Wednesday, October 12, 2011
When I eat a HUGE double chocolate brownie 2-4 hours before heading out for a run, I can knock out 9 miles like my arse is on fire. In fact - that's exactly what I did yesterday. I stayed within my calorie range for everything else I ate during the day and then proceeded to consume almost every calorie I was going to burn in ooey-gooey chocolatey goodness.
This is the problem with training. This is also the reason the scale hasn't moved in weeks. I know it, the scale knows it - but here and now is when I let you in on my dirty little secret. I'm allowing myself to over-fuel because it feels like as long as I'm not gaining, I'm getting away with it. But it has to stop!
I know I haven't been around for a while. Life has been happening, but my plateau has brought about an avoidance of blogging (though I still read yours and creep all your Spark pages frequently!) I'm definitely one of those people that feels as though if I have nothing positive to say or no life lesson to impart, then there's no point running my mouth about the lack of success I've been having lately. But the "No Boring Blogs" rule has perhaps allowed me a little too much slack and freedom and maybe I just need to buck up and get accountable again - or if not that, just vent a little about the frustrations I'm feeling over being hungry all the time and being able to do little about it...but eat.
So back to the chocolate brownie. It seriously is THE BEST fuel I have found for my long runs. And so how can I deny myself that little piece of decadence before setting out to tackle impossible distance after impossible distance? Tell me a year ago that today I'd be a person who could run 9+ miles and I'd slap you silly. But it's true. I can do it. And if eating the brownie before hand gives me the positive brain power and bodily energy (aka sugar rush) to believe that I can do it, then so be it.
But it's not helping the scale. And neither is pigging out the day AFTER the long run because my body is still burning at an elevated rate and I'm hungry like hippo for the majority of the day. And neither is skipping my swim night because I just don't have it in me only to come home and eat MORE food (which I just made myself track every single stinkin' ounce of).
This week is particularly bad. Because I just celebrated Thanksgiving over the weekend I have a fridge full of delicious leftovers - which for the most part are healthy - turkey, squash, cauliflower, potatoes. But with the healthy leftovers also comes the cakes, cookies and pies that I NEVER have in my house. I wake up in the morning and walk directly to the chocolate cupcakes and eat two before I can even wipe the sleep out of my eyes. That is INSANE. But that's what I've been doing. Thankfully, I consumed the last of the chocolate this morning. One less thing to worry about. But the pies are still there. I even tried to get rid of most of it at a work meeting on Monday. Still came home with over half of it left. I could throw it out. I could. Why can't I just throw it out?
So I'm struggling. Big time. But the good news is that I'm running my butt off and my training is progressing nicely. I can already run a 15K and my race isn't for another 3 weeks, so I'm going to keep training for a half marathon distance until there's snow on the ground. So at least there's that. I'm not just eating. There is major calorie burn happening as well - but only enough to take care of the extra 'narf sessions shoving pastries in my pie hole as I'm leaning over the sink. Sexy. It happens to the best of us I suppose.
I'm not one to throw excuses at bad behaviour (who am I joking, of course I am) but I did just go back on the pill and my hormones are likely messed up and causing some of this crazy hunger/eating. And there's the running. And then there's just life which someone makes me want to binge every day just for living it. Things are ok - but they're JUST ok, and I'm only capable of making change happen as fast as it will happen...which right now is really darn slow.
I really shouldn't have skipped my swim tonight. But at least I'm here writing again in lieu of the exercise. And I'll do something active tomorrow on my regular day off to make up for it.
My mantra has always been "As long as you're doing everything right, the weight will come off." I just need to get back to doing everything right again.
I might still keep the chocolate brownie fuel for my long-run days, but that leaves six other days of the week to make up the difference. I need to kick the sugar to the curb, refresh my system with whole foods and tons of fruits and veggies, and start fueling my body the way I should be and the way that I KNOW feels better than what I'm doing now. No more being tired all the time, no more sugar highs and sugar lows, no more being lazy about getting the proper nutrients to make sure that I'm NOT hungry all the time. My body has been running on economy grade long enough. Time to give it the high test and then let it perform to the max.
It's time to feel better (cause I'm tired of feeling crappy) and it's up to me to make that happen. Time to taste the difference between just "food" and real, solid, delicious, and good-for-you FUEL.
Tuesday, September 27, 2011
Well - I did it. I officially launched the first phase of a new idea that I've been working on for a few months now. Here it is. Tell me what you think! And if you're interested and live in the Chicago area, PLEASE sign up!
SWAP/MEET! New Clothes. New Friends. So Much Fun!
Do you like socializing with new people? Are you in need of some smaller sizes? Tight on budget? Looking for a new exercise buddy? Just want to come hang out with some like-minded and goal-oriented people?
