Saturday, June 28, 2014

I know what I DON’T want!

I know that I have periods where I sound like a complete nutjob.  Sometimes this is blatantly obvious to me and sometimes I think my crazy is perfectly reasonable.

Everyone once and a while, though, I see someone from the outside and I know that I DON’T want to be like him or her and it tends to give me some perspective.

So when I saw this article:

I saw immediately how sick and disordered – IN MY OPINION – the poster is in terms of her body.

And I lean so far towards that and I don’t want to.  I don’t want to spend the rest of my life obsessed and vigilant every minute of every day.  Hating myself, debating myself, searching for flaws in the mirror.

I tell my clients that in their first year or so of sobriety that they probably shouldn’t go to a wedding with an open bar – it’s just too much temptation.  But I also tell them that if they have 5 years sober and they can’t sit across the dinner table with someone who is drinking a beer without it being an extreme challenge that there’s probably something wrong with their recovery program.

And as I near 2 years of maintenance – can you believe it?? – I am challenging myself to have a more healthy relationship with both food and my body.  Improving my recovery program.

I know that – like an addict – I’ll never be completely sane when it comes to my “drug of choice”.  But being not quite sane is quite different then being cuckoo for cocoa puffs.

As far as body image goes, contrasting with the previous article, this woman is my frigging HERO.

To have the BALLS huge enough to show her awesome body – extra skin and all – to the world??!!  She has confidence  that I would LOVE to have.

And to stand up to a magazine who clearly stands not for reality but for airbrushed and “purtied up” semi-reality??

I’m called an “inspiration” all the time. This woman is a TRUE inspiration!

Who would you rather be?  Woman #1 or woman #2?

perfect body

Thursday, June 26, 2014

The bitch (might be) back!

Today I felt a glimmer of getting my mojo back.  I have one more day of work and then I am on vacation.  2 glorious weeks of vacation.  So today flew by as I worked my ass off to make sure I have everything as in order as possible before I leave.

This morning, the scale remained unkind.  So that was not great.  And I was going to to run at lunch but I actually felt - scared?  Not of hurting myself but of just having pain since I haven't run since Sunday. 

So when Marc texted me and asked if I wanted to go for a walk with him during lunch I jumped on it.  We went for a 4 mile speed walk.

When I got home I decided to bite the bullet and try to run.  I hooked Archer up and we took off.  Initially there was some pain.  But within 1/2 mile we were in the groove.  We took 2 short walk breaks - but ended up running 7 and walking 1.  There is some soreness now, 3 hours later, but I feel relieved and pretty fucking good.

My body is resilient, apparently.  And when I got home I jumped on the scale and was pretty happy to see 121 staring back at me.  I'm sure that's post-run artificially low but I've been doing super great with my eating this week and I am confident I'll be in a decent - not super awesome - but decent shape heading into vacation.

July is unbelievably almost here.  My 2 year maintenance anniversary comes in July.  Wow!  I am really OK, I think.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Hand off the panic button, please....

For all the complaining I do about Fat Jen, I think I have come to the realization that Thin Jen can be pretty unreasonable, too

Yesterday my weight had slid down a little.  Not anywhere near where I wanted to see it, but enough to mostly squash the feeling of panic.  Tuesdays are a run day for me, but I am trying to be reasonable and give my body some time to heal.  So I walked during my lunch hour and the aching was still there.

But I felt horrible and guilty for taking it easy.  I wanted to run when I got home, but instead did the elliptical.  According to my heart rate monitor I burned 513 calories in the hour I was on it.  It's not as much as I burn running, but it's reasonably close.

Today I went to put on the skirt I was going to wear and was SURE it was going to be corset level tight, but it wasn't.  And then for my lunch hour workout, I did ab and core exercises.  As I stood in front of the full length mirror, I was POSITIVE I would see loads of fat dripping off the sides of my shorts.

I didn't see that but I scrutinized my stomach and I am convinced that there is less ab definition then a few months ago.  Those 5 extra pounds, you know.  And then I took a look at why I need/want ab definition.

I asked Thin Jen why I need my abs to pop out.  Am I a fitness model and it effects our job/income?  No.  Will Marc love me more or treat me better if I have a 4 pack?  No.  OK, so I look way better in work clothes with defined abs.  No, in work clothes I don't really think you can tell.  But I will look way better in a bikini, right?  Yes, probably.  How often do I strut myself around public in a bikini?  Rarely.  Is it important that strangers look at me and admire my abs?  A little, but not really in the grand scheme of life.

