Wednesday, April 11, 2018

A half-hearted WOO HOO

It's been almost a month since I last posted.  I almost feel like I've been moving in slow motion.  This fucking winter just refuses to die and I am sick and tired of being cold ALL THE TIME and being stuck inside.

Then there's the war with myself and the scale.  It has relentlessly and heartlessly continued to bump back and forth with the same 2 pounds.  And then, just like that, without really doing much different - BANG BANG BANG - down 3 pounds over the last 3 days.

Part of me wants to celebrate this unexpected gift.  But the pessimistic part of me believes that if I can drop this unexpectedly, then tomorrow I could see that I gained those 3 pounds back for no reason.  And if those pounds are truly gone, I still feel that I have so far to go.  Geez, Jen, can't you allow yourself to just be happy for at least a few minutes??!!

A couple of days ago a friend tagged me on Instagram.  A run blogger had posted my before and after in their feed with the word "Inspiration".  I think those pics were from the story Runner's World did on me a few years ago.  The before was a pic from my wedding reception in 2005 in my full fat glory.  The second pic was from 2013  with me holding a trophy after coming in 1st in a 10K.

I showed this post to my friend and mentioned how weird it is to see myself just pop up out of nowhere.  She scrutinized the pics.  She then gently asked me if I could see that I was "too thin" back then.

I immediately said "No way!!!" She told me that at that time I looked "fragile" and pointed out features that she sees in people who are anorexic - not that I was to that point, but I was on the road there.  I told her that at that point I was still about 10 pounds away from "underweight" according to the BMI standards.

My friend then said that I look so much healthier now, and even though I want to lose weight she hopes that I won't get to that point.  I told her that when I look at that pic that I am jealous of me.

Crazy? Maybe, but I think of that person that seemed to have so much self control.  That could refuse brownies and cake and didn't eat spoonfuls of peanut butter like it was her last meal ever.  She stuck to her goals.  It wasn't that long ago!! So why can't I be her again??!!

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Some sort of miracle...

Yesterday a co-worker was celebrating her birthday and as I walked throught the office she offered me a piece of the cake another co-worker had made for her.  The  sheet cake was covered by aluminum foil so I couldn't see what kind it was.

I automatically declined and thanked her, but because I just love to torture myself I aked her what kind it was.  I should have known, since she is as obsessed as I am, and she gave me a little smile and said "peanut butter!"  I made some sort of statement about it killing me and moved on.  But as I went about my business and came back through, she had sliced off a piece for someone and it sat there taunting me.

Seeing me look at it, my friend offered to cut me a "very small" piece.  I again declined and ran back to my office to hide before my self-control abandoned ship.

Now I'm not going to blow smoke up anyone's ass here - I wanted a piece of cake.  But in something that was nothing short of a miracle I was ok not having a piece.  It didn't turn into a THING.

This is what usually happens under these circumstances.  I would go back to my office and obsessively think about the free delicious cake in the other room.  I would try to rationalize why it would be ok to eat it.  I would do some calorie math in my head.  I would be angry at myself and feel sorry for myself.

Then I would either cave and eat a piece - which then would lead to guilt and shame, or I wouldn't eat a piece and be all pity party about it.  

Instead I just kind of went on with my life like a normal human.  It sounds crazy to equate this to being a miracle, but really it kind of is!! As pathetic as it may sound.

I'd like to believe this is a sign of a healthier and more normal relationship with food, but I'm inclined to believe I just got lucky(?) that circumstances made me feel that way at that moment in time.

So help me, though, if I stand on the scale tommorow morning and haven't dropped.....

Monday, March 12, 2018

The more things change...

The more they stay completely and maddingly the same!!

When I was in my first phase of dropping pounds, I would talk to someone or read an online post where the person would say that they were eating less or exercising more and the scale wasn't moving.  I would think to myself that it was bullshit - if you expend more calories than you take in, you lose weight, period.

But it seems as if this is the hell I am living in right now.  When I stepped on the scale Friday I was exactly the same weight that I have been since January.  I have bounced between a pound up or down, but pretty much am what I was.

How is this possible??   I know that - for sure - I am eating less than I was last fall.  The not snacking on peanut butter after work ALONE has to be at least 200 calories per day.  And having increased my running should be showing some results.

My body, apparently, disagrees.

So my addict brain immediately said " Well, fuck this! If I`m putting in all this effort and nothing is happening I might as well just do whatever the hell I want - it's not like it will make a differnece!!"

I didn't throw it all out the window, but I really wanted to.

Having faith that hard work will eventually pay off - whether we're talking about diet and exercise, or a career choice, or lots of other things in life - is super hard when you feel like you're not seeing any results at all.  

What I tried to remember this weekend is that the benefits that my body is getting from the exercise and eating right is there - whether the scale shows it or not.  My heart and lungs and skin and liver and everything else that I can't see on the outside thanks me.

As if to send home this point, the results of a study were published last week.  So maybe my outward appearance isn't that great - but my immune system is  sexy as fuck!!!

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

I hate me, too!

I have really been working on ramping up my running miles.  I continue to be painfully slow, but I am running a lot of miles.  Since the beginning of the year I have run every day with the exception of January 3rd.

Now mind you, most of these miles have been treadmill miles.  There is definite value in these miles but they just don't compare with the toughness - for me anyway - of running outside.  Remarkably I am ( knock on the biggest piece of wood ever) injury free.  I think this is a first, as I ALWAYS seem to have some injury.  I told Marc I just want to run while I can - without pain and feeling good.  Because historically I find a way to get hurt.

