Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Darn cat

I'm tired. Eyes drooping, fingers stiff and unyielding, ready to drink a pot of coffee tired. This is not great when my job, every day, is to sit in a room lit by fluorescent lights (no natural light) and look at a computer screen for, oh, I don't know, eight hours? This does not lend itself to me becoming more and more awake.

It's the cat. Every morning - yesterday it was 2:30 a.m., today it was 3:20 a.m. - she feels the need to wake up, meow loudly, and make noise until I grab her. I've tried throwing her out of the room, I've tried cuddling her, I've tried shoving her under the covers where it's warm and hoping that puts her to sleep, I've tried putting food in her already-full bowl, thinking she needs the sound of the kernels against the metal dish to get her salivating like Pavlov's dog. Oy. If I lock her out to the room she'll paw at the door. That's not so conducive to a good nights' sleep.

Today at 3:20 I just got up, same yesterday. Got up, got ready, went to work. I'm lucky enough that I can go in early. I start at 5 a.m. on a normal day anyway, which is why it's so hard to go back to sleep sometimes after el gato has made the noise she deems appropriate. It's almost time for me to wake up anyway, so then I just either lay in bed and wait for my alarm to go off, which I do sometimes and then I doze, or get up and go.

She's cuddly, she's cute, but my lack of sleep means I'm hungrier throughout the day. It's like my body needs more food to keep going because it's not getting ample rest at night, and then I definitely don't have the energy to work out. I had a run planned for yesterday. I took a four-hour sleep instead. In total that means yesterday I got eight hours of sleep! But then, wretched cycle, I wasn't tired last night at nine, so I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. and then woke up at 3:30 a.m. I'm trying for a walk today no matter what. I may not have the energy to run, but I can still walk my butt off.

So that darn cat. Any ideas on what to do to either make her quiet, or make me tired earlier? Throw 'em at me!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Where I'm going

I focus a lot on the weight I lost. I focus on the things I have accomplished. I focus on what has been, how far I've come. Sometimes I think I need to stop looking behind me and start looking at what is in store for my life. I'm making a plan, goals, things to achieve. Whatever you want to call it, I'm making it.

I have come far. To recap: I've lost over thirty pounds. I still have more than thirty left to go (forty, actually). I can run. My dream was to run and I'm doing it. While I let some muscles waste away this summer due to a bout of laziness (I swear it's catchy) I'm back on track. Running at least half of my time on the treadmill, hopefully in a few weeks I'll be back up to almost the whole time! I've lost inches. I've lost gobs of fat. I feel better. Every day when I exercise I feel happier. Cardio has this amazing way of lightening my mood, making my face contort into this weird, euphoric smile. I can't help it.

Now, where I'm going. I'm GOING to run 10 5Ks this year. I've been getting my body back on the running track since October, so that will be one year of working toward this goal. By then end of March I aim to have run two 5Ks on my treadmill with times and water stations all mapped out (it's cold in Iowa and I am NOT prepared to run outside right now!) and hopefully, weather willing, my first road 5k of the year in March. Anyone know a good one in Iowa? My ears are open. After this year (and hopefully those pesky forty pounds) a half marathon is my dream. I want it, and I'm scared of it. I'm thinking a running coach may be on the horizon, if affordable, because I've never trained for something like this, and 13.1 miles is a little more daunting than a 5k.

I can't wait until I look back on this next year and thing of the races, think of my goals, and am happy looking backward at where I've been and all I've done. Two years ago I would not have believed that running - or any form of exercise for that matter - would make me this happy. Two years ago I was falling into despair, into sadness over my life and what I had not done with it. A year from now I want to be at goal, ready to smile and look at how strong I found myself to be.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Biggest Loser

So, I'm actively on sparkpeople.com again. Loving it. And I'm signed up for the Biggest Loser Challenge 15. You get placed on a team and then your team competes against the other teams in the challenge to lose the most weight. If you win, you get your name in lights! And Bragging rights. Since I've been doing SO well (insert sarcasm) at keeping myself motivated, I am going to ask all these wonderful people for motivation and help and support. I have such a wonderful support system, but knowing these people are, in a way, counting on me and for me, I think it will push my boundaries.

I need my boundaries pushed. For a second, just a split second I thought about getting a personal trainer. The problems with that are that then I have to join a gym, plus pay for a trainer. I have almost everything I need gym-wise/dvds to keep me going, but only good a trainer would do me is they would be paid to kick my butt on a daily basis. Maybe when it gets warmer out I'll invest in some time with a running coach, I could definitely use some help there, but we'll see how things go.