So what the fuck?  I am a 42 year old woman with a life that SHOULD be more then worrying all the time about a few pounds.  I can't imagine how I will react if these injuries don't abate and I can't run.  But I guess I would have no choice but to find alternatives and carry on.  Because I can carry on, right?

So this should not be an excuse to set Fat Jen free to run rampant.  But if only I can get it through Thin Jen's thick head that 5 pounds is not a disaster?  She's not listening today.  We'll see where she's at tomorrow....

Monday, June 23, 2014

3 against 1...

So when you read this today, you're going to be think "What a fucking idiot Jen is!" And you will be right.  I think I'm a fucking idiot.  And my plan is to keep being one.

There are 3 entities that believe I need a break from running.  One is Mr. Achilles.  This is a picture of him.  He looks pretty swollen and angry.  He has been that way for months now and just refuses to get better.

In fact, he has been causing me so much chaos that I think he has been altering my gait because yesterday during my long run I must have pulled something in my opposite hamstring/glute area as that is killing me.

I went out to take a walk at lunch and between the Achilles and the hamstring I was in so much pain I wanted to scream.  It took a full mile before the pain died down.  It took another mile to loosen up and then settled into just a small ache - which I took as a sign that it was fine for me to continue - which I did.

Yesterday, after my 13 mile run, I spent about 2 hours weeding the vegetable and flower gardens and then Marc and I decided to relax in the hammock.  As we were laying there, Marc was talking about his Achilles which has started bothering him a little.  I pointed at mine which was super swollen from that morning.

"Oh my god!!" Marc yelled - "You shouldn't be running on that!!!" I quickly changed the subject.

The other entity who wants a break from running is Fat Jen.  She is always thrilled to have any excuse to not exercise.  The problem is that Fat Jen wants it both ways.  She wants to eat and eat but not exercise - which is how we got fat in the first place!

So there are at least 3 who are advising me that I need a break.  But I got on the scale this morning and felt SICK.  I am at a horrifying number.  It's so bad I refuse to even post it here. 

We are going on vacation next week.  I can't wait!  But I know that I won't want to deprive myself.

It's this simple - I can't give up the exercise and eat the way I want.  I also have the irrational fear that if I take a break, I will completely lose my ability to run.  So rather then do the reasonable and logical thing and moderate my food intake I'm choosing to be an idiot and risk more injury...

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Where's the caveat?

The morning of the training I went to, I got up and headed to the hotel exercise room.  There were two treadmills, an elliptical and a recumbent bike along with a small weight station and some free weights.  When I went in, I was intending on running, but both treadmills had someone on them, so I hopped on the elliptical.  About 22 minutes in, one woman got off her treadmill.  I decided that I would do a few more minutes on the elliptical and then switch over.

Another woman walked in and I could see that she was disappointed that I was on the elliptical and she reluctantly got on the treadmill but after only a minute got off.  I then ended my time and switched over to the treadmill.  She happily boarded the elliptical and immediately became engrossed in CNN which was what was on the TV.  I ran for 30 minutes - at a slow pace which I always do on the treadmill - and then headed up to my room.

Late in the training, we were broken up into small groups, and who was facilitating my group but that woman who I had seen that morning.  She was an attorney from the NYC area.  In our discussion groups, she and I had very differing ideas on the topic we were discussing, and she smirked at something I said and then said something about how she was up next to present to the whole group and would address some of what we we were on opposite sides about.  "Well, don't call me out and yell at me!"  I said to her.  "I'm not a yeller," she replied.  "Besides, we're workout buddies!  And after seeing you running this morning, I know that you could easily chase me down and beat me to death!!"  And everyone in the group laughed.

The next day I went to yet another, different, training, and at the end, they had to give me some equipment to bring back.  As we went to leave, I picked up the boxes (they had handles), one in each hand.  They were a little heavy but not unreasonably so.  "Here - let me get those!" One of the trainers said.  "No, I'm good, just grab the door for me will ya?" I said.  Another person from the training said "Have you seen her arms??!!  She clearly doesn't need any help!!"  And again, everyone laughed.

I got to thinking about both of these comments later and felt embarrassed and flattered.  As you know, I don't handle compliments well.  But there was something else - some reason that I was especially flattered that I couldn't place.  And then last night, I realized why.

It has been 4 years since I started losing weight and almost 2 years since I hit my goal weight.  I work and live at the same place and have, for the most part, the same groups of co-workers, friends and acquaintances.  So, in my daily life, I encounter mostly people who knew me when I was fat.

