Monday, October 5, 2015

Setbacks and Emotional Eating

Today I am kind of the mindset that I just don't want to watch what I am eating. Sort of like a petulant child – I don't wanna! I guess we all have our moments and I am really not into beating myself up about this stuff anymore, but I am also SO sick of being stuck where I am, too. Obviously, these two things conflict like nothing else.

Last week I had a few goals set for myself and I did well.

• Remove obvious sweets from my diet
• Get at least 30 minutes of exercise in every day
• Keep my weekday routine into the weekend (i.e. no "off" day like I usually do after official weigh-in)

The first two were almost effortless. Between time at the gym, the start of No Boundaries, and PT sessions, it was easy. The morning habit has really caught on. I am not really a morning person, but I'm finding getting up and starting my day in a physical way easier and easier, not to mention more fun.

I'm on the search for the perfect upper body workout, and to alternate with it, something for my core. Need to do more research and really wishing I could find my old workout log from when I was working with a trainer last year. :(

The sweets things wasn't too bad, although I guess I cut it a little short by getting myself the best ice cream cone ever on Saturday morning after my Delaware Park workout with my running pals. (Yes, I walked though.) Can I tell you about it? Anderson's is a locally owned chain that is known for its beef on weck sandwiches and its homemade ice cream. My favorite flavor from them is Orange Chocolate, but alas! It is very seasonal (I guess around Easter time) and I almost never find it. So sad. However, I might have a new favorite and its name is Brownie Fudge. I had it in a chocolate-dipped waffle cone and I savored every single lick and bite. So there.

But see... maybe this is my problem, do you think? Look, I am not into depriving myself or making any food forbidden, though. I do understand that eating an amazing ice cream cone is going to slow down my progress, and I am (mostly) OK with it. So torn.

Still, you know, I feel pretty good about having maintained my 100 pound loss for a few months now. I weighed in at 272 on Sunday morning. So what if I could have been down to 250 by now?


Yesterday started out innocently enough, but I was waylaid by some terrible news. An old, dear friend of mine was killed in a motorcycle crash on Saturday night. I found out by scrolling through Facebook on late Sunday morning while waiting for some Mexican takeout. I was shocked. I was and still am so, so, so sad.

I am one of those people who tends to eat more when she is sad or upset, and yesterday was no exception. I had lunch which was fine, but on top of that I stuffed Cheetos in my face with abandon, had a big bowl of ice cream (which, quite frankly, I didn't even enjoy that much), some gorgeous and delicious artisanal peanut butter cups and a nice glass of bourbon. It was a binge to be sure, though it could have been worse. Really. Still, it was something I hadn't planned on and was a bit of a disappointment. Today I'm doing, I'd say, so-so. Not bad, not great. I'm trying to hold it together.

Plans for the week:

• More exercise every day!
Monday – one hour at the gym
Tuesday – PT (a.m.) and NoBo (p.m.)
Wednesday – gym
Thursday – gym
Friday – PT
Saturday – NoBo
Sunday – not sure yet, but something like a walk, a hike, a bike ride...

• Two weeks without sweets starting tomorrow – already messed that up today.

• A visit to the nutritionist on Wednesday! This should be productive and informative.

You guys. I am really missing running. Walking is good, but it's just not the same. No adrenaline rush, that is for sure. This morning I fudged a little and when I was treadmilling it at the gym I really lightly ran for a few intervals, like a 16-ish pace. The softer surface of the treadmill felt less destructive, anyway. But walking still feels worse than the running motion. I can't wait to see what the sports doc says about that.

I am also considering joining LA Fitness again on top of my membership at Best Fitness, mainly because I want the option of working with my old trainer, and I want access to the pool and to classes like yoga and Zumba. Since I spend so little at Best, I figure this is doable especially if I wait until the start of the new year to sign up with LA and use my insurance perks for it. I'm pretty excited about going swimming especially after being such a weirdo about it last year because of how my body looked. Newsflash: OVER IT. I just love that I don't give a crap anymore about how others might see my body. My body is not there to garner approval or scorn, so everyone can just screw it. (I know, I don't have to be so mean about it, I guess.)