For now, I'm happy to be part of a community again where if all you do is talk about weight, that's fine. I've dropped some teams that I never followed, so that frees up some reading time, and I'm gonna kick butt in this next round!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Epic Fail

Over over over on calories. Oh yes. I blame Buffalo Wild Wings. Okay, really? I blame myself, but Buffalo Wild Wings did put me over. I just need to develop this ability to say STOP.

I had eaten a half-hearted lunch (approximately two point five hours earlier) when the SO asked if I wanted to go out for lunch. Of COURSE I wanted to go out with him! I figured I'd do what I normally do, order a bit of this or that, not much more than a snack, and go alone with my day. I should have held myself to that. Then we decided to go to Buffalo Wild Wings. Having never been there, I went way to far out. Cheeseburger (a slammer, but their version of a slammer is MUCH different than mine) fries, and, of course, four wings.

Totalling up my calories for that meal alone was more than I normally eat in a DAY. Lesson learned, eat a couple of wings, maybe something else small, but enough is enough. Oy. Luckily until that point I was pretty light on calories, so I erased two days of "good eating" and averaged out at maintenance mode for three days. It's pretty sad when one meal can erase the first part of your healthy week. That was yesterday.

I need to kick it in butt. I want three months of GREAT eating. A tiny treat here or there, sure, but I want to see how clean I can eat for that period of time. It might be hard, but the more I try the better I'll get, right?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Eat what you love

I recently was reading this post by fitbottomedgirls. She says in it, "eat what you love and savor every delicious holiday bite."

I don't do that.

I love cheesecake. I have cheesecake in my fridge at home right now. When I go to eat it, I do not savor every bite. I stuff it in my face so quickly that by the time the taste of that delicious cheesecake hits it's already down to my hips. Then I want another piece. Or ten. I find that when I do take more time with my food: When I savor it and wait for it to register in my mouth instead of swallowing it whole, I am more satisfied. I have less mindless eating, I choose my foods carefully. Do I really want to ingest 300 calories of something I don't enjoy and then have to run three miles later to make up for it? Most times the answer is a resounding "No."

So my goal, especially for this month of December that is chock-full of amazing delicious treats, is to savor. Not to miss or cut out or deprive myself of, but to look over a table of goodies and to pick those I find the most appetizing, and then savor. Just because it's there doesn't mean I have to eat it (a lesson I could stand to have beaten into my mouth) but if it looks delectable, I will not say "cannot" or "may not" because I may. I just need to keep myself in check a little bit.

I'm pretty sure the cheesecake at home will be joining me on my trip to work tomorrow. It's not that it's bad, I enjoy it, but I've enjoyed 1/4 of that thing now, I think that's plenty, now it's time to share. Christmas is about giving, after all :D

Friday, December 10, 2010

Inspiration

Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember,
you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion
to reach for the stars to change the world.
~Harriet Tubman
I need a push. A shove. A form of movement that may need to be induced with a plow. There are days when faced with the decision to get out of bed or have a root canal I seriously consider the root canal. I think of how hard my life is, how much I would love things to change, and then I put on my big-girl panties and get over it. My life is not hard. I am healthy, I have a job I love, family who supports me in everything I do and a man who surrounds me with unconditional love. My life, when you break it down, is a big huge wonderful thing that I am very lucky to have.
When I'm feeling down, like everything is meaningless and that I don't have a purpose, one thing I turn to is other people. People were blessed in an amazing way. We have the power to lift each other up, to show beauty and love to those who are hurting, and to push others along the way so they can get through another day.  A smile, a word, even just a look can send someone tumbling down, but can also raise them to the greatest heights where they feel that maybe they are important, that they are loved, and that all things are possible. 
People are my inspiration. When I am down I visit blogs. I hear the positive comments and I feel like it's worth it all over again. Take one of the new bloggers at www.priorfatgirl.com (actually, his is www.priorfatguy.com). Ever since I read his blog I feel like I have new energy. He knows he has a long way to go, but his way is set before him. All he has to do is walk it. He inspires me.
I know I am not made to be unhappy. I am made to want to be better than I am. I am working toward that goal and hope to reach it, in so many areas of my life. People are one thing that helps get me there. Thanks for giving me such beautiful hope.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trouble with more

So, in my last post, you know how I said I did pretty good at portion control? Well, I don't know what has happened but in the last three days that went out the window. Maybe it didn't go out the window, maybe since I'm tracking my food again (yay me) I'm just realizing that my portions have gotten out of control in the last few months. I'm not necessarily eating to gain, but I'm eating to maintain. That's not great when I still have over twenty pounds left to go (maybe thirty!)


