Sunday, June 01, 2014
...man, it's been almost 3 months since my last blog!
I'm sorry I've been so quiet, but I promise I have good reasons! I still am learning about time management as a new teacher, so I find most of my time near the computer has been spent preparing lectures and working on assignments, and so well, when I'm not working, I try to be away from the computer. That means less posting on Spark, but more being out and about in the world...it's a fair trade, I think. I'll try to be better about blogging though, I think it keeps me on track more consistently.
So here's some updates, for those who are interested:
I was finally formally diagnosed with a fairly severe case of TMD. For those not familiar, the joints on both sides of my jaw are messed up, so my jaw keeps slightly dislocating until the ligament snaps it back into place, which has been causes migraines, jaw pain, ear aches, and a terrible crunching/popping noise whenever I chew, yawn, or even move certain ways. So now I have to wear a mouth splint for 2 months and have restrictions on diet and lifestyle stuff for the same period of time, if not longer. I can't each ANYTHING crunchy, chewy, or tough. Additionally, I can't bite into anything; everything needs to be cut into bite sized pieces and eaten with a fork or as finger food. I've also been 99% vegetarian since February, so my diet has undergone some serious changes in the last few months. Quinoa is now my best friend, and [shelled] edamame. I can't lie though, this 'no crunchy' diet is easily the hardest thing I've done, as far as food restrictions go. I live for crackers and raw veggies and nuts and seeds, so eating only soft, mushy foods is driving me a bit insane.
Today I started a new Neila Rey Challenge, it's a 30 day core strength challenge. I'm using it to supplement my Thrust and Pulse workouts, which I'm starting to really see changes from. I'm getting unsolicited compliments from my classmates and colleagues about how I'm looking smaller and my arms are more defined, AND since Feb I've lost an 1.5 inches off my waist, 1.5 off my hips, and half an inch from my upper arms! I've also only lost 4 lbs, which [for me] is further evidence that I'm finally building muscle, instead of just losing weight. I'm hoping the core challenge will give me an extra boost in my torso, since that's my biggest trouble area. All her workouts are free (just google her name) if anyone is interested.
Finalllly, I've been hardcore tackling my self-esteem issues. After consulting some clinician friends and the trusty interwebz, I began noting whenever I have negative thoughts about myself or a situation, and then also noting whether or not there was true evidence to support the negative thought. Additionally, I made a 'self-esteem inventory' of the good things about me and my goals for improvement, and a list of my personal accomplishments and hung those by my bed, so I see them every morning when I wake up. Finally, I took dry-erase markers to all the mirrors in my room/bathroom and covered the surfaces with inspirational quotes and positive affirmations.
I've been doing this for about a month, and I have to say I feel much better. I still have negative thoughts, like "God I'm fat", but when those thoughts used to cripple me, now I'm able to counter those thoughts with facts and positive counter-thoughts. I am starting to feel good, comfortable with myself. I know I'm a person of worth, and regardless of what societal standards are for beauty, I'm a beautiful person.
Oh yeah, I also passed my prelims, so I'm a doctoral candidate now, and I just found out that I won a scholarship for the next academic year. So that isn't too shabby either :P
I hope you all are doing fabulously, I will try to be less of a stranger!
Thursday, March 13, 2014
I turned in my prelim! A day early at that!
I have to confess- today was a *terrible* eating day for me. I added "for me", because I'm pretty sure it would be considered a normal day by the general population. After I turned in copies of my prelim, I met a friend for a late brunch and had a veggie omelet (with egg beaters) and home fries. Later, at the mall, I had a cookie. Finally, post-workout and running late, I picked up a chipotle vegetarian burrito bowl with brown rice and *gasp* a side of chips and guacamole. I had half the chips and put the rest away. The grand total was 2,000 calories, which is way more than I've had in a single day in about a month.