Welcome to SWAP/MEET! A monthly meet-up for Chicago area ladies (gentlemen, hang tight - I'm working on expanding this idea to include everyone very soon!) to exchange plus sized clothes, books, recipes, exercise, stories and friendship.
The goal of this program is to organize Swap/Meet parties for 8-10 ladies every month who want to meet new people, are in need of new plus-sized clothing, have inspirational stories to share or are just in need of a little kick in the butt to get moving again. No topic is off the table - these parties are catered to YOU!
Here's how it works:
- Ladies bring 5 gently used articles of clothing or accessories and a $5 administration fee to each Swap/Meet.
- After a short introduction of our party guests, and while enjoying some light snacks and beverages provided by the meet coordinator, the "shopping party" begins. Ladies will "shop" from the clothing and accessories racks, try on new sizes, dish about belts, hand bags and earrings, give each other honest opinions about what's hot and what's not, and pick out up to 5 items to take home!
- When the shopping has concluded, the socializing begins! Ladies will have an opportunity to meet other Swap/Meet members, talk about books, recipes, movies, exercise, significant others - whatever suits the group's fancy. Discussions and ideas will be gathered and moderated by the group coordinator to keep the conversation fun and flowing. Ladies should feel free to network, exchange contact information and start planning your next get-together with your new friends!
- Though the Swap/Meet will have a specific start & finish time, there's no telling when the party ends! New friends are encouraged to leave for a group walk, head out to a movie or maybe hit up some more stores for a full day of shopping. The coordinator will be available to help with suggestions or to assist in making acquaintances.
The Small Print:
- Not everyone who attends the party is guaranteed to take home 5 pieces of clothing or accessories. Every attempt will be made to provide an assortment of sizes and styles for the ladies attending the party, but due to inventory, personal taste and the difficulty with determining the exactness of women's clothing sizes, ladies should be prepared for the possibility of not finding anything to their liking or their personal fit preference.
- The $5 administration fee covers the cost of food and beverage as well as any rental fee involved in securing a space for the Swap/Meet. The $5 fee is required of everyone, regardless of whether or not you take home clothing or accessories.
- The 5 articles of clothing or accessories brought to the Swap/Meet by each member may or may not be part of the items available for the shopping party. Articles are inspected for damage, cleaned and added to the larger Swap/Meet inventory before appearing for "purchase" at an event.
- While the goal of Swap/Meet is to assist people in finding new clothing in differing sizes, the overall objective of Swap/Meet is the social aspect of meeting new people and making new friends. Members are asked to come prepared to socialize and have fun - the clothing is an added bonus.
- This is NOT a Spark-Only program. Please feel free to forward this information to ANYONE who might be interested in this program. Swap/Meets will not be limited to once monthly if there is enough interest to generate more meets. Think of it like a dating site for new clothes! The best efforts will be made to match people, clothing styles, lifestyles and needs by the coordinator. Anything can happen!
- Since this is a BRAND NEW program, please allow time for set-up and potential start-up hiccups. Thanks!
Ready to SWAP/MEET?
Interested ladies, please email Jenn Kincaid (your Swap/Meet Coordinator) at email@example.com with the following information:
- car/public transportation
- marital status
- food allergies
- desired clothing size (be sure to indicate tall or petite if applicable)
- desired clothing style (business attire, casual, fitness, outerwear)
- description (size, style) of 5 articles for donation
- any other information Swap/Meet needs to know
Please allow time to receive adequate interest in these events and the organization of the first Swap/Meet. The goal is to schedule the first event in October or November. I'm sincerely looking forward to meeting all of you! Let's get this party started!
Questions? Please email Jenn Kincaid at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday, September 24, 2011
I finally finished editing my Kenya photos. These are mine only and not the compilation album yet of my brother and cousins as well. Hoping to narrow down all our pics together into one MASTER ALBUM of the trip - so stay tuned for more!
For those of you receiving error messages, I checked it out - Spark is adding an extra http// into the address in some cases so if it's not working, copy and paste the link directly into your browser. That should do it!
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
It hasn't been easy - getting "back on the wagon" after vacation. And in the middle of a plateau, no less. But if anything is going to jar me out of this feeling of being stuck, it's up to me to figure out what that is and DO IT.
Despite having a couple of bad food weekends, and the ever present siren-song of the pumpkin scones that call me ALL DAY from the Starbuck's down the street, I have managed some really good and positive behaviours over the past couple of weeks that I think deserve some attention as well.
