Tuesday, January 24, 2017

BOOOO to biology!

"As soon as temperatures drop, our appetite goes up for high-calorie, high-carbohydrate foods -- stews, mashed potatoes, mac and cheese -- the dishes that make us feel warm and cozy," says Barrie Wolf-Radbille, MS, RD, a nutritionist with the New York University Program for Surgical Weight Loss.

For those of you who have read this blog for any amount of time, you know how I struggle with depression during the winter months.

While here in Northern NY we have largely and blissfully for the most part dodged the extremely cold temps that often plaque us here in January, we have NOT in any way dodged the oppressive cloud cover that descends on us in winter.

This year, having actively sought a new attitude and having a new puppy in the house, I have for the most part been able to avoid that feeling of utter despair and blackness that often settles over me in January.

But the constant lack of sunshine is really starting to grind on my nerves and has started to stick even worse to my hips! Every. Single. Day. has been dark grey. It is dark grey when I get up, dark grey every time I look out the window and it is a miserable dark grey as I drive home.

And it’s moist. That cold, wet air that just hangs. It’s chilly and depressing. I have no idea when the sun was last out. I religiously wear sunglasses and I have no idea where my are because it has been weeks since I’ve needed them.

I’ve been trying to get outside and get any amount of natural light that I can. Even though it was still pretty cool on Saturday, I forced myself outside so that Archer and I could do a nice longer run of 10 miles. It felt good to be off the treadmill and out of the basement, but the air was wet, thick, heavy and it just kind of sucked.

So you take the emotional aspect and combine it with biology. As the quote from the nutritionist says above, cold dark days trigger the primitive part of us to EAT! Like I need any encouragement in that realm, right? And no, the body does NOT say “Oh my, we better stock up on carrots and apples!” Hell to the no - the body wants us to eat high fat, high carb goodies.

Resistance, as the Borg say, is futile. I am fighting against biology and emotion and I don’t appear to be winning any of these battles.

Yesterday I had to work in the office that is about 45 minutes away from my house - I drove home in almost a trance. I wasn’t tired, per se, I was just done. Completely devoid of any energy. I envisioned coming home and, instead of making the boneless pork chops and lentils that I had planned, and doing a few miles on the treadmill, of getting into my flannel PJ’s, having Marc make his famous pancakes, slathering them in peanut butter and syrup and eating myself into a food coma.

I resisted this urge last night, but I’m not sure I’m going to be successful for the rest of the week. I mean, it’s only Tuesday.

Someone promise me that the sun has to come out and the temps have to warm up soon, right??!!

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

No more war within?

I have rare moments of clarity and I had one today. When I have these moments it’s like the world comes into a sharp colorful focus. Combined with it is a sense of complete relaxation and peace. The problem is that these moments seem to be brief and fleeting. I can never hold on to this feeling and use it to power me into something productive.

I was doing a power yoga on my lunch hour today. It was a really hard one and I was actually breathing hard and pushing myself. I bent to launch myself into half-moon pose and as I got into position a whole bunch or sweat came pouring off my forehead and onto the mat. I held myself in position listening to the instructor talking as my body shook like it does when you are straining to hold onto a difficult pose and I decided that it hurt like hell but also felt great.

I realized that for a woman my age that my body is really strong and recognized how hard I have worked to get myself to where I am. I ended this past weekend - as usual - being so angry at myself for eating too much. I told myself that I must want to be fat again because I didn’t stay on plan, and this came with a barrage of self-loathing and recriminations.

But today, as I was in that yoga pose, I thought about what else I did this weekend. I took Archer on a nice 9 mile run. When we got back to the house, I put on Sisko’s tiny little collar and Archer and I cooled down as Sisko did his first 1 mile walk. That’s pretty awesome, right?

And then Monday we all went out to a park and did a short cold hike, and I loved exposing Sisko to his “first evers...”.

Maybe it's time to acknowledge that I will probably always have too much extra flab. I probably won’t run 8 minute miles again. I will always want to eat too much and have to monitor myself closer than I want to. My stomach won’t be completely flat and I won’t have the muscles I wish I did.

