Saturday, November 30, 2013

The month of thanks comes to an end....

This has been an interesting month for me.  I feel more settled and with more serenity then I think that I have had since entering maintenance in July 2012.  Because no feeling of "goodness" would be complete without me having SOMETHING to worry about, I worry about crossing the fine line between confidence and cockiness.  

Before dinner tonight we did a Yoga DVD.  Because it is about pushing your limits but in a MUCH different way then, say, high intensity cardio, AND because it focuses on settling your mind, I can't help but feel that it's apropos that this was my last workout of the month.

Ok, so we enter December tomorrow.  It is a month of challenges!  I am concerned about making good food choices with temptations a plenty.  I am also worried about keeping my running going.  I just cannot stand the freezing cold temps and the treadmill continues to be a nemesis for me mentally.  

I also want to talk about sacrifice.  You CANNOT succeed in the weight loss battle without sacrifice.  Personal sacrifice and also asking your family and friends to sacrifice.  Wrap your mind around this.  Now is the time to get your mind right.  Start NOW.  

If you are going to travel the path to healthy living that means your are going to give up a LOT.  Exercise takes time.  Eating right is hard.  Other hobbies HAVE to be abandoned.  We cannot have it all.  Losing the weight is one of the easier things, trust me.  The day to day grind and committing to a solid plan?  That's what is hard.

But each sacrifice you make takes you closer to goal.  Each day you say "I'll start tomorrow" pulls the goal further away.  It ain't getting easier people!

Here is something I won't sacrifice and I'm glad to have accomplished it today: 

To end this month I want to express thankfulness for the life I have.  I am grateful for friends and family, for a wonderful husband, for home and health and happiness. 

Friday, November 29, 2013

Let the season begin!!!

It's here!!  The holiday season has begun!!  I am breaking out the holiday decorations today.  Hopefully we'll get the tree up tomorrow.  

This season always starts with some sadness for me as we are almost upon the anniversary of my dad's death.  And I get really nostalgic breaking out the decorations that are filled with memories.  Like a small wooden sleigh that my grandfather made makes me think of him with both a smile and an ache in my heart.  

But once I clear that mental hurdle, I will love to sit back and just enjoy the season.  There is a lot of talk about how the season has lost it's "meaning".  The way I look at it, YOU determine the holidays for yourself.  Where some people are concerned with getting bargains and collecting STUFF - that's not MY experience.  I choose to concentrate on ME, not the other guy. 

So I head into this season feeling hope and joy.  I continue to challenge myself to EXPERIENCE life and be less demanding.  Guess what?  I DIDN'T WORK OUT THIS MORNING.  AND when I stepped on the scale and saw that it was 6 pounds heavier then yesterday morning, I didn't have a major freak out!!

I'll work out this afternoon.  And I will need to get back on track with my eating.  But for the start of the holiday season, I want to be kinder and gentler to ME.  And I want you to do the same to yourself!


Today I am thankful that the holiday season brings mostly touching and wonderful memories to mind and an opportunity to create more of these.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I just got back from running the local 5K Turkey Trot.  I am tremendously disappointed in my time.  25:16.  Blah!

Conditions stunk - that's my excuse!  It is 14 degrees here and the roads were covered in hard packed slippery snow!

Oh well, I got my day started off with some exercise and now I'm looking forward to a day with family and good food!

Hope everyone has a wonderful day - stick to your plan whatever that may be!

I will be Thankful today for a truly wonderful life!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Feeling great!

I am feeling fantastic heading into Thanksgiving!  I am in such a good mood that even the horrible weather couldn't bring me down this morning!  We are covered in deep snow and yet I don't want to kill anyone! 

We will be running a 5K Turkey Trot tomorrow before heading over to Marc's sister's house.  I was really hoping to come away with a great time, but a lot will depend on when the snow stops falling and whether they can get the route cleaned up so that I can run all out without worrying about falling and breaking something.  

My Achilles is still really swollen and hurts at times, but I think that the stretching that I have been doing has really paid off, because it is definitely better then it was.  I am healing!

I have been evaluating where I am at with my goals heading into the Holidays.  One area that I feel I am failing at is being a good mommy to my Boxers.  I've been really busy and distracted and I haven't given them the attention they deserve.  Also, it is almost dark when I get home, so they haven't been getting enough activity.  

I feel really guilty about this and I need to make an effort to get back on track with giving them the attention and exercise they deserve.  Which will take some creativity on my part.  That is a goal of mine heading into the last month of the year.

Weight wise, I'm right where I want to be and feel pretty great about that.  Of course I will spike after tomorrow, but a few days on plan will bring me right back down.

So, I hope life is good for everyone else out there.  If you are on the east coast and traveling, please stay safe and sane!

Today I am grateful for my boys Chakotay and Archer.  The unconditional love of a dog is almost overwhelming at times.  They deserve as much as they give.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

This is IMPOSSIBLE! Or is it?

I'm hearing that a lot lately.  That it's just not possible to lose the weight because of ______________ (fill in the blank).  It's bad when we give this message to ourselves - it's WORSE when we hear it from others - especially people like doctors!

Yes, doctors are being advised that they need to to start addressing obesity when talking with their patients.  BUT most doctors seem curiously reluctant to address this issue.  And when they do, they are telling people to eat less and exercise.  That's what I was told.  Well NO SHIT SHERLOCK.  Do you think most of us are fat because we have no idea why we are fat?  

I recently heard from a woman who had her doctor tell her that she HAD to have gastric bypass.  She tried talking to him about alternatives and he kept shutting her down telling her that it would NOT be possible for her to lose the approximately 125 pounds she had to lose on her own with diet and exercise.  She went out to her car and cried.