I mean, the cookie is an obvious splurge. But all things consider, I think I did pretty good for a splurge day. My only real concern is that tomorrow I am finally going to indulge in a margarita (or two) with some friends to celebrate turning in the prelim, so I know my calories will be over tomorrow too. Luckily, I anticipated the splurging so I'm getting in 2 extra workouts this week.
I really hope this weekend doesn't set my progress back, but I'm not too worried about it. I feel so good about things, these days.
So I went without any alcohol for about a month, and I'm pretty happy about that. I think moving forward, I'm going to try to only drink 1-2 a month. I don't miss it very much at all, and considering some of my friends are in recovery, I don't find myself being the only person not drinking when I'm out. And I LOVE that without alcohol, nights out dancing become late night workouts instead of late night empty calorie fests :)
Speaking of dance, I have added a third group gym class to my routine, "pulse", which is a cardio and toning class to club music. I'm also going to try my hand at mountain biking this weekend, and will be getting back into kayaking and paddleboarding, now that the weather has improved. Even on my rest days, I still am taking my pup out for a nice 20-30 minute walk.
This is easily the most active (and most diverse I've been with workouts) in years, and it's showing. While today my tummy is a bit less impressive thanks to the 3,000+ mg of sodium I had in the last 24 hours, in the past week or so, when I catch myself in the mirror, I am surprised at how much flatter it looks. And my arms! I'm not going to say I have visible muscle definition there, but I WILL say that they look firmer, and something I think (or imagine) that I can see the beginning outlines of where definition *will* happen.
I'm hoping that in a few more weeks, I will be down a full dress size, which will put me just one more dress size away from my goal size. So long as I keep my momentum and drive, I can't see it not happening.
I'll post more in another day or two, I know I still have to talk about my adventures in vegetarian land and I also want to share pictures of my pantry, because people always ask me what I eat :)
In the meanwhile, I wish everyone a beautiful end to their week, and positive vibes. You got this!
Friday, March 07, 2014
So my written prelim is due in 7 days (I swear, I just heard "7 days" in Samara's voice from The Ring...*shudders*). If I don't pass, I'm immediately removed from the program. So, that being said, I'm going to be spending a lot of time refining those 35+ pages into the most beautifully written and persuasive literature review I can muster. This means that I probably won't be as active on Spark from now until next weekend, but I wanted to pop in and hold myself accountable for my goals established last month:
1) I have not had any alcoholic beverages, although I have been 'drinking my calories' with a few chai lattes this week, as I've been putting in long hours at coffee shops. I'll try to stick more closely to my tried and true green tea, unsweet :)
2) I have only gone out to eat once this week. I'm feeling pretty proud of myself for that. I may grab dinner with some friends if I go to the roller derby game tomorrow night, but I'm okay with that, I've decided I will let myself have 1 fast food meal [aka Subway] and 1 sit-down meal each week.
3) I have been participating in every gym class that is available to me, and tomorrow I will suffer through my first outdoor group workout.
4) This wasn't an intentional goal of mine, but for almost a month now I've eaten completely vegetarian. I broke tonight and had some tuna, because I didn't get enough protein today and was really craving it. I'll definitely have to talk about the pros and cons of eating vegetarian while also eating clean, it's been an interesting ride so far :)
So all of these changes seem to paying off, I've already lost an inch off my waist, and yesterday I had to move to the next notch down on my belt because my pants are feeling too baggy.
Hopefully I can hold true to my plan while I struggle through this last week of prelim writing, wish me luck!
Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Tonight's class was AWESOME. My foot held up astonishingly well, I only had to modify one of the moves that we did, and the trainer made sure that I still absolutely felt the burn.
It feels so good to be in group workouts again, I am reminded why I love them so much. Everyone is so supportive, through the class people kept asking me if my foot was holding up, and I got a LOT of high fives.
