Saturday, September 29, 2007

.6 pound loss

I'll take it! 179.0--it's the lowest number I've seen on a scale since probably my sophomore year of college. So yes ma'am, I will take it.

Friday, September 28, 2007

True stamina

Do you ever read stories like this one and think, "Good Lord, that is a woman of strength"? How many people would have died not only from the injuries, but also just from giving up, if they were in her situation?

If people can withstand things like that, I think, surely I can manage to hold out on little things that require a bit more stamina than is comfortable. Our lives tend to be so physically comfortable that it knocks us for a loop when life requires fortitude and exertion that we aren't used to.

I think occasionally of a story one of my professors, who had worked in Haiti, told me when we were talking about the word "womanish" and how it means "strength" instead of "silly girlishness" in the Haitian creole. There was a woman she knew in Haiti who was very pregnant but needed to go to the market, which was about half a day's walk away. She walked about half the way to the market, but on the route she went into labor. She gave birth, cut the cord herself, rested a couple of hours, got up, and walked back home again. How anyone could have that strength, I don't know, but it sure is amazing to me.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

It's true!

The pants in size 14 fit me in several stores. I didn't love the fit of all of them, but I did love the fit of some of them. In fact, I bought two pairs of pants as a result, one of which I will wear tomorrow. How exciting!

I was also able to wear size M or 12 in every shirt I tried on. When I put on a smaller shirt and size 14 pants, I went, "Oh" when I looked in the mirror, because I could actually see how I've gotten smaller. I tried on a gorgeous silk size 12 dark blue slip dress that looked great, too--if only I had somewhere to wear one! I tried on another size 14 dress that was too big.

So hurrah! I am still shrinking even if the pounds aren't. It's nice to have confirmation.

Nutrition Calculations for Chipotle

I don't eat typical fast food anymore, and there are very few chain restaurants that hold appeal for me. One that does is Chipotle, but holy hell, if you eat the whole thing you order you are consuming a lot of calories and fat, even if you get a burrito bowl.

There's a great Chipotle nutrition calculator on the web that comes in handy for planning. Today for lunch, I went to Chipotle but told them I only wanted three (not the standard four) crispy tacos even if I paid for all four. Then I got chicken, lettuce, salsa, corn, and guac--but no cheese or sour cream (which I shouldn't eat anyway with my food allergies). As you can see in the sidebar, I ended up eating about 575 cal, which I consider a reasonable lunch since my dinner tonight will be a light one. (And it was so tasty!)

Getting a bit of help

There's a nutritionist/dietician I went to see after I was diagnosed with interstitial cystitis. She helped me figure out what I could eat that would be healthy and would avoid the various foods that I need to avoid. She's very skilled, reasonably priced, and also nice. She questions the wisdom of many things that the mass marketers tell you (like to eat a lot of dairy), just like I do. I really trust her.

I emailed her a couple of days ago to ask her whether she thinks my weight loss stagnation, which seems strange to me given my eating habits, could really just be because I am gaining so much muscle. We decided that I would meet up with her to do a test that measures my metabolic rate--that measures how many calories my body burns in a day. I offered to do a week's food diary as well so that she can see what I have been eating. Despite having purposefully not calculated the calories/fat/points/etc. of anything I have eaten in the last nine months, I think it makes sense to go in to visit the dietician with as much information as possible. So on my sidebar until she and I meet, I will be recording what I eat to the best of my ability.

After emailing her in frustration a few days ago, this morning I woke up and pulled on a pair of pants I've only worn 2 or 3 times since I bought them and had them altered. They are really big on me in the waist and are sliding down on my hips! In the last few days, too, everyone has suddenly been telling me I look smaller again--even people who see me regularly. My husband says he can definitely tell I'm smaller when he wraps his arms around me. So tonight, I'm taking him to the mall with me (getting him to agree to go clothes shopping is a big deal), and I'm going to try on some 14 pants in the mall. If they fit, I will know that I am on track even though my weight isn't dropping.

Honestly, I wish I had measured my various body parts--upper thigh, waist, etc.--a long time ago with a tape measure so that I could measure progress in inches as well as pounds. I would encourage any of you who are taking on an exercise regimen to consider measuring yourself once a month in addition to weighing in case you get at a weight loss stagnation point like I have. I guess I should start measuring myself now, anyway, since I can still see progress over the coming months!