BUT - I can still run and bike and do things with my body that I never dreamed were possible. My life has a lot of positives to it that have nothing whatsoever to do with whether my clothes are a size 2 or a size 10. This minute I am okay with that. Because it’s pretty great. I don’t know that I’ll feel that way tomorrow, but I feel pretty clear headed about it now.

And I can’t help but wonder if not obsessing and hating myself and just be more accepting and less demanding will actually get me closer to my goals. I mean, that’s what happened the first time I lost weight - I got the fuck out of my own way and a miracle happened...

Is asking for another miracle really too much?

As a side note, here was the aftermath from the run and walk:

Monday, January 9, 2017

Because I’m “special”

I did really well last week with my eating and entered the weekend pretty happy with myself and confident that I could truly do this - that it was indeed in my ability to get back on the horse so to speak and lose the weight I need to lose once again.

I carried that into Saturday morning where I started the very cold day by heading downstairs and binge watching Nurse Jackie while putting in 10 miles on the treadmill. Pretty pleased with my rock-star-ed-ness I headed upstairs to take a shower and eat lunch.

Which is where is all went wrong. I would then spend the entire weekend plowing through every bit of food that was in the house. Because I had forbid myself from eating peanut butter during the week, I had my customary grilled peanut butter and banana sandwich for lunch on Saturday which unleashed the hounds, opening the floodgates to me eating peanut butter like it was soon going to cease to exist and I needed to stuff myself with it while it was still there.

This behavior takes a special kind of stupid, doesn’t it?

And, as I knew it would, getting on the scale this morning told me that any progress that I had made during the week was promptly erased by my weekend activities.

So, now I know that I have to translate the success of the week into the weekend. I’ll tell you what, with tons of snow and temps barely above zero, it just ain’t easy. I mean it’s never easy but it’s far harder I think being in the house all day and feeling trapped.

Is it June yet?

At least I have these 2 cute little buggers to keep me partially sane!!


Saturday, January 7, 2017

The pain of the run...

According to an article I read today, if statistics hold true, for millions of people, their New Year's Resolution is to start running.  

When I started running it wasn't a grand resolve, and I honestly didn't put that much forethought into it.  I was walking on the treadmill and I simply thought - "I wonder if I could run?" 

A naive and possibly foolhardy way to get into a sport, which worked for me despite the odds..  But perhaps knowing some of the things the article talked about could have prevented some of the issues I would later experience and still am dealing with.

In the article the author states that most people who made running their resolution will quit by February.  This is not just because most people quit their resolutions in general.  It goes beyond that - into the aches and pains associated with running that people are simply not prepared for.

2 parts of us are incredibly adaptable to the demands of a high impact sport like running no matter how horribly out of shape we are.  Our muscles instantly recognize the need to adjust, adapt, and accomodate so the almost immediately start repairing any damage we cause by running and grow incredibly stronger quickly to not just hadle the next time we run, but it makes us better the next time we do it.

Amazing, right?

Our heart, as a muscle, and our respiratory system are also on our side.  Our hearts and lungs grow stronger as soon as we put them to the test.  They also accomodate what we are putting them through - becoming stonger and more efficient each time we run.

However, there are allso parts of us that aren't so impressed with our new found desire to engage in this high impact activity.  Our ligaments and tendons actively resist change according to research.  So while our muscles are allowing and encouraging us to run longer and faster, our ligaments and connective tissues remain weak.  They are slow to repair and are constantly 10 days or so behind.  Which makes the new runner tremendously vulnerable to injury.

And then, let's talk about our bones.  There is a ton of research proving that high impact activities like running is fantastic for bone health - once you've been at it for a while.  But bones are even worse than connective tissues in adapting.  And their process of breaking down and repairing is mind numbing slow.  

2 weeks into running - when even the ligaments are recognizing they need to support the rest of the body - a new runner's bones are the same as a non-runner.  And then they start breaking down in order to repair themselves to become stronger.  So here the new runner is with rapidly growing muscles, better cardio, and some exercise enduced endorphins and scarily weak bones...

It can be a recipe for stress fractures, making someone quit running and if they decide to start again, starting at square one.

This is yet another argument, in my opinion, for using the run walk method to start running.  By running for short periods and then walking, you give your heart and muscles the encouragement to start growing and adapting while being kind and patient with the stubborn ligaments and vulnerable bones.  Increasing the strain slowly is the perfect way to  get the whole body safely on board.