So I'm putting in about 50 miles or more a week.  And still trying to bike and lift weights.  Friday there was a storm and work was closed, so I got in 10 miles.  Another 10 on Saturday and 13 on Sunday.

Backing up, I should let you know that Saturday was Marc and my 13th wedding anniversary.  We had a gift certificate for Texas Roadhouse.  I wish I could tell you I ate sensibly, but I did not.  I could brag about choosing corn and salad as my side dishes, but I would also need to confess the amount of their amazing rolls I scarfed or the number of peanuts I ate...

I managed to only feel somewhat guilty.  

Lunch time arrived today and it was pretty chilly outside but mostly sunny.  I knew I should get outside and run but I really didn't want to. Finally I convinced myself to just get out and start.  My legs felt heavy and the whole time I was strugging physically and mentally.  I decided to call it when I arrived back towards work at only just over 4 miles.  Complete with self-recriminations about sucking at life and giving up.

As I was turning off my watch and taking off my headphones, I see someone who works in the next building who I interact with quite a bit.  She looks at me and growls "I HATE YOU!!!" I expressed shock and then, of course, she went on to say how it made her feel guilty seeing me finishing up a run.

It is all relative, isn't it? What is success to one person is failure to another.  It shows that we all face our own demons.  In fact I was just talking with someone about that... to be continued...

Sunday, February 25, 2018

The avocado fail!

I have never been a good cook.  But when I started getting healthy, it was necessary for me to learn to cook at least some.  The days of buying scalloped potatoes in a box, or a can of Spaghetti O's or even 78% lean ground beef mixed with some corn and cheese and calling it dinner were over.

My tastes changed as well, so I do the best I can.  We eat a lot of fresh meat, which Marc cooks, and a lot of salads.  I can even put together a casserole - thankfully healthy eating is in vogue and there are smart people who post detailed recipes for people like me.

My biggest cooking quest has been to find desserts that taste great without the typical 10 billion calories.  And I'm not talking the "refreshing light desserts".  I want cookies and brownies and ice cream.  Fortunately, Halo Top has taken care of ice cream for me!

I have found some surprisingly great dessert recipes.  Sure, they aren't going to taste as good as the fat and sugar laden goodies of my past, but I can be naughty without being too naughty.

I have 2 healthy banana bread recipes, some protein brownie muffins, skinny peanut butter swirl brownies to name a few - they're pretty yummy.  Most use natural sweetners, like overripe bananas, honey and maple syrup, and some call for baking Truvia.

This week I ran across a recipe for brownies - they were designed for those following the keto diet.  The recipe called for avocado, sweet potato, maple syrup and some other ingredients.  Avocados are SO good for you, but I rarely buy them.  Some people live in a climate where they can grow them out back.  Not here! They are around $2 a pop!

So I made them for my Saturday evening treat.  For dinner we had some tasty lean pork ribs, and a kale, apple, cranberry and walnut dish that we love.  Given that healthy dinner, I felt justified and excited to try the brownies that looked thick and fudgy.


They were so seriously disgusting.  A nutrionist was credited with the recipe, and given the ingredients they were most certainly healthy.  But she must have burned off her taste buds in some sort of nuclear accident if she made these and then recommended them for a dessert that a human would want to eat!

I was pissed.  Pissed because my evening treat was ruined and I don't get another cheat for a week.  Pissed because the money I spent on this rancidness could have easily bought 2-3 boxes of fattening Betty Crocker brownie mixes - which I can't eat.  Pissed at the time and effort to make them.

I didn't find it funny at all last night.  Tonight it's a little funny.  And still NOT FAIR!!

Friday, February 23, 2018

Temper tantrums are cardio?

Apparently throwing a fit and having a pity party is an effective weight loss tool.  Who knew? Because after my weekend long melt down and feeling sorry for myself, I stood on the scale this morning and was 2 pounds lighter than last Friday.

It's pretty surprising how much of getting on track involves the simple act of changing habits.  Now it's not actually simple to put into practice, but so much of my challenges involve poor habits I've gotten into.  

Like coming home and plowing through a bunch of peanut butter.  When I decided to get back on track, that was one of the first things I knew had to change.  And the first couple weeks were rough.  I would longingly look at the cabinet where the pb is held and have actual mental arguments with myself.

That desire hasn't gone away, but that obsession is starting to fade.  It's just something I don't do anymore.  Last night, though, fairly late in the evening I was in the kitchen and thought I was hungry.  I had come home from work and did a BRICK - I rode the bike trainer for 21 miles, got off and immediately ran 4 miles on the treadmill.

So I rationalized that a little bit of peanut butter was perfectly justified.  You know that iconic cartoon of the cat burglar sneaking through the house and he hears a noise and freezes, hunched over, one leg in the air, arms frozen in mid-step.  That was me - posed in the kitchen - fully intending to dive into the pb.  I stopped, took a breath, shook my head and exited the kitchen.  

It's a good thing the scale was down this morning or I would have been pissed for my amazing (haha!) show of self control not paying off.

My body is certainly not responding on the timeline that I want to see.  It also is not suddenly becoming easy like I want it to.  I hope that this is a sign, though, that I am heading in the right direction!!

Monday, February 19, 2018

When it rains, it poor meeeees....

Last week was a barrel of suckage.  There wasn't anything that bad, especially compared to what other people go through, but it was plenty to send me over the edge!

Archer is experiencing some health issues.  My SUV failed inspection, requiring another appointment and lots of $$$.  Then my phone decided to screw up, and in an electronic conspiracy, so did my Garmin!  Despite all this, I stayed away from eating out of boredom or frustration or anger.  

