Sunday, December 18, 2011

Back.. With a Vengence!

...okay, maybe not a vengence. But definitely back with a goal!

First, let me fill you in on the past few months. I have been slacking on my fitness quite a bit. I lost my job in September and let that fact define me. At least a month was spent on the couch, doing nothing but playing solitaire and watching TV. Depression had me by the throat. It was not a good time.

The only upside of the past few months is that I've somehow managed to drop 20 pounds. Always have to find the silver lining. I'm down to about 239 right now and have been fluctuating between that and 235. I've also just been given a FitBit for an early Christmas gift so I will be monitoring my fitness through that.

But back to the goal.

The year 2012 will be "The Year of 1,000 Miles". I have already found 6 different obstacle races that I want to participate in next year and I don't want to go into them without training like I did this year. So next year I am going to make sure that my legs, and my body, are ready for the punishment I am determined to put it through.

I have broken the goal down into doing 4 miles a day. If I am to realistically reach 1,000 miles in 365 days, I need to plan for sick days, days when I'm just too busy, days when I may have pulled a muscle or injured myself, and days when I just don't feel like doing anything. 4 miles a day will get me to 1,000 miles in 250 days. That leaves 115 days for the things that just come up. And if I go over the 1,000 mile goal... even better!

Leaving myself a bit of wiggle room, I believe, will help me to stick to this goal I have planned for myself. The perfectionist in me doesn't like making mistakes (missing a run, or a workout) and generally throws in the towel once one has been made. This plan allows for mistakes to be made and still lets me continue working towards where I want to be.

I hope that you will stick with me through this and as excited as I am to see where it takes me!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Setting Goals

There is something to be said for setting goals. Nothing lofty or vague, but real concrete goals that you commit to. Having goals that are tangible make working out so much easier.

For example: I always wanted to run. By committing myself to a 5k or two (or ten!) which have to be paid for in order to participate... I am committing to something. There is something on the horizon that I have to train for, work towards, and be present for.

In all the years I have struggled with losing weight, there has always been the goal of "I want to lose weight". But that is so.... foggy. There is nothing to really measure against there. How will you know when you reach that goal? If you lose 5 pounds? 10? 50?

However, if you change it to "I want to lose 10 pounds", there is something significantly measurable there. You have something solid to move towards with your fitness routines. While it may take you just as long to lose those 10 pounds even with setting a goal, you can gauge your success far easier. You aren't forever on the train of "Not there yet." If you don't define what "there" is.... how will you ever reach your destination?

Right now I'm working towards NOT getting leg cramps while running and getting my per mile time down to under 16 minutes while running a 5k. Two very measurable things. It helps with motivation. If I choose to NOT get up and work out, these goals get further and further out of reach.

When you're setting goals, though, remember to set something that is achievable. Saying, "I want to be a size 2 by this time next year" is probably not something that will happen. I am a size 16 now, and I have 160 pounds of muscle mass already. I am 5'9", so being 160 pounds at my height will probably not result in a size 2. Something more feasible would be "I want to be a size 12 by this time next year". That is far more doable and healthy for my body.

And when you set goals, make yourself accountable. Write them down. Post them where you will see them all the time, like on your fridge, or the inside of your front door... maybe on your bathroom mirror. And tell people! When your friends, family, and coworkers know what you are trying to work towards, they can help keep you honest. They can encourage you and celebrate with you when you reach the goals you set for yourself.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Anacortes Art Dash 5k

Another day another 5k! Saturday we met up with a friend and her daughter to drive out to Anacortes for their Art Dash. Again, my legs cramped up on me like they did during the first 5k I did. But I still managed to get through it with the help of my running buddy. (Thank you!!)

My time wasn't terrible, but I want to make it so much better. I really want to start getting my times down.

But the upside is that I had a really great time. Our friend and her daughter are wonderfully charming and friendly people. We had met up with them at the Do Life 5k on Wednesday, but didn't spend that much time with them. This time we had breakfast (and coffee) together, and ran together. It was a great time!

I ran in probably the last quarter mile (maybe not that far, but it was a distance!) and it felt good. There is nothing like the adrenaline of seeing the finish line in front of you. It was a beautiful run. Definitely worth it. And there are always such nice people running with you. Great 4th 5k of the year.... 4 down, 6 to go!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tiffany Does Life

A few months ago I stumbled across Ben Davis's blog, Ben Does Life. He lost over 100 pounds by running with his brother (who also lost a great deal of weight). I found someone who has done, and is still doing, exactly what I wanted to do. I am fat, but I wanted to run so badly.

So I started following his blog. He's funny, charming, and brutally honest about what he's doing. Then they announced in late May, early June that they were putting together a tour of the US with organized 5k runs at every stop. Needless to say.... I was giddy. Ben is a huge inspiration to me and I was going to be able to meet him (and Pa!) and do a race with all these people that are readers as well? Where do I sign up??

Everyone who showed up for the run. Photobombed by a kissy couple in the back! :)
Needless to say, when they got to Seattle I was giddy. We were the last stop on their tour and I think we sent them off with a bang. At one point Ben ran along-side me when I was having a really hard time with my pacing and breathing. He's good people.

I actually ran more of this race than I have my previous two, and managed to knock 4:22 minutes off my run-time. (Went from 53:43 to 49:21) And made some awesome friends in the meantime!
Start Line... which was about 10 feet from the finish line. Too bad I couldn't just run THAT bit.

And we're off! Look at that sweet pony-tail action I've got going on!


I look happy, and I'm running. Yes this was EARLY on in the race. And my friend in the purple is Mindi. Met her there and she stayed with me for most of the run. She is awesome!


Ben and me. He is just as awesome in person as you'd expect from reading his blog.

Couldn't leave without a picture with Pa. He is as much an inspiration as both of his sons are.

The Shirt. You can't run a race without getting The Shirt!

I'm dying and sore today. But it was worth it. I had a really great time. It was well worth every minutes of the run.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

TMI Post: Naked Conversations

This may be too much information for some of my readers. If you don't want to read anything about nudity or women's locker rooms, please go to a place where you won't be nearly as scandalized.... like here.

Okay, now that all the squeamish are gone I can talk.

There is this strange phenomenon happening that kind of tweaks my brain. My M-W-F workouts are done with 3 other women that I am friends with and work with. We all get changed in front of each other and shower. At first it was strange. At first it wigged me out that I was completely clothes-less in front of people with which I would have to attend meetings later.

Over time this weirdness started going away. Now it doesn't phase me much and we have long drawn out conversations while getting our regular clothes on and out of our sweaty gear. I am completely comfortable around these women and I don't think much about body modesty or self-consciousness.

Today, however, I held an entire conversation, pre-shower, with a woman I had never met before. She was also in the middle of changing and we were having a really interesting conversation on losing weight and how it effects your shoe size. (Bonus, she says that she was a 10-11 and went down to about an 8 and a half... there's hope for me yet!)

For some perspective, I was always the girl who faced the corner while I changed. I always tried to get dressed (and undressed) without anyone seeing an inch of my body. I would creatively arrange my towel, take my bra off under my shirt and slide my new shirt on over my head quickly. But not so much anymore.

I'm beginning to learn to not care so much about what other people think about my body. I have come a long way from my days at 315 pounds. I'm still overweight. There is no possible way to hide that from anyone with eyes. So why should I worry myself over it? And concerning the naked locker room conversations? I assume that if the other person weren't comfortable they wouldn't continue the conversation. Until someone tells me otherwise, I don't see my behavior changing.

Monday, July 25, 2011

No More Whining

It's taken me an entire week to get past the news from the doctor. A week full of snippy remarks to friends and family. A week full of wanting to do nothing more than stay curled up in bed and not talk to anyone ever.