Finally, I have decided to not even do the six-mile walk I was signed up for later this month. Originally I was going to the 10K trail run, then the walk they offer, and now? The 2.5 miles I walked in the park on Saturday left my knee hurting, so I can't even imagine doing six again anytime soon. I am sad about this but also now I have something extra special to look forward to next year, when I will be stronger and faster.

So that's where I am – complicated and wordy as ever.

I'm still in it.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

The Best Month

Hello hello! It's been over a week since my last post, how does that happen? Time has been flying by like crazy. October is here and having thought about it for a moment, I realized that it could be the best month in some ways.

I really love the fall season and October usually tells you that you're in it. Today feels a little crisp and long sleeves are totally appropriate. The way I like to dress is totally fall, so now I feel like I am in my element. It usually doesn't snow here in October (although, sometimes...) so it's just all about enjoying the cooler weather (great for outdoor exercise!) and the changing leaves. This time of year feels like a renewal for me, maybe a holdover from when I was still going to school. It's nice. I like it.

Anyway... as you know, I have not been running for a little while now, and my knee has not been feeling all that much better since starting PT – in fact, a little worse, to be honest. Yesterday at my appointment my therapist said that it's time to get checked out by a sports doctor just to rule out anything more serious, so I'll be doing that, I guess. Bummer – though when I said that to Becky (PT), she was like, "No! You'll come out of this even better!" I was just feeling like I could have prevented this somehow, that I took things too far, too fast (my partner commented last night that he just knew I was pushing myself too much, that our big bodies can't take that kind of abuse, etc). I'm not sure I completely agree with that, but I do think that I should have stuck with some shorter distances running (3 and 4 miles) a little longer than I did before getting too crazy with the 5+ miles.

But oh well, what's done is done! And hopefully I will get fixed up better than new in the end.

In the meantime, I have needed to find other forms of exercise than running and tennis, which are my two favorites but also the worst for my knee at this point. There is walking, of course, and I will be doing plenty of that. I also have PT exercises which are working my core and my lower body like crazy! I'm hoping to also get some more hiking in with my partner before the snow hits.

The best thing I've done, though, is sign up for a gym membership again. A friend of mine goes to Best Fitness and likes it a lot, plus it is VERY affordable, so I tried it for a week. Yesterday I sealed the deal and so now I have a place to go every weekday morning to get my PT homework finished and work on some upper body strengthening, and use the treadmill and whatever other cardio equipment I want! My needs are pretty basic. This is especially nice because even though I could do PT homework at home, I just wasn't doing it because I didn't like the space I have to workout in – very cramped and too many distractions.

Since the end of last week I've been enjoying my new routine of going to the gym almost every day before work. Many fewer people go in the morning, so it's relatively open and I get everything done that I need to do – and I get at least an hour of good sweating in! I love it. It's a great way to start the morning.

Unfortunately this week has been a little funny for getting there. Monday was perfect, Tuesday I had a PT appointment scheduled (I go in the early morning two times a week) but then had to cancel because traffic was SO bad and I just went straight to work, and of course Wednesday I had my rescheduled appointment. I didn't go today because I had to go to my doctor's office ahead of work to pick up some paperwork, blah. Tomorrow I have more PT. Alas. But I am looking forward to next week getting there on the days I don't have PT.

In other news, eating has been pretty OK. I am still sitting in the low 270s, so not gaining. Apparently I am a champ at maintaining, which is good to know! Unfortunately I didn't meet my goal of hitting the 260s by the end of September, but I just can't imagine that October won't be my time to get it done!

One of the problems I realized I've been having is doing relatively OK during the week, and then on weigh-in day (after weigh-in, of course!) I totally indulge. You know, that feeling of, "I deserve it!" Well, it's stupid because all that is happening is that I am cancelling out any progress I've made and starting from square one again. This weekend I have decided that I'm not going to do that to myself. I'm going to keep to my routine and see if I can't break out of this weight loss funk I have been in. I am excited about it!

Another step I have taken is to make an appointment with a nutritionist – the one who has been working with the ToF group at Fleet Feet, actually, Mindy. She's really great and I am hoping that she will help me get more focused and give me a good framework to play with. As you probably have realized by now, I have a very loose approach to how I am doing all this stuff. Mixing it up and shifting to something tighter might just do the trick to take me to the next level, and maybe I'll even learn something new, too!

