Monday, February 18, 2013
In all fairness, it's not the second verse. It's actually the fifth.
See, in three days, I will be celebrating my fifth year sparking.
Egad, what can I tell ya?
I can tell you that, five years ago, I did not expect to be here. I did not expect to be on the lifetime website plan. I did expect that losing would take a while. I'm not so sure exactly what I thought about my lifetime, though.
I expected a loss of, if I was lucky, perhaps 48 pounds/year. 4 pounds/month is slow and reasonable. I did considerably better than that, and am down a good 120 or so even with backsliding. At my lowest, I was down about 160, but it did not take me 3 years to get there - it took me more like a year and a half.
And what would I tell the person just starting out, whether that was me or, perhaps, you?
I'd say that this is going to take a while. And even the easy stuff might get hard. But the corollary to that is that the hard stuff often gets easy. It's something of a trade-off. I'd say that there are days when all I want to do is eat whatever, and I sometimes, in all honesty, miss that. I would also say that I don't miss my seatbelt being too tight. I don't miss size 26, or even size 18. I don't miss huffing up the stairs.
I'd tell you that I'd like to be younger, to be sure. I would have preferred to have started off here, at this weight (235.6 this morning) instead of the 346 I started at. But then I'd be starting at 50 instead of 45, and that's harder.
I would mention that there are days when motivation runs thin. There are days when it runs high. Try to do more when you're inspired to, and kinda save it up for the times when you aren't quite so inspired. I'd tell you to measure, too, in addition to weighing, as measurements can be a bit of good news when everything else seems to be bad news.
I'd tell you to lift weights, even small ones, for they not only help to sculpt you and give you fat-burning muscle, but they also impart and air that you can do anything. I'd tell you to race, too, whether it's running or biking or swimming or whatever and forget that you are perhaps not as fast as you would like to be, or even if you come in last. Just go out there and do it and you will gain some measure of invincibility from that, too.
I'd tell you to forgive yourself and not beat yourself up for imperfections. I'd tell you that you are going to screw something up, big time, whether it's miscounting some favorite thing that turns out to be horribly bad, or doing an exercise wrong and hurting yourself by accident, or you'll take a rest day that maybe even turns into a rest month. But through it all, you are human and, yeah,, you screw up, but any day you wake up and get up in the morning is a day that you can start over again and fix all that.
I'd tell you that consistency can be dull, but it means you're getting into a habit. But the paradox of all that is that you can't get into too much of a rut, as that stalls things, so you need to sometimes shake it up. I'd tell you that you should be prepared to watch while on vacation, and work out in the weirdest of places, because you might take a holiday, but your body often has other plans.
I'd, finally, tell you that what you have to say is important, and it's worthwhile, and YOU are worthwhile, and that's not measured with a scale or a tape.
Monday, February 11, 2013
It snowed a bit here - have you heard?
Seriously, we got 25" of the stuff, according to the official measurements from nearby Logan Airport. This was the view out of our front yard after my husband had done the first 45 minutes of shoveling.
Currently, after a combined 7 hours and 45 minutes (I only did 2 hours of that; I'm such a slacker), things look like this.
It is still ugly, and I easily have my cardio set for the remainder of the week.
It's okay. I actually like shoveling.
A few reasons -
* it's a way to get outside on an otherwise impossible day. I don't belong to a gym these days, so it's either this or walk, and walking means the street, and cars on some ice. Not a good combo.
* it's extremely good exercise. I get a caloric burn of nearly 700 calories in an hour, whereas I walk for an hour and a half and get maybe a third of that.
* it accomplishes something. See, this is what bores me about the gym. I recognize that fitness is an accomplishment unto itself, but it can often feel like, quite literally, the road to nowhere. Shovel the driveway and the rewards are considerably more tangible and immediate. It FEELS like something.
I suppose this is why I also like racing; it's got a tangible ending to it, and a tangible reward - tee shirts and sometimes medals, too!
What is also extraordinary, right now, is that, for the most part, I feel just fine. It was, I admit, less than perfectly pleasant to lift weights this morning. But it wasn't awful, and I am more than ready and willing to return to the task at hand this afternoon, once I've done my work for the day.
Bring it on. I'm ready.
Monday, February 04, 2013
Sorry I'm late. Life's getting in the way a lot more and more these days.
Anyway - just a quickie as, egad, it's after 7 PM and too much other junk has to happen before dinner and TV and bed and, dang, about a thousand other things.
The main thing going on is that the 5K schedule came out. And once we've got some nickels scraped together, we'll be signing up for a bunch. We already have 2 set up. I think we'll do 8 - 10 more. It'll depend on budget and scheduling, and how we feel. I know at the end of last year, we'd done 11 and it felt like 1 too many. But maybe this year will be different, eh?
And I suppose I could be faster. I could save it all up for 1 or 2 races. And maybe I'd be faster, and I'd be better and all of that.
But I'd rather do more.
'Cause they're fun.
But really, why?
'Cause I'm 50, and I'm in a tiny division. I actually have a chance at placing no matter where I end up.
But seriously, why? You're nearly always last when fewer than 100 people run, and you tend to be in the bottom 5 when fewer than 250 people run.
Why the hell would you want to subject yourself to that, not once, not twice, but 10 - 12 times this year??!?!??!
Because, you see, I would rather be slow and last than not do it at all.
I would rather be huffing than watching.
And because I know that at some point there will be a slide downhill, when it comes to fitness. And at some point in time, my world will begin to contract, rather than expand.
But I am NOT ready for that.
And when it does finally happen, I want to be able to say that I squeezed all the juice out. So forgive me if I'm too busy, and I'm here, there and everywhere.
'Cause I'm busy squeezin'.
