My name is Jen. I have lost over 225 pounds and had surgery to remove my excess skin. Now I work every day on making healthy choices to maintain my weight and stay fit and strong in a crazy and challenging world!
Thursday, December 31, 2015
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
You have NO RIGHT!
I was not aware of this, but I was recently informed that I have no right to my feelings. Nope, apparently my struggles aren’t real and – somehow – they also mean that I suck at my job. Oh, and at life.
Because I lost weight and am no where near my heaviest, I am not allowed to be upset about gaining weight back. I certainly should not have any feelings that I have screwed up, and have absolutely no reason whatsoever to feel depressed.
Or so I was recently informed.
2015 has not been my finest year, for sure. If you have never known the feeling of sinking terrible blackness and felt there is no way out, count yourself lucky. I had periods of this before I lost weight and, unfortunately, have not been immune to these feelings after losing weight.
I don’t feel this way now – and I’m not proud – let me be the absolute first person to admit – I had times this year where I was a whiny, pathetic, self-involved little bitch. I will totally own that, because it’s true!
For 2016, one of my goals is to do BETTER. Not just in terms of losing some weight – that is a goal but only part of the overall picture.
My goal is to be better at putting things in perspective, being more positive, not sweating the small stuff as they say. And that should make me happier and therefore less annoying, right?
But I am human. I am bound to fall back into old behaviors. To have bad days, to throw unwarranted pity parties for myself.
The internet is a very large place. I am quite sure that there are men and women who have lost weight and are finding maintenance easy. Where the posters are consistently positive and focused. I’m sure there is some great advice to be had there!!
Because if you are looking to read a blog where it’s all unicorns and rainbows, this isn’t the blog for you – I’m just not that person, and I don’t want to pretend to be.
I do promise that I am going to try to do things differently in 2016. I sincerely and truly love to hear from you guys. I would LOVE to hear more – for some readers to do guest posts – about anything that has helped or is helping on your journey! You know where to find my e-mail!
And if you choose to stop reading? I wish you the absolute best of luck in the future!
P.S. To Christyne: thank you, thank you, thank you!
Monday, December 28, 2015
It’s in the timing…
One of the most frequent questions I get asked is “When is the BEST time to work out?” My answer is always a very trite one – “The best time to work out is the time that you will do it!”
I know an avid runner who gets up every morning at like 4:30 AM to run! I wish I could do that – get up, start the day right, and have exercise done before I’ve even really started my day. But I am NOT a morning person. People that ARE morning people say that you can train yourself to be one.
I call bullshit on that. If I tried to be a morning exerciser – well, I’d never exercise. It just wouldn’t happen. Not only would I not get my ass out of bed, but I don’t like to exercise before my body has had some time to warm up.
On the other hand, I also know a guy who keeps an elliptical in his bedroom (he’s single in case you were wondering LOL) and he does a hard workout while watching tv at night. Then he takes a very quick cool shower and goes to bed. According to him “I sleep like a baby!”
Yesterday was a weird day and time got away from us. I found myself exercising much later than we normally do – although not right before bed. As I sat there and tried to relax later, I was totally hyped up and anxious – it was like I had pounded a ton of caffeine! And then when we went to bed, I was tossing and turning – I couldn’t get my body to calm down. So I’m not sure that night exercise would work for me either!
So you have to find what works for you, personally. I like to come home, relax for like 30 minutes, check my e-mail and then workout. Would that work for you? Maybe not. If you have kids that have activities, and/or you have to cook dinner and help with homework – that time might not work.
Are you a pretty functional morning person? Can you get up a little earlier and get your workout out of the way? How about walking or running on a treadmill while watching tv at night?
What works for you might take some experimentation. But it is ultimately what works for you.
There is some evidence that working out in the morning before eating helps burn fat a little more than later in the day. But in reality, that difference is so small, that for the average person, you won’t notice a bit of difference. Any time you are working out and burning calories – it is a good thing physically and mentally.
Have you found a time that works for you?
Sunday, December 27, 2015
The confidence of a fool
What a whirlwind couple of days! I hope everyone here had a wonderful Xmas! My day was packed full! I was pretty happy to get an early start – making the food that we take over to his sister’s house first thing.
With that done, I could take the dogs on a relaxing 10K run. Marc got me a hands free leash for running with them and I just had to try it out For anyone who runs with their dogs, I think I’m going to do a review on this leash at some point, so stay tuned!
The calories burned on the run were nominal compared to the massive amount of food I ate that day, but it certainly was better than nothing.
The rest of Xmas day was spent with Marc’s family and it was a relaxing and fun time.
Yesterday morning I ran again – not an easy task the day after massive food injestion! But that run did put me at over 1,000 miles running this year. That number is pretty low given what I hoped to accomplish in 2015, but given the partial tear of my Achilles in May and having to rest it almost all of June, I was happy to hit that number.
We then removed all traces of Xmas from the house. I am always thrilled to put out all the decorations and the tree, but the minute after Xmas, I’m ready to see it gone!
I’ve been reflecting a lot the last few days on the future and what the New Year will bring. On Xmas Day I was full of confidence, despite failing most of this year, that I would get back on track – that I WILL lose my extra poundage and get back into running shape.
And I was flying pretty high.
Then last night I woke up at 3:38 AM and was in an utter panic. I was full of anxiety that I cannot do it. I have no self-control. The woman who lost the weight is gone forever. That I am being a FOOL by thinking that I can do this.
