Friday, December 30, 2011
My first winter running outside has been a mild one so far. For a state that usually has snow by Halloween, weíve been having some strange weather this year. Mild, rainy November led to a mild, almost warm December and the concern of not having a white Christmas (unacceptable in VT).
Two days before Christmas, Mother Nature delivered just enough snow to make the holiday beautiful and perfect. A few days later, I woke up to rain, which melted most of the snow and then turned into a sheet of ice as the day grew colder.
That afternoon, I met with my trainer to lift and run a nice, though hilly, 3-mile loop. It was snowing at this point. Icy crystals that burned my skin as the wind blew incessantly against my face. I secretly hoped to postpone my first snow/ice/wind run, but I knew that wasnít going to happen. My trainer thrives on extremes and challenges, and she was pumped to get out into the blinding white world.
Every step was a challenge. The ice under the snow made traction impossible, and every time a car passed, I had to jump off to the side into ankle-deep snow.
I could say that I loved it. When it was over, I did love it. I always love the feeling of accomplishing something so out of my comfort zone. But, thatís the thing about leaving your comfort zone Ė itís uncomfortable. Itís not fun. It doesnít feel enjoyable while youíre in the middle of it.
My legs burned in places that normally didnít hurt. I was acutely aware of the pressure on my ankles and the burning in my shins and calves. My legs were already worn out from lifting heavy, and I struggled with every step.
I tried to stay focused and repeat positive mantras to myself, but my frustration got the better of me. I complained and whined and briefly became the kind of person that usually drives me crazy. I managed to pull it together and finished the run. Once I was done, I could appreciate what I had accomplished. I did something new and difficult, and I finished what I started. And, more and more, I find thatís what I must learn to accept.
I hate to fail. I hate not living up to my own expectations, and it makes me angry to struggle. Slowly, Iím learning to let go of my ego. Iím learning to see the progress in the struggle and even in the failing. Itís a great way to approach anything in life.
Itís not always about being fast or having the perfect run. Sometimes, itís just about putting one foot in front of the other Ė and trying not to slip.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
So, I went a little over my calories yesterday.
My husband's grandma sends us a yummy box of Omaha Steaks products every year for Christmas, and we have an indulgent, wonderful dinner. I've been planning for this dinner this year, and it's my one allowed indulgence for the holidays. We had a lovely dinner - stuffed sole, steak, and and a stuffed baked potato.
I put it into my tracker - 650 total. Not bad and very, very satisfying!!
I should have stopped there. I was full but not feeling grossly overfull. I knew I should stop but - she sent one other thing - a cheesecake sampler. 4 small delicious looking cheesecakes, which used to be my favorite dessert. I had to have one. My husband gave me first choice, since they were all different flavors. He knew I'd only eat one, so I got to pick my favorite. I should have gone with the plain one, but really can it compete with a turtle cheesecake? No. No, it cannot.
So, I ate the turtle cheesecake, and it was wonderful. I started to feel a little ill by the last couple bites, but I enjoyed all the other bites
Now, I knew I was too full, but I didn't feel that guilty. I thought I might even still be within my calories until I checked the package.
Plain cheesecake 450 - not great but not surprising
Oreo & raspberry cheesecakes 470 each - okay, about the same as the plain
Turtle cheesecake 610 - what? wait. let me check again - yup, that is a 6 -
I still don't regret it. I burned a bunch of calories in kickboxing last night, and I know that Christmas dinner is going to be healthy foods because we're making it. This was my holiday indulgence, and I enjoyed it.
Though, not as much as I thought I would, and I definitely felt awful this morning. After eating very little sugar for almost 2 months, it was a definite shock to my system and one I will not be repeating any time soon.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
*originally posted on my other blog
Losing weight is hard. This is definitely not new information for anyone who has ever tried it. Fighting cravings and temptations covered in chocolate is hard. Forcing ourselves to exercise consistently is hard. Making the right choices is a daily struggle, and you sometimes find yourself completely consumed with calorie counting. But, we do it because we know itís what we should do. We battle with our insecurities and habits, and we lose weight.
Itís extremely difficult in the beginning, but with consistency and conscious effort, it does get easier. The healthy choices become routine. It takes less effort and thought. You make the switch from an unhealthy person to a healthy one. Here is where you encounter another difficult part of weight loss Ė accepting the new you.
