Saturday, January 15, 2011
Here's what 75 pounds of weight loss looks like:
And that's not all of it! I have already sent over 10 bags and boxes of items to Sparkfriends and local charities over the past 9 months. These are a select 7 bags of clothing that are going today to people who need them here in Chicago. Sweaters, jackets, one winter coat, about 6 pairs of jeans ranging in size from 26-18, skirts, a blazer, 6 good bras, socks, mittens, and tops, tops, tops. Winter clothes, summer clothes - they said they'd take them all, but I was selective so that they wouldn't end up with piles of things they couldn't use.
75 Pounds, 10 Pant/Dress sizes, and a whole lot of inches later, that's what it looks like, packed neatly in bags.
I can't believe I spent so many years in some of those items. Wishing for change. Hoping it would get better. Buying bigger and bigger items off the rack.
I have more room in my closets now for sure (I definitely don't have as many clothes, but it's also that the clothes are smaller so they take up less space!) but they don't feel empty. I don't feel empty - like I've lost something from my life - like I have so many times before with other diets I have tried. In fact, I feel fuller now than I ever felt with closet doors bursting wide with new items. Clothes used to fill me up. Food used to fill me up. I used things to fill me up that were material and not substantial. And giving things away was always so hard for me because it was like losing a piece of myself that I would then need to go out and fill again.
Today I don't feel like that. Today I am happy to, quite literally, remove this baggage from my life. Sure those bags contain some cute clothes that I really used to love to wear. But the clothes don't make the girl. I don't need those things to make me happy anymore. And a whole new WORLD of clothes awaits me at a smaller size. I can have whatever I want, and I know that now.
And though I feel full, I also feel lighter. Emotionally lighter, physically lighter - moving through the world has gotten so much easier for me these past few months. So here's hoping that these clothes will go to the people who need them most so that I might be able to help lighten someone else's burden today too.
Spreading the Spark, one t-shirt, one pair of pants, one pound at a time...75 different ways!
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
Any of you who read my status yesterday know that I wasn't having a wonderful Monday. In fact, I haven't had a wonderful Monday since the turn of the New Year (I know there's only been two of them, but neither one of them have been a good day). When the alarm goes off in the morning, I hit snooze about 4 times, then turn it off, roll over and fight with myself about getting out of bed - which usually results in falling back asleep, waking up late and setting the whole morning off from the start. I don't want to work. I have ZERO energy. And I end up sad and depressed all day long. Last night on my way home after a confrontation with a friend and work partner where we ended up shouting at each other I started crying on the bus and for the life of me could not figure out why. The blues had claimed my heart and there was just no shaking them off. Like Keith Richards says - I couldn't get no SATISFACTION - not even if I paid for it.
But enter this morning - Tuesday - my running day. I won't say that I "bounded out of bed" or anything over the top like that, but I got up - and earlier than I normally do - without a huge to-do over it. I caught enough of the news last night to know what I was about to face. Chicago is finally receiving it's just reward for being virtually snow-less amidst the crazy dumps that the East Coast has gotten since December.
The ground was already blanketed in white and coming down fast. But I accepted the challenge, laced on my shoes, and donned by new Fila running jacket (it's so super sexy, I think I got out of bed just so I could wear it this morning).
It wasn't an easy run - the fresh snow underfoot makes it like running in sand. My calves were burning within 5 minutes and then that burn spread to my hamstrings, but I kept running. I resolved myself to a slower speed, but settled into a really nice groove with an easier breath than I've had over my faster runs, so I didn't feel like I was pushing myself past my maximum. The snow was pelting my face sending streams of water down my hot cheeks as it melted, but I just kept wiping it away and sticking out my tongue to catch the big flakes. I was having fun! I only ran a 5K this morning, but I'm proud of getting my butt out there in those conditions and making the best of it. And a 5K is nothing to sneer at even on a GOOD weather day!
Given the fact that currently I am ELATED, I have wicked high energy, I'm happy - jovial even, and just feel an overall SATISFACTION with myself, I think I am finally safe to admit that I have a problem ...a running problem. I am officially addicted to endorphins.
Now this could be seen as a good thing, a good addiction to have and I agree. But if it means suffering through my rest days, that's no fun at all. So maybe it's time to give up the rest days. After this morning, I am convinced that I need to make Monday a running day since the exact same pattern happened last week too. The proof is in the pavement kids - my Monday rest days are starting to hang on me like lead weights (quite literally I felt "heavy" all day yesterday) until I get my Tuesday a.m. endorphin kick and life is roses again.