I lay in bed, wide awake and felt the old familiar feeling of despair wash over me.
Fortunately I was able to get back to sleep and as I sit here this morning, I’m just not sure. I want to believe that I have what it takes, but am I just fooling myself?
The proof will be in the proverbial (sugar free of course) pudding. Can I do it? Can I get back to where I want to be?
How about you? Do you need to get back on track? Are you feeling confident or doubtful?
Thursday, December 24, 2015
It’s Merry time!
I seriously am in so much denial that Xmas has arrived! It was 64 degrees here today so Marc and I took the dogs on some hiking trails we never got to this summer and fall. It felt like September as we walked through paths of dried leaves.
But Xmas is indeed here, and I hope all of you have a wonderful time tomorrow.
Hug your loved ones, eat good food, have conversations with people you don’t get to see enough!
Enjoy the last remaining bit of 2015 and set your eyes fondly on what is to come!
Tuesday, December 22, 2015
We’re getting there!
How is everyone hanging in there? This time of year is so wonderful for many reasons but it can also be extremely stressful.
Yesterday was the shortest day of the year, and I had a rough day. Although it's been unseasonably warm, it has been rainy and cloudy making it feel like I'll never see the sun again. That just really throws me into a melancholy mood.
The thoughts of the New Year are very present in my mind with the steely resolve to get my fat ass back on track. And with that comes a desire to eat everything in sight - like it's a last supper! It's absolutely nuts.
I do feel a little lost for direction right now - I have to make some concrete goals for 2016 and hit the ground running! But there’s a part of me that just wants to turn my brain off and ride through Xmas without thinking all the time.
I hope all of you out there are enjoying the last remaining days before Xmas and have high spirits heading into the New Year!
I would love to see any Xmas card pics you have - you can E-mail them to me at the E-mail link at the top of the page!!
Sunday, December 20, 2015
Let’s talk 10,000
Many of you already have “wearable technology” like Fitbits and Jawbones and some using smartphone based apps to track your activity. Another WHOLE LOTTA people have asked for and will get these devices for Xmas with the goal of helping them get fitter and in shape. So many of us will be using these devices to help us with our New Year’s resolutions and goals.
I wanted to talk about these devices and maybe get some perspective on how they can help your progress but also fool you into a false belief of your achievements.
So before I piss all over your Cheerios, let me first say that these devices are wonderful for many reasons. They are a constant reminder that you need to be active and move around in order to improve your health. If you work a desk job, it is too easy to look at the clock and realize that it is 2:15 PM and you’ve only moved from your desk twice to pee the whole day.
And it can be fun to join a community of people who have the same devices and join challenges and meet new “friends”. If you have kids and they wear a device it can also be a HUGE motivator – they have a new video game that they want to play? Ok, once they hit their “steps” they can have at it. Plus kids love technology and wearing something that challenges them can become a game of sorts.
Most of all – any activity is good activity!! So whatever encourages a person to move more than they are currently moving is a fantastic thing!!! In that way, wearing any of these devices – if that gets someone off their ass and moving around, it is more than worth the money spent!
Ok, now let the promised pissing begin. First let’s look at the origin of that magical number of 10,000 steps that has become the “gold standard” for movement. I’ll bet many of you thought that this number derived from some well-funded government study. Well, you would be wrong. In the 60’s a Japanese inventor made a pedometer and called it (roughly translated) the 10,000 step meter. It became a fad in Japan – like a game - to hit the 10,000 steps. Later, experts studied people and found – shock of all shocks – that people who were hitting these 10,000 steps had lost weight. So this magical number has stayed with us.
How far is 10,000 steps? For the average person, it’s walking about 5 miles a day. For shorties like me, it’s only 4. Is that far? Not even slightly. That’s about 500 calories worth of burn a day. And that can easily be negated with a trip to Starbucks for a speciality drink.
For weight loss, hitting 10,000 steps barely makes a dent. Back in the 60’s when that number was invented, the avaerage American ate about 2,200 calories per day. Now? Experts estimate the average woman eats about 3,700 calories per day and the average man 4,000. So you either have to basically double your steps or drastically cut your calorie intake to even start to make a dent.
Since most people who are embarking on a weight loss/fitness journey are indeed cutting calories, this will certainly help in the weight loss arena. But how about fitness?
You know how we’ve talked about before that a calorie is not necessarily a calorie? Well, a step is not just a step either. Is is the quality of your steps in addition to quantity.
Marc and I have a friend who works a retail job and often boasts about hitting 12,000 steps while working. Again, let me stress any activity is good activity. But, having said that – meandering around and getting your steps in is NOT the same as getting in a good aerobic workout.
So simply getting in 10,000 steps by walking around is not sufficient to make a significant increase in your fitness level.
To accomplish that, you need to engage in activity that significantly increases your heart rate for at least 30 minutes. That means a challenging aerobic activity. That can mean walking. But it means walking quickly and purposely or challenging yourself by walking up stairs – not just lesiurely walking around and getting steps in.
And walking alone is not going to greatly increase your overall fitness level. In addition to increasing your lung capacity and heart strength with an intense aerobic session you need exercise that will build your muscle and bone strength. This mean higher impact exercising like running and doing workouts where you jump and put a good kind of stress on your bones and joints and muscles.
