Tuesday, September 11, 2012
Day 11. What do you like most about your body? Has what you like most about your changed as you've progressed towards your goals?
I love how strong and flexible I am and I can NOT believe I run. I'm not surprised that I am strong but it's great that I *look* strong too :-) I've been flexible before but never in a way that makes my daily activities feel easy like this flexibility does. I think that's because as I got stronger my balance improved so I can take full advantage of my flexibility. Neat little package deal there. The biggest surprise for me is that I CAN run and actually ENJOY pushing myself that way. I still get to a point where I am questioning my sanity for running for no reason (no one is chasing me, I don't need to get anywhere.... mostly I run in place on a treadmill?!?!!) but mostly I enjoy it.... or I wouldn't keep doing it.
What I like about my body has NOT changed like I thought it would. I set out thinking how much I would love to be skinny again. Tiny waist, no rolls, no double chin, cheekbones. Before those things came about I started to get muscular and I loved it. I love my shoulders, my calves, my back. And I thought eventually I'd take more pride in being thin/skinny but, um, nope. I love being strong more than being skinny!
And my running update:
Running for 2012:
90.25 miles + 5.25 miles = 95.5 miles
12 days until my next 5K.
I didn't have any shin pain or achiles pain or a stitch in my side AT ALL today. In fact, I didn't even start wondering why the hell I was torturing myself by running until I was 4.5 miles in :-) When do I get to stop saying 'I just started running' and just say 'I'm a runner."?
Monday, September 10, 2012
Day 10: Why are you working towards the goal you talked about on Day 1? Particular health goal? Size goal? Activity goal? Vanity goal?
OVERALL GOAL: Maintenance :-) My goal weight is 126 pounds. I made goal 10/22/11 and I've maintained successfully since. I feel happiest at 124 and I get really antsy at 128.
This is mostly a vanity goal since I haven't really had a real health scare yet. I have a family history of many obesity-related illnesses. On some level I want to maintain a healthy weight to avoid those illnesses but I think I could do that at 10 or even 20 pounds heavier than I am. I am staying *this* small because I like being this small. Practically speaking I bought my summer wardrobe below goal and my winter wardrobe at or below goal and both start to feel a tad tight at 128. I have NO size 6 or 8 clothing. NOTHING. If my 4s get too tight I have to buy new clothes and THAT is SO NOT something I want to do.
SHORT TERM GOAL: THIS MONTH: I'd like to get back to maintaining in the 124-126 range (instead of the 126-128 range) with body fat back down around 20%. I'd like to run my second 5K in 30 minutes or less. I'd like to be half done with my Fitness Nutrition Specialist Certification. My overarching goal is to end September is to feel like I've got my groove back :-)
The weight and body fat goal is a fitness and, I guess, a vanity goal. I think my body is healthy at 20% but I do have to be careful not to dip too far below because, so far, it has not been happy there. The 5K goal is a fitness goal. The FNS certification is an wellness goal. I have a lot of emotionally-charged intellectual work to do managing the health and educational needs of my children. My FNS certification is *mine* and 100% intellectual. Working on it makes me feel good mentally.
We had a very nice weekend. We kicked back on Friday night. DH went out with some people from work for a bit. DD and I went to a purse party which is the first time I've ever taken her on a GNO. I was so happy she enjoyed it. Then we had a late appetizer dinner together. Saturday we went to the premium outlets and out to lunch. The guys didn't buy much but DD and I had a grand time. PJs, sneakers, a few fall outfits for me. Sunday I had had enough worry about my son's arm (he fell on the newly-waxed floors on the first day of school) and took him to urgent care... and the doc sent us off to the hospital for x-rays.... no break. Huge relief! It took a lot of time though! We had an early dinner and addressed chores (laundry/dishes/clutter/homework/instrumen
t practice/forms) before going to evening Mass. Busy but low-stress (save worrying about DS's arm).
This week is getting busy.... school is ramping up.... 2 PTA meetings, a school committee meeting, scouts, 2 training sessions for the kids.... and it's just going to get busier as the year goes on!
