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The Calm After the Storm...and Before the Next One

Friday, November 11, 2011

So the presentation went really well. I engaged the crowd and got them participating and it felt amazing! I want to do it again...and again! *lol*

I was remarking to Hubs last night how much different it feels to be up in front of people now. I have a renewed confidence in myself. Yes, I know my job really well after being there 5 years and working in nearly every capacity available, but it's more than that. I didn't spend the entire time in front of them worried about what they would think of me, how they were judging me because of my weight. I was wearing my new size 24 dress pants (which are SO comfortable! I *love* them and they look great. Black with white pinstripes...). I wasn't worried about what they thought because, as I told Hubs, they just have no idea. Before, if they looked at me with eyes that read every "fat person" stereotype (eats too much, eats bad food, is lazy, doesn't take care of herself), I'd feel ashamed because a lot of that was true. Now if they look at me like that, I know it's not. I eat healthy food in the right amounts and I workout like crazy. I can run nearly 4 miles. I run 3 times a week and circuit train 2 times a week. I'm active and fit and healthy. I have an athlete's heart. So if they want to judge me with those stereotypes? Well, that's on them, not me. That kind of confidence breaks down a lot of the walls I felt before when speaking in front of other people. I feel comfortable in my own skin and, I think, that makes them feel more comfortable listening to me.

Of course, all that being said, I skipped my speedwork this week. Wednesday night it just wasn't feasible. I've spent most of this week going into work early, working my tail off, and then leaving late. I've been exhausted by the stress of it all. And Wednesday night it was necessary for me to go to the store for new shoes (my old flats had a hole in them and my heels make me slide because the caps have fallen off the heel) and new pants (because mine either fall off or make me look ginormous because, while they fit in the waist, they no longer fit in the hips). So that was my priority. That, and rest so I could be ready for the next day. I told myself I'd do it Thursday, once the presentation was over...but that didn't happen either.

Yesterday? Well, I had ZERO fuel in me. I ate my regular bagel breakfast before work with coffee. At around 11:30pm, I hurried to eat a Chex Mix bar. And then that was it for the rest of the day. No time before the presentation to grab anything and the co-worker I was with for the presentation really wanted to get back to work after the presentation and made it quite clear that I *could* stop for food, but that she didn't really want to. So I gave in, and we drove straight there, presented, and drove straight back. By the time I headed out of there (late, once again), I was famished. I got in contact with Hubs at home and he arranged for his Mom to watch the boys so he and I could go out to eat, celebrate my success and talk about how it went without the boys milling about. (Of course, what we ate made me terribly sick later, yay there...but, that's what I felt I needed.)

Of course, that means I HAVE to clock in at the gym both today and tomorrow. I called the gym last night to make sure they weren't closing today for Veterans' Day, and they said they had no plans to be closed. I have to swipe my little card 2x a week, and I spent the beginning of the week working out at home with my boys and the middle of the week trying not to vomit from the stress of what I was about to do. So, yeah, I need to clock in these 2 days. Of course, whether or not I work out there tomorrow is up in the air. I will be going today to do my circuit training (and I've decided to up my time today to try to make up for the lost speedwork time - so I'll be doing a 45 minute session instead of 30 minutes) but tomorrow I've got my 2nd attempt at the 5-miler and I prefer to run outside rather than on the dreadmill or the incredibly ridiculously small indoor track at the gym. So it might be a case of "clock in and leave." I never feel guilty about this if I either have already worked out that day, or I plan to work out later that day. What's it matter WHERE the workout takes place, as long as it takes place, right?

As for my eating and my weight? It's been all over the place. I stress ate Wednesday night. Yesterday? Well, I went from basically nothing all day to a big dinner...never a very good idea for my metabolism, which loves it's schedule. I clocked in at 304.4 this morning, though, which gives me hope that I can knock off some stress/water weight in the next two days and, if I fight hard enough, maybe drag some pounds away with it. I still want my 302 desperately, but if I just manage to lose SOMETHING this week, I think I'll be pretty happy about that. I'm still ahead of schedule for my goal of 298.9 by December 31st, so I've got time between now and then to work things out. I had no clue I was going to be dragged into speaking in front of 130 people (okay, I'd say there were only about 60-80 there, but whatever), so I had no way to really plan around it. I did my best and am hoping to come out on top after all is said and done.

Yesterday evening I also spent a good majority of time chatting with one of my childhood best friends. *waves to her* I got her to join SP. ;) If anyone has been paying attention, this is the friend I was visiting the weekend before I decided I needed to hop back on the bandwagon, the weekend before I found SP and started this leg of the journey. Crazy girl decided to sign up to do a half marathon next May, and just started training to run the other night. I got the cutest text message giving me major props for the running thing because, as she said, "running is a whole other beast." Yep!

We talked for a long time. I told her I'd give her whatever help, advice, and support she needs...and then I told her I've been considering signing up for the same half (as long as no one else in that part of my world knows I'm doing it...). I've been itching for a race. I have yet to have a race environment to test my new running skills. I thought I'd have a turkey trot to do on Thanksgiving with the family, but because of certain medical and health issues with my mom and sister, running is not really an option for them right now. I get that. My sister walked with me in our 5k when she could've run the whole thing. Now that I'm the one who needs to back off? I'm ready and willing to do that. The Turkey Trot she has in mind is a 5k Walk on Thanksgiving morning, so I think we'll sign the whole family up and just walk the 3.1 miles together. A fun, no stress, easy 3.1 mile walk with the family is actually sounding pretty nice right now. Plus, it won't eat into my running schedule because I no longer have to think about tapering next week. Balls to the wall, baby!

So, in addition to the talk we had last night, I realized that I want to run a race before this year is out. RUN a RACE. It's on my list. I thought the Turkey Trot would be my answer, but now I need a different race to achieve that goal. So, I did some digging last night, and I found a set of "winter series" races that might meet my needs.

December 11th - 5k run in Charleston
January 8th (my bday!) - 8k run in Charleston on the same course, just extended
February 5th - a 10k run on the same course, extended again

All of that could lead me up to the HM race on May 5th with my friend, if I do it right, time everything properly.

I know there are a million training guides out there for people trying to get to a HM distance, but I don't know that I'm ready for that yet and I hesitate to follow anything like that, fail at it, and then decide to quit entirely. So far, the thing that has really worked for me this time, is taking all the information I can gather, meshing it together and making up my OWN running plan. One thing I've learned - I'm not like everyone else (who is?) and what works for you may not work for me. I need to set my own pace, my own goals. And, so far, that's been working. I quit C25k after I hit the 1 mile run mark...and then I started out on my own, attempting time and again to hit 2 miles, then 3, then 3.5. If I just keep using that system, I may be able to achieve a goal I (honestly) never thought possible. Me, run a HM? Uhm...maybe.

Things that have worked for me:
1. Running 3 times a week.
2. One easy run, going only for a distance I *know* I can do.
3. One speedwork run, concentrating on time and pace.
4. One LDR, concentrating on pushing my body to a new distance best.
5. Circuit training on 2 days. It has really helped my running muscles get stronger, while not requiring them to run too much (and sometimes a 2 minute easy jog is included, so sometimes I "run" 4 days in the week).
6. Setting a distance goal for my LDR, and trying week after week until I hit it.
7. Not worrying about what everyone else is doing. This is a HUGE one for me. So you ran 10 miles today and I ran 2? Who cares! I'm following MY plan and 2 miles was my goal for the day, so I win!

So, in my head, my running plan looks like this:

November --
Easy Run on Mondays of 2 miles
Speedwork on Wednesday, increasing the speed of my fast intervals and how many intervals I try to do each week. (This week was to be 7 intervals at 5.3...we'll be doing that next week.)
LDR of 5 miles (It's the mental thing. I need to show myself I can do this. And if I come out of it hitting only 4 or 4.5, I'll still have won for November.)

