Thursday, September 02, 2010
This is the third birthday I have spent here on Spark. So here are three songs that have something to do with three -- trios, three in the name of the group, etc. Enjoy.
Yeah, I know the third one is really weird. But have you ever tried to grab a song from the Internet about the number three that wasn't by Britney Spears?
Anyway, I'm turning 48 today. 48 is the new 33 1/3 or so.
I'm still sick, so I don't feel as kick-bun awesome as I'd like. And, with Hurricane Earl arriving, er, tomorrow, we are going to just order in enough food to go for a couple of days. Probably Vietnamese, with some seriously hot soup, as Mr. J has the cold as well. But we are going to a Red Sox game in a few days so the real celebration will be in a few days.
But, hey, it's my birthday today! So it's time for a somewhat more low-key party than usual, but a party just the same.
Party on, Spark dudes and dudettes.
Monday, August 30, 2010
Now, don't worry, lil Sparkies. No one's been abusing me.
I just find the title lyric amusing. The video, in case you can't get to it, is Alice Cooper's "No More Mr. Nice Guy". And that's what I want to talk about -- not about being down another few pounds or whatever.
Let's talk about being nice. Or, rather, TOO nice.
You know what it's like. You meet someone who agrees with everything you say. EVERYTHING. You get tired of it, it's too much bland affability. And so, if you're anything like me, you pick at that, to see if you can create some disagreement. Black is white you say. Of course, says the other person.
But -- what happens when that all-too agreeable person ISN'T someone else? What if it's you, or if it's been you?
You're up for anything. You "go along to get along". You take whatever's put on your plate and don't complain, even if it's not what you wanted. Your friend says, not today, no walking for me today, and you allow that to color your behavior as well, so you stay at home. There's only one healthy snack left, but you let someone else have it.
Oh, you are the martyr. And you suffer. Oh, how you suffer! But you are secretly hoping that someone will notice your suffering and -- well, what exactly? Reward you with the Medal of Honor and the love of your fellow countrymen? Alleviate it by somehow magically figuring out that something is wrong (even though you never told them there was any problem)? Make the impossible come true, and immediately pop the weight off you because, well, not so much that you worked to get it off, but because you SUFFERED?
I see it every day here. People (and, let's face it, these are mostly women), who reveal that their husbands don't want them losing their curves and losing too much weight. And these are not 110-pound proto-anorexics but rather women who weigh a good 410 pounds. Or their kids bring in candy. Or their mothers-in-law are constantly serving cakes at family occasions.
Well, I am not advocating being rude. Please don't misunderstand me. Rather, I am saying, break out of the passive-aggressive rut. Don't do it to yourself, and don't let others pull it on you. Your husband says he's afraid you'll lose your curves? Just tell him they'll be better sculpted, not gone. It takes a really serious dip in body fat percentage for a woman's curves to truly go away. Your kids are bringing in candy? Tell them it goes in their room and nowhere else. Or, better yet, tell them it's not allowed in the house AT ALL. Your mother-in-law insists on plying you with cake? Tell her that the meal she just served you was so delicious and wonderful that you couldn't possibly eat another bite. That cake looks wonderful but, sorry, no room.
What I am saying is: PUT YOUR FOOT DOWN.
Your health is IMPORTANT.
So quit letting things happen to you.
Quit letting people dictate your life to you.
Quit opening your mouth and accepting whatever they toss your way.
SparkPeople talks about asserting your Food Rights. And that is what this is all about. And you don't just have Food Rights in restaurants (e. g. to be able to ask for dressing on the side without being made out so as to be a pariah) but in the home as well.
You are a person, an autonomous adult.
YOU DO NOT HAVE TO JUST TAKE IT
Get what you need -- without hurting other people, of course -- but make sure that you are taking care of your own health because, at the end of the day, and at the end of your life, you are the one who has to live in your body, not them.
No more Ms. Nice Gal.
Monday, August 23, 2010
Even if you don't like this group, I urge you to watch the video. With the sound off, if you prefer. Check out the details.
Huh? you say.
Well, it's because this is a cover. The song was written, and originally recorded by, Michael Jackson. Alien Ant Farm (the group in the clip) are about as far from MJ as you can get, but they are clearly huge fans. Everything from the chimp to the Elizabeth Taylor tattoo to the surgical mask, it's all about MJ. I love it when something as detailed and as loving as that pops up thoroughly unexpectedly.