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Thanks for the inspiration, y'all

Today at lunch and yesterday before dinner, I read your various weight-loss blogs to keep myself on track with making good decisions. At lunch, it was reading your blogs (on my laptop at a restaurant) that prompted me to pay attention and push my platter-size serving away when I just reached the satisfaction point.

So thanks! I have to say the wl blogging community is an amazingly inspiring and supportive group.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

In the 170's--and a question for you


It's not an enormous loss, but I'll take it! Running is giving me awesome muscles (the leg ones are nice, but the ab ones are more impressive to me), so my husband pointed out that I may not be able to expect a big drop at a time when my muscle mass is visibly, palpably increasing pretty rapidly. I wish that weren't true, but maybe it will be--and I'd rather have the muscles than have a more quickly reduced weight. I will be thrilled if I can drop .6 pounds per week at this point, honestly. Doing that would still get me where I need to go.

Of course, I'd be thrilled with a good, old-fashioned 2-lb. drop in a week, too.

I had started doing upper-body exercises in our living room on the mornings I don't run. Then we had a friend from out of town sleep in our living room for a week, so that put that aside. But he's gone now, so it's time to get back on track with that!

Last night my husband, two friends, and I went out to dinner. At dinner, I got a side salad and split an appetizer order of homemade chips with blue cheese and bacon with a friend. (I'm not supposed to eat blue cheese but decided to do it anyway for once.) I was really excited about the chips, but after I ate one, I thought, "These aren't as good as I was hoping they would be." I ate a few more, and my nose started itching--my first allergic reaction to most foods. I ate a couple more, and then I thought, "These also really aren't worth the calories." Instead of just blue cheese, they had a gooey bechamel sauce on them--and not a very good one, honestly. The bacon was nearly nonexistent. So I mentally pushed the plate away from me and tucked my hands under the table--feeling mildly full but not stuffed, and glad I stopped. If they had been fabulous, they would have been worth the calories . . . but they weren't.

One very cool non-scale victory occurred last night. After dinner, the four of us were traveling down a busy street when we saw two dogs dart in and out of the road. I suggested that we stop and see if they had collars to call their owners. One had a collar--with no tag--and the other had no collar. But they were sweet, cute, well-behaved dogs who clearly belonged to someone and also clearly did not have street smarts. (Where I grew up, a wandering outdoor dog was common, but in Midtown Atlanta, it's definitely not.) We spent the rest of the night walking the dogs to a friend's fenced yard, walking all over the area to ask if anyone was missing a dog, and finally taking the dogs to a late-night vet to get checked for one of those subcutaneous tags people put in animals now. At that point, we got a call from another friend who had joined our search that while putting up posters, he had come across the dogs' owner. Apparently the guy had taken off one dog's collar to bathe her and let the other one outside as well. He went back inside for a few minutes, and someone opened his fence to let the dogs out. (Sadly, this doesn't surprise me.) But anyway, my point is this: I went all over the place on foot, sometimes gripping a very strong, big blond lab, sometimes running to catch up with someone--and I never got winded or tired. My body was just capable of doing it, as our bodies are meant to do. It's always exciting to realize that something that would have been a struggle for me previously is easy now!

Back to weight: I've lost 24 pounds this year and I'm 2 pounds from my halfway mark, because--unless I decide I want to stop before I get there--my weight goal is 150 pounds, which will mean a 53 pound loss from my recent high weight (and a 76 pound drop from the highest weight I measured--wow!). I am sure that my weight goal is a lot higher than many other people's goals, but I have no dreams or desires to be a size 4 or 6. A 10 would make me perfectly happy and would, I think, not leave me stressing over each bite I eat like trying to maintain a smaller size might.

I would also, next spring, love to be able to wear a bikini and feel good in it. Not a string thing--I can't imagine something skimpy holding up my boobs without hurting my neck and back--but something that shows my stomach without me feeling entirely self-conscious. (By the way, despite all the talk about her being fat, I think Britney Spears had a pretty awesome body at the VMAs. The outfit wasn't very flattering, but I think a small amount of belly on women is attractive. I would love to have a body like she had at the VMAs. I think holding someone up to the ideal of how she looked at 17, before two pregnancies, is crazy.)