It's time to reach deep.  This is NOT impossible.  Fuck the doctor or anyone else in your life who tries to tell you it's not going to happen.  Shut that voice in your head up that tells you that it can't be done.  There is no reason that you can't achieve your goals, PERIOD.  It was IMPOSSIBLE that an unremarkable woman in her late 30's would just decide one day to lose weight and would end up 228 pounds lighter running a half-marathon.  But guess what - that person is ME and I'm here to tell you that it happened.

Can you imagine what you life would be like if you lost weight?  Can you see a life with less pain, less health issues and waking up every single day feeling confident and powerful?  It is right there - you just have to grab it.

Go look in the mirror.  Tell yourself what a wonderful person you are.  Tell that face how strong you are.  Even if you don't believe it.  Repeat it.  Repeat it again until you believe it.  This is your life and you have the power.  I want you to believe in yourself.  Every day I want you to embrace the awesomeness of you!  Look in that mirror and be the powerful and in control beyotch that you know you are!  

Throw those shoulders back and get going.  You will stumble and falter but ultimately you can and will be victorious!  Can I get a HELL YEAH?

    I am grateful today to be one of thousands of men and women who have fought against adversities small and large and have come out on the other side - strong and confident.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Recipe: Sweet potato, pumpkin and peanut butter soup.

I LOVE soup.  And this healthy low cal soup is wonderful on a cold winter night!


1 cup pumpkin puree
1 medium sweet potato
1/4 cup smooth peanut butter
about 2½  cups vegetable stock or water
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
few chives for garnish (or any herb of your choosing)

Step 1:  Chop the sweet potatoes roughly and steam them for about 25 minutes.

I use my handy dandy veggie steamer to steam the sweet potatoes.

Step 2:  Blend up the sweet potatoes until they are smooth.

I use a hand blender to get them nice and smooth.

Step 3:  On low heat, add the pumpkin and peanut butter to the sweet potatoes.

You can use canned pure pumpkin or fresh pumpkin that you have made into a puree.

You can use any smooth peanut butter.  I use Peanut Butter and Co's: The Bee's Knees as it adds a wonderful sweet honey taste.

Step 4:  Add the stock and seasoning and mix up well.

I like this soup the consistency of a bisque, so it uses about 2 1/2 cups.  You can make it really thick or quite loose by changing the amount of stock.  

Step 5:  Cook for 10 minutes and that's all she wrote!  You can garnish with chives or whatever you like.  I go for the sweeter side so I usually add a little cinnamon on top.

Hope you enjoy!

Today I am thankful for an ever growing acceptance of myself, faults and all.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

A week of challenges!

I am getting excited about Thanksgiving!  I hope that you guys are lucky enough to be looking forward to it rather then dreading it!  After all, it is supposed to be a day for family and giving thanks.  And that's what I plan to do.

So I talked about how rattled I get when it comes to changes in my routine.  And after an incredibly stressful and emotional week, I found myself - by my own choice - facing changes to my routine over the weekend.

Yesterday, Marc and I worked out as we always do on Saturday mornings and then went to a small and ultimately crappy local craft show.  We then hit the grocery store to make sure that I had everything that I am going to make for Thanksgiving so I won't have to stop after work this week.  

When we got home there was plenty of time for us to do a second workout.  But I felt edgy and unsettled.  I used the computer and paced a little.  And then - feel free to GASP - I took a bubble bath.  I don't talk much on here about the importance of rest.  That's because I'm terrible at it.  But I know that it is important to listen to your body - and yesterday it was telling me to chill.  And I was almost able to do it completely.

As a funny aside, I want to tell you something, but it falls into the WAY TMI file - so brace yourself!  When we built the addition onto our house in 2005 we built a large master bed and bath and I wanted to make sure we had a deluxe jacuzzi tub.  When Marc and I used to take a bath together we were squished and tried to find a position where we were both comfortable.  I also used to worry that with both of us in there that we would weigh too much and actually BREAK the tub and fall through into the basement.  Yesterday, both of us were in there and I realized that the 2 of us together weigh LESS than I used to weigh when I was in there MYSELF!!!  AND, there was plenty of room for both of us to get into a totally comfortable position and relax!

So, yes, I actually allowed myself to relax instead of working out and I only felt a little guilty.

I woke up this morning knowing that I was scheduled to do my long run.  The sun was beautifully bright and as I looked out the window I could see the trees telling me that there was only a light breeze.  Yay!

And then I went out to the computer room and saw Marc coming in from opening the chicken coop.  His face was bright red and he was shaking his hands and said that the outside water was frozen.  I checked and the temperature was 6 degrees!!  The thought of running in that was horrible.  I decided to choose the lesser of 2 hells and told Marc my plan would be to run on the treadmill in the afternoon while watching football.

We then headed over to my mother's house to drop off presents for the relatives as she is heading out to their house for Thanksgiving and I won't have to mail the gifts since she can take them.  We made a stop at Walmart - I was FILLED with anxiety.  Stupid?  Yup.  My anxiety came from being out of my routine - Sunday I run in the morning.  And I hadn't.  My trip to Walmart ended up with me going APESHIT on a cashier.  I mean, she was in the wrong, but I may have ever so slightly over-reacted.

But then I hit the treadmill and ran 13.12 miles.  And that restored the world to it's upright and locked position and I feel good.  Only 3 days of work this week and then the holiday season starts!!  

I am almost exactly 1 year and 4 months into maintenance and I continue to evolve and challenge my way of thinking.  I know that I am wildly imperfect and sound crazy at times, so thanks everyone for bearing with me.  I try to be as real as I can - I don't know that anyone else "gets it" but I hope it is useful for you!