When most people think about weight loss, they envision the end result, a slim, happy new person. They donít consider the emotional turmoil weight loss can cause. They donít really see that person as being the same they are. I know I didnít.
After losing 70 pounds, I was much smaller and healthier than I had been in years. Physically, I felt wonderful, but there was still a constant state of negativity around me. I couldnít see my progress. I couldnít accept and believe compliments, though I was getting quite a few. I didnít see my new abilities as anything remarkable. I was told over and over that I was inspirational, but I felt the exact opposite. I looked only at the struggles and the mistakes.
It took me a long time to address my negativity issues. I always pretended to be happy in public, but I rarely felt that way. I was ashamed of not knowing how to be truly happy. It took listening to a long rant from a pessimistic relative to make me realize that I needed to change. I didnít want to be like that for my entire life. I wanted to be happy.
I started consciously countering every negative thought with questions and really trying to find the root of my unhappiness. I started questioning why I couldnít accept my triumphs as much as my failures, and quickly realized it was a fear of pride.
I never wanted attention when I was overweight. I wanted to be invisible. I was afraid to call attention to my achievements because I didnít want to seem conceited. This wasnít a completely irrational fear. In fact, when I first started openly showing pride in my accomplishments, I was met with a lot of negativity and condescending remarks from a person I valued as a friend. It set my efforts back a bit, but eventually I tried again.
The thing I finally realized is that itís not conceited to believe in yourself. If you donít think youíre inspirational, who will? Itís okay to inspire people, and you shouldnít blow off the compliment if itís given to you. Inspiration comes from all kinds of people and all types of achievements. Celebrate your successes and let others draw from your example. Itís okay to be noticed.
As you become an inspiration to those around you, you need to make one final change. You have to accept the new person you have become and your new role in life. There is no more hiding. You are out there, and people are going to notice. So, embrace it. Love the new you and try to help others find the same success. Once youíve gotten healthy and confident, it feels too good to keep to yourself.
On The Biggest Loser the trainers and past contestants always talk about paying it forward. The choice to embrace the new you and help others with their journeys is a great way to ensure that others benefit from your new healthy lifestyle. Youíll influence more people than you know.
Love the new you. Be confident. Pay it forward.
Monday, December 19, 2011
My weight loss has been stalled. I bounce up and down with the same 5 lbs. I knew I needed to make changes, but I also was faced with "show week" - the last week before a play goes up - and that means major stress, lots of extras added into my schedule, less time to work out, and usually poor eating.
Add to that toxic combo the fact that it's almost Christmas, and things start looking pretty ugly. My weight was already up 13 lbs. from the post-Thanksgiving binge fest, and I was not thrilled with the idea of packing on more pounds. Before Thanksgiving I was 164 - the lowest I've been in years and getting close to the 150s. I was frustrated to say the least.
So, after my gain, I was determined to get through show week without one. It was a tough week. Little things keep adding up until the stress is immense, and I think I notice stress more now that I don't live in a constant state of stress. I craved sweets, and there were tons of them around. My sleep was disrupted by stress and sick, over-tired children, and my busy schedule left me with almost no time to exercise. I definitely couldn't make all of my usual classes, and my trainer was busy with her kids' concerts etc and had to cancel lifting twice. This is not adding up to a successful week.
But, instead of giving up as I would have any other year. I struggled through. I worked out when I could and didn't worry if I only got in 10 or 15 minutes in a day. I faced stress and tempting foods with deep breaths and a pause before making any decisions. I practiced moderation. One piece of peanut butter fudge is better than 5.
It wasn't a perfect week. I indulged, messed up my sleep cycle, and didn't exercise as much as I should have, but I still managed to mostly stay in my calories. I felt okay when it was time to weigh-in on Friday. Not expecting anything major, but pretty sure I wasn't up in the 180s or anything crazy like that.
I was down 6.7 lbs! Woo hoo! happy dance!! I'm back down to 171 - which is still above where I was, but considering the week, I'll take it!
