Wednesday, May 12, 2010
So I have not been very active on the site this week because I have been dealing with a very annoying (though not itchy) rash I thought to be a plant allergy from hiking this weekend. It has spread to just about everywhere, so I finally went to the doctor. After running some tests to rule out other stuff, he diagnosed vasculitis due to an allergic reaction to possibly the aspirin I took on Friday post workout (had a bit of knee pain and that was all the hubby had on hand) or a new food allergy (apparently they can just occur spontaneously even though you have been eating them all your life?!)
SO for the next two weeks, I have to avoid eggs, seafood, soy and nuts. After two weeks IF I am all better, I can add these in a week at a time to hopefully determine the offending culprit. Any ideas for satisfying my protein requirements given these restrictions without having to eat a ton of meat?
I usually have an egg every morning, seafood and soy at least twice a week, and nuts sometime every other day, so I am going to have to change up my daily breakfast (been meaning to start eating oatmeal anyway) and a few other meals as well. Grrr. Have a I mentioned I am a creature of habit?
Friday, May 07, 2010
So I had a funny experience on the shuttle bus to catch my plane for LA last Thursday that I meant to blog about but almost forgot. I mentioned in my sparkversary blog that people were noticeably more comfortable talking to me now that I have lost weight. What actually brought that to my attention was this experience.
As I was getting off the shuttle, hitching the straps of my laptop bag over my shoulder and reaching down to grab the handle of my ginormous red suitcase, a rather attractive guy, cute college kid from the looks of him, who is getting off the shuttle at the same time (already carrying a bag for what looks to be his grandmother) turns to me and says "Do you need any help with your bag?"
I was quite frankly shocked. It has been such a long time since a stranger of the opposite sex has even offered to hold a door for me or stand up to offer me his seat on a train, much less to help me with a 50 pound suitcase. I thanked him for his offer, but told him I could handle it and sent him on his merry way. After all, I have new found muscles gained from my recent ST efforts that will allow me to expertly debark the shuttle bus with my bags in tow.
And as I watched it pull away, I realized I had left my favorite Ann Taylor sweater on board the bus! In my shocked state, I had forgotten all about it. Apparently I needed help with my luggage after all! LOL.
Luckily, the luggage guy at the ticket counter was more than happy to flag down another driver who was likewise not even too aggravated to radio the other drivers and organize an all out sweater-hunt. Half an hour later, my lost garment was recovered and delivered back to me in plenty of time to catch my flight.
I can't help but think everyone would not have been so helpful to the old me. But being that I now look "normal" (maybe even cute in the right outfit), I fancy that men will just fall over themselves to help me out now in a pinch. Hey, I am happily married, but that still sounds like hilarious fun to me!
Wednesday, May 05, 2010
It will be one year tomorrow since I made the decision to lose 130 pounds. At the time, all that really mattered was a number on a scale, a dress size, and how long it would take to get there. Sure, there were a few health problems I hoped to solve by losing the weight, mostly my perpetually swollen ankles and the terrible pain I felt in my knees when navigating a flight of stairs (up or down), my version of success was still measured by that number. And it was such a big number. More than one of my best friends weighs!
The night I made the decision, I remember having a discouraging thought about how long it would take to lose so much – even if I could lose it quickly and avoid plateaus. It will take more than a year, I thought, and a year is a long time. My next thought, the thought that was even more discouraging (and empowering) than the first, was that if I didn’t start now, I would still have 130 pounds to lose the same time next year. So I started.
A year later I have lost over 70 pounds, 14 inches off my waist alone, have traded in my size 24W jeans for size 18 regular (and even a few 16’s on my last shopping trip). I have dropped half a shoe size and 2 1/2 ring sizes. And I have learned that in spite of how nice it is to see them drop, for better or worse, this is not about numbers.
It’s hard to listen to people say things like “its about the journey versus the destination” or “this is a lifestyle not a diet” and not think they are just cliches, catch phrases for the lucky, when you are on the outside looking in, when where you are is such an intimidating place to begin. So for my one year sparkversary, I had an idea to walk you through “a year in the life” so to speak, one season at a time, and with luck inspire someone else to take their journey this year.
And in the spirit of “one choice versus another” I thought I’d start at May 2008 (yeah that's the year before the journey)....
I can no longer see my own femininity (or my cheekbones) and don’t believe my husband when he says he is still attracted to me. I am on two anxiety medications and am still always stressed. I am 295 pounds with the year in front of me, endless possibilities.
Three months later, I have to a muster a smile to pose for a photo with my friends. I know I will look as big as the two of them put together in this photo. I don’t even want to see it (even though I get tagged in it on Facebook).
Another three months gone, here I am at my favorite place in the world, the top of Grandfather Mountain, on the other side of the mile high swinging bridge. We have driven to the top. I only walked from the parking lot, across the bridge and far enough away from the crows to enjoy the view. And here I am…just sitting on the mountain…sightseeing, I call it. When I am done sitting, we will walk back to the car and drive home.
And at the end of the year…still sitting..still almost 300 pounds, new aches to go with my pains, no pretty view this time.
That year didn't look like much.