But take it from someone who went from never having run a single mile to regularly running 30 miles a week.  Physically and mentally, it is one of the absolute best things you can do for yourself!

Thursday, January 5, 2017

The lie of hunger

Once again, I have a renewed commitment to get my ass back on track. In that vein I have been making more than just a half-assed effort to control my eating. I haven’t really changed my workouts - I probably should mix it up, but since I do work out at least 2 hours a day, I think I can skate on this for a little while.

And, I have forced myself to get on the dreaded scale. If I had less of an ego, I would share that number with you, but the shame I feel is so great, I just don’t have the courage to put that number in writing for all of the blog-o-verse to see.

But anyway... I have a big problem with what I saw another person call the “taste, lick, nibble”. So it’s not about super overindulging or eating terrible foods, it coming home and having “just a nibble” or, while spreading peanut butter on the dogs’ treats having “a small taste”. Well, all of those small licks and nibbles and tastes actually have calories believe it or not!

So those have, at least for the time being, stopped.

Last night I went out to get my evening snack - which is typically a non-fat yogurt cup.

And my stomach was HOWLING. I was ravenously hungry. Fat Jen trumpeted that I had not eaten enough - that I was starving myself. That my body needs food. And an 80 calorie yogurt wouldn’t cut it.

So I stood there in front of the refrigerator and surveyed the contents as behind me, in the cupboard where the peanut butter is housed, I heard voices. They told me to come over and just have “a little bit”. Peanut butter is mostly healthy, and you are SOOOOOOO hungry the voices said.

Reluctantly I took the yogurt out of the refrigerator and full of self-pity I made my way back to the living room where I pouted while eating it and watching Law and Order: Special Victim’s Unit.

I went to bed as I normally do at 11 PM and woke up about 2:30 AM needing to pee. As I walked to the bathroom, I realized something. I wasn’t hungry. My stomach wasn’t talking at all. I wasn’t counting the hours until morning and breakfast. There were no GROWLY noises.

When I was in the kitchen last night, I thought it was real hunger. My stomach lurched and growled. It felt TOTALLY legit. It was not boredom, or thirst, or sadness or any of those emotional triggers that cause me to eat when I don’t need to. Or so I thought.

But I was clearly wrong. That type of ravenous hunger, if it was true hunger would not have been satiated by 80 calories - even high protein, healthy 80 calories. It should not have carried me through the evening and into the night. But yet, here I was, hours later, and there was no sense of truly needing to eat.

Is it because I never snack - never nibble, taste or lick in the middle of the night that I wasn’t triggered?  You see, my body is clearly a LIAR. When I got up this morning I was ready for breakfast, but I wasn’t STARVING.  Not like I “should have” been if my body had been telling me the truth the night before.

At least the scale dropped 4 pounds from yesterday. Yeah, I know, not real, but certainly positive reinforcement.

I’m going to pretend that this fake feeling of hunger is a sign my body is dropping pounds, and that it will be 4 pounds per day each day.  Geez at that rate, I have just a short time and I’ll be back at goal, right?!?!

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

A round of Applause please!

Over the weekend Marc and I stopped into Walmart for some groceries. We went over to the aisles that had their Xmas clearance. We were browsing through the items and there was one full aisle full of Xmas goodies on clearance - 50% off!

M n M’s, Hershey’s Kisses, Chocolate Covered Pretzels, Ghirardelli’s Chocolates, Reese’s Peanut Butter cups - they actually sell a 2 pack of ½ POUND EACH of these - and YES, I could EASILY eat one right down.

It’s part of my sickness that had these items been there just regularly for sale, they would present very little temptation for me. But because they were on CLEARANCE and represent such a “good deal” I really, really wanted to buy some and, of course, eat them.

I managed to avoid buying anything - after looking at multiple packages and nutrition labels - apparently I thought that if I looked at enough packages, one would eventually read



Alas, I did not find that package and reluctantly headed up to the check-out area completely devoid of chocolate.

I swear that as I left the aisle, I half expected – or thought there SHOULD be – multiple people lined up on either side to thunderously applaud me for my self-control as I walked between them. Why I expect that I should be given special kudos for NOT being a pig, I don’t know.

