Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Good Morning Sparklers!
From the look of my Friend Feed today a lot of us are deailing with similar issues. First, let's face it - for most of us it's flipping COLD! Here in Pittsburgh it was 7 degrees when I woke up and projected only to rise to about 11 - in spite of blue skies and sunshine!
Yes, dear friends, winter has arrived.
Winter makes a lot of things hard.
First, it's hard to motivate yourself to spend more time outside when the environment isn't pleasant. Second the cold simply takes a lot of options away. I have no problem running in 20-30 degree temps; but. single digits? Ugh.
The other unforeseen outcome of cold weather is that the gym gets ridiculously overcrowded. I'm talking when I went after work yesterday there wasn't an open treadmill, eliptical or bike. RIDICULOUS. I mean, I appreciate that other people want to get their workouts in, too; but, man, that was CRAZY. I'm quite certain today is going to be no different.
I have a few very simple tips if you're struggling to deal with cold weather - and I invite you to share some of your own in the comments below!
1. Be realistic: How cold is too cold? I believe this is an individual question and a fine line. For some, too cold is when their fingers start off numb during a run; for others it's frostbite weather.
2. Plan. There are two types of planning. There is the planning that goes into making certain that your apparel is appropriate for the weather and there is planning to get activity in another way. ALWAYS have a backup plan, even if you feel you have the right clothes. Why? Because you may plan to run five miles, do one and turn around and go home! So, think of things that you could do instead of your outdoor walk or run. Consider joinng a gym (or finding one that allows you to purchase guest day passes); look at what you have available indoors (like stairs in an office for example); and perhaps consider a new activity such as fitness DVDs. There are lots of ways to stay active when the weather's cold, don't let some low temps steal your motivation!
3. Going back to apparel there are plenty of guides on what to wear online. Read them. Believe them.
4. Do not walk outside in the morning to 'test' the air temperature. You will only convince yourself it's too cold. Get used to knowing temperature by number, not feel.
The other things I've been reading about is Frozen scales. Man, my scale isn't exactly frozen; but, if I took the number on it's face day by day I'd think it was. Truth is that daily my weight doesn't move much, and it shouldn't. Today, for example, I'm up four tenths (.4) of a pound. Still, that pushed my scale from 186.4 to 187. It's really easy to get fixated on that number. However, what I'm interested in are trends. I look at my weekly weight average that way I can get a true feel for what's going on rather than have to face the cruelty of sodium's vengence.
In more personal news today is food day at work. I have consumed two pieces of pepperoni roll and copius amounts of fruit. Here's hoping they balance out.
Plan is to be at the gym by 5 today. Gotta work off all the noms!
Stay warm, Sparklers!
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Well, guys, it's been an amazing last couple of days here in Pittsburgh PA.
First, yesterday I did something all of you know I hate to do: I went shopping. For clothes.
Now, it's easy to think I hate shopping because finding things that fit for my body type can be difficult. Sure, I'm pretty certain that influences my feelings on the subject; but, deep, deep down I hate shopping because I always have an -idea- of what I want and I can never find it. Now, since I sew people seem to think that shouldn't be a problem; but, there is a HUGE difference between sewing a costume and sewing something that you would wear in real life. (AKA not for a couple hours.)
Yesterday, though, I actually had a joyous experience shopping. It wasn't because I found what I was looking for (I settled. I got a dress, a sweater, and a belt. The dress I love. The sweater I'm pretty 'meh' about and the belt was necessary); but, because I did my first ever happy dance in a dressing room.
Ladies and Gentlemen I am officially the same size I was in high school. Size 14. Never in my wildest dreams a year ago would I have fit into a size 14. I just wanted to fit into a 16 comfortably. I just wanted to get away from that ever looming need to shop in the 'plus size' store. Don't get me wrong, I love that there is fashionable clothing in those stores; but, the fact that I had to go there to buy jeans? Or tights? Or slacks? It was humiliating. I think I spent the last couple years squeezing into a size 18 and looking like a sausage so as to avoid it.