December -
Easy Run on Mondays of 2.5-3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesdays, same as before, increasing speed and # of intervals
LDR of 6 miles
* 5k on December 11th, the day after I get back from DC training

January -
Easy Run on Mondays of 2.5-3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesdays, same as before, increasing speed and # of intervals
LDR of 7 miles
* 8k on January 8th, my birthday!

February -
Easy Run on Mondays of 3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesday, same as before
LDR of 9 miles
* 10k on February 5th

March -
Easy Run on Mondays of 3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesday, same as before
LDR of 11 miles

April -
Easy Run on Mondays of 3 miles
Speedwork on Wednesday, same as before
LDR of 13 miles

May 5th - Capital City HM

I read one guide that said you should run your LDR at your long distance 2 weeks in a row before trying to up it by 1/2 a mile the next week. Example:
1st Saturday - run 4 miles
2nd Saturday - run 3.5 to 4 miles
3rd Saturday - run 4.5 miles
4th Saturday - run 4-4.5 miles
5th Saturday - run 5 miles

That sounds great, but I don't know that I'll have time for that once May starts getting closer. I'll admit - I'm terrified. The idea right now of getting to 5 miles is mentally my block right now. The idea of 8-10 miles seems pretty dang impossible. And 13 miles? HA! So, it would be a serious challenge...and I might not make it.

Unlike some of you, I can't take walk breaks on my runs. Maybe that will come with time, but as it stands right now, if I stop in the middle of my run to "rest"...I can't get back into the run. I could run 2 miles, break for just a couple minutes, and then, by the time I try to start running again, I can't even match my 2 miles, let alone push past it. I have NO CLUE how y'all do the walk/run thing past the initial stages of C25k...but, for me, my brain does not compute. Some people have said, "I can't even run 3 miles without stopping at least once!" but, for me, I can't run 3 miles if I have to stop to walk. It doesn't work for me. And I'm not sure if that's a mental thing or what. It seems like, once I stop running, I start feeling the run...and trying to start again after that? Yeah, no. Not happening. It's like running a 5k in the morning and then trying to run another 5k an hour later. My body thinks it's done and it rebels. "Hell no! I'm not doing that again! I did what you asked of me, so leave me alone now!" *shrug*

So, on we go, right?! I've been taking this running thing easy on my body for the past few months, and that has worked. Finally, I can say that I'm a runner. But, eventually (I'm HOPING), I'll be able to settle into challenging my body just a tiny bit more. Today I feel like tomorrow will be the day I run 5 miles. I feel it. I didn't do my speedwork, so maybe my body will be rested enough to really give it a go. I'm going to give it my all. I'm going to create the most kick@ss playlist and I'm going to remember all of you who helped me along the way. Encouraging me when all I could think to accomplish was walking a mile and, eventually, a 5k. I looked at my pictures again from last year, from the finish of my first 5k ever, where I walked the whole thing and it nearly killed me. Where I got the blister from hell and continued on. And I think about how far I've come since then and even I am amazed.

Something tells me I shouldn't have been able to do this. And then I look back and look at my running logs from this year and I realize that I AM doing it. I don't run fast. I don't run 5-10 mile distances. But I run (normally) 3 times a week. I can run a 5k without stopping for a single break. I can run because I am a runner.

On April 6th of this year I ran my first tracked run with my new Nike+ GPS program. Since then I've logged 130.1 miles. I've run while injured. I've run while incredibly sick. I want to run. My body craves it. (The runners legs I dream of and am trying to create NEEDS it! *lol*)

So, what's next?
1. Finally bite the bullet and sign up for those 4 races.
2. Get my 5 miles (tomorrow, I hope!).
3. Challenge myself to stay on task, stay on MY training plan and KEEP RUNNING.

I think running with a friend, even though she's miles away, will help as well.

Another note, I keep hearing people talk about inspiring them. I've been trying to take that compliment well. Let's be honest, even as a small child I craved the opportunity to make myself an example and an inspiration to others. But lately, it's been freaking me out a little bit. How do I take that? Because all I want to do is focus on me. I want to inspire me. I see what I'm doing and, yes, I think it's great. I take great pride in it. But sometimes it's hard to remember that "I'm amazing" feeling when my inner doubter turns to comparing herself to others. I try to ignore other running reports because I don't want to be discouraged. I fear telling the people I know back at home who are running that HM in May that I'm thinking of doing it as well. Partly because I remember how I felt during that 2-Mile Firecracker Run last July...the last race I ran because it tore me apart mentally and emotionally. (I'm running it again next year...and I WILL run the entire thing!) And also because I don't want to hear or see doubt in their eyes. Sometimes I read it when it's not even there. Can I be proud of myself even when my run pace is barely faster than a 15 minute mile? Even Spark doesn't count this pace as "running" (which is a travesty, in my book!). And what will they think when they see me? Because...


But for now, I will focus on me. My training. My schedule. My achievements. Whatever I look like when I run, THIS is what's important...


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/11/2011 3:05PM

    GO GIRL! emoticon

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RUNTRILAUGH 11/11/2011 2:45PM

    My SIL is the same way... if she stops to walk, she may as well quit!

Way to go getting your friend signed up and running with you!

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BLACK-PRINCESS 11/11/2011 12:30PM


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KKINNEA 11/11/2011 12:15PM

    Your plan looks great - I think the 3x weekly will help you keep achieving longer distances. Great news on that race series - it will be structured way to increase your distance towards the HM!

My coach is someone who doesn't take walk breaks either. When we trained together in the summer, I had to keep catching back up because her keep-steady continuance of running had her outpacing me when I needed a walk break :)

So as you outlined in your blog, you (and everyone else) needs to do what's best for you! You've regained so much ground already - fantastic!

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ERIN1128 11/11/2011 11:56AM

    OMG, I just about spit out my coffee when I saw that little girl!! sounds like hou have really fond a routine that works. Aweso e!

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SARAWALKS 11/11/2011 11:15AM

    So much cool stuff here! emoticon emoticon emoticon

I am copying your 5 run basics, I've been struggling with my own (I am one of those walk/run people and have to quit feeling bad about it!). I'll be working on modifying it for me, but some good suggestions there about alternating approaches during the week. Taking the same approach to each run definitely does not work for me but my variations are extremely ad hoc. That may be good but I am going to try a bit more structure, if I can manage it at what is turning into SUCH a busy time of year!

Rock on! Run on! Speak on, sistah! emoticon
Oh and by the way, I love that little girl in the yellow hoodie! emoticon

Comment edited on: 11/11/2011 11:16:41 AM

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This is a Mess...As Is My Life

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Well, I've gone once again from the girl trying to fill her time to a girl with little time left to do anything. Oh, the joys of a crazy life and its constant ups and downs.

I got one day this week (Monday) when I had little to nothing to do. I spent the entire day writing for NaNo and got up to nearly 10k words. And then yesterday the boss calls a meeting and I get added to my roster:

- Helping out a coworker on a case
- 2 cases transferred to me from another coworker
- 1 case transferred from yet another coworker (was expecting this one)
- AND helping out another one of my Supervisors with a huge event coming up next month
- Not to mention the freaking out and unnecessary research I did yesterday for a training program that I went from attending to now maybe speaking at! *bites fingernails*

*sigh* So yesterday I went from a girl who wondered if she could write 10k words in one day, to wondering when I'd ever get a chance to work on the darn novel again. Life, right!?

Still, I've tried to keep up with everything. The eating front needs some work. We're not totally off track but I've been allowing too many, "Oh, just one (or four) won't hurt me...I can have a high calorie day now and again." So, yeah, need to nip that in the bud RIGHT NOW, especially considering Mr. Scale is in joke mode again and giving me false 299 readings just about once a day. (He thinks he's HILARIOUS, but he's not going to find it funny when I shove my foot up his....nevermind.)