You also need to increase your muscle mass by doing activities that grow muscle – like lifting weights and doing challenging body weight exercises. This does NOT mean that you have to become a body builder. However, if you have 30 minutes to exercise you should be spending some of those days getting in muscle building exercises. If you do 30 minutes of squats, lunges and push-ups, you might sacrifice hitting those precious 10,000 steps for a day, but you’ve greatly increased your fitness level and will burn MORE CALORIES when you stop moving then you will from even a brisk walk.
On the other side of the coin you have people who easily hit their 10,000 steps and then think that they can just relax the rest of the day. That’s not healthy either.
Runners can be especially guilty of this. They wake up on a Sunday morning, go for a 7 mile run (approximately 14,000 steps) and then spend the rest of the day sitting on the couch. Even for people that do intense workouts, inactivity is bad! If it takes you just over an hour to run 7 miles and then you barely move for the next 23? That’s not healthy!
So find that balance. This wearable fitness technology is fantastic as a reminder to keep yourself moving. But remember that 10,000 is pretty much an arbitrary number and should be a small part of your eating and fitness routine – not the solitary goal!
Friday, December 18, 2015
I smell COOKIES!
TEMPTATION! Is that the root of all evil? This time of year is filled with constant sources of temptation. So is your best strategy to avoid it or face it in the attempt to conquer it?
I deal with this all the time with my clients. Some seem to feel that there is a certain moral high ground of being able to face what tempts them and walk away. And there certainly is some gratification in being able to do that. To have something that you want right in your face and being able to turn it down.
But it’s hard - really super hard. As I tell my clients - no matter how good their program is, they are bound to have a weak moment. And if that weak moment occurs while they are around what tempts them - they are certainly going to be more vulnerable to use.
So what is the best strategy? If your weakness is donuts, why would you walk into Dunkin’ Donuts to get your morning coffee? Can get your coffee from some place that doesn’t serve those sugar coated temptations?
I will admit that there have been times when I’ve actually completely avoided certain social situations because I was in a place mentally where I knew I could not avoid temptation and would eat way off plan if I went to them.
But, like the alcoholic can’t avoid for the rest of his or her life being around people who drink, we CERTAINLY can’t spend our lives avoiding situations where we might be tempted to eat something we “shouldn’t” or eat more then planned.
And there’s the other side of the coin - there is a lot of research that indicates that willpower is almost like a muscle - the more you use it, the stronger it gets. So being faced with what tempts you over and over again - when you are able to say “NO” it makes it easier the next time and so on.
So there is a fine balance of exposing yourself to temptation and avoiding it all together. You might not be able to keep all tempting foods out of your home, but don’t bring home a gigantic cheesecake if you love cheesecake in your mind saying that it is for your husband. Because you and I both know what will likely happen. You’ll avoid initially and then say that you’ll just have a “tiny slice”. The next thing you know, you’ve eaten 4 “tiny slices” and you feel like shit - physically and emotionally.
It makes no sense to constantly expose yourself to temptation. Alcoholics who want to join a “dart league’ that plays all over the local bar scene? That’s just crazy.
If you know that there is an event where you just won’t be able to avoid going off plan, especially if you are vulnerable in terms of being tired or stressed, or if you know someone who pushes your buttons is going to be there - just skip it.
But if you are going to be exposed to temptation there are certain things that can help make it easier to be on plan. Like wearing something tight so overeating would be too uncomfortable. If you are in a situation where you are bringing a friend or family member with you that you trust, tell them what you goal is - like not going back for seconds - and ask them to keep you on track.
There are all kinds of strategies to avoid temptation - who has one they can share??
Wednesday, December 16, 2015
Ready for change?
Tuesday, December 15, 2015
Monday, December 14, 2015
Predicting the future...
Saturday, December 12, 2015
With one exception...
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
Suggestions but no solutions!
I never know when I’m going to pop up. Last night on my Twitter feed, I suddenly saw myself in a split screen showing me in 2009 and then in 2012. Runkeeper was re-running the short story they did about me last year. I then saw that they had also re-cycled it on their Facebook feed.
I am assuming this is because of the story being re-visited - although I suppose it could just be a coincidence - but I received an e-mail from someone this morning asking – begging - for help. The person states that she has tried for YEARS to lose weight and has had some success at losing but has always gained it back and is the heaviest she has ever been. She is relatively young, but has health issues and is desperate to find a way to lose weight.
I recognized the pain and shame and utter despair in her “voice”. I have been there, felt that. This is not the first time that someone has come to me - I have had both strangers and people I know wanting to know how I did it. They want THE ANSWER. I wish - SO WISH - that I could just tell them the magic solution - the one that would allow them to “get it” and begin the process of fulfilling their weight loss dreams.
I wish this because I would love everyone to be healthy and happy with themselves. I also wish it because if I had THE solution I would be wildly rich
But I don’t have an easy answer - one that I can just explain to people and change their lives in an instant.
If it were easy everyone would be thin, right?
I wonder if - when people see that story about me - they have any idea how HARD it was and still is. People (ME INCLUDED) want things easy, I think. I wonder if people see pictures of me and think that giving up certain foods allowed the pounds to melt off and I decided to run and immediately and gracefully started running miles… If only that were true.
So I told this woman a harsh reality - it fucking sucks. There is NO EASY WAY to make it happen. If you want weight loss and improved health, you have to sacrifice. You have to give up foods that you love. You have to say no when you don’t want to. You have to stand around and watch others eat what you don’t. You have to plan your meals and watch your portions and PAY ATTENTION to what you eat rather than just eating. You can’t just go to a restaurant and order - you have to check out the calories in the meal before you order.