When things are crappy and my food intake is a little out of control, one thing that I can ALWAYS manage to do is drink my 8 glasses (or more) of water a day. It's a relatively easy and small task to complete - especially since it involves more consumption and not less - and it makes a huge difference in satiety levels and overall heath and well-being. Even if it means chugging 4 glasses of water right before bed, knowing that I'll be up at 2am trodding to the bathroom, I do it. Because I can. And all the little things that I CAN do add up.
Last week sucked for exercise. Despite my best efforts to resume my schedule of running and swimming and zumba, I ended up skipping 2 running days, only swam for 30 minutes out of an hour and then missed my long-run Sunday because of an impromptu trip to Iowa. And I realize that most of my reason for shorting myself on exercise had to do with spending time with my boy. NEED to get that in check. Because ultimately, spending time with him is detracting from spending time on me. And one of my reasons for wanting to spend so much time on me is maintaining a hot bod for him. So I'm not helping either of us by skipping out on my runs. Not to mention that I'm SUPPOSED to be training right now for my 15K in November. So yeah - I had a bad week, but it only made me miss it that much more. Which is an exciting revelation when I really think about it. Even though Mondays are typically an off-day for me for exercise, because I didn't get my run in on Sunday I KNEW I had to go home from work and run - not just because I needed to get a training run in, but because I felt the urge to get out there and pound the pavement. I raced home and threw on my running clothes before I could think twice about it. Even though I was in my usual state of work daze and exhaustion from the day, which usually lands me on the couch with dinner and the new Fall TV lineup, I headed out into the already crisp, cool night just as it was getting dark, and I RAN. And I felt like I was flying. So I opted to do an extra lap around the park. Because I could. 6.5 miles later I was literally grinning I was so happy with myself - and I felt SO good. 4 miles last week was HARD. And I had just knocked out an additional 2.5 miles after a week of nothing. So what has this taught me? Not only that my body is AMAZING, but never, ever to doubt my abilities. I can do whatever I put my mind to - and when I really, truly want it, I work that much harder for it. So if I'm having a bad week, I just have to remember to WANT it, and to hang on to that Spark. It's a small thing that I CAN do - but it makes a huge difference in my spirit and hopefully (eventually) the outcome on the scale.
Food has been a problem since my return. 3 weeks away had ballooned my stomach again and I got used to eating a lot more, whenever I wanted and indulging in sweet treats because "I was on vacation". Even when you adopt the 80/20 rule for healthy eating when you're away, that 20% becomes a bit of a bear to tackle when it's time to get back to 100% effort. And to be honest, while I was away, it was more like 50/50. But one thing that I have going for me is that I DO love food. And that makes it easy for me at home because I want to get back to trying new things, cooking, tasting, and enjoying all of it. I know from experience that when I am unprepared, I don't eat very well. So I went out last week and got good food. I bought a ton of fruit, and healthy pasta and chicken sausages. Veggies for my lunches, and a whole case of yogurt. Last night I made the most delicious 5 Cheese Tortelloni & Chicken Sausage with a homemade tomato & pesto sauce (recipe is posted in Spark Recipes if you're interested). It was the most delicious thing EVER after my long run, and it made a full 6 servings, so I'm set for lunches for the rest of the week. Tonight I'm looking forward to going home and spending some time in the kitchen baking some herb & cheddar biscuits and a sweet treat of some cheesecake (Nikhil's favorite). It may sound indulgent, but I know that if I make it, I can make it healthier than buying it - and perhaps it will help to quell some of the treat cravings that I've had for far "calorically-pricier" items this past week. This is something that I can do. I don't always have the time available to me to cook every night - but by prepping things when I DO have a night off, sets me up for healthier choices for the rest of the week and gives me more options. It's a small thing that I CAN do, but it's a huge step in the right direction - and darn if it doesn't taste GREAT!
Regardless of what the scale says on Friday morning - I'm finding my way back and fighting hard to keep moving forward. All of the things I CAN do add up. And look at where I am! The number of things that I CAN do now that I couldn't do before is astounding. I'm looking forward to adding more CAN DOs to the list soon. Including running a 15K, losing another 10 pounds, fitting into a size medium and then small.
The thing is - I already know that I CAN do all of these things. It's only a matter of time until I prove it!
Tuesday, September 13, 2011
So it was only a matter of time, right? Vacation euphoria has passed and left in its wake a serious time-off hangover, the all-too-familiar "I don't get another vacation for at least a year" depression and capital B, BOREDOM.
Sure, I have a ton of stuff to do. Everyone is bugging me for my photos, I have life (and laundry) to catch up on that I've been putting off for 3 weeks, I need to get back into my exercise routine, grocery shopping, healthy cooking...but I've been hit by a serious case of the "I Don-Wannas". I think that was even my issue with writing my blog yesterday - for some reason just looking at the pictures of my fabulous trip makes me sad. And don't even get me started on work...