But I'm hungry. Super hungry. I had oatmeal with pomegranate seeds about two hours ago and my stomach is calling for more. Add to that that I've been drinking my coffee and water, my stomach should be full, I'm a little disappointed. I know I've upped my workouts. I did an hour of walking yesterday for my off day from running. I ran for forty minutes the day before that. Today is an off day, maybe, we'll see, as I ease back into the hardcore exercise.

I'm trying to eat filling, sustaining, low-calorie food and I think I need some more. I have a banana that I can pull out of my lunch bag, then beef stroganoff for lunch. I just like to try to hold off on lunch because if I eat it too early (like at 8 a.m., which is what I want to do right now) I crave more food before supper.

So, part of my hunger I'm pushing off on exercise more, but part of my eating, I think I'm a little scared. And I'm sabotaging myself.

I've lost over thirty pounds. I'm at least halfway to my goal. I'm not crazy happy where I am right now but I am pretty content. I know I look better than I have in a long time. Now I'm just questioning if I have the spirit and motivation to make it the rest of the way. The first half wasn't easy, but it really wasn't that hard either. The weight came off at a decent pace, I changed a lot of things, so I ended up losing weight just because I started exercising. I started eating better. Now I need to do more. Just eating better won't keep me at the same weight-loss level I was before. Just working out won't allow me to see the results I've become accustomed to. I need to do more.

More is a little harder for me. Instead of running three days a week with some light activity in between, I need to run, have moderate activity and start lifting. Instead of just eating more vegetables, which in turn had me eating less fatty meat and fewer starches, I need to organize my meals so they give me the energy I need to maintain my exercise schedule while keeping me full and allowing me the creativity and variety I personally need in cooking.

I just feel like it's getting so hard. I want to keep doing this, I want to win. But my resources are dwindling. I can't afford to hire a trainer and I can't afford to hire a nutritionist, but I want this, and so I keep at it, but I feel like I'm getting lackluster results. I'm back on the wagon after a little failure. Does anyone have a piece of leather so I can strap myself to the seat?

Monday, December 6, 2010

A better tomorrow

Every day do something that will inch you closer to a better tomorrow.
~Doug Firebaugh

My tomorrow has in store some precious, precious fruit. When I eat a grape instead of a cinnamon roll I try to remind myself of that fact. Food is quite fleeting. The pleasure I get from food is instantaneous and yet gone in a second. The joy I find in giving someone else something I have made is wonderful, because I like to give people some little pleasures, but in the end it's the time I took to make someone happy, not what I end up giving them that is important.

There is so much consumerism going on right now. Part of me enjoys it. I like buying, I like giving, I like cooking and eating. I consume more than I need when it comes to shopping but also when it comes to eating. When do I say enough? When my wallet is empty? When my stomach is so full it almost bursts? So I change. I eat what I should eat (most of the time) not what my stomach says to eat because my stomach lies to me. One moment it says it's still hungry after consuming pork chops and potatoes and lots and lots of water! Then, ten minutes later, suddenly it's full to the brim and I can't fit one more thing in. It's said the moon is harsh mistress. I think the stomach is a fickle one. When do I cease to buy? When I can't possibly think of one more thing to get for someone? I've been doing better, but I have to admit I get sucked into a great deal as quickly as the next person. 

Choices are important when it comes down to our stomachs and our wallets, and obviously, everything else in life. I try to choose things that will make my life better. I eat fresh fruits and vegetables instead of pastries (ahem, most of the time!) I try to cook things in a way that will make me healthier, not heavier. I like to buy eco-friendly products to make my life here on earth more fulfilling and to keep the earth as healthy as I can. 

Every choice, even one as little as putting a piece of trash in a bin or on the ground, or a grape versus a donut hole can make a big change. What choices are you willing to make?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Day-to-day struggles

It is not easy to find happiness in ourselves,
and it is not possible to find it elsewhere.” 
~Agnes Repplier

 Struggling is never easy. It's not easy to admit, because I'm proud. It's not easy to do because I like to do everything 'right.' It's just a Debbie downer. While I'm doing much better than I was a month ago, I know I can do more. Mostly because it's that time of year and goodies abound. I'd have to say I'm doing ok. At Thanksgiving with my family - which was amazing - I partook, but I didn't really overindulge. I was pretty proud of that fact. I did taste almost everything, but it was one or two bites worth of food instead of a heaping serving, and though I left stuffed after onetoomany pieces of Grandma's apple pie, I had rationed my food through the day just so I could indulge and not feel guilty. Okay, I still felt guilty, but about 90% of what I would have felt otherwise.

