Saturday, March 01, 2014
Recently I read an article from Coach Nicole talking about her ďhappy weight.Ē And that article has really stuck with me.
First, just a little background about myself. Iím currently 24 years old. Iíve always been athletic or an athlete, but never a good athlete. I loved volleyball in junior highÖbut I was never talented at it. Now my sport is running, and Iíve never been a fast runner. I run to compete against myself and because I enjoy it. Also, recently Iíve incorporated weight lifting, which I also am really enjoying. Iíve also always been a decently healthy eater compared to many of my acquaintances, but unfortunately I donít have te metabolism that others my age seem to have.
That being said, my weight has always been a challenge for me. I remember being overweight on and off throughout my life. My dad and stepmom are both obese. I was never obese, but definitely not at a healthy weight. When I was fourteen, my dad did Weight Watchers. I couldnít officially do the plan as I was under 18, but I followed the plan off of my father. I lost about 30 lbs and was wearing a size six. Then, at age 18, I had gained all of the weight back (as did my father). I joined Weight Watchers as a paid member, and once again started and ended up at the same weight, losing the thirty lbs to be around 135 lbs. Following that was my freshman year of college during which I got into an unhealthy dating relationship in addition to having a rough transition to college. I gained all of the weight back. Then my first semester of my sophomore year I got most of the weight down on my own, no Weight Watchers. I seemed okay for a while. And then came my junior year, which was very stressful. I binge ate like crazy, and literally the scale went up 15 lbs in one week and my jeans didnít fit anymore. I kept all that weight all summer and cried when I had to buy shorts in a size 12 for the summer. I finally got the weight down to a comfortable weight, and started the Insanity program in January 2012 thinking I was going to get some muscle built up and start running better.
Halfway through the Insanity program I was in a car accident that required me taking six months off of physical activity. I managed to decently keep my weight down without tracking or thinking about it, but mainly because I was getting so nauseous all of the time it didnít really matter what I ate. Also, after a near-death experience, counting kilocalories didnít seem important to me.
In May 2012, I graduated college at 145 lbs. I started being able to run again, slowly but surely. I started grad school at 156 lbs, which was heavier than I wanted but not my heaviest weight. I was doing okay until, on my grad student budget, I started giving in to all of the free food and whatnot. Next thing I knew I was up to 163 lbs. I talked to a friend about it, and she suggested tracking on myfitnesspal.com, which helped for a little while, and I got down back to maybe 156 lbs. Then I started dating someone in March, and he and I would often go to pubs and order large bacon cheeseburgers, drink beer, and eat fried appetizers. Often. And despite the fact I was running, I now weighed 168 lbs.
We broke up in September after six months. I hadnít been able to get my weight down at all. I had been trying myfitnesspal.com, but I wasnít having much luck. I thought about trying to lose ten lbs by myself and then join Weight Watchers again. It was the only thing I knew to do. I ended up losing four pounds on my own before joining. Weight Watchers worked great, and from October to January I lost 21 lbs. However, in January I realized I was needing more food after I started weight lifting. In addition, I knew my weight loss was going to be stalledÖso despite wanting to stay around for a free lifetime membership, I decided I needed to leave.
Since then, I donít track. Iíve been weighing myself daily, which I know you arenít supposed to do but I feel like it keeps me more honest. I try to listen to my bodyÖif Iím hungry, if I need more sodium, if I need more proteinÖetc. So far itís been more or less working. Itís been maybe 5 or 6 weeks of not tracking. My lowest weight was 142.6 lbs, but Iíve been maintaining between 145 and 148 lbs comfortably.
I am writing this all out to say yes, after being up and down with my weight so many times and Iím only 24, I do have a fear of gaining weight back. My goal all long was never to lose, though that came with the territory, it has been to be at a healthy weight that I could maintain without tracking, just being able to listen to my body. And right now, Iím keeping a careful eye on the scale so I donít gain a lot of weight suddenly. But hopefully in the future Iíll be able to cut the amount of times I weigh in down. I just want to be able to live a ďnormalĒ life. I want to find a weight I can stick at (or around) and not have to worry about if I eat a single cupcake or something.
Monday, February 10, 2014
Well, itís been quite a while since I last wrote but things have more or less been the same. Iím making accomplishments in lifting and running both here and there. I finished my PT for my hip, although Iím still having discomfort in it. I still canít squat, and I finally went to talk to a trainer at my gym who has instructed me to do ball wall squats for a couple of weeks and then come back to see him.
In regards to running, last week I did 7 miles, and my watch once again gave me a 10k PR of 1:10:40. This week I was extremely worn out from my leg workout Thursday and my last PT visit Friday, and so I wasnít able to run. More rest was needed.