Monday I had the unexpected challenge of football practice added into the mix. Thankfully I have short days this week (thanks to Veteran's Day on Friday), so I was able to attend. Unthankfully, I still needed to get in an easy run. So, I did what most crazy moms do...I put on my running clothes under my work clothes about 10 minutes before work ended, rushed home, grabbed the boy, took him to practice, and proceeded to strip off my outer "work" layer in the parking lot. *snort* I told Logan he was running with me and told him to wear comfortable shoes.

Little joker thought it'd be funny to WALK next to me as I was jogging. I wanted to smack him...seriously! I finally turned to him and said, "Dude! I can WALK this slow too, but running requires the use of a whole different set of muscles. At least pretend, okay!?" I don't think he would've been walking and smiling so much by the end of the first 1/2 mile, because by then he was already starting to feel it. We ran through the streets of town. Every time we came across an intersection, I'd turn to him and say, "Left, right, or straight?" We ran past a bunch of people out talking a walk (it was a beautiful fall night!). By the first mile marker we were both starting to count down the 1/4 miles.

We ended up on an uphill stretch around milemarker 1.25, which we grunted through...and then got a downhill just after. I had let Logan lead the way most of the time, letting him set the pace. On easy run nights, I focus only on getting my distance in, allowing my body to feel the running motion, and breathing. I don't worry about timing or pace or any of it. I just want to remember why I enjoy running without pushing my body so darn hard. Logan was leading at a pretty decent clip - about 14:20mm pace. Not too fast, good for maintaining throughout the entire workout (the only time we got slower was on the uphill part). Slow and steady, steady and slow, that's the way my easy runs go. ;)

By the time we hit the downhill, right about at the 1.5 mile mark, Logan fell behind me and I took the lead. As he settled in on the downhill, and as I was remarking on the amazing nature of the downhill and the ability to "coast" and let gravity do a lot of the work, I noticed his shadow was WALKING behind me. I immediately (without turning around) said, "Don't stop! Keep running!" He caught back up to me and said, "Geez! You're just like my teacher! You've got eyes in the back of your head!" *lol*

By the time we hit around 1.75 miles we were really feeling it. The talking and joking had stopped, we were only focused on finishing (and I was slightly distracted by the fit and fabulous runner who easily passed us... *sigh* Took me a minute to remind myself that her run was not mine, and vice versa.). It was then that I noticed that our breathing was completely in sync. We were huffing and puffing at the exact same time and it made me laugh to myself. (Of course later, I teased him about it -- "Either I'm in REALLY good shape, or you are in HORRIBLE shape!" *lol* I still want to believe the former.)

2 miles later, we finished our run and started our cool down walk up the hill. I was surprised at how amazing I felt. Surprised, once again, that while I struggled IN my two miles (mostly mental struggle), I came out of it feeling good. Not overly tired. Not incredibly hungry or thirsty or in any way exhausted. I stretched, and then sat down to enjoy the HOUR AND A HALF (hear the sarcasm) we had left in the FREEZING cold. (Here's a tip, make sure you bring plenty of layers if you're going for a run and then plan on sitting in the 40-50 degree weather for a while the sweat has settled onto your skin and the wind starts blowing?! BRRRRRRR!

Yesterday, I was to do my 30 minute NTC circuit training routine. Ethan had asked the night before if he could do one this week. He really has a great time with them (even if he does do a lot of the moves WRONG! *snort*) and he plans on using it for conditioning in the off season so he can maybe fight for a 1st string slot next season. So on my way home from work yesterday I got this crazy idea to do my 30 minutes with him.

I called him up.

Me: "Hey, so I'm doing my 30 minute circuit training tonight. Want to do it with me?"
Ethan: "Well, would I be screwing up your schedule or anything?"
Me: "No. This is what's scheduled tonight. I can either go to the gym and do it by myself, or I can come home and we can do it together."
Ethan: "Well, I'd like to do it with you, if that's alright."
Me: "Well, dress warm. I'll be home soon."

First of all, I love that he doesn't want to "screw up my schedule" right now. He knows how I've been pushing/fighting for consistency in my workouts the past couple weeks, and he knows how important it is to me to stay on task. Second of all, I love that he'll quit his video game in order to work out for 30 minutes with his Momma. :)

I didn't expect it to be quite that dark when I finally got home (had to hit the store first for some green peppers and peas for the fried rice), but we did our entire workout on the front lawn with a million cars passing by and I didn't care one single bit. (Okay, the hip lifts were a little strange out there. *snort*) There was something magical about having 2 full workouts with my boys and something even more incredible about doing last night's circuit training under the stars. I got my workout in AND got some valuable time with my sons..and that feels great!

Tonight, however, is all about me. I need to focus tonight because it's speedwork night. The plan is:

5 minute warm up
7 intervals each of 5.3 fast run and 4.3 jog
5 minute cool down

I think I figured out the time and it will be about 27.5 minutes.

Tomorrow? Tomorrow I will be SO happy to see my rest day again! *lol* I have that training tomorrow too, so I need to be focused on that and nothing else.

So, yeah, craziness abounds in my world once again. Other things on my mind include:

- I really, really want some Kale Tofu Stir Fry! Putting it on the menu for next week.
- I really want to learn to make excellent fried Tofu at home.
- I need some good sushi VERY soon!
- I need to prep the T-Day menu. (Thanks Spark for some great suggestions!)
- I need a blender like WOAH! (So sick of having to ignore certain recipes because I can't BLEND anything.)
- There are 45 shopping days until Christmas and I haven't bought a SINGLE present! ACK!!!!!!
- I have 3 potlucks coming up. The first is a cookout on Saturday with Ethan's team (we're bringing pop because we already have a ton in the stockpile we never drink). The second is the banquet on Sunday (I THINK I'm making Stuffed Cabbage Rolls and halving each roll and making a double batch - that'd be 48 mini cabbage rolls.). The third is a work luncheon on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving (and I'm bringing my FAVORITE thing to bring -- veggies! Making another one of my classic HUGE salads with 3 kinds of lettuce, mushrooms, radishes, carrots, broccoli, and whatever other veggie I like in my salad. And then people can just grab whatever dressing they like and YUM-CITY! :) )
- I need new shoes for work.
- I need new work pants too! I have 1 pair that still fits, 1 that fits but the hips are HUGE now, and 1 that nearly falls down when I walk. *sigh* NEED NEW PANTS.
- Oh, what else...And, oh yeah, 299...299...299...I just keep chanting that over and over and over.

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

X5X52000 11/11/2011 7:00PM

    do your thing and do it well because with a schedule like that you must be amazing

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ALOFA0509 11/10/2011 8:06PM

Girl you are amazing!!!!

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KAYOTIC 11/10/2011 10:22AM

    You really know how to get it all in! Great job, and what a nice way to work out, under the stars with your boy!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/9/2011 11:03PM


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XTMONT 11/9/2011 1:15PM

    What a schedule! Congrats on needing new pants!

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KKINNEA 11/9/2011 12:33PM

    "her run was not mine, and vice versa" This is so true regardless of how fast you get - seems like there's always someone faster!

I like hearing about those slippy pants - good NSV on your way to 299. The only downside is you have to keep buying new pants!

I hope your sons are storing up awesome memories of their workouts with you - I love that!

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SHEILA1505 11/9/2011 12:16PM

    I hope you get your blender!
Great to have the boys with you for those workouts -hugs

BTW - good luck with that presentation on the training program

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ERIN1128 11/9/2011 12:03PM

    All you can do is hang on for the ride! Love that your boys are supportive. Way to go!

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PAANDRUS 11/9/2011 10:33AM

    Just remember with the 3 potlucks & a holiday in there...each is just ONE meal. NOT permission to eat aimlessly for days. I have to remind myself of that during this time of year! Hang in there!