Yea, I was throwing a grown-up temper tantrum. I was pissed off. I was sad. I was angry at both myself for not doing better, and at my specialist for talking down to me. I was so unsure of what to do. I was scared and felt that no one understood just how terrifying it all was.

A week post-appointment, however, I am back in the gym. Today I went back with a vengeance. I was not going to let this beat me anymore. I wasn't told that I was going to die any time soon. These things are controllable. Why am I giving it all this power?

No more whining. Just moving and sweating and getting it done. Rawr!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Falling In

I am frustrated. The news from the doctor has the usual tailspin going on. I realize I am over-reacting and that I have all the power to change things... but right now it's pulling me into this deep emotional crater.

Working out seems useless anymore. I did the whole 8 week program, I did cardio 3 days a week, and I ran a 3.55 obstacle course. All of these things, and my health hasn't changed save for getting worse. What's the point, right?

This post isn't about a pity party. It's not about garnering sympathy or fishing for compliments. It's to show those of you who are on the same journey I am that we all have days like these. I am discouraged. I am sad. I am emotionally eating and snapping at my friends and loved ones. I feel like it's not only the scale, mocking me with its unmovable numbers, but now my vital bodily processes are joining in on the bullying.

There is nothing more I want right now than to just lie in bed, forget that life is happening outside my bedroom window and give up. I don't understand what the purpose is of all the sweating, all the pushing, and all the pain if I'm not getting results?

Today is a day of weakness. I am human and flawed just like everyone else. Not a rockstar today.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Another Disappointing Check-Up

I went to the doctor today for my usual 3-month diabetes check-up. I knew that my blood sugar had been high recently due to being sick. But what ended up happening has thrown me for a huge loop. Not only did my blood sugar A1c numbers climb +0.3, but my cholesterol has jumped about 45 points from "perfectly normal" to "we want you to start taking meds for it".

Luckily, my doctor is amazing and doesn't jump to the "meds fix everything" conclusion all the time. She has given me the next 3 months to get things under control, but it has me in a tail-spin.

I don't know what to eat. I am afraid to eat. I know myself far to well, and if I don't get this tailspin under control, I may just stop eating altogether. Meds are always the very last option on my list. So I feel I need to get this under control, and that while I have the option to stay off meds, I want to keep it that way. I'm just at a loss right now as to what to put on my plate

I guess my problem right now is that I'm frustrated. I'm 30 years old and this year has been so up and down with my health that it's got me spinning. First the diabetes, then the cyst and surgery, and now my cholesterol is through the roof. All during the year that I have learned to cook, gotten settled in a new home and started working out on a regular basis.

Tonight I am carting myself off to my first Zumba class with Tonja, hoping it will work off some of the frustration and anger I am experiencing right now. Because the only other option is to emotionally eat. And that isn't so much an option after all.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Day After

Yesterday still seems like a dream to me. A painful, grueling, rain and mud-soaked dream. That is until I see the bruises showing up on my legs. Or until I catch a glimpse of my medal or bracelet... then I remember how real it was.

It's going to take me a while to come down from the high that yesterday created. I did a lot of things that I never thought that I could ever do. I conquered my squeamishness when it comes to getting dirty. I faced my fear of heights and falling only to overcome those as well.

Maybe I'm a freak of nature or maybe this is normal, but I am loving the fact I'm all battered and bruised. The pain isn't exactly fun, but the proof that I'm a badass is pretty awesome. These prove that I did something yesterday. I didn't wimp out. I didn't slack. I pushed myself until I could push no further. At no point during the race did I even consider giving up. It wasn't an option. Could I have gone to one of the medics along the route and told them I wanted to go back to the start line? Yup. I sure could have. But I was bound and determined to get this done.

It helps, tremendously, to have someone with you who is supportive and will keep you going. I was luck enough to have that in Tonja. This race, mentally, was easier than our first 5k. But it was still really tough in spots. Emotionally I wavered from pumped to depressed, from giddy to exhausted. She kept me going.

And now I have these bruises to prove I didn't give up. I didn't give in to the cold, the wet, the pain or the fear. I'm officially a Warrior. When the bruises heal, I have a medal to continue proving it!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Warrior Dash Day!

Today we did the Warrior Dash. I am bruised. I am battered. I had mud in places I had no idea mud could get into. Here are some pictures.





I will add more details when I'm not so extremely exhausted.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Returning to the Water

When I was a kid I spent nearly every day of the summer in the pool. My parents had a 3-foot to 10-foot gorgeous pool in their back yard from the time I was 6 years old. I would wake up in the morning, throw my bathing suit on and not take it off until the sky grew dark again. My parents would have to either bribe me with something I wanted, or threaten me with punishment to get me out of the pool. Some days I spent a great deal of the night in there as well.

Somewhere in my teenage years, though, I gave up on it. I'm not entirely sure if it was lack of security in my body, or just the lack of drive to get outside of my bedroom. But I gave up on something that I loved so deeply.

Today Tonja suggested we go to the hot tub to loosen our muscles up for Warrior Dash tomorrow. So we both threw on our suits and headed down to the cabana at our apartment complex. After sitting in the wonderfully hot water for a while and eyeing the lap pool, I decided to go for it.

Possibly the best decision I could have made. Up until that moment I'd forgotten the passion I had for the pool. But it all came rushing back to me. The second I dipped my head below the surface and kicked off the wall I knew I had found my passion again. It was the first time I have felt this at peace with myself and my body in a very long time.

I realize this isn't exactly a fitness post, but it is about loving movement. I had forgotten how active I used to be before all these years of sedentary living. And I plan on living in the pool as much as possible this summer!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quieting the Voice

If you would've told me a year ago that I would say what I'm about to say, I'd have laughed at you. But it's the truth.... I miss working out. I miss moving. I'm even losing the callouses I'd built up from the 8 weeks of weight lifting. All of this makes me incredibly sad.

I have been out of the gym for just over a week and a half now due to what is possibly turning into bronchitis. And it pisses me off. I have Warrior Dash on Saturday and I can't breathe at all. If it's not gone by Monday I'm mentioning it to the doctor during my checkup. I am not backing out of Saturday for love nor money. I will walk the damned thing if I have to, but I will do it.

And there is this voice in the back of my head that is evil and won't shut up. It is telling me that this time off is going to defeat me. It's telling me that I will lose all the results I'd obtained and I will have to start all over again. It's saying that I have ruined everything and that everything I've worked so hard for is gone again. And what's the point of starting all over again? Right?

Wrong. Totally completely wrong. That voice needs to disappear. I am sure if you've ever been overweight, you've heard this voice too. If you miss a day... a few days... a week or more... it's just all ruined! But it's not true. I am not going to gain back the 65 pounds I've lost in 2 weeks. I'm not going to lose all the definition I've gained in my calves and arms. I'm not going to balloon back up to a size 28.

This lesson was probably the hardest one I've ever had to learn. Just because a workout isn't perfect, or just because you miss a step or a day, it doesn't mean that everything is for naught. Tomorrow is always another day, and another chance to get back up there to get it done.

This is simply just another hurdle I need to get over. My body needed the time to heal. I gave it that time and will get back to working out as soon as I feel it's healthy to do so.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Down for the Count

I haven't worked out all week long. On Monday my allergies grabbed me by the face and have since refused to let me go. Today is the very first day I've felt even remotely human again... and that's still quite a stretch.

Technically, I could've worked out this week. My rule of thumb is that as long as it's not out of my head, it's safe to work out. Head colds, sinus infections, even maybe a tickle in the throat. Those are safe. You might want to dial the intensity down a few notches, but you should be alright.

If it's anything lower, though, I think I would stay away from working out completely. If you can't breath properly because you have bronchitis..... just take it easy.

