August/September 2012 Good Stuff (NSVs)
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
In all the chaos of the last two months, I realized I'd not checked in with you guys for my monthly NSV report, so stay-tuned for a double-dose of happy!
Here's what working out and eating right can getcha:
1) A RENEWED MEMBERSHIP IN THE MILE CLUB (*not* "Mile-High", ya pervs!)
You guys already know this, but it deserves to be repeated -- on August 22nd, I ran a continuous mile without stopping (more than a mile, actually, but hush - that'd bragging).
This was something I hadn't done since 2009, and even then it was asterisked in my mind because of all those downhills -- so in a lot of ways, I feel like this was my first ACTUAL, LEGITIMATE mile, and man, it felt good! Worth the sweat, worth the work, made me feel like a better person (which I know is weird and wrong, but it did).
2) "RESPECT MYSELF AND OTHERS..."
The kiddo and I went to the annual Girl Scout Camporee weekend with the rest of her then-Brownie Troop. It's held at a really nice, huge camp complex near Anniston, Alabama. Last year I just remember sweating and huffing and puffing my way through the hills. This year, admittedly, the weather was cooler (so that helped), but on the whole, I felt much more physically capable this year.
There was, however, one MONSTER hill that posed a slight challenge (and may have contributed to the Achilles nonsense, now that I think of it) -- but even then, I made it up alright. One of the other mothers, a parent who had not attended Camporee the previous year, had a much rougher time of it. She's a little older than me, and is probably a little bigger than I was last year and we bonded a bit during this trip. She had a very difficult time with the hill, and she and her kids left the activity early in order for her to have the time she needed to get back up the hill. They even ended up missing the activity that followed so that they/she could rest in the cabin. This happened a few more times during the weekend.
I felt awful for her, and for her kids (who were so sweet, they didn't complain, not even once). Once we returned home, in the days that followed camp, she approached me about my weight loss. We talked about running and Sparkpeople and the ways you make it work. I'm xeroxing her a copy of the same running plan that my friend Jenn had xeroxed for me, "paying it forward” in a way. She and I talked about hitting the track together with our kids in tow. I thought I might run with her for her first few weeks in order to, hopefully, get her started down this path.
It was weird to have someone asking *me* for advice about health and fitness.
But my heart broke for her during camp, and I just want to help however I can.
3) DITCHING THE APRON (TMI Warning)
Here's a fun fact for the kids playing along at home: when you're really overweight, your belly-fat and your hip-fat kind of merge together, forming one big not-so-jolly bowl of jelly at your mid-section. Yeah, I know, gross image, but it is what it is.
For as long as I can remember, I've mentally referred to this as my "apron" of fat -- and wished it would come off as easily as you take off an apron! However, I'm happy to report that as of this week, my apron appears to be going away! I noticed that my mid-section now has two, discernible areas of extra weight instead of one -- and what's more, what separates those two areas are the tiniest whispers of oblique muscle lines! Whoo-Hoo! There *is* muscle underneath all this goo!
4) OLD FRIENDS / NEW FRIENDS / FORMER FRIENDS
This month I reacquainted myself with some old and long-ignored friends from the back of my closet: several cute button-down shirts that I stopped being able to wear in 2010. Oh, how I've missed you, green stripey shirt!
I also said "Hello" to a few dressy tops that I received as Christmas presents from my folks last year. At the time, they were wa-a-a-a-y too tight and unflattering to ever wear in public, so to the back of the closet they went, tags and all! This past weekend I had to go to this event that required a slight upgrade from my usual work clothes, and I puzzled over what to wear before remembering that they were back there. Long story short, I ended up wearing one of them to the party and got a few compliments on it, to boot!
Finally, I officially started a pile of "too big for me" clothes in my closet. Banished are my old jeans, some dresses and a few tops that are now too long and too big to wear anymore. I'm not sure what I'll do with the pile, but for now, I'm just setting things aside and enjoying watching it grow!