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GOGOSHIRE 11/9/2011 10:10AM

    I love your boys. They sound like totally awesome people. xo

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BLACK-PRINCESS 11/9/2011 10:03AM

    emoticon blog

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GYPSYW0LF 11/9/2011 10:00AM

    Wow, excellent Blog! You are a very busy mom but I love that you are still taking time for yourself and getting healthy!

Congrats on all you have accomplished


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Making a Conscious Decision to Eat Unhealthy?

Monday, November 07, 2011

Uhm, excuse me...

*shuffles the evidence of her poor lunch choice off her desk*

Uhm, nothing. No, it was nothing. I, uh, just...

*lowers her head in shame*

Lunch today = Wendy's Single w/cheese, with small french fries and a Diet Coke.

Let's face it, I don't always win the battle. Yesterday was supposed to be my coupon and grocery shopping day. I usually gather my coupons and then use all my wiley skills to devise the best (and cheapest) meal plan for the week. I create a grocery list from that menu and then off to the store we go.

Yesterday, however, turned into something completely different and, while I'm not complaining (I had a blast!), it has NOT helped me to start this week off on the right foot.

Our pantry has been in serious need of some lovin' lately. We've been skimping on groceries lately to help cover some unexpected expenses (like my stupid speeding ticket and Hubs' muffler rusting off), so by yesterday we were completely out of some of the basics - bread of any sort, bagels and cream cheese (my breakfast staples), and a bunch of other things. We were even down to about 1/4 of the half gallon of milk we had left. We needed yesterday's shopping trip. Instead we ended up in Kentucky.

Let me just put this out there - I LOVE spontaneity, I'm just not any good at it. Yesterday, after Hubs finally woke up, I looked outside, remarked on how lovely it was and asked that we do something outside as a family. And then all hell broke loose. Hubs calls his uncle, who has this crazy idea to drive to Kentucky. He says it's 90 miles away, this place called "Carter Caves" and says that the tour is pretty cheap and he's planning on taking his step-daughter and her two little ones, as well as his (somewhat new) wife. And all of a sudden I'm taking the fastest shower of my life and trying not to freak out over the fact that:

A. I've never heard of this place.
B. It's in friggin' KENTUCKY!
C. I have no clue what to expect.
D. I'm JUST starting to feel better after being sick for a week, what if I take a turn for the worse?

*sigh* Bite the bullet, Esther. Just go. Forget the planning and just go with the flow. (I nearly peed myself at the thought!)

Well, it wasn't 90 miles away. In fact, we left our side of town around 12:30pm and didn't show up until 3:30pm...3 hours later. What's worse, with the lack of proper food in the house, Hubs and I have ZERO time to grab a bite to eat, so we end up at McDonald's for quick sandwiches before we're off. And then, halfway though our drive, his uncle calls from the truck I'm following and says they need to make a pit, where else? You guessed it...McDonald's! By this time both my boys are hungry so I grab them some food and Hubs and I just pick at that and grab ourselves coffee. So far so good, right? Okay, not really. I'm starting to realize I've been to McDonald's twice in ONE DAY, which can't be good for anyone, let alone someone who is just 5 pounds away from a MAJOR weight loss goal.

*bangs head on sink counter in McDonald's bathroom*
*goes back out to resume the "fun"*

About an hour later we're in Kentucky at Carter Caves State Resort. Which, by the way, I didn't see anything resembling a "resort" anywhere. We find out we missed the tour that Debbie (uncle's wife) wanted to see so we have to settle for the X-Cave tour. (On the upside, because I did ZERO research and have no clue what to expect, I didn't care one way or the other which cave or whatever we saw.) The tour for the X-Cave is scheduled to begin at 4:30pm. It's 3:30pm.


One other thing you should know about me. I'm not good at waiting. Especially when I look around and see signs for four different trails in any given direction spanning out from the welcome center. I took off up a hill and started investigating a (CREEPY!) old saltpeter cave/mine. Finally, I call my boys over and they start exploring it too.

I look across the road and notice now that the rest of the group is getting antsy. Hubs' uncle starts asking around and we're sent off on a 1/2 mile loop trail where we're supposed to see some cool "arch" or something. (Please, dear God, don't let them be Golden!)

Took us about 30 minutes or so through this 1/2 mile, basically because we keep stopping to explore separate parts of the trail, little rock formations, oh, yeah, and there was that little part where I had to cross a stream because...well, because I wanted to prove to myself that I could. Me + slippery rocks across a stream is not usually a good idea. But for some reason I get it into my crazy head that instead of turning back and taking the easy way across the bridge and to the other part of the trail, I'm going to find a way across this stupid stream! My balancing act and successful crossing turned out to be one of the highlights for everyone on the trip. We all laughed and had a great time, and when I finally came across and Hubs gave me a hand and pulled me up the steep bank on the other side, we shared a moment. I looked at him, he looked at me, and I knew we were both thinking, "I couldn't do that a year ago." Well, that and "I can't believe Hubs can pull me up a steep bank with his arm now...has he been working out in secret?"

Crossing the Stream...

I climed over rocks. Climbed steep rock steps. I took the hardest route around the trail. And with each step I got a little rush of excitement, realizing how different this felt from last year's trek through Old Man's Cave. Sure, there were times I slipped to the back of the line. We got through a few slick spots and, no matter how skinny I get, I will always have to watch my knee on stuff like that. Still, I made it through with little fear, more confident in my ability to tackle the challenge. When the rest of the group turned back instead of continuing on, me and my boys (including Hubs) continued on to the rest of the trail...the more difficult part.

Back at the Welcome Center again, we had about 10 minutes to rest before our tour started. Just enough time to catch my breath before tackling another fear.

No, it wasn't the steep steps up to the cave. No problems there. It was the cave itself.

I'm from Ohio originally. I've been to caves/caverns before...and I've always had the huge fear that I would be the one person who couldn't continue past the tight and/or narrow formation that inevitably waits all tours in any of these caves and caverns. How glad was I some 30 minutes later that I had nothing to fear at all. I made it through everything. Sure, there were tight squeezes here and there, but I wasn't the only one struggling through those, and I made it through just fine - without touching anything!

Also surprising to me was my willingness to get my picture taken. Look, I may not like the way I look in all the pictures taken of me still, but it sure is great when you have before-during-after photos of the journey. And while you're stuck in the middle of the journey, pictures don't have to be scary...they can be your temporary after picture and a future before photo. I posed for pictures. (Even more surprising is that I didn't freak out when they were posted on FB for everyone to see.)

"How much of you do you want?" She asked. (Good girl!) My response: "Doesn't matter to me!" (WTF did I just say??)

Made for some great photo ops for my lil iPhone camera too.

Hubs and I

And my boys (Ethan is on the left, Logan on the right)

The boys and I in the X-Cave
(Yes, it was a running joke that we were going to become mutants and we're contemplating calling Logan "Batman" because as soon as he asked if there were bats in the cave, one flew right over his head. I told him he had been mutated with the ability to summon bats at will. And then we realized that the name Batman is already taken...we're working on an alternative.)

So, we get done with everything and my kids start griping about being hungry. For me, the hunger hasn't set in yet...but I know it won't until about 30 minutes after a workout, and then it will be uncontrollable until I fill it. We stand around for about 15 minutes trying to figure out what to do with ourselves before Hubs' uncle finally asks our tour guide for a suggestion.

The suggestion? Can you guess?! Okay, no, it wasn't McDonald's. (Thank goodness!) But, can you believe it's scarier (at least for me)? A truck stop.

Yep, I said a truck stop. Now I have NOTHING against truckers. I have nothing against truck stops either. What scared me is that, in my head, truck stop = grease. I don't imagine many vegan truckers out there chowing down on some veggie wrap or roasted peppers or Kale Tofu Stir Fry. I imagine deep fried meat, salted and buttered sides, and lots of (probably good, actually) coffee.