Me, personally? If I'm feeling too cruddy to go to work, or just entirely too foggy-headed to think straight, working out is completely off the table. And the main reason for this is that I want to give my body the chance to rest. I want it to heal as quickly as possible so that I can get back to working out at my full intensity.

What can you do to keep yourself healthy while sick? Nutrition! Seriously, I know how I am when sick. Food is the last thing that is on my mind. But you have to keep yourself hydrated (I tend to stock up on G2 - Sugar Free) and feed yourself healthy snacks. Fruits, veggies and healthy proteins. I know that when I finally started snacking with watermelon, carrots and boiled eggs, I started perking up almost immediately.

Truth is, the lack of food in your system could be lending itself to the "fog" that a lot of people feel while sick and congested. The smaller the portions and more frequently I ate the clearer I felt. Give it a try next time you're feeling under the weather. See if it works for you too!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

True to Life Action Hero

My personal trainer (aka - best friend, roommate, and all around awesome chica) runs Action Hero Fitness, Inc. After seeing some really amazing videos about people overcoming their own challenges we bantered back and forth about having an "Action Hero of the Month" to write about on her blog. It was a great idea, but nothing was really decided on who she was going to choose for this month.

Then today, over IM, I started getting random questions. And of course, I didn't put 2 and 2 together (mostly because I'm sick right now and count myself lucky to remember my own name) until she posted her blog post for the day...


Action Hero Fitness Inc. - Blog

I'm the very first Action Hero of the Month!! Lookit me, Mrs. July! 

Little did she know that when she wrote this that I was feeling kinda bummed about not being able to work out this week. I've been sick since Monday night and not being able to breathe is a huge barrier to exertion, especially when you already have asthma to fight against. 

This honor made me feel so much better. I have come so far, and I have so much further to go. I am looking forward to the journey forward. One week of downtime due to my face imploding isn't going to keep me from where I'm trying to go. 

Now I just need to find out where I can buy a cape.....

Monday, July 4, 2011

The Power of F-A-T

You've seen me call myself "fat" here in nearly every entry. Hell, it's even in my blog's title. I am fat.

And when I call myself this, my beloved friends and family tend to jump to my side to defend me from myself:
"You're not fat!" 
"You're just big-boned!" 
"You're just fluffy." 
"You're not fat, you're Rubenesque."

I appreciate the thought. I appreciate that the people who love me most don't want me to be down on myself for my current body type. These are amazingly wonderful people who only want to spare me from the truth of what I am.

I am fat.

That being said, being fat doesn't define me. It's only a part of a whole. Yes, I am fat. I am also smart, stubborn, hard-working, lazy, and compassionate. None of these things are the one end-all be-all label for me.

The word "fat" has become this horribly dirty word in our society. And I get it. I really do. No one really wants to be fat. No one wants to be unhealthy and riddled with a laundry list of medical conditions due to being "morbidly obese". But why all the sugar-coating? Why are there so many euphemisms for this one little three-letter word? Why can't we just call it what it is?

I use the word simply to take away the power that we, as a society, have given to it. Fat is not a bad word. It has neither positive nor negative connotations. It just is. No different than being called tall, short, blonde or brunette. It is just a descriptive word that I find currently fits me. Fat is just a word. I refuse to let it have any power over me.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Learning to Eat

For a very long time, food was my crutch. Food was what I turned to when I was hurting, or excited, or just plain bored. I would eat nearly anything in sight because there was just nothing better to do. Food was my best friend when I felt I could go to no one. Food always made me feel just a little less alone in my world.

If someone would have told me a year ago that I was going to have trouble getting the number of calories I need in a day, I would've thought them mad. But here I am. My body has moved into starvation mode because I am just not eating enough food in a day. I am not drinking enough water. I am not getting my vitamins like I should.

And it's not because I am trying to lose weight. This is not some pro-ana site, nor am I encouraging anyone to go and intentionally starve their bodies. I am not eating enough because food doesn't matter to me as much as it once did. I am not seeking from it love, or entertainment. I am not looking to it from comfort or compassion. I have wonderful people in my life now that are there for me when I need them.

Food has just become unimportant. If I don't workout on any given day, I don't tend to eat that much either. When I do workout though, I eat quite a bit. The volume of food, however, rarely matches up with the calorie content.

If I were to keep track of my food, it would probably be easier and beneficial for my health. However, doing so makes me incredibly neurotic about the food I get in during the day. So I am trying to listen to my body. I am trying to eat when I am hungry and only then. I am hoping this works itself out.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Breaking the Curse

Since getting serious about my weight loss back in the summer of 2009 I have started and stopped at least a handful of different workout programs. After about a year or so, I started noticing a fairly distinct trend. I would attack these programs/videos/routines. I would do them religiously and faithfully without fail....

.....at least for the first 6 weeks. I don't know what it was about the number 6, but after that point the interest, drive and commitment would drop off and I would give up. I don't know what the psychology behind it is, but it happened over and over and over again.

However, with this last workout schedule, I have broken this 6 week curse. Yesterday, I finished my 8 week weight lifting routine. I moved from doing most of the moves with 3-5 pound weights to finishing up using an Olympic bar weighing anywhere from 65-75 pounds.

I am proud of myself. I have about 15 days off from weight lifting before I start another lifting schedule, but I cam going to enjoy my time doing all sorts of fun cardio, endurance, and functional workouts. Then... Warrior Dash!!!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Finding Fitness Bliss

Yoga. I love Yoga. To my very bones I love the stuff.

I started taking yoga classes when I was 19 at the little gym by my mom's house and fell in love. I couldn't afford classes for a few years, but when my son was a toddler, I started taking them again. Probably only went to 10-15 classes and stopped again.

That was probably 7-8 years ago. I haven't stepped foot into a yoga class since the parade of perfect barbies in yoga pants and tank tops at the Big-Box Gym I used to belong to back then. I was always the only fat girl in the back of the class. The closest I came to finding anyone my size was the pregnant woman that sometimes showed up. The instructors have always been fantastic. It was the looks I felt I was getting from the other students that always bothered me.

Taking any kind of group classes as a fat person is never easy. A lot of overweight people refuse to take them due to being self-conscious and worried over how they look in class. Being the only person in an over-sized shirt and baggy pants while everyone else is in skin-tight workout gear doesn't help anyone feel like they fit in with the group. Speaking from a fat girl's perspective, I have lived my life trying to fight against the stereotypes of being overweight. Proving that I am not a sweaty, stinky, flopping mass of rolls has been a life-long struggle. And going into a class where sweating, stinking and flopping the fat around is most certainly going to happen.... it's at least a little bit uncomfortable.

All of that being said, I still went. I still sat with a flat back as my muscles screamed. I still bent my over-sized body parts into the positions demonstrated by the instructors. I went because I wanted to be more. I went because I loved the focus it gave me.

If there is something that you really want to do, do it. The fear of judgement, and the fear of failure are probably what have kept most of us overweight folks just that.... overweight. Most people that I have talked to who are fit and healthy don't look down on the fatties in class. Most are encouraging and supportive that you are working towards bettering your health.

Life is too short to miss out on doing things that you love simply because you have some extra poundage on your bones. I love Yoga. I am finally taking classes again. The teacher this time around challenges me in ways I have never been challenged in a yoga class before. It hurts. I sweat and turn red. I can't do all the moves at least partially right. But I love it. Fat be damned.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On Love, Hate and Weights

This is my last week of an 8 week weight-training program. I only had today and Friday to get through and I'm done! I can't tell you how excited I am to finally complete a work-out program. This one will probably... oh no... definitely be my very first. I can't tell you how overwhelmingly thrilled I am to finally follow-through on something fitness-related.

That being said... this is probably the hardest of the 8 weeks so far. And no, I don't mean physically either. This week is all mental. Between work, school and home, I am exhausted. I'm not seeing any movement on the scale or visibly, so I'm frustrated. We upped the reps and this is the heaviest week yet, so everything is a struggle when I feel like it shouldn't be.

