I have no doubt that I will come through this little crisis better and stronger than before. But for now, for this morning, I'm feeling a little defeated. I'm sure PMS isn't helping matters, either.

My plan to get out of this funk and get back to business, even just for today (because sometimes that is all you can do), is to log my food today and watch my calorie intake. Honestly? After not having done it for a while, I think it will really make me feel better, more in control and more like I am actively doing something for myself. Also, I am recommitting to starting Hal Higdon's 5K Training for Novices running program tomorrow, as planned.

See, my old self just night have decided that I just didn't have it in me to continue trying anymore. The old me probably would have said it was too much trouble, or that I was just sick of having to monitor what I eat and how I exercise. Within a few weeks, or sooner, the old me would have been firmly ensconced in the old habits and on the way to gaining all the weight back plus more.

It's just not going to happen that way anymore. This journey is far from over, and I have not run out of gumption yet. I want to reach my goals. I want to weigh between 150 and 175 (we'll see when I approach it), and I want to be able to run a marathon. That's it. And I can do these things. It's going to take time and it's going to take lots of effort, but I CAN DO THESE THINGS.


Saturday, July 19, 2008

Checking In

Weight: 304.0
Total Weight loss: 46 pounds

Holding steady! Things are going well. The last couple days have involved the epitome of balance: not necessarily eating the best stuff in the world, and perhaps eating a bit more at a meal (like, last night we celebrated new homegrown peppers with some delicious, albeit cheese-laden burritos followed by a hefty bowl of ice cream), but countering it with more activity. Yesterday, I cleaned the house in preparation for a studio visit the curator from the museum where I am having my show next year -- and it was quite a workout! With four cats in the family we always have tons of cat hair floating around, so corralling that alone got my blood flowing.

Then, this morning, I was up bright and early tending to the garden. I did several transplants that required lots of digging and shoveling, and in the heat and humidity we've been having, I literally sweat through my clothes, probably buckets worth!

All very fun stuff, I must admit. The house looks great, the garden looks great, and I feel great.

Honestly, I can't say that I plan to eat clean all weekend, but I am doing it with both eyes open and looking forward to Monday, when I am totally going in full force -- I really want to get to 299 by the beginning of August! I will probably never be so obsessed about a number on the scale again, at least not until I am straddling 200, anyway. ;)

Hope everyone is doing well. There weren't all that many updates on my regular list of blog reading, hopefully that means that you are all out enjoying yourselves!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Taking It In Stride

Weight: 304.0
Total Weight loss: 46 pounds

That's what it feels like lately... kind of casual, in a way. Natural? Yes, I think so! I am just doing what feels right to do, whether it's reaching for a snack or deciding whether to run in the morning or not. I ask myself, "What will make me feel right for the rest of the day?

Note that I didn't say "good", I said, "right". That's because doing what feels good isn't always what is good for us, right? For example, I might not really feel like running when I am scheduled to run, but a quick thought reminds me that I feel so much better on any day that I do it (aches and pains aside). Same goes with my food choices. If I indulge at lunch (which seems to be the thing lately for some reason), I try to eat a veggie-heavy dinner.

It feels like everything I have been working so hard at for the past six months has really sunk into that brain of mine and become the modus operandi. That's not to say it is always easy -- which you know if you read this blog regularly -- but, it is certainly becoming more natural to eat more healthfully than to eat junk food; more natural to get out and move around than not. I even get antsy if I lay about for too long, gotta DO something!

I ran another miler this morning, after having one of my little conversations in my head. It was fine, I'm glad I did it, as I almost always am. The scale was also my friend -- looks as if I am on a downward trend again. 299, here I come!

Honestly, I am a tad flabbergasted that I am still doing this, that I am still totally into it. I've never committed to my health and well-being for so long before, and let me tell you, despite all the rough spots and discouragement, it has been totally, totally worth it. I just can't wait to see how I turn out in the end.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm a Runner, Again.

Weight: 305.8
Total Weight loss: 44.2
(But I am still keeping my 45 pound badge for now!)

