Tuesday, October 26, 2010
The news about the weather today in Chicago started about 3 days ago. Seriously. They've been hyping this HUGE COLOSSAL WIND STORM that is going to take down trees and uproot buildings and put us out of power for weeks for days now. They've nicknamed it the "CHI-CLONE". Don't you love the media? They need to nickname everything now.
So needless to say, I was (only a little) concerned that my running morning happens to be Tuesday and that the Chiclone was set to descend upon the city this morning of all mornings - my last day of C25K training.
My alarm went off at 7:15am. It was very dark. The rain was pelting my window and I could hear the wind whistling. Um...SNOOZE BUTTON. 8:15am - a little brighter outside, but definitely not done raining yet - and here's where the argument starts in my head...
"If you're going to run today you need to get up NOW"
"But it's raining outside and I don't want to run in the rain - what if I slip and fall"
"Well, what if it's raining the day of the 5K? Are you going to give up and not run because it's raining then?"
"Well then you better get out of bed and train in the rain"
"I can train tonight after work. I promise."
9am - by now I HAD to get out of bed or I would be late for work (I know, I know - I get to sleep every morning until 9am - it's ridiculous). I got up and looked outside the window. It was windy, but the rain had stopped. It was too warm in my apartment. I had closed the windows because of the wind, but I was antsy for some fresh air so I cracked the door a bit. A gust of wind breezed in - the fresh smell of morning mixed with rain and wind - refreshing! Well - what if I went running now? I would be done my run in 45 minutes - that would put me at 9:45am - that's still enough time to have a shower and get out of the house by 10:30am. Hmmm - maybe I WILL run now. Yep, I'm gonna run. Really? Really.
So I chowed down a banana, drank a couple of glasses of water and dressed in my new running gear. Yep - I was running. A wonderful feeling washed over me. I was opting to run over not running. I guess that really makes me a runner - right?
Out the door - the morning was actually quite beautiful. It was overcast, and a bit humid from the rain, but the wind was cool and would be at my back for most of my route. I set my iPod to Week 9, Day 3 and off I went.
Well - it wasn't the greatest run. My new tech shirt kept riding up and showing my belly, so I had to keep pulling it down. My energy tanked before I even hit my second mile marker and I knew that I wasn't going to be able to shoot for any extra distance today. I had to dodge a lot of broken tree limbs on the sidewalk, so my focus wasn't where it should have been. And that wind that was supposed to be at my back kept changing and blowing my hair in my face. It was warmer than it has been for my last few runs, so I tuckered out too soon.
BUT - I RAN! I completed my 30 minutes (31 in fact because I finished the block I was running after my time was up) at the 2.5 mile marker. W9D3 complete. C25K training complete. Now all I have to do is run a 5K.
I started this program 12 weeks ago - August 2, 2010.
When I started I weighed 277 pounds. I was heavier than I wanted to be and was convinced that I was too fat to ever run for 30 minutes straight.
I proved myself wrong.
Today I weigh 255. 22 pounds in 12 weeks, and I know it's because I'm running. Sure I'm eating right and I do other exercise too, but my body LOVES to run.
Today is Graduation Day. Even though it wasn't my best run, today I have accomplished something more than I ever thought I was capable of. Today wasn't about book smarts, or getting a good job, or being top of my class. It was about me, and the pavement and choosing to run. This isn't something that will go in my professional bio. But it is something that I can count on to change my life for the better. The personal feeling of satisfaction that no food can ever HOPE to match. I did something, and I did it for me. I may not be the best, I may not be the fastest - but none of that matters. What matters is that I did it, and I am so proud of me.
I am a runner!
Thursday, October 21, 2010
I've been thinking a lot about science lately. I never really got much out of my science classes - to me there were just a lot of equations to memorize and not enough practical applications. I'm a hands on learner in every sense of the word. My dad always used to help us with practical applications of science - and he made it so much fun to learn, I had trouble sitting in class and drilling numbers into my head. Life is about experimentation, and having something in front of me that I could pick apart and explain just made learning so much easier.
Weight loss is not an exact science by any means. You're supposed to adhere to the "3500 calories = 1 pound" rule for the weekly deficit, but I can't tell you how many times that has not worked when it comes to my body. But one thing that I do know is that speed, velocity, will always equal distance over time. And more and more, the fitter and healthier I get, velocity is now something that I can control - in both my exercise and my weight loss.