You have to exercise. And it hurts. I think there are some wackos out there that LOVE the feeling of their heart in their throat beating a million miles per hour and muscles aching and every fiber of the body screaming STOP. I am NOT one of those people.
Believe it or not I HATE exercise. I have NEVER gotten a runner’s high. I don’t relish the “me” time. I do it because I HAVE to if I want to be thin-ish and fit. I hate it less than I used to, but I still hate it.
As I told this woman - that is the bad news. But here is the good news - study after study shows that losing even a small amount of weight improves your health dramatically! So if you weigh 225 pounds, getting under 200 - even if you are still technically obese - makes you SO MUCH healthier.
And the rewards when you not only lose weight but start eating right and exercising? They are fantastic! Being able to wear cuter and more comfortable clothes. Your energy will increase. You will sleep better. Your skin will look and feel better. Your sex life will improve. You might be able to stop certain medications. You will be happier!
The other good news is to achieve small goals, you don’t have to change everything at once - I didn’t! What do you have the ability to change RIGHT NOW? Can you commit to walking 30 minutes 3 times a week? Can you set a goal to drink more water? Can you cut down eating desserts from 4 days a week to one? Can you eat out less? Can you park in the furthest parking space from the door when you go to the mall? Can you switch from white bread and pasta to whole grain? Can you commit to adding in more veggies to your meals? All of these little things start to add up. And you can and should be continually re-thinking your goals and re-assessing what is working and what is not.
I don’t have THE answer, but hopefully the suggestions I made will help her. And I hope I take my own advice!
Monday, December 7, 2015
No slacking off now…
Most weekends go by in a blur, but the weekends around the holidays seem to go even faster! I feel like I am always trying to cram in activities balanced with chores and Xmas shopping and about 1 billion other things!
On Saturday, I wanted to get the boys pictures with Santa which they were doing at Petco. So, my brilliant mind decided that if I took them for a long run in the morning, they would be calm and docile for our visit to Santa. Yeah, right - have you ever met a Boxer?? I was tired - them? Not so much!!
The woman who took the pictures was a pretty crappy photographer as you can see, but the money I paid to get the pics taken went to the local SPCA, so I consider it more of a donation. Yes, Santa does look like he is choking both of my boys, but actually, Chakotay loved Santa - getting several uninvited licks in before the picture was taken. Archer tolerated Santa, although surprisingly he was a little more weary of the man in red then his brother.
I do most shopping in general online, but we had to make a few stops - people are CRAZY this time of year, right?
Sunday arrived and Marc and I had signed up with Runkeeper for their global 5K event - where people around the world were encouraged to run or walk 5K on Sunday for a sense of world unity. We did our part as we headed to a local trail and ran 4 miles.
I found myself thinking this weekend that Xmas in only 3 weeks away and that maybe I should just completely relax and do whatever I want until then. As I stared at all the goodies in the stores, the temptation to eat frivolously and not hang on to healthy habits was there BIG TIME. Fat Jen told me repeatedly that I should enjoy myself and just start new after Xmas. Almost like a drug addict using all he/she can before heading off to rehab.
That is a dangerous prospect - studies show that the majority of weight gained during the holiday season is NEVER LOST. And people that are overweight or obese gain much more than normal weight people during the holidays. Although my body may not currently fall in that category, my mind does, and always will, so I am definitely in a greater risk category.
So I still aim to stay on track MOST of the time, and not go back to the “I’ll quit tomorrow” mentality. I would encourage everyone out there to do the same. Yes, allow yourself some leeway, but allowing yourself to just eat whatever you want or slack off on exercise - it just will make it that much harder come January 1st! And we all know it is SO FUCKING HARD as it is.... why pile it on (no pun intended)?
OH HOW I WISH THIS WERE TRUE!!!!!!
Saturday, December 5, 2015
Is what I feel coming. The start of December has been an unbalanced one so far. I was taken out of my routine several times this week, and it filled me with fear.
But maybe, just maybe, fear is what is needed. I’m am having some change foisted upon me at work – new challenges and new responsibilities and stepping into the unknown.
Since I don’t adjust to change well, I feel scared of being taken out of my known routine. So my immediate reaction was anxiety and resistance when I attended a meeting about these changes yesterday.
But after the meeting as I was processing mentally what these changes would mean, I realized – once again – that I can choose to see this change as an opportunity instead of something negative.
After all, the routine that I’ve been in this year – well, it hasn’t been making me particularly happy and successful. I mean, I’m love what I’m doing at work, but I’ve gotten so used to the routine of it, that I’ve also been in my head too much. And I’ve been obsessing about exercise and weight all the time. And the result? I’ve gotten progressively fatter and have felt a lot of lack of control in myself more days than not.
So now, with new challenges, maybe I can get outside of ME and focus on a new mental challenge and maybe food and exercise won’t dominate my life in the unhealthy way it has!
The change is a little way off. So I have some time to adjust and plan. I had already decided that December would be a practicing month - to set up for a better 2016 – so this falls right along with it!
Wednesday, December 2, 2015
BLECH of a day!
You guys know that I have a TERRIBLE memory right? I don’t know how many times Marc has said to me “You don’t remember that??!!” referring to something that a few months or even years ago and I’m like “I don’t remember what happened THIS MORNING!”
But some things can’t be forgotten even though I wish they could. It was 25 years ago today when my father died of a heart attack. I can’t believe it’s been 25 freaking years. Every detail of that horrible morning is etched in my mind as clearly as when it happened.
