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The Horse & The Jockey (A Send-Off to 2011 and Launching-Into 2012...the Best That I Know How)


Thursday, January 12, 2012

I've put a lot of pressure on myself the first two weeks of this year to write this epic, thoughtful, "this is the year that all my dreams will come true" blog to kick-off 2012. That's not going to happen. This isn't that blog.

Instead what you're going to get from me is a RAMBLE of sorts in hopes to put 2011 to bed and really invest in this new year in front of us with a little more vigor than what last year left me with. Because the truth is - even though it kinda sucked near the end, 2011 was a great year and I need to step back and recognize all of my incredible accomplishments for what they are.

I'm anti "the re-investment blog." I'm not going to say "I'm starting over" because the truth is I'm not. I never quit. I just got lazy for a bit. I got into my head. I got held up by a plateau. I stopped blogging. I lost track of my community that has been so supportive of me. I was injured, so I stopped running. And I got REALLY, REALLY frustrated with myself and the situation. But I never quit. I kept trying, the best I knew how to try with the holidays and the injury and the stupid, dumb, daft, annoying PLATEAU that I still can't seem to shake and that ended up turning into a 10 pound weight gain by the time January 1 rolled over.

That's ok. I've lost 5 pounds of water weight already. I have a suspicion the next 5 are going to hang on until the end of the month just to annoy me and to confirm the fact that my holiday ditherings have just officially cost me the first month of my new year to make up. Moving on...

In trying to figure out how to best organize all my ideas into a concise Super-Blog (again, not gonna happen) I went back and read through some of my blogs from 2011 including the one that started it all off on that first day of January last year. The Year of the Ones. And it absolutely was. I did make it a year of running. I ran my first 8K, 10K, 15K and a number of 5Ks. I was disappointed not to end the year with my first Half Marathon, but when you are injured, you can't mess around and so I did the best I could and quite honestly - my best yielded one heck of a year for running! And how fitting that I ended it all with an almost PERFECT 11 (one one) mile run before I injured out? It's the memory of that amazing run that is getting me through these 6 weeks of taking it easy, healing and waiting to get back out there again. But the lethargy, and now the snow, has set in - so getting back out there is going to be a huge challenge for me in the next few weeks and one that I know is going to take everything I have right now to meet.

2011 also saw my first 100 pound loss (on the DAY of my 1 year Sparkversary no less) and quickly ushered in my current status in Onederland. A place I hadn't seen in over 10 years and one that I'm proud to say I haven't left since I got here. Nor do I intend to - holiday weight gain or not.

I went to Africa. I went to Turkey. I found love in a really wonderful man who gets me better than anyone I have been with before, but who offers up a whole new world of challenges for me in learning to live FOR MYSELF and not for someone else.

I spent 2011 LIVING. And I can't be ashamed of that. I wish I had spent more of the year losing, but in not losing as much, I learned more about my limits, balance and what making an effort feels like even when the rewards don't feel as big.

But a glance through more of my blogs from 2011 yielded some more interesting information. My struggle with the scale slow-down started WAY earlier than I thought it did. My first blog post about not having an easy time of things was as soon as February 2011. I suppose my big entry into the Centenarians Club and Onederland by the end of the first quarter did well of hiding the fact that I wasn't doing as well by the numbers game as it was looking from the outside. And it didn't take very long after that excitement died down for the blahs to hit hard and fast along with a new relationship that seemed to be consuming my abilities to stay the course for myself with any effort at all. In short - my galloping horse of weight-loss got yanked up by the bridle rather quickly in May and turned around to bite the jockey in the ass for the rest of the year. By the time the holidays rolled around, the jockey had had enough and decided on an honourable dismount. But I was still hanging on to the reigns. I never fully let go. I just did what I needed to do to survive, and unfortunately, my survival skills involve a fair amount of binge eating on what has become an absolutely regular basis.