Today I am thankful for the luxury of being able to make my own choices and to explore different ways of living my life.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Shall we talk family?

Ok, here is another issue that people will be dealing with during the holidays and since people tend to be around extended family more-so on Thanksgiving let's talk about how we plan to handle family next week.

Again, just like with food, it's important to have a strategy.  First off, I want you to deal with your own head.  This is HUGELY important.  Look yourself in the mirror.  You are a wonderful, beautiful person.  NO ONE has the power to get into your head unless you allow them to!  You are deserving of love and respect and someone who doesn't treat you with that?  They SUCK.  They are the shithead.  NOT YOU!  Remember that and own that above all else.

Ok, now that you have the power let's remember this.  What you eat and how much you eat of it is your fucking business.  Not anyone else's.  If you CHOOSE to have a piece of pecan pie and your skinny ass cousin Cindy makes a remark about it like "Is that on your diet?"  Tell her to cram it.  Well, maybe some of you are more delicate then that.  But YOU know who the assholes are in your family and you need to have a PLAN on how to deal with it.  What DO you plan to say if and when someone makes a snide remark?

Recruit your supports.  Have a frank talk with your husband.  Sit him down this week and tell him you want to talk about Thanksgiving Day.  Say to your husband "You know how your brother-in-law is always making jokes about my weight?  It really upsets me.  I plan to stand up for myself this year and I want your support."

How much do you plan to say about your weight loss?  Mine was so obvious because I was losing so much that I just proudly owned the number.  Some of you may not be comfortable with that.  So what will you say if and when someone comments on your weight?  Maybe it's as simple as saying "I'm trying to be a little healthier - boy that is a beautiful sweater!!" Or maybe you want to yell "I have lost 50 pounds through a lot of hard work!!"  What you want to disclose is up to you!

How about Aunt Gertrude who always wants to get in everyone's business?  Remember - no one can rattle you unless you allow them to!!!  Don't worry about being rude.  You only get one chance at this life.  Don't spend one minute of it being a victim to other people's assholitis.

Are you ready?  Do you have your plan?  I am hopeful that you have a wonderfully supportive family and you don't need to implement any of these.  But since I know some of you don't and will face issues, I hope that this helps you remember what is important and how you can handle it.

If all else fails and people are questioning or bothering you about your food choices, I want you to say this - "My good friend Jen, who lost 228 pounds through diet and exercise, told me what I can and can't eat today.  Oh, and she also told me to tell you to go fuck yourself!" 

Today I tremendously thankful to know that I will be spending my Thanksgiving with my awesome in-laws who welcomed me years ago into their family with open arms and who have done nothing but support me in every facet of my life - including my weight loss.

Friday, November 22, 2013

The progress that HASN'T been made!

Sigh....  It's always two steps forward and one step back for me it seems.  As was completely obvious, I had a very emotional day yesterday.  Emotional and stressful.

In addition to the drama that was going on with so many of my clients that had to be discussed in our morning meeting, there was also many other clients scheduled that day.  So our meeting took FOREVER.  And it was COLD in the room we meet in.  I'm cold all the time, anyway, but it was just cold for most people, so you know that I was FREEZING.  I went into my office and got my Snuggie out and actually took it back into the meeting and put it on - classy and professional, right?

And one of my co-workers had been nice enough to bring in 2 full boxes of fresh home-cooked treats.  I resisted and resisted.  It got later and later.  I was shaking I was was so cold.  And I got hungry.  We finally broke up the meeting and then had to go into court and see each of the clients individually.  It was way past the lunch hour.  And I did the unthinkable.  I ate a cookie.  As big as my fucking face cookie.

Ok, well maybe it wasn't quite this big...

By the time court ended it was mid-afternoon.  I was starving.  I had a TON of work to do - which meant no noon exercise and it WAS a run day.  

I managed to get out of there a little early and went home - physically and emotionally exhausted and kicking myself for not running and eating that BLASTED cookie.  I was going to go out and run, but it's getting dark so early.  I should have run on the treadmill.  Instead I got on the elliptical and busted my ass for 90 minutes.  

But that wasn't good enough.  It was a RUN DAY and I DIDN'T RUN.  Which, logically, makes me an absolutely pathetic fat LOSER.  Right?  Of course right!

I was so down last night.  

Today is a new day.  Shockingly, the scale wasn't up 23 pounds this morning.  In fact, it was .2 lower then yesterday.  I have eaten right.  I have avoided the oatmeal raisin cookies in the break room that have been singing to me.  It was cool and rainy at lunch.  And I ran 7 miles.  I got some more bad news on clients.  But I got all my work done so I'm not going to obsess about that this weekend.   I still feel like a failure for only running 3 days this week.  But I'm not bashing myself too badly.  

I find that I remain so mentally inflexible when it comes to any disruption in my routine.  It just derails me completely.  But the good news is that I seem to be able to recover quicker and not let it pull me into a multi-day funk.  This is progress, right?

Today I am thankful to have a weekend to relax and rejuvenate my body, mind and soul!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Not a good day....

I fucking HATE addiction so badly.  Hate it so much it hurts!  

My job is intense.  I spend every day dealing with people who are addicted to drugs and alcohol.  I see people who are on the brink of being sent to state prison because of crimes they have committed due to their addiction to substances.  

Some come to see me in utter despair - begging for help.  Others walk into my office in denial - pissed at the world and blaming everyone but themselves for their problems.  They see me as an extension of authority and they HATE that I have any say in their future.