But that's not what this post is about.
Rather, this one is about last weekend's 5K.
And, it's about 5Ks in general.
This was the 10th time I'd run a 5K. The time was not spectacular -- it was fifth-worst, almost the same as I was in July and September of last year. Clearly, I have been slacking off.
But -- I shaved 4 minutes off my time from July of this year. And, being fifth-worst is right in the middle for me. 42 - 43 minutes and change is pretty standard -- it takes some effort for me to hit 40 minutes and below (I've only finished at below the 40-minute mark one time so far). And -- just as importantly -- I enjoyed myself.
Oh and I beat thirteen other people: www.coolrunning.com/results/10/ma/Au
That in itself is a rarity. Now, most of those people were walking, but still! I am often last, or second to last, and this was not a very big field. I had every belief that I would be dead last.
But I wasn't, and I wasn't even the last one in the field of eight us women in our -- ahem -- forties.
But enough of yay me. How about some yay YOU?
Are you afraid to run? Are you concerned that you'll be slow, you'll be tired, you'll just look bad? Everyone will pass you, and will think, there goes that fat girl (or guy). No hope for 'em. Might as well give up and go eat Twinkies. What the heck are they thinking?? Kidding themselves, so sad to be so delusional.
That is just NOT what happens.
Now, I cannot vouch for what is in anybody's head, of course. But I can tell you that, unless you're racing against a bunch of eleven-year-olds, no one is going to say anything like that. No one will shunt you to the side and think you're hopeless. No one will laugh.
Instead, here's what happened to me. I ran at the end. Not a jog, but a flat out run. I try very hard to do that at the end of 5Ks, because it makes me feel better, not because I'm going to break any sort of a record or anything. It's the last 20 - 30 seconds or so, and I can see the finish line, so I run.
And, because I am often last, most of the people who are in the race are there. They are drinking their water or Gatorade, or enjoying a banana or some pretzels or whatever the Race Director has provided for the cost of the entry fee.
And -- get this -- they clap.
They freakin' cheer.
Now, I realize that, when I come in, it's time to award the medals or gift certificates or whatever, but they don't seem to be just mindlessly cheering (Hey, we get to leave soon!). No -- they call out encouragement: Go! Go! Go! and Strong Finish! and You Can Do It!
And I tell you, if I could switch places with them, and be there when they came in, I, too, would put down my water for a second and do the same.
This last time, because some people came in after me, I got the chance to do just that. And it feels awesome. Cheering works, and it's wonderful, whether you are doing it or hearing it. It totally rocks.
And, while I beat some people this time around, I may very well be dead last again at my next one (September 6th). If I am, so what? All that means is that I made everyone else a winner. And it means that everyone -- even Olympians -- not in the race came in behind me. So I have plenty to cheer about even if I am a good twenty minutes after the previous person.
YOU can feel this way, too.
YOU can do it.
Go! Go! Go! Strong Finish! You Can Do It!
You really can. Get out there and set aside your excuses and do it. It really is an incredible blast.
Go get 'em, Tiger.
Monday, August 16, 2010
Ha, I don't really want candy. I actually had to buy some for work, though. We're doing a booth show, and you have to attract people. So it's all about the chocolate. Small sigh. I do wish people would go ga-ga over fruit. Or that fruit would be cheaper and easier to keep (we're still trying to figure out if the booth will be outside. If it is -- in the Providence heat -- we will have chocolate soup after a while). Or that we didn't have to do this at all, that we'd just be loved for our robots.
But, alas, we are new and so you need to be a tad gimmicky. Plus, heh, I may be the only middle-aged Booth Babe out there. ;)
But -- this entry is not intended to really be about work, and it's not intended to be me railing against people preferring Snickers bars to blackberries.
Nuh-uh, gentle reader.
It is -- ha!
Welcome to another milestone, baby.
I am 169 pounds. This means I get to choose a new mini-goal. I've been selecting them in 10-lb. increments and this one will not be an exception. Hence my next mini-goal (on the way to the 146 Holy Grail) is to be 160.
Now, it took me 259 days to get here, but still!
It doesn't matter. I still got this far.