What are your long-term goals? What do you envision for yourself six months or a year from now, health-wise, weight-wise, looks-wise? Are you already planning for a celebration of when you reach some goal you have? Are you saving money for the splurge you may do when you reach a certain milestone? I'd love to hear what you are thinking.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

170s, I'm coming back to you! And then I'm leaving you for the 160s!

I'm determined that I am going to lose weight this week and break this seemingly endless plateau. Going through the various w.l. bloggers I read to see their progress has inspired me. I have also gone back through the VP archives to read up on my previous efforts. All of those have combined to make for a back-to-basics week for me--the obvious stuff that it's easy to have slip away from me over time:

1.) I'm eating until I am just satisfied--basically, until I first feel the food hit my stomach. If I stop then, within 15-20 minutes, I'll feel very happy with the meal I've eaten, and generally I'll have consumed a reasonable number of calories. The bonus of eating this way is having lots of leftovers when we eat out!

2.) I'm exercising on a regular basis--both the hardcore kind and the lesser. By lesser, I mean that the little bits of exercise we do here and there add up, so I'm parking farther from the store, getting up from my desk at work more often to move around, grabbing my husband to dance in the kitchen while the green beans are steaming, carrying the few groceries around the store instead of putting them in a buggy. (The bonus with the last one is that it's much more difficult to impulse buy when you have to carry your impulsive purchase along with everything else.)

3.) I'm giving myself a smaller serving at meals and then waiting 15-20 minutes to see if I want more. This is partly a home-eating corollary to #1. If it's already on my plate at home, I'm more tempted to eat it; somehow, putting aside food for later if it has been on my plate at home never occurs to me, even though it's no different than getting a to-go box at a restaurant. At home, it's easier if I just put less on my plate to start with.

4.) I'm keeping desserts as an occasional, once-or-twice-a-week treat instead of indulging regularly. Indulging regularly in desserts can be a total downfall for me. And quite honestly, since I discovered my various food allergies, this has been an area where I have really struggled. I haven't gone completely nuts like I would have 1-2 years ago, but I have eaten dessert more often than I was earlier this year . . . emotionally/mentally as some sort of, "Well, if I can't have that, I can have this" thing. Ultimately, it doesn't make me happy to indulge too often; it takes much of the pleasure out of it.

5) When I eat dessert, I'm starting with a small portion and then waiting to see if that satisfies my craving for something sweet. Often, that's all I want; the first two bites are heavenly, and the rest are just so-so. So one cookie may be the perfect treat. If I want a second or third one after that, fine. But starting with one cookie (or one very small slice of cake, or whatever) seems to be helping me out. I keep the cookies I make in the freezer now to keep me from the on-the-counter snacking syndrome. Out of sight, out of mind? Not exactly . . . but I'm back to telling myself, "It will be a real treat when I eat it--if I only eat it a couple of times a week."

6) When my first thought is that I'm hungry (like right now, for instance!), I ask myself, Do I really want food, or am I actually thirsty? It's amazing how often my body gets those two confused. I don't set any particular water goals for myself these days as I know I get plenty of water, but I definitely feel less tempted to snack if I try out water before eating.

7) I have recently officially been diagnosed as being hypoglycemic--a mild case, I think? I've guessed I was for a long time. If I start to feel that anxious hungry feeling that comes with hypoglycemia, I eat a small snack (a granola bar, or 2 T of nuts) when I first start to feel it coming on. (Also, I find avoiding corn syrup, honey, and sugar early in the day helps me to avoid the hypoglycemia in general.) If I wait until my blood sugar has dropped really low to eat something, I feel panicky in my shakiness and will gobble down way more than I need to fix the problem.

8) I'm planning my meals a week at a time--which I always do--but I'm back to including only one starch at each meal. Serving potatoes? Don't need bread then. Having burgers on buns? Grilled, herbed squash is a great side item. I grew up in what was definitely a 2-starch-per-meal household (bread and one starchy veggie or pasta), and when I eat that way, I definitely consume more calories than I would otherwise.

9) I'm trying to make our meals 2/3 vegetables. This was easier to do with vegetarian eating than it is now that I am allergic to so much vegetarian protein, but I'm keeping it in my mind as I plan meals.