Some days I am their best friend.  Counseling them and consoling them while they cry.  Other times they sit across from me - red faced - as I scream at them and tell them they are headed to state prison.  I am often there for wonderful moments in their lives - like when they have been sober long enough that they get custody of their children back.  I am there for terrible moments in their lives - like when the Judge tells them they will be spending the next 6 years in state prison.   

Every year I prepare for the holidays.  As you might imagine, the holidays are rough on people in recovery from drug and alcohol addiction.  Many of them don't have family they are close to.  Or they have family members who are actively using and they can't be around them.  Many of them are separated from their children.  It's a challenging time for anyone let alone someone who is not only just not using, but is trying to totally change their lives.

But the influx of bad times has started already.  One of my clients had over a year clean.  He was doing well - just got visitation with his children, got a great full time job, and was getting ready to graduate from the program.  He let his guard down this weekend and was with someone he shouldn't have been.  The next thing you know he is laying in the middle of a parking lot at midnight having a seizure with a needle full of heroin sticking out of his arm.  Fortunately someone saw him - someone who thought he was having an epileptic episode - and called an ambulance.  If that ambulance had not been called, I likely would have gone to his calling hours this week.

I have been to way too many calling hours.

He was not the only one who relapsed this week.  And with each relapse comes a step back.  Another guy has a great job.  Which he will lose because he is going to be referred to a long term inpatient program.  Another guy was taken from the courtroom this morning in handcuffs.  

Not to mention that I got to scream at someone this morning for posting old pictures of himself on Facebook with a handful of marijuana buds.  I love that he thinks I'm an idiot....

I've said before that recovery from addiction to drugs and alcohol and recovery from obesity have a lot in common.  They certainly do.  But addiction to drugs seems to tear apart people's lives faster and without any mercy, whatsoever.

Today I am thankful that the challenges that I face in my recovery are often small potatoes compared to the road that others have to travel...

And while I remain tremendously grateful for this - I can't deny the emotional toll it takes on me, too.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The holidays are almost upon us!!

Here they come!  The holidays are getting close and people are starting to freak out!  We'll have a lot to talk about in the next few weeks.  But now is the time - before the relatives invade, before the shit hits the fan - to make a plan.  

So it's time to sit down, to take a minute and have an HONEST discussion with yourself about the next month or so and what challenges and decisions will have to be made.  First off, what is going to be your plan as far as your weight loss journey goes?  Are you going to LOSE more weight?  Is your goal to MAINTAIN where you are right now?  Are you going to accept that you will GAIN some over the next month or so?  All of these are valid decisions for you to make.  But you should make this decision and have a strategy NOW.

Some of you will want to stick to plan.  On my journey down this was me.  Don't get me wrong - I ate freely and stuffed myself SILLY on Thanksgiving and Christmas.  BUT only those days.  The rest of the time I stuck to plan - and I lost weight.  Last year I was in maintenance and I wanted to maintain.  I allowed myself more freedom than the prior year - more indulgences - but most of the time I was on plan and I was able to maintain my weight.  That's my plan again this year.  Another woman I know from the weight loss site is in maintenance but plans to eat freely the whole season accepting that she is going to gain a couple of pounds and then she will work on taking it off after the holidays.  

Try and be honest with yourself.  Whatever decision you make is absolutely ok.  But don't plan to lose weight and then allow yourself to eat wantonly for more days than not and then be devastated when you step on the scale!

Some strategies I suggest you employ - stick to an exercise plan!!  I am running a "Turkey Trot" Thanksgiving morning and will stick to exercising the best that I can throughout the holidays!  Last year I even went on a 4 mile walk Christmas with the dogs before heading out for the day.  I'm not sure that I would begin a program like P90X on Monday and believe that I would follow it to the letter, but you certainly can be active and burn those calories.  

Eat things that you really really want but don't eat crap just because it's there.  For example, if your sister makes the best homemade pecan pie on the face of this earth, have a piece!  But when the co-worker brings in some processed pre-packaged brownies with green and red sprinkles on it and calls it a Christmas treat?  That's just not worth it!

When all the relatives want to go out to dinner, try to steer them to a place where you can make healthy choices.  Review the menu and know what you're going to order before you get there.  If you want a bite of the super high calorie entree your brother-in-law ordered, have A BITE and then stick to the healthy meal you ordered!

Watch the little things.  You may think you're doing ok if you turn down something from the box of cookies your friend brought to you.  But you think it's no big deal to have a candy cane here or there.  A candy cane has about 50 calories.  Eat 2 of those a day for a week and you've racked up 700 calories!  I know of a lot of things that have 700 calories that I would rather eat that are much better for me!  

No mindless eating!  Don't go to a party and stand right at the snack table picking and picking and picking before dinner.  Go mingle!  Run around with the kids!  Catch up with what Aunt Edna has been doing for the last year, even if you don't care!

I think a good plan to have is to be on plan "more days than not".  You aren't going to be perfect, but you don't have to undo 6 months worth of work in 4 weeks.  AND if you fuck up?  Well, we've all been there, done that.  You'll wake up the next day and make better choices!

Today I am grateful for the sun in the sky and the hope in my heart!!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Stretch it out!

Today I want to talk about one of the most important areas of fitness.  It is important for everyone from the elite athlete to the complete newbie when it comes to exercise.  And yet, it is one of the most neglected areas!  That is stretching!!

In December 2010, when I was several months into losing weight and had started a fitness program, I found a Pilates kit on a clearance rack and bought it without knowing too much about it.  It came with a stretching strap, a small inflatable ball, and some instructional cards.  I started going into an unused conference room during my lunch hour and started experimenting with stretching and doing some simple Pilates and Yoga moves.