But I'm worried. I don't want to overdo it. If I run Mondays, do I also run Tuesdays? I've never run two days in a row before. I know some people run every day of the week - but am I one of those people? Here's the current schedule:
Sunday - Bootcamp Video x2, Light Cardio (cleaning or walking)
Monday - Bootcamp Video, Cardio Rest Day
Tuesday - 5K+ Run, Bootcamp Video
Wednesday - 1.5K Swim, Bootcamp Video
Thursday - Bootcamp Video x2, Cardio Rest
Friday - 5K+ Run, Bootcamp Video
Saturday - Zumba, Bootcamp Video
So can I fit in more? I currently burn in the neighbourhood of 4000-5000 calories a week just on my regular schedule. Adding another running day will put me almost to 6000 a week and I'm honestly nervous that it's going to backfire in the weight loss department if I start training too hard.
So I don't know. I think I'm going to switch it up for a week and see how it goes. I feel like a crazy person. There is still a good chunk of my brain that believes that you should only run if something is chasing you. That's the part that makes it hard for me to get out of bed in the morning. But more and more, the jack-rabbit in my soul is winning this battle. And I have to be honest - the new gear helps immensely. I'm hot to trot kiddies, so I best get out there and prance!
If someone had told me a year ago (they probably did and I probably looked at them like they had a face full of maggots) that today I would discover the cure for winter depression, I wouldn't have believed a word of it. But I'm so glad that every day that I get out of bed, pull on that sports bra and discover the cure over again, I continue to prove my old self wrong. Because in this case, I am willing to admit that I knew nothing back then. And my reward for the purging of that old belief system is pure enlightenment, reams of energy and complete SATISFACTION. Sorry Keith, ain't no drug on the market that's gonna come close to achieving this high.
*Photos courtesy of RollingStones.com & Kohls.com
Saturday, January 01, 2011
In all honesty, I don't like odd number years. Something about them makes me uneasy since some of the worst years of my life have been on the odds. 2009 was TERRIBLE for me - it was one of the worst health years of my life given that I had let myself balloon to a whopping 313 pounds on my tiny 5'2" frame. I spent many days in hospitals, waiting rooms, and being poked and prodded testing me for any and all possible diseases that I was convinced were contributing to my obesity. Fortunately, the only disease I had was a bad case of "Fat Head Syndrome", but unfortunately, that lead to a lot of pain and huge doctors bills that it would take me until the middle of the following year to pay off. But 2010 was one of the best years I have ever lived having found SparkPeople, reinvested in my health and myself and setting personal goals that I was able to achieve in all aspects of my life - family, health & career. I lost 70 pounds, sunk my teeth into my therapy to treat my "Fat Head Syndrome", and as the General Manager of my company managed to almost double our budget size in one year. Life is now good.
But I'm willing to go out on a limb and end my odd year superstitions with this one starting today - 01/01/2011. I vow that no matter WHAT happens this year - good, bad or ugly - I AM the one that ultimately has the power to make this year truly wonderful and everything I wish, hope and dream it can be.
2011 for me will be "The Year of the Ones".
I have 30 pounds to go until I will have lost ONE HUNDRED POUNDS with SparkPeople. My estimate for that goal is sometime around April, but if I can step things up a notch here with my training and eating schedule, I'm hoping that I may even see it a little sooner.
In April I will celebrate ONE YEAR of Spark - a program that in addition to my therapy has completely changed my life. I cannot express how grateful I am to the whole team at Spark and to all of you who make this program what it is - an absolute gift and Godsend.
Following up that anniversary (and hopefully not long after) I'll be making my debut in ONEderland - a place I have not seen in over a decade. I am so excited to get there - I hear it's ONEderful!
