Friday, August 06, 2010
I woke up early this morning to do W1D2 of C25K. To be honest - it SUCKED. The only thing that keeps me doing this running thing right now is that when I'm not running, I think/feel like I want to run. But while I'm doing it - WHOLE other story. First of all - waking up earlier than 9am just isn't my thing. I'm a night owl, and I'm blessed to have a job that doesn't usually require my presence earlier than 10am (I've been pushing it to 11am lately because I tend to stay until 7pm or later most nights anyway). When I DO wake up early, I'm a grump. I get a big case of the "I don't wannas" that can carry forward into my day. So getting up this morning to RUN, no less, was tasking in and of itself. I also had no idea what to eat. I didn't want to eat anything heavy before running, but I knew I had to have something in my gut so as not to pass out half way through, so I gulped a glass of almond milk and threw myself out the door before I could change my mind.
Now I've been reading enough about running and lurking around the group pages long enough to have picked up on some of the "running dialect", but what didn't help this morning was that for whatever reason I got the word "Bonk" stuck in my head. At about sprint #6 of 8 all I could think was "Bonk, Bonk, Bonk". I know what bonking means - I wasn't bonking, the almond milk was doing its thing. This was just my brain's lovely way of telling me that I wanted to stop. But I didn't really want to stop. I didn't really HAVE to stop. I knew I could do it. So although part of my brain was yelling "BONK" through Robert's C25K Podcast, a smaller, more meaningful part of my brain was also yelling "Push", "You can do this", "Look how far you've come!" It was a noisy morning in my head.
After a shower, some real food, and pulling on my "skinny" jeans with ease (my 22s fit beautifully now, but are actually even starting to gape at the waist already), I found myself sitting on the bus on my way to work, the Glee soundtrack playing through my Ear Candy headphones - and I started to cry. Before, when I would get public rushes of emotion, I would choke them down, wall them up and bottle away whatever feeling was coming to the surface. But this morning, I just threw on my sunglasses and let the tears roll. I was happy. These were not tears of frustration, or loneliness, or need. These were real, honest tears of joy and personal satisfaction. Yes getting up at the butt crack of dawn is horrid. But look at what I did. Look at what I'm accomplishing. And look at how it's making me feel. (I did say previously that my version of exercise euphoria is cracked out - sometimes I giggle like a teenage girl - apparently this morning I felt the need to cry - random, but I dig it).
Since investing a lot of time and energy in personal counseling, I am careful to not choke down emotion anymore. When a feeling bubbles to the surface, it's important to recognize it, understand it, and let it have its moment - it's there for a reason, and it's like a gift from your subconscious to your conscious state with a card that reads "I'm here too". I have spent too many years fighting back tears (happy and sad) and walling up my feelings for fear of embarrassment or being singled out - and ironically enough, those years have brought me nothing but a fat exterior that both embarrasses me and singles me out on a daily basis. To think that all I ever had to do was FEEL to not eat instead of eating to try to feel something. I had it all backwards.
So I had a breakthrough on the bus. I'll take it. It means I'm healing. I'm getting better at this. I'm moving forward. And deep down there, somewhere in the sludge, the feeling bubbles are slowly coming to the surface.
Tuesday, August 03, 2010
Monday nights are my walk-home night. I get in my 2.5 miles before I succumb to the power of The Bachelorette on t.v.
Yesterday I was already having trouble with the whole idea of walking home. I was tired and I really didn't want to miss a second of the highly anticipated (by me) season finale. As I attempted to sneak out of the house without my running shoes in tow, the scientist says to me "Aren't you walking home tonight?"..."Yes" I say tentatively. He looks at my feet in my cute little gladiator sandals... "In those shoes?" Drat. Foiled. I grabbed my runners and a pair of socks, shoved them in my bag and went about my way.