Remember, at the time I weighed around 275 pounds.  I had a huge stomach and was not all that flexible.   So I modified some moves and did the best I could.  Even though I was far from a yoga master, I noticed that I was re-invigorated after a session of stretching.  I felt good and had renewed energy for the afternoon.

As my fitness improved and I started doing more and more intensive exercises, my stretching went a little by the wayside.  I would ALWAYS do some courtesy stretching after a run, and usually did a Yoga DVD once a week.  But I didn't devote the time to stretching that I should have.  And then I had IT Band issues and Achilles Tendonitis and I wanted to improve my squat form.  I had to incorporate some stretches and it instantly reminded me about how important stretching is.

So I am back on the stretching train so to speak.  I have my alarm set at work to go off to remind me to get up and do some simple stretching exercises.  And I am concentrating more on stretching the muscles after a run. 

Why?  What is the deal with stretching?  Well, it helps improve athletic performance.  It decreases the chances of injury.  Stretching dramatically increases the flow of blood to the muscles - it feels good and improves muscle and tendon health.  It makes you more functional in every day life - to reach and twist and squat down.  Ever see these body builders with giganto muscles but they can barely move because they are so inflexible?  That's not good!

There are 2 different type of stretching - DYNAMIC and STATIC.  Dynamic stretches are those done where you are moving the muscles - like lightly kicking your legs back and forth.  Or swinging your arms in a hugging motion and back.  Static stretching is the more conventional stretching where you pull a muscle and hold it.

NEVER NEVER NEVER statically stretch muscles when they are COLD!  It doesn't help and can injure you.  Make sure that your body is warmed up - even if you just walk around a little - before static stretching.

So what stretches should you do?  Well it depends.  The stretches that I do after running are different then what I do during my mid-morning stretching.  In general, you want to focus on large muscle groups - specifically ones that get tight.  That includes your quadriceps (front of thighs), hamstrings (back of thighs), calves, upper back and shoulders.  Getting a book on stretching is a great idea.    

Also a stretching strap in invaluable.  It allows you to extend your reach - for example if you can't reach your foot while sitting down and stretching out a hamstring, this allows you to loop around your feet and pull.  My flexibility is dramatically improved from where I started, but I still use my strap every day.

From there, you might want to move into Yoga which is an advanced form of stretching and is good for mind, body and soul.  There are a TON of beginner Yoga DVDs out there, as well as Yoga DVDs specifically designed for people with specific health issues.  

One great thing about yoga is that you just challenge yourself but make it about feeling good and enjoying the journey.  There is no competition to see who can best downward dog!  It's about improving your health and wellness.  So have at it!!

Today I am thankful that every single moment in time gives me a chance for new decisions, a new path, a new way to be!


Monday, November 18, 2013

Life is short...

Life is so fragile, so short.  I've been pondering this lately.  The other day there was a situation where I took the "high road".  The high road is an unfamiliar road to me.  In fact, in my past taking the "low road" - fighting dirty, holding grudges, being vicious - wasn't just part of who I was, it was something that I prided myself on!

I find now that I just don't have time for that drama.  I think that part of it is that with my weight loss has come more than I ever imagined.  It made me have confidence in myself and a respect for who I am that I have never in my life had before.  Life is just too short.

You see, when I was fat, I hated myself.  And one way to make myself feel better would be to crush others.  And I was pretty damn good at that.  But I just don't want to be that person anymore.  Every single day - in person, but on places like Facebook, I see grown ass adults acting like 13 year olds.  It used to disgust me.  But now I feel pity for someone who is in their 40's with children and grandchildren posting messages about people being "two-faced".  Really?  

I could get hit by a truck while out running tomorrow.  We could go to war and have someone bomb the shit out of us.  Like happened this weekend - tragically - tornados could roll through and kill us in our sleep.  If you spend any time thinking about it, it's terribly scary.

My life used to revolve around television and computers.  They both remain a part of my life, but now I'm out there LIVING.  That's one thing that weight loss has done for me.  I don't want to spend one more minute of my life wasting it being fat and unhealthy.  I want to LIVE.

On the other hand, I don't want to spend one more minute hating the fact that I weigh 121 today instead of 117.  It's ridiculous and it prevents me from LIVING, too.  Finding the balance between contentment while still challenging myself has proved difficult.  But as I sit here today, I am more at peace then I think I have ever been.

Drama and gossiping used to be fun.  I have more to fill up my life now.  And if there are people in my life that aren't healthy then they are no longer welcome in my life.  Period.  Not with hostility, but a peace at seeing a disease leave.

 Today I am thankful for an inner peace and tranquility.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

A goal conquered...

BOOYAH!  The frustratingly elusive 18 miles has finally been conquered.  Why is 18 miles a big deal?  Well, it's not.  There is nothing that special about 18 miles.  It essentially means that I ran about 5 minutes longer then my longest previous run.

But I had that goal to get to 18 and then it didn't happen.  And it didn't happen again.  And then it got into my head!  I had the "yips".  Apparently the "yips" IS a real physiological thing.  But more commonly it's used to describe when an athlete just loses his/her ability for psychological reasons.  Like missing free-throws or suddenly missing easy putts in golf.

Anyway, I was determined to get there today.  And my stomach was OFF - BAD - from eating like a pig at my grandmother's 90th birthday party yesterday.  While the temperature was great - low 50's - it was sprinkling and the wind was horrible.  Actually the wind was terrible for the first 5 miles, but then I was able to get out of it somewhat and run without fighting the wind for a while.  