And I realized that when they compliment me, I subconsciously add my own caveat to their comments.  Like someone will say "Oh, you ran 13 miles yesterday?  That's amazing!"  And as I am downplaying their compliment I am thinking in my head "You mean because I used to be such a fatty that you can't believe that I can do this now!"  Or someone might say "You look fantastic!" And my thought is "Compared to how horrible you used to look!"   I even do this with Marc.  He might say - because he's such a romantic - "Your ass looks great in that!"  My caveat is "Unlike when you used to be such a cow!"

And so I realized that the reason I was so flattered by the compliments I received last week was because these came from strangers who didn't know me or my history.  My inner voice couldn't make up any "BUTS" about their comments because they were just people who were looking at me and saying these things without context.

Now that I'm more aware of this inner voice, I'm going to try to shut it up and just accept compliments for what they are and not assume that the person giving them is thinking about my past, that they are only living in the present - as I should be!!


Saturday, June 21, 2014

I see a red door...

In early spring I was waiting for Marc to leave to go somewhere and I found myself staring at our steel front door and was thinking it looked pretty banged up.  Suddenly the thought popped into my head that I should totally paint it red.

I told Marc about my idea and he just said "OK" in that "here she goes again" voice - knowing that my bright ideas often make a lot of work for him.

 Now those of you who read this blog know that once I get an idea in my head?  I need to do it NOW!  But that wouldn't be possible in cold weather - so it went on my "to do" list.  And there it has sat.

 I bought the paint a couple of weeks ago, but time or weather hasn't cooperated.  Today it did.

First I removed the doorknob and lock which I spray painted black.  Then Marc removed the door and we set it on sawhorses.   I sanded the door and wiped it down with mineral oil and then began painting.

Fortunately it was mostly sunny and with very little humidity the paint dried fast.  Since it took 7 coats I was very lucky.

By late afternoon we were able to put the door back on and I am thrilled with the way it turned out!!!

Red doors are supposed to bring luck - that's not the reason I painted it but hell, let's hope that happens!!  Mostly I am glad that this idea I have had in my head for a while turned out so great.

What do you think??

Friday, June 20, 2014

I am NOT a traveler!!

There are people out there that think absolutely nothing about driving long distances all the time.  And I'm not talking about people like truckers that do it for a living.  I'm talking about people who just decide on a whim to hop in the car and drive a couple of hours just for the heck of it.

Although I fantasize that I am an adventurous and spontaneous person, it's simply not true.  I like my routines and the predictability of life.  Every once and a while I like to break that pattern, but usually I prefer safe and comfortable.  BORING, right?

Sigh...  Yeah, I know.

 So when I had to drive to a conference 2 1/2 hours away Wednesday, stay in a hotel, attend the conference and drive back last night then get up this morning and drive an hour + to a training today?

Well it's got me completely off kilter!  I'm out of my routine - eating, exercising and everything else and that does not sit well for what little mental stability I have!!  Lol

 So I'm about done for!  I'm not tired but I am exhausted if that makes any sense at all.  I am looking forward to getting back in my safe secure world tomorrow!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Alive and kicking!

OK, everyone, have no fear, I'm alive and kicking!  I'm completely out of my routine , though, as I'm in a hotel room and going to an all day conference tomorrow.

Conferences are such a challenge for me.  It's as if I think that "out of town food" has no calories and I think I can just eat whatever I want without regards to  the consequences.

But I must say, I've been attending conferences for years all over the country.  The old Jen used to relish the time to hit the local mall, eat some fast food and then sleep in until the last possible moment.

The new Jen?  She stopped at Walmart and bought a huge bag of salad and some pre-cooked chicken as well as some Greek yogurt and bananas for dinner and tomorrow's breakfast.  And instead of arriving and heading immediately to the local mall, I found the gym and rode the stationary bike for 45 minutes.  The alarm is set for bright and early with the plan to hit the treadmill.

We'll see if I hit that or the snooze button!!

Monday, June 16, 2014

The power of words...

Today I saw Keith and Jacob.  Both of them are jokesters.  But Keith in particular is like one of those boys from elementary school who, when he liked a girl, would pull her hair or something like that.  Not the most socially adept guy, but he has a heart of pure gold.

So something was said about exercise and Keith says "Yeah, Jen, it looks like you've put on a few pounds!"  He then covered his face with his hands like you do when you're anticipating someone smacking you and giggled like crazy.
My blood turned cold.  I knew, after 2 seconds, that he was totally being a smart ass and joking around.  But OMG, I'm not kidding, it was like he stuck a knife in me.
"I'd try running away, but you would catch me!" Keith said gleefully.
I turned to him and said that I wasn't mad, I was just thinking about what part of dinner I was going to skip.  
He then realized that what he had said had hurt me.  I could see that he was horrified.  He started protesting that he had only been kidding.  Jacob, who had been half paying attention, said "Oh, she knows that!  Look how amazing she looks!"
Then he looked at me and must have seen my face because he then simply said "Girl - you are in need of some serious therapy if you don't get that!"  Keith, now feeling terrible, said that he only said that sarcastically and couldn't believe that I thought any different.