Yesterday it was dark all day long and rained. I woke up this morning to the same. It hasn’t been all that cold, but when everything is damp and dark, it just makes it feel colder than it really is.
I told myself in the shower this morning that all I needed to do was get through today and I can mentally move on to looking forward to the holidays.
Arriving at work this morning I was busy and productive with no time to be in my head, and I was feeling pretty good all things considered. And then all hell broke loose. Things didn’t go as planned - there was running around and complete chaos and waiting and all the things that I have no patience for – this included me not getting to take my lunch break.
Now that’s not a tragedy, but when your entire existence seems to be focused on working out and burning a required amount of calories, missing a workout - well, it feels like a disaster. Add this to stress and anxiety and sadness - well, that’s not a good thing.
It’s so stupid when I intellectually think about it, but that guttural sense that not having worked out has instantly made me gain 20 pounds sits there like a monkey on my back.
Was there really a time in my life when I NEVER worked out and didn’t think a damn thing about it? That seems like a lifetime ago!
I’m happy to close the door on this sad day for at least another year. And tomorrow will be better, right?
Monday, November 30, 2015
Losing the faith
I’ve told you guys many times before that I don’t know why I lost weight when I did after so many failed attempts. I do know that once I got into the groove with my weight loss though, I gained tremendous confidence.
Previously, I knew for SURE that I COULD NOT lose weight. That being fat and unfit and dying an early death was inevitable. And then, a minor miracle happened and I suddenly had faith in myself.
I had set a goal - and I was certain I would achieve it. That’s not to say there weren’t dark moments. There were many frustrating times. I remember shortly after getting under 200 pounds, I stalled for a while. I was continuing to eat right and exercise, but I would step on the scale faithfully every morning and I SWEAR the scale said “FUCK YOU BITCH” instead of giving me a number.
But my persistence paid off and I began dropping. Then in 2012, after my surgery, my body was in such flux and healing and I couldn’t work out the way I had been and I was OH SO CLOSE but SO FAR AWAY from my goal. But I had complete and total faith in myself to stay the course and I knew I was going to hit my goal.
I realized today, that I have completely lost that faith in myself. I was getting dressed to run today and after squeezing myself into my running capris I stared in the mirror and saw the amount of fat hanging over the sides and how terrible I look, and I had this thought that I should just give up. I should start buying larger clothes and accept the inevitable slide that I have been taking.
Yeah, I know, call the WAMbulance!!
I have lost all faith in myself to get back on track. I know that studies have show that believing one CAN - for all sorts of things, not just weight loss - is closely linked with success. And the belief that one CAN’T becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. The more I believe that I can’t do it, the more I sabotage myself. It’s a vicious cycle.
That Jen of the past that didn’t believe that she could lose weight - that she would be forever obese? At least she had an excuse. She had never experienced success, so her thinking it wasn’t possible, it was at least partially understandable.
But the person I am now, she doesn’t have that excuse. I’ve done it before - OF COURSE I can do it again. It’s a matter of setting my mind to it and DOING IT.
As we all know though, this is easier said then done. And it’s getting that time of year, when I’m CRAVING carbs and the LAST thing I want to do is work out. It’s dark and cold and all I want to do is get into my flannel PJ’s and curl up under a blanket and pretend that the real world doesn’t exist!
So tomorrow is December 1st, I have to re-discover that faith in myself and my ability to get back on track.
Sunday, November 29, 2015
Friday, November 27, 2015
And…we have Christmas!
I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Yesterday, Marc and I ran the local “Turkey Trot” as we have for the last few years. It was a little windy but incredibly mild for this area and there were a ton of runners – 598 to be exact! Plus there were who the heck knows how many more walkers who did the shorter distance walk that they offer.
I came in 224 out of the 600 which is a bit of a blow to my overblown ego. But going in, based on how I have been running, I knew I was going to be much slower than in the past, so it was no surprise.
We then went to Marc’s niece’s house and spent the day eating, eating, watching football, eating, talking, and then EATING.
I can’t believe that Christmas is 1 month away!
Today I got up and ran with the dogs – running a 10K is not exactly the hardest thing in the world, but it ain’t the easiest either. And running a 10K the day after a Thanksgiving feast??!! I’m just glad everything stayed IN ifyaknowwhatImean!
We spent the rest of the day getting the holiday decorations up. I have not been in the holiday spirit AT ALL this year, but a little Jim Brickman in the CD player and getting out all the decorations and fixing up the tree helped.
As we tackle this last month, I am far, far away from my goals. So my plan is to attempt to figure out how I have gotten so far off track and what I can do to get back on in 2016.
I am very unhappy with myself right now, but I’m avoiding a total meltdown. I hope to have a positive and productive holiday season and then onwards and upwards in life and DOWNWARDS on the scale!!
What are you hoping to accomplish before Christmas??
Wednesday, November 25, 2015
Let’s talk turkey!
For those of you that have read this blog for a while, you have heard my rants on this before. I’m going to repeat myself here - it may be more beneficial for new people, but I suppose that we could all use it as a reminder.
I’ve heard people all week talk about the stress that comes with getting together with family over Thanksgiving. And no doubt it can be a stressful time. Many of us are going to see relatives and in-laws that we don’t see too often - some we don’t see for a reason!!
If you are in the midst of a weight loss journey, this holiday - which seems SO focused on food for most families - it can be extra pressure. So I’ll offer some words of wisdom here - take them or leave them. And certainly if you have anything to add, please feel free to comment!