But I'm trying to keep on top of it! Taking care of myself too. I went to my first Power class in a v-e-r-y long time. I've only gone to 1 before and it felt so rushed and I just couldn't get my weights right. This release was not so frenetic. I still got most of the weights wrong but now that I am more familiar with how the releases work (6 weeks on each), I know that if I stick with it I will learn the routines and get better at matching the weights to my abilities. After Power I stuck around for Centergy. Right now my plan is to do those 2 back to back on Mondays (of course, I then came home and made an appointment to meet with all my daughter's teachers next Monday morning so next week I'll have to go Wednesday or Friday).
Sunday, September 09, 2012
Day 9. How old are you and do you think your thoughts about weight loss, fitness, and wellness have changed over time?
I am 41. I've been dieting since I was 11 or 12. I had high blood pressure way back then which I know was why my doctor sent me to a nutritionist but even back then I was only thinking about scale weight. Even at my heaviest, I was pretty darn healthy. My blood pressure had crept up again (but wasn't 'high'). My blood chemistry was awesome. I don't know how someone can carry all that extra weight and have a cholesterol in the 130s (good ratio too!), trigylcerides of 16 (seriously!), and 'perfect' blood sugar and A1C but I did. Sometimes I feel guilty that my journey has been mostly about vanity but I was healthy when I was obese so health wasn't really on my mind. I took it for granted.
For most of my life, when thinking of my body, I have only thought in terms of size and scale number. Fitness never entered my mind. Wellness had to do with my mind and I saw no connection to my body. I was the teenager (and young adult) who was all about being skinny. The skinnier the better. The smaller the number on the label in my pants the better. I restricted calories to regulate my weight. I never thought about exercise (not that I didn't do it - all through high school I worked hard in PE and then all through college I walked miles a day around a very large campus). I besmirched athletics as something smart people like me didn't have time for. Good thing too because years of restricting calories to stay a size 3 meant I was a picture person for skinny fat and couldn't have been athletic if my life depended on it.
That's me at what I thought of as 'my prime' - at the end of HS, between my Cornell and my MIT years, and right before I got pregnant with my olderst. I was VERY VERY happy with my body but looking at those pictures now I find them worrisome. There's no muscle evident at all. No wonder I was klutzy and scared to death of sports!
I didn't have a physical for about 5 years when my children were really small. If I was sick enough to insist on seeing a doctor my husband would stay with the kids so I could go but there was no way I was taking 2 little kids to a physical.... to talk about how stressed out I was taking care of 2 little kids (with a husband who, oh, couldn't make the time for me to go to the doctor to talk about it without the kids along). BUT as soon as I got my daughter off to school for long enough to have enough kid-free time to go... I went. And that's when I started hearing 'exercise', 'exercise', 'exercise'. Every year she would tell me that maintaining 150 pounds was fine. I didn't need to lose weight. I was healthy. But I had a lot of minor concerns - stress, history of gestational diabetes, fatigue, weight - that would all benefit from exercise. This was the beginning of me beginning to think beyond my weight and my size but, still, all through my years at Curves or FitKick or pilates I was really only exercising because I hoped it would help me lose weight.
Then.... I got hurt. Really, really hurt. I had to do jaw stretching therapy on my daughter. That involved using this nasty thing:
Only, my directions were 'off-label'. I was to put that thing in her mouth and push on it as hard as possible and hold for as long as possible. Minutes. It destroyed my forearm and injured the tendons in my elbow. I stopped after about 3 weeks, waiting to let it get better, but it didn't. It took me another 2 months to go to the orthopedic surgeon. 'Complex arm overuse syndrome' Whatever that means. Tennis elbow, carpal tunnel, various neuropathies. And too much inflammation to even start PT. I was to sit. And sit I did. Really in a funk. Two friends were literal life savers. They got on me repeatedly - . Go to PT. Get back to the doctor. You need PT. Maybe you need surgery. 6 months after the injury I finally was well enough to start PT and, lucky, I have avoided surgery. Believe me, I will never take an injury-free body for granted again.
I had to carve 3-4.5 hours a week out of my life to go to PT. And I did it. And I had to make time at home every day to do my home program. And I did it. My friends had really gotten through to me. I was worth it. I HAD to do it. I HAD to get better. For me and for my family. It was a slow process with lots of set backs but about a year after the initial injury I was cleared to join a gym (which I had told my PT was my goal - because around the time that I was starting PT I was realizing that cutting calories alone was what was getting me stuck in the 150s every time I tried to lose weight). And I did it. Why not? I had already carved a lot of time out of my schedule to make time for PT and home exercises. Physical Therapist. Personal Trainer. PT. PT. I was just going to swap one for the other.