10) I'm focusing on how much oil I use when I'm cooking. It's all too easy to add an extra tablespoon (or two or three) when a food really doesn't need it. With my great Calphalon nonstick pans, I only need to use a little bit of fat for flavor in most recipes.

I'm going to get back into the 170s I so briefly visited, dammit. If it doesn't happen by this coming weekend, it will happen by the next one.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Just a bit farther

As I just emailed one of my friends, I really love running in the early mornings. I hate getting up in the early mornings, as I have never been an early morning person. But there are several factors that make me run in the morning: there's a lower amount of smog then, the weather is cooler, and my stomach is empty or nearly empty without me making any special schedule arrangements for it to be that way. (Running on a half-full or full stomach equals bad cramping problems for me.) When the alarm goes off and I make myself roll out of bed, I usually haven't slept well, and I always think, "I am too tired to do this." But by the time I fasten up my awesome sports bra for women with big boobs and lace up my shoes, I am awake. By the time I am done stretching, I have pumped myself up to go. I get out to the park when it's still dark outside--I can even see a few stars, or, more likely, satellites--but in my first few minutes out there, the bands of gorgeous, muted color that signal sunrise form on the horizon. It's a glorious thing to be outside moving my body through the darkened trees while the sun pulls itself above the horizon.

Yesterday morning when I was running, I decided to push myself to run faster (and therefore farther in my alloted 25 minutes). I was trying to balance pushing myself with not making myself miserable and not pushing myself so hard that I had to walk part of the way. When I got home, I was really excited because of the extra distance that I had traveled. I got my husband to look at Google Earth with me to measure my distance.

And then I was a bit disappointed. I hadn't run as far as I had thought I had. All the curves in the path are tricky, and I'm not good at guessing distances anyway.

My husband was a bit surprised when we discussed it last night over dinner. "But you nearly ran two miles! That's amazing!"

"But I should be running 2.25 now to be on track."

After he asked me how I felt on the run and afterward, I admitted that I feel like I could have pushed myself a bit harder. The problem was, I was afraid of having to switch to walking at some point and then feeling disheartened because of that. But after the run, I was barely sore. (You know, really sore is bad, but a little sore is good indicator of growth.) And today, I can barely tell I ran that hard yesterday.

So tomorrow morning, I am going to push myself a bit harder again and see what happens. I'll still be one of the slowest (if not THE slowest) runner in the park, and that's okay. But I'm going to see if I can do the whole 25 minutes at the pace I started with yesterday. If I have to stop to walk, that's okay; it's a day when I'm testing my limits. If I succeed, I'll know I can get that much of a better workout and get that much closer to my 5k length.

It's one month until my 5k, too! I'm so pumped about that.

In other news, we may move my blog location soon. I've been ruminating on that for a few months. My husband has had two major papers he's been working on for his Ph.D. thesis, but those are both due today, and we may pursue the change once he finishes those.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Back to the bootcamp issue

Apparently I should clarify my post from earlier today.

I was talking to my best friend about the bootcamp issue. She--who runs in the park as I do, though on opposite days--doesn't get the same feel from the bootcampers as I do. She tends to think people are having a more positive experience with it than I do.

Maybe they are.

I asked her, "So how many people do you know who have had success with bootcamp getting them on a roll to get in shape?"

Answer: None.

"What good do you think it does in their lives then?"

She thinks it could put certain people on a path towards exercising regularly by jolting them into it. And if it does, hallelujah--more power to them. If it sets them on a path that they can then cling to, that's great!

But no one I know, and know one she knows, has had that experience. I know several people who have bootcamped at one point or another. What has happened to each and every one of them is that they are in constant pain while they are bootcamping. They aren't a bit sore; they are really, constantly sore. They hate the exercise while they are doing it. They hate getting up in the mornings to go. But they think they should do it because they think "someone has to get my lazy ass out there." I am not making up that statement; I've heard it before from someone in boot camp. "I don't have enough will power to do it on my own." That's another. They think someone has to be yelling at them for them to keep going.

What happens when bootcamp ends? Well, the external controls have evaporated. They haven't found exercise they enjoy. They are tired of early mornings. They are tired of being sore. It drops off immediately or fades out. Some of them do it all over again six months later.

Melissa, in the comments from the last post, thinks I am being unsympathetic or unempathetic to people who are doing bootcamp, and sardonically wants me to know that I am "not more self-actualized" than the people who are doing the bootcamp.