I wasn't that far off, actually. Logan ended up with a hamburger that was as big as his head. Not an exaggeration.


(And you can't really see the bottom bun at this angle.)

Hubs had something that looked like Country Fried Steak coated in white gravy. (I tried a bite...YUCK!)

Ethan attempted to order a pork chop but ended up with something that just tasted like ham. (He also tried to order his 3 sides as - baked potato, home fries, and hashbrowns. *sigh* I told him he had to pick something NON-potato or he was getting a bowl of green beans and that was it. He picked cottage cheese.)

Me? Well, see, it turns out you can eat alright at a truck stop. I had grilled chicken. It was flat and dry and just the way a non-overly-buttered and seasoned chicken breast should taste (of course it was about a 6oz serving size). I also got mashed potatoes (totally worth it...they were amazing!), with a bit of gravy, corn (from a can..I'd bet money on it) and green beans just like my grandma used to make. Of course, all of this "good work" at a truck stop can also be ruined when you find out that this truck stop has been featured on "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives"...only one of your favorite shows of all time with the coolest host ever!

'Sup, Guy? *wink*

And then you find out that there's a rumor that this place is known for it's Coconut Cream Pie made with Vodka. I swear to you this is the only time in my life when I have asked if pie was available before I even ordered my meal. And, in true "down home diner" fashion, the girl asked how many pieces we wanted so she could "set 'em aside." (Thank GOODNESS I got Hubs to agree to split that sucker and told the kids they could have a few bites too.)

How'd it turn out?

Worth every single calorie I couldn't count (but I didn't eat very much, actually...Hubs and Logan ate more than half of it...mostly Hubs). I've only had pie this good once in my life, by the woman who used to own a tiny diner right across the street from where we now live. Her pies were legendary and, of course, secret family recipes. She's gone now, though my mother-in-law was one of the only people entrusted with some of the recipes, so we still get good pie now and again, but never as good as we did from Ginny. Until this pie, I never thought I'd experience anything so amazing ever again.

And, yes, I still believe that I heard angels singing when I took the first bite. AWE-MAZE-ING!

So, what does all this have to do with my *cough* Wendy's meal I just consumed?

1. Bad food tends to lead me to more bad food cravings. Lesson learned.
2. I didn't want to want to go out for a hamburger but I seriously, honestly, 100% truly wanted that hamburger.
3. I gave myself every other option available under the sun. I even have a Gift Certificate to the market. I could've had a FREE lunch. Didn't matter, all I wanted was a Wendy's single.
4. I have Wendy's hamburgers maybe twice a year.
5. If I had planned and been ready and packed my lunch, none of this would've happened. I would've guilted myself into eating what I brought.
6. I can't change what happened....however...

Yes, there's a however...why the hell would I write this if there wasn't a however? Do you remember our blog title? Go ahead, go look again...I'll wait here.....

Yes, that's the however. I made the CONSCIOUS decision to eat this meal today. I'm hoping that tonight I will be able to make something delicious and healthy at home but even that's uncertain as we have football practice again until I don't know when. Still, I made that conscious decision. And that's HUGE for me. It's huge for a girl (no weight-pun intended) who ate 3000+ calories on a regular basis, mindlessly, without even considering what she was doing to her body. Yesterday, as I watched two women dig into their Big Macs with Large French Fries, I felt myself cringe. Do you realize how many calories you're consuming?? And, if you're anything like me, that Big Mac makes a quick exit through the system and you're hungry just hours later. Plus...the fries! Oh my God, the fries!! *cringe*

Today, I ate the fries. I ate the hamburger (though, granted, not a Big Mac -- THANKFULLY!). But I was conscious. YES, I knew how many calories was in it. And I ordered a small fry because I knew I wouldn't stop eating until it was gone. And I ordered a Diet Coke because I don't need to add anything extra to this already super-calorie-loaded meal. But...I decided. I chose. And I'm okay living with that decision.

Of course tomorrow, I had BETTER get my rear back on track!! *lol* Gotta get some bread, fresh fruits and veggies, and some bagels/cream cheese from the store tonight NO MATTER WHAT!

I leave you with a pic of the whole gang, and my response to the posting of it was, "Hey! I don't stick out at the big fat girl that doesn't fit in with everyone!"

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

EUPHRATES 11/8/2011 1:32AM

    I am absolutely fantastically proud of you (and glad the blog WAS going exactly where I was intending to take it if you didn't go there yourself - considering what you COULD have ordered from Wendy's that's a GREAT accomplishment)!!!!!!!!

That said, now I wanna take a road trip! *runs off to research Carter Caves - appears to be about 2 1/2 hours from Cincy*

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/7/2011 11:20PM


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MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/7/2011 11:13PM


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ERIN1128 11/7/2011 5:28PM

    Love the pics, thanks for sharing! Totally true, about bad food leading to bad cravings. On the other hand, letting yourself fall off the wagon once in a while helps satisfy those cravings and put them away for awhile. ;-)

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CYNCERELY4ME 11/7/2011 4:59PM

    That hamburger and pie looks delicious. Everyone makes mistakes especially when dieting no one is perfect. But we learn from out mistakes. emoticon

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RUSSELLORAMA 11/7/2011 4:47PM



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RICHILA 11/7/2011 3:52PM

    I think the most important part is making the choice and not beating yourself up afterwards. Spark On! emoticon

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KKINNEA 11/7/2011 3:09PM

    I think you did amazingly well given the eating adventure you had in front of you! Weird that the truck stop was the easiest meal choice. You did the smart choosing of what my mOm used to call "bad carbs" - pick the thing you want use your junk food calories on, enjoy it, and move on!

I did almost LOL at work everytime arches were mentioned :) Your face is looking slim in these pix!

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PAANDRUS 11/7/2011 3:08PM

    We all make mistakes & how you deal with the curves in the road is most important! Soooo....make a U turn NOW! Remember u also got some exercise in too!

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PAANDRUS 11/7/2011 3:02PM

    We all make mistakes & how you deal with the curves in the road is most important...SOOO make a U turn now! Remember u also got some exercise in too!

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ACCT1908 11/7/2011 2:54PM

    OMG that picture of the burger LOOKED SO FREAKING GOOD!! LOL
Sounds like you had a good time though! Love the pixs!

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LINOVER 11/7/2011 2:25PM

    Don't put yourself down too much. Yesterday you chose to have the grilled chicken instead of something really unhealthy. You also ate very little of the pie. Don't know if I could have resisted that! It looks pretty good! I used to avoid Wendy's because I always wanted to indulge in a Frosty but Wendy's has helped me by cutting the size of a Frosty in half and raising the price! I think you did great by just gettin the small fries and a Single w/cheese! You are planning to eat healthier in the future.

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KARVY09 11/7/2011 2:24PM

    Omg I need that pie.

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BLACK-PRINCESS 11/7/2011 2:16PM

emoticon pics

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Weigh-In Day and 5-Miler Attempt Recap

Sunday, November 06, 2011

First thing's first...

Weigh-In Day

Weight Last Week: 306.4
Weight Goal for This Week: 304.4
Actual Weight This Week: 304.0
Weight Loss/Gain: -2.4 pounds!


Total Weight Lost with SP: 112.2
Total Weight Lost Overall: 162.6

Weight Left to Lose for Next Goal (298.9): 5.1 pounds
Weeks Left until Goal Date (Dec 31): 8 weeks

So, I keep asking myself how this week went. I mean, according to Mr. Scale it went pretty darn well. I got my 2 pounds I wanted, plus a little extra. My eating hasn't been on task 100%, and I've been sick so workouts haven't been quite at the level I'm usually at. BUT...