I literally, no joke, did a happy dance inside the dressing room.
Then I took a photo, right there, and posted it to my Facebook. The caption? "Hello size 14, it's been 14 years since I last saw you." Now, if you're anything like me you have 200-something 'friends' on Facebook. They're people you've assembled from various segments of your life. People from High School, Family, acquantences from groups. Hell, some of the people I'm 'friends' with on Facebook I've known forever. Others I've only met a couple of times. So, the idea that a whopping 35 of them could 'like' that photo? Astounding. It's validating.
I can tell you this: None of them like it more than me.
As to the title of my blog the last recorded time I have myself weighing 216 is July 10, 2012. At that point I was just beginnning my journey. I remember how difficult it was to run three minutes at a time. I remember when running a mile was elusive.
Never in a million years would I have thought I could do what I'm doing now or be where I am. The thought alone is humbling. I really, really used to think "As long as I'm under 200 I can be happy." All I know is my thoughts have changed, because I know how good I feel now and how much better I will feel when I reach my goal weight. I also never want to forget how absolutely, positively HARD it was at that weight. It was hard to feel good about myself. It was hard to think that I could ever not be that weight. It was terrible and terrifying to go out and run in public. It was absolutely impossible to think that I would ever be much healthier than I was right then.
When I had club last week I spent about a half an hour in the fitness room prior to group, enteraining myself on the recumbant bike and catching up with one of the other girls in the study. We were talking and one of the things that hit me is that I still very much feel like I weigh 230 pounds. I still move in a way that I'm trying to diminish and squeeze myself places where I'm not exactly 'squeezing' anymore.
At 186 pounds and a size 14, I still feel enormous. I can't help but wonder when and if this feeling of being 'too big' will go away. I suppose that it doesn't help that I'm involved in running which is populated by naturally lithe people. It's okay, I like them and they're nice enough to let me tag around with them ;-)
I guess my question is: At what point does your perceived body image change?
Today I'm getting my three miles in on the treadmill. It's too cold to go outside and run today, that's for sure. Yeah it's 6 degrees out there - with windchill they said it's something like -8. Yeah, I'll risk public humiliation if it means that I won't suffer frostbite.
This is me wishing each and every one of you the same celebration I had in the dressing room yesterday - even if it's in some small way. Take joy in your victories because you've earned them!
Friday, January 18, 2013
Well, guys, it's week three of my Half Marathon training program.
Confession time: I've been so less religious in my adherence to it than I expected.
Here's how it's gone so far:
Week one: 3 mile, 3 mile, 3 mile - ALL DONE- YAY!
Week two: 3 mile, 3 mile, 3 mile - One three mile run, One two mile run, One Five mile run... is that acceptable?
Week Three: 3 Mile, 4 mile, 5 mile - One two mile run :(
OMG, what the heck am I doing?
Seriously, I need to stop with the free passes.
"Oh, it's so cold!"
"Oh, I'm so busy at work!"
"Oh, I just could watch another episode of the West Wing!"
I mean, I have to be honest here, the distances so far haven't been very difficult; but, I know if I don't start increasing my distances like I'm supposed to those later 8 - 10 mile runs are GOING TO EAT ME ALIVE.
I knew it was going to be difficult when I signed up to adhere to a training program in the dead of winter; I just thought that I was more stubborn.
I now know that I MUST be more stubborn.
In terms of diet over the last week I've kind of stalled. I mean, I haven't been terribly 'out of range'; but, I haven't come close to 1200-1300 calories. I'm not beating myself up about it, but I have to be honest as to why I can't complain about the scale not moving. After all, when you don't run as much in a week and you don't cut back on the calories it's hard to make that differential happen!