Friday arrived and I got on the scale and weighed exactly the same.  How is this possible I asked while throwing a temper tantrum.  I immediately got the "fuck its" and proceeded to justify poor choices because "it clearly doesn't matter that I eat well!"

Have you seen that meme about not continuing the downhill slide comparing it to not intentionally popping your other 3 tires if you get one flat?  Well, to continue that metaphor, I not only shredded the other 3 tires, but I took a baseball bat and smashed the windshield and then continued the destruction by using a box cutter on the interior.

As an added bonus, yesterday was a holiday so I got a full long weekend to drag out my destruction.  

I sit here tonight angry and full of self-pity.  Why do I make these choices? And will I be shocked on Friday when the scale reflects my behavior??  

I'll get up tomorrow and try again.  I haven't run out of new days to try again - at least not yet!

On a more positive note, the weather wasn't great, but I was able to get a couple runs in with the dogs.  They have had cabin fever, and were thrilled to be outside and getting some fresh air and exercise!! 

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Was it worth it?

That's the question I've been asking myself all week.  So I've been doing pretty well, eating wise, as I told you.  But this past weekend was the Superbowl.  I'm a person who actually loves the game - not just the commercials and/or the halftime show.  My hopes were high this year that Philly could smush the Pats who I HATE.

For me, good times call for food - naughty food.  Superbowl Sunday typically means lots and lots of pizza.  Marc and I eat pizza maybe 3 times a year and this is one of the occasions.

But I was conflicted this year - I asked myself if I really wanted to damage my momentum (and waistline) by indulging.  I decided yes and invented all kinds of ways to justify this choice.

Sunday morning I ran a full 13 miles on the treadmill.  As an aside, I watched the first 2 epiosdes from the FX show about the murder of Gianni Versace while running.  Highly recommended!  Darren Criss plays the serial killer Andrew Cunanan and he is fantastic in the role!! Anyway, I tried to delude myself into beliving that those miles would translate into a big enough deficit to offset the massive calories I would be eating.

Now the one small victory I can claim is that typically when I know I'm going to eat badly, I imagine the whole day is shot so why not just pig out the entire day.  I didn't do that.  And let's get real - pizza wouldn't be that big of deal if I could or would eat 1 or 2 pieces.  But when I eat pizza, I EAT PIZZA!  This time followed by S'mores Nachos for dessert.

I woke up Monday morning and felt a little nauseous - my body isn't used to that amount of grease.  I asked myself if it was worth it.  I then looked in the mirror and saw that I was terribly bloated.  I poked my stomach and it rippled like a waterbed - so gross.  Again I asked myself if it was worth it. 

It took until yesterday morning for the queasiness to go away.  I also haven't weighed myself this week because I didn't want to freak out or allow the numbers to give me an excuse to give up.

No, I'm back to eating well and exercising.  So again - was it worth it? I savored the pizza while watching a great game - nothing wrong with that, right? On the other hand, I claim to want to lose weight and be in control of my eating and after only a month, I found a reason to undo some progress.

So I don't have a satisfactory answer.  Maybe there isn't one - shades of grey....?

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

So long January!

This month has been so weird.  There's been some crap for sure - like the miserably terrible weather.  If I ever had doubts about moving away from this place it disappeared this month.  BTW we're kind of focused on Austin, Texas - any readers out there from Austin?

Anyway, between weighing in again, attempting to write this blog and focusing for more than - well 6 minutes - on eating right, I'm feeling.... different.  Things are changing.  Let's get real, it's been a whole month (big fat hairy deal) but I'm hoping that how I feel produces results and continues.

This being good during the week and relaxing on the weekend is working.  There is still the temptation during the week - I've stared longingly at cookies in meetings and peanut butter in my cabinets more than once - but it's easier to say no.  So far giving myself latitude on the weekend hasn't led my to go completely nuts.  And, guess what?  The negative self talk - how much I suck, what a fat loser I am - it's not gone but it's much quieter.

On the exercise front, how many times have I talked about how running every day is not healthy?  And all of a sudden I find myself here on January 31st having run 30 days this month - daily since the 4th.  For a total of 155 miles.  Now most of these miles were on the treadmill and slow - which might explain why I'm not in any pain or nursing an injury.  Combine these miles with the 300+ I did this month on the bike trainer and yet I'm not exhausted all the time.  In fact my energy level is great!

I'm even wondering if I could run another 1/2 marathon this year.  Between my weight gain and injuries, that seemed impossible which has been incredibly depressing and demoralizing.  We'll see what happens when (IF!!!) this fucking winter ever goes away and I can run outside consistently.  

Optimism??? Is that really you my old friend? It's been a long time.

If I can keep this up, 2018 might be a very good year!!

Monday, January 29, 2018

Rationalization or being rational?

When I decided to buckle down on myself a couple of weeks ago and make a renewed commitment to weight loss, in the midst of my behaviors that would no longer be tolerated, there was also the agreement with myself that the weekends would be much more relaxed.

Now the experts say that one cheat MEAL is enough.  Some people have a full cheat day.  But no where in the rule book does it say a cheat weekend is okay.  Except the book that I am writing.

Now first let me clarify what I mean by "cheat". It does not mean eating anything I want in the amount that I want.  It's not like I ate a gallon of ice cream, 12 oreos and washed it down with Mountain Dew!  

I did however eat a bagel slathered in peanut butter.  I also made brownies.  Skinny peanut butter brownies that contained no flour, used a sugar substitute of baking truvia, and the chocolate flvor came from cocoa powder.  Not as bad as real brownies, but probably not the star of clean eating, either.