I felt bad for making him feel bad.  But seriously, it was as if he had punched me.  Here I have been cruising along, pretty confident that a few pounds wasn't noticeable and starting to accept myself and WHAMO!  A few words, spoken in a totally kidding manner and I was reduced to feeling ashamed and guilty and insecure.  Pathetic, right?

I'd like to say I moved on from there, but I can't lie - the logical side of me knows Keith was kidding around and thinking he was funny.  But there was a small voice tonight trying to insist he only said it because it was true!

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Weight loss made easy!

Boy, I really wish it was truly this easy to lose weight!!

I got up this morning and stepped on the scale as I always do first thing in the morning and it read 121.5.  Used the computer for a bit while drinking some coffee and then headed out for a run.

Mother Nature was back on track today - it was a little cool for a June morning, but it was sunny, low humidity and very little wind.  I planned to run 13.  About halfway into my run I stopped to refill my water at the convenience store that I hit at 8.5 miles and thought that maybe I would do 15 again.

So I ran back down my road and there comes a spot where I either make a loop and extend the run or keep running straight back to my house which is shorter.  I had a short internal debate and took the left turn.

I then made yet another short detour and found myself passing the entrance to my road at 15.60 miles.  Well, I had to finish out that mile and ended up running 16.  I finished in 2 hours and 6 minutes.

Feeling pretty victorious and tremendously sore, I headed inside and made a beeline for the shower.  Whether it's cold out, hot out, or in between, nothing beats a long hot shower after a long hard run.

But I first stepped on the scale again and it read 116.9.  That's a sweet 4.6 pounds lost running.  Even though I drank water during my run, I always lose somewhere around 3 pounds when I run a ways, and this being an extra long run, I dropped it even more.

Boy, don't I wish that it was that easy for real weight loss to happen rather then just temporary water weight!  Now I'm not going to tell you that running for 2 hours straight is exactly easy, but DAMN - compared to how hard it is to lose an actual 4+ pounds?  Yeah, much easier!

So, it's not real weight loss, but for today I'll pretend! That's what I did when I devoured a cheese bagel as large as my face for lunch!!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

I'm waving a flag...

I feel tonight as if I'm waving a flag.  I guess the question is, which one?
Is it this one?  The flag of surrender?

Or is it this one?  The flag of victory?

Can it be both?

You see, I woke up this morning to the scale number of 121.5.  I went to a cookout yesterday and ate not only too much, but I ate some stuff that is normally OFF LIMITS - namely some potato chips.  Potato chips are on the NO-NO list.  I literally can count on one hand the number of times I've eaten potato chips since I started this journey over 4 years ago.  

And yet there I was - cramming my face with potato chips - admittedly along with some healthier choices like fruit.  But, yeah, potato chips, not the best choice.

And then, after weighing in around 4 pounds higher then I "should" this morning, Mother Nature decided that she should give us the ole one finger salute and handed us some miserably fucking cold weather - thus obliterating most of my plans for the day.  
So Starbucks was kind enough to give me a free drink for my birthday.  Which I chose to use today not on a harmless no-calorie coffee, but on one of their decadent frappuccinos.   With roughly a million calories.

And guess what?  I don't feel guilty.  I don't care - at least right now - what the scale will probably say regarding this tomorrow.

Since April I've been maintaining mostly steady.  But maintaining about 5 pounds higher then where I want to be.  But is that lower number really where I want to be?  Apparently the answer is no, because I haven't done anything to change it.
So is this defeat?  Or is it growth in accepting myself?  I've gone back and forth on this today and I can't tell you.  I feel guilty and ashamed and totally liberated at the same time.  I worry that this could be a slippery slope towards accepting becoming fat again.
 And at the same time I'm proud of accepting that I'm not perfect.  I'm not and will never be a thin fitness model.  And I think that's maybe okay...

Friday, June 13, 2014

This is how I spaghetti :)))

When it comes to the diet or healthy eating realm, pasta seems to get a bad rap.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe it's because most people would gladly eat their body weight in pasta when they sit down to a meal.  But whole wheat pasta can be a filling, healthy choice!

This is what I do when we have spaghetti.  I'm not going to talk portion size, because that will vary with how you break up your meals...

First, I chop up a whole bunch of broccoli and throw it in the steamer for 10 minutes.

