Sunday, September 11, 2011
For the week 1 ‘optional’ challenge for my 20-somethings Fall Challenge group (Team “Brown Chicken Brown Cow” say it fast while making a “cowboy” gesture), we were challenged to “Post a blog that highlights the good things that you see this week.” This was definitely a *challenge* for me this week, since things haven’t really been feeling that positive at all…
Let me explain: I was really enthusiastic about joining this challenge. I had never participated in a SparkTeam challenge before because of my random work and travel schedule, but I was determined to try this one. Even though I’ll be travelling abroad for the second month of the challenge (October 1-November 7 in Europe, baby!) I found an awesome partner who would take my weigh-ins by text and post them for me, and loaded the SP app on my iPad so that I could be ready. Even before the official challenge kickoff after Labor Day, I was reading up on what the weekly challenges would be and getting to know my team-mates. What a nerd! If I’d paid that much attention in school, I’d have two PhDs by now, but I digress…
I was pumped and ready to go – ready to focus on tracking, cardio, ST, and just getting it done!
But then… mid-way through the drive to a friend’s wedding on the long weekend, I noticed a tickle in my throat.
By the time we got to our hotel, my tonsils were the size of golf balls.
By the time I left the wedding reception, I had a crazy fever, and by the time Tuesday morning rolled around and the challenge that I had been looking forward to for weeks started, I had a diagnosis - strep throat - that came with strict orders to sit on my a$$. No work, no socializing, and definitely no "getting it done" at the gym,
Needless to say, I was severely bummed. Honestly, my first thought was...
I definitely wanted to drown my sorrows in a tub of ice cream and throw in the towel, BUT...
Did I really do all that prep work to walk away because week 1 looked like a bit of a wash? Not really.
Did I seriously think that lifting my finger to track my food would be too much exertion? Uh... no.
Was retreating into my bedroom with my least sexy pyjamas and a pint of Cherry Garcia going to make me feel better? Not likely.
So, I tried to do what I could.
I logged my food.
I made sure to get my 8 glasses of water in between glasses of flat ginger ale and mint tea.
When I stumbled to the kitchen for sustenance, I reached for fruits and veggies first.
When I did indulge in some "poor you, you're sick" frozen treats that my husband brought home for me, I portioned them and tracked them.
In other words, I did my best. This is one of the best lessons I've learned from Spark, and something my poor mother's been trying to teach me ever since I can remember. Just because you can't do it all, doesn't mean you can't do anything at all. Progress, not perfection. All you can do is your best. Whatever you want to call it - that's my "positive" coming out of this week.
And the result? My week 1 weigh-in was a few ounces down from my starting weight. Not where I'd hoped to be, but not too shabby, considering (plus it feels like I'm still carrying about 10 pounds of conjestion in my nose and sinuses, so once I get rid of that, I'll be golden!)
Next week, I can start to excercise again, and build up my activity levels gradually. I hope that by the end of next week, I'll be back to doing it my way and getting it done! But for now, it's enough to know I've learned something, and that I managed to stay the course.
** "Everything is ruined for Elephant" courtesy of kaboodle.com, although the true origins of this particular meme could probably only be charted with le advanced forensics.
Thursday, September 01, 2011
I started to write this as a comment in response to PELESJEWEL’s blog “Ticker Honesty & Control” (check out her always honest and inspiring words here: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Turns out I had more to say than I thought! Rather than sinking the comments section of her page with my ramblings, I thought I’d bring them home to roost, but it was clearly a topic that got me thinking.
When I came back to Spark in January of this year, my ticker still had a starting weight of 200 lbs – a relic from when I first decided I was "fat" and needed to lose weight (more than 5 years ago!) and had my first, ultimately short-lived, stint on SP.
I remember that long ago process of setting up the ticker in the first place. Choosing the icon and background I felt most represented me – the mighty sneaker, symbolising my love for running and sport, picturesque wilderness and mountains in the background, symbolising my love for… picturesque wilderness and mountains! I felt like it was a matter of just a little time, and a few minor tweaks to get that sucker over into goal land.
