Monday, September 27, 2010
I feel like hot boiled crap today. And despite eating pizza and burgers and drinking beer this weekend, I doubt I gained 4.5 pounds in a day, so I will not be weighing myself for... say five or six days? Just long enough to get through the "overtly feminine" part of life.
In much better news, I had an outstanding run on Saturday. I found an ideal place to run locally. My town has this semi-invented part of town that doesn't get a huge amount of traffic and has nice roads and is full of beautiful houses. I say "semi-invented" because it's a planned, mixed use community, but it's built around some of the few remaining historic buildings in my town. So you have a less than 10 year old subdivision of houses, condos and parks right next to a church built in 1882 and a cemetery with gravestones from the mid-19th century. There is also a modern theatre and a historic farm. My town is the oddest mix of suburban and rural. There are cows pastured behind Kohls. It's weird.
Anyway, I figured out if I parked in the "uptown" area and ran around and through the subdivision, it would be exactly two miles. It works out pretty perfectly for even-miled long runs. It was a little chilly on Saturday and there was the tiniest bit of mist, but it was such a great run. I had left my knee supports in the car so I could grab them on one of the loops if I needed to, but it was totally unnecessary. My knees felt pretty good at the end. I don't think I could have done another loop, but it was such a relief to know I could do six miles. My iPod fooled me into thinking it had at least half power, so I was surprised by the red smidgen of battery life still remaining when I actually started my run. No music, no Nike+ voice over. No record of my run. That's pretty disappointing because I don't think I can apply my miles to the challenge I'm participating in. But I kind of liked running without music. I did find myself singing occasionally. Mostly that "I like to sing-a, about the moon-a, and the June-a, and the Spring-a" song. I get the weirdest things stuck in my head.
Yesterday, I participated in my family golf scramble and had an awesome time. I golfed with my Dad and my aunt and uncle, and my Mom rode along with my Dad. We golfed really well. My Dad got longest drive for the men and my aunt got it for the women. And I hit pretty well, myself. I can't wait to play again, but I don't think it's going to happen before next April. Anyway, all day long, my relatives were telling me how proud they are of me and how well I'm doing. My cousin's wife seemed particularly excited by the running and apple-eating. I really have been blessed with the most supportive family.
Anyway, I'm going to try not to go absolutely hormonal with the snack foods this week. I'm seeing a glass of lowfat chocolate milk and a banana in my immediate future. And maybe a scrambled egg and goat cheese sandwich and yogurt for lunch. I'm hoping that if I fill myself up with good stuff and have a little bit of chocolate, I can ignore the fact that I have a bag of chips in my house.
Thursday, September 23, 2010
This didn't really fit into my last blog post, so I had to write another blog post. Too bad you only get one point for blog posts per day!
The gym where I work out is part of my township's community center. It's actually kind of neat, because you get to see people from all walks and phases of life doing stuff. It could be senior citizens playing euchre in the Senior Center, tiny baby ballerinas running off to the dance studios, teens playing basketball, or the adaptive/therapeutic fitness club out keeping active and having fun. We also get a lot of student athletes training in our gym. You always see clusters of young men and women gathered in the free weight area, working together to condition. It's fine, but it does make things a little inconvenient sometimes when you have five teenage football players standing between you and the 20 pound dumbbells. I will say that these guys are always very supportive and encouraging- and not just to each other.
Last night, I did my weight training and cardio on the elliptical. I usually break my cardio up into four ten-minute segments with strength training sets in between. I shuffled around the guys to get my weights and proceeded to do my curls. I wear my iPod while I'm training, so I couldn't hear them, though we were all smiling and being polite. It seems to me that I had a brief conversation with some of these guys this past winter about how they were using dumbbells as supports during their push-ups. Anyway, I usually just do curls in the free weight area, so I figured I would be out of their way for the rest of the night.
Wrong! I was all alone in the mat/stretching area, working on my abs and had a sudden invasion of football players. They did a kind of parade around the fitness center with weight plates over their heads, which looked kind of interesting. I bet it's a great exercise for triceps and lats. They came to a stop in the very same place where I was just getting ready to do my second set of bicycle crunches. I think my eyes must have gotten huge, because I was completely surrounded. Then I thought, Screw it. I was here first. Let 'em work around me. Turns out, they were there to do push-ups. But some of them seemed a bit reluctant to do it, because only a few guys got down and started doing push-ups. I semi-heard the following exchange:
"mumble you can do it."
