Archive | March, 2009

Battle Lines Drawn

9 Mar

Another week, another weigh-in. My initial weight loss battle plan, while effective, has apparently lost its strength. The enemy (the lbs I can’t seem to lose) is on to me, so I have been forced to change tactics in a few ways. First, I am choosing to attend WW tonight, Monday, instead of my normal Tuesday. My hope is that a different WW leader will not only inspire me but also offer me some constructive advice which I can work from. My regular leader says things to me like “Well, you could be doing better” and “You need to do something to jump start your weight loss.” Thanks, lady. Do they pay you to state the obvious? Because if so I’d like an application.

Second tactic change: Take some advice. I’ve spent the past week taking into consideration the thought of a few near & dear friends, which is: You are working your body too hard. You’re tired, and maybe not eating enough, and your body is holding on to all your calories (aka energy) because it feels like it needs to in order to survive. You look good, but you also look like hell. You’re exhausted– slow down.

So, I did. I went to the gym a mere 4 times this week, and was as lax with my points counting as I’ve ever been. I let my mind and my body relax a bit. A mini-vacation from WW, I am hoping, will be just what I needed.

Third tactic change: Stop focusing so much on the weight loss itself. I have been beating myself up thinking “Body, you might not like me very much right now, but you can’t deny that I’m working hard, so stop being such a jerk and show me the weight loss, damnit!” This was not getting me anywhere, and in fact was driving me certifiably, Britney-Spears-with-an-umbrella crazy. My mind, despite being in overdrive, was not able to outwit my body. Apparently my body has a mind of it’s own and it is unfortunately not the same mind that wants to lose weight. Then, late last week I got a text from my little bro that made me realize what my outlook should have been: “Remember two things: 1) You are an [insert my last name here]…your body will fight weight loss like it’s a disease and 2) The most impressive goal is completing the tri…the losing weight thing just comes along with it.” He couldn’t be more right- why didn’t I let myself think of it this way? It does feel like my body is battling against this- and I know it’s never been easy for me or anyone else in my family to lose weight, so I shouldn’t be surprised.

And the triathlon truly is the bigger goal here. If I keep focused on that, losing weight will be a by-product of my training. My body can only deny me the weight loss for so long (do you hear that, body?! You can’t deny me forever!). Not that I’m giving up on WW- I just need to remember that it’s only one piece of the metaphorical pie. Mmmm….pie. I don’t even like pie and writing that made me hungry. Even metaphorical pie sounds delish.

Anyway. Will I meet my May 1st weight loss goal? Maybe. Does it matter if I don’t? Not really. And I say that grudgingly. It’s an arbitrary goal that should have been attainable and I’ll have no excuse if I don’t meet it (besides my body’s plot against me). But here’s another thought— Who do I need to give an excuse to if I don’t? Certainly I know all my own excuses, my reasons, my hard work and my mis-steps. I don’t need to answer to anyone but myself on this one. Do I want to meet my goal? Heck yes. Will I be mad if I don’t? Uh-huh, absolutely. Nothing I can do about that, it’s the way I am. But I know that I’ve worked very hard, and that if I don’t meet my goal it was not for lack of effort. I also know that I will get there; if not May 1st, then maybe June 1st. Or maybe August 1st (but eeek, I hope not!). I won’t give up. I’ll revise my battle strategy until my body & mind call a truce, hurtling across finish lines hand-in-hand, living happily ever after.

Now I’m off to my WW meeting. Wish me luck.

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Step by Step

9 Mar

My first 5k is one week from today. One week! I can’t believe it’s so soon- I feel like I’ve only just started running, and now I’m putting myself to a major test. It feels equivalent to signing a toddler up for the high school track team.

While a 5k might be a breeze to the guy who finished first last year (with a time of 15:33) it is for sure a huge deal to me. Just to put it in perspective, I would be happy if 15:33 was my time to finish ONE MILE. It’s almost beyond my comprehension that anyone can run that fast when I think about how slow I run! That guy probably finds running “fun”, whereas I’m more apt to describe it as “evil torture that steals my ability to breathe.” So, I guess that’s one of the differences between myself and someone who can run a 5-minute mile.

