Start where you are
Sunday, March 17, 2013
Let's scroll back three weeks. I was getting my middle two children (I have four kids - ranging from 10 years to 16 years old) ready for their track & field season. I am divorced from their dad and, since I have walked several half-marathons before, in his mind I became the running expert (ha!) and therefore assigned to select shoes and gear. As I'm sitting at our local Fleet Feet amid the spikes and the regular running shoes and the synthetic wear, I decide to take advantage of the sale they have going on (50% off on last year's models)since I had agreed to walk the triple crown (a racing series consisting of a 5k, a 10k and a 10 miler) with a close friend who had a stroke 18 months ago. Understand, she walks much slower than me (and I am a SLOW walker), so this is not a major exercise feat for me. Since I'm getting fitted for shoes, the sales girl tells me about their couch to 5k program (for beginner runners or walkers). I'm not taking the bait. It's a 2 night per week commitment (did I mention I have 4 kids every other week) and it sounds an awful lot like exercise (the kind that makes you sweaty and out of breath). My kids chime in and think this is a great idea. They go home and share this news with my (very athletic) husband and get him on board. For a belated Valentine's present, I am signed up for a couch to 5k program that is supposed to have me RUNNING a 5k in 10 weeks! This is the evening that started this.
Where I was health-wise: I had a LONG OVERDUE complete physical scheduled with my doctor the day after the running program started. So on March 6, 2013, I weighed in at 244 lbs with high blood pressure. Although my blood work (amazingly) came back great (fabulous cholesterol levels, normal glucose levels, etc), my weight, blood pressure and acid reflux won my a new blood pressure prescription, a change in OTC meds for heart burn and instructions to return in 6 weeks. I told her I had just started the running program (that saved me the "you have to exercise" lecture) and promised to immediately start tracking my food (which spared me the diet lecture). Although my blood work was normal, at 37 years old, 5'2" tall and 244 lbs, it was not going to stay normal if I continued this way.
I began researching tracking tools and came across BodyMedia Fit. Sounded great, so I ordered one. In my searching, I also discovered SparkPeople. Since it was free AND promised to sync with this new device I had ordered, I signed up. For the week and a half it took to get my BodyMedia Fit, I allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted....so long as I tracked every bite on SP. Of course I went over the recommended amounts, but I found myself eating slightly different (think one piece of dessert rather than 3). I went to the training that first week for running and it was hard! My husband trained with me on the nights the group didn't meet. It was hard too - but he was encouraging. He never mentioned that my "running" wasn't any faster than my walking (though it was more high impact). He never mentioned that my layers of belly clapped for me with every bounce they made. What he mentioned was that he was proud of me for getting out there and "you can do anything for one minute....keep running".
I signed up for SparkCoach - why not? They were offering a free trial. Before I got to the end of the free trial, I learned that I could have three more months (and some work out DVDs) for pre-ordering "The Spark Solution." So I did. I have been faithfully logging in and doing each step every day. Why not? It's only a few minutes, and I might learn something. Besides, it gave me another thing to stay accountable to - I needed to check in each day.
When my BM Fit arrived, I was ecstatic to try it. It did NOT fit my arm very well (although I'm generally proportionally fat, my upper arms did seem to get a little extra). I wore it anyway (and ordered a larger band). After the first day, I became so excited that I wanted to do more than just track what I ate - I wanted to be more deliberate in my choosing what I ate. Two days later, for perhaps the first time in my life, I woke up WANTING to get some movement in that day. After my C25K program, I came home and walked some more with my husband. Still not satisfied with my calorie deficit (it was just a few calories shy of my daily goal), I did what my youngest has done when he has too much energy - I ran back and forth in my living room as fast as I could and then jumped around like a jumping bean. I looked like a crazy person, but my little device recorded more activity!
Today was my first big food obstacle since wearing my magic motivating device....it was potluck Sunday at church. I LOVE potluck Sunday. I am in a small town in a mostly older congregation church and these ladies KNOW how to cook! They don't cook non-fat, they don't mess with splenda or other artificials. They cook full fat fabulous foods! Casseroles as far as the eye can see. Though truthfully, they use a LOT of veggies too! I started with a light breakfast (non-fat yogurt with blueberries and all natural granola). I ate what I wanted for the lunch, but in smaller portions (and tracked the best I could using foods on SP that looked similar to what I ate). And then I exercised. I have not hit my steps quota for the day (I struggle with that), I have gone over a little on my foods. But I felt like I controlled the splurge rather than the splurge controlling me. I don't feel that I've make plan-altering decisions in my eating today. I feel instead that I have eaten in a sustainable way. A friend said today that I would only need my BodyMedia Fit till I reach my goal. I told him that I am going to keep it indefinitely because my goal is being healthy. This is not a diet or a train for another half marathon. This is a care for your body, move more and fuel it appropriately goal. That goal doesn't change when my weight is lower.
Some things I've noticed: I don't own a scale, so I'm not sure how much, if any, weight I have dropped. What I do know is this - I'm sleeping better (not so much heart burn), I'm waking more energized (not that I'm ready to say goodbye to coffee), and my attitude is changing. I WANT to move. I WANT to make and eat GOOD food (and yes, that includes only things that taste good). When I purchase good foods and prepare them in advance, it is easier to pack my lunch and it is easy to stay within my calorie range without feeling hungry or deprived! Feeling good makes me happy.