While that is steaming, I throw the ground meat in the pan (this night it was 93% lean ground beef) and season it.  I get it all nice and brown. 

Next, I throw in some canned mushrooms. 

Then I turn down the heat and add 1 cup of beef broth.

Once that mixture is pretty warm, I throw in the steamed broccoli. 

Once the whole wheat pasta is cooked, I pour the beef, broccoli, mushrooms and broth over the top and add a little reduced fat Parmesan cheese.

That's it!  A healthy satisfying choice!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

She might be back?

I'm almost scared to make this post.  So when you read this, know that I am "whispering" because I don't want this to end up like a turtle who gets scared and crawls back in the shell.

I think that Thin Jen might be slowly but surely creeping back.  You see, it was a loooonnnggg cold depressing winter.  Thin Jen was prepared for a good fight.  But she got worn down.

She didn't disappear, not completely, but she got weak.  Oh so weak.  And when she is weak, Fat Jen comes in for the KILL.  She demand carbs and sweets.  She insists that we are hungry - oh so very hungry - all the time.  She makes excuses to not work out or to give it a half-assed effort.

But recently the sun has been bright and warm.  Thin Jen has come out to bask in the sunlight.  And then Landscaper Jen made her reappearance and Thin Jen and she are good friends.  She has been getting stronger.

Thin Jen took us for a run - a very long run - on Sunday. And Fat Jen was so befuddled by Thin Jen's reemergence that she was rendered almost silent.

So Fat Jen has made some of her own efforts to fight back.  But so far her attempts this week have been mostly fruitless. Even today Thin Jen refused a wonderful delicious looking chunk of bread and Fat Jen couldn't make a convincing argument to get us to suck it down.

Today we weighed in at 120.7.  It's not jump up and down fabulous, but it's closer to a happy weight then we've seen in a while!

So I'm still tip-toeing around and hoping that Thin Jen - like the hot sun - stays around and doesn't slip back into hiding!!!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

I saw myself today!

Wow - talk about a throwback experience today!  I went out to run at lunch today and was finishing up my run on the "Riverwalk".  That is the very short stretch that runs along the river (duh!) where they have a short street and lots of picnic tables and some view points.

You guys might remember that when I very first started running that's where I started.  It's about .25 miles one way.  So I ran up and down that short stretch the whole time hoping that as few people as possible would see my pathetic attempt to become a runner.

So as I'm heading uphill, I see this very obese woman running towards me.  She was lumbering along slowly, red faced and huffing and puffing.  I had a total flashback as I instantly recognized myself from 3 years ago.

As she got closer I prepared to give her a smile and a wave as I do with most runners.  But as we neared each other she deliberately turned her head away and gazed out towards the water.

It is totally presumptuous of me to assume I know what she was thinking.  But I can tell you what I thought when I was her.  First she wouldn't look at me because she assumed that I would look down on her running.  She probably thought that I have been running and/or thin my whole life.

And as I passed her I noticed that she had just passed two young women pushing strollers.  They were laughing totally loudly.  Were they laughing at her?  No idea.  They may have been - there are a lot of assholes in this world.  Or they may have been caught up in their own conversation and not even noticed her.  But if that had been me?  When that WAS me?  I would have been POSITIVE they were mocking me.

I so wanted to stop her.  I wanted to tell her to keep it up.  I wanted to tell her that I know how much it hurts.  I so wanted her to know that I get how much courage it took for her to put on those tight running capris and that racerback T-shirt and head out the door.

"Look at me!" I wanted to yell. "I was YOU!!!  Not only does it get better, but the dreams you have - of being thinner and running gracefully - it is RIGHT THERE!  You go, you bad ass bitch!"

I didn't do any of this, of course.  Because you never know how someone will react to this. I would have loved for someone to have given me that speech, but not everyone feels that way.  Encountering his woman was a gift, because it allowed me to reflect on my journey and how different my life is now.

I will say that I truly hope I see her again.  And I hope next time she looks me in the eye so I can give her a smile and a wave.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Running with dogs!

If you look on the internet, there are tons of articles about how to run with your dog(s).  There are all kinds of articles on the best breeds to run with, specific issues with certain breeds, etc.  So I don't think I need to rehash what you can read elsewhere.  But I wanted to talk a little bit about my experience of running with my dogs which might be valuable.

First off, why run with your dog?  Well, it's great for them and great for you.  I think I am the most in touch with my basic natural running when I have one or both of my boys running with me.  I don't wear my headphones and there is something just primitive and wonderful running in silence next to my boys.