I was doing pretty well until mile 13.  That's when Fat Jen and Thin Jen got into a fight.  It was there that a decision had to be made.  I could head straight home (2.25 miles) or take the left turn that would circle me around 5 miles.  I took that left turn.  At mile 15 I was CONVINCED that I couldn't do it.  I wanted to stop and call Marc to come get me.  I took inventory of my body.  I was uncomfortable -  well of course - running 15 miles is HARD - but nothing HURT.  There was no reason to give up, but I wanted to!  I had been running for about 2 hours straight.  I pushed on.

At mile 16.75 I turned onto the main road and knew I was close.  So I was happy - for about 30 seconds.  And then I realized NOT ONLY did I have to get up the large 1/2 mile hill lying in front of me like an evil demon, but I had turned DIRECTLY into the wind.  Fat Jen BEGGED for us to stop.  The hill went on FOREVER.  And just when you get to the top?  You run straight and then hit another smaller hill.  I was at 17.5 - "GOOD ENOUGH!"  Fat Jen yelled desperately - "that's still further then you've ever run!"  Thin Jen had abandoned me.  She was strangely quiet.  

And then there it was.  Although the rain suddenly became a shower rather then a drizzle and the wind was still trying to sweep me off my feet, lying in front of me was a gorgeous, wonderful, DOWNHILL slope AND I could see my house - calling to me, welcoming me home.  So I ran that last 1/2 mile and appreciated the victory when I arrived.

You see my friends - the best accomplishments are not about beating someone else.  They're not about getting a ribbon or having someone patting your back.  They best accomplishments are when you push yourself to meet your goals.  When you do something - anything - you were SURE you couldn't do.  When you wanted - with every fiber of your being - to give up and you DIDN'T.  I hope all of you can have that experience.  It is out there.  What are you afraid of doing?  What have you tried and FAILED?  I failed.  Until I didn't.  

18 miles - that's not a big deal.  Except that it IS.  To me.  For me.

I mentioned we went to my grandmother's 90th birthday party yesterday.  Although my father's father died when I was 10 months old, I am extraordinarily thankful that I knew my other grandfather and that both of my grandmothers are still with us and I am beyond lucky to have them in my life!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Another fight!!

As if it weren't enough to have Fat Jen and Thin Jen fighting all the time, I have recently realized that there is another fight going on in my body!  That is the fight between Runner Jen and Weight-Lifter Jen!  As I've talked about so many times I think that both cardio and strength training is essential for overall health and fitness.  

I am a believer in "functional fitness".  Meaning that you are doing exercise not just for burning calories, but to have a strong body that supports every day challenges and activities.  This means cardio (plus you never know when you are going to have to run  from Zombies!) and muscles to support lifting and hauling things without having to call a muscle bound man over!!

So here's the battle between the 2 of them - I have noticed that Runner Jen wants to weigh less.  She runs the best when her weight is under 118 pounds - she is faster and can breathe better.  As soon as the weight goes up - even by just 4 pounds or so, she  feels clunky and her per mile minutes start to increase.

On the other hand, weight-lifter Jen wants to be a little heavier.  She is happy weighing around 122 pounds.  She can lift heavier weights and feels less strain while lifting when the body is heavier.  As soon as the weight decreases, she can't lift as much and some things - like pull ups become more difficult.

You wouldn't think that just a few pounds would make that much of a difference, but it definitely does in a very noticeable way.  But I guess I can just let this battle bounce back and forth.  I am never going to be a competitive or elite runner.  And I'm not remotely interested in becoming a body builder.  So I guess some days Lifter Jen will be happy and some days Runner Jen will be.  

As my co-worker said - "How many people are in there, anyway??!!"

Now there is one area that I've mentioned before that I felt was lacking and that I've been working on - my back.  I think I am FINALLY starting to see some progress after a lot of work on things I hate doing - like pull-ups.

  Taken April 2, 2013

June 5, 2013

June 22, 2013

And finally, November 11, 2013

I still think that the back is not very well muscled, but I think there has been some progress made....

Today I am grateful for my strong muscles - not because they look pretty but because they help me out in every facet of my life!

Friday, November 15, 2013

On a rant!

You would think that after losing Ezri I would be in sad mode today.  But instead for the last 2 days I have been incredibly pissy and annoyed at everything.  In psychology we often tell people that depression is anger turned inward.  Well, I guess we won't have to worry about me getting depressed, because I am turning it all outward!!

So I am warning you.  This post is going to be a bit ranty and pissy and will probably offend some people.  You may not want to read on, because I am on a ROLL today... Most times I have so much empathy for other people who are struggling in this journey.  I know the daily heartbreak.  But other times, things just drive me nuts and I feel like bitching about it today.

 How is life "supposed" to be?  We get these ideas in our head and it totally fucks up our progress.  I recently read a post from yet ANOTHER person lamenting about their loose skin and how they don't want to lose more weight if they are just going to be saggy and crappy looking.  Ok, this just drives me NUTS.  I HATED the extra skin that I had around the abdomen.  It looked terrible and was even a  functional problem.  AND I hate the extra skin that I still have - I look HORRIBLE in shorter skirts because all that thigh skin just pools around my knees.

BUT - HOW DO YOU THINK YOU LOOK BEING INCREDIBLY FAT??!!??!!  Worse.  Much worse.  At least loose skin can be gathered up and hidden in a lot of clothing.  Your fat cannot.  You cannot go back in time and NOT have been fat and caused the loose skin.  So your choices now are to be fat and unhealthy OR have loose skin OR get surgery.  If you can't have the surgery for some reason, then you are left with 2 - yes 2 choices.  PERIOD.  And if you think you are better off fat and unhealthy versus being a healthy weight with some droopiness?  Then your priorities are completely fucked up.