First off, I recommend you have a PLAN! If you have lost some weight or gained some - people are going to notice. And you might get some comments and questions. What are you comfortable sharing with people? Do you want to keep it vague and say “I’ve been trying to eat healthier and exercise some.” OR do you want to brag it up? “I’ve lost 50 pounds and I work out 4 times per week!!” Either way you decide to go is great - but preparing and knowing what you’re going to say helps.
Now perhaps the most important decision to make is how you are going to eat tomorrow. Stay strictly on plan? Indulge a little? Eat whatever you want and not worry about it? Any of those choices is right. It’s YOUR body and YOUR choice.
Unfortunately, most families have at least one person that feels the need to comment and question your choices. You know whether you have that person in your family and you should prepare your response.
So when you great uncle loudly asks “Are you SURE you want to eat that piece of pie?” What will you say? “What I put in my body is none of your fucking business!” Is one way to respond - that would be more my style. Or you can tell him that you’ve decided to treat yourself today.
How about a well meaning mother-in-law who - if you decide NOT to have the piece of pie - tells you that you are looking “too thin” and that you need to eat more? What will you say to that? You can tell her that you and your doctor have discussed what a healthy weight is and that this is your goal.
There is no doubt that situations like this are hard. And I think that MANY of us deal with such shame and guilt surrounding our weight and eating that we feel that we don’t have the right to stand up for ourselves.
Well let me tell you - you don’t need to be ashamed - you don’t need to feel badly and you DON’T deserve to be treated like crap. So don’t allow it.
I hope that most of you reading this are lucky enough that you will be in a positive supportive environment and that you just are able to relax and enjoy the day. But if you know that you’ll face challenges, the best defense as they say is a good offense. Be prepared, be confident. OWN your choices as being right for YOU!
Monday, November 23, 2015
It’s all relative…
You know how they say everything is relative? Boy that is certainly true. Facebook was kind enough to show me a photo I posted of myself 4 years ago today. I remember when we took that photo. We were taking a bunch of different photos for our annual holiday card. I thought I looked pretty damn good. I probably weighed about 175 pounds there.
Today when I saw it I was pretty horrified and embarrassed that I had posted it thinking that I looked good!
I was reflecting that this was 4 short years ago - even though it feels like a LIFETIME ago. So, I’m not doing too bad, right? Then I had to look through some pictures to send to someone concerning my running. And I ran across another photo - this one from 2013 - just 2 years ago. When I was running a lot and still carefully watching my eating.
Oh wow! Was my thought - I looked SO MUCH better then! How I have let myself go - how much fatter I have gotten since that pic was taken! I looked in the mirror and was just discouraged by my excess flab.
And so it goes. Today I ran 10K. In 57:48 - 4 years ago Jen would have been THRILLED to run that distance at that pace. 2 years ago Jen would LAUGH at that horrifically slow time. It’s all relative.
I don’t know if it’s my attempt at having a better attitude or the thyroid pills I am taking or the fact that we are having pretty sunny and warm weather for November here, but I feel more positive and generally better than I have felt all year. BUT - one thing that has unfortunately not changed? My eating.
I was hopeful that feeling better would equate with less appetite. But that is not true. This weekend I plowed through food with a gusto - and with Thanksgiving just a couple days away, I’m fucking myself - and not in a good way!!
I think that I’ve given up trying to lose weight before the end of the year. I think I need to try to take some pressure off by having the goal to maintain from now through December 31 and then, come January?
My goal is to make 2016 a MUCH MUCH better year all around than the grand suck hole that has been 2015. Looking forward, not looking back as we make our way through the holidays...
Are you actively trying to lose or maintain this holiday season?
Thursday, November 19, 2015
Don’t say it!
There are RULES, people. And one of my steadfast rules concerns a certain holiday.
I can’t say what that holiday is, because it’s not Thanksgiving evening yet.
This is the holiday that shall not be named until that evening. There is certain music associated with this holiday, and I quite enjoy listening to it – BUT NOT YET!!
Certain radio stations are playing this music. And I have avoided hearing it – one more week to go! And then I will drown myself in this certain music, especially when it is sung by wonderful singers like Josh Groban and Michael Buble.
But I do have a favor to ask! When you are shopping for this yet unnamed holiday – or anytime you shop, please remember to use this blog to go to Amazon and then shop as normal. I will get affliate credit which helps to support the cost of this blog!
Simply hit the Amazon button to your upper right or click on this link below!
Wednesday, November 18, 2015
For the love of (healthy) food!
It is no secret that I love food. And so do most Americans. However, we have become a nation addicted to highly processed unhealthy foods. The companies that produce these processed foods know exactly what they are doing. They know that the more they get people addicted to these foods the more people will eat their products leading to a sizeable profit.
We know some of the names of these substances having heard them in the news - like high fructose corn syrup - and we know they are bad for you. But did you know that some, like MSG (monosodium glutamate) is a preservative that deliberately inhibits the hormone Leptin, an appetite regulator??!! I mean that preservative’s PURPOSE is to keep you from feeling full so you’ll eat more!!!
When I was obese I ate a lot of processed foods, but I was lucky that both Marc and I grew up in families where meat and vegetables were served. So we didn’t live totally out of boxes, so to speak. But it was common for us to throw together some of those instant mashed potatoes rather than making potatoes from scratch. We worshipped at the alter of cheese and cream sauces and “instant” rather than making healthy items. And of course, there was always - ALWAYS - cheap and unhealthy desserts like Little Debbie and Chips Ahoy and Oreos. Don’t forget about my PREMIER drug of choice - MOUNTAIN DEW.