I think about this equation a lot when I'm swimming. Swimming, over any other sport, puts me in THE ZONE. Something about the rush of water past your ears as you're swimming laps, that feeling of being weightless, but working hard at the same time, puts me right inside my head. I get more thinking done in the pool than anywhere else in my life. I talk to myself a lot in the pool. Sometimes it's about pushing myself harder, faster. Most of the time it's about counting (I count my laps in sets of 5 and 10 - I can't tell you how many times I've counted to 5 in my head while swimming). But sometimes, when I really get into my rhythm - breathe in, stroke, stroke, breathe out, kick, kick - I go to another place altogether where nothing hurts, nothing is hard, and I'm almost flying. This is The Zone. This is where I want to be.
More and more I've been trying to transfer this feeling into other exercises. My running is one of those places where I can almost get there now. I know I'll need The Zone when I run my 5K in a couple of weeks. I'll need to go to that place to push through - to ignore the other runners, to breathe through any fatigue in my muscles, to settle in to it and burn it and just do it. Velocity = Distance/Time. And I can control my velocity. I can monitor my breathing. I can slow my pace if I need to. But bottom line is that I can do it.
We're all on this journey together. Everyone is constantly moving. The earth is hurdling through space as we speak. But only I have the power to slow it down when I need to. Get in The Zone, and all of a sudden the speed at which I'm moving doesn't seem to matter any more. Time goes by, distance goes by, and I'm moving through it. As fast or as slow as I need to.
Friday, October 15, 2010
When I woke up this morning the air was crisp. I had my duvet pulled up to my nose and my cat was curled up in his usual ball of warmth at my side. A perfect morning to laze around and stay in bed too long, making myself late for work.
But that's only what I would have done 6 months ago.
This morning, I pulled back the covers to the chilly morning air, arose from the comfort and warmth of my sheets and my cat and laced on my brand new Saucony running shoes - a gift to myself for 50 pounds lost and my six month Sparkversary.
Six months ago I couldn't talk on the phone and walk at the same time without the person on the other end questioning me if I was running a marathon. I wheezed for breath at every turn. Today I ran over 2 miles in 28 minutes. Today I celebrated my lungs and my bones and my feet and my breath. Today I am healthier and happier than I have been in years. Today is a good day.
Six months ago I would have hit the snooze button ad-infinitum - wasting my morning, wasting my life away in bed. This morning, I seized the day by the shoelaces on my sneakers and accomplished feats of athleticism in the early morning chill. It wasn't easy. No piece of cake. But I did it. And therein lies the difference.
Six months ago I did not. Today, I do.
Today I packed my lunch. Today I drank my water. Today I am caring for myself in a way that I have never cared for myself before. Today I notice how I am feeling. And I make the adjustments, and do the things that I know will make me feel even better. And therein lies the difference.
Six months ago I smothered my feelings with food. Today, I feel.
In the next six months I will lose another 50 pounds. I will run a 5K, and maybe a 10K. I will travel to Germany at least 60 pounds lighter than the last time I went to Europe. I will turn 30 knowing that the next decade of my life will be so much better than the last decade. And therein lies the difference.
Six months ago I "couldn't". Today, I will.
Thank you SparkPeople for 6 months of Accountability, Acceptance and Affirmation. Here's to many more months to come. To my wonderful Sparkfriends who have walked with me every step of this journey so far - thank you! I look forward to running with you in the months to come.
In Six Months I Am:
53 pounds lighter
50 inches smaller (that's over 4 feet!)
...And so, so much happier.
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
I'm really lucky in my job that I get to go to a lot of Openings, Benefits and other special functions. Sometimes it's a pain in the butt, but then I just think about how fortunate I am to be able to schmooze with some really important people and dress up for fancy occasions!
Last night was one of my theatre company's annual benefits. Since we are a musical theatre company, the benefits are usually singing concerts performed by company members and other friends of the theatre. Last night was especially cool, because it involved some of my most favorite voices in the city of Chicago singing their favorite, "knock em out of the ballpark" audition pieces. So we got to hear selections from many of my favorite musicals sung by some of the most talented people I know. The whole goal of the evening was to raise money for the company as well - which we managed to do, despite a small crowd. So it was win-win all round.
To top off a great evening, absolutely everyone there told me how beautiful I looked - which felt pretty damn good. Here's a sample:
Showing off those killer shoes and my newly shaped "runner's legs" - they're coming along nicely!
I feel so great! I haven't been able to dress up in a pretty dress and really feel wonderful in a very long time. In fact - when I did for my brother's wedding a year ago, I thought I felt wonderful, until the pictures came back from the event and I realized just how far gone I was. It took all the joy out of that day for me. I was huge - and the dress and the hair and the shoes couldn't do anything to change that.