Today I hated the olympic bar. Today I raged at every pound, every lift, every push and every pull. Today I could've put it all down and walked away. But I would've regretted it. So instead, I kept moving. I kept lifting and pushing and pulling the metal around the gym. One more day, and this is over.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Listen Closely

I know I have posted before about listening to your body. And yes, I'm going to reiterate it here. If you are in pain, or some serious level of discomfort, you may want to put off your workout.

This morning I had to be to work at some ungodly hour of the morning (also known as: Oh-god-thirty) so I was up around, roughly, 2:45am. Got up, managed to fumble my way through getting workout clothes on, packing my actual outfit, boiling eggs, eating my bran, and testing my blood sugar. What I forgot were my meds, my vitamins, and my lunch. Oh yea, today is going to be a wonky day.

Managed to make it to the gym by 5am and started warming up. That was when I realized that my body was having none of it. Apparently biology wins out over wanting to move this morning. Grr.

So, instead working up a wonderful sweat I will sit at my desk, work on schoolwork until I am able to work on what I am assigned today, and just deal with the fact that my body is staging a mutiny against me. Oh yea, and eat breakfast. Again.

The most difficult about this is not to beat myself up for missing a workout. If I only manage to move 5 times this week instead of 6... I think I'm still doing alright. We'll just have to wait and see.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Balance

For those of you who actually follow this blog, I'm sure you've noticed I've been lacking in my posts here lately. I have been busy out there living life. But no worries, this fat girl is still moving!

I am currently in week 8 of a weight-training program that my trainer has me moving through. In the first week I was lifting 5-pound barbies* and struggling to get through 12-14 reps with them. This week I have been on the Olympic bar now for a while and have been adding plates to it. I can bench 75 pounds now. And while that may not seem like much, I started out struggling with 20. She has me moving through interval training as well, for the cardio. (Note to self: Write blog post about how much fun cardio can be once you step off the tread-mill or elliptical.) I work out 5-6 days a week without fail. And while the numbers on my scale haven't moved much, my inches are going down... down... down...

Sadly, the first thing to fall by the wayside when I get busy is this blog. I am looking at ways to make it a bit more of a priority than I already do. Between taking 2 college courses every quarter, working out every morning, cooking when I have time, and trying to spend quality time with friends and family... it's no easy feat. Then of course, writer's block hits like a ton of Legos and everything comes grinding to a halt.

The upside of it all is that I've started 5-6 posts that I have been blocked on. So I am hoping to use those for inspiration when I get back into the swing of things.

Also, In 2 weeks I go back to the doc to see where I'm at in the journey to be med-free for my Diabetes. Nervous as hell, but we will see how that goes! I will hopefully be around much more. Who's going to keep you wonderful people entertained if it's not me?  :-)

*Barbies - Weights that are generally under 15 pounds and don't allow for adjustment. Usually the multi-color neoprene weights. Short name for "Barbie Weights".

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Food Friends and Family

There is a strange joy I find in cooking for my loved ones. All of the women in the previous generations of my family, on both sides, have always enjoyed cooking "for the troops". But until I really learned to cook for myself I never understood it. The difference is that what I try to cook is smack dab in the healthy zone.

My family can cook. I mean, really and truly throw down in the kitchen. Thanksgiving was always my favorite holiday because everyone got together to make the most delicious foods. But we are southern through and through. This means lots of bacon fat, lots of things made with "drippings" and lots of wonderfully tasty baked goodness.

Sadly, I don't have the luxury of cooking like that anymore. But, as that challenge arises, I am excited to meet it. Now, while I realize that Thanksgiving is still about 4 months away, there is the every-day reality that there are five of us in this house and every meal is nearly as big as Thanksgiving.... minus the bird.

I am finding great excitement in cooking healthy foods for my friends and family. I love telling them how there is no sugar in the cookies or muffins they're eating. Or how there are less than 100 calories for a 1/3 cup of the BBQ sauce on their chicken. I love the look of surprise on their face when they realize that eating healthy can taste really really good.

Because, let's me honest... if the food doesn't taste good, there is a huge chance that no one, including myself, would eat it!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

No Cookie Cutters

Before I started educating myself on fitness and nutrition, I thought if I just sweat enough... If I just restrict my calories and deprive myself of sweets, fried foods, and chips, the weight will just come off, right?

Sort of. If you eat less and move more, the weight will start to come off. But that is painting health and fitness with a rather huge brush stroke. There is a chance that you may not eat enough, or you may move too much, leading to over-training and injury. Listening to your body is a far better indicator than any specific calorie deficit or number of miles run.

The "common knowledge" in the fitness community is that if someone wants to lose 2 pounds a week, they have to have a calorie deficit of 1000 calories per day. This means that someone consumes 1000 calories less than they burn off in any 24 hour period. This makes sense, right? But for my body, not so much. When I hit my 1000 calorie deficits, my body thinks it's starving. I not only don't lose weight, but my body starts storing everything that enters my mouth. I have gained wait more times than lost it on days like that.

Also, most people believe if they spend hours on a treadmill or elliptical sweating, the pounds will melt off, yea? That is what we, as people trying to lose weight, are led to believe. But it's not true for me. I have been down that road and it didn't work. However, the day I started lifting weights and strength training, my body let go. The more muscle I packed on, the faster the fat disappeared.

When I work out, I am hungry. I can't be the stereotypical "fat girl trying to lose weight", sitting at the table eating nothing but salads and bland grilled chicken or fish. I need food, folks. My typical day is about 2000-2500 calories. My stomach is constantly growling even with that intake. For such a long time I was restricting myself to 1400-1600 and nothing happened. I lost not a pound. But as soon as I upped my calories, the pounds started to shed.

Am I saying that a thousand calories deficit won't work for you? No. Am I saying that pounding out hours on cardio machines won't produce results? Nope. Am I saying that you should eat a high calorie diet to lose weight? Not in the least. What I am saying, however, is that just because something that is considered a "norm" or an "industry standard" works for some people, it isn't going to work for all.

Listen to your body. It is your greatest ally in this struggle towards overall health and wellness. The closer you listen, the more you will learn about what it needs and what it doesn't. Feed it. Work it. Respect it. Listen and follow the signs it gives you. It will serve you well.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Emotional Eating and Letting Go

I didn't get up to 300+ by eating dinner at places like Burger King and McDonald's every night... although that, no doubtedly, had a lot to do with it. But there was this other problem I had that packed on more pounds than anything else.

Emotional Eating. Oh yea. Big on the EE. If there were something to celebrate, it required ice cream sundaes. If something bad happened, probably an entire tube of cookie-dough. Depressed? Chocolate, and lots of it. If I were bored, it's got to be something crunchy... salty too. Any emotion that felt too big for me to handle required being weighted down with food until I could take it apart bit by bit.

There was a time when every single night, my husband would go out after our son was in bed to get me ice cream. Or cake. Or cookies. Nearly every night for months this would go on. I would eat because I was bored. Or scared. Or lonely.

Somewhere in the past 6 months this changed. I'm not sure when, or even how, but it did. I find that when I am feeling something that is too intense, or too painful, I feel this pull to move. Having an argument with a friend or loved one? Time to go for a run. Feeling lonely? Hit the gym. Stressed or need some sort of focus? Lift weights. 

Yesterday was a rough day, emotionally. Sundays usually are. But instead of digging into what is left of our son's Easter candy, I got up, got my workout gear on, and walked up to the gym. I pushed it for 35 minutes until I was drenched in sweat, and the world seemed a lot less difficult to face. 

My entire relationship with food has shifted. Instead of something to turn to for comfort, it has become what it should be, a source of fuel for my body. If it tastes good as well, then that's just a bonus!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Body

I love my body. There, I said it. I love my body.