Fast forward to my return to SP in January - It took me almost a month of tracking to work up the courage to update it with my *actual* start weight (235! - what I wouldn’t give to be back at 200 now, LOL!). But once I did, I felt so much better! There it was. The truth. Out there for all to see! And the world didn't end or anything...
For months and months, I barely moved that traitorous little sneaker icon along the path to my goal, but now that it's starting to jog along, it feels so good, because I know that it is a true reflection of my journey and my progress. That ticker holds a lot! Things like:
almost 6 years of false starts, fluctuation, fits of well meaning frenzy, and all-time motivation lows.
the time I spent slipping from thinking I was "huge" at 200 to growing complacent and defeated at 215, 225, and then 235
my first few hard fought months back on Spark, when I barely moved the scale, but spent the time I needed getting my nutritional and fitness "house" back in order
The first ten pounds I've now lost on the way back to my 2005 "false-start" weight and, hopefully, beyond.
All the road that I still have left to cover to get to my final goal of 170, but also my determination and preparation to get there
Other people might just see a sneaker, barely edging it's way out of the forest, not even yet at the foot of the mountain it has to climb to get to its goal. Some people might even say, "Holy *snot* this girl is still really overweight! What's she so happy about?" But when I look at my ticker, I see that whole list of stuff, good and bad. All the things that got me here, and the things that'll get me through. It's a good looking little ticker.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Whew! I recently re-read my old Spark Page intro, and realized that although a lot of the info there was factually correct, a lot of it was also wishful thinking, self-delusional Bullscheiβe! ('Tis German for... well, sound it out.) It's funny how you can see something *almost* every day without ever really taking a good hard look at it.
Case in point, the old title read "Third, fourth... fifth time lucky?" Was I kidding? How did I get to my *fifth* try to lose this weight and still naively believe that it was a game of luck? By doing a first-class ostrich impression, that's how! Ass in the air, head in the sand, blithely believing that I was merely "big boned" and had gotten screwed in the genetic lottery that leaves me taking after my hulking, 300lb Dad instead of my 100lb model-thin Mom (nickname "Spindles").
Picture via "ostrickheadinsand.com" although it's widely accepted that ostriches do not, in fact, actually do this (good news too, it's a terrible strategy).
WHAT A CROCK! I mean, don’t get me wrong, those things are true: I do have big, dense bones, confirmed by many a shocked orthopaedic surgeon (“let's look at that density test again, that can't be right!”). I do resemble a female version of my Dad (sans beard, thank the Lord), as anyone possessing the gift of eyesight could tell you. BUT... These are not the defining factors that led to me being so overweight and out of shape that I *actually cried* when I saw a picture of myself at my best friend's wedding. My choices, and mine alone, are responsible for that. And my choices are the only things that will change it. Not luck. Not providence. Not scattering blame anywhere but at my own feet. Choices.
Pic via C.J. omololu's blog (http://cynjay.blogspot.com/2010/04/good-c
So... with that in mind, let's choose differently, from now on, okay E?
First of all, I choose honesty. This should be an easy one, since in my personal and professional life I have trouble being anything other than honest (with decidedly mixed results). No more attributing my weight issues to externalities or to the, admittedly sometimes crappy, things that have gone on in my life in recent years. It doesn’t mean that the challenges and setbacks I’ve encountered in the past few years are no longer “things” – of course they are, and it’s normal and right that I still think about them. But, my response and my own actions and choices (there it is again) are what have brought me to this point. Time to OWN it.
Secondly, I choose love. My philosophy has long been to pour love on my family and friends, and not give them any choice about whether or not to accept it. To give of myself freely and let the chips fall where they may. It’s a good way to be, but it’s time that I turned that doting affection on myself as well. To be clear, I don’t think I’ve ever had low self esteem – I’ve always liked myself and felt confident and secure, but I’ve never felt all that comfortable actively “doing for myself” the way I try to do for others. At the same time, I’ve occasionally made myself crazy and indulged in a little selfish wah-wah-ing when I feel that others don’t take care of me the way I take care of them. Insanity! It’s not as if I have a finite amount of care and concern to dole out, after all, and sending some in my own direction will make sure I don’t feel like I’m going without when I take time to address other people’s needs, which is still hugely important to me.