I also exercised more as I usually do on the weekends.  But when I stepped on the scale this morning I told myself that at this rate, i should get back down to my goal weight when I'm roughly 58 years old!!

I keep asking myself what my goals are.  Let's be realistic I tell myself - I'm not trying to be a fitness model.  And while I'd like to be in the category I was a few years ago with my running - easily running under 8 minute miles and crushing races, I'm never going to be an elite athlete.

So if I decided to stop giving myself the weekends relatively free and was more self-discliplined, I would probably lose weight faster.  Which I absolutely needed to do 8 years ago when, at 344 pounds, I was in the red line danger zone.

I now fall into the category of 

Not sure what color that is...

But I do know that last night I didn't feel intimdated or depressed about getting back  to the "work week rules".  Time will tell if this strategy works both mentally and physically.  The scale was up today, we'll see what happens over the week.

So is this a rational plan or am I rationalizing eating like a pig??

Friday, January 26, 2018

The showdown

It has been 1 whole week since I finally stood on the scale.  And, of course, every day this week my weight as fluctuated up and down.  So when I stood in front of that heartless piece of equipment this morning, I glared at it and sent mental signals to it, letting it know that it better not mess me with me.

I had extremely stressful week.  Despite the challenges I stayed virtually 100% on plan.  It wasn't easy, I'll be honest.  Part of it I'm realizing is just complete habit - like the smoker grabbing a pack of smokes and lighting up first thing in the morning, I had gotten in the very bad habit of coming home and plowing through a bunch of food before I even changed out of my work clothes.

Which, if it was a snack of a handful of baby carrots wouldn't be so bad - but scooping out spoonful after spoonful of peanut butter and inhaling it doesn't exactly benefit a person in the weightloss battle.  

But some of it is learning that the reality again of just learning to live with hunger again.  To realize that I can feel hungry and that's not something that needs IMMEDIATE attention.  

But hunger is not, for me anyway, a pleasant feeling.  So yesterday afternoon, after eating a perfectly reasonable lunch but still feeling hungry, I had myself half convinced that it was perfectly acceptable to go in the break room, where some powdered donuts sat and to eat "only half" of a donut and that somehow would still be keeping to my promise to myself of sticking to plan.

When I managed to get out the door without having eaten any part of a donut, I arrived home and Fat Jen calmly explained to me that as a reward for having so much self contol, I was entitled to some peanut butter.


Back to this morning - standing in front of the scale - having spent 4 whole days sans peanut butter and having shunned the donuts, I demanded to be rewarded.

1 pound down.

At the exact time, I felt some satisfaction and some fury.  Yes, a pound down is a pound down.  But the other part of me screamed "Are you fucking kidding me? 1 measley ass pound??"

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

No I Won't Do That.

It wan't all that long ago when someone was talking to me about wanting to lose weight.  He had previously gotten some news from his doctor about how he was heading straight into major medical issues and a certain early death.  This had scared him briefly into eating right and attempting to exercise.  He had lost weight but began abandoning those healthy practices and had regained what he lost and, like so many do, put on even more.

This guy is relatively young, but is quite large and has a genetic history that sets him up for a pretty shitty prognosis.  His genetics he can't control, so the cards were stacked against him and being morbidly obese really puts a bullseye on him.

He shared with me that he knows that he knew he needed to lose weight but "I'm not going to eat like a damn rabbit the rest of my life!  I can't just sit around eating lettuce and carrots, you know?!"

"Well then," I said, "looks like you're going to stay fat!"

As soon as those words left my mouth I wanted to take them back.  Because I instantly realized how bitchy and judgemental that sounded.  And I truly didn't mean it that way.

I was projecting the anger I still have against myself onto this guy.  It took me 38 years to get my head out of my ass.  To realize that I was murdering myself one disgusting forkful at a time.

I had all kinds of conditions and excuses.  I wasn't giving up Mountain Dew, no way, after all that sweet nectar got me through college!  And sweets?  I deserved a dessert at night, right?  Exercise? No way was I going to run! Running is for idiots and besides, I have pulmonary stenosis that makes it harder for me to breathe when my heart rate soars than a regular person.

Poor me.  These were all the things I would not do to get healthy.  Funny, you never once heard me say what I would do.  That's because I was only willing to sit on my ass eating crap food waiting for doctors to discover an invention that allowed me to continue that behavior and get to a healthy weight.

But now I see it from the other side.  Yes, it took and continues to take tremendous efforts and sacrifice to not be obese.  But the payoff is so worth it.  Even with the stuggles I go through my life is so much better now.  And I have such regrets.  What if I had been a normal weight at age 18? Or 22 or 25 or 32???  How much more full my life would have been.

So I was frustrated with this guy, because every year that passes, every additional pound that he puts on - it gets harder and harder to take it off.  I want him to do it NOW to not wait until he starts really suffering serious physical health issues.

But I can't do this for him - and I can't insult or bully him into changing.  No one could do it to me years ago or now - when I know what I need to do and don't.

I can be an example.  I can help educate.  And hope that one day the light bulb turns on like mine did!!  He'll learn - rabbit food ain't so bad!!

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Oh, look! Some control!

The last few days have marked a return to the old me.  Not the old, old me - the one that was obese and depressed, but the old me that made life changes and lost weight.

I have been getting on the scale every morning - something that once was an absolute morning ritual but I haven't done in a very long time.  Each time it hurts a little, to see a number that quite honestly I never thought I would see again, but I think it is keeping me accountable.