I had this thought strike my brain today as I was walking to the restroom at work. If you would have told me that I would ever feel, or think, this thought just 6 months ago... I would've called you crazy. If you would have told me that I would be 250 pounds and thinking it, I would've rolled my eyes at you and dismissed it right out.

But today I thought it. I felt it. I believed it. I am proud of this body right now. I have lost 65 pounds! I have changed everything about my relationship with food. I have gotten my ass up off the couch day after day after day. I have put on workout clothes and either pushed play on the DVD player, or carted my booty to the gym. I've gone outside to walk or run. I have done this.

I have had a great deal of help along the way. One of the best things I could've ever done on this journey was to surround myself with people who love, support, and encourage me. Not once have they told me that I can't do it. Not once have they told me that I'm mad for tackling the obstacles I've come up against. They have believed in me when I lacked faith. They told me I was strong and beautiful when I felt my worst. Without them, I may have never started on this path.

My body isn't where I want it to be yet. I am still fat. I still have more rolls than a bakery and I still struggle with what I feel should be the easiest workouts. But I am still moving. I am still getting up and doing.

My body is strong. My body is changing shape on a daily basis. I am blessed that I can get up out of bed every day and work on my health. Not everyone has this luxury. I wasted the last 20 years allowing fat to override every wish, every dream, every desire. I have allowed it to take my confidence, and my positive self-image. I have thrown away all these years believing that I was "less-than" because of fat. Not anymore.

I love my body. Every flaw, every new muscle, every bone and fiber.... it's mine. And I am proud of where I am. I am excited to keep going. I am giddy over what lays ahead of me. Because I love me.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Doughnut Dash!

Hello again readers! A lot has happened since last I posted!

Yesterday, Sunday, May 1, 2011, I completed my very first 5k! The 2nd Annual Top Pot Doughnut DashIt was sort of an impromptu sign-up a week prior to the race, but we couldn't pass it up.

Check out the 1:00 mark and you should see my pink head bobbing up and down. Oh, and we're in the still frame too! How awesome!



We finished in under an hour, and we weren't LAST... which was one of my biggest fears. I was proud of our final results. There were 5 clear goals I had for this race:
  1. Don't die. Crossing the finish line in a body bag is unacceptable.
  2. No injuries. Yes, soreness is going to happen (and most certainly did happen) but no real injuries.
  3. Finish the race. I've been told that "just finishing" is a huge goal for your first 5k. 
  4. Don't finish last. I am a fat girl. I am aware of my situation. However, finishing last was NOT okay in my book.
  5. Eat the donut. Everyone who ran got a free Top Pot Doughnut and diabetes be damned, I was going to eat my donut. I ran 3.1 miles for it... it was mine!
And I managed all five of them!! Thanks to my running mate, Tonja, I made it all the way through the race. She kept me going and kept me from injuring myself. Just before mile 1, my right calf seized on me and I wasn't able to run anymore. So we walked the last 2/3 of the race. It hurt my pride to watch people who I'd seen smoking and people 3 times my age pass me by... but I got over it by mile 2 and just kept going.

There were amazing people at this race. I have learned that having bright pink hair makes people feel like you are approachable and easy to talk to. I had little girls running by me whose parents were using my hair as an opportunity for grammar lessons, "Who wants pink hair?" "Me!!" "No sweetie... it's 'I do!'" I had a woman with purple hair tell me about a little boy who was enamored with both her hair and mine as they ran by. I had another woman approach me to tell me that she overheard us talking about the Warrior Dash in July and that she'd see us there.

I started to cry at mile 1 because I felt I had so far to go. The pain was intense, I couldn't breathe (fuck you, Asthma!) and my pride was doing the death march. After that point, I had to keep moving. We managed to run in the last 50 or so feet... and once my feet crossed that finish line, I lost it again.

That was one of the proudest moments of my life. We did it. We actually completed an entire 5k.


Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Go, Metabolism, Go!

Since I have started working out, I have learned a lot of new and fun things about my own body that I was completely unaware of for the longest time.

Not the least fascinating is how movement affects my metabolism. It is extremely reactionary, even to the point of varying day-to-day, depending on what workout I do, and/or how hard I push myself. Today I spent 15 minutes in my "vigorous activity" range. To hit this, I have to expend (at minimum) 6 times the amount of energy it takes for me to just sit still... For 15 whole minutes today! That is a big deal in my world.

And to compensate for the extreme amount of energy expenditure, my body is demanding to be fed! No amount of food is seeming to satiate my hunger. And no, it's not mental. I'm not seeking food out for the taste, or out of boredom or emotional swinging. My stomach is, quite audibly, growling. Just before writing this I ate 2 boiled eggs and 2 small pancakes left over from this weekend's big breakfast. That was 35 minutes ago. I just heard my stomach growl at me.

When most people think of weight loss, they simply think of calorie restriction. Which is, yes, part of the equation. But you can only restrict calories so far before it starts to become detrimental to your journey towards fitness and possibly weight loss. If you starve your body of the nutrients... of the fuel that it needs... it will hold onto that fat as hard as it can and just not let it go. Your body will ensure its fuel sources no matter what you throw at it.

For example, I burn about 100 calories an hour without doing anything but sitting or sleeping. That is my baseline for sedentary living right now. This means I will burn at least 2400 calories in a 24 hour period. If I want to lose 2 pounds a week, I need to consume approximately 1400 calories for a 1000 calorie deficit. If you are on a diet that demands 1200 calories intake or less.... it is probably not the healthiest thing for you. You are edging the realm of starvation at that point.

This being said, when I checked my calorie burn this morning at 8am (just after my morning run) I had already burned 1200 calories. That is  half of my baseline burn. This gives me a bit of an idea about how my day is going to be, and alerts me that I probably need to up my calories today. As of this post I have consumed 1410 calories. Once dinner and my late night snack are added in, my daily intake is 1968 calories.

And yet... I am sitting here now with a rumbly tummy demanding that I give it MORE MORE MORE! Listening to your body when it tells you what it needs is vital to getting healthy. I should be eating right now. However I don't have any food readily available where I am.

This is what my metabolism does when I work out hard. It screams for food nearly all day long. I listen to it as well as I can while staying within my diabetic restrictions. It's not easy, but it's worth it.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

On Missing Old Treats

There are things I miss, greatly, being on this regimen that I am on. There are the obvious things like cake, and cookies.... brownies, ice cream... anything chocolate. I miss drippingly ripe fruit and smoothies and milkshakes. All of these things laid the bricks in the road to being morbidly obese and being diagnosed with diabetes. I choose not to eat them because I know where they lead. I've been down that sticky sweet and delicious road. And it made me miserable.

Another thing I gave up was alcohol. Drinking and Diabetes don't mix. If you have just a little bit your blood sugar spikes... have too much and your body goes into overdrive to process the toxins.... blood sugar drops. It's just not something that is good for me or where I'm trying to go right now.

That being said, my husband and I went to a concert last night. Before the doors opened we hung out at the bar so that we could get in early. I had a Shock Top and Guinness from the tap. And ooooh... I actually missed beer!

Now, a little history on my side? I have never been a beer drinker. I would have much rather had the tequila or sugary mixed drinks. But now that I've abstained for as long as I have.... beer is amazing. I had the two, and I was done. It was easy to stop. I didn't feel like drinking to excess or anything drastic. It was nice to sit with my husband, watch people on the downtown streets of Seattle walk by and talk. We weren't parents. We weren't employees. We weren't roommates or bill-payers. We were just us. Husband and wife. Two people in love.