Lastly, I choose accountability, which I think will be a big challenge. The first step will be updating my Spark Page with, y’know, **the truth** - I’ll put my entire program up there and hope that my friends will hold me accountable to it (update – now done! I’m loving the results). I’ll also challenge myself to blog more frequently. Not because I feel that everyone in the world should have the gift of my opinion at their fingertips (I promise), but because keeping all my frustrations as well as my successes bottled up and waiting for someone to ask me about them is soooo not working for me.
Why would it? It’s crazysauce. And for all the effort it requires and how draining it is, it doesn’t burn any calories. So eff that.
Accountability in my “real life” will be more of a challenge, since some of my friends and family are sometimes not that supportive… That said, I’ve shared the fullness of my current dissatisfaction and my big plans for myself with a few really close (and awesome) friends and my equally awesome husband. Their response was amazing and so supportive – what a weight off my shoulders (har har) to know that they’re behind me and that I can talk about this if I need to! It’s a good thing to get what you need from people because you had the good sense to ask for it (see also “secondly…” above – why didn’t I figure this out years ago?)
So. All this to say – today I am born again. It isn’t about luck. It’s about choices.
Happy Freakin’ Weekend, Sparkland!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
Soo... among my April goals was to blog more, in the hopes of being more accountable to myself and the wider universe. Would anyone know this was a goal of mine? Not so much. Because I've been doing a horrible job of achieving it - reading my words, getting shy about sharing them, deleting and staring at the screen. Repeat.
When I saw this Q&A on Amanda's page, I thought that it would be a good way to rip off the bandaid.
50 Questions (Everything you almost certainly did not need to know about Erika)
Feel free to copy and pass on.
1. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE?
Yup – actual first name ‘Dorothy’ after my grams, but I’ve always gone by Erika, my middle name, after no one.
2. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU CRIED?
This morning… But that was the first time in months! My cousin sent me the first pics of him holding his son, who’s been in an incubator for about a week. I cried A LOT.
3. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING?
It’s the worst. On the upside, if I left state secrets in a washroom somewhere, no one would be able to decipher them.
4. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT?
Montreal Smoked Meat. I believe Americans call it "Pastrami"?
5. DO YOU HAVE KIDS?
My Mom calls our cats “Grandkitties.”
6. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU?
Definitely! I'm a hoot.
7. DO YOU USE SARCASM ALOT?
I’m offended that you would ask such a thing.
8. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS?
9. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP?
That’s a big no – I can’t even use the high diving board.
10. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL?
Cereal grosses me out. I do badly with soggy things in general.
11. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF?
Only if the laws of physics demand it.
12. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG?
Like an ox – I would have been prized as a bride in a pre-industrialized farm community for my ability to pull the plow. Just sayin'.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM?
Baskin Robbins “Gold Medal Ribbon”
14. WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE?
Air of douchiness, if present. Otherwise, posture.
15. RED OR PINK?
16. WHAT IS THE LEAST FAVORITE THING ABOUT YOURSELF?
17. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST?
My Granny Dorothy.
18. WHAT IS THE PAUL MCKENNA TECHNIQUE THAT YOU NEED TO WORK ON THE MOST?
I’m gonna say… learning who that is?
19. WHAT COLOR SHOES ARE YOU WEARING?
20. WHAT WAS THE LAST THING YOU ATE?
21. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
The Dears sing about love and the apocalypse.
22. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
23. FAVORITE SMELLS?
C-c-coffee, generic “guy smell” (by which I mean aftershave/deodorant/clean hair and not, like, 'hockey bag'), tea tree oil, vanilla.
24. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE?
An unnamed, rather rude, florist.