I also notice that I tend to put more energy into group classes, probably because I'm slightly competitive. At home, or working alone at a gym, it's easy to just pretend I only wanted to do 2 sets instead of 3...not so easy to do in a class setting, haha. Plus, the blasting metal/rock music in this particular class brings me back to my teen angst days of blasting Korn and Papa Roach on my stereo, so I channel any repressed rage into my workouts :)
This class is especially going to be great for me, as it's helping me get into better shape AND feel more comfortable with my body. We rarely use weights in class, so instead we use ourselves as the training equipment.
For example: in today's class we partnered up, and one person held a plank, while the other person picked up the planker's legs and essentially did shoulder presses with them, haha. It's surprisingly difficult. We also take turns running across the gym carrying a person piggyback.
Let me tell you something, I do not let people pick me up. I am kinda forever convinced that they will crumble under my weight and die. In Thrust, (yes, that's the official name of the class, haha), you generally can opt of trying a strength move if you're worried about injury, but you can't really opt out of being someone's weight out of modesty. So, after me saying "you sure? like really, I don't want to kill you" about 10 times, I jumped on my partner's back and he ran with me and DIDN'T collapse, haha. More surprisingly, a girl who probably wears a size 2 carried me as well.
For me, this means two important things:
1) I'm not body-crushing heavy
2) If I keep doing these classes, I'm going to get as strong as these other people
A third, less important thing: getting carried piggyback is AWESOME. For reasons unknown, I imagined that it would be similiar to riding on a velociraptor (the one from the movies, not the real one). Yeah, I don't know either, but it was exciting.
So on a slightly downer note, I showed the trainer where my foot is giving me trouble and explained my fitness routine, and she said it sounded strongly like my injury is stress related from over-training, and more specifically, running too much. She suggested I cut way back on my running.
I knew that my typical 5-6 days of running a week couldn't last forever, especially since (with the exception of holidays and illness) I have been doing that for almost two years now, and I had a suspicion that my injury was due to over-training, but it still sucks to hear it. Running is how I decompress, it's my 'me' time.
So, I think I'm going to cut back to only 1-2 runs a week, take my pup for more long walks instead, and start doing more strength training stuff since that's on my to-do list anyways.
Never fear though, Sparkfriends, I fully still intend to run a costume 5k dressed as a superhero this Saturday :)
Monday, February 24, 2014
So I injured myself running this weekend. I'm not sure how I did it, or what is wrong, but I'm spending my evening with my right leg elevated, alternating cold/warm compresses.
I almost fell down the stairs while trying to navigate them with only one good leg, my dog had some sort of stomach bug and spent the weekend puking, and I'm so stressed with school I feel like I could implode. On top of that, this morning I mixed up containers and took an entire container of raw spinach to work with me instead of the salad I had mixed up the night before, and so ended up lecturing today while so so hungry and having to mostly balance on one leg.
But, somehow, I'm feeling really happy and hopeful.
I think purging out all of the negativity in my last blog helped, plus some further reflection, and unwavering support and kindness from a few key people. :)
Today made me realize a few important things, which ultimately brought me to writing this blog. I bought my class Girl Scout cookies, because they just had a midterm and were definitely feeling the stress. In a slightly idiotic move, I purchased my 3 favorite flavors, and then had the boxes sitting on my kitchen counter last night, staring at me. Remarkably, I wasn't the slightest bit tempted by them.
After the class, there were only about 5 cookies left. I hobbled over to the table to condense them into one package, and I have to admit the tagalongs and thin mints were really calling my name...I mean, I have definitely consumed an entire sleeve of thin mints in one sitting before, with no remorse. This was not my first cookie rodeo.
Only the tiniest part of me whispered "you don't want to talk all the way back to the kitchen, just take them home, its only a few cookies." The other 90% of me just said "nah", and I hobbled across the courtyard to leave the remaining cookies in the kitchen at the lab. After so easily parting ways with the infamous girl scout cookies without taking a *single* bite, it made me really reflect on how much I've changed in the last few years, even if my weight has remained stagnant.