Monday, January 28, 2013
This morning, I hauled myself up and, by the time I got a chance to look outside, it was about 6:45 or so. And I saw something at that hour that I hadn't seen in months.
So this winter business has an end after all. And I'm trying to keep that in mind as the Weather Channel tosses out warnings about snow and Armageddon or maybe it's just a dusting. I dunno.
And through it all (yes, there is a fitness point in all of this), there's the feeling that slow times and low times and hard times and fat times and itchy times and unpleasant times - yanno something? They come to an end eventually. And things do get better.
I see way too many people moaning the gaining of a pound as if the world were ending. I see far too many giving up because something didn't work the first time around. But as the amazing CAROLISCIOUS said recently, "What do you do when what you *know* works doesn't? You do it again."
And it's true. You do it again until it DOES work. And in the meantime, the fat times and the itchy times and the low times - they've got a finite cutoff date. You just need to find that.
Way back when I was first starting this journey, I went to a dinner party hosted by a lovely friend. And I had lost a good 40 pounds by then, and was finally flirting with getting out of the 300s for good. And she and other friends greeted me and no one said anything. It was weird to me. I hadn't seen them in a while so I thought, surely they would notice a change. But they didn't, and I ended up having to bring it up, which is weird but that's life. And it's not that these people were so self-absorbed. It's that they truly couldn't see it.
Yanno what else happened? I did not let that kill my motivation. I didn't let it bowl me over, and make me feel that the whole setup was useless and I might as well gorge myself on chips if no one notices or cares. I just kept at it.
And in a week or so, people finally started to notice the change. They all thought it was less - a 10 or a 20 pound loss. They were astounded when I told them it was 40+ pounds off.
Our perceptions differ. But they also matter. And we can change them.
Perception #1 - I've been eating right and exercising for months and no one notices. Might as well throw in the towel.
Perception #2 - I've been eating right and exercising for months and no one notices. Might as well do something different as it doesn't matter.
Perception #3 - I've been eating right and exercising for months and no one notices. Might as well keep going as they might not notice, but I do. And they'll eventually notice.
Really only #2 and #3 are viable at all. After all, there can sometimes be a need for a change. That's fine. But the change should be based upon sound principles.
Calorie cycling might or might not work. Low carbs might or might not work. Extra strength training might or might not work. Faster cardio, or steeper hills, might or might not work. All are worth a shot.
But nobody ever got thin by gorging themselves on chips.
I'm gonna go out and enjoy the sun before Armageddon.
Monday, January 21, 2013
I just spent the past 2 weekends doing massive family stuff, as my mother turned 80. Two parties to accommodate everyone without going to the expense of renting a hall or making people travel too much.
I came out of it with little exercise but with decent food choices. Over the course of the 2 weeks, I gained a big honkin' .2 pounds. My measurements are fine and are comparable to what they were. By all rights, this was a staggering success, considering the dearth of exercise opportunities and the plethora of bad food choices available.
I also watched. And learned. And here's what I learned.
* Obesity is family-related. It may or may not be genetic but it certainly related to family culture. That is, people who are used to playing sports or walking or whatever will be thinner, over time. Those who are used to eating everything in sight, and making unhealthy choices, will continue to do so unless they make a supreme effort. And, over time, they will be larger.
* Perception is all. I have gained back a good 60 pounds since my lightest on SP but it does not matter. They still tell me I'm thin, God bless 'em. And my relatives who are heavy tend to see that as their normal, even as I see them hitching up their clothes, or taking thirds, or untagging themselves from Facebook images as they think they look too fat. Well, I got news for ya. The reason why your picture makes you look fat is because you ARE fat. Sorry, that's harsh. But the camera isn't adding 100+ extra pounds. That part's all you.
* Amidst challenges, there are opportunities. During the first weekend, my father and I went to a local beach and walked on the boardwalk. We did, all told, about 1.75 miles (he had thought it was 2, but my pedometer claims otherwise). But I got him up and out there. At the events, I piled my plate with salad, or vegetables, or sushi, or shrimp, or plain turkey. I refused the store-bought cake but I did have some of the homemade.
* Related to the last one - choices are all. You can make good or bad ones. No one is holding a gun to your head either way. Choose carrots or choose chips. Both are out. You're a grownup and can make this choice.
* Nobody notices if you don't finish something. I helped clean up after the second party (the first was at a restaurant). And I noticed food on people's plates. They didn't scrape them clean. Who did that? Damned if I know. And it doesn't matter. What am I, the Food Police? Yes, they should have taken less. But they didn't intake as much. Either way is a victory.
* There will always be critics. "Oh, you shouldn't run so much. My brother destroyed his knees that way." This was said by a guy who's about 12 years older than me, and walks with a cane because he's so heavy. Er, your brother destroyed his knees because he was running in the 70s, when equipment was bad. But I didn't say that. I just said, "I'll be careful, thanks." And I moved on.
* Children's behaviors should be of interest. One doesn't like fruit. Another hoarded vegetables and dip. Another was shy but ultimately made good choices. Another ran around, bored, but didn't intake too much. How will they all grow up? Of course I have no idea, but I wonder about what I saw. Will the fruit-hater learn to embrace apples? Will the run-around-er slow down and then stop and let weight catch up? Will the one making good choices continue to do so? Will the dip and veggie hoarder start hoarding much worse foods? Stay tuned, I suppose.
And through it all, these were good experiences. They are not all about food, and failed fitness opportunities. It was all, after all, really about my mother.
And what is the best gift I can give her?
To be as fit and healthy as I can be. To keep the worst of diseases at bay, if I can. To be available for her, and able to help when she (eventually) needs me, as will my father.
And so today's walk, and the omelet with tofu and the 11 cups of water? They're for you, Mom.
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