25. MOUNTAIN HIDEAWAY OR BEACH HOUSE?
26. FAVORITE SPORTS TO WATCH?
27. HAIR COLOR?
Golden brown. Like people always want cookies to be.
28. EYE COLOR?
29. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS?
30. FAVORITE FOOD?
Yes. Guacamole. Caesar salad. Falafel. Very hard to say.
31. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDINGS?
32. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED?
How To Train Your Dragon
33. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING?
Well, this is embarrassing…
34. SUMMER OR WINTER?
35. HUGS OR KISSES?
Depends who’s asking
36. FAVORITE DESSERT?
Without question my stepdad’s Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies *wipes drool*
37. STRENGTH TRAINING OR CARDIO?
Some hybrid of the two, like Rugby interval training with lifts, squats and tackling *wipes drool*
38. COMPUTER OR TELEVISION?
Television for sure.
39. WHAT BOOK ARE YOU READING NOW?
40. WHAT IS ON YOUR MOUSE PAD?
I reject the mousepad.
42. FAVORITE SOUND?
Wind blowing through tall trees.
43. ROLLING STONES OR BEATLES?
44. WHAT IS THE FARTHEST YOU HAVE BEEN FROM HOME?
Barbados or Italy, whichever is furthest
45. DO YOU HAVE A SPECIAL TALENT?
It5 seems bad to say 'no'... I give good massages.
46. WHERE WERE YOU BORN?
Ottawa, ON, Canada
47. WHERE ARE YOU LIVING NOW?
48. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR HOUSE?
Grey stucco with a beauty oak door.
49. WHAT COLOR IS YOUR CAR?
Black like my soul, kids.
50. DO YOU LIKE ANSWERING 50 QUESTIONS?
I refuse to answer that.
Saturday, February 05, 2011
What better way to celebrate a truly awesome lifestyle day than with my very first Sparkpeople blog post! It's been a tough week to stick to my diet and exercise plans, between work exploding in a hundred different directions at once and all sorts of friend and family drama in the offing. Somehow though, when I checked my goals this morning, although my daily calorie counts had been *ahem* not great, my fitness minutes goal for the week was still within reach.
I had an extremely busy day, but I promised myself that I would make time for a run, because I hadn't gone in ages, and against all odds it was a (relatively) warm and sunny day. In February. In Canada. Which. never. happens.
Somehow my busy day just got busier as I went along - I had committed to looking after my great aunt for a few hours in the morning so that my aunt could get out of the house and have a bit of a break (she's looking after her sick Mom, pretty much on her own, and is pretty much my hero), and when she got back, she asked me to shovel her driveway. I was happy to do it, but it turned out to be quite the job since the warm weather had caused the previously-fluffy snow to turn melty, wet, and super-heavy. It was nice to be outside in the gorgeous sun, though, which was good, because when I got home I somehow ended up scraping the softened ice out of the end of my own driveway, and doing my neighbours' as well!
The whole time, I was thinking about how great it would be to finish up and get around to the run I'd been fantasizing about all day, and as soon as I was done I booked it inside to get changed. That's when the weather turned. Seriously, somehow in the 15 minutes it took me to suit up, grab my iPod and fill my water bottle, the temperature dropped like 5 degrees and it clouded over. I was SO MAD, but what could I do? I already had my gear on, so I just gritted my teeth and hit the road. It was tough going, but I managed to pound out 4K before my iPod conked out and I took it as a sign to pack it in.
So, I realize that so far this sounds like a less-than awesome day, but the punchline is... I just discovered 'snow shoveling' on the fitness tracker! Between the combined hour I spent doing that and the run, I blew the lid off my fitness goal. Even better, I was doing so much running around that I didn't prepare the 'indulgent" dinner I had planned, and ended up having a quick plate of veggies and falafel instead, putting me at the low end of my daily calories. I don't think I've ever met my calorie goals and my fitness goals in one day before. And I blogged! So there, universe. A sunny day in Canada in February, and all the boxes ticked. I should buy a lottery ticket.
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