In regards to lifting, the shoulder workouts are going to take a while to take off. Iíve now started dead lift and regular bench press, which I love. Today I actually put a little bit of weight on the bar during dead lift. Wednesday Iíll try some weight on the bar for bench. And my form on lunges is much improved so I went up to 10 lbs instead of 5 today. I really think Iím going to have some awesome calves because of calf raises. Iíve increased weight just about every leg day, and itís funny but Iím starting to feel like my calves are stronger just doing everyday things like walking around. Yesterday I went to look out the peephole of my apartment and it felt so easy to get up on my tip toes. I was never a very good jumperÖwhich basically meant that from junior high to high school when the net was raised for volleyball things became a lot harder for me.
In regards to my weight, Iíve mostly maintained. My weight fluctuates here and there, but without tracking for several weeks Iíve managed to stay within four lbs (plus or minus) of my lowest recorded Weight Watchers weight. Money wise Iím glad I decided to leave Weight Watchers. Yes, I am scared about gaining and what notÖespecially when I have to take more rest than normal like this past weekendÖbut itís going to be a constant battle for the rest of my lifeÖand Iíll make it. Plus I got rid of my ďfatĒ clothes, ha.
One thing that was a little strange was breaking things off with a guy friend who was very instrumental in helping me get started lifting and getting my fitness plan for this semester into place. It was hard at first in that it was nice to have someone to ask me about how my workouts went every day. But, God puts people in your life for a reason. And, takes them away as well. Itís best that Iíve ended the relationship, but there were a couple of days where it was hard to get motivated. I learned a lot from it, even if it wasnít going to be a lasting thing.
Well, I hope all is well with my fellow Sparkers. I feel like Iíve been gone for such a long time! Please keep me posted on how you are all doing!
Tuesday, January 28, 2014
Wow, canít believe itís been a week since I last wrote. Thanks so much for all of your support. Thankfully Iím doing better for the most part.
In regards to not getting my squat form, I can at least do lunges for now and I am keeping working on squatsÖand trying not to get frustrated. Iíd like to hire a coach, but I donít have the funds for that so Iím just gonna do what I can. Iím mainly thinking itís a core/back issue (perhaps related to my ďinjuryĒ perhaps not). So Iím going to add in some more ab work to try to build up my core. Having a stronger core will be necessary for being a stronger runner anyway.
In regards to my career/schoolÖIíve done a lot of thinking on that. I really think Iím going to switch to the masterís program versus the PhD programónot because I think Iím taking the easy way out or that I donít think Iím capable of PhD, but because I think the job opportunities available for those with masterís degrees would suit me better. As I thought about why I decided to go to PhD to begin with, I realized (with the help of a dear friend) that the reasons were more about other people than myself. I never really thought about it for myself. And also, Iím a chemist who doesnít like to do research. I see myself as a lab manager, new employee trainer, or academic specialistónot a researcher.
But the big hump that Iíve been trying to get over is that I am not going to turn into my biological mother. I guess Iíve had that fear wired in me since I was eleven, when she first filed for divorce. Or maybe at age 14 when she decided to completely leave the area and not give any forwarding address. My mother was very capable. Very smart. Had a masterís in business in the 1980s. Yet she chose not to do anything with it. And then chose to eventually completely desert her family. When people ask, I just usually explain by saying she went crazy and I choose not to have a relationship with her. And although I knew I had this fear inside of me that I would turn into her, I didnít realize how strong it was until last Wednesday.
As I spoke briefly with my boss about getting a masters vs. a PhD Wednesday morning, my response in regards to getting a masterís was this: ďI donít want to have to get married, buy a house, and have kids.Ē He just kind of looked at me and said, ďYou donít have to do any of those things.Ē And deep down inside I knew he was right, but I couldnít figure out what I was associating receiving a masters degree and not PhD with losing my independence as a strong female.
Later I remembered a conversation I had with a peer back in September. At that point, I had just broken up with the guy I had been dating for six months. I was struggling to find myself in the program. I was crying during this conversation and I said to my friend, ďI donít just want to get married and have a guy take care of me. If I wanted that, I shouldnít have broken up with my boyfriend!Ē
And this past weekend, on the phone with my dad, I finally put things together. Weíve a long way to come until it gets worked out. I guess when something traumatic happens like that when youíre a child, itís hard to move past and not have lasting effects from. For some reason, I subconsciously saw that if I didnít get the PhD I would be becoming my mother. My dad told me that was irrational. I know that. I knew that. I know plenty of strong, successful women who havenít pursued the amount of education I have. But thatís what makes it irrational. I canít stop myself from feeling this way. I said to my dad, ďI probably should have told you about my fears of turning into her ten years ago.Ē Funny thing is, my dad already knew. After talking for a while, Iím feeling better. I know that Iím going to have to work a long time to shake, if ever, my fears of turning into my mother.
