Thursday, January 20, 2011
I've been having a lot of problems lately with obligations. You see, there are two different kinds of obligations - those that you agree to (dinner with a friend, showing up at work every day, scheduling a morning run or an evening zumba class, general housework, etc.) and those that you don't (a work project that is forced on you, drop in company on a Saturday afternoon, having to pay for an expensive car repair, you get the picture...).
While I tend to pack my life very full of obligations that I agree to, it has come to my attention in the past couple of months that there is a big imbalance in my life between welcome obligations and unwelcome ones, or things that people just expect of me without asking my permission about them. And that is NOT cool.
This imbalance is throwing me off my game. That big, fat "I Don't Wanna" hat that I've been sporting for the past couple of weeks is due to this imbalance. Since we tend to lump ALL obligations into the same category and since I am harbouring hatred in my life for all of the people and situations that have been put on me since I got back from Germany, I have confused my desirable obligations with the things at which I am truly angry. And this is helping no one. I don't want to run in the mornings because my boss expects me to finish a huge project by the end of January that is not in my job description. I don't want to leave my house to spend time with my friends because my staff called and woke me up early on Sunday morning (during my personal time) with an issue that needed to be fixed immediately. These two things have NOTHING to do with each other, but in my mind, they are all things that I HAVE to do, and because I am angry about one of them, I have therefore become angry about all of it. And when I'm angry I cover up the emotion with one of three things: food, sex or shopping - the Band-Aid vices to which I cling when I don't really want to feel what I'm really feeling.
I'll be honest - most of this has to do with some issues at work right now. But so much of my personal life overlaps with my work life that it is impossible for me to separate the two into two different issues. My "ME Project" is a full time job in and of itself. This journey for me is much deeper than what is spelled out here on Spark; in my blogs, on my page or on the message boards. In order to revamp my life, lose weight and become an overall healthier person inside and out, I am devoting a ton of time and attention to ME - my behavious, my interactions with people, my food, my exercise, my reactions to situations - I'm working on all of this all of the time, and so a lot of what I accomplish with regards to my "ME Project" just happens to be while I'm otherwise on the clock at work. Thankfully I have the perfect job to be able to devote time to both it and myself in a day. I love that. What I don't love is when work throws me a curve ball that opens up something new in my "ME Project" that I didn't know existed before but that becomes a huge issue in both worlds until it is addressed. If left unaddressed I start to resent my day job AND reach for the fast-food/sex/retail therapy fix - because two negatives make a positive right? Right? Not so much.
My other issue with unwanted obligations is that I tend to have a bit of a Wonder Woman complex. When something is broken, I have to fix it. It makes me feel important. But that can also backfire when the thing that you have to do doesn't have a sure-fire positive outcome. Superheroes aren't supposed to fail. And I'm not sure this time around that I will succeed. Big, stupid, Kryptonite curve ball.
The first step in figuring out this curve ball was in defining what in my life is a welcome obligation and what is not. I could point to the things that I wanted to do, and I could point just as easily to the things that I didn't want to do (which until today was pretty much everything). But it took some work to dig deep enough to find the true culprit of my anger which was causing this ripple effect of negativity through everything that I have on the schedule. Knowing what I'm really angry about is one thing, fixing it is quite another. It's going to involve work. But being able to understand the cause and effect in this case of my reasons for rejecting all of the good things that I've been putting into my life lately is a relief. Now comes the hard part of learning to accept and love and DO those healthy things again, whilst still being angry about this work situation and not letting one affect the other.
This is a pretty big step for me. This is the point at which I would have quit before. This is the place in the past where things would get too hard, too personal, too unmanageable and I would give up. Give in to the vices and throw my hands in the air. But not this time. I can see my anger this time and I'm not going to let it get the best of me. Yes, I am still obligated to do the thing I don't want to do. But there are ways around it and people who can help and I do not have to hold myself 100% accountable for the success or failure of this project. I am laying down the Wonder Woman cape. I do not have to save the day this time. I will do the best that I can with what I am being given and if I do fail I'll figure it out then.
In the mean time, my running schedule, healthy food prep and personal life shouldn't suffer. Wonder Woman needs to rock her Spandex suit!
*Pic courtesy of www.robertocampus.com
Monday, January 17, 2011
So I walked home tonight. Remind me not to do that again after a bout of freezing rain. In a 45 minute walk home I slipped and caught myself more times than I can count (throwing my back in about 100 different directions - and after I JUST had an adjustment on Friday) after actually falling once right outside the doors of my office. Whoops. I landed hard on my right knee, straining my right groin muscle on the way down, but oddly enough, though I can feel the bruise on that knee as I write this, it's my left knee that hurts. I must have twisted it trying to hold myself up as my body wrenched in the other direction. My physical pain will heal, my pride - maybe not so much. I HATE falling in public. Urgh. And I did it right in the middle of a busy street in front of a ton of cars and people. Oh well.
I think my decision to continue to walk home after that was pig headed at best. I was pissed and so I was going to beat that damn ice. Every time I slipped, I picked up and just kept going. At one point I started laughing out loud (after shouting profanities of course). People must have thought I was a crazy person. Haha.
Anyway - I'm recuperating now at home, listening to the rain continue to fall outside. I'm disappointed. This likely means I won't be able to run tomorrow morning unless it warms up a bit and melts the ice. Freezing rain of this kind that coats everything isn't something that even my YakTrax can handle.
But maybe, if I can't run tomorrow morning, I'll bring them with me to work and try that walk home again tomorrow night. And this time I'll stay on two feet!
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!!!
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