Alright. So. The plan is to hit the 5 mile training run tomorrow and prep to start next week on track with the training mileage. The plan:
1. Lay out all three of the week's runs clothes ahead of time. I own enough apparel. I can do this.
2. Put the runs in my work callendar so that no surprise meetings can sneak up on me.
3. Talk with the boss-man about what's going on. Hopefully they will continue to be as supportive as they have in the past.
Alright guys, time to get some real work done for today! Happy weekend, everyone!
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Good Morning, Sparklers!
It's been a quiet past week.
Last Sunday was the Frigid 5 Miler here - and if the weather where I am is anything like where you are you'll agree it was anything other than frigid. With temperatures starting at 57 and climbing well over 60 by the time the race finished - I am stunned to say that I completed a run in January in a pair of capris and short sleeves. This is not typical weather for Southwestern PA, I assure you.
Today, however, the weather is much more typical.
The 5 mile race was challenging. Not for the distance; but, for the terrain. The race began on a gradual downhill. There were a few little hills around the 2 mile and 3 mile mark - but, mostly up until the last 3/4 of a mile it was all just easy terrain or downhill. As you can guess, what goes up must come down. Or, in this case, what goes down must come up! The last 3/4 of a mile is rated as a "Category 5" on map my run. Which means LOTS of us were huffing, puffing, and walking parts of it.
Honestly, that darn hill took my 11:20 pace and knocked it down to 15. No joke.
BUT I FINISHED.
There are actually some very, very funny (and less flattering) shots in the whole collection. However, that picture sums it up: I crush you, hill.
Last night was also the first meeting of Club in a month. It was good. We got our 6 month assessment results which are now two months old. Also, we got weighed in for the first time in a month and a half. In the six weeksI've been without close supervision I lost six pounds. Not too shabby! A pound a week? I'll take it. Why? Because I'm able to live comfortably, not obsess over my food intake, and not feel ridiculously pressured to squeeze in a million fitness minutes.
Downward progress is still progress.
What we also received were all of scans and statistics from our 6 month assessment. Basically one of the things they did was a body composition scan. They gave us our photos which were.. revealing. Lets just say I'm kind of surprised that I can see MORE of my fat rolls at my lower point than I could at my higher point. Maybe it's because the fat rolls are getting smaller and thus look larger in number? I don't know. The numbers, though, were great. I've lost 32 pounds while on the study which is 14% of my starting bodyweight. Now, what makes that even more amazing is that I've only lost 1 pound of 'lean' tissue.
When you lose weight through diet exclusively the body has a tendency to burn both your muscles and your fat. I forget what the ratio or percentage is; but, as you can guess, it's not a good idea to go and eat your muscles. So, when you have a 'proper' ratio of diet and exercise you are going to burn less of that 'lean' tissue. In other words, according to the scan, I'm doing 'it' right.
The other thing we talked about were some of the first results coming off of the armbands for tracking activity. You have to think about it, the whole idea of having a piece of tech that tracks fitness minutes is relatively new. Pedometers have been around forever; but, minutes counts? Level of activity? It's all been very subjective. It's me pointing at a chart and saying "Yeah, this is like a ten."
What they're finding is that there are definite thresholds for the 'checkmark' effect. On any weight loss program where you are at six months is generally the point where this effect happens. There are three possibilities. First, you can always maintain your weight at that point. Second, you can continue to lose weight. Finally, the dreaded outcome is gaining back weight. It's like a checkmark - you were going down over time, and now that line starts to rebound back up.
What they're finding is that the people who are most likely to rebound have around 175 minutes of physical activity a week in 15 minute increments. Those who maintain or continue to lose are doing greater than 200. It's amazing. I think I've talked about this before - how I believe that it's the level of -structure- required to do that target that causes the weight loss, not the literal number itself. It's the behavior change associated with meeting that number. At least, that's my opinion.
This morning, also, I finally cracked 187. I had been hoping to reach 185 for the end of this month. Hopefully half marathon training supports that.
Alright, time to get some more 'real' work done.
I hope you all are continuing on the downward path. If not, start thinking about how to get your minutes of activity up!
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