I've done all my scheduled workouts for the week, or at least attempted them.

The Schedule was:
Sunday - Yoga/Stretching (Rest Day)
Monday - Easy Run
Tuesday - Circuit Round 1
Wednesday - Speedwork
Thursday - Yoga/Stretching (Rest Day)
Friday - Circuit Round 2
Saturday - 4 mile run

The week went:
Sunday: Rest day, stretched a bit here and there
Monday - Easy Run (1.9 miles in 29:46)
Tuesday - Circuit 1 (did Slim Chance 30min NTC workout)
Wednesday - Speedwork (1.5 miles in 22:25, did 5 intervals at 5.3 speed)
Thursday - Rest day, stretched here and there
Friday - Circuit 2 (did Sweat & Shape 30min NTC workout)
Saturday - LDR (Did 2.07 miles in 31:03...more on this in a minute)

So, let's talk about that 5-miler that wasn't, shall we?! A couple days ago I decided that this would be the week I would stop pussy-footing around and would give my all and attempt 5 miles running without stopping. Unfortunately, my body had other plans....

I've been suffering from some sort of sinus infection all week. Coughing, runny nose, some tightness in the chest, and all sorts of tired..and some stomach issues on top of that. On Tuesday I nearly wimped out on going to the gym as struggling to keep my eyes open on the freeway was freaking me out. But I went. And after my circuit workout, I felt so much better. That was the day I decided that this illness was not going to stop me from working out this week. Wednesday, I fought through my speedwork. Thursday...well, I was so friggin' glad I had a rest day and was able to give my body a little break, but by Friday, it was back to work time. I did feel a little better when I left the gym Friday, but by the time I got home I was crashing. Slept a LOT on Friday. And then yesterday I woke up feeling horrible. Was the worst day yet with stuffiness and stiffness and swelling. I waited a bit for my head to clear, I worried I couldn't do anything, and then I finally bit the bullet, put on my clothes and got out there to run.

First of all, this was the first time that I didn't count a 1/4 mile walk warm-up as part of my distance. I did my warmup in the yard and then when I hit the button to start my workout, I was off running on the first step. The first 1/4 mile wasn't as difficult as it usually is. The second 1/4 was starting to get rough. By mile 1 I was having serious doubts, but was trying everything to push them aside. By a mile and a half, I had to stop to walk. I was exhausted already and I couldn't figure out if this was a mental block or a physical one. I took a quick walking break and then started running again. And then the stomach problems hit at mile marker 2 and I sent out the emergency phone call to Hubs to come and get me, knowing I wouldn't make it the last mile home. He came and picked me up and I headed straight home where I cried for a good long while and told myself that I had wimped out.

I was sure I could've finished. Sure I had talked myself into pain throughout my body. And then I crashed pretty much the rest of the day. I was sick. Hubs kept telling me I was a warrior for even attempting it while I was sick. Heck, just the day before Ethan had told me "Mom, you look terrible." (I told him that's what every woman wants to hear and he should try it on a girlfriend sometime. *poke*) I slept for about 5 hours, woke up for another 3-4, and then crashed again for the rest of the night.

Besides the sinus trouble, and stomach trouble, I was also having (TMI alert) cramps like it was TOM, though I'm not SUPPOSED to have these symptoms anymore, having been on depo for a year now. *sigh* (I get to be one of the lucky ones who still experiences period like symptoms even while on Depo...yay me. *roll eyes*) So, it's really no wonder that I couldn't triumph through 5 miles. This morning, I felt a little better both physically and mentally. The tears after my run were me being afraid that I had mentally blocked myself from achieving my goal...but after the day I had after my run...well, I know it was a physical thing, not mental. I spoke nothing but nice, encouraging words to myself and, usually, that works like a charm. It's what got me to 1 mile, 2 miles, 3 miles, and 3.5 miles. I was more positive yesterday than I ever have been before...and I allowed a walk break, which I *NEVER* do. Still, it didn't work. I didn't have it. It wasn't my day.

Does that mean I stop trying? Oh, HELL NO! Next Saturday, I'll be out there again, talking myself through the first mile, the first 2 miles, telling myself to just get halfway to the 2.5 mile mark, and then talking myself the rest of the way through. Hopefully I'll get my five miles. But if I don't, I'll just try again the next week and the week after. I've been here before. The first time I did it I was fighting for my first 2 miler ever. I have to find the poetic aspect of the fact that on the day of my first attempt at a 5-miler, I "wimped out" at 2 miles. I will get my 5 miles and my goal is to make sure I'm there by the end of the year. Every Saturday between now and then, I'll be out there, pounding the pavement, reaching toward that mental achievement I set into motion so many years ago when I couldn't even WALK 1/4 of a mile. And I will get there...for some reason, I have no doubt that it will happen one Saturday between now and December 31st.

So, now for the goals for next week:

emoticon Weight Goal: 302.0

emoticon Batch cook today for healthy lunches all week.
On the list for sure: Healthy Potato Soup! YUM! May also make some Tofu Fried Rice...a wonderful "back up" for me.

emoticon Buy/eat lots of healthy fresh veggies and fruits!

emoticon Drink my water.

emoticon Run 3 times this week.

emoticon Circuit train twice.

emoticon Use yoga/stretching on days off.

emoticon Say something positive to/about myself every single day this week.
Today's positivity vibe: "You championed through illness and still managed to get all your workouts in this week! You rock!!"

This week's workout schedule looks the same:
Sunday - Rest/yoga/stretching
Monday - Easy Run (2 miles)
Tuesday - Circuit Round 1
Wednesday - Speedwork (at least 7 5.3 intervals)
Thursday - Rest/yoga/stretching
Friday - Circuit Round 2
Saturday - LDR 5-miler attempt #2

Hey, if it ain't broke, why fix it, right?! I know I can get through this workout schedule because I've already done it while sick. It's difficult and challenging, yes, but it's not too much and I don't need extra days off to recover and am not spending my days in serious pain/agony. Plus, the running 3x a week is a consistency goal I've been working on the past couple months. There may be a few curveballs thrown my way (Ethan just got a call this weekend inviting him to an "all-star" football game on the 19th, so we're back to practicing a couple nights a week.) But there are also positive things coming up this week - mainly, I have a short week in that I get to work 8 hour days Mon-Thur, instead of 10-hour days because we all get Friday off for Veteran's Day. (And I've decided to dedicate my Saturday run to my favorite veteran, my Grandpa. I've been missing him a lot lately...) And hopefully I'll actually feel better this week! ;)

Alright then...Off to another day of couponing.... *lol*

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MANLEYSANDY 11/7/2011 12:29PM

    You rock!!!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/6/2011 10:14PM


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HYPNOTIQ116 11/6/2011 1:01PM

    You are so inspiring. Great job on your weight loss. :) emoticon

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BLACK-PRINCESS 11/6/2011 12:52PM


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SARAWALKS 11/6/2011 12:30PM

You are getting so close to that magic #...
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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    Wow so inspiring! Way to push through a rough patch, you go girl!

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COMPASSLOST1 11/6/2011 10:55AM

    I think you're doing an amazing job by keeping everything up. The fact that even though you didn't feel so great you still tried just shows how dedicated you are to accomplishing the goals you set for yourself. Some days are just harder than others, just like some days we eat better than others. It doesn't mean we are weak, and it doesn't mean we can't do it, it just means that that day our bodies had other things in mind. You're a consistant inspiration to me, and I am so excited to read how well you are doing! You go girl with all that running!

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FROGGERHKC 11/6/2011 10:13AM

    You are doing such an amazing job! Congrats on your weight loss! With all that goes on in day to day life, you still manage to make time and get your stuff done for you, and it shows in your results! You are awesome :)

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GOGOSHIRE 11/6/2011 9:53AM

    You are getting this done lb by lb and enjoying life, and you have so much momentum - remember when you thought you would be stuck in the 320s forever and you were discouraged? And now everything has changed - including your attitude, which is AWESOMESAUCE, btw - and you've got an awesome FORWARD MARCH going.

I love your attitude and your momentum - it is so inspiring and I'm SO happy for you. I also really love how you are taking things week by week in 2 lb increments, focused on laser-sharp goals that you know you can achieve. This is also very inspiring, and I'm cheering for your scale to say 302 next week. I'm going to try to apply your attitude toward Nanowrimo (day 6 and I haven't started). I'm going to ignore the part of me that says, "No, I'm too far behind, it's too late now. I'll never do it," and I'm going to take a chapter from the Book of Esther and say ONE PAGE AT A TIME. I'll get there. Maybe not as fast as I had wanted, but I can do whatever I friggin want. xo

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MICHELLESMILES_ 11/6/2011 9:20AM

    You're amazing and inspire so many people!

Congrats on your loss this week!

emoticon emoticon emoticon

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Don't Sell Yourself Short

Friday, November 04, 2011

Hey, Esther. It's time we had a little talk.

Look, I get it...2011 was a rough year. You didn't lose a lot of weight and, for some reason, you want to count 2011 as a failure because of it. But I need you to stop that thinking right now. Seriously! RIGHT NOW!

All the time you groan when you hear other people talk about how far they've come and you think, "They've done better than me." Stop sulking! Don't you realize what you've accomplished? Don't you realize just how amazing you are?

Yesterday you spent almost an hour talking to a coworker you used to have very little in common with about, of all things, weight loss and fitness. This girl is much smaller than you. This should be totally easy for her. That's what you told yourself, anyhow. For some reason you got it in your head that you should be jealous of her because her path seemed so much easier. But, after talking to her, you realize that your struggles are so similar to hers it's eerie. You realize that she struggles with healthy choices just as much as you do. And you discovered that while she triumphs in areas you have yet to even attempt, you have things you do that still inspire her, things you've accomplished that she still fears. You're sitting in different boats, but they look just the same and while she's paddling mostly on the left side, and you mostly on the right, you're still headed in the same direction.

What's actually let yourself be vulnerable in front of her yesterday. You admitted some of your failings and, to your surprise, she didn't smirk or laugh or gloat. She shared some of hers with you instead. And when she mentioned her inability to complete 30-Day Shred but her desire still to do it, you found a common connection and out popped the words, "Let's do it together!" Maybe you didn't expect her to take the bait. Maybe you expected her to back out so you felt you were safe in offering. But you knew there was that chance she would say yes. And she said yes...sorta. You see, like you she struggles with her body rebelling against what she wants. She told you reasonably, "I have to wait until my appointment Monday and see what's going on, but if I get the all clear, we're on."

So, it's out there. And you put it there. A December challenge of 30-Day Shred every single day for 30 days to round out 2011 with a bang. You immediately tried to bail on it. "Do you have to work out EVERY SINGLE DAY?! I like my rest days!!" But you walked away knowing that if she came back and said she got the all clear, you would do it...because you can do anything for 30 days. And because girls struggling together have to stick together!

I also want you to remember that yesterday you threw away half a piece of cake. You didn't want it. You tried to resist. You felt it was forced upon you and you used that excuse, but you still could've said no. Yeah, I got all that. You took the piece of cake. But you shouldn't beat yourself up over that. Instead, you should rejoice in the restraint you had to take the smallest piece, to eat only half throughout the course of an entire afternoon and to throw it away once you realized that the concentrated sugar in it was actually making you feel sick.

Do you know why it made you sick, Esther? Don't you see? You don't indulge in high sugar sweets all day every day like you once did. Sure, a piece of chocolate here, a piece of chocolate there, but you aren't the sugar queen you once were. You can't polish off half a sheet cake over the course of 2 days anymore because your body knows now what's good for it...and knows that cake isn't one of those things. Even the people at work joke about how you're going to get a sugar rush every time sweets are offered because they know that your diet isn't full of sugar. And when you watch them eat one or two pieces of cake and then wash it down with a Coke, you have to realize that you used to be right there next to them, joining in, downing another piece and reaching for another soda.

Did you control your calories 100% yesterday? Nope. Is that a reason to call yesterday a failure? Hell no! Don't you remember that you struggled over whether to go out to eat or not? Don't you remember that when you ordered your very favorite meatball sub, that you ate half and then waited - yes, waited - to see if you wanted any more? And you did want more. And you ate almost the entire thing. And then you stopped when you were done. You may have eaten more than your plan "allowed," but you didn't walk out of there in pain (like the Hubs did) from overeating. You left there full and satisfied and then went home and indulged in a nice, quiet bath.

You've spent your whole life being a planner. You have to-do lists that tell you that you need to make a to-do list. That's who you've always been. But who you also are is the girl that veers off the to-do list at least 3 times a week or more. What you learned this year, somehow, is how to veer off gracefully. How to substitute items so you could remain productive. Or, if you veered off completely, how to find your way back on track. That's such a valuable skill to have learned because you need to make the plan work for you if you want it to work for your life. Sure, there are things you can change about yourself - lots of things - but developing things that work around the essence of who you are and the habits you have is the key to maintaining a healthy way of life...and a more peaceful one at that.

Last night you actually spoke the words, "I'm in a good place right now." And you believed them. You really ARE in a good place right now...a place where you understand more who you are and what you want and how to go about merging those two things.

This year you learned how to alter childish fantasies into achievable realities. You are not going to be a ballerina, but you can shape your body into a flexible, dynamic, and powerful work of art. You are never going to have a good relationship with your father (or any relationship, for that matter), but you can develop and foster the relationships you do have and pull those you love closer to you. You are not going to be the stick thin girl that can eat everything she wants, but you can be a healthy, fit, and strong woman that eats whatever she wants in moderation, learning to fit it into your life so that you can still enjoy the things you love to eat without sacrificing the things you love to do. You'll never be the perfect mother, but you can shower your children with love, teach them responsibility, and mold them into healthy, successful young men...and then realize that you have to let them go and do what they're going to do with the lessons you've taught them.

You labeled this year "The Year of Adventures: Finding My Bliss" but you never realized how difficult the journey would be to discovering your true self...a true self you've kept locked inside in order to fit into the expectations of others. For 29 years you sacrificed who you are for who people wanted you to be. You tried (and so often failed) to constantly keep them happy. You did what they wanted, followed their dreams for you, and let their expectations of your future be your guide for what your life would become. But this year you finally broke free of that prison. You allowed yourself to say no when it didn't feel right, to sacrifice being the one that constantly made them happy so that you could have some happiness of your own. You let yourself be you without bowling them over, cutting them down, or pushing them away and you've come out of it a person who "Is more sure of herself than she ever has been before." (You've never spoken truer words, by the way.)

So stop telling everyone that this year sucked. Stop telling them it was a massive failure. Stop selling yourself short because you know that the world will do that for you enough times in your life.

Rejoice in the person you've come to love. - Yourself.
Rejoice in your accomplishments.

May I please remind you that since April of last year you have lost over 110 pounds!?
May I remind you that you've somehow battled your way out of the high 400's and are nearing the 200's with consistency?
May I remind you that you have trained yourself to become a runner, like you once told yourself you could?

Keep remembering the day you challenged your expectations. You may not remember the exact date or even the year, but you remember that still small voice in your head asking, "Well why CAN'T you be the girl that gets up and runs 5 miles? Who said you can't do that?"

Tomorrow I want you to wake up and be that girl. You can now because you've trained yourself to be. You've fought through injury, illness, and heartbreak. You've fought through the sheer pain of pushing a 300-pound body through the limits that most people would have placed upon it. Sometimes you think to yourself, "I shouldn't be able to do this." But you realize time and time again that you can. Should doesn't factor in. Impossible is just a word that people use when they're scared to imagine what they're capable of.

Tomorrow I want you to put on your running gear, find a safe place to run that inspires you, pack a water bottle or two for the road, and take off running. Five miles is the goal, and even if you can't make it. Even if your legs give out and you feel like puking at mile 2. Even if you realize that it's too soon, your body isn't ready, and you aren't able to make it. The one thing I do NOT want standing in your way is the mental word "impossible." Break the mental barrier and let your body take over. It will either be ready for it, or it won't, but you will never know what it's capable of if you refuse to allow it the freedom to surprise you.

And when the mental battle begins, I want you to remember a few things...

1. Run for the person you once were, who didn't think it was possible.
2. Run for the girl that once had a moment of brilliance and challenged those expectations.
3. Run for the little girl that was put into a box in the corner and denied love and friendship by the people that were supposed to give it freely...and then continued to repeat that by withholding love for herself from herself.
4. Run for the days when you felt like running but couldn't due to injury.
5. Run for your bruised toes and ugly toenails.
6. Run for the people who told you somewhere down the line that 300-pound people weren't built to run.
7. Run for the 200's you're about to see.
8. Run for a year full of surprises, both good and bad.
9. Run for the girl who is "more sure of herself than ever before."
10. Run for the woman who is in a good place in her life right now.
11. Run for your sister, who has the skill necessary to do so, but constantly battles a body that actually does rebel no matter how hard she resists.
12. Run for your grandmother, who, you know, would not be surprised at how well you're doing, but who would smile at you and simply tell you, "You done good."
13. Run for a grandfather who never stopped protecting you in his own way.
14. Run for your uncle, who can barely walk sometimes.
15. Run for the children who already believe that expectations can be expanded, broken, and pushed to the limit.
16. Run for the husband who never really saw it coming and, yet, somehow, always knew it would and always stood by you.
17. Run for the freedom of it all.
18. Run for the wind in your hair.
19. Run for the sweat that's earned because you're fit and active, not cast upon you by rolls of fat.
20. Run for your beautiful legs that are taking shape before your very eyes.

And if, for some reason, your body isn't ready to handle it. If, for some reason, you realize that you need to stop. Do not, for one second, think of it as a failure. Know that you are steps closer every day to that one question you posed so long ago...the one question that tipped the scales in your favor and made you believe in impossible dreams. "Why can't I be the girl that runs 5 miles?" Truth is, you can. It may take time. You may not get there tomorrow. But you know that you will get there. Because you started this as a girl who couldn't run 1/4 of a mile. You fought your way to a girl who couldn't run 1/2 a mile. You triumphed into a girl who couldn't run a mile. You battled the pain of a girl who couldn't run two miles. And you ran into the girl who could run 3.5 without a single break.

Challenge expectations - your own and the world's.
Challenge the word "impossible" - because it's just a word.
Challenge the image the world forced upon you - and you were stupid enough to buy into.

This isn't about weight loss right now. Tomorrow isn't about numbers on the scale or the perfect body. It's about becoming who you were born to be. It's about coming back to the 3 and 4 year old you who never stopped running, jumping, playing - who never wanted to come inside because the world was filled with so much wonder and walls just seemed to block it all out. Let that little girl run for you. And, no matter what the outcome, thank yourself when you're done for the effort, the time you put in, the journey you've face, battled, and overcome.

Let that small voice in your head take over and consume you. The one you've been hiding for years. The one that you forced down with two words that seemed so overpowering - Can't and Impossible. Those two words that seemed so big, but are merely words with no definite meaning. Let that voice ring out. You know the one. The one that I imagine has on pink boxing gloves, a sports bra, running compression pants, and a gold medal of victory. The one that says, "Oh YES. I can. Just watch me."

And realize, finally and forever, that this year has built your character into something you can be proud of. A mother who teaches her children healthy habits. A wife who doesn't sacrifice herself for her husband, but who, through supporting herself, has the power and willingness to support him through his trials as well. The daughter who realizes the power of the love her mother never stopped giving, and who is willing, ready, and able to give it back in spades over and over again. The sister who will always follow an accidental early morning phone call with a text that ensures that everything is alright and realizes that if, for some reason, that sister says no, she will drop everything and come to her aid. The woman that is defiant in all the best ways, persistent and relentless and determined. The woman who, finally after 30 years, has learned to love herself for who she is no matter how much she weighs, the size of her jeans, the color of her hair, the blemishes on her face. The writer. The seeker of truth and advocate for justice. The woman who is able to rejoice in her accomplishments without letting them turn her into a self-righteous know-it-all.

The streets are not paved with gold. The road is not easy. But for every rock, cobblestone, or section of cement your persistent and defiant foot hits, you are leaving behind the doubts and forging your way into a future that you created.

And, finally, I want to say two simple words to you....

Thank you.

Thank you for finally allowing me to be heard.
Thank you for not stuffing me down again with boxes of chocolate and doubts fed to you through years of abuse.
Thank you for finally standing up and deciding to fight.

We can and will do this. Together. And it will be our greatest accomplishment to date, but not our greatest ever because we're starting to realize that we can be more than we ever imagined. Let's get going. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, but we have all the tools we need and all the courage to succeed if we just keep fighting together.


  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

35ANGELS 11/4/2011 2:37PM

    Awesome blog. I have no doubt in my mind you will reach all of your goals. emoticon

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IMSMILEY88 11/4/2011 11:34AM

    Incredible post!!! And, you will hit that 5 mile mark. If not tomorrow, then some day.

My 'boat ride' has been different than yours. I only needed to lose about 25 pounds, but it was still something I'd needed to do for many years & it was HARD! And, I couldn't even run for 30 seconds when I started. I had no dream or desire beyond someday running a 5K. And, today I am training for my 3rd half marathon!

The 'girl' or woman that I was a year and a half ago would be surprised at me today. In fact, I AM surprised at myself. Who is this woman...who enjoys running? who has strong legs? who has muscular arms? woh will get up at 5 something to workout?'s still ME. But, I am a changed me!

Thanks for writing your beautiful post. I wish you the best as you continue your journey!

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KKINNEA 11/4/2011 11:19AM

    Too awesome! You will get through those 5 miles for all the reasons you named!

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XTMONT 11/4/2011 11:18AM

    I hope you don't mind, but I'm going to print this out and read it to myself everyday. It's like you're writing from my heart. Thank YOU!


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SARAWALKS 11/4/2011 11:00AM

    "Impossible is just a word that people use when they're scared to imagine what they're capable of."

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon


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GOGOSHIRE 11/4/2011 10:47AM

    Brilliant, but I have come to expect that from your blogs (no pressure... I don't mean it that way).

This really affected me. I guess I'm in another boat, paddling on the other side....

I hit my goal this year, and there's been a part of me that's been happy, but another part of me that has said, "Well, there's no reason to be really happy; it's nothing to celebrate. I didn't have to work as hard as other people and I'm such a loser for struggling with just 15 pounds for as long as I did anyway."

But I did have to work as hard, and I am not a loser, and this blog clarified that for me. We all are in different boats, but we're looking at the same shore.

Thanks, E. You put a hop in my step today.

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SHEILA1505 11/4/2011 9:56AM

    A magnificent year!!

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MEWHENRYSMAMA 11/4/2011 9:55AM


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PAANDRUS 11/4/2011 9:25AM

    Wow! That's just...WOW! Thanks!

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THOMS1 11/4/2011 9:12AM

    emoticonVery good blog.

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MIQUEY73 11/4/2011 9:10AM

    emoticon blog!

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DARKFAERY 11/4/2011 8:58AM

    I'm proud of you and this blog left me teary eyed. :)

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BLACK-PRINCESS 11/4/2011 8:27AM

    emoticon blog. lots to think about

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