I could always rationalize that I ate my vegetables - usually boiling up corn and covering it with salt and butter. Or I’d make myself a nice big salad and then DROWN it in creamy Italian dressing.
Despite my struggles, that lifestyle is well in the past. Marc cook dinner together every night. That’s not to say that sometimes we aren’t “naughty” and eat more sugar than we should or make not so great choices. But, overall, we have eliminated those type of items from our diets.
That isn’t to say it came easy - like any addict, I resisted change. There was a part of me that really wanted to get healthy. But the part of me that was addicted to these shitty food screamed and cried and DEMANDED processed food. I clearly remember the summer of 2010 when I first started this journey - I had lost about 40 pounds and was feeling pretty good about myself when I ran into someone and we chatted for a short while. Or I should say that this person talked while eating a GIGANTIC bag of Doritos as I stared enviously at the bag and tried not to drool. I realized later that I had no idea what we had talked about because I was so enamored by that forbidden bag of deliciousness that I hadn’t heard a word he said.
That shows how powerful this industry is. I believe to have a real shot at weight loss success you have to cut these foods from your diet completely. Forget the debates about eggs and butter and red meat and cholesterol and good fats and unhealthy fats for a minute. The #1 enemy is NOT a cut of steak that you cook on the grill. It’s these miserable processed foods - including from fast food joints!
Here’s the good news. Your body CAN be retrained. When I first started out, raw carrots sat like a lump on my tongue - how the hell do people eat like this I wondered. The list of things I refused to eat was long - things like tomatoes and fish. The list of food I had never tried - never HEARD OF - was vast!
Now? I seriously LOVE a good salad - WITHOUT dressing! Baby carrots taste sweet to me and are a MUCH more satisfying crunch than potato chips ever were. Marc cooked us Salmon last week and it was DEVINE! I love tomatoes. Mixing baked acorn squash and fresh cranberries together is like a sweet dessert!
I’ve learned to get out of my box - I peruse the produce section looking for items I have never tried and try them. Some I LOVE and others maybe not so much. But coming up with new things to eat and new ways to cook is a welcome challenge. I am never going to be someone who loves cooking - I’m just not. But on the menu tonight is turkey chili - and I will be much happier cooking that and letting it simmer while Marc and I do our nightly workout than I would be pouring instant mashed potatoes out of a box and slurping them down slathered with butter.
For those of you that have embarked on a healthy journey, how about you? Have you found that your body has learned to love healthy foods? Are there things you eat now that you never did before? Please comment!!
Tuesday, November 17, 2015
With the confidence of a fool….
Of all the characteristics I find distasteful in other people, arrogance has to be at the top of the list. I ran across an article talking about confidence and how it differs from arrogance. Some things they talked about were that arrogant people desperately seek approval from others. They also need to “one up” other people and make other people feel badly about themselves in order to feel good about themselves.
This differs from confident people. Confident people make others feel good. They seek to lift others up by being positive and encouraging. While most confident people appreciate compliments, they don’t need other people’s approval.
With this in my mind, I’ve been trying to observe people in my world who I perceive as confident or arrogant and listen to what they say and how they react to other people. And I noticed that when someone is confident, accepting compliments and being themselves DOESN’T come across as arrogant at all.
I know who I want to be. I don’t believe that I am arrogant. But I’m not exactly confident either.
So my attempt at evolution continues. In my new spirit of doing my best and realizing that everyone has flaws and just trying to be positive, I am going to pretend to be confident.
Yesterday I ran at lunch. My legs were a little tired and I was going slow. As I passed a parking lot, someone had pulled across the sidewalk and when they saw me heading towards them, they hurriedly threw their truck into reverse to clear the path for me. I looked over to give a wave and saw 2 women in the truck - both maybe in their early 30's - who gave me a thumbs up and clapped as I passed in front of them.
In the past I might have thought that they were making fun of me. But I immediately forced myself to think that I’m pretty awesome - here I am out running on my lunch hour and I bet they appreciated that.
Last night I was looking at myself in the mirror and saw how bright red my freshly dyed hair is. I know some people hate it. But I think it looks pretty outrageous and cool. I love it.
When I went to bed last night I celebrated the fact that I ate really healthy yesterday. That’s something I should be proud of.
I got up this morning, put on my dress and thought - geez, I look pretty good. I avoiding looking for fat rolls and flaws. Instead I looked at my overall picture. Despite everything, I’m NOT a disaster.
Exercise some, eat well most of the time, love yourself and your life. Make changes if you need to. That’s what it’s about, right?
Sunday, November 15, 2015
Ok with not ok?
I know that not everyone here reads the comments that people sometimes send me on my posts. I received a comment last night from an anonymous reader who linked to 2 different articles suggesting I might find value in reading them.
First off, to anonymous – THANK YOU. These were wonderful reads and really have given me something to think about.
I think everyone would find a lot of important information and so I share the links here:
If you read these articles, you’ll see that one talks about how truly difficult – on the verge of impossible – it is for the average person to get into incredibly lean shape. If talks about the amount of sacrifice you have to implement to become a super lean, fit person.
The other article talks about how many of us compare ourselves to others and think they completely have their shit together when 99% really DON’T. Their lives are messy and imperfect.