I miss beer. And after last night, and testing my blood sugar... as long I don't make a habit of it, I will be fine. Happy to know I can hop on that old road for a moment, but happy again to get back to where I am on the road to healthy and fit.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Trickle Down: Exercise to Confidence

Things you should know about me before reading this post:
  • I am approx. 250 pounds
  • I have a weak right ankle
  • I have "exercise-induced asthma"
  • I have diabetes
  • I work out 6 days a week
  • My wrists are weak and hurt when I have to hold my own body weight on them
  • I am fairly flexible
  • I am 5'9" tall
  • I have very little self-confidence
  • There is only one person I am completely comfortable working out in front of

With those statements made, you should know that working out usually drains me of any little tiny bit of self-confidence I may have drummed up up until that point. Especially if there are mirrors involved. I am fat. When you try to move fat too quickly, there are.... sounds... that may happen. And even with the one person that I'm comfortable with, it's still humiliating. I look ridiculous when I do certain moves. I'm sure someone who is much more fit than I would look just fine doing them... but not me.

Moving past all these concerns, I still work out. I still get my chunky butt up on a treadmill 3 days a week and into a dojo/dance room/group exercise room the other 3 days. I make a complete fool of myself. I grunt. I flop. I turn bright red. And I sweat.... a lot.

There comes a point, as an obese individual who wants to no longer hold that horrible title, that you just have to give it up. You have to stop caring what people think about you, or what your reflection is, or what strange noises happen when you move around more than normal. If you really and truly want to be healthy and fit, there are just things that can't matter to you anymore.

This morning, my best friend/roommate/trainer and I did our second Warrior Dash training session. The first day we did it was a huge flop for me, at least in my world. So today I was determined to get through the entire thing.

Today, I gave it my all. I put everything I had into every move I made. And it hurt. Muscles worked that never have. But I felt great when I was done. There was no slacking. I left it all in the gym and it was amazing. I didn't judge myself. I didn't compare myself to anyone else. I didn't beat myself up for not getting more reps or doing it perfectly.

Giving up the worry, getting into the workout, and getting things done did wonders for my confidence. Today I have spoken up in situations where I normally would keep quiet. I raised my voice up when I felt I wasn't being heard. I asked questions where I would normally sit in frustration. And I smiled. And I laughed. I held my head high and felt like I belonged. I know what I am capable of now. And I know that I can do anything I want to... it may not be perfect, and it may not be "the best ever", but as long as I give it my best, then I'm doing alright.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Couch-to-5k: Week 2 Day 2 (Blood Sweat and Tears!)

I realize that I didn't make a post for Day 1 of this week, but there's a really good reason for that. Over the weekend I re-enrolled in school and I was about 5 days behind the ball. The weekend (save for the training on Sunday) was spent playing catch-up in my 2 classes.

But now I'm back on track, and I should be able to come back and start posting regularly again!

Today was day 2. I got through 4 of the 6 90-minute running intervals fairly well. The last two I bailed on about 10-15 seconds early because there was a pulling on the inside of my right calf. Thankfully, with stretching and time, the pain has gone away.

I still have to remember, though, I am a 250-pound woman trying to run. Moving this much weight around is not only difficult, but hard on my body as well. I'm not trying to make excuses, but I need to be very realistic about where I am, physically, right now. This will change over time. My muscles will start working harder and the fat will have no other choice but to go away. It's just a matter of patience on my part.

Yesterday was definitely tough. I struggled with my own limitations and was frustrated by them. I am working on being more aware of what my body can do, and trying to work with it instead of pushing against it.

This is a long-term goal. Fitness is something that doesn't just happen overnight. It's taken me nearly 3 years to lose the 60 pounds that I already have. Now, mind you, I probably only worked out for a total of 10-12 weeks during those 3 years. A lot of it had to do with diet change. Now I am working out on a really tough schedule. 6 days a week of hard-core training. It is going to HURT. Not only physically, but my pride as well. I will learn to deal with the injured ego just as well as I do the sore muscles.

I am working towards something I really want. The phrase isn't "Blood Sweat and Tears" for nothing!!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Warrior Training? Try Whiny Training!

Today I am angry with my body. Today I am frustrated and discouraged by what I am not able to do.

I want to be the superhero. I want to be the 250 pound chick that can do anything without complaint or worry. I want to be the woman that kicks ass and takes names. I want to be able to conquer the Warrior Dash with a smile on my face and feeling accomplished.

But I am not there yet. Today I did my first training session with my best friend/roommate/trainer and I snapped at her out of sheer exhaustion.

I don't like this. I don't like what my body's limitations are. I should be better than this. I should be able to do anything for 60 seconds, right? Wrong. I can't even do a simple squat without whining about it.

I am frustrated. In so many ways. This is where I usually give up. This is the place that nothing seems worth all of this struggle. But tomorrow I will get up, get dressed, get to work and head straight for the gym to do C25K week 2 day 2. I have made a promise.... to myself and to others.... that I will get this done. I'm not faltering now.

Today I am angry with my body. And the only way to remedy that is to change it.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Couch-to-5k: Week 1 Day 3

I'm a day late in posting this, but I did get my last day of the first week of training in yesterday. I was only able to make it through about 18 minutes of the 30 that the workout lasts for. I had forgotten to use my inhaler before and my feet kept cramping up on me.

That being said, I feel good about it. My quads are really super sore from this week, so today is going to be a rest day. I am learning to not baby my muscles when they're sore. No walking funny, no whimping out normal body movements. No limping, waddling, or sitting more than normal. These muscles have a lot of work to do between now and July 16th (Warrior Dash Day!) so giving into the soreness is most certainly not an option.

I did my stretches after I got home last night and it really makes all the difference in the world. After dinner my roommate and I squeaked in a 2.2 mile walk. It was a struggle, but well worth it. Every little bit of training helps.

Tomorrow I am going to get a walk in as well. Then Sunday starts my second week of C25K and Monday is the first day that we're training for the Warrior Dash. I am going to be in a world of hurt. But I'm working towards something specific, so that gives me something to focus in on.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Do Something that Scares You!

I have lived my life under the roof of "I can't". There were so many things that I have said "I can't" to that it's become second nature to me. Any time I am presented with something that is a challenge, my brain automatically shifts into "I can't" and dismisses the idea altogether.

But as I'm getting more fit and healthy the roof is peeling back and I'm finding more and more possibilities available to me. The latest challenge on my plate comes from my roommate, Tonja.
Warrior Dash 2011

She threw the gauntlet down last week. She wanted to do this and was upset that no one would do it with her. I took that as a challenge and made a deal with her that I would do this race with her if she does the one that I'm going to register for in September. Today we registered. July 16th is the big day! One year since we've moved to Washington... what a way to commemorate!

I am absolutely terrified. When I first thought about it, "I can't" was a flashing neon sign in my head. Lists upon Matrix-style list went through my head of all the obstacles I couldn't POSSIBLY traverse. I'm still a fat girl, remember? Fat girls don't do things like this! Right? Um... right?!

But then, the more and more I let it roll around in my mind, the more excited I got about it. Finishing this would be a gigantic confidence booster. I would have a metal to show for just finishing as well. I am not a woman who deals in ego very much. I am the last person to be proud of anything I do and will probably explain away any of my accomplishments. But this race is something that I can say, "Look what I did! Aren't I awesome for this?" That is what is driving me.

Next week starts training. 3 days a week doing Couch-to-5k and 3 days a week doing Warrior Training. I am going to be in so much freakin' pain! But I can't wait. This is something that scares the hell out of me. But I'm going to do it, because I want to see just what I can do!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Benefits of Stretching and your Workout Regimen

How many times have you worked out one day and then woke up the next day feeling like you'd been run over by an 18-wheeler? And how many times have you put off working out because you were in too much pain? And how many times have you given up completely because you missed a day or two because then you weren't doing it "perfectly"?