First off, you should not run - at all - with a larger breed dog until they are at least 18 months old.  Their bone plates don't close until then and you risk permanent injury running with them before that time.  There are NO JUSTIFICATIONS that make it okay.  DO NOT RUN with your dog before that age, PERIOD.  No, running slow does not make it okay.  No, running only a short distance is not okay. JUST DON'T!

Secondly, you need to make sure your dog is well trained when walking with you before you even attempt to run. What does this mean?  Your dog should be trained to walk beside you or a little behind.  NEVER should he walk ahead of you.  He also needs to know that walking time is NOT playtime.  It is business.  No stopping to sniff, no peeing every 10 feet, no chasing squirrels.

When I walk my dogs I have the leash attached to them just in case. But they walk right beside me and I don't even hold the leash, I drape it across my shoulders.  They know that they are not to stray from my side!

Once you have a well trained, old enough dog, ask yourself if they are physically fit enough to run. And you'll have the build their mileage gradually.  When you first started running you didn't head out and run 5 miles, right?  Neither should your dog!  Starting out with a run/walk program is perfect.

Some dogs love to run, others not so much.  Archer loves to run with me.  Chakotay will reluctantly run for short jaunts, but doesn't like a steady run.  So while I have him run short distances with me, I don't take him out for a 4 miler!!

You should know and respect your dog. If your dog loves you, he will go as long and as far as you ask, even to his own peril!  So you have to be mindful of this!  Don't run him to utter exhaustion.

Use common sense.  Don't run your Siberian Husky in 90 degree heat!  Bring water if you're going more then a few miles.  Check out his paws after the run for injury.  After the run praise him and play with him a little - he should enjoy this or should not be doing it!

If you want to be totally in tune with nature, I've found that running with my boys is a way to get back to basics!

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Now you can shut up!!

If this doesn't shut the voice in my head up, I don't know what will!

Yes, this old girl has still got it!  It was a beautiful day out.  I realized something as I was running - many times the difficulty I have in my "long runs" is that I keep thinking about everything I have to do at home, which makes me run too fast and I burn out.

I got so much accomplished yesterday that I was able to just relax today and enjoy the absolutely ideal weather.  I focused on running slow and steady.  I was tired when I got back, but totally refreshed.

The rest of the day involved eating lunch outside on our deck and mulching the only flower bed I didn't get to yesterday.  A few more small projects and then a run into the grocery store and some more planting soil.
 I got back and the dogs were looking at me expectantly.  So I took them on a leisurely 4 mile stroll.  So 19 miles covered today - not too shabby!
 I end this weekend feeling renewed and rejuvenated, just what I needed.  With a camping vacation in sight I hope to hold onto this high!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

You should be ashamed!

What a week this has been.  I've been out of my routine for a few days, and it's enough to drive me just about to the edge of sanity - for no good reason.

Yesterday as planned I took the day off so that we could go out to lunch for my birthday and I could have a 3 day weekend.  I also had what seemed like an endless list of errands to run.  We left early and shopped all day.  We got home late only to turn around and head in to watch the large parade they have every year at this time.

Given our typical  party animal lifestyle - NOT - we got home at what seemed very late.  It was actually only 9:30, but we were both exhausted.

We got up at our normal time today with intentions to work out and then I was going to get to work on the gardens.  But Marc's nephew called early offering his truck to get mulch for the gardens.  So Marc went with him and I started weeding the flower beds.  They returned and before I knew it it was time for lunch.

I ate quickly and it was back out to work.  I literally spent the next 5 hours digging, weeding, planting, shoveling and spreading mulch.   I got SO much done and the gardens look great.

 Here is one of the beds I worked on yesterday.


I did no formal exercise.  So after dinner I went out and began weeding the veggie garden and planted some more seeds.  And the voice in my head was non-stop chatter of what a disgusting,  lazy, horrible person I am and how FAT I am going to be again.

The rational part of me realizes that doing physical labor - and I WORKED - for like 6 hours at least - is at least as valuable as "formal exercise".  Both in terms of fitness and calories burned.  And, another clue should be my body - I'm sitting here utterly worn out - in a good way.  My legs ache from bending and squatting and carrying.  And my arms and shoulders and shot from all the shoveling and spreading.

But that dreaded voice just won't be silenced.  I wonder if it ever will...

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Guest Post - Amy's story.

 Jen's note:  I asked my cousin Amy to write about her journey - she is doing fan-freaking-tastic and I am so happy for her and so very proud of her!

 Hi there! My name is Amy and Jen asked me to write a guest blog about my weight loss.