The next bitch I have?  People saying that other people are eating unhealthy and they are so tempted and they just can't stay away and "please help me!!"  I never know how to respond to this.  So, princess, you decided to change your life and eat healthy and THE REST OF THE WORLD didn't decide to follow.  STOP THE PRESSES!  

Believe it or not, the sun does not revolve around you.  Just because YOU decided to change doesn't mean that everyone else is!  You are going to face pizza and pie and candy and McDonald's.  You either eat it or you don't, PERIOD.  There is NO ONE who can infuse willpower into you.  You make the choice to either eat something or you say no.

Just yesterday I was in our back room and there were donuts.  A court attendant who is about 80 years old said that he was going to "hit the head" and then come back and have a donut.  I said "You lucky bastard!"  He started hysterically laughing and as others were also laughing I was like "You know how long it's been since I've had a fucking DONUT?!"  And everyone is now rolling in laughter and he came over to me and put his arm around me and while laughing was also apologizing and saying he didn't mean to "rub it in".  I said "Hey - don't apologize - it's MY issue not yours!"  Why should this older guy not have a donut in front of me?  I HAVE THE PROBLEM - not him.

Now, if we are talking about your husband bringing pizza to your house every night, we YOU have to decide if you want to be in a marriage with someone who chooses not to support you.  BUT as far as others in the world?  GET USED TO IT.  I have been on this journey since early 2010 - almost 4 years - and EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. I have to make choices between what Fat Jen wants to eat and what Thin Jen knows we should be eating.

EVERY DAY.  And I expect this to go on until age 70.  That is the age, you see, when I have decided I will eat whatever the fuck I want ;))))  

Of course it's hard.  And while we're on the topic of HARD what's with people wanting the easy way out when it comes to exercise?  You want to get on the elliptical for 10 minutes and burn off 600 calories?  Me too.  Instead I run 7 miles to burn that amount off.  

This is not easy - it is the reason so many people give up.  I want to give up sometimes.  That picture in your head - you know the one - where you lose 100 pounds and suddenly you have the PERFECT body and PERFECT life?  It's NOT REAL.  And if you insist in believing that fantasy you are in for crushing disappointment.

Today I am thankful that giving up is not an option.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

RIP Ezri....

Sad news to report today.  Geez, I was just telling you guys about this being a hard time of year - and all the losses we have had.  And then we lost one of our cats yesterday.  Ezri was started acting like her stomach hurt a couple of days ago and we kind of left her alone because animals sometimes get sick and don't feel like eating - just like we do.  But by yesterday she was just laying there, no moving and looked extremely weak and sick.

Marc checked and she had a HUGE tumor growing under her tongue.  Obviously she had this for a while, but she was acting completely normal until a couple of days ago.  This type of cancer is apparently pretty common in cats and is untreatable.  She was in bad shape this morning and Marc was going to take her to the vet's to assist her in passing away, but her picked her up and she was gone.

We got Ezri in 2000 or 2001.  I was headed home from work and there was this small, tortoiseshell kitten in the middle of the road.  A young woman was trying to catch her.  I stopped and she said that she had *almost* run her over.  We managed to get her and this woman said that she already had 4 cats and couldn't keep her, but she begged me to take her and she practically threw 3 cans of cat food at me (she had just come from grocery shopping apparently) and took off.

Of course I took her home being the bleeding heart that I am and Marc fell in love with her.  She was always a shy and skittish cat, but she got along well with all the other animals in the house and loved curling up on our laps on cold winter nights.

She had a good life and went fast so she didn't suffer.  However, she went so fast that Marc and I are both kind of in shock.  We will bury her in a spot in the backyard along with the other animals we have lost through the years.

Run pain free at the Bridge, Ezri!  I am thankful we had you in our lives and that you passed peacefully.  Tell all our kids that we said that we love and miss them!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

A sigh of relief....

So I know that this is stupid.  But you saw my post yesterday about my "failure" in running over the weekend and how I feel like I've lost my mojo, so to speak.  Yesterday, I woke up to fresh snow which had, in the city, turned into a thick layer of ice on the sidewalks.

So I was sure that I would not be able to do my normal noon-time run.  For someone like me, who has become so regimented this caused significant anxiety.  And a debate in  my head about what I would do for exercise and if I would have to get on the treadmill when I got home.  

About 11AM, the sun came out, but it was still really cold, so I didn't think the ice would melt.  At noon I went out and checked and much to my surprise, the sidewalks appeared clear.  So I got dressed and headed out, but with anxiety.  I almost felt like the runner part of me was....broken?  I feared that I would start running and wouldn't feel good - wouldn't want to continue.

I started running and about 1/2 mile in I realized, "Hey, this feels pretty good."  By mile 3-4 I was totally in the groove!  By mile 5 I thought I had wings attached to my heels.  And when I circled back around to work, I didn't want the run to end.  I felt WONDERFUL.

WHEW!  I was totally relieved.  Apparently you that commented are right - I just had a bad day.  Sunday was just one bad run.  It wasn't a sign or a disaster or any catastrophic. 

And immediately afterwards I felt great.  Like some darkness had lifted.  It is just amazing to me how my emotions can turn on a dime.  But trust me - I ain't gonna complain about feeling good!!  I am working every day on self-acceptance and treating ME the way I treat other people.  

Today I am thankful to live in an area where I can be confident that my person and property are safe and I don't have to look over my shoulder in fear.


Tuesday, November 12, 2013

A bit out of sorts...

I continue to have a problem getting my mojo back.  I really am clueless about what is going on with me.  I am still searching for a purpose, I guess.

This long weekend was a weird one.  First off, Veteran's Day and writing about my father was surprisingly emotional for me.  He looked SO YOUNG in the photo I posted of him.  The anniversary of his death comes right after Thanksgiving.