I would have to say yes to every single one of these questions. I have started and stopped more workout programs simply due to the fact that I was sore from working out. And if I missed a workout due to soreness, I was a failure. Now, I don't mean actually injuring myself, but soreness. There is a distinct difference there.

Working to soreness is muscular, it tends to stop hurting when you stop moving. Injury is when you hurt to the point that the pain does not go away. In my experience I have noticed injury happens more on the bone/joint level, but can happen in the muscles as well. You should never push to injury, only to soreness and muscle failure.

All of this being said, what do you do when you are sore to the point that you don't feel you can work out? The big secret is to stretch!

After my first day training for C25K I was sore to the point that I found it hard to walk the next day. I had no idea how I was going to get on the treadmill again for day 2. I was in a great deal of pain and soreness.

My roommate/trainer had me use a foam roller to work the muscles out and it helped a great deal. But yesterday, after day 2, I decided to spend an hour doing the P90X Stretch video. That was the best thing I could've done for myself and for my training.

When you stretch your muscles out, they are far more forgiving when you want to use them again. I was able to get on the treadmill for a warm-up to today's strength training with no problem. Did I still feel a bit of tenderness in some of the muscles? Certainly! I am working them in new ways, and more intensely than ever before. If I felt nothing at all, then I wouldn't be doing it right!

My advice is to find a really great stretching program, or even try something like yoga. Anything that will give you flexibility. It will reduce your pain a great deal post-workout. It will help your muscles to recuperate much faster and keep you moving towards your goals. Don't discount it because you're not huffing, puffing, and sweating your ass off.... it will help you more in the long-run than you could ever anticipate.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Progress in 3 Months

I took pictures today on a whim after doing my stretching. And when my husband showed me the pics after he took them, I asked him, "Is that really me?" I was awash with disbelief. Stuff is actually happening with everything I'm doing. I'm so happy and so surprised.

There is definition coming to my abs. I was really pleasantly surprised by that. My thighs are a bit more further apart than before.

Holy crap! I have a decent posture! My stomach has gotten so much smaller. And who knew I had calves??

My tattoo is moving. :) That's okay though, I can deal with that. The change in my arm is noticeable as well.

I'll be damned! My fat rolls are getting much smaller, the space between my thighs is growing and my "fat knees" are going away. 

Couch-to-5k: Week 1 Day 2

Ow. Day 2 was most certainly more difficult than Day 1. On the first day it was fairly smooth sailing. Yea, it was a challenge, but nothing too painful or strenuous. Today was the opposite of that. My legs are super tight. Even after being stretched out with the foam roller, they are giving me hell.

There are 8 minutes of 60 second running intervals in the program for this week. The rest of the 22 minutes are spent in warm-up, cool-down, and recovery. And while, yea, that doesn't SOUND too difficult.... it is!

I am still at 254 pounds. That is a lot of weight to get moving. It's a lot of weight to have coming down and impacting the knee, ankle and feet. But it's not going to stop me.

I remember being over 300 pounds and finding it hard to just walk. My parents came to visit for my son's 5th birthday in 2007, and we all spent the day at the zoo. I was ruined by the middle of the day. I had to sit down and catch my breath more times than I could count. I was lagging behind at every turn. The day was more miserable than fun and that isn't how things like that should be.

The whole idea that I'm to a point in my weight loss where people don't think I'm entirely crazy for trying to run is great. I told my diabetes specialist and doctor that I'm doing the C25K program and they were both very excited over it. I am not used to people, health professionals or otherwise, seeing me as someone who CAN do things. Of course, I'm fairly sure that most of the doubt I see in others came more from inside of me than from them.

I have never believed in myself as much as I do right now. I am doing something now that would've probably been nearly impossible just last year. I am not completely healthy yet, but I am on my way there. I am excited about my future fitness and looking forward instead of back.

Day 3 is on Thursday. I am going to go home tonight and do lots of stretching and foam rolling to try to work out the muscles that HATE me right now (I'm looking at you inner thighs!) so that maybe Thursday won't be as painful as today was. Fingers crossed!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Diabetes Update and Another Diagnosis

Brief history lesson - I was diagnosed with Diabetes in January of this year. I have been on 500mg of Metformin 2 times daily. I have lost 15-20 pounds since my diagnosis and have been cooking/eating much healthier than I think I have my entire life.

Today was my first "Diabetes Checkup" since the diagnosis. I had my feet checked. I made an appointment to have my eyes checked as well.

There is good news and bad that comes along with this. I am still on Metformin, even though I had hoped to be taken off meds this time around. Sad about that, but not fixating on it. Just going to keep on taking it so that I can keep on being healthy.

The awesome news is that my A1c numbers went from 8.5 to 6.8 in just these three months time! That is a HUGE jump in numbers, and is technically already considered at a "management" level. I want to see if I can drop it even more.

I got my own blood glucose monitor today which is exciting. I can test to see where my blood sugar is at during the wonky times, and more regularly to see how food effects me. I need to really REALLY buckle down on my eating habits... which have gotten a bit wonked here of late. Still doing well, but not as well as I feel I should be.

My health is getting better. This excites me to no end. I have done the work and I have improved greatly! That makes me happy and encourages me to keep on moving forward with the hard work that I have started.

Secondary news? I have Exercise Induced Asthma! I know, exciting... All this means is that I have to hit my inhaler about 10 minutes prior to working out. Not a BIG deal, but at least I know now why I was hacking and struggling for breath even an hour after working out. Answers are good things.

Tomorrow I do my Couch-to-5K day 2 of week 1. I am SORE sore sore today, but I'm hoping that it will alleviate itself before tomorrow. Crossing fingers!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Couch-to-5k: Week 1 Day 1

Today, I ran. Today, I put the Couch-to-5k podcast on play and I ran.

I haven't been on a treadmill in the past 20 years, but today I got on one, put my headphones in and did the intervals. 5 minute warm-up, 60 seconds of running followed by 90 seconds of walking.... then again and again for 20 minutes. In front of a mirror too!

It was hard, but not as hard as I'd expected it to be. I didn't look nearly as foolish as I felt. And it felt really really good.

The plan now is to finish the 9 week training on a tread mill. That will take me through to the end of May. By then I should be able to do a 5k on the treadmill with no problem. After that I'm going to do the program all over again on the hilly parts of our town. I want to be able to run a 5k anywhere. That will take me through to the end of July. By that point I want to see about both running further and running faster. And by then my roommate will have graduated as a personal trainer... so I'm hoping she will help me out.

She also has the notion that I will be running a marathon by January. I think she's taking too far too fast, but I have it on the horizon. If I think I can do it, I want to. We will see where my body is at that point.

I am excited. I finished the program today with little difficulty. It felt good. I didn't DIE... I managed to get my 250 pound butt moving in a way that I've always wanted to. Now I just have to wait until Tuesday to do it again!

Friday, April 1, 2011

How Obesity Stole my Legs

I have realized that spending my life as first an obese child, then an obese teenager, and finally an obese adult has robbed me of living. Now that I have started really losing weight and finally breaking through to a size smaller than I've been in almost two decades, I understand just how much I've limited myself over the past 15-20 years.

The best way I can explain it is this: I have been in a wheelchair of my own design and I have just finally discovered that I can actually walk.* At some point during my childhood I was convinced, by someone else or myself, that I was simple unable to do anything simply due to being fat.

First I couldn't play sports, because it meant a lot of running. Fat little girls can't run for a long time. That's when the "wheelchair" got introduced. Somehow it went from not being able to do anything physically, to more of a whole-person judgment. I can't get good grades, because I'm fat. I can't make friends, because I'm fat. I can't find someone to love me, because I'm fat. I can't succeed in my career, because I'm fat. My excuse for not being a functional human being was because I am fat.