All in all despite the setbacks I've been having, I feel like I am in a very positive place right now.

I'm totally trusting the process and I am ready to lose another 100 pounds.

Cheers? Anyone? Give me a cheer, and I'll give you one back. :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Major Bummer

The past couple days, the knee that prompted me to visit a physical therapist a couple weeks ago really started bothering me. My PT poked around it a little bit at my visit this morning, and said that I had two choices: I could keep running with my knee feeling like this, and probably aggravate the situation and making it worse, OR stop running for a while, and work on it for a few weeks with the strengthening exercises I've been building on (so many now!) and come out a stronger runner.

My immediate response was, "Well, I know what my answer is!"

Of course, the latter choice. Although I am very sad about having to stop running after having made so much progress, I am grateful that I can still walk for exercise and look forward to getting stronger and better in the end. It takes patience, right? I'm willing.

In the meantime, I am going to follow my running schedule but doing walking for the workouts instead. This Saturday I was going to run 6 miles... well, now I will walk them. I want to keep my endurance up and I want to prepare for that 10K trail race I am signed up for; fortunately there is a walking option and so that is what I am going to do. There is a 10K road race in November that Amy F. is doing and hopefully I will be in shape by then to join her. So nothing is lost. I will still get to do the cool 10K trail race (though no longer racing, per se), and I will still get to achieve my goal of running a 10K this fall.

Win, win, I'd say.

In eating news, some days are so easy and effortless, and others just aren't. I had a couple good ones this week, but today has definitely been in the latter category. I'm chalking it up to emotional eating and leaving it at that with no juicy detail for you, my dear reader. It probably doesn't help that I am in full PMS mode, either.

All that said, I still haven't moved beyond the low 270s. It's a bit discouraging, as it has been about two months now without any new weight loss – just losing the same few pounds over and over, and touching down on 270 once. I mean, part of me is like, it's OK, it's good – I'm maintaining, more or less, but on the other hand, well, you know. On the other it just feels like I'm maybe not taking things as seriously as I could or perhaps should.

I'm being totally honest here, with myself and with you. Let me repeat that last line.

I'm maybe not taking things as seriously as I could or perhaps should. 

OK, I still want this. Very much. I still want to lose another 100 pounds. What do I need to do?

• Meal planning and prep so that I don't have room to worry about what to eat (sometimes that is what totally screws me up on any given day)

• Exercise – this hiatus from running (oh, and tennis, too – no tennis for a while) is a good opportunity for me to try something else. Back to walking, back to some gym workouts which I feel like I need anyway? Hiking, something I have been missing a LOT. Cycling.

Tomorrow morning I am meeting with a friend to try out her gym and have a nice workout together. My PT said that I can do any standing exercises and cardio (except running, of course).

• Mindset needs adjusting. I need to get serious again, at least for a while. Have been thinking about seeing the nutritionist I know through the running group to get some help with stuff in general, to get myself in a good direction again – maybe just trying something new to jog things up a bit?

• Remind myself how far I have come. I can almost fit into some XL shirts I've had tucked away! If that isn't motivation, I don't know what is.

Photos from the other day in my favorite striped shirt, again. Not bad. Hang in there, kid.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

The Week

It was, well, a week.

Nothing special. Kind of the opposite, really. It was kind of hard but kind of carefree.

Basically, I wasn't too terribly pleased with my eating or with my activity level. I had two runs (a 3 miler and 5.5 yesterday) and one lame half hour session of tennis. We were both tired and a little out of practice and played on a not-so-great court. Not the worst, either, but we've been spoiled by usually playing at a nearby high school's courts that are just about perfection, so... anyway. I was also in a pissy mood because the local Pickleball enthusiast have had the city paint all the courts with stupid Pickleball lines, which I find very distracting. Stupid Pickleball. Go play ping pong or something and stop ruining our tennis courts!

