Thursday, December 31, 2015
Wednesday, December 30, 2015
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?
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Monday, December 14, 2015
Saturday, December 12, 2015
Wednesday, December 9, 2015
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
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
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?