Until just recently (within the past year) I had gotten as far as believing my legs no longer existed because I'd been in this chair so long. I had gone from "I can't because I'm fat" to "I'm a horrible person and don't deserve happiness because I'm fat." Which, believe it or not, wasn't exactly a difficult transition.

Taken in 2007 - While I was at my heaviest.
Being obese had taken every bit of self-confidence away from me. Not just my appearance, but my self-worth, my ability to do anything at all. I was fat, therefore I was a completely worthless waste of space.

Recently, however, there has been a shift in my mental paradigm. As I'm losing weight, my image is changing. My body is getting smaller, but my personality, my intelligence, my creativity.... all the things that are inherently "me" and make up who I really am, haven't changed at all. I had simply chosen not to see anything positive about myself because of what I saw in the mirror every day.

Not only have I begun to realize that I may not be this terrible monster of a woman, but that I may never have been at all. I had chosen this disability. I was the one responsible for putting myself in this place of having given up on everything. I was just waiting to die.

Instead, now, I wonder about what I can do. I wonder what my body is capable of now that I've stood up on my legs again and am learning to walk.Can I run? Can I jump? What are the muscles and bones of this body, so long forgotten, able to accomplish? And what will I be able to do when I get even smaller?

And please, don't misunderstand me here. I have still not made it to a place where confidence and I are best buddies. I still have days when I fear I'm becoming invisible and disposable to those who matter most to me. There are days when I hate what I see and days when I feel that wheelchair creeping up behind me again. But where those days used to be the norm, they are but sporadic and fleeting now.

Being overweight... being fat stole my legs from under me. Only now, at 30 years old, am I stealing them back. They're mine. And I want to know what they can do!

*I am not saying being obese is a disability or anything as difficult or challenging as actually being in a wheelchair. This is simply for the sake of metaphor to explain where I am, mentally.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Body Confusion

I have finally gotten back into the habit of working out again and it feels good. I haven't started doing videos at all, but I am using the gym at work and at our apartment complex regularly. A coworker is teaching me and my roommate the fundamentals of boxing, I've been using the dip/pull-up machine, the elliptical and the balance ball for sit-ups.

It feels so incredible to just MOVE! My body is changing and it's an amazing feeling. Today I got the bright idea to try on my "big jeans" again just to see what the difference would be. I could fit into ONE LEG! I even took a photo.... and put it next to me actually wearing the jeans back in 2009.


How insane is this picture? I don't feel nearly as small as I look. Nor did I realize how incredibly large I had gotten back in the day. I am just barely past my half-way point and I have at least 50 more pounds to go, but this is a huge deal. This photo makes me laugh because of how silly I look in ONE pant leg. I am feeling stronger, and feeling good. Here's hoping the pounds start melting off again!


Saturday, March 19, 2011

Too Far - Too Fast

When I started out on my weight loss journey I weighed approx. 315 pounds and my waistline was expanding past the size 28 jeans I wore. Over the past 3 years I have I have (very) slowly lost about 64 pounds of that weight. I am still obese, but I am far more healthy than I have ever been.

On February 17th, I had surgery to remove my left ovary along with the many many cysts that had grown there. Not 2 weeks into recovery I developed bronchitis that I am still getting over.

I have done 2 days of Dance Central and still can't manage more than about 4 songs on Medium. Tonight one of my roommates and I went on a walk around the complex. About a quarter of a mile into the walk I decided that I wanted to take it up to a sprint.

A little side note to those of you paying attention... surgery? Bronchitis? Then I try to run on my first walk since? And did I mention it was... uphill?

I am not quite to the point that I can do things that I once did. I can't imagine doing P90X right now. I think my lungs would explode.

Friday I received my gloves and hand-wraps, so I'm hoping that I will get started with boxing lessons soon.

And now? Now I am going to go and try to breathe. My lungs are still on fire.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Body Movin'!

It's been 4 weeks since I had surgery and I have been challenged by my roommate to get moving again. I have been putting it off for as long as I have partially due to the nasty cold/bronchitis I got about 2 weeks ago. But the other part of that is fear. I have no idea what my body is going to do.

Several things have changed with my body since surgery. Some obvious and some more subtle and personal. So I don't know if my workouts will change as well. I knew what I was once capable of, but I haven't worked out in probably a month and a half now. I have no idea what I'm able to do anymore.

Everlast Neoprene Heavy Bag Gloves
The good news is that while I'm a bit nervous about getting moving again, I am excited about it. One of my coworkers has offered to teach me how to really box. I have already bought some hand-wraps and bag gloves. They should be delivered by Saturday or Monday. I'm hoping that it will not only help with my fitness, but my confidence as well. Luckily the building I work in has a gym downstairs, so I don't have to worry about buying or renting any other equipment.

At home I'm going to break out the Dance Central. I realize that it's not a regimented workout, but it's a lot of fun and it will most definitely work me out! We got Dance Central when the XBox Kinect first came out and it was an instant favorite for the house. I haven't played it much since early January, but there are a bunch of new downloadable content songs we've gotten since and I'm excited to try them out.



I think using this to get back into the habit of moving is a great idea. Fun is definitely going to be a factor, considering time is a huge barrier to working out. If I have time to play 30 minutes of Dragon Age: Origins, I have 30 minutes to do this!

Friday, March 11, 2011

Escaping Stress

We all have stress. I don't think there could possibly be a more "No shit!" statement out there than that: We all have stress. Whether it's your job, or lack of a job, kids, spouses or lovers, bills, fitness, or health.... or a myriad of other more specific things in our lives... we all suffer from it.

Not all of us, over the course of our lives, have developed healthy and positive ways that deal with the stress that we face day-to-day. I know that in my past I have turned to food, alcohol, and several other things that I won't list because I am not proud of them. (No worries, they aren't go-to solutions anymore and haven't been for years.) So many people have the same issues. Addicts (food, drug, alcohol, nicotine, etc.) aren't generally born from a "hey this is fun" experimental standpoint. More often than not there is a stress that is too great to bear, and these vices help to take it all away at least for a short time.

To say that I am under a bit of stress right now is one of the biggest understatements I've probably heard this year. My workplace has become about as stable as a tumble-dry. Still have my job, which is good, but we're all just holding on so that we don't get too many bumps or bruises along the way. Money is tight. My health has been in flux now since the beginning of the year and I'm still not done with it all. My relationships with friends and loved ones are wonderful and keeping me above water right now.

I am finding myself starting to slip back into bad eating habits. Late nights are the worst right now. When I realize that tomorrow is coming at me full-steam and there is nothing I can do to stop it, I feel the need to eat. I want to do something that feels good. Food is good. Well, except when you're a diabetic trying to get yourself off meds, that is.

I have never been a person who has dealt well with stress. As I've gotten older, I have learned to reign a lot of it in, but that fluttery-heart feeling is still there every time. The stress never goes away. I still want to eat. I still want to drink. And when it's really bad, I still want a cigarette. But those are no longer viable options for me.

The biggest thing I have found that reduces my stress is pure escapism. If there is nothing I can do about the situation and all I am capable of is worry and fret... I need to get away from it.

My newest escape is video games. Spending that time being in control of something and defeating the "bad guys" does wonders for the feeling of helplessness and hopelessness. My most tried-and-true method of escaping is music. And thanks to some really great friends of mine who are fantabulous as finding new music for me (I'm looking at you James and Mick!) I have found a lot of things to keep my mind busy when it's spiraling. And when things are just too much for me to handle anymore there are those that I turn to and bare all my rage, fear, panic and tears. Sometimes turning the release valve and letting the pressure vent outward is the only way to find the calm again.

I suggest finding your outlet. Find a place to put the stress that doesn't include over-eating. Or smoking or drinking or anything else that is truly unhealthy for your body and your spirit. It's hard to do. I am not perfect at it just yet and I do slip. But at least look for them, search them out, they are there.