I wanted to post a triumphant ski bunny blog about my wonderful Christmas vacation and how healthy and wonderful it was to do something active over the holidays. But in all honesty, I ate my way through the entire 6 days away. I ate a handful of chocolate almonds every time I passed the damn bowl on the counter that my mother INSISTS on leaving out all the time. I drank wine and beer and alcohol every chance I got with high calorie mixers, not the least of which was eggnog. I ate seconds and thirds and dessert after every meal. I indulged in family favorites, gorged myself on the annual cookie tray, and didn't go a single day without experiencing that uncomfortable feeling of being too full - fat, roly poly and unhealthy. The saving grace was skiing. Thank god we went skiing. Even though I used it every day as my excuse for bad behaviour knowing full well that even at approximately 400 calories an hour it couldn't even begin to touch the damage I was doing food-wise. But I also walked when I could, did some cross-country skiing on my day off the hills, stretched every morning, and committed to drinking my water every single day no matter what. Those where the reigns. The things that were keeping me bridled to the horse even though it seemed to be galloping off in the other direction. As long as I had hold of the reigns, I was still in control.

A couple of really good sessions with my therapist upon returning from my vacation have also given me some of the answers and reassurance in my behaviours that I was seeking. As she put it - sometimes, you need to eat. Just make sure that you dedicate your eating to something and know WHY you're doing it. So the chocolate almonds? Those were for my mom getting her way again despite my crazy work schedule and having her whole family home for Christmas with no regard to how much stress that put on me to get there. The drinking? For having no privacy while on vacation and having to share the pull-out couch in the middle of the living room with my brother. The cookie tray? I'm dedicating that to the month I spent without my boyfriend while he was in India with his family and I was in Canada with mine. It could go on and on. I'm no different than anyone else here when it comes to holiday related stress and worry - regardless of how idyllic the vacation sounds.

Dedicating my overeating to things once I got back though has been a little harder. At work, January 1st brought about major renovations to much of the theatre space and I have been slammed with early mornings, late nights, a multitude of decisions to make, a lot of money being spent and just hoping like hell that I'm doing the right thing for the future of the company. Anyone who has built a house will know what it's like dealing with contractors constantly asking you questions about what you want, what light fixture should go where, how many electrical sockets you want in a room, which way you want the cupboards to go on the wall, paint colours, etc. etc. And they always need more - another order of drywall, more screws, more plywood. The costs are adding up quickly and it's not my money. I worry constantly about the expenditures and whether or not my boss is going to freak out at my decision to buy new light fixtures over re-using the old ones that were terribly ratty looking and probably donated-used in the first place. I'm constantly hanging out between that place of excitement about a project that is going to mean great things for everyone involved and that I am heading up all on my own, and terror that I'm doing it all wrong and that everyone is going to be mad at me. So, at the end of very long, 10-12 hour days, I drag myself home, open up my fridge, and eat. Everything. Anything I can get my hands on. I eat.

And here is where 2012 begins.

I don't feel like I'm in a good place like I was last year in January. My energy is already socked and we're not even half way through the month. I am kicking my butt every day to keep up with the January Bootcamp workouts, but I fight with myself constantly to get my 5 weekly cardio sessions in. I want to be running, but I don't want to run at the same time. The first blog of this year was supposed to be my triumphant "2012 - The Year of the Marathon" blog - but I don't have the heart to write it yet because my head just isn't in that game right now. Perhaps I'll save it for the beginning of February after I have officially signed up to run and forked over my entrance fee. Maybe THAT will light the fire under my ass that I desperately need right now. Here's hoping.

But for now there is this blog. Trudging along. One day at a time.

I have reset my SparkDiet steps because I feel like I could stand a refresher course and I need to get back in the habit of setting up goals and Fast Breaks. But I can't seem to get the program to send me the weekly emails again. Anyone have any ideas? I certainly don't want to reset all my goals and lose all of the information that I have so far.