Well, I guess I never stopped being a runner, except for the fact that I took a break from it for a week. And boy, am I glad I did! This morning I rather begrudgingly got my running gear on and headed out the door. I was running a little late, as seems to be my habit lately, so I thought, well, just get 20 minutes in today and see how it goes. 1.06 miles and 18 and a half minutes later, I was finished and very pleased. Running didn't feel like a chore as it had started to feel before my break. Also, I had no pains or aches to contend with, which really helped matters. My pace felt improved (it was, by about a minute!), and it was just GOOD overall.

So, now my plan is to get three or four 20-minute runs in this week, and next week start Hal Higdon's 5K Training for Novices. The first week of that program begins with 1.5-milers, so that will be perfect and totally doable. My goal for the next eight weeks is to make the 5K distance comfortable or even easy, and to speed up a little, which I suspect will also happen naturally. I'm not going to do speedwork or anything yet, don't worry!

As predicted, my weight went up a bit after that big drop. Today's weigh-in was awesome, headed back down again. I've been really working at balancing things eating-wise. Yes, I make sure to get in fruit and veggies a-plenty -- both C. and I seem to actually crave the stuff as much as we crave chocolate, ha! But I have also just been eating. Like, eating whatever. Like an ice cream sundae yesterday for lunch's dessert! Then, we made a fantastic chicken and veggie stir-fry for dinner, super healthy, filling, and yummy. And no snacking after that. Balance. It seems to be working out OK. Good stuff since this is my ultimate desire -- to be able to not be overly restrictive in my eating habits, to not feel like I have to make major unpleasant compromises, and still be healthy and maintain a reasonable weight. Yes, it's true that this is taking some extra time. But I'm going to be happy I did take so long when I see that I am able to keep what I have lost off for good. I truly believe I can do that.

I've also had a couple clothes NSVs recently! Today I am wearing a skirt that I haven't been able to wear in at least a couple years, Lane Bryant size 22/24, and yesterday I tried on a pair of pants that I bought the last time I lost weight five years ago... they're LB size 22, and I am now able to get them on and zipper and fasten them without inhaling! They're not quite ready for public consumption as my tummy looks like a balloon in them, but I'm getting close. This particularly intrigues me because the last time I could wear them I weighed quite a bit less, which leads me to wonder whether I have a lot more muscle weight now? Or perhaps my weight distribution has shifted slightly. Who knows?

All personal stuff aside, I'm very pleased with the recent turn of events and attitude concerning my efforts and look forward to a good, active week.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Waaaa hooo!

Weight: 304.6
Total Weight loss: 45.4 pounds

Well, well.

After all those feelings of doubt and discouragement, here I am the next day standing on the scale facing what some folks call a "sinker": down to 304.6! No one is more surprised than I.

It may well be a fluke, and I might end up going back up before I go down again, but I don't mind. I just love seeing that I broke another barrier. I was really hoping to see myself below 305 this week. And now I know that I can get below 300 by the end of the month.

This was just what I needed right now.

And thanks again to those of you who write such wonderful, supportive comments. I really couldn't have made it this far without you, and that is no exaggeration.

Onward and upward! Also, new bling! -- see sidebar. :)

Friday, July 11, 2008

Hard Time

OK, I admit it: I'm having a hard time.

I made all kinds of declarations and proclamations and I generally sound pretty upbeat and optimistic about what I have been doing. But the real truth is (I say that a lot, don't I? Hey, I'm all about the confessional) that it's been pretty rough going for the past month. I don't feel as if I am focused enough on my goals, my eating has been marginally so-so overall. Sure, I have held my weight steady for the past few weeks, but I can't help but feel like it could all slip away any minute, that all the sudden I could find myself back where I started. Or worse.

Of course it is entirely within my power to prevent that. Last night as we lay down to bed, I said to C., "I can't lose weight!" His response was smart and true. "Of course you can. You have! You can do it."

He's totally right. I have, and I can. It's just hard lately, maybe due to stress, who knows and I find myself wanting to just eat and eat.

I guess when I really think about it, I am not indulging anywhere near the way I used to, hence my relatively stable weight. But it still doesn't feel very good. It feels like my old self, a most unwelcome visitor. It's not really that I totally gorge myself, but the way in which I eat. I'm not really mindful. I enjoy the taste, sure, but after the first few bites it becomes more about getting it into my mouth rather than fully appreciating it. It's almost like hoarding, in a way. I don't know how else to explain it.