Even when I joined the gym I was still compartmentalizing weight, fitness, and wellness. Cardio as going to help regulate my mood and blood sugar. Strength training was going to help me not ever get hurt like that again. And maybe, someday, I'd start losing weight again but I wasn't really thinking about it. Over time it all started to come together though. I think it was sparkpeople that did it. I first joined years ago but I returned shortly after joining the gym - just as I was beginning to lose weight again - and I read and read and read. And I connected the dots. The aging of my parents and grandparents has also cemented my commitment to overall wellness. My father had a quintuple bypass weeks before I hit goal. I very much want to avoid coronary artery disease. My mother has been diagnosed with severe arthritis in her hip and most likely has severe sleep apnea (we finally got her to have a sleep study and she gets the results soon). Both of them are paying the price for being overweight and not paying enough attention to diet and exercise. And then there is my grandmother - she's 95. What if I am bound to live until I'm 95 and stuck in a body that limits what I do? No.thank.you!
I feel like I've gotten much wiser over the years. I've stopped compartmentalizing. I've started integrating. I've FINALLY started taking care of ME. That's taken a certain boldness that I didn't have before. I'm not comfortable saying 'But *I* need attention! *I* need to spend some money on a gym membership or a trainer or what have you. *I* need to take time away from taking care of other people.' But looking at where I had been and where I could be going I had to be bold enough to do it :-)
Now I am looking forward to keeping up with my grand kids when I am my parents' age and hopefully living as long as my grandmother :-)
Saturday, September 08, 2012
8. What do you think will be different when you reach your goal weight? If you are in maintenance, what did you think would be different? What actually was different?
When I set out to lose weight I just thought I'd be smaller. At the beginning I wasn't exercising so this was really a reasonable expectation and for the first 20 pounds I really did just get a smaller version of me. All that changed after I joined the gym. I continued to lose weight but my body was very different than it was the last time I had seem most of these numbers on the scale. That means I've ended up with a smaller body (yay!) that is different than I expected (oh!).
In general, I am happy with my body now. My body is the overall size that I think of it as being (and had never really stopped thinking of it as being). It doesn't get in my way when I reach for things or walk through a crowd or navigate small spaces. When I get dressed I look like I expect to look in the mirror. These are very good things. It's hard to explain the weirdness of bumping into stuff because you are bigger than you think or the sadness that comes with trying on clothes only to see rolls and bulges and creases where you, even after 10 years of being overweight, don't expect to see them. I'm so glad that's over!
Not everything is as I expected because I never expected to get fit (I'd never been fit) and I didn't know what to expect of a post-obese body. The fun part of the unexpected is that I am fit! That became my goal along the way but I didn't really know what to expect for my body. It is so limber and strong and amazing! Yay! But it's sort of hard to dress this body. I'm not tiny, wispy, slender. The styles I wore way back when look out of place on a body this solid. I've adjusted. I know to look for cleaner lines, avoid sleeves if there isn't a lot of give for my wide shoulders and big upper arms, avoid really feminine colors/patterns. and delicate details. It's a learning process but I enjoy it. I don't so much enjoy learning to dress the post-obese body though. I've talked about what this loss has done to my breasts. I now spend a LOT of money at a specialty store to get bras that fit and look good. I also have a pretty hard time shopping for pants because I care extra skin and flab in my lower body. Skinny pants are NOT my friend! This is getting better as time goes on and the skin and fat distribution adjust. I really feel for people who deal with these issues. I have super elastic skin and 'only' lost about 30% of my body weight. I imagine the issues are all that much worse for those who don't have elastic skin or who lose greater percentage of their weight.
One thing that I didn't expect to change that did is my mind! You know how 'they' say don't expect losing weight to make you happy? I heard that and so I didn't. I really didn't think I'd be any happier, except that I'd be more comfortable in my body. But, you know what, I AM happier now. I worked hard at this and I feel accomplished! I am confident in my belief that I *AM* worth taking care of! I discovered that I am NOT the klutz everyone said I was! I discovered that I AM an athlete when I thought I was a weak girly-girl! Losing weight did not magically solve all the problems that led me to being overweight. I'm still learning to cope healthily with stress. I still have problems and struggles and all that. But I *am* happier. I think 'they' are wrong.
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