But here I am on May 4th 2009, killing time before a movie, with no idea that two days later I would have my very own “aha” moment and decide to change my life. For those that don’t know it, I had a suspected stress fracture in my foot which the doctor attributed to nothing other than putting too much of my own weight on those fragile bones. Seriously I had let myself get so fat, I may break my own bones just walking! That was a turning point.
Three months later the hubby and I had traded our regular dinner and movie routine for biking adventures. We’d bring along dried fruit and nuts and try out every flavor of Luna or Cliff bar we can find (which is like an adventure itself). If it’s an all day outing, we’d bring sandwiches on whole wheat and enjoy the view over lunch.
A word about my diet seems appropriate here. I do not, repeat, do NOT “starve myself” or “deny myself”. I LOVE bread and pasta and sweets, so I failed miserably at every low carb diet I ever tried. My doctor suggested I adopt a very Mediterranean approach to food (whole grains, olive oil, cheese, fruit, veggies, fish, very little meat) and cut out the processed stuff. The easiest thing I have ever done! Seriously. Find an approach to food you LIKE that you can LIVE WITH forever and you will never need to diet.
Three months later, I have discovered yoga and Zumba and jogging and a dozen other ways to move my body. My back doesn’t hurt anymore. I don’t avoid stairs so much. I am off all of my anxiety medication (though am known to get cranky if I have to miss my Wednesday HipHop class). By the end of the summer, I will have had tried rafting and canoeing for the first time in my life and find myself itching to take up hiking, skiing, even rock climbing one of these days.
I no longer have to force a smile for photos. In fact, I have to try not to smile so wide my gums show (but I end up doing it anyway). I can wear high heels again; I can even dance in them. I can cross my legs! I feel comfortable talking to people and they are noticeably more comfortable talking to me. I may be a far cry yet from social butterfly, but I am no longer a wallflower.
At the end of the year, I have not yet met my goal. I still have 60 pounds to go...and I can’t wait to see what the next 12 months will bring. I have LIVED this year. I discovered the world beyond my living room sofa and it’s great! At the end of the year, I am STANDING on the mountain, having CLIMBED to the top of it. Now that is what I call sightseeing.
Sunday, April 25, 2010
Spark friends will probably recall my talking about Mammoth Lakes in previous blogs. A couple of years ago, the hubby and I took a vacation there, a vacation that I spent feeling bitter and grumpy and depressed. Between high elevations and being grossly obese, I was miserable. I got winded taking even short walks to photo worthy attractions. The hubby asked me to go with him on a 1.5 mile hike to a waterfall, but I flat out refused, knowing there was no way I could make it 3 miles round trip. We ended up going back to the room, ordering pizza, watching TV and lounging in the jacuzzi for the majority of the trip. What a waste!
This was me at Mammoth Lakes....
Yep, that was me at my heaviest. Ugh....no way I had realistic picture of myself in my head or I cannot imagine I would have let it go so far.
Thank goodness I decided to get healthy. Thank goodness I found SP and the support system of all of my wonderful spark friends. And while it wasn't the waterfall at Mammoth Lakes, I thank God I could hike those 3.4 miles last weekend (and climb those 1060 stairs) to stand in front of that waterfall at last!
Friday, April 23, 2010
No more empty promises. You know better. Practice what you preach.
When you started this journey, the LAST thing you wanted to do was exercise. You tricked yourself into working out after work by dressing out for it first thing in the morning for crying out loud. When you didn't feel like it, you did it anyway, consoling yourself that it only takes three weeks to make a habit. Do it long enough, you won't WANT to do without.
And you were right. Exercise is now a pleasure, a welcome stress relief at the end of the day, no thought EVER of quitting.
But you've been copping out lately and you know it. You know full well that strength training is essential to toning up all that soft skin the weight loss is leaving behind, to boosting your metabolism to accelerate forward progress, to getting arms you aren't afraid to bare in a sleeveless blouse, calves that look great in a pair of capris, and abs that don't annoy you in every outfit you put on!
And you have been ALLOWING yourself to avoid the weight room. Guilt free. Telling yourself you have this exercise thing licked; after all, you do it almost every day. Really...any exercise is better than NO exercise. Aren't you a little beyond that now? Face it, you have made CARDIO a habit. When it comes to strength training, you are still a couch potato.
Don't you want to be toned AND slim in those cruise photos in December? Yes, you do and don't forget it. You took the time yesterday to have the wellness coach at the Y to set up four awesome strength routines, to show you what to do with a set of dumbbells. Admit it was pretty cool to see your muscles WORKING in the mirror.
Yeah, thought so.
No more cop outs. You will make time for four twenty minute strength training sessions every week, no excuses. You will be ready to bare those arms by June! You will ROCK a swimsuit on that cruise in December. And a cocktail dress with spaghetti straps on formal night....heck maybe even go for broke with no straps at all!
You've been skinny before(ten years ago, but at least you have a pretty good idea what 165 pounds looks like on you.) You've never been toned. A life without weight limits means not having to sensor the skin you bare to hide some flab you are fully capable of ridding yourself of in the first place. You deserve this and you can make it happen! As Nike says...just do it!
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