I also have not made any New Year's Resolutions (I'm not a fan of them) but I have set a couple of goals so far that I'm having fun sticking to this month. #1 - No eating out for the entire month of January (not including Starbucks coffee in the morning). So far, so good. I have prepped and brought to work every single meal for the past two weeks, which is a feat in an of itself since I'm away from my house for 3 meals a day. And #2 - get back to blogging. So here we are. I need to reconnect with the Spark community. I honestly think there's a reason for my huge successes in the first year of this program and I think much of that has to do with my level of involvement with this site which ultimately correlates to my level of involvement with myself. Time on Spark is time for me, so the more time I spend blogging and tracking and planning, the more time I am ultimately investing in myself and my spirit to stick with it and keep pushing myself. My weight loss started to taper off the same time my blogging started to taper off. So here's hoping that everyone is going to hear a lot more from me this year as I attempt to get back into this world and make big moves for myself in mine.

I hope everyone has had time now in the first two weeks of the year to settle in, really think about your goals for the upcoming year, and do something good for yourself. Regardless of how these next 12 months go, I am certain of one thing: at this time next year I WILL be healthier than I am now, smaller than I am now, and happy about how far I've come. Because this path only goes in one direction - forward. 2011 got me to where I am now and I am grateful for everything that it gave me. But 2012 is where I'm headed now and it is FULL of possibilities.

Happy (Belated) New Year Everyone. Get on that horse and ride.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post:
PJH2028 1/17/2012 3:58AM

    p.s. Have you heard/read "The Rider and The Elephant" ?

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PJH2028 1/17/2012 3:57AM

    I LOVE THIS. YOU are such a GIFT, such a vibrant wonderful creative soul.
Settled in.... and taking up your invite to look again and anew at my goals.... 2012 Here we come!!!!

"I learned more about my limits, balance and what making an effort feels like even when the rewards don't feel as big."

"Sometimes you just need to eat" --
(dedicate it to something/know WHY/move on)

"I honestly think there's a reason for my huge successes in the first year of this program and I think much of that has to do with my level of involvement with this site which ultimately correlates to my level of involvement with myself. Time on Spark is time for me, so the more time I spend blogging and tracking and planning, the more time I am ultimately investing in myself and my spirit to stick with it and keep pushing myself. "

THANK YOU
You're emoticon emoticon

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GIANTPANDA 1/15/2012 6:51PM

    I think your progress has been awesome and your blog listing all the ways you've benefited from losing 113 pounds is one of my motivators for the down days. So glad you are back, and it sounds like you've had a great year! Wishing us all a healthy, happy, and fun new year!
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FANCY-PANTS 1/14/2012 6:46PM

    Love your honesty. Glad you're still at it, even if it slow going at times.



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ON2VICTORY 1/14/2012 1:21PM

    I agree, your honest appraisal rather than a freak out is what makes you powerful. I gained 10 lbs after my marathon vacation. Imagine my horror after I weighed in. I gave myself a week after I got home to allow myself to get pack into a normal pattern of working out and eating. I was dangerously close to 300. I am back down to 285 again finally but we ALL have been there. no reset button, just the fact that life happens. you and I are human and we need to live, face our temptations and pull through still determined, not perfect.

Frankly, I wouldn't give a rats A$$ for a battleship that cant take a broadside once in a while and still float. too many people live in greenhouse. as soon as you take them out of the protected environment, they melt.

That isnt reality.

we need to take the broadside, make the repairs and still float all while firing our guns. that is what makes us warriors.

you are that warrior.

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KBLACKFORD11 1/13/2012 7:41PM

    You are the best! After reading your blogs, I don't feel bad for writing a lot nor for rambling! Hahah Keep up the awesome work in 2012, we can do it emoticon



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KKINNEA 1/13/2012 5:47PM

    Glad you are back! It sounds like you are still moving forward despite anything life is throwing at you. I hope your healing goes quickly so you can get back to running soon!