Somewhere along the line I convinced myself that running an hour on the treadmill entitled me to finish and then stuff my face with food - before dinner, mind you - only to then feel guilty that I had done it and wish I could take it back.  

Repeat the insanity the next day!

I am trying to change that pattern - acknowleging the hunger and telling myself that hunger does not need to be satiated immediately and urgently.  The part of me that demands instant gratification resists that idea.  But sitting down to a good dinner that I earned and didn't spoil has its own measure of gratification.

It's early, and it's baby steps certainly.  

Friday, January 19, 2018

All the Small Things

At one time a few years ago I was very rigid about what I would consider a victory in terms of weight loss and fitness. If I lost 1 pound over a week, that was a FAILURE. I needed to lose at least 3 pounds over the course of a week for me to consider that I was successful. When I was running, it was unacceptable to just run 30 seconds more than the day before. I had to much run further and/or faster. And one diversion from my rigid eating schedule meant that the entire week was shot.

That worked. I mean, I lost the weight, right? But like many of my strategies it became unsustainable. Maybe because of my own lack of willpower but I certainly couldn’t keep it up and now I find myself where I am.

So I’ve been trying to find a place where I can accept small accomplishments and still consider them victories and be okay with that.

It was about 2 months ago, right before Thanksgiving when I sat in Urgent Care, the inside of my ankle having turned into a swollen and painful mess. Every step hurt. As the doctor gently placed the air cast on me and I was fighting off tears, she told me to cut myself a break - take some time off from running, let yourself heal - after all, she told me, it was the holiday season.

I told her that this is what made it worse - not being able to run during the toughest time of year as far as eating goes - at least for me. She basically told me there was absolutely no alternative - I had to rest it or it simply wouldn’t heal.

Fast forward to today - 2 months later. My goal for this week - not even a full week, mind you, because of the Martin Luther King Day holiday - was to stay out of the peanut butter. Peanut butter was the one thing for this work week that was 100% off limits. It seems ridiculous, doesn’t it? To have an actual goal to avoid 1 food.  Not stuffing myself with peanut butter every night should be a no-brainer. But for me, this is an absolute challenge. If I can make it through the rest of tonight I will have achieved that little tiny - and yet monumentous - goal.

I also have been able to run pain free. Slowly and on the treadmill, but I’m putting in the miles. 86 so far this month. My longest run has been 10 miles - a far cry from what I used to do for a “long run”. And so much slower than a few year ago. But still, if I’m keeping up a high heart rate for an hour, it might not make me a stellar runner, but it’s burning the calories, right?

Since I was feeling flush with these “victories” this morning I decided to get on the scale. The last time I stepped on a scale was that Urgent Care visit 2 months ago. The screen read about 2.5 pounds lower. Did I actually lose 2 pounds from then? Who knows given the variation from scale to scale, the time of day, etc. But just stepping on that scale was a big deal since I’ve been so scared to do it for so long. And knowing that I didn’t gain a massive amount since the last time I weighed in was a huge relief. Although the number made me cringe, it hasn’t set me on a downward spiral and depression - at least not yet.

Don’t get me wrong - I have a LOT of work still to do. But having small goals - and letting myself feel good about achieving them - no matter how insignificant they may seem - seems to be a strategy that can work for me - both physically and mentally...

Thursday, January 18, 2018

This Is Us…

Do you guys watch this show?  If not, you should start, right. now.  I was late to the game.  I didn’t watch the first season even though people were raving about it.  But then I saw that the NBC app had the whole first season and one day while on the treadmill I decided to try it.  I wasn’t hooked immediately, but I soon became a This is Us fan-girl.

By the way – I plan to talk about some things from the last couple of episodes, so if you watch but haven’t caught up on the DVR you might want to skip this post.

When I heard about the show, I knew there was a heavy woman on there played by Chrissy Metz.  I had only half paid attention, so I thought that she was heavy the way Melissa McCarthy was heavy when she started on Mike & Molly.  I was surprised when I started watching to see that she was very morbidly obese and was interested to see how the show handled that.  Shockingly accurately and sensitively it turns out.

The show jumps in time, and I was “happy” that a show finally showed someone who evolved from a fat child to a fat adult.  Usually it’s the fat girl who gets thin as an adult and shoves it in the face of those she knew in the past OR the exact opposite – the always thin and hot girl who “let herself go” and is struggling.

No, this shows the humiliation of being fat as a child and the cruelty of other children – an experience that I know well.  Showing a young girl who has a thin and beautiful mother who loves her but deep down can’t identify with her chunky kid.

As an adult, the character Kate, explores the realms of the horrific struggle to lose weight and the emotional baggage that goes along with it.

We’ve seen Kate give her all to weight loss – reluctantly refusing desserts and killing herself on the elliptical only to drop less than a pound while her boyfriend Toby eats a salad for 1 meal and drops 6 pounds.

We’ve seen her insulted by someone - telling her she has no singing talent – and her being almost thrilled that she was rejected not for being fat, but for sucking.

We’ve seen Kate in an emotional crisis – sitting in her car – stuffing donuts in her face.  Disgusted and ashamed with herself but continuing to do it.

In the last episode, what should be a thrilling experience – buying a wedding dress – was shown to be a worrisome and stressful event – because when you’re fat, finding a beautiful dress that fits would be amazing.  Finding one that fits and is beautiful would be nothing short of a miracle.


It sure does to me. 

Recently Kate suffered a miscarriage.  While there is no way to know what caused it, especially since is was early on, the show had her bravely acknowledge that her weight could have – probably did play a role. 

