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.