This realization was deepened when I was sincerely upset that my injury was going to prevent me from going to my group fitness class tonight. Mondays are leg days, so it would have been a death sentence for me to go, but this crazy girl was still considering going and just doing things on one leg, or doing one-legged planks when everyone else did squats....yeaaaah. Even just a few months ago, I would have outwardly expressed regret at not being able to attend class, and inwardly sigh with relief and feel excitement about going home and watching mindless t.v. guilt free.
These changes in mentality made me wonder what else has changed about me, and this positive reframing served me well as I continue to feel slightly frustrated and jaded about the scale. So, here's some of things I came up with:
It wasn't the calories that made me reject the girl scout cookies, it was that they are a highly processed "food" with no real nutritional value. I still eat cookies (and cupcakes) from time to time, but they are made with whole ingredients and baked at the location I purchase them at.
I don't eat mayonnaise anymore. Period. I used to slather it on every sandwich, hard-boiled eggs, dip my french fries in it, you name it. Now I put hummus or mashed avocado on sandwiches, eat hard-boiled eggs naked (the egg, not me!), and well, I hardly ever eat french fries anymore so that's irrelevant.
I'm not afraid to dance in public anymore. In fact, I can't stop myself! And when (like yesterday) I catch someone laughing at me, I don't think they are laughing at my body, just the absolutely ridiculous ways I am moving it :)
Speaking of public, I'm less afraid of public speaking (oh yeah, you like that word play). If you had told me a year ago that I could stand in front of 27 college students and lecture for an hour without stress, I would have laughed at you and then probably gotten queasy at the reminder that I'd have to teach one day. I LOVE teaching. I don't mind wearing my lil pencil skirts and dresses either ;]
Even when I don't accidentally take a container of raw spinach with me to campus, I eat fresh vegetables every single day. Even when I was steadily losing weight, I was living solely on canned veggies. Nowadays I love the taste of fresh vegetables, and try to make colorful dishes by using multiple types.
Even when I lost all that weight initially, I was mostly just walking and using the elliptical machine at the school gym. Today, I can say proudly that I've done Tough Mudder, a half-marathon, a 5k, pole fitness, kickboxing, yoga, pilates, dance classes, and bootcamp classes. Working out hasn't been a chore in a long time, it's something I look forward to, a highlight to my day.
I am NEVER tempted by fried chicken and burgers anymore. I don't even look at those parts of the menu anymore. Crazy, considering I used to eat chicken tenders at every single restaurant I went to.
I'm getting more comfortable in my own skin. This one is certainly a slow gain, but I'll take it. I've always been a girl of oversized t-shirts and baggy pajama pants for sleepwear, recently I've been ditching the shorts and just sleeping in shirts. It sounds like a silly triumph, but for me, it's a sign that I'm more comfortable with my body. Maybe soon I'll start buying those cute nightgowns :)
I'm not afraid to go do things alone anymore. This has really been a noticeable improvement in the last few months. If I want to get lunch out and no one can come with me, I have no problem sitting and eating a meal alone. The fear of being seen out alone isn't there anymore. I think its because my boost in confidence has afforded me the ability to be a more adventurous person and to worry less about looking foolish in public.
Possibly most importantly, I believe in my ability to persevere. Whenever things get rough in other aspects of my life, and I'm not sure I have the strength to endure, I remind myself of how I changed everything for my health, and I DO have the power to control my life.
So there's some ways that this journey has changed me, improved me, and hopefully this trend will just continue to grow.
In the meanwhile, time to ice this foot and hope to be in tip-top shape by Saturday, I have a 5K to run on Saturday dressed up as Robin (the Boy Wonder) to properly accompany my friend running it as Batman...remember how I said I don't mind looking foolish in public? :P
You guys are all awesome. For those who are further along in their journey than where I'm at, you inspire me. Those in the same boat as me, I'm glad to be in such good company. Those who have further to go than me, I'm cheering you on.
I'm proud of us all. :)
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