Obviously the first step in correcting a behavior is recognizing what's wrong. First and foremost, I need to start prioritizing eating healthier foods most of the time again. We've gotten lazy about cooking the past few weeks and have been relying on take-out more often. I got out of the habit of bringing my lunch to work. Next, I want to reinvest in exercise as a tool to get me into the right mindset to achieve my goals. Just because I took a break from running this week, for example, didn't mean that I had to stop exercise all together. I could have gone on walks, or rode my bike, or started the 100 push-ups/100 sit-ups challenges like I have been planning.

It's so hard to keep your momentum going when outside elements are bringing you way, way down (in this case, it's my stepdad's struggle with cancer), but you know? This is the sort of behavior I have been seeking to overcome in the first place -- emotional eating, probably my biggest problem. I should see about reframing this experience as a challenge to be welcomed, as I did with running, and work it no matter how hard it is. Instead of measuring my progress with time or distance run, I'll be measuring with making it through a day, even a meal, eating mindfully and eating to pleasure and nourish myself -- not reward or comfort.

That is all. I am still here. I have to keep telling myself that is a big accomplishment in itself. I'm not fading away or disappearing in to the ether of dead links and neglected blogs.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

HYC Check-in: Taking a Step Back

Oops, I'm a day late on check-in, but you know what they say, better late than never!

I'm still here, which is in itself an accomplishment. It's true. After six months of life-changing activity, I am still here and still committed to achieving my goals. Monday was my six monthiversary, btw! It hasn't always been easy, but I have come a long way and can't wait to see what the next six months will bring. I already mapped out what I would like see six months from now, in this post -- I was so excited about it I jumped the gun a bit. I set a weight goal that is attainable by losing just 1.5 pounds a week, which is just about what I have been averaging, but I plan to be happy no matter how much weight I lose by then, as long as I lose something!

Many thanks to those of you who responded to my last post concerning taking a break from running for a week. Just what I needed to hear, some confirmation that my feelings were valid and even wise! Well, I did end up trying a run yesterday morning anyway, and while I did complete the prescribed 1.5 miles, I did have to walk about a third of it. So sluggish! And I had even had a snack before heading out, an apple, to see if that would help matters a bit. Usually I run on an empty stomach. Regardless, it was another tough run, and on top of that, my knee started acting up again. The gods have apparently spoken, and I am taking the hint: at least a week off from running, and then return working with perhaps an even novicer novice program, like Hal's 5K Training instead of the 10K. I need to work on building up to the 3 mile runs, even though I have already done a few. They're just still a bit too much for me, so I'd like to build some more endurance for shorter distances before I try to go beyond that and train for the 10K. It was just easy to get wrapped up in progress!

For all the success I have had so far with running, the reality is that I am still very heavy and the pounding of the pavement is a lot of stress on my body. I can't compare myself to someone much more lightweight than me, even if we've started running at the same time (which I have been doing to an extent, I admit it). Like it or not, most others have the advantage of having to carry a lot less weight. I want to be careful not to hurt myself, so I am going to keep at it but keep it slow and easy until I lose a bit more weight. How much, I don't know... I'll see how I feel as I go along. But as C. said, "It's not like you're an Olympic runner or something," so taking a week off will not be the end of the world. I will just give my body a chance to catch up with itself.

I had a good eating day yesterday, after having a weird slight binge on Sunday evening with a whole bag of marshmallows, of all things, and having it show viciously on the scale the next day. This morning it was back down again, and I still think I can see 305 by the end of the week if I stay focused. That is my main goal for now. And I still have three weeks to try to get into the 200s for a secondary goal, which would be great.

Anyway, I don't know. It's been a rough past few days overall. I'm worried a lot about my mom and stepdad mostly... his illness is right there beneath the surface at all times in my mind, and it's definitely taking a toll.

Monday, July 7, 2008


I hate to say it, but I am glad it's Monday. I need a fresh start.

It was an odd weekend, mostly good, but I am exhausted again and glad to have some structure in my day.