"mumble no I can't."
"mumble could do it. Couldn't you?"
"She can't hear you, dog. mumble iPod."
Wait a minute... was that guy talking to me? I didn't stop doing my crunches to ask, but I was pretty sure the leader of their group just said that I could do push-ups as an example of why those other guys should try. I almost laughed. I can't do push-ups! My core isn't strong enough. My arms aren't strong enough. I'm working on it, but I can't do it yet. And then I started thinking, How do you know? See, I never actually tried the physical fitness test like I said I was going to, so I hadn't tried to do a push-up since about February or March.
When I got home, I was overcome by curiosity. I got down in the modified push-up position and proceeded to knock out six or seven before getting completely distracted by the way my knee was grinding every time I pushed-up and bent it. Now I'm curious about how many I could have done if I hadn't been so concerned about my knee. Perhaps I should try again on some kind of pad. But I am tickled pink to know that I can do push-ups without a whole lot of trouble- to my arms and shoulders at least!
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Yesterday, I took that SP Body Image quiz www.sparkpeople.com/resource/assessm
ent_questions.asp?quizid=69 and got a pretty surprising result: "You love your body." I expected to get "Love/Hate" like so many other Sparkers, so I was a bit taken aback. But then I took stock of my answers and thought about my own independent thoughts about my body, and I had to admit it. Yep, it's true- I love my body. I love my strong, muscular legs. I love watching how my arms and shoulders are becoming more defined. I love my butt (although I'm neutral on my hips). Most of all, I love what my body can do. I can run in a race. I can lift my nephew up and toss him around while he explodes into giggles. I can do push-ups. I can hit a golf ball straighter and longer than I could a year ago. It amazes me that- aside from the aches and pains of getting older- I am in far better shape at 39 and 199.5 pounds than I was at 21 and 140 pounds.
It's been a lot of hard work, but I really think I have turned the corner from being shocked and dismayed when I look in the mirror to being pleasantly surprised. Instead of being hypercritical about my flaws and thinking about how much I've failed myself, I think about how far I've come and how great it is that those flaws are diminishing, both is size and in perception. I feel like I've made a molehill out of a mountain.
There is one area that continues to defy my positive body image, though. And it is the spot I've begun calling "Ma Belleh." My belly is definitely smaller, but it is fat, saggy and round and it bothers me. It's almost as if it's saying, "You may have rockin' quads and awesome arms, but I'm still here, honey! You're stuck with me!" It's also hiding my abs from me, and I know they're in there. I can feel them when I do crunches.
I have always had an issue with my belly. When I was 18 and at the low end of the healthy BMI range and had a bit of a pooch, I complained about my belly to my roommate and she informed me that I had the flattest stomach of anyone she knew. I thought she was crazy and/or lying. There was definitely a certain stick-outy-ness to my belly even back then. And it just kept growing. A woman once asked me when I was due, and I had to tell her "I'm not pregnant. I'm just fat." Numerous U-Scan store check-outs have thought I was trying to steal something because my belly was on the weight sensor and I didn't know it. My belly prevents me from doing certain stretches because it's in the way. And every time I look at my stretch marks (BTW, I have no kids), I wonder if it's stretched out too much to ever really go away, no matter what I do.
Despite all my irritation at Ma Belleh, I've come to terms with it. I may get impatient to see results, but I remind myself that I will most likely lose the belly weight last. And honestly, I'm only about halfway through my weight loss journey, so who knows what will happen to my belly in the next forty pounds? I could look in the mirror one day and say, "Oh, hey! It's an oblique peeping out there! Hi, there, pretty muscle!" So I'm trying not to let the demon belleh get me down. It's there, but it can't defeat me or prevent me from thinking how much better I look. All it can really do is be squashy and wait for it's inevitable shrinkage.
And it will shrink, believe me. I've got a plan to battle my belly into submission. Besides eating well and my regular cardio/strength training, next Thursday, I start taking Pilates classes through community education. It's time to spark up my core and light a fire in my belly, so to speak. And someday soon, I'll get to do the thing I am most looking forward to: passing the "pencil test" with my belly. No more overhang!