The message in the both the articles seems to be that with reasonable adjustments to our lifestyles, we can look pretty darn good and be pretty darn healthy and that should be good enough.
One quote stood out to me talking about what it takes to be in super-shape:
“You eat out of Tupperware. You measure everything that goes into your mouth. Your entire routine revolves around eating (or not eating), working out, and sleeping so you have enough energy to work out again.”
That sounds familiar….and tiresome.
Is normal and healthy for a 43 year old woman like me to be working out 3 hours a day? To think about food all. the. time.?
These articles seem to say – NOPE. But with my all or nothing thinking, I seem to believe that I can fall into 2 categories – 2 categories ONLY: EITHER I am a disgusting fat cow, OR I wear a size 0-2 and run 35-40 miles per week and never eat off plan.
Even as I read these articles I find myself agreeing with the points made. AND YET – I can’t quite get there mentally! How do I do that? How do I be okay with just being “GOOD ENOUGH” as one of the articles talks about?
Ok, I’m going to go take the dogs for a run and think about some things….
Thursday, November 12, 2015
I was talking to a young, really fit guy today. He and I have had conversations in the past about working out and running and eating right, etc. He usually exercises in the morning and I’ve admired his dedication.
I’ve seen him eat his lunch before and it always seems to be really healthy things like sweet potato with lean chicken. And I’ve never seen him indulge in the “goodies” that float about.
Because I am the drama queen that you all know and love, I always assume that it is SO HARD for me, but SO EASY for everyone else. I especially assume this about young men like him that it always seems can eat endless amounts of food and not gain an ounce.
He was telling me the difficulties in working out outside starting this time of year when the sun comes up so late and it is so cold in the mornings.
He further went on to talk about how at one point he was really dedicated to running and was taking supplements to build muscle and was very concerned about his fitness and appearance. I was unaware of this, but he also has a bad family history when it comes to heart issues and his cholesterol is apparently quite elevated. He told me after one doctor’s appointment he was determined to get his cholesterol down and for 3 months religiously worked out and did not waiver from a healthy diet AT ALL.
He went back and got his cholesterol tested and guess what? NO CHANGE!! He talked about how incredibly discouraging and frustrating that was - and I sure the hell could identify with that!!
He said that he has come to a place now where he’s not into the supplements any more. He said that he knows that he will gain weight during the winter months and have to work to lose it in the spring. He said that he started to realize that he needs to enjoy life - what is the point of being healthy and extending your life if you don’t enjoy it? So, he said that he is going to eat a cookie once and a while and have that piece of pumpkin pie at Thanksgiving and enjoy it without stressing over making a “bad choice”. Once again - here he was singing my song.
As you guys know, this is exactly where I’m trying to get to, mentally. It really is a struggle, though. For example, yesterday Marc had to take his father to get some blood drawn and I decided to take the boys out for a short run. We ended up running 5 miles. Later in the day Marc and I decided to go hiking and got in another 7 miles. And despite my complete inability to cook, I tried making a homemade vegetable soup - without a recipe!! (Don’t laugh - that is a pretty big deal for me!) I was pretty happy with my choices that day and told myself that I am doing okay.
Of course, after feeling that last night, I then get up this morning and get dressed for work and look in mirror and am so dismayed with how horrible I look. It really is a never ending battle it seems....but maybe one day, I will just be okay with me…maybe?
Monday, November 9, 2015
Bottle it up, please!
Wow! You can’t buy these type of days! I told you guys that I am trying to take things one day at a time, right?
Today was a busy morning and before I knew it, lunch time was here. It was a cool and beautifully bright sunny day. Marc and I had taken the dogs to a local trail and ran with them yesterday. I normally don’t run 3 days in a row, but with it being such a beautiful day and the weather forecast saying that the rest of the week is going to be miserable, I knew I should get out and run.
Sometimes I take my first few steps and know that the whole run is going to suck - that every 1/4 mile is going to be a fight. And then sometimes a little miracle happens. Sometimes I take my first few steps and it’s like the mythical Hermes, it feels like I have little wings attached to my feet.
Today was one of those days.
I felt strong and calm and then I passed the local pizza shop. I always pass there, and inevitably I feel jealous of the people sitting in there, eating their huge pieces of pizza and watching me run by. Sometimes I try to tell myself that I am superior to them to make myself feel better.
Today was different. Today I looked in at them and I wasn’t even a bit jealous. I thought about when I used to go out to lunch. It would consist of sucking down a couple pieces of pizza. Or I would go to TGI Fridays and have their all you can eat lunch where I would eat a few bowls of broccoli cheddar soup and about 1 billion breadsticks. And I would return to work feeling heavy and tired. I would be sluggish all afternoon - half in a carb-induced food coma, and I would just count the minutes until I could go home.
I realized that - weight aside - it was not pleasant. I thought about how I feel now when I get back to work after running or another exercise. I sit at my desk eating my healthy lunch while returning phone calls and doing paperwork and am I energized instead of lethargic. I am way more productive and in better spirits now than when I used to eat fast food during lunch.
I had been planning on running 3-4 miles. But I felt so good I just kept going and I got in 6 miles. I wasn’t proud of myself and I didn’t feel sorry for myself. I just felt good. I’m not exactly where I want to be, but I’m a hell of lot better than that girl of the past.
Tomorrow, well we all know how that goes. Tomorrow I could fall into a vat of self-pity and loathing. But JUST FOR TODAY I will relish how I feel.