Sunday, July 6, 2014

My Body History

The first time I remember being aware of my body, especially my body as something different from my friends, was when I was in third grade. I was tall for my age, but at that point I'd also become heavier than most of my peers. This was the year that I went on/was put on a diet for the first time.

I was about 4' 11" and weighed 115 pounds. I think it was in the summer between 3rd and 4th grade that I lost 15 pounds.

Middle school was a tumultuous time when I was always, always, always hyper aware of what my body looked like compared to my classmates'. I was always bigger. I was always worried about my weight, though during that time I wasn't really fat – I was just big for my age. I had started my period at age 12, and had started wearing a bra before that. My body often felt like a burden or a liability. I got hit on by older guys who didn't realize how young I was.

My later high school years were when I became utterly determined to have the same kind of body that most of my friends had. Sophomore year I think I hit 150 or 160 (by then at my adult height of 5' 8"), and that was unacceptable. Over the course of the following year, I dropped down to my lowest weight of around 120, which I achieved by starving myself, exercising obsessively, and taking laxatives. One on hand, I thought I looked amazeballs, but on the other, I still thought I was a whale. I remember being in the bathtub and just being disgusted by my stomach.

To this day I have no idea how I managed to get through a day at school living like that! By the time I graduated high school, my weight evened out to around 140, thanks to a concerned friend who reported my shenanigans to my mom.

Once I transferred to a college away from home, I decided I was done with the starvation and the obsession with my weight. I started sophomore year at 150 pounds, starting eating whatever I wanted to, and finished college at 230.

The years following college was like a rollercoaster. The yo-yo dieting continued, and reached almost a frenzied pace. I'd lose maybe twenty-five pounds and then gain thirty back. I don't know how many times I joined and rejoined Weight Watchers. I tried joining a gym, I tried Overeaters Anonymous. Nothing stuck, and my weight just kept going up and up gradually.

Specific memories include having a boyfriend who told me that I was OK as I was but that I shouldn't gain any more weight (at point I was back up to 230); and about a year later, when I hit 250 and cried uncontrollably. (The boyfriend was long gone by then.)

Within a year of that, by the end of the decade, I was in the 270s.

This was the year that I was determined to fix things once and for all. When I weighed in at 310 pounds, I'd surely had enough and ended up dropping almost 60 pounds simply by exercising more and eating less and better. The rub was, it didn't stay off. I can't remember what happened that I stopped doing what I was doing, but I did, and that was that.

Five years later I found myself having gained all the weight back plus more – 40 pounds more. Once again, I set out determined to lose it permanently. It was then I started blogging about my journey for the first time. I did the C25K running program; I tracked the food I was eating. It was a good, healthy way to do it and I enjoyed it. Then, my stepfather passed away and I lost my momentum, my will. I was down just over 50 pounds, but once again, it didn't take all that long to gain it back.

I tried again. I lost 50 pounds.

The weight came back, plus 10. In July when I started a new job, I thought it would be a good idea to start a new regimen and lose some weight. I tried hard for a month but didn't see the results I'd hoped, got mad, and gave up. At the end of the year, I found out that I could get a gym membership through my health insurance for free, and went to sign up. I hadn't planned on it, but I ended up committing to a year's worth of personal training sessions as well. I thought I would at least go to the gym once a week to work with my trainer, and gradually work on the eating, and maybe find my way back.

It didn't take right away. I met with my trainer weekly in January and February, but then I got too busy and stopped going – for almost two months. I had sessions racking up, and I didn't want to waste the money I had invested. Not to mention, I hit my highest weight of 372. Finally, I started going to the gym again, and BAM! things started clicking. In May, I got a new trainer with whom I really connected, and I started focusing on my health and fitness in a different way. I still had a similar philosophy about how I wanted to get to a better physical place for myself – eat reasonably, exercise more, see a doctor and figure out what my overall health really is, etc. This time, though, instead of focus being on weight loss, focus is on the whole picture with weight loss being a happy result of the things I am doing to feel comfortable and able to do what I want to do.

So, here I am today, a couple months later and 21 pounds down. It is my biggest wish that my efforts this time really stick.

I have a good feeling that now is the time that I stop repeating history.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Fitness Bucket List

Poking around some of my favorite fit bloggin' reads, I found this link to Nellie's 2014 Fitness Bucket List, which inspired me to make my own list... except that mine includes physical activities that I'd like to be able to do sometime down the line, though not necessarily this year.