Far be it for me to say that I am more self-actualized than anyone else. As these unnamed people are not living my life, and I am not living theirs, I could not say. But I can say this: I am more self-actualized than I was when I thought that getting my life in order required someone else to play the adult in my life. I am the adult. I had to get my money in order, and that took me a couple of years. I am getting my weight and health right, and that is also taking a couple of years. I am further along in the process of living a good, solid, inwardly rich life than I was when I thought that Weight Watchers or my boyfriend or anyone else was better at knowing what was good for me than I could figure out with my own research, experimentation, and self-knowledge.

Melissa thinks I am not empathetic to others on their weight loss journeys. But I am--boy am I. I have been overweight since about the 4th grade, and I know what it's like to struggle and struggle and struggle.

The truth is, I'm so empathetic that if people are wondering if struggling and struggling is all there is, I want to say, "Maybe that's not all there is."

Since 2005, I've lost over 45 pounds in a slow, gradual process. It has not been painful; it's been joyful.

What I want to share, along with my own struggles (of which there have been plenty), is what I have learned, and that is that we can do this weight loss thing and this getting healthy thing and not have it be such a frustrating struggle where we feel bad about ourselves whenever we make an 'off the plan' decision. We can make this whole process about taking control of our lives in a purely positive fashion and not let it be something that belittles us in any way. I want all of us to come out of this process feeling stronger and more capable--not more controlled by outside rules and forces but more able to take on the world knowing we can take it on successfully.

So let me say: if bootcamp does that for you somehow, have at it, and I hope you enjoy it--really! But if you have tried bootcamp or if you have tried other methods and feel like a failure, you are not a failure. You just haven't found the way that offers you your power back yet. You are a wonderful person who is still searching for a way to take control of her own health. And it is in you to do so in a long, gradual, possibly lifelong process.

Living like I have respect for myself

"I told myself I needed to eat like someone who respected himself." That's a statement that HalfMan made in a recent blog post when he was talking about his weight loss.

So true, isn't it? We don't need to eat like we're ashamed, and we don't need to eat like we have no respect for what food does in our bodies, like we have no respect for who we are and what our years of life are worth. We need to eat like we have self respect.

We also need to exercise like we have self respect.

We're hitting the time of year when it's cool enough in the mornings for those crazy fitness bootcamps to go on in the park where I run. So when I walk into the park these days, I hear fitness instructors yelling, "Come ON! Come ON! Come ON!" I see huddled groups of exercisers trying to hold themselves in push-up position, and then dropping one knee down when they can't hold it, looking around embarrassed or keeping their faces down. I see grimaces. I see bodies covered in work-out pants and long-sleeve t's, with short-sleeve t's over them. Why such coverage for a work-out? I'm out there in shorts, a sports bra, and a sports tank, and I know they have to be getting at least as steamy as I do.

Whenever I am passing one of these groups, I get this overwhelming sense of negativity. What are they thinking about my body, about this pudgy girl who's walking (if I'm warming up) or running through the park? What do the instructors think of me--that I need to have my ass worked over like these people in their boot camps?

I work on letting it go. Every single time I pass them, I doubt myself: doubt my ability to take care of myself, doubt the appeal of my appearance, doubt my methodology.

And quite frankly, I realized today, that's absurd.

I am sure there are dieters who have found bootcamps helpful. But when I see those people crouched on the ground or huffing through plyometrics while instructors blow whistles at them, I realized today that I feel it is the opposite of everything I am trying to do with my weight loss and fitness goals. I want to take care of myself. I want to nurture myself. I want to feel good in my skin and good in my life. I want to feel alive and happy and hard-working. I want to set up my life so that I am happily in my life's driver's seat, knowing I'm a competent driver.

I do not want to feel ashamed or belittled or punished. And when I'm passing the people in the bootcamp, with the instructors standing still screaming and the overweight people all in motion, I feel like that is what those overweight people are doing to themselves. They are saying that they do not have the skills, the willpower, the stamina to create a better life for themselves without being punished or controlled by someone else. They are saying, "Here, take my power, because I don't know what to do with it, and you must know better than me."