Exercise is going pretty well and I'm pleased with that. Wednesday I absolutely did not want to face the treadmill.I had been at work since 5:30 a.m., came home for a moment after work to gather coupons and write out my shopping plan, and then I didn't get home again until 4:15 p.m. Ugh. I was still supposed to get a workout in, make supper and get to a gathering around 8 p.m. to send off a coworker, the jerk is leaving us. As the SO came in the door from work I was seriously contemplating skipping it altogether. But I couldn't. 

Down I went. Good it was. It's even better now that we have cable on all our televisions. The satellite hadn't been working in the basement for over a month, not very motivational when sometimes the television - and my focus on it - can get me through a workout when no amount of willpower can. But I turned to the Simpsons and their comedic antics were enough to get my blood racing. My walk turned into a walk/run and suddenly I had more energy, more oomph! I love it.

I never thought I would be one of those people who liked to exercise. While I don't necessarily love the actually exercise I can't argue with how it makes me feel. I feel alive, happy and vibrant. I love feeling vibrant. And so I continue to struggle. I'm succeeding in my struggle, but I feel one step away from a fall. I figure as long as I can get through Christmas relatively unscathed I can count it as a victory. That's one more notch in my belt to get me through the next month, and the next month, until this thing I feel like I'm playing at because more a part of my life than other. Until then, here's to the treadmill.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

So is life

I was so tired yesterday. So tired that after five hours of sleep the night before I went home from work and slept for four more hours. Then I cleaned and baked and supped (not necessarily in that order) and again, got six hours of sleep. Oh my. I think I needed that.

I've written about my sleep habits before. I tend to get 5-6 hours of sleep on weeknights and then sleep like crazy on the weekend. Part of me loves this, but then I wonder how much happier I would be if I was getting more sleep each weeknight. I'm stubborn and it's hard so then I say "I don't wanna." I don't want to go to bed at 8:30 p.m. to get eight hours of sleep. I don't want to give up my time with the SO or my time just hanging out on facebook to get adequate sleep. Often I'm not doing anything of importance at 8:30 p.m., just watching a TV show or something, but goodness knows, I don't wanna go to bed so early!

After the Thanksgiving weekend, I may have to adjust. It's dark out, so I can't claim it's too light to sleep. What really is going on later than 8:30 p.m. that I need to stay up for? So, it will be a test. How much more energy will I have, how much better will I feel, if I get quality sleep every night instead of two out of five?

Then, speaking of Thanksgiving, what's your plan? Mine is to sample what I want, leave what I don't, and just enjoy family and friends. You?

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

I hurt

I'm a hurting unit today. It's bad. Really bad. Like, I had trouble sleeping last night because of all of the pain going on in my legs bad. And I couldn't take ibuprofen because I had a drink with tequila and I don't want to ruin my liver.

I'm not quite sure what it is. I worked out a decent amount yesterday, but I only pushed myself a LITTLE harder than I have been. I didn't run more, I ran less, actually. Only two miles. But, man! I stretched. I drank lots of water. I did walk around the mall for another hour while I was waiting for tires to be put on my truck, but c'mon! I've done that before! My shoes aren't new, but they aren't old by any means. They have less than 50 miles on them. Oh boy. If you have any ideas, please let me know.

Definite lack of sleep last night. I woke up later than normal yesterday because I had the day off, but not crazy late. And then I kept waking up. And kept waking up. And the the cats were crazy. I sound like Mr. Scrooge today, don't I? At 3:30 a.m. I finally got up because I had to wake up in a hour anyway. I thought I'd just go in to work early. I sat down on the beautiful wonderful couch in the living room and my eyelids felt heavy. Of course, as soon as I laid down it took me 45 minutes to get to sleep. So instead of going to work early, I came to work late. I'm staying late, and I'll be here SUPER early tomorrow morning.

So my plan today: Walk on the mill for at least twenty minutes. I know it seems counter intuitive, but I think a nice slow pace might stretch my muscles and get some lactic acid worked out. A good supper, spaghetti and italian sausage! Woo-hoo! Move (Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix anyone) and bed. Sweet sweet bed. Wish me luck!