And since I deem that the two little 1s look like a pair of legs, I've decided to put mine to good use, get the most out of the gifts that Santa brought me (a Garmin Forerunner, new iPod with armband, SmartWool socks, YakTrax, and a couple of running magazines - he spoiled me, eh?), and make this the year of running as well! Who knows - maybe I'll run 11 races this year! The first one to kick of the Chicago race season is the Shamrock Shuffle 8K in April with my friend Kathy (LOTUSFLOWER), then I'm thinking about doing the Ravenswood 5K with my friend Stephanie (SLFRISBEY), and I'm definitely doing the Hot Chocolate race again this year - maybe aiming for the 15K this time...eek! To top off all of this running, I am so excited for my trip to the land of the running record holders the world over - Kenya! My African Safari trip will be in September, and it's not lost on me that the top elite runners in the whole world come from Kenya and Ethiopia - two of the destinations in our travel plans. Unless I'm running from a lion, I'm not sure how much training I'll get in over there, but I'm thinking it's almost going to be like seeing the Holy Grail to run on Kenyan soil. Wow.
So there you have it - my year of ONES. Not so unlike a year of Firsts, I think this will absolutely be a year for the memory bank - achieving goals, making new friends and cherishing old ones, seeing places I've never been, and living life every day to the absolute maximum.
Happy New Year Everyone! Let's do this 2011 Style!!!
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I just ate half a cake.
OK - I'm lying. I just ate three quarters of a cake.
This is not me falling off the wagon. This is me sitting in the wagon...with my cake.
I denied myself the cookies all day long. I'm trying like mad to get back on a proper eating schedule without all the sweets and treats. But going from 3000+ calories a day over Christmas to 1800 is just proving to be SO DAMN DIFFICULT!
Problem #1 - I still don't have ANY groceries in my fridge. I cleaned out everything before I left for Germany and then didn't restock when I came back because I was only home for a week before going to Ontario for Christmas. And now I've only been home for a day and haven't yet had a chance to shop, so all meals have been out, which means they're high calories and high sodium. Yuck.
Problem #2 - My office mate gave me a birthday cake and Christmas cookies yesterday. AH MAN! I thought coming back home would rid my life of those things for another year. Not so much. Combine this with Problem #1 and you have the only really edible item in my house being a whole chocolate cake and a batch of cookies. Lord have mercy!
Problem #3 - I stayed at work late unexpectedly tonight which was NOT good for trying to get back on an eating schedule. I was SO hungry by the time I got home that I PLOWED through dinner...and then the cake started staring me down...
I was disappointed to discover that even though I chose a healthy salad and falafel in a pita for dinner, it still put me over my 1800 daily calories. I thought for sure that I'd still have a little room for a post-dinner treat. And for whatever reason that tiny thought of possible sweet treat deprivation triggered the "Well, you've blown it already - you may as well eat cake" voice in my head.
So I ate cake. I almost ate the WHOLE cake. But I stopped. Because IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START AGAIN!
I may have blown the budget today for sure. But I put down the fork, I brewed a cup of tea, and now I am back on track. Right now. Not tomorrow, not in the morning, RIGHT NOW. In fact, when I was done with the cake, that silly voice in my head - you know - the one that said "Well, you've blown it already - you may as well eat cake"? That voice came back again and said "Well, you ate the cake...you may as well have the cookies too". But I put my foot down. No - I'm NOT eating the cookies right now. Why? Because IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START AGAIN. And I'm starting right now. Which means the cookies will not own me, they will not beat me, and they will not be eaten. I'm taking them to work tomorrow and leaving them for the staff. HA! Take THAT cookies! And the quarter cake that is left? It's in the garbage. With the cat litter. I have come too far and worked too hard to be run down by some sugar, flour and cheap chocolate frosting.
For the record, the colleague who gave me this crap is a food pusher. She's also the one who just lost a pile of weight herself and I honestly think that she's starting to feel a little threatened by my success - it puts her out of the spotlight that she's been enjoying for some time now since people aren't commenting on her appearance so much anymore, but have certainly been commenting on mine. So beware acts of kindness wrapped in foil! She takes every chance she can get to feed me, and now I'm sitting up and taking notice.
But back to the message of the evening, and one that I really feel is SO important for everyone coming back from those high-calorie holidays and for all those who will join this site come January 1st - IT'S NEVER TOO LATE TO START AGAIN. We all have bad days. We all have days where we just need to sit in the wagon and eat cake. But you don't have to eat the whole thing just because you took one bite. The choice is yours to start again at any point. No matter how big the snowball, all snow melts eventually with a little sunlight. So no matter how far off the path you've gotten over the holidays, with a little hard work, you can find the trail again. And all your Sparkfriends will be standing here waiting for your return.
This is me picking myself up, dusting myself off and plodding along into the New Year. More on track than I have ever been.
See ya cake!
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