Is that really sustainable in the long run? How can we succeed at having a healthy, long life if we won't take control of our own actions within that life? If the only controls upon us are external ones of what a bootcamp instructor says during a workout or what a spouse thinks of us taking another bite? What happens is we rebel against those controls at some point. We don't show up for exercise. We sneak food. We eat a potato, and because it's not 'on the plan,' it throws us off entirely.

You have the power within you to lose this weight, to flip the magnet of your life so that instead of being repelled from what you want to be come, you stick to it. I have that power, too. It's not about making any huge sacrifices, giving up entire food groups because we can't 'manage' to eat them without going crazy or having someone force us to exercise until we are in pain. It's about a gradual approach toward taking care of ourselves, toward believing we really are smart enough and capable enough to learn to run our own lives and really, truly love ourselves. That doesn't mean we won't need guidance and inspiration from bloggers, personal trainers, friends, dietitians, or anyone else, because most of us will. But it means we need to take that information and support to empower ourselves, not give that power away.

Way to go, Kim!

I just have to say I am so proud of Kim at Kim Under Construction, who recently ran her first 5k. When my alarm went off so early this morning for me to run, the first thing I pictured was the photo of Kim running in that 5k! It was great motivation.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Another one for the wl blogging world

My friend Lesley has decided to go public with her weight-loss challenge for herself, so please pop over to her blog and show her some support. In addition to her main blogging page, she has a separate page for her weight loss work. Lesley's a marvelous person, and if she embraces the baby steps that can bring on the health, I know she can do this!

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Busy and RUNNING

I promise I'm not avoiding you! Really!

It's just that I feel like I've been working 90% of the time and trying to recover the other 10%. I felt the pricks of tears forming in my eyes as I told someone yesterday that I will be less busy by January--and then went on to say that what I mean is, if I am not less busy by January, something will have to give. I'm doing what I have to do at work to get things done right now, and some of those are exciting things that are my creations. (And I'm not really working 90% of the time--just feel like it.) But this is unsustainable in the long run.

However--however--I have been determined not to lose my focus on exercising during this period of stress. I ran 25 minutes straight this morning (plus stretching, a 10-min. walking warm-up, and a cool-down walking period), so I am definitely back on track with that! It makes me feel so much better all day when I have gone out and busted my ass with exercise by 7:30 a.m.

My weight has spiked this week with the early arrival of my period. EARLY, for the second month in a row! Not okay. I plan to go to the doctor when it ends, because with the symptoms I get, having a period every third week is unacceptable. I'm going to see if I can use Seasonale without getting depressed. (Most b.c. makes me depressed.) Anyway, my weight spike is not a big one--about 1.5 pounds. It will go away when my hormones calm down. And already my body fat percentage is decreasing again with my runs. I am going to see if I can get up at 6:15 not just to run but also 2-3 other days a week (nearly all 7, then) to work out in my living room before going to work. I want to do arm/chest/upper body stuff to work on more than my legs and core. (Honestly, though, I am surprised by how much I get changes all OVER from running.)

I hope you are all doing well. I need to go take a stroll through some of your blogs.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

I'm running again!

Trying to give my life a sense of balance, I created a calendar of things I want to do over the next 16 months. I made the calendar several weeks ago and put "Start running again" under the first week of September. Today was my deadline to start.

Several days ago, I went through the Couch to 5k plan to see where I thought I should try to pick up. I decided to start with week 6--close to where it's running only, but still with intermittent walks in the runs. I wasn't sure how much stamina I had lost since I stopped running in the July heat. I set up my mp3 player with the music and beeps for Run 6A.

Yesterday, in anticipation of the run this morning, I set out my running clothes and shoes on my dresser. I put my mp3 player on top of them. Whenever I saw them, I mentally psyched myself up about going for a run today, and I could feel it working. I felt excited about getting back to that part of my life.

I woke up at 6:30 a.m. The room was dark, and I was disoriented about why the alarm was going off when it was still dark outside. Then I remembered the exercise, and I inwardly groaned. Luckily, my husband has decided he's going to work out at the gym when I run this fall, so as soon as I rolled out of bed, he did too. He turned on the lights and made the bed while I was in the bathroom, so when I got back to put my running clothes on, I felt less tempted to crawl back in bed.

I worked on pumping myself up with positive thoughts this morning. That might sound silly, but I find the frame of mind around exercise can be just as important as the physical elements. "I can do this." "I'm up this morning taking care of myself." Things like those statements were going through my head as I turned on my mp3 player and began stretching.