Monday, November 15, 2010

I smiled

I was sweaty and hot and the lactic acid was slowly building up in my muscles, but I was smiling. I don't really know why. I was twenty minutes into a thirty-five minute run and suddenly, it wasn't tortuous. I could feel my muscles working together to keep me on that treadmill. I could feel my breath come, not in great gasps, but smooth and deep, like it used to.

It was amazing. It felt like the work I've been putting in the last few weeks was completely worth it, even though I haven't lost one darn pound yet. I struggled so hard to get to where I was, and the a couple of months of not putting in the effort and I felt like I was back to the beginning. I know it's not true. My body couldn't handle 1-3 mile runs when I first started chasing this crazy dream of mine two years ago. Slowly it's become capable of me pushing it harder and faster.

The plan is to keep running three milers, build my speed a little (ok, a lot, I'm crazy slow), and then, goodness gracious, move to a10K. I've run 6 miles before, I know I can do it, but the thought of doing it causes my slowlygettingstronger heart to pitter patter in a way I'm uncomfortable with. This is where mind over matter comes into play. My body is getting strong enough again. Find some missing parts to a weight machine in our house and I can start doing weights on my off days and it will get even stronger. Mentally I have a hurdle to overcome. I know that my 10-race plan will help with that immensely. After a couple more hopefully I won't feel as much like the noob that I am and my mind will get wrapped around the fact that this is possible. You know what's after a 10K, right? Oh yes. 13.1 miles.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Marshmellow madness

I've been craving marshmellows lately. So the other day, when I was at the store and saw them, I threw 'em in the cart. What harm could little puffs of goodness do? I love them in Rice Krispies, which I make about twice a year, but other than that, normally pass them by.

When I got home I stuffed four in my face. Not all at the same time chubby-bunny style, but one by one, slowly savoring the, uhm, the powdery nothingness? Don't get me wrong, but marshmellows really don't have much taste. I have no idea what I was craving from them, but I got them. So, after making my way through the fifth (large, btw) marshmellow, I looked on the package at the serving size. Eight or nine would make about 100 calories, right? WRONG! 4. Four marshmellows is 100 calories. I had just eating 125 worth. It wouldn't be horrible, but I was at the upper end of my calories for the day anyway. I threw them on the chair and walked away.

So the next night, I'm sitting with the SO watching some glorious Harry Potter once again (tonight we may be on movie #4!) and noshin' on some 'mellows. I know how many I can have now. Then, because I'm not enough of a glutton for punishment I look at the ingredient. First thing listed, which also means marshmellows have more of this than any other ingredient listed is corn syrup. Argh.

Corn syrup is one thing I'm trying not to eat. I find when I eat foods that have a lot of it, I just crave more sugar. I know that all the commercials say it's the same as regular sugar and our bodies process it the same way and all that, but when I follow my own body, it seems I crave sugary goodness quite a bit more when I am letting corn syrup be a large part of my diet. So yes, one of the few things I'm limiting/getting rid of in my diet I've pretty much stuffed in my face eight times in the last half hour. Not to mention the five from the day before. As I sit here typing this I am drooling because I want more marshmellows. So I read the back, ate one more (I mean, I'm not eating them other than in Rice Krispies again, so I wanted the one more to remember :) and threw the bag in the trash. Done. Gone.

Now I'm just dealing with more cravings. I'm pretty sure a Snickers bar would be down my gullet in two seconds if I saw one sitting on my desk. I also have tried fruit for today. It's taking the edge off, but I'm still in battle mode. I think if I can get through today, maybe tomorrow, I'll be back to my normal minimal cravings. But until then, I just hope marshmellow madness doesn't get me in its grip.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Health as a choice

When I wake up in the morning I hit my alarm clocking, often waking up the SO in the process, shuffle my way to the bathroom and brush my teeth. I then walk slightly more sprightly into the spare room to pick out my clothes. I put them on. I may even hum a tiny bit as I put makeup on. Normally I do something with my hair to make it not stand on end. I Make coffee, get my breakfast/lunch ready and head out the door. These are things I do. I may wonder why, I may question getting five more minutes of sleep, but I go.

I do not give myself a choice in this matter. I cannot choose not to go to work unless I am willing to face the consequences: Jobless, destitute, moving back home to live with mom and dad (love you!). So, because I do not want to be jobless or destitute, I get up. I get ready. I go.

Unfortunately, there are things in my life that I make into choices when they're really not