Ugh. I had intended on Monday's run to be 4 miles, but ended up with 3, which is fine. I did another 5.5 yesterday, which was on my training schedule. I should have had one more run in between, but it just didn't happen. I'll blame it on physical therapy, which has been kicking my butt. Or should I say, it's kicking my glutes. My whole body, really. When I started with PT a couple weeks ago, they had given me a couple fairly easy exercises, but now we've entered into some really hard-core, super sweat-inducing stuff – like planks done the right way. I've done plenty of planks in my time, but never have I done planks like the ones they have me doing – engaging all the right muscles in a way I'd never done before. Honestly, it kind of ruins me at this point.

So yeah, I've been taking it a little easier this week for sure.

Weekly weigh-ins for the Ton of Fun program at Fleet Feet began this past week. Mine are on Saturdays, so after my run in the morning I went over to the store, none too enthusiastically since I didn't have a great scale reading at home and expected to show a gain. BUT, by some grace of god I showed a 2 pound loss. I figure it wasn't just because of the run, because I weighed under the same circumstances last week. Good enough, and puts me below 272 again, just. I'm pretty pleased.

Today my big goal is to get the week planned entirely for food. I want to know what I am eating every day ahead of time, and I want to have as much prepared for that as possible, too. I know that will go a long way to help me get back on a really good track and moving confidently into the 260s and beyond.

Here's to an awesome week ahead!

Friday, September 18, 2015

Some realizations

I need to PLAN.

I need to be more diligent.

I cannot rest on my laurels.

Exercise is not always going to make up for bad eating choices. (Sometimes, but not usually.)

Monday, September 14, 2015

Another Monday

I can't believe a whole week has passed by since my last post already! Wow!

Since last time I also feel like fall has made a real entrance as well, although it looks like we have warmer temps coming up this week again... which I should embrace. Ask me how I feel about 70s and 80s temps when I am trudging around snow banks in the middle of January. Yeah. So even though running in the cooler temperatures we've had the past few days is infinitely nicer, I will bear more warmer ones if I must.

We were back to playing tennis but only managed two sessions due to more schedule and weather issues. You really can't play in the rain, and we had plenty of that last week. I did run three times, though – two 2 milers and one – get this – 5.5 miler! I'm pretty proud of that. It's the biggest news I have aside from getting back down to 272 and beyond! I hit 270 one morning, much to my excitement, but haven't seen it since. That's OK, I'll get there.

It seems like every other day is a struggle. Or maybe I should frame is thusly: Every other day is a breeze. But I am still dealing with some emotional eating and sometimes wonder if I will ever get over it. (The correct answer is, YES! Yes, I will!) So I'll have a really great, nearly effortless day followed by the day from Hell where I want to eat ALL. THE. FOOD. And sometimes do.

What is keeping me going is the desire to live a long, healthy life. I visited my GP for a yearly checkup and while I was in the waiting room, I saw many examples of the kind of older person I did not want to end up being like. Of course I understand that some of it is just luck of the dice, right? But at the same time I want to stack the odds as much in my favor as possible. I'm also continuing to dazzle my own self with my accomplishments – each week it seems that I am doing something I never thought I would, like the aforementioned 5.5 mile run. It's truly amazing what our not-so-perfect bodies can do when we give them permission (and the proper training) to.

My intention was to get in a 5 mile run as per my training schedule for the 10K trail race coming up. I had arranged to meet up with a few running buddies on Saturday morning and just get it done, no matter how long it took me. Well, it was raining. A lot. Like, cats and dogs raining. But, I got geared up anyway and was just about out the door when my main running pal, Amy F., texted me asking if we were still meeting. I replied saying that I was all ready to go and would be there even if no one else was. I really wanted to get it out of the way and I didn't want to psych myself out.

Long story short, we got to the park and ended up with six of us total ready to go. The rain got worse, but I realized that once I had stood in the rain long enough I barely noticed it. I even popped in my contact lenses so that I wouldn't have to deal with foggy, wet glasses for an hour and a half. As I said, 5 miles was the plan, but by the time my running partner of the day, Emily, and I completed three loops around the park, we were at 5.3 miles. No way is my OCD self going to leave it at that – "Let's do 5.5!" I urged. And we did. Amy ended up doing 6.5!

Emily is a runner from the Learn to 5K program that just ended but she has been totally rocking it. Our pace is similar and she ran the whole distance with me and kept my mind off the miles for sure with her gift of gab. I'm not sure what that run would have been like without the benefit of companionship! But, now I know that I am totally capable of it, and we finished with an average pace of 15:28 – not breaking speed records for sure, but crushing distance, which is what I was interested in. 10K is totally within reach and I am no longer unsure about the race next month, even with its added challenge of trails. I know I can cover the distance.