Even though I realized by the time I got to the bus that I had also forgotten my iPod at home, by the time I got to the end of the day I had convinced myself that walking home would be the best thing for me anyway. It wasn't going to be that bad - I could hoof it and still make it there in time to watch Ali choose between her two dream guys. Decision made - I was walking home.
In roll the ominous looking storm clouds. Seriously? I had just finished convincing myself that I was going to get my exercise in and I was actually liking the idea for the first time all day. Did I mention they were ominous? I didn't have an umbrella, so disappointed, I opted not to risk a severe drenching and hopped on the bus home.
30 minutes later - no rain. In fact, by the time I got home, the skies seemed to have cleared. The sun wasn't exactly shining, but you couldn't call the few drops I felt on my head a "severe summer storm" - thanks a lot local weatherman. I could have walked and I would have made it home unscathed! But now it was 5 minutes to show time and there was no time left to exercise.
I felt guilty. I had to do something. I just started the "1000 Fitness Minutes in August Challenge" and so far I was doing poorly. Well...then I was just going to have to do something after watching t.v. But what? It was going to be 10pm by the time the show was over (with the special 'After The Final Rose' segment as well). It would be dark and I didn't want to be out in my neighbourhood after dark alone. Walking for only 30 minutes would be fine, but that's not much of a burn for the day.
I finally decided on the best and fastest option - W1D1 of C25K training. Despite my fear of starting the program, it seemed like the easiest choice and at that point in time I was out of other cardio options. I already had the program downloaded onto my iPod. It was something that I could do relatively quickly and still feel like I'd gotten a good workout in. And I could rope the scientist into going along with me so I wouldn't be alone! Perfect. I was doing it! I threw on my sports bra and workout pants and laced up my runners.
And then I did it! I officially started the Couch to 5K Running Program! No turning back now. And it wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. Granted I was sucking air like nobody's business by the time round 8 of 60-second runs came around, but I made it through. And my exercise euphoria afterward was ridiculous. The scientist thinks it's funny. He says it's like I'm high - literally. I get very giggly and think pretty much everything is HILARIOUS. Not a bad way to end the day :)
This is me becoming a runner. All because of a little rain. Or lack thereof!
Monday, August 02, 2010
Um, I do! :)
I was out for breakfast a few weeks ago with a friend of mine. She's about 30 years my senior, but also a big girl, and we have a fun camaraderie together. She's totally kooky like me and we seem to really get each other. I showed up for breakfast in one of my favorite summer shirts - a black and white, cap sleeve, printed v-neck. I was feeling particularly pretty that day. The sun was shining, I looked great, and I had the use of the car (which always makes for a good day). I was feeling very "Carrie" in my own City - all 280+ pounds of me.
"How cute are you?" she exclaimed as I walked to the table. "You look GORGEOUS!!!" and then "You're just so brave to show your arms like that...I could never do that".
I shrugged. I have always shown my arms. And legs. I stop at the belly because I won't go around wearing a midriff-bearing top with my multitude of rolls, but the rest of me is pretty fair game within reason. I buy nice, good clothing that FITS, and otherwise I have always felt that as long as I feel good in something, there's no reason to be ashamed. I'm a big girl. I have been for the majority of my life. I don't feel like covering up my fat and floppy arms with a t-shirt or long sleeved top on a HOT day in the middle of the summer is hiding much. The sweat from being too hot in my "too many layers for the weather" clothing would eventually give me away anyway!
I guess you can see it in one of two ways. Either I have continually showed my skin because I've been in denial for so long about how big I really am, or that it doesn't matter how big I am, I'm confident with the woman I put out in the world. Both are true, and depending on how I feel in front of the mirror every morning, I honestly do lean toward either one or the other.