My weight has pretty much held steady. I was hoping to see a dip to 305, but no such luck yet. Perhaps this week! Running has been really, really difficult for some reason. I'm not sure what is going on, but maybe I am just worrying too much. So, Friday was a rest day, and Saturday a 30-minute walk was on the schedule but I did three and a half hours of gardening and yard work instead, i.e. yanking miles of creeping Charlie and other invasive species out of the jungle garden, trimming bushes, and generally tidying things up. I must have sweated about 3 gallons' worth and had nothing left after that. On Sunday, I was in no shape to, and I got a late (9am) start on my scheduled three mile run. I thought there was no way I would be able to make it through, but I tried anyway since a lot times what happens is that those days are always the most successful. Not this time! I barely made it a half mile before I had to walk, and I only covered about 1.5 miles total, about half and half running/walking. It was so disappointing, but what can you do? It's not always going to be great out there, I know.

Today, thankfully is another rest day, which I really need. In fact, I have been considering taking a week off from running, if only to have some relief from the low-grade pain I've been living with since I ran the 5K. I can't seem to shake it totally, and it kind of sucks always walking around trying to ignore it. Or is that what you have to do as someone "in training" as I consider myself? Does everyone feel soreness all the time?

Sorry to sound like a baby about this. I'm just not sure if I should continue on with my program, scale back, or just rest for a week. Tomorrow's run is a 1.5-miler, and I may try it just to see if it goes any better... maybe I will just stay at 1.5-2 miles for a couple weeks before I continue with Spring Training. The 3 mile runs really take a lot out of me at this point.

I guess I am discovering that, much like adjusting to a new eating plan, you have to tweak things a bit as you go along, and figure out how much you can handle at a given time. It's such a delicate balance, though. On one hand, I want to challenge myself and not rest on my laurels; on the other, I don't want to take on too much, too soon and end up quitting because it was too hard. It is hard to pull back a little, especially when you're blogging and make your plans public and accountable to so many people, but the reality is that if I push too hard, I'm going to either hurt myself or get discouraged, or both.

So that's where I am at today. Feeling weary and a little down, but still willing to figure out how I can move forward to the next level, and still wanting desperately to reach my goals. Ultimately, that's the most important thing, isn't it?

Thursday, July 3, 2008

It's Time for Success

Yes, I have decided: it's time for success.

This morning I weighed in at 306 pounds even, so yesterday's weigh was not a fluke! Hooray! I am just inching my way to sub-300... July is the month! (Not to focus on the scale, but... this is a crucial time!)

Also this morning I successfully completed another run on my new program, this time another 1.5 miles. Much easier than Tuesday's run, but still tough. It's funny... before I ran the 5K race last week running seemed like it was getting easier, but since then it's getting harder somehow! Every run is a struggle. It must get easier at some point, right? This morning one of the thoughts that crossed my mind was... Why exactly am I doing this? Not to get all existential on you, but really! It's a good question that I thought I answered for myself many times already, but now those reasons seem simplistic. Like, there's got to be something bigger about this, kind of like pondering existence itself! Why am I here? Because I am. Why do I run? Because I can? That said, I am really thankful for the "rest day" that is on the schedule for tomorrow, and the 30-minute walk that's on for Saturday. Hopefully it will get me rested and ready for another 3 miler on Sunday! At least today's run saw my speed go back up a little bit, so that's good. Moving along.

While I was out doing some warm-up walking, I saw one of my neighbors out with her dog. She yelled to me, "Looking good! I can really tell a difference!" This is a neighbor whom I have never actually met before, so it was nice to shake hands and get a name (Mary). It also made me feel really good that people who only ever see me from across the street notice my progress. That's pretty cool.

Motivation, motivation -- in real life and virtually (all you who read this and comment make me feel the same way!) -- keeps the momentum, makes it all worthwhile.

PS -- My stepdad is feeling better, and should be headed home today. Thanks for your thoughts and prayers, he'll continue to need them!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

307, Begone! Plus thoughts on being slow

Weight: 306.2
Total Weight loss: 43.8 pounds

I know I should wait to totally celebrate until it's been a few days under 307, but hot damn! I finally broke it! I think eating clean the past two days and my new training schedule are really helping. I just plain feel better, too, except for the usual aches from running.

Today's run was a 3-miler. I was apprehensive about it since my runs since the 5K race have been difficult, including the 1.5 mile one yesterday. But, I trudged on through and finished it without walking! And, I added on just enough for it to qualify as a 5K, so... maybe it could count for the Wee Little Virtual 5K? (Ha ha, I am still hung up on that!). It took me an hour on the nose to finish, for those of you keeping score. Damn, I run slow.