Her brother, Kevin, who was in rehab, did not want to hurt her, but had to confront her that her morbid obesity was as related to to her father being an alcoholic as his  own pill addiction.  Of course she knew this, but having it put out there cut her to the bone.

After the miscarriage, Kate’s boyfriend, Toby,  accidentally dropped the trash bag while taking it out of the house.  From the bottom spilled an empty snack cake box and an empty KFC fried chicken box.  He looked at it shocked.  Shocked that Kate was eating this food sure, but clearly more shocked that she was hiding it.

I was running on the treadmill while watching this, and as the camera paused on his stunned face, as he tried to process, I felt this intense tightening of my chest and a deep sense of guilt and shame.  I seriously lost a few steps and almost found myself slammed into the concrete wall behind me.  Because I knew this.  I had done this.  Not exactly the same thing but close enough.  Wayyyy close enough.

And I thought about something that had happened just a few months ago.  My co-worker came in to talk to me and sat in a chair happily munching down a small bag of M & M’s.  When she finished, she did what anyone would do – she tossed the empty bag in the trash.

After she left, I did what a NON NORMAL human would do.  Almost without thinking I took out some papers moving the empty candy wrapper to the bottom of the basket so that no one would see that wrapper and think that I ate them.

Batshit crazy, right?  Like the custodial guys would notice or if they noticed they would give a crap that I had eaten some M&M’s.  But that sense of shame runs scarily deep.  Eating in secret, hiding the evidence - it's part of a sickness.

I love that we have a show on now that is addressing obesity with sensitivity and a lack of judgement.  We don’t see that very much – by and large we don’t mock and make fun of gays or minorities or the disabled on mainstream television any more – but fatties remain fair game.  Or they are sidekicks, not real people.

And I have to hand it to Chrissy Metz.  There is no doubt that some of this stuff hits pretty close to home for her personally and to play it out on TV for America has to be incredibly challenging at times.  I don’t know that I would have the balls to do it.

It almost feels groundbreaking to me.  Kudos to the writers and everyone involved with the show. 

If that plot isn’t enough to entice you, the brilliant  acting by Sterling K. Brown should.  There are no words to describe how breathtakingly good he is on this show.  And, as an added bonus, he is a runner – on the show and in real life.

So I command you – begin binge watching immediately if you haven’t started and for those of you who are already doing so, hold on tight and keep the tissues handy.         

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Goal setting..

Trying to get back in the groove of writing in this blog has forced me to start looking more closely at what I'm doing right and what I'm doing wrong.  I feel like for the last year I've meandered around, disgusted with myself but feeling powerless to do anything - waiting for the magic fairy to come alonng, wave her wand and make me thin.

So in focusing more on my apathy towards myself, I thought about my goals.  I know two women.  One is my age the other a few years older.  The latter is extremely driven and disciplined.  She adheres to a vegan diet.  She runs what some people might describe as obsessively.  She is constantly looking for new ways to push herself - new challenges - running faster, more miles, always with a new goal.  She is very thin.

The other woman doesn't seem to have these goals.  She runs when she feels like it.  She runs races and is perfectly happy to finish a half marathon in 2 1/2 hours.  She drinks margaritas and unapolgetically posts pics of her and her boyfriend devouring large desserts when they eat out.  She looks happy and healthy and might be described as "thick". 

So who has the better life? Who is doing it right? They both are, right? If the first woman feels complete and satisfied with the constant pushing of herself, more power to her! And woman #2 is enjoying her life by being a little less restrictive, I am happy that she is happy!

Me? I think I fall in between these 2 women but the problem is that I am not satisfied.  If I drive myself the way woman #1 does, I end up feeling exhausted and resentful and I can't sustain the momentum.  But if I give myself slack, I feel like a complete fat failure.  It's like I'm in a no-win situation - not a real - no win situation, but one that exists only in my mind.

So, in recognizing this I also realize I can't have it both ways.  I can't be hard core driven and disciplined in my eating and exercise and be casual about what I eat and my exercise at the same time.  

What choice can I make that will bring me the most happiness?  Can I live with being thicker and running slower or do I want to return to the days of running 40 miles a week and refusing dessert every single time it's offered? 

What is my goal?

Monday, January 15, 2018

Running my fat off…

If you’re not on the Facebook page associated with this blog you might not have seen the book that came out last year that my story was in.

Some time ago I was contacted by Jason Karp, PhD.   To be honest, I had never heard of him.  But I learned that he is pretty well known in the running world and is dedicated to improving the world of running for everyone.  He’s written a number of books about the science of running, including one of the “for dummies” book about running a marathon.  

Dr. Karp indicated that he was writing a book about losing weight through running and part of the book would feature stories about people who had done just that.  He asked if he could use my story in his book.  I told him he could, answered a number of questions, sent him some pictures and told some of my friends and family and then forgot about it.

Early last year, Dr. Karp told me the book was finished and was on its way to publication and let me know that he was sending me a copy.  “Run Your Fat Off” arrived a while later. 

On a personal note, by that time I was so frustrated by my running – the weight gain and injuries had taken their toll on my ability to run at all, not to mention my distance and speed – and I was so disgusted and angry with myself for gaining so much weight back that I felt like…. a fraud I guess is the right word.

Not that anything in the book was fake, but it was almost like I was doing everyone reading the book and Dr. Karp himself a disservice by being in the book.  And when I compared myself to other people in the book??  Holy crap – some of their stories are amazing!  My accomplishments pale in comparison.