Ten minutes later, I went outside. I had been worried about the dark, but with streetlights, there was enough light, and there were other people exercising in the park. There was never a time when I couldn't see someone else exercising near me, which was good for safety reasons. A number of homeless people were also present in the park; living in Midtown Atlanta gets me hit up for money regularly, but people leave me alone when I'm running. And anyway, it was early enough that the homeless people were mostly (sadly) stretched out on benches sleeping.

I walked my 10-minute warm-up and then started a slow jog for my first run. After the 5 minutes of the first run were up and my mp3 player beeped for me to switch to a walk, I was amazed at how good I still felt. "I could run more!" I thought excitedly. But I stuck to the program. At the end of my exercise, I actually kept running for a couple of extra minutes and increased my speed a bit.

I'm definitely a bit sore now, but not painfully so. I'm very excited about getting back on track with my running! I am aiming for a 5k at the end of October now to give myself plenty of time to get ready.

For those of you who have been thinking about doing C25k, if you are in the US, you would be hard-pressed to find a better time to start than with the temperature drop of fall. (Atlanta is not cool right now--it's 90 degrees at the moment--and it's very humid. But it's much more comfy than it was even a week ago.) I walked daily for a couple of months before I started C25k, and that gave me a decent base level to start from. I'm excited about finishing the program this time, and with winter in GA being mild, I should be able to keep running through the year. (Until NEXT July, maybe--we'll see.) As I get more fit from running, I also have other fun stuff in my schedule for later, like hiking, weight lifting, rock-climbing, and kayaking. I plan to keep at this program--even if I have to take intermittent breaks for whatever reason--until I am comfortable in my body like I was as a child.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Zero sum game

Well, I haven't lost any weight this month--0 net loss for the month of August.


0 net gain for the month of August.

And sometimes that's what we can hope for. My clothes are not tighter; in fact, it seems my smaller clothes fit me better even without an additional loss. I'm buying 12s in tops and dresses, 14s in pants.

I've been holding tight at 180-point-something.

I've been dealing with a lot adjusting to my food allergies, and now I'm being tested for celiac disease as well. And I have not been exercising, as I mentioned before.

So I'll take holding on to my current weight. This week is when I begin to run again, and even if that doesn't make my actual weight lower, it will make me feel better, be healthier, and look better. I'm pleased--if a little nervous--to get back on track with the running. I know I can do it, since I was doing it just a couple of months ago.

Yay for cooler weather!

What I'm hoping for is to average 5 pounds a month still. That's a much slower loss per month than most people are going for, but I'm finding slow and steady is what works for me. And to think about being 20 pounds smaller by Christmas is amazing.

However, seriously, I will take 5 pounds smaller by Christmas, or 10 pounds. Or 5 pounds with a 4% drop in body fat. (It's dropped 5-6% since January, after all.) Or if I have to, I'll take maintenance while my body and brain figure out better how to deal with these food allergies/intolerances.

It's been about three years since I was at my highest weight--almost exactly, actually. I tipped the scales at 223 at one point, and then I got bigger--but I refused to weigh myself past that point. I was miserable in so many ways, and it took breaking up with my first fiance for me to shake me up to start dealing honestly with my life. Financially, professionally, personally--I had a lot of work to do.

After I met my husband, I started eating healthier and working out regularly. I got my weight down to about 187. After we got married, though, I stopped working out and started eating lots of sweets. Seriously, lots of them. And eating until I didn't feel good on a pretty regular basis.

By last Christmas, I weighed in at 203. Since January 1, I've lost--and kept off--23 pounds, and this time I am not planning to let that weight start creeping back up. Barring something terrible like an illness that keeps me bedridden for months, I am going to keep this weight off, keep the level of health I have attained.

One of my friends was laughing recently about another friend of ours who gained 5 pounds and was dieting to get it off. This dieting girl is thin. I laughed too for a second but then grew quiet. "Well," I said, "I guess that's how you keep the weight gain from becoming a real problem." If you deal with it while it's 5 pounds, you're doing a whole lot better than if you wait until it's 20 or 40 or 100. So if I'm maintaining for a while, that's my goal. If I'm losing, even better. I just don't want to lose heart, period. I and my health are too important for that.