I started gaining weight in middle school and have struggled with it ever since. I am currently 31 so for about 20 years.  In 2007 I got pregnant with my first son and tipped the scales at over 300lbs by the end of my pregnancy.  I wish I could say that was when I decided to make a change but it wasn’t because I dropped back down to around 270lbs after I had him.  I stayed at that weight for awhile. I always had some excuse as to why I couldn’t diet but my biggest excuse was what if I got pregnant again? I wouldn’t want to hurt the baby by not eating enough. Yes, I was deluding myself and it is pretty laughable now.  But I did get pregnant again in September of 2011.  I was ecstatic! Then we had a heartbreaking miscarriage in November 2011.  This sent me into a bad depression where I gained more weight.  Then we made the decision that we were okay not having more children so I decided to focus on myself and in March of 2012 when I weighed a whopping 285.1lbs I decided to make a change.  I lost 50lbs by September.  Then in October I found out I was pregnant with our second son. What a blessing!  I gained all of the 50lbs back with my pregnancy.  So I had to start over again but I did start over and that is no easy feat.

If you are like me and countless others you have tried so many different diets that you lost count.  Here is what made this time different for me.  I am doing this for me, not anyone else.  Of course my family benefits from it but first and foremost I am doing this for ME.  I am NOT on a diet.  I have changed my lifestyle.  I can never go back to eating the way I did before. Not ever!  Do I splurge occasionally? Of course, I am only human but I maintain a healthy lifestyle.  Are you going to fail sometimes? The answer is yes.  So do you know what you do?  You pick yourself up and start again the next day.  I exercise.  I found out that I love to run and finished my first 5k in May.  I surround myself with people who support me.  Social media is an awesome way to do that too.  You will be surprised at the amount of people who cheer you on and want to see you succeed.  Weight loss is hard. Changing your habits are hard but it is so worth it!

I began my final and most successful weight loss journey on July 8th, 2013.

Now here I am almost a year later 86lbs lighter and weighing in at 199.3lbs.   I have people asking me what I did to lose the weight and the real answer is I didn't quit.  I didn’t do anything that anyone else can’t do.  I still have some work to do but I will succeed and so can you!

A before pic...

 From a couple of days ago.  Doesn't she look spectacular??

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Why me?

OK, so I think too much.  I know this.  But I started thinking about this yesterday after a pretty good birthday.

I talked to someone yesterday.  She is a WONDERFUL person.  Dedicated, generous, caring - an all around just good human being.

She is so good that she often gets taken advantage of. And she has never found a partner who has stuck by her.  She was talking about being exhausted and going through some emotional things and wishing that at the end of the day she could just come home and have someone to talk to - who she could lean on - to tell her everything was going to be okay.

My heart hurt for her.

So I went home and there was Marc.  He cooked a magnificent meal for me.  And as if that's weren't enough, he showered me with gifts.  I felt almost guilty.

Why me?  How did I get so lucky? I often say that I believe in karma.  And I try to be a mostly good person - although I fuck that up regularly.  But I see someone like this friend of mine and I know she doesn't deserve the shit she deals with on a daily basis.

I guess life is not fair. Sometimes bad people win and good people lose.  Sometimes we can't explain why things happen

Rather then asking myself why I am so lucky, maybe I need to just be grateful for this and continue to strive to do the right thing more times then not.

The scale was even kind to me this morning - giving me a lower number then I have seen in a while.  I haven't been perfect with eating and exercising, but I've been more good then bad.  And so, like life, we get our rewards most of the time.

Life is not completely rational or predictable - which is a blessing and a curse.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Happy Birthday to meeeeeeee!

Well, we've arrived at my 42nd birthday.  It's one I've been anticipating and dreading.  But when I awoke this morning, nothing had miraculously changed overnight.  In fact, it's been a pretty normal Tuesday!

Marc quietly leaned over after the alarm went off and wished me happy birthday.  My mother called as I was driving to work.  It was 7:38 AM - the exact time I was born.

The truth is that while I feel old at that number, my body is probably "younger" today then it was 20 years ago!  I certainly couldn't have ran 7 miles back then like I did today!

After running 7 miles - not sexy, but in shape!

I don't have much to complain about, either!  Marc is cooking me a "special" dinner - the contents a surprise - as I type this and my mother is taking me out to lunch tomorrow.  I also took Friday off so I can make it be about ME for several days instead of 1 lol!

The war that I sometimes get into with myself isn't over, unfortunately.  But the battles are starting to turn from full blown acts of war to small skirmishes.  I wasn't in love with the number I saw on the scale this morning but it didn't lead to a freak out, either.  If this is what I have to look forward to in my old age?  That's pretty okay!