This dress has been my go-to number for years now. And last night was the last time I will ever wear it. It is now too big (even last night I was having problems filling out the boobs in it), so it's up for grabs! If anyone is a Size 22 and would like this black dress and the gorgeous purple dress that I wore to my brother's wedding, let me know. I'd love for them to go to someone I know will wear them again. They are both a generous 22 and I wore them between sizes 20-26. They are meant for someone taller and boobier than me too, so you definitely don't have to be 5'2" to wear them!
Unfortunately, it was the last night for those shoes too. They've been sitting in my closet for too long and have become brittle - so one of the straps snapped as I was taking them off (FINALLY) last night. But I wore those suckers for 6 hours yesterday and was fine! Wow - that's an improvement in and of itself. I only dream of the shoes (and boots!) that are to come...drool.
For now though, I will go on feeling like the Belle of the Ball...every single day. Because I AM beautiful. And I'm finally starting to see it and believe it.
Thursday, October 07, 2010
I gotta be honest with you - I thought 50 pounds would never come. And when I really step back and look at it, it didn't take that long at all. But when we're caught up in the day to day grind of not seeing the numbers we want on the scale, when we feel battle-worn and bruised, the idea of "quitting" can seem an easy leap to make. Screw this. I'm tired. I don't want to do this anymore.
But what exactly is "this"?
Eating good food. Exercising more (which I am learning to really enjoy). Feeling better about myself inside and out. Looking better in a mirror. Shedding pound after pound of emotional weight along side the physical pounds lost.
And what is "quitting"?
Eating fast food today - all day. And then maybe tomorrow. And then maybe the next day too. Sitting on my butt in front of the television. Binging. Feeling like I'm going to burst the seat out of my pants. Wheezing for breath. Having trouble sleeping because my fat is suffocating me. Feeling regret, and hatred, and depression with each and every pound I gain. Being in denial over how big I really am.
Why on earth would I want to quit? I don't care if it takes me a month to lose the next 2 pounds, "THIS" is still better than "QUITTING". Hands down.
I've talked a little in the past about physical vs. emotional thresholds. I believe that the body has a series of these that are just as hard to cross going up as they are going down. I remember when I was still gaining weight, I hung out at 280 pounds and then 290 pounds for a really long time before I crossed over the threshold and continued to gain. But once I crossed over, the road between 281 and 290 was a short one at best...like we're talking a week. And it's been the same thing for me on the way down. I get really close to a big number and then it's like time freezes and I hang out there for a few weeks before something clicks and the scale drops me a big number. Then I lose like gangbusters for a couple of weeks and it's the same thing over again. I know now that I'm going to have to do this probably every 10 pounds. But I'm ok with that. I'm not going to be a person that can lose 10 pounds in a month, ever. But since my physical weight loss is coinciding so much with my emotional weight loss, I don't think I'm a person that could handle losing 10 pounds of "brain fat" a month. It takes time to adjust while you're going down and this is just another reason that slower is better. I need those 3 weeks to get hung up on a number on the scale because it usually also means that I'm fighting through something mentally that I also have to break through to move on.
While I was looking at 47.6 pounds lost for the past 3 weeks, I was contemplating quitting. I told myself a lot of things over those 3 weeks. Maybe this was my limit. Maybe I was meant to be a fat person for the rest of my life. Maybe I couldn't really do this. I even started having dreams that I was going to die, because it was easier for me to think about dying an early death than to ever be thin. That's some serious business right there. But that's how far off "thin" feels to me. I have been living in a fat body for my whole, entire life. The idea that someday (and someday soon) I might not have to anymore is terrifying. So much so that it's easier to think that I'm going to die before that ever happens.
I was also thinking about eating. A lot. I was thinking about how much I missed fast food. And fries. I blogged about my weekend of more wine than water. And I ate the fries. I let that happen and then got right back on track. I've been drinking at least TEN glasses of water every day this week. And I'm not craving fries anymore. And that's what life looks like right now. I didn't quit. I actually didn't even really "cave". I just did something that anyone (even a thin person) would do in that situation. I allowed myself what I needed and then I moved on. There was no falling off the wagon. No big, dramatic "IT'S OVER" moment. It was a plate of french fries, and a bottle of wine and now I'm down 50 pounds.
I'm not saying that eating a plate of french fries and drinking a bottle of wine helped me lose those last 2.4 pounds. Probably just the opposite. But getting over that mental hurdle maybe did. Who knows how it happens. The body works in mysterious ways, and mine especially I have come to understand will do what it wants to do when it wants to do it. But I am growing patience by the day, and I'm doing everything right. This will happen for me. And there is no longer such a thing as "quitting". It doesn't exist in my vocabulary. Because quitting doesn't look the same anymore. It's not bright and shiny. It's not the thing I can't have. It's the thing I've had for all too long, and I'm DONE with it.
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