A couple of years ago I was getting ready for a pretty big interview at work. My boss at the time had set up the interview (my position with her company was ending and she was trying to help me secure a new title with the new company) - but she was also one of those women who couldn't keep her opinions to herself and felt it necessary to make occasional comments about my chunky appearance. I was wearing my favorite red tank (the one I just took the photo in the other day) and was feeling very confident in myself and my abilities as a future employee of my now, current company. She gave me a look from head to toe and said quite emphatically "I hope you brought a jacket to wear over that." Now, I HAD brought a jacket (the voices of my mother and grandmother in my head wouldn't let me out of the house without one that day) - but what business it was of hers to question my fashion sense I have no idea. Yes, my arms were large (larger then than they are now for sure), but I was in enough denial about how my fat arms might look to a future employer and confident enough in my own ability to wow my future boss by my credentials alone that I left that conversation bruised. Why couldn't I get a job because of my weight? What did my being BIG have to do with my abilities as an employee? I had never let my weight get in the way of any of my job tasks with her in the past, so why should she care so much? Wasn't she the same woman who had marveled at my ability to run up and down a ladder to the roof to check out a problem with the HVAC just a few weeks ago? (Yes, she made a comment about that too from the bottom of the ladder - I may be big, but I've always been relatively fit). I was angry. Though other bosses had danced around the "issue" before, she was the first of my employers to actually ever call me out on my physical appearance. And it wasn't until that very moment that I realized that it actually COULD matter when it came to getting a new job.
Well - I nailed the interview, got the job, and sanctioned a 20% raise. But that didn't stop me from the realization that were it a different type of person interviewing me that day, were it the type of person that she was, my fat arms may have lost me that job.
I still feel the sting of her words when I catch a glimpse of my visible fat in a store window or hallway mirror. I still have a momentary flash of terror whenever I suit up at the pool and have to stand there with my saddle bags hanging out of my one piece with the gaggle of skinny girls waiting for the lifeguards to unlock the doors to the pool deck. But once I'm gliding through that water, once I'm breathing in rhythm with my fat-arm strokes, the fear goes away. And not ONE of those girls would dare make comment on my rolls when I show them who's boss in the water. I don't mess around during my swims and I think I have surprised more people than I have offended with my cellulite. And the same goes for my job. I'm smart. I'm capable. And I don't let the fat hold me back.
Today I'm sitting at my desk in an adorable blue halter top (the turquoise colour of the water in my background image to be exact) and short shorts. And I feel great. I wouldn't wear this outfit to an interview, but for a hot, summer day in Chicago, it's a perfectly acceptable outfit for a day at the office. (I DO love working in a casual atmosphere every day!)
At the end of the day - it's not about what you're wearing (as long as it's tasteful). It's about how much of the real YOU you allow people to see. I choose not to hide. I think it's disrespectful to the fabulous person I am inside. So what if my arms flap a little in the breeze, or if my thighs rub together - I'm growing more comfortable every day in my skin and that's something the whole world should see!
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Lord help me, I've become Domesticated.
The scientist has now moved in with me (for 3 weeks, until his flight leaves for Germany). I'm not sure how exactly I feel about the whole thing, but quite honestly I haven't had much time to think about it this weekend. Between grocery shopping (ok - not shopping exactly so much as delivery, but it did take me about an hour to select what we needed online), laundry and cooking up a storm, I have no idea what has happened to the Laissez-Faire Lady. She has been replaced by the Kitchen Nazi and now my feet hurt.
Yesterday I attended my regular Saturday morning Zumba class. It was hard. Our instructor (god love her) made up for an easier class last week by kicking our asses with non-stop Merengue beats. But my regular Saturday afternoon nap time was hijacked by the need to get the man out of his place and a table that I had claimed for myself back to my house. Since the table wouldn't fit in the car, I needed to carry it home on the bus. 2 hours later, I finally wrestled the thing into my basement for the time being and collapsed on my couch with the computer to order groceries. Dinner was put together with a bunch of leftovers to clean out the fridge and we called it a night.