Sometimes I want to scream “Do you have any idea how FUCKING HARD this is for me?!?! Do you know what’s it’s like to have to constantly monitor every goddamn piece of food I eat? Do you know how hard I work and I’m still FAILING??” 

Yes, I know, applause or a resounding pity party is what I’m looking for!!

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

When does change occur?

Although i really enjoy people that have great inspirational messages, I've never put that much stock in these professional inspirational speakers.  You know the ones that come to a town, rent out a conference room, charge people $25 to encourage them to "UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL!"  In 3 months - if you buy their books - you'll learn tips and tricks that will make you thin, rich, famous and you'll have great sex every night and fart huge rainbows.


But today I ran across a short video by Tony Robbins.   It started playing and I was half-listening.  I wasn't sold on everything he talked about, but it was a positive non-judgmental message.  

And one thing he said really hit home.  He said that change does not occur when you think you "should" do something, it occurs when you "MUST" do something.  So saying to yourself "I really should lose weight" or "I should totally start saving money" means NOTHING.   Not until you  change it into a MUST.

For years I knew that I should lose weight.  But until something clicked - that I HAD TO change - well, nothing changed.  Then it became non-negociable.  A must.  And I lost weight.

So I wonder if I'm back to "should".  Not with working out - that is still a must.  And I do work out faithfully.  Because it is still in the has to happen category.

But food is a different matter.  That is, I think, back to "I really should get my eating back in check..."  Not "I MUST stop eating so much!" 

The question that Tony Robbins didn't answer is HOW to turn a "should" into a "must".  What is the key to the magic in flipping that switch?  How do I get back to putting my eating in the right column?  Is it reallly a simple mindset?

Monday, January 2, 2017

Promises, promises...

I'm sure I'm not the only one who has been rationalizing and justifying my dive into plate after plate of food while promising myself that come the NEW YEAR - you know the magical date that we all look to - I'll get my shit together.

And now - whatdayaknow - the magical date has arrived.  Instead of approaching it with enthusiasm and energy, I feel almost sad.  Because it's time to do it instead of just thinking about it!

A couple months ago my friend and I were talking about someone we know who has battled a horrific heroin addiction for years.  And he's had periods of real, true and productive sobriety.  But he had another relapse and just seems ambivilent about attempting to get back on track - to get sober again.

I told my friend how I totally get it.  I said that I, too, have had success only to blow it.  I know what it takes to get back on track.  I know how to do it and what it takes to get it done.  But looking down that road is just exhausting.  

I envy the naievete I had going into this in 2010, when I could just take it day by day with no pre-conceptions or expectations '- when I truly could just live one day at a time.

I need to keep it simple.  But simple ain't in my nature.

But let's look at success for today.  I exercised and part of that was taking Sisko for his first walk ever.  He dug in his heels at first - wondering why his Mommy was yanking him around by his neck.  But then? He got it.  He is so freaking cute and him trotting next to Archer and I was awesome! 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Rumors of my demise….

I don’t know how many people will see this post – after all, it’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything and probably most people – who even cared to check – have given up.

I gave up.  Completely.

I lost any and all hope.  It was hit after hit after hit in 2016, and it seemed like I could never get my feet under me. 

For those of you who know me, I love Christmas.  And this year, I was in such a deep, dark depression that I didn’t decorate.  No tree, no lights, no nothing.  Instead I curled up on the couch and cried while Marc stood there baffled and helpless wondering what the hell was wrong with me.

And that’s just it – most of the drama was entirely in my own head.  But that being a FACT and even KNOWING how ridiculous it was didn’t make it go away.

I’d like to tell you that things are better, and that I have a ton of hope for the New Year.  But I also don’t want to blow smoke up anyone’s ass. 

I sit here having gained a lot of weight and I don’t have any real sense that I can get it together.  But obviously if I’m taking the time to write this I haven’t completely abandoned hope that 2017 can and will be better. 

One bright spot?  For those of you who don’t also look at my Facebook page – I have news!

A new puppy!




He is a sweet, mischievous, reverse brindle Boxer that we brought home on 12/23 at 8 weeks old.  He is helping to heal my heart and soul….

So am I back?  No promises… but I hope I am back in many ways…