The  book itself is not just stories about people who have ran and lost weight.  It is filled with science based research on running and how running is so good for someone who is trying to lose weight.  I emphasize the science based, because you guys know how much I hate these bullshit pseudo-science exercise and diet fads.  Dr. Karp does too and his book is filled with facts about food and exercise – especially running.

Whether you are brand new to running or an experienced runner, I think there are many tips and tricks you can get from the book.

And maybe you can be inspired by people who have done it. 


   Incidentally, Dr. Karp lets you know that you DO NOT need to run every day – just on the days you want to eat!!  Winking smile

Friday, January 12, 2018

What is this moderation thing?

Before I lost weight, I ate fast food almost every day.  It makes me sick now to think how many thousands of calories I was consuming.  Hell, I bet I counsumed 1,000 calories per day in Mountain Dew alone!

Since losing weight I don't eat at these places at all, except stopping at McDonald`s occasionally for their $1 coffee.

Unlike the vast majority of Americans, Marc and I don't eat out at regular restaurants very much either.  I bet in 2017 we ate out 4 times.  But when we do eat out, I choose places - typically buffets - where I can eat myself silly.  

I hesitate to use the word "binge" because that implies a loss of control, and these occasions are planned and deliberate.  But the massive amount eaten and the fervor which the food is consumed is pretty similar to a binge.

Yesterday the news reported that the Cici's Pizza near us closed and I was crushed.  Now mind you, since 2012, I think we have eaten at Cici's Pizza twice (it might have been 3 times).  But it was there.  Almost like some sort of sick twisted safety net.  So if I wanted to frantically stuff ny face with piece after piece of cheap ass pizza and fat filled cinnamon rolls, I could.

I told a friend of mine that I was upset and she replied when she heard it had closed she had immediately thought of me.  "Not that you ever eat there," she said casually, "but you like knowing you could."

Holy fuck - I'm that transparent, huh?

I can eat pizza whenever I want.  Pizza in and of itself is not all that horrible - I could make it at home using thinner dough and choose toppings to make it more healthy.  Or I could order pizza and just have 1 or 2 pieces.  But no, moderation is not in my vocabulary.  If I'm going to eat something that I've labeled as "bad" I'm going to EAT.  

It seems so simple in theory to just shift food way down on my priority list.  If I could, than 1 or 2 pieces would be satisfying.  But that is a skill that has, at least so far, eluded me...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Teachable moments

Late yesterday, someone who I only recently met, but who apparently had been filled in by someone about my weight loss, asked for my opinion on the new Weight Watchers zero points program.

I don't really know that much about it other than what every person who watches TV knows - there is a new "point system", some items have zero points, and Oprah is involved.  And I had run across a very funny tweet when this system first came out  from some who said something like "I don't think #WeightWatchers is aware of how many bananas I can eat!"

I told the person that I hadn't used any program per se and that I wasn't all that educated on the Weight Watchers plan, but I would look at it and give my opinion if they wanted it - which they did.

So the first thing I did was pull up a list of the foods you can eat that have zero points.  And looking at that huge list in front of me I actually said "WHHAAATTT?" out loud.  I scanned through my head and started laughing as I thought of my meals the day before:

Breakfast: 2 eggs
Lunch: Pre-bagged salad (lettuce, shredded carrots, cabbage), crabmeat and a banana
Dinner:  Boneless, skinless chicken breast, lentils and steamed broccoli
Snack: Non-fat Greek yogurt

So, according to Weight Watchers, I ate ZERO POINTS the entire day.  Well DAYUM, I should be totally skinny, right??!!

So, me being me, I first got all judgey and disgusted.  I mean, really - you think you can just chow down on a few bananas, a can of refried beans, some grapes, and as much chicken as you want ON TOP OF your meals and lose weight??!!

Then I started thinking more about it.  So many people struggle to lose weight.  They try fads and unsustainable diets - like cutting out carbs completely.  Women are cooking separate meals for themselves when they eat with their families.  And what happens?  IF they lose weight they gain a lot of it back.  Because the way they are eating doesn't translate to long term sustainability.

So what I *think* was the idea behind this zero points program was not to encourage people to eat vast amounts of food thinking they can lose weight, but to teach better choices.  So if you've used most of your points that day and you're still hungry - you can grab some baby carrots, or some yogurt, or an apple INSTEAD of saying "Fuck it", eating a bunch of Doritos or a pint of ice cream and then hating yourself afterwards.

This program is also translatable to "real life".  So you had a zero point day yesterday (like my example) - tonight you can eat some mashed potatoes or add some cheese on your turkey burger without guilt.  And no more separate meals - teaching kids, letting them watch you make healthy choices, like eating chicken breast with a HUGE salad and at night having a snack with them of fruit - that's a good thing.

I think most people would get that you can't just eat tons of zero point foods.  Many people have a hard time tracking calories accurately.  But when you have a certain amount of points to spend which makes it more likely that you'll chose something off that list of healthy foods - that can't be a bad thing, right?  That list teaches - you're out to dinner and are asked what side you want, and you choose the zucchini mix instead of the rice pilaf to go with your point-laden steak and you feel good about that choice,  not deprived.

So I think for some who want/need a program to go by, it could work - as with all plans you have to stick to it.  

Besides, who coukd really eat 6 ears of corn at a sitting? 

Me.  I totally could.  LOL

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

We all have problems...

Last week I ran across an article about a book called The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck by Mark Manson.  The title alone suggested this would be an appropriate book for me!  In anticipation of getting the book, I first downloaded a Podcast where Manson was interviewed and had a chace to listen to part of it yesterday and a couple of points discussed hit home to me.