I had this whole conversation in my head about how slow I am, how I thought it might be good to start an official "slow running" movement, but also how maybe I should just give it up and stick with walking. Hell no! Slow or not, I am running. It's what I love to do. My movements are running movements; in fact, if I entered a race as a walker I would be disqualified because of that. I am obviously still pretty self-conscious of my pace. I kept thinking about how all my readers, if they saw me running, would be like, "Hey! That's not running! That's... I don't know what!" I wonder if I wrongly claim the title of Runner. C. says I am a jogger, but no, I firmly believe that what I do is running. I am serious about improving, I have a training schedule, and I run races. Please don't belittle what I do by saying that I jog, simply because I am slow.

Michelle asked yesterday if I am treating myself to something special to celebrate my six month commitment. The answer is an emphatic YES! I subscribed to two running magazines and bought a couple books on the subject as well. Surely a casual jogger would never do that? Last week I bought a copy of Runner's World and was instantly hooked. I admit it, I am becoming obsessed with running. I hope those of you non-running readers aren't getting fed up with my new focus, but I must say it again: I don't think I would have stayed with this like I have if I hadn't discovered running. It really keeps me going, as well as takes away the focus from my actual weight loss, which, as many of you know, can be really frustrating and/or obsessing in not the most healthy way. I have new reasons to eat more healthfully: to fuel my runs, and to make my body more efficient for the task. It's nifty, if you ask me.

I suppose it could be argued that I have shifted my sometimes obsessive nature from one area (weight loss) to another (running), so why is it any better? Well, I do think it is healthier and more conducive to a better mind-set overall. I'm finding it easier to love my body now that I have challenged it the way I have, now that it has proven itself to me that it is so much more than a mere lump of flesh. I can now start to see it for what it is: a configuration of active molecules that I am making use of!

Today's achievements are bittersweet. My stepdad took a turn for the worse recently and is back in the hospital. Would you all kindly think some good thoughts/prayers for him? I would really appreciate it.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

HYC Checkin-In: W1D1 of Spring Training

Weight: 308
Total Weight loss: 42 pounds

It's Tuesday again already? The weeks seem to be zipping by. Unfortunately, my weight hasn't been zipping off lately. I was really thinking that I'd see a nice loss this morning, but instead a very slight gain (pretty much a maintain, half pound). Well, who knows? Maybe it will happen tomorrow, or the next day. I'm bound to see to movement again soon. After all, one day of eating clean again won't show instant results, I know that. ;)

I did as promised, and began my Spring Training this morning according to Hal Higdon's plan. The first run was just 1.5 miles, which yesterday I declared as "easy"; however I had another tough run despite the shorter distance. The whole time I didn't feel like I would make the distance, and my pace was back up (down?) over 19 minutes. SLOWer than even my usual. It's OK. Hal says that it doesn't matter how fast you go or even whether you decide to walk some or even all of a particular run. I did consider walking at some points but just couldn't let myself do it, even though there is nothing wrong with it... it's a rather silly point of pride, I guess. I should probably get over it.

Anyway. With July comes my official six-month mark (July 7th, to be exact). I feel a sense of renewal to my commitment and look forward to what the next six months will bring. Let's fast forward to January 2009, which will be my year anniversary, and speculate about what I might be like by then. I hope to:

• Weigh somewhere between 250 and 270 pounds
• Be able to run 10K comfortably, have my "easy" runs be 5Ks
• Wear pants size 20-22, depending on brand (based on what I wore when I last weighed the above amount)
• Have a normal "bad" cholesterol level (the "good" levels are good at this point)

And, by my 39th birthday (June 2009), I would like to:
• Weigh no more than 229 pounds (my highest weight in college when I thought I was REALLY fat, ha ha!)
• Feel confident in entering the Buffalo half-marathon (late May)
• Be able to shop in "regular" clothes stores for some things (pants size 18?)

*sigh* I just love setting goals. I'm trying really hard to visualize all these things -- if you write things down, you are more likely to do them, and if you can "see" yourself doing them, all the better. So I hear. Just think, someday in the not-so-far future, I will look back and laugh at my running struggles, and not being able to get below 307!

Where do you see yourself in the future?