Monday, June 2, 2014

Massage and a Mammo - 2 bits!

As I mentioned, for coming in 2nd at the 1/2 marathon, I won a 1/2 hour massage from a local salon. I went in for that on Friday.

I’ve never had a professional massage before. I should have known that they would start with me filling out a medical questionnaire. I had to list any places that were bothering me (I listed IT Bands) and also give my medical history.

I was glad, actually, to list this because I would have felt obligated to explain my scar to the woman at some point, but that was taken care of by me listing out that I had had the surgery. She questioned me about the surgery and I explained and she was quite shocked (as most people are) when I explained my weight loss and the need for surgery.

Some of the things about the massage I was expecting - the soft hippie music, the massage bed. She started me on my back. One thing I didn’t expect was that she would talk continuously the entire time. She talked about “relevant” things - like alignment and how to “self-release” when muscles tighten up. But she also talked about her cats and her friends and her husband. For someone like me who has a hard time relaxing, anyway, PLUS having a stranger’s hands all over me, the talking was a bit distracting.

The good news is that she really knew what she was doing. She really worked hard on my IT bands and hips. She worked my calves and feet as well. Much less time was spent on my back and shoulders.

I did not expect her to focus so much on my scar, either. But she talked at length about scar tissue and the importance of “breaking it up”. She told me that I need to press in and massage the scar regularly. I’ll be honest, I was skeptical. While on my stomach she pressed in and began massaging the scar right about my butt crack where it is the deepest scaring. It didn’t feel any different then her pressing into the “normal” skin. She made the comment that because I am so active, that maybe the scar doesn’t get the opportunity to “settle”. But as she moved around, suddenly it felt like tiny needles were jamming into me. Simultaneous she said “Oh that feels like a spot!” It was really strange.

I might try to massage the scar for a while and see if I notice any difference in the tightness that is still there.

So, I guess I would say that while I really enjoyed the massage while it was happening, I felt no difference that night or since then in how I feel. So I can’t see myself - especially being the cheapskate that I am - paying to have a massage in the future...

Then today I went for my first mammogram.  I was originally told I should have a baseline done at 40 and I managed to delay until 1 day before my 42nd birthday!

I have heard horrible stories about mammos - someone even told me that it is worse for flat chested chicks like me.  So I was a bit nervous headed in.  The nurse was so awesome and professional without being patronizing.

Now they do this stuff every day.  But it's a bit disconcerting to have a stranger just grabbing you tit and stretching it and getting it into place!  But there was no pain at all - NONE.  When she squished it down it wasn't even what I would describe as uncomfortable!  Maybe they have to squish you much harder if you've got large tatas, but for me, it was easy peasy.

So hopefully the results come out well and there's nothing to concern myself with!

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Work and play...

This weekend I tried to find balance between "play" and work.  I'm getting more skilled at finding this balance.  When I was fat I feel like I didn't always accomplish much even though I wasn't working.  When I think of the hours spent screwing around playing games on the computer?  I get SO MAD that I wasted time like that.

Saturday we headed to SUNY Oswego.  That's the school where I got my Master's Degree from.  However, I have actually only been on the campus 3 times - once to interview to get accepted into the program, once to take my finals, and once when renowned serial killer expert Robert Ressler came there to speak!  I had the luck of taking all of my classes at the local community college that worked out a deal to have the SUNY professors come there in the evenings to teach the Master's classes.

Anyway, I found some hiking trails near there and we headed down with the dogs for an eventful day of hiking.  I was thrilled that these ended up being my favorite types of hiking trails - dirt trails through woods with some steep climbs and also some peaceful walking on grass through meadows. 

It was a nearly perfect day.

Then today I got up to do my "long run".   The weather was AMAZING.  So I am NOT, I repeat NOT complaining!  BUT, the truth is when you have been running in temps of the high 50's and mostly cloudy?  Running in the mid 70's with humidity takes some getting used to.  It definitely was not my most graceful run, and I had to stop more times then I would like to gulp down some water.  

But I managed 14 miles and I am so happy that I was able to start June off right!  

The rest of the day brought planting and then, blissfully, Marc and I laid in the heat in our hammock and just enjoyed the gorgeous weather.

I also washed my sheets and the comforter and let the comforter dry in the wind.  I mention this only because I can't be the only one who LOVES freshly cleaned and sweet smelling sheets!  And when I lay down in those sheets tonight, I will feel good about what I did this weekend. 

I wish that I had a way to bottle feelings like this to take out during dark moments.  But for now, I'll hold onto this serenity as long as I possible can...

I hope your start to June was as good as mine was!!  Fill me in!