First off, it's not about not giving a fuck what anyone thinks, says Manson.  There is a name for people like that - psychopath.  Not something we should probably aspire to be.  What it's about is caring about the opinions of people who matter in our lives, and not caring about what people who have no importance in our lives think about us.

I remember a while ago, Runkeeper re-posted a story they had done on my weightloss to their Facebook page.   It popped up in my feed.  I clicked on it and saw a few dozen comments on my story, mostly comments like "Wow! Amazing!" or something about it being inspirational.  Among the comments was this little gem: "Still ugly! Weight loss don't fix ugly!"  I don't know who this guy is who made the comments, but it hurt my feelings badly.

Now intellectually I get that some idiot who has no meaning in my life making this comment shouldn't matter. I should not give a fuck.  But I did.  And what Manson didn't say in the interview (maybe he will in the book) is HOW?  Knowing you shouldn't give a fuck is one thing, but actually NOT giving a fuck?  How do you get there?

The bigger piece that I got from the interview was him talking about that elusive search for happiness.  He explained that no matter who you are, what you achieve, you will have shitty days.  You should strive to just have better problems.

The example he used was saying that both Warren Buffet and a homeless man worry about money.  But Warren's worries are much nicer to have than the homeless guy's.  Sadness comes from thinking you can achieve complete happiness - a life without problems.  Manson and the hosts went on to talk about celebrities who have committed suicide after seeming to achieve everything they ever wanted.

Last night I went down to our workout room and lifted weights while the dogs ran on the treadmill (they are going stir crazy with this weather!)  I thought about the problems I had when I was morbidly obese.  And about the problems I have now - like trying to maintain.  Certainly my problem of needing to lose 40 ish pounds is a better problem than needing to lose 220 ish! And my problem of only running at a 9:15 pace for 6 miles is a better problem than not being able to run 100 feet at all!

I think that my entire life I was absolutely convinced that all of my problems were caused by being fat.  And if I could achieve the miracle of getting down to 150 (for some random reason that was always the number), I would be gloriously happy and all my problems would disappear.  And for some stupid reason I thought that once I got the weight off, there would be no issue with staying that weight with little to no effort.

Uhh..yeah. Not so much.  

I am going to read the book and see if learning to not give a fuck will help get my mind - and body - to something that resembles a normal person.  And if I lose 2 pounds that doesn't mean my problems will be solved, but they will be better...

Monday, January 8, 2018

Ahhhh - she LIVES

It has been almost a year since I last posted.  You guys don't have any idea how many times I thought of posting and then... didn't.  I'm making this post now, and, after so long will anyone out there even read it?  And does anyone even give a shit about what I have to say?

I was so going to post in December and then - out of the blue - sustained another running injury to add to my repertoir.  Posterier tibial tendenitis.  So I got to walk around in an air cast for a week and feel super sorry for myself.  I am not healed, but I am healing.

Then I was going to start posting for the New Year.  Instead I chose to cry and scream about the miserable weather.  Well, we WERE below zero - way below zero for days and days.  -25 when I got up yesterday FML.

So, here what's been going on.  Marc and I are doing great.  His dad fell and broke his hip in August.  At 99 it's nothing short of a miracle he survived the surgery.  He lives in an assisted nursing facility and as Marc used to go down to his house to care for him daily, this has been a huge change and is still an adjustment for all of us.

My dogs are fantastic.  Sisko is turning out to be a wonderful dog.  He is sweet, affectionate, mischievious and happy all the time.  I spent the last year gradually introducing him to running and he took to it like crazy.  He ran his first official 10K in early December.  Archer had some leg problems in May and we thought he had torn his CCL.  The vet was talking about repair surgery, but I doubled his dose of glucosamine and chondroiton and he's seemingly (knock on wood) back to normal.  I'm afraid one day it will tear, but I also can't see putting him through surgery when he currently has no symptoms.

Ok, so I'm talking about all of this why? Clearly it's to avoid talking about what this blog is supposed to be about - my weight!!

Over the last year I have achieved something I swore I would never let happen and I am now at my highest weight since 2011.  And it sucks.  I feel it in my clothes, I feel it whenever I exercise, and I see it in the mirror.  I feel ashamed and guilty.  

I could make a million excuses but the reality is I'm just eating too much.  I still eat pretty healthy and I'm still exercising.  But I am allowing myself too many - WAY TOO MANY - cheats.  

"It's just not fair!" I whine to myself.  If the studies on The Biggest Loser contestants are correct, my body, like theirs, produces Leptin in overdrive, making me constantly hungry.  I also burn about 20% fewer calories both at rest and during exercise.

It sucks.  But you know what?  Every single person out there faces challenges when trying to lose weight.  Because I don't have kids, I have a lot more time to exercise.  I have a steady job and don't have to work 50 hours a week to survive.  I don't have a chronic illness like diabetes that challenges me.  

So, yes, I have reasons and excuses.  And they are legit.  But I also have choices.  Instead of wishing for something that will never happen - like my body processing food and exercise like a 6 foot tall 18 year old boy, I need to put that energy elsewhere.

At my lowest, I held on to weighing 115 pounds for a while, and I guess I see that as a goal I "should" have.  It's like being okay with anything else is failure.  But then I remember how HARD it was to maintain that and I'm not sure I am willing to do that anymore.

So instead of remembering myself at 344 or at 115, I am going to try to see myself where I am today.  That means I am a short, 45 year old woman in reasonably good health who wants to lose some weight.  How much?  

I'm not sure I want to put a number on it right this minute.  First I need to get the courage to step on the scale.  Or find other ways to keep myself accountable.