So, my next goal was to survive the weekend. I had the final performance of the show as well as a visit from my parents which involved eating out for breakfast - my favorite meal. I've struggled with weekends for a while now. I know that the reason my weight loss has been stalled for so long is that I have fallen into a pattern of doing well during the week and then throwing my schedule, eating, sleeping, exercise to the wind on the weekends. Not a successful strategy. When I was consistently losing, I kept it the same all week long - there was no deviation just because the calendar said Saturday or Sunday (um, hello, that doesn't say binge-day!). I felt like surviving the weekend was a major step that I needed to take to get myself back to losing weight. My goal weight is in sight, and I want to get there. I decided that weighing in on Friday and Monday would help me assess my progress honestly. Something I have not done in a while.
It wasn't easy. I always bring snacks and treats for the kids in the play, and another woman was selling candies and fudge, which is one of my all time favorite holiday treats. I couldn't resist the fudge, but I limited myself to one piece. I had a good idea for the kids' treat this time and brought in a beautiful tin of cookies that someone sent us as a gift. We don't really like them that much but would have eaten them if they stayed in the house. Instead, the kids enjoyed them, and we were spared the extra calories.
Sunday wasn't any easier. My parents came up to see the play and stayed over. We met them for breakfast the next day at a local diner. The food is yummy, and the portions are huge. I kept it simple and ordered eggs and toast. They have fantastic homemade bread, and I ended up eating 2 slices instead of my usual 1.
Other than that I did okay on Sunday, even though I was home all day with nothing to do. Usually, after a show I feel like I "deserve" a day of lounging around and doing nothing, but this time was different. After my parents left, I lounged around, watched the Nutcracker with the kids, and relaxed. Then I started to think about my Zumba class and decided to choreograph a new dance. I practiced it for twenty minutes and decided I needed to run and break in my new sneakers. I hopped on the treadmill and decided to challenge myself with a higher speed for a couple miles. I ended up staying on the treadmill for 45 minutes, and I felt great when I was done.
I'm feeling great about my choices this weekend. Instead of giving myself permission to eat and slack off, I chose to get myself back into my healthy routine, and I felt great because of it. I went to bed early to catch up on some sleep and woke refreshed and relaxed. When I weighed in this morning, I was down -0.7 lbs! Not a lot, but compared to my usual +3, 4, 7 I was thrilled. What a great start to the week. Now, to stay focused this week and weekend. I am ready for a healthy Christmas this year!
Tuesday, December 06, 2011
Yesterday I ran my first 10 mile run. It was raining, but I tried to ignore the squishy shoes. I did fine until around mile 7. I started to hurt in my knees, hips, back - everywhere really, and no matter what I tried to do to get my mind off the pain, I kept coming back to it. I tried to stay positive, but I kept thinking about the 3 miles I had left. It was hard.
I expected it to be difficult physically, so while it did hurt a lot, that wasn't what really got to me. My emotions were what made it almost impossible to go on. I started crying, got angry at myself for crying, and cried some more. Finally, on the last hill, I let myself walk. Of course that's when I saw my trainer. I started running again, though every part of my body was screaming. She was great and kept talking about how good I was doing and how proud I should be. Then came the emotions again.
I was trying to hold back. I knew that I would not be able to run and have a complete emotional meltdown, and I really wanted to finish. It was a strange feeling. I kept making these strange noises as I tried to gasp for air, but I just barely had control of myself. My trainer saw this immediately and talked me through it. I did finally finish the 10 miles, and I had to stuff down the emotional mess and face my middle school students - who I had rehearsal with immediately after. They cheered for me and were really supportive, and after a snack and some water, I started to feel a little more like myself and was able to run rehearsal.
I've pushed myself hard before, but I have never gone that far. I was completely out of control for a while there, and I hate that feeling. The thing my trainer keeps stressing is that I did it. That's all I've been able to think this morning. I did it. I really felt broken while I was out there running. But, it didn't quite break me. Close, but not quite. I feel different today. Stronger.
Everyone kept saying I should be proud of myself, but it took until this morning to really feel it. I am proud of myself, and even more proud that I went and taught an awesome Zumba class after rehearsal last night. I'm discovering my new limits and starting to push them. It really makes me wonder where I'll be in another year.
I'm ready for the half in May. Not physically, since 10 miles reduced me to a pile of mush, but mentally I am ready. I can do anything I choose to do, and I am the only person who can keep me from success.
Now, for some nice yoga and a hot bath. My legs are killing me!
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