Here goes!

1. Pull-ups. Pulling the weight of my body with my two arms? Amazing.

2. Push-ups. Real ones.

3. Get my bike out of storage and get myself back in the saddle.

4. Speaking of saddles, I would love to try horseback riding!

5. Run again. Run a 5K again. Run a 10k, a half-marathon and yes, one day... a marathon.

6. Swimming! This one's easy... I just need a bathing suit, to be honest.

7. Become a hardcore pilates practitioner. I used to love doing pilates. Some of the things my trainer has me do are definitely related, core-based strengthening. It's love/hate. ;)

8. Yoga. Oh, yoga. I can't wait to try you once and for all.

9. Waterski.

10. Kayak.

11. Walk around a place like New York City and not feel like I am going to die.

What are your activity goals/desires?

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

And then she...

What I am reading lately: Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes

What I did last night: Lydia Lunch spectator, oh my god!

What I am doing after work: Picking up my farm share

What I am feeling today: Pretty good stuff – five days off for the long holiday weekend

What I have planned for the week: A studio sale!, gardening, walking, visiting my mom, painting, drinking good beer


I need to catch up with y'all. I've had a most excellent past week or so and have just been living life and enjoying myself. Sticking with my program, yes, though I think a bit of drinking and coming off my period have resulted in a very slight weight gain for the time being, i.e. 355 vs. 353. Almost twenty pounds lost – but dudes, that's not the main thing here. I'm looking at the whole, not the parts. Though sometimes it does behoove me to look at the parts rather than the whole (like when I think about how much weight I'd like to lose – in that case, the parts are better than the whole... ten pounds at a time vs. 200 pounds).

Are you with me?

I feel like I've had some life-changing experiences lately.

This was me last night. Double chin and all, and you know what? F--- it.

Freaking happy, people! That was REAL.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Pact? What's That?


I am so excited to be the featured Pact user on the site's blog today! Have a peek over here.

This smartphone app has been played a major role in my success so far, and is helping me to build new, healthy habits. Check it out!

Oh! and I just realized that today is my first monthiversary of blogging here again after a two three year hiatus. High fives all around. Major smiles.

More to come...

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Down 15 pounds!

That's really all.

I guess that all the physical activity I'm getting is finally kicking in.

Seeing the numbers is great and all, but what really counts is that I am really getting into all these positive changes I am making for myself. I want to get better and stronger at everything I do, and I want to give it all the nutrition my body needs, and take care of it in the best way I can.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Stroll

It was a fabulous weekend. I achieved my fitness goals for the week, finishing off with two walks, one each on Saturday and Sunday. I ended up doing one walk at the gym, and one at home walking around the neighborhood. I thought it was interesting how different the experiences were, and thought I'd talk about them here.

Saturday ended up being a little bit lazy – I didn't exactly get as much stuff done as I'd planned – but one thing I knew I had to do was get my 30 minutes of exercise in as part of my Pact commitment. I wasn't really in the mood for a neighborhood walk, though. I'd had a really good treadmill experience earlier in the week and kind of craved it, so I drove to the gym and did just that.

My treadmill workouts have been all over the map, quite honestly. One day my "bones" just won't stop hurting (I often get pain along the sides of my calves), and it makes for challenging workouts. Other days it seems like I glide through the 15 to 30 minutes, depending. (I usually warm up for my training sessions with Rick, my trainer at LA Fitness, by doing a fairly easy 15 minutes, some seated exercises, and some bicep curls on alternate feet, for example.) Of course, as time goes on, it gets generally easier, and yesterday was soooo nice. I did just over a half hour but I pushed myself a little more than usual to start getting my speed up. I've been building really slowly since I started coming to the gym regularly, so I am still doing not much faster than 2.4 mph – I know, that's a snail's pace to many of you! But this time I wanted to see if I could run for any length of time, just to see, and I did it! Of course, 3 mph might not sound like running to you, but for my body it was. And it felt good! I did just a couple minutes total in between walking, but was very proud of myself.