Now, I am not comparing myself to this guy, by any means. Nor am I trying to place first, or even 20th or 50th for that matter. The 50th person last year finished in 20:14, at which point I could only hope to be on mile 2, with lots of people behind me (so I’m not dead last). To be honest, I just want to finish and get my free t-shirt. I also hope that I meet my 15-minute mile goal, but truly that is secondary to just crossing the finish line eventually- a lofty enough goal in and of itself. I think that, for me, finishing is something to be proud of regardless of how long it takes. I don’t know if I will ever feel like I can say that I am a runner, I just know I sure don’t feel like one at this point.

Yet I hope to spend next Sunday being one. A week from my first race, I still have a love/hate relationship with running. I still stand in awe of the people who can run on the treadmill for 45 minutes straight. But I am starting to feel a strange camaraderie with other runners I see out there- not so much the ones who make it look easy; not the fancy pants runners. The ones who, like me, make every step look like the struggle that it is. They make me think that maybe all you have to do to be a runner is just continue to put one foot in front of the other.

Bumblebee vs. Universe

3 Mar

I have to admit, I’ve been feeling pretty good lately. I’ve been working out a lot and eating well. All of my clothes are noticeably looser on me. Lest I get too comfortable, the universe choose this week to deliver me a quick one-two punch.

Monday was the day my triathlon shorts decided to show up on my doorstep. Any confidence I had prior to that night flew out the window so fast that it’s probably halfway to Kuala Lumpur by now, never to be seen again. Before I even put them on I knew I was in for a problem, because they looked quite… small. I double checked the tag, hoping to find that I was sent newborn triathlon shorts by accident, but no such luck.

Let me tell you, those bad boys are so tight that putting them on is like putting on a pair of nylons- pull up a little here, a little there, a little here, until somehow, eventually, you have them on. I was almost afraid that I was going to rip them with all the tugging I was doing, but apparently they’re pretty resilient. By far the most horrifying thing about these shorts is that they have a tight elastic at the bottom of the legs, which falls about an inch above my knees. I understand that the elastic is so you don’t have to worry about your shorts riding up while you are in the middle of a race, but it is just not an attractive look unless maybe your legs are pure muscle, which mine sure aren’t.

These shorts make me look ridiculous, and upon seeing myself in them for the first time I immediately flashed back to the dance recital days of my youth. I loved dance, but never ever ever did I love the flashy spandex outfits that came with the territory. This was due to the fact that I was always the chubbiest girl in the class. But once a year on dance recital nights I had to don a tight little costume and sashay out onto stage with all of the twiggy girls. I survived, but it was traumatizing at the time, and these tri shorts are causing me to relive it in a major way. If I’m ever feeling skinny, I will definitely be sure to check myself by yanking them on. I don’t know if they’re totally supposed to be this way or if perhaps they’re a tad small. But as I’m checking out my lumpy self in the mirror, I’m also refusing to get a larger size, because I am sure that I can make myself fit into them before July.

Or at least, I thought so until the second punch was delivered on Tuesday, when I arrived at my weekly weigh-in to find out that, yet again, the scale had not budged.

Not a single ounce.

TKO.

Universe, 1. Me, nada.

This seems near impossible, because I’ve been working super hard. I’ve been pushing myself every day to do my absolute best. I’m not perfect, but I know I’ve been doing great. I deserve to see a weight loss. And I’m willing to work even harder. But at this point I do not know what else to do. I’ve eaten noodles made from the root of a vegetable I’ve never even heard of. They taste like earthworms, in case you’re wondering. I’ve stopped drinking anything except water and coffee (and I’ve been drinking A LOT of water). I’m exercising at least 5 days a week for at least 45 minutes. I write down everything I put in my mouth and can tell you off hand the points value of nearly anything. Yogurt? 2 points. Banana? 2 points. Apple? 1 point, as long as its 2.5″ in diameter or smaller. If not, then 2 points. And yes, I’ve grabbed a ruler and measured apples to be sure I’m calculating correctly.