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TEENY_BIKINI 1/13/2012 5:10PM

    Man, you had an amazing 2011. It is fascinating to me when the emotional energy shifts - just dealing with the fact that I am just not going to be happy with the healthy thing all the time is like a job. And so I love dedications to the food I ate - I think that is quite clever and it kind of pays a little respect to the food and even better - honors our feelings. I dig it. I like when I am given concrete tools to transform my feelings - so thank you. Therapy is dope. But contractors do suck ass - I sure hope that is over soon... Not to worry, gorgeous... you are a rock star and that is just how it is. Cheers.

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LOTUSFLOWER 1/13/2012 2:48PM

    And I love your non-resolutions, too.

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LOTUSFLOWER 1/13/2012 2:48PM

    And d@mn those chocolate covered almonds! I would have stopped each and every time, too.

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LOTUSFLOWER 1/13/2012 2:47PM

    Jenn, I just love you. This is my favorite blog of yours, ever. You are so honest and you convey in words what we all struggle with too but don't have the skill to put it on paper like you do (and with such grace and finesse, I love the metaphor of the horse).

I know you well enough to know that usually after a blog like this you come roaring back even stronger than before. You know why? Because we are built up through our shortcomings. We learn from them. So you didn't go an have a 100% healthy ski bunny vacation. You did LOOK like a ski bunny in your new duds and the old you wouldn't have skied as much as you did, burnt off as many calories as you did, and I think you had every right to indulge! It's a vacation and you did certain things better than others, but like you said you had your water every day.

You inspire me all the time to do more, to BE more and to LIVE more. And that's exactly what you did. I am so super proud of you. You had an amazing 2011 and I just know that 2012 is going to be so exciting for you. And I can't wait to cheer you on.

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AGREENSLADE79 1/13/2012 9:46AM

    Thanks, that was a great blog! I think that you have got such an awesome grasp on reality, and that is the most important thing! Good luck, you can definietly do this for 2012! :)

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VICKYMARIEC 1/13/2012 8:58AM

    Great to hear that you are back! Looking forward to continuing this journey with you

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FTHOODBABY 1/13/2012 5:44AM

    Great to hear from you again! Hang in there!! You can do it!!

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LAURIETAIT 1/12/2012 11:57PM

    I'm glad to hear you've tied blogging to your diet success. It means we'll be hearing from you more often. This is a very good thing. I hope your horse jumps out in front early and you never look back.

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SUZYWM 1/12/2012 8:29PM

    You're awesome. You're on a long journey - and have done an amazing job getting fit and losing so much weight! I understand you're not done, and the family stuff seems to be universally tough (even though I tend to think everyone else's family is heathy and loving and supportive...).

Thank goodness for therapists - some of my favorite people!

Blogging is a great start to getting your motivation back. You are beautiful and strong and you can do this.

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MICHSTATE 1/12/2012 6:21PM

    Happy New Year to you too!!!! I have a very similar story for the Holiday weight gain, but I gained mine in a shorter time frame!! We can lose it plus
more this year!!!!:-)

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JENNSWIMS 1/12/2012 6:05PM

    I think this is an awesome blog and is the reality of the journey, not some blog that is designed to make other people feel really good using excitement you don't feel.

I'm wondering, if you were at goal and went on that same vacation and did the same things, how would you feel about it? I tend to think I'd be like, oh yeah, I'll exercise a little more in January to really enjoy Christmas feasting. Probably not the healthiest point of view, but there it is. I know a thin person who loses five pounds before she goes on a vacation cruise. A little savings account for fat, I guess.

My sister in law can be a real bitch, and when my MIL died (I mean literally just died, like the funeral home wasn't even there to pick up her body yet) I walked directly to the kitchen and ate a cookie and a piece of fudge. She said to me, "I thought you were going to focus on getting healthier in the new year?" I smiled and ate another piece of fudge. Sometimes you do just need to eat and I think family has a way of transporting us back to a time when we were in full-on bad eating modes, or when we were learning those habits. Family also has a way of irritating us beyond all comprehension, which also fosters a need to chow down.

Sorry for the novella.

I think you rock. I think the process is going to be slower and harder the higher you get up the mountain. I think you can do it. I know you have what it takes.

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