5) THE KIDDO AND THE TREADMILL
A few years back, when I was walking for exercise, I bought a treadmill. For the last year or so, and definitely since I started running, it’s been gathering dust. I've probably run or walked on it just 2-3 times in the last year. I don’t really enjoy using it as much as I should because the only place we could put the treadmill was facing a wall, which is not particularly conducive to long workouts. Also, I learned that I detest running on treadmills (walking's okay, but running on them makes me feel like an elephant) and since I’m mostly running now, I’ve abandoned it.
As you may remember from my last "Good Stuff" blog, the kiddo has been quite supportive of my running and weight loss efforts, bless her little heart. And, of course, she's a big part of why I've even taken this step towards healthier living -- I want to be around for her as she grows up, and I also want to model good habits and behaviors. My kiddo is an incredibly beautiful girl, inside and out, smart as can be and cool as hell. Unfortunately, between my husband and myself, her DNA is somewhat pre-programmed for weight challenges. She’s on the cusp, right now, at 9-years-old – and she knows it. And no matter how much I tell her that “skinny” does not equal “pretty”, she still wants to be as thin as her friends, and I totally get that.
Happily, she’s managed to develop a good appetite for healthy foods. She’s adventurous with her eating, so she likes lots of things, and has a pretty good understanding of nutrition as far as which foods are healthy and which are not. Her diet is not an issue.
Her lack of exercise, however, is. We live in a neighborhood almost entirely devoid of children, and those few that do live here are TV kids who hate fresh air. The upshot of this is that the kiddo has become a TV kid, albeit one who actually *likes* fresh air. In an attempt to cater to that, for the last few seasons, she’s played soccer with a local recreational league, three nights a week. She may not be the most gifted player on the field, but she’s enthusiastic and truly loves the sport.
Over the summer, however, she seemed to come to the realization that while she loved soccer and it was good for her body, it wasn’t going to be enough exercise for her to change her shape. That’s around the time I got a phone call at work from my husband, who was home with the kiddo for the summer.
“Hey,” he said, “when you run, how many minutes do you run?”
I was confused, but answered him. “About an hour. Sometimes less, but usually an hour or so. Why do you ask?”
I could hear him smiling over the phone. “Because the kiddo just walked for an hour on the treadmill! (cue wild whoops and cheers from her in the background)
Apparently, he’d been working on schoolwork when she asked him the same question he’d just asked me: “When Mama runs, how long does she run for?”
Distracted, he’d shrugged and said “I don’t know, an hour, I guess,” and went back to his work.
Moments later, the treadmill roared to life behind him and he turned to see the kiddo walking her heart out and refusing to stop until the timer hit 60 minutes!
And when she did stop, she was so proud of herself – we all were! The fact that she decided to do this on her own was amazing! Since that time, we’ve encouraged her to continue walking on the treadmill as well as around the neighborhood with us after dinner.
No situation ever defined itself so clearly to me: As parents, what we do – not what we say, but what we do – is Important. With a capital “I”.
Lesson learned: if we can’t do this for ourselves, we MUST do it for them.
6) SPORTS INJURY
What? You’re putting your bout with Achilles Tendonitis on a “Good Stuff” list?
Yesireebob – for a couple reasons:
First, for someone with a decidedly non-athletic history, the fact that I experienced a sports injury is pretty damn cool. Never mind that Joyce blamed the flip-flops (or the fact that I agree with her assessment) – the injury was proof that I am MOVING, that I’m engaging my muscles and participating in a challenging physical activity. It felt like a merit badge, of sorts, and I continue to wear it proudly!
Second, if I had to get injured, it was a good way to do it. Not too severe, but not something I could ignore. Taught me the cold, hard fact that stretching isn’t just for posers, without taking me out of the game for too long.
Third, it made me appreciate my legs, my heels, my feet, my whole body when it’s healthy. The joy of hopping out of bed without having to momentarily limp is noticed and appreciated. Even when I’m gasping for air on the track, I’m amazed at the way my body moves itself (slowly) through the laps.
For all these reasons, I’m grateful for the injury…
…and I’m also grateful for every one of you reading this silly little blog. Your presence makes me stop and recognize the good stuff that’s happening in my life, even amid all the day-to-day troubles and distractions – and each one of you, in your own way, encourages me to work harder to make more good stuff happen!