I know I need a game plan to get over this feeling and back in the game. So I've been thinking about what I need to do this week to jump start Fall in the right direction. I'm still sitting at this miserable plateau. I was ecstatic to see that I hadn't gained a pound upon coming back from 3 weeks away, but now I'm beginning to realize that it's most likely because the scale just isn't moving in EITHER direction. And my goal is to be down another 25 pounds by Christmas. This is going to be tricky!
I received a wonderfully sweet reception from my honey when I got home. He missed me as much as I missed him, so we've just had a lovely weekend catching up and celebrating being together again (by eating and drinking way too much).
I'm STUCK. And it sucks. Life for the past few days has felt painfully slow. All I want to do at work is eat because I'm so bored. Most people would rejoice at the fact that it only took a day and a half to catch up on 3 weeks of missed work, but for me, that's almost torture. We're gearing up to our busiest season and I'm not at all excited about it. In fact, I want out more than ever. Come to think of it, I'm not exactly excited about anything. Boo!
I am excited about my boy, but I can lose precious hours being wrapped up in him. I don't get anything done when we're together and since I derive most of my own personal pleasure from my own accomplishments, vacation aside, I haven't had many of those lately. I need my Spark back!
So here's what I'm thinking to get me back on my feet. Here's hoping it makes me feel a little bit better about the state of current affairs in my life:
1. Resume my activity schedule asap. I'm training for a 15K in November, so running NEEDS to happen and not just on weekends. 1-2 runs during the week in the mornings or evenings and a long run on Sundays. Zumba on Saturday mornings. Swimming on Wednesday nights. Monday and Friday can still be reserved for light activity or days off. As much as I would like to continue biking to work - my schedule is packed, so unless I can conceivably run and bike, or swim and bike on the same day, I might have to be ok with taking the bus to work again.
2. Weekends off food tracking. Since Nikhil and I spend most of our time together on weekends, it's been very difficult to track food when he cooks or when we go out. I can't give up my time with him so I can count everything like a mad woman. Something's gotta give. So I'm going to TRY weekends off counting and see what happens. It terrifies me to leave the tracker behind for even a day. But I proved on vacation that I can be responsible (even though I don't really think I was and I think my weight results had more to do with extra walking/being sick/carrying a heavy pack/plateau than they did with me being careful about what went in my mouth) so I'm going to use the same rules for the weekends. Drinks are going to happen. Food is going to be more plentiful. But as long as I'm really good Mon-Fri, I should be allowed a tracker-free weekend as long as I'm exercising both days to compensate. We'll see.
3. Bust out the crockpot! The season is upon us. No reason I can't have healthy meals at home that take approximately 10 minutes to make and provide healthy lunches for the whole week. Don't slack on grocery shopping. I need to get and keep the ingredients I need on hand and make time to prep and cook on a regular basis.
4. Retain vital "me-time". Just because he's available to get together, doesn't mean I am. I need to figure out just how much time I need for me and stick to it. And not feel guilty about it.
I think this last one is still the most important one for me. Having a boyfriend has been a great thing. But it's something I wasn't exactly planning on or factoring into "the plan" and as such has thrown me for a bit of a loop in my personal scheduling. It's not easy going from having every second that you're not at work or with friends to yourself, to all of a sudden scheduling around another person and trying to make things work for two people instead of just one. It's been an eye-opener for me, learning just how selfish I have made this journey for myself and realizing how difficult it has become for me by adding another person to the mix. No one was supposed to love me until I was a size 6! Haha! I didn't plan on finding someone so wonderful until I hit goal. The fact that I have found a partner but still have a lot of work to do is a bit more complicated than I expected it would be - but this is life. And I need to be prepared to live it no matter where I am on this road. But I will say - I can't believe that I'm HAPPY about Nikhil having double classes this semester for his MBA since I know that it's going to cut into our time together - however, I feel more like it's a blessing in disguise and I'm looking forward to having that extra time to myself. And I know deep down, that doesn't make me a bad person, it just makes me a healthy person.
The more weight I lose, the more space I take up. My ME is getting to be quite a large person. But I like her. She's broad, and bold and requires a lot of time and attention, but she is beautiful and talented and deserves every second that I am able to give her. The larger she becomes, the more respect she demands from other people as well. And frankly, it's about time.
And right now, that big, beautiful ME that I've created is bored. But that can only mean wonderful things for my future, because when she's bored, she dreams up fantastic things to do. It's only a matter of time, but I will settle on something great. It isn't the best feeling right now, but I think I'm still headed in the right direction. So...back to those personal accomplishments. Back to my Spark. And lunch. Because right now, I am ACTUALLY hungry, not just bored.
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