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
So you know how I said my scale was a big tease yesterday? We've patched things up. I saw 199.5 again this morning (three times- I'm so distrusting) and this time it definitely wasn't a fluke!
So, I had resolved a while ago that I would come clean about how I've been cheating on one aspect of my diet since the end of June, and how it has contributed significantly to my weight loss. I haven't been secretly downing laxatives, or spending hours in the gym without entering the minutes, or anything you could possibly, in any stretch of the imagination consider self-destructive. Nope, the way I cheated was I gave myself my "Onederland" reward when I was still about seven pounds away from earning it.
See, I had this coupon for $15 off electronics purchases over $150 at Target. I had intended to get under 200 by the time it expired, but it didn't happen. Not buying my iPod Nano before the coupon expired would have been like throwing away $15, and I'm just not down with that. At first, I considered buying it and then leaving it in the packaging, unused, until I actually reached my goal. Nope, forget that stuff, I thought (with possibly saltier words), that iPod is a training tool and I should put it to good use. Plus, it has a radio, so I don't have to miss any of Prairie Home Companion or Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me when I run errands on weekends. My iPod Shuffle didn't work well for running, because it was hard to navigate. And my old Sony Psyc didn't have a whole lot of space for running tracks. The Nano seemed like the perfect running companion.
A couple of weeks later, I bought the Nike+ running add-on and incorporated that into my training. It has done wonders for my running. I find it so easy to keep track of my running history on that thing, and it inspires me to keep improving. The only thing I don't like about it is that, since it measures distance as a accelerometer, when I get tired or run up hills, my stride shortens and the Nike+ loses accuracy. I made up some running mixes in Audacity and added a chime at my intervals for audio cues, so I'm not always watching the time. And the Nike+ has this encouraging voice over to let me know my stats at the touch of a button. She also tells me when I'm at the halfway point and counts down the remaining minutes or meters when I'm close to the end. And if I get a personal record, I get a message from a sports celebrity congratulating me. So far, I have had Joan Benoit Samuelson, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong. I can also set goals for myself or participate in challenges on the Nikerunning.com site. I'm currently at 174th place in the "Green by 2011" challenge. It's not an eco thing- it's getting to the green level (249km) by the end of the year. Although my running history says I've run 69 miles, but my challenge history says 60, so I sense shenanigans there.
I haven't been feeling really great about running lately. I think that's been pretty clear in my blog posts. I still love running, but I'm frustrated by my lack of progress and by the toll it's taking on my knees. I ran last night and was getting more and more frustrated because it hurt too much to run for the full two minute intervals. When I had only about eight minutes remaining I decided to try something. I paused my workout and took off my knee supports- both of them! I figured that it probably wouldn't be any worse and if there was a problem, I could just walk for the remaining time. Hmm. That felt a lot looser and more natural. My knees felt more springy. What's this? You mean I *can* run for two minutes straight at the end of my run? I would call the experiment a "cautiously optimistic success." See, I was able to run without them and it felt pretty comfortable, but I went to Target afterward and limped my way through the latter half of my shopping. I feel pretty good this morning, though. I think that when I go on my run on Thursday, I will bring the supports and keep them handy, but not put them on unless I need to. And really, if I need to put on the supports, I probably shouldn't be running.
I'm pretty hopeful, though, that the solution to my knee pain may actually be trusting the hard work I've put into making my quads, hamstrings and calves stronger and more flexible. I certainly wouldn't miss having to run in supports. They look stupid and I could do without the smelly post-run sweatiness.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
This morning I got ready to step on the scale and I just had a feeling that I'd lost weight. I often take stock in how I feel and estimate how much I weigh before stepping on. My guesses are usually accurate, although sometimes I'll err on the heavy side so that I'll be pleasantly surprised. But this morning, I just knew I'd lost weight. Could it be that this would finally be the morning I'd see a one on the number instead of a two?
The number said 199.5. I just stood there on the scale and stared at the number until it turned off again. I was afraid to move, for fear that it would change. I wanted to see it again, so I turned it back on and stepped on. 200. Darn it! Step off and wait for it to turn off. Turn it back on and step on again. 200. RAAHR!
On the one hand, I'm guessing that the first number was a fluke and I really weigh 200. On the other hand, I think I'm now even more inspired to work hard because I loved seeing that number and I want to see it again, soon. But my scale better stop teasing me with this, or we're going to have words.
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