When the groceries arrived this morning, I quickly realized that I was in a "my eyes were bigger than my stomach" situation since there was no way I was fitting everything I had ordered into my fridge/freezer. So I started cooking. More muffin tin quiches, mini meatloaves for lunches and a dinner of pork & lamb kebabs with rice and a salad. It's easy writing it all out in a sentence, but it took me ALL afternoon between loads of laundry (which, thankfully I was helped with by the scientist running up and down the stairs a few times for me). The worst part about cooking is of course the dishes. I think I dirtied almost every dish in my house...twice. I'll have dishpan hands for the next week, but my tummy will be happy! I actually had to do one load of dishes before I even started cooking just to clear the sink - all of the dinners I've sent home with the scientist over the past 2 years finally made it back to me in a sink FULL of tupperware that all just got returned...clean, but dusty enough that it was a better idea to wash it again. It came in handy though as it's all now full again and back in the fridge for the week. I keep telling him he's going to have to learn to cook for himself. He's learning. Slowly. He's going to get very tired of Bratwurst & pretzel bread!
Anyway - I think it's finally bed time for me. The laundry is folded and put away, the dishes are done, the living room is tidy, and I have clean sheets on the bed. Monday awaits.
Here's to entering August with a clean slate (literally). Best wishes to all for a fantastic month!
Thursday, July 29, 2010
Sometimes, no matter how hard we try or how much we plan, we have one of those days where things just don't go exactly the way we expected.
Take today for example. This morning, I gave half of my lunch to a homeless man. Little did he know, I'm sure, just how important my lunch was to me. I don't even have to go into my "interesting" relationship with food - the fact that I somehow equate the items in my lunches to small pieces of my soul - to know that giving up anything out of that bag hurt just a little bit. It also hurt my plans for my day - my lunch items all carefully counted out to ensure that I meet my daily nutrient requirements and calorie intake. But he clearly needed the food, as he took it from me and immediately rushed away to stuff his mouth with my Frigo Light String Cheese. Not exactly what I had planned for my day, but not to worry because I still know I'm on track for breakfast.
Every Thursday I get a ham, egg & cheese breakfast sandwich and fresh brewed iced tea from Starbucks. I have dreams about this sandwich. I can taste it the minute I roll out of bed with it's doughy, Brioche bun and sweet, salty ham and cheese. My friendly, neighbourhood Starbucks has been out of these little babies all week. Their regular morning order has been hijacked this week and none of the supervisors can figure out what's going on (I get the daily dish from them every morning). But today - TODAY, they were sure that their order was arriving as planned. Not the case. They were out of sandwiches. ALL sandwiches. I couldn't even switch up my order and get an egg and sausage muffin. I about cried at the counter...I hadn't eaten before I left home, so now I was forced to make a decision between going somewhere else (McDonald's is about the only other breakfast option in my neighbourhood) or ordering something else from that glass case of ooey, gooey, decadent, sugary DEATH to my daily nutrition tracker. I opted for a plain bagel (they didn't have any multigrain left) and cream cheese (regular, because they no longer carry light). Ugh. This day is for the dogs. Not enough protein this morning and an hour after my bagel, my stomach is rumbling for the half of the lunch that I have left.
Can I hold out hope that dinner might be fairly normal? Not a chance. I got a last minute "change of plans" email yesterday from the director of my new show. We're meeting the cast at the Art Institute tonight to spend some quality time with the painting on which our musical is based (we're doing 'Sunday In The Park With George' which is loosely based on the life of the painter Georges Seurat while he painted his pointillist masterpiece "A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte"). Afterward - drinks and dinner at some place downtown. Oh joy, oh bliss - an unexpected weekly expense for my pocketbook AND my meal plan. It's just not in the cards - today I am not going to win.
But I'm not giving up! I'm only one meal in to my day. I still have half a lunch. And the extra calories saved from my donation to the poor this morning will allow me a beverage with dinner if I so choose. I'll opt for whatever is healthy on the menu and all will not be lost. I can save this pimple of a day! It's just going to take a little cover-up action and no one will ever know. So it wasn't part of the plan, but this is just how I'm gonna have to roll. And I can dig that.
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