Today, on the other hand, I just didn't feel like driving and stuff, so... neighborhood, begrudgingly, it was. I got started and set my Pact app to track the exercise, as usual. I decided that I was going to try not to watch the clock and just enjoy a leisurely stroll until I thought I'd reached the halfway point of the workout. Well, was I ever surprised to see that the darn thing only counted four out of what should have been about 15 minutes! Argh! Well, I needed that workout to register in order to avoid paying a "fine" so I had to trudge on for an extended walk.

It turned out to be a really good thing. I did a route that was sort of my old stomping grounds when I used to do C25K a few years ago. I felt pretty good and it was nice to see the scenery again – that part of the neighborhood has lots of greenery and pretty houses – and, before I knew it, I was finished. When I got home, I was interested to see how far I'd gone and figure out an approximate pace, etc. so I turned to my old friend, MapMyFitness online. I tracked the route, entered the time information, and blammo! It turns out that I walked 1.78 miles in about 40 minutes, which translates to a 22 minute pace! It's not great, I guess, but not bad for someone who really got out of shape for a few years.

I tell you what, I don't think I would have even attempted to walk that far or even dreamed I could do that much yet. But there you have it.

The thing that really struck me was that for my treadmill workouts, it's often a challenge to get to one mile, much less almost two. Obviously, as I saw with my MapMyFitness stats, it's something I can do, and beyond fairly easily. I'm not sure what is at work there, but it's interesting enough to me that I will continue to do both and reap all the benefits.

P.S. The weight loss hasn't been a fluke – I am still below 360 as of this morning. It feels so good. Amazing what a difference that 10 pounds can make!

Friday, June 20, 2014

And The Doctor Says...

Relaxation? I can dig it. Now I need to do it. Photo by Dedda71 via Wiki Commons. 

I had follow-up appointment with my GP today. It's been about a month since our initial meeting, and as you may recall, I had a full menu of blood work done to see where I stand health-wise. As I suspected, I do NOT have an expert eye at reading these reports, which I was able to do through my lab's website online a few days ago. Well, it turns out that everything is better than normal! Like, way better in many cases. The only thing that is slightly off is my estrogen levels, which is to be expected as someone with PCOS, like me. However, even that, the doc said, seemed to be on its way out the door. He feels that with more weight loss it may not be an issue for much longer. Same with the glucose measurement, which found me at just between normal and pre-diabetic... which I guess makes me PRE-pre diabetic. Again, this is something he is confident will go down to normal as I lose more weight. No medication needed.

He was very pleased, and I was super psyched and really proud of myself.

The only thing that was cause for concern was my blood pressure. I had hopes, but it just hasn't budged from 146/90 in a while, and that's not great. He wants me to go on a low-dose medication and see how that works, and go from there. He said he does feel that I will be able to go off medication if I continue taking good care of myself. This includes not only diet and exercise, but also stress management, good sleep habits... which leads me to the last piece: a sleep assessment. If I do have sleep apnea, getting treatment will help me get better rest, have more oxygen flowing through my system, and let me body do the things it needs to do while I'm sleeping. Doc said it can affect metabolism as well! So, I will have that test done and see what happens. Then, I'll have more blood tests done for another meeting in three months.

I must say, I am so excited about all this! I must confess that I was pretty worried about my overall health. This puts me at much greater ease and gives me a good boost of confidence as well. Not to mention, it's proof that yes, fatties CAN get good bills of health as much as the next person!

The biggest thing that is next on my list to address is my stress level and ability to truly relax. This has definitely been a challenge for me as I am so often busy and have stuff that must get done. It's hard for me on a day off to not feel like I should be doing something meaningful, you know what I mean? Establishing a meditation practice is something I have wanted to do for a long time now, and yoga has been on my mind... onward and upward. Focus.


In other news, I've had not just one, but TWO hour and a half long workouts at the gym this week. Wow, I tell you what, it feels really good to accomplish that, but at the same time? I totally zonked out today after my doctor's appointment and napped for hours. My whole body is sore and tired. This weekend I have some activity planned for each day (probably walks around the neighborhood again, and maybe some more gardening and house work), but next week I'm sticking with the two hour-long workouts for now. I gotta build UP to it, man! It's just so hard to not be so enthusiastic when I can sense so many positive changes happening. I know it's just a drop in this big old bucket, but I can see little changes in my body already! It's amazing.

Oh, and by the way? I'm down just below 360 as of this morning. YES.

Hey, do me a favor and share with me your favorite ways to relax?