Photos! Of course.

Stupid, or dedicated? You tell us. Emily, Amy F., me, and Jewel excited to run in the rain.

In between No Boundaries sessions, some of us plan to meet on Saturday mornings in Delaware Park like we do when the program's running.

Me, Emily, Pat, and Liz. Pat and Liz are NoBo mentors and are the best cheerleaders! This photo was
snapped when Emily and I were about to begin our third and final loop around the park.

In other Fleet Feet-related news, the Ton of Fun program started on Saturday with the baseline weigh-in and measurements. I came in at two pounds over the finish of the last session, which, all things considered, is not too bad. More like a maintain when you think about how much my weight has fluctuated. Tonight is the orientation, and I will be one of three mentors who will offer more help and support to participants – and it will keep me motivated and focused as well. I want to set a good example. My goal for the next 12 weeks is perhaps a bit ambitious, but I'd like to see 250 by the end, which means I'm looking at over 20 pounds to lose. I know I can do it, but I will really have to get serious and stop letting stupid stuff get the best of me.

Let's do this! Power in numbers.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Progress Comes in Many Forms

Yesterday I took a few hours and did a full purge of ALL the clothes not serving me well in my life and made the decision to get rid of everything that was too big, even just a little, and everything that I did not feel good in, even if it "fit". What an amazing exercise! In the past when I'd lost weight I always hung on to the bigger clothes, and I think that gave me permission to gain the weight back. This way I will need to be really careful of the decisions I make if only because I will have no "fall back" clothes to wear. Fortunately, I DID hang on to a lot of clothes that I outgrew over the years and so I have rediscovered more stuff I can wear now and look forward to wearing things in another 20+ pounds lost. That is fun!

I have realized that I am about to enter the 18 to 20/XL size range, which is very exciting and motivating. Taking the time to go through piles of clothes helped me remember all the reasons I am doing what I'm doing and why I want to keep doing it until I reach my goal.

Even though I have been stuck in the mid-270s for the past month or so (272 was the 100 pound mark), I'm doing lots of amazing activities, and I am getting a taste of what maintenance will be like. Seems pretty awesome and doable, but now I am ready to take things to the next level. I think that the next 50 pounds or so will be especially transformative.

Here's a photo I took yesterday in all my tryings-on. I'm wearing a t-shirt I used to wear in college 25 years ago, and jeans that I was only ever able to wear for a short period about 10 years ago (and not even that comfortably back then!). Yes, I held onto clothes that I really liked as I gained weight and grew out of them. So glad I did!

My beloved, nearly threadbare Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds t-shirt.
It's still snug, but I can get it on without trouble. 

And, on Friday, I ran another 5K race – it was the "graduation" race for the running program I've been doing. At the beginning of the race, I was running alongside one of the participants in the Learn to 5K section (I was in 2.0). She and I were at the back of the pack at that point, and we seemed to be enjoying each other's company. I had intended to go along my way and up the pace, aiming to get a "good" time, but about a half mile in, I decided that I wanted to stick with Tiffany and be her cheerleader for the race. Since I'm going to be a mentor in the next session of the program, I also thought it would be good practice for me in that regard.

We came in second last and last, and it was an amazing experience. For me, it was nice to take things a little bit slower than I usually aim for, and I felt comfortable the entire length of the race. I know Tiffany was working hard and she was dealing with a bad ankle (an old injury) and so we stopped to walk a couple times, and yet she pushed through and finished strong. I was SO proud of her, and so honored to be part of her first 5K experience. Crossing the finish line involved tears of joy and BIG hugs, what is better?

So, here is a photo of me just about to cross the finish line.

Almost finished!

And Tiffany and I post-race, basking in the glow of our achievements!

Rockin' the 5K!

Finally, I'm so happy that we started playing tennis again after a couple weeks' hiatus due to various issues. We did 30 minutes on Saturday, two hours yesterday (two one-hour sessions), and one hour today. Feeling really good about my skill level and my endurance! Hooray!