I would not be exaggerating if I was to say I almost lost my grip on sanity in the minutes after I stepped off that scale. For a few moments I felt sure the universe really was playing a nasty trick on me (ok, so I kinda still do). I have been working so hard, and I’m freaking exhausted. I even fell asleep in the bath tub the other night. That is a bad, bad thing, especially for someone who lives alone. My cats hate the water and are not CPR-certified. I’d have been screwed if I’d gone under.

Due to all this hard work, I feel like I need to see some downward movement on the scale. It would be my body’s way of saying “Great work, my friend. You did good.” Instead, it feels like my body is saying “Hahahaha!!! F*%^ you!”

I know that losing weight, or not losing weight, is not the end of the world. I know there’s worse things that could happen. I know I don’t have a huge amount to lose. But still, I’ve set a goal for myself, and I’m determined to meet it, so it makes me really cranky when I realize I might not.

After 2 days of struggling to put a positive spin on this, I knew I needed to do something different to kick my ass into gear and get over it. Something I hadn’t done yet. So tonight, I did it. I ran on the treadmill! And I did not fall off- I didn’t even stumble! While this might not seem like a huge accomplishment, believe me– it was. I haven’t been able to successfully run on the treadmill since…ok, I’ve never been able to successfully run on the treadmill. Take that, universe–I’m ready for a rematch any day.

Moh-tuh-vey-shuhn

3 Mar

The reason I can get out of bed to go running at 7:45 on a cold, windy Saturday morning in February is motivation. Because, let me tell you, I do not enjoy cold, windy February mornings. Actually, I don’t like mornings in general.

I derive this motivation from many places. First of all, I’m motivated by myself and the power of my own ambition. Ultimately, I am the reason that I work so hard. I don’t want to be better than anyone else. I want to be a better version of me.

The idea of accomplishment motivates me. Often when I’m running and I start to get tired, I think about how it will feel to cross my first real finish line, and that adds a little extra pep in my step. I hope that when it happens, the moment is as great as I think it will be. And since I’d like to know for sure, it motivates me to try a little harder, run a little longer, push myself a little further.

My family and friends have motivated me. Those closest to me are so incredibly enthusiastic, supportive & encouraging about my goals that it makes me even more excited to be doing what I’m doing. Even when I’m out there running alone I can hear all of this positivity in my head and it keeps me going, like my own personal, invisible cheerleading squad.

All of this is fabulously motivating. It’s wonderful. But there’s one huge motivator that is a large part of what truly makes it possible, and to which I owe nearly everything.

And that’s my iPod. Yes, without my iPod, I wouldn’t make it through a single gym workout; my feet wouldn’t move fast enough to break into even a slow jog. I need a beat to run to; a soundtrack to lay behind the sound of my feet pounding on the pavement, the swoosh swoosh sound of the elliptical, the clang of weights being dropped. Without “AwNaw” by the Nappy Roots & POD, for example, I probably would have burned 50% less calories last Tuesday alone. I owe at least 5 pounds of my weight loss solely to “No More Drama” by Mary J. Blige, and the laid-back, accomplished feeling that comes with most of my cool-downs to Janet Jackson‘s “Son of a Gun“. I don’t even want to think about what workouts would be like without “Whine Up” by Kat DeLuna.

Running requires a different soundtrack altogether, for which I need to thank The Killers for “Human”, The B-52s for “Roam” and the Flobots for “Handlebars”. Without these songs, I would surely be whimpering under a tree or small bush somewhere along my running route.

Which is why, as I’m sure you’ll understand, I was very flustered when my iPod battery died 30 minutes into my run on Saturday morning. Once I realized what had happened, I headed straight for my car without hesitation. There would be no point in trying to run any longer without it; it would be worse than trying to run barefoot.

I will run with sneakers that cut my heels. I will run in the cold, and in the wind. I will run when my whole entire body is sore from a run the day before. I will even run in sneakers that do not match the rest of my outfit.

But I will not run without my iPod.