In fact, we are about to enter a "bad juju" time of year for me.  In a cluster comes the anniversary of my father's death, the death of one of my ferrets, the date that I had to have my Rottweiller, Riker, put to sleep and a the anniversary date of when I was 16 and got into a head-on collision.  I am a bit superstitious, so I kind of feed into this more than your average bear.  

As far as other things go, I feel that I was pretty productive this weekend.  We combined fun things - like going to a craft show - with some chores I wanted to get done.  I gave the dogs a much needed bath.  I also have a LOT of Xmas shopping already done and I wrapped all the gifts!

BUT - I wasn't even going to post this.  It is a source of shame for me and I almost didn't want to tell you guys because it's almost like I feel I'll be letting you all down.  Ok, so what's the big secret?  I only ran 10 miles on my long run on Sunday.  I know - some of you are thinking "Are you fucking kidding me?!"  

I felt totally and completely wiped out by the first mile.  The wind was just terrible and my legs felt like lead.  At mile 8.5 I texted Marc and said that he might have to come get me, but I was going to try to get home.  I got to mile 10 - only 3 miles from home - and I just could not do it.  I was SO HUMILIATED to have to call Marc and ask him to come get me.  I felt like a total failure.  He was nothing but supportive.  

I felt so horribly guilty that I wanted to come home and at least hit the elliptical, but Marc was telling me I had to listen to my body and if it was that tired that I needed to rest.  We compromised and did P90X2 Yoga - and I did have a big "WOO HOO!!" moment when I got into and held "Crane" pose - a pose that takes a ton of strength and balance and previously has been completely elusive to me.  

In Crane pose, you balance your knees on your triceps - so you have to have good balance and your arms have to hold all your weight!

Last night I fell asleep fast but woke up and couldn't get back to sleep.  I felt anxious, jittery and unsettled.  Not about anything specific - just a sense of foreboding.  I finally fell back asleep, but it was a fitful night.

I did well with eating over the weekend and when I got on the scale this morning it was 118.7.  I was happy about this, but almost perversely disappointed.  It was like I felt I should have been punished by a high number on the scale for my utter and complete exercise failures over the weekend.  

So nothing is terrible - I just am searching...

Today I am thankful that my purported "problems" are mere ripples in a calm pond when so many in the world are facing gigantic waves.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Veteran Clark D. Hudson

It's Veteran's Day.  A day to pay tribute to active duty and military veterans.  My father was a Veteran.  He served in the Navy during the Vietnam War.

My father never talked about his experiences in the military, really.  The closest he got to talking about it was saying how beautiful Thailand was and that he was going to retire there.  I also know that he spent time in the Philippines. 

 But talking in detail about any experiences?  Nope.  I wonder at times how much of his drinking problem and how emotionally cut off he was caused by his experiences in the Navy.  Maybe not at all.  Maybe tremendously.  I'll never know.

 I do know - looking back - that he felt things deeply and profoundly but did his damnedest to hide and/or drown them.

And that certainly played a role in his tragically early death. 

I feel the emptiness every day of not having been close to my father.  He was there for his family in many ways that matter.  But he was emotionally not there and that certainly effected the path my life took.  I also wonder what would have happened had he lived.

Since there is no way to know, there is no sense dwelling on it.  I need to count myself lucky for the time that we did have together.  It wasn't an ideal relationship, but it is more then some others get!

So today I am thankful for those that have served to keep this country free.  Happy Veteran's Day to them!

And I want to include another picture - of my Grandfather, Gilbert Besaw, who served in WWII:

I miss both of these great men every single day...

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Coffee talk...

Let's talk today about coffee. 

Unlike I'm sure many of you, I was not a coffee drinker for most of my life.  My parents were both coffee drinkers and I have always loved the smell of coffee, but I never liked the taste of it.  

Then I lost a bunch of weight and, as you know, I'm cold ALL THE TIME.  So one day at work, court had ended and they were going to toss the remaining 1/2 pot of coffee down the sink.  So I said, "Hey, let me have some of that."  And, so, a love story was born.  

Of course, being the research artist that I am, before I went completely gaga for coffee, I had to look at the benefits and drawbacks.

So what are the facts on coffee consumption?
  • Well, for us watching our calorie intake, it's fantastic.  About 5 calories a cup!
  • It lowers your risk of Type 2 diabetes
  • Coffee drinking is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer's Disease.
  • It lowers your risk of cancer - most specifically skin and liver cancer.
  • It decreases depression
Since most people drink caffeinated coffee, we have to look at caffeine, too.
  • Caffeine is a performance booster.  It increases fatty acids in the blood stream and allows people to exercise longer and harder.
  • Caffeine decreases post workout pain and allows the body to recover faster.
  • Caffeine is better then a nap in keeping you alert
Now, coffee and caffeine have drawbacks as well.  They can cause insomnia.  They also make some people nervous and jittery.  So, like with everything on this journey, it's about MODERATION.  And some people, like my wonderful husband, can't drink it much later then 2 PM or he is up all night.  And don't start adding cream and sugar!  Drink it black or you're going to start racking up the cals!

But for me, I have grown to love my coffee!  I am a fan of dark roast and also prefer the flavored coffees.  So I own not ONE, but TWO Keurig machines!  I have one at home and I brew a cup before leaving for the day.  I also bought a small one for work, and I have some coffee every day before my lunch hour workout. 

I know some people who have given up coffee as part of their journey, but I see no reason to!  Bottoms up!!

Today I am thankful for my wonderful husband Marc who is always there to love me, support me, and kick my ass when needed...