Now, about my measurements. I am recording them but I have not been broadcasting them, as they are fluctuating around pretty much the same numbers, and have been for months, so it doesn't exactly make for a too terribly thrilling news flash. This is fine, it is essentially normal and is also a part of me working out less. This makes the firming up part of the process happen considerably slower, and even reverse itself a bit. I am not too concerned about such things. I am a pretty solid size 12. I would like to be smaller, yes, but I am in far less of a hot hurry about such things these days.
I am still fiddling with what should feel like maintenance. What is it like to do this on a regular basis? What am I going to look like at 50? What will my days look like? That is where this portion of the experiment is going. I am learning and enuring myself to how the regular days are going to be, the days of pay the mortgage, commute to work, shovel the walk, call the plumber. Those kinds of days, but they will also be intersprinkled (that is a word NOW!) with weight training and food tracking and hey, let me grab these resistance bands, and let me see when I can get to the gym and oh, by the way, we need postage stamps and I will walk for the errand and not drive.
And, perhaps, those will be intersprinkled (there's that neologism again :)) with a few bites of candy, too. Because that is a part of maintenance. It is releasing the idea of verboten foods and exchanging them for ideas of controlled foods instead. A less binary mindset. It is not on/off, yes/no for food unless you are allergic or keep kosher or vegan or the like.
It is ... do I want a small candy bar or a big piece of fruit? Do I want pizza or a big salad with grilled chicken? All of this fits in, so long as you balance it. And, like on a see-saw, when you grab something heavier, it takes more effort, more juggling, more working out and more restriction of other things in order to balance it out.
But it is not impossible.
The booth show is on the 28th. I am certain that I will not eat any of the candy, but I cannot promise that the dinner we will have afterwards will be perfectly wholesome. And so goes the way of the world. But ... that is not the end of the world, it is not the end of health and it is not about the end of me caring about what happens to me.
Candy and pizza just do not have that power over me any more.
Monday, August 09, 2010
Ha, I have done it.
And they said it couldn't be done.
Okay, well maybe THEY didn't say it.
Maybe I did.
Oh yeah. Forgot -- the only person in my head is me, so I shall explain.
I currently weigh 171.8 lbs.
I have lost a total of 174.2 lbs., which is just about what my husband weighs (no divorce jokes, please).
Oh yeah, baby!
I have lost over half of my body weight.
Hell, I'm .8 lbs. away from having lost 175 pounds.
Am I done?
Got another, erm, 25.8 to go.
I am still overweight.
I still have nights where my hand dips into cereal a little too much, although I dip less, and it is cereal and not chips.
I still have clothes in my closet that are too small.
I still need to be faster at 5Ks.
I still order pizza for company events (it's cheap -- I wish other stuff was cheaper and easier to stretch, but there you have it).
I am living my own life now. And it's a pretty decent one, if I do say so myself.
See, I think Billy Joel got that lyric right, the one in my title. We get fat, we get tired, we get complacent. We get sick and doughy and slow and winded. And we are -- who are we, again? That is not us.
Sure, we tell ourselves that it is us. We accept it and let it wash over us, until the years have gone by, and those years tumble into decades and we ARE the fat person. We are whoever that is.
But we aren't. We are inside, struggling to get out. We are in the fat cage, and we need to break free of it. Ever see a prisoner of war escape movie? There's action, to be sure, but the real work is in the slow, steady dripping, the chipping away of mortar, the careful forging of documents and the slow sewing of civilian clothing from scraps and bits of thread, with a needle made by grinding a nail on stone.
There's another line in this song: "But there's gotta be more to life than just try, try, try" and, I'm sorry, Billy, but you got that one WRONG.
Trying is all we've got. We do, we attempt, we work, we wrangle, we dance around, we pump, we measure, we haul ourselves and our lives from Point A to Point Z, with Q and S and all the others in between. And trying is actually good enough.
Did you know that? It's true.
Because if all we saw in our lives, if all we celebrated, were perfect successes, we'd never get off the ground. We'd never do, we'd never haul, we'd never get there.
I am eight-tenths of a pound away from 175 off. I am a bit doughier than I was a year ago when I was actually 10 pounds heavier. I am slower in 5Ks. I am not living it perfectly and completely correctly, not always honest and right, delicate, careful and true.
I say, celebrate today, for what it is.
I have been living someone else's life.
I don't care about them any more.
Time to be free.
Come along. I have room in my jalopy. But I call shotgun.
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