My father left me with this: ďI trust that youíll make the right decision.Ē
Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Sunday night my friend in vet school convinced me to get seen for an injury thatís been bugging me since late May 2013. So Monday morning first thing I called in and got an appointment. I went to the gym and got in most of my cycling workout before I went to my appointment.
Finally got a name for what Iíve been experiencingÖpiriformis syndrome, which deals with the piriformis muscle and the sciatic nerve in my leg. After my initial doctor appointment, I had lunch with my friend and then she and I went to go work on my squats.
I think so much of life is mental rather than physical. And for me, Iím an extremely anxious person. I get very nervous about things. So weight lifting, aka trying something new, has been quite the challenge for me. Itís hard for me to break out of my shell and ask for help. So my new friend was gracious enough to get me a guest pass for her gym to work on squats with me. It was my first time getting out of the silly Smith Machine. I know I didnít get all the way down, but Iím working on it. And I was happy that I finally broke out and decided to start facing my fears.
I then went to my physical therapy evaluation. Keep in mind while I am writing this I have no restrictions on motion or whatever. The evaluation took quite a while. The therapist found out that I have up slip in my hips, which basically means that some type of injury has caused my left hip bone to come out of alignment with the right. So Iíll be doing some wonderful physical therapyÖlots of stretching my hips and strengthening the hips until they can finally get that bone back in placeÖwhich should relieve the nerve issue. Theyíve really been surprised Iím not in pain, but I guess the nerve damage is bad enough itís masking my pain. Double edge sword?
So when I got home, I posted a picture online of my squatting for the women in a weight lifting group I am in to critique. Granted I know Iím learning something newÖbut I was surprised with all the feedback I got and how many details of a squat there areÖneck, wrists, etc. Not just the actual ďsquat.Ē Talk about overwhelming.
I had ordered a new tank top to run in since Iíve been training on the treadmill, and it had come on my door step. I used the size chart and figured I would be a size small, but I didnít believe it until I got the top and tried it on. I felt and looked awesome in it. But once I started getting all the critiques I kind of started freaking out. I started watching videos online of people doing squats. I started trying to watch my form in the mirror. I thought about going back up to the gym that night because I hated the idea that I hadnít done the workout right. I felt like I cheated.
And at the same time, I was frustrated. It was already five oíclock, and all I had done was gotten two workouts in and sat at the doctor. I didnít get any studying done during the day, and I have a big exam Wednesday. Yet my mind wasnít thinking about the exam. I just wanted to squat right.
Fast forward to this morning. I woke-up and went to the gym for my weight lifting. Even though it was back/biceps day, I decided I would spend some more time on the squat rack, just a few minutes. I only used the bar, so I figured it would be okay. I asked someone to make a video of me, which I posted online for more critique. I felt goodÖlike I had gotten lower and I was getting things corrected. Unfortunately, my squat form still really sucks, so I heard a lot about that. Yes, it was all constructive so donít get me wrong.
I then went to physical therapy where I did a lot of stretching and then the therapist tried pulling my hip back into place by pulling on my leg. It didnít go yet. Hopefully in a couple of weeks it will. I asked her if getting my hips back to normal will help my squat form. She said yes; itís probably a bit difficult right now to squat with the tightness in my hips and the hip out of place.
I stopped by home before going into the office. And thatís when I lost it. I donít really know what triggered it. Letís say time of the month doesnít help. But I just started crying. Iím so frustrated right now. I feel like everything is a work in progressÖand I just want to be good at *one* thing. One! But right now, Iím a slow runner. Iím struggling to stay in my grad program. Add to all the things I canít do that I canít squat.
After a while I realizedÖnot being able to squat has been a metaphor for me. I know it sounds stupid, but I felt like if I could get my squat right, I could get grad school to work. And in typical me fashion I donít deal with emotions but push them onto something else until they finally break me down.
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Last weekend I was excited to go for my birthday run...unfortunately, I ended up swimming, skating, jumping over snow piles, and dealing with traffic. I got my six planned miles in and then got on the treadmill for an additional mile. I was frustrated because I felt stronger and wanted to be able to push myself.
This weekend thankfully there wasn't a snowstorm or 15 inches of snow melting. So I was bursting to go on my run. I wanted to run a PR by my watch for 10 kilometers. The last PR my watch gave me for a 10k was last April. It was 1:13:35. That PR was also in better weather. While the trail I ran today had mostly been taken care of, there were some spots that definitely slowed me down.
I got into a rhythm and was running pretty close to the pace I wanted to. At the end, I looked down at my watch expecting it to read over 6 miles to see it only read 5.89...which meant I needed to pick up my pace. So my last three-tenths I ran hard, praying I would make it...
And I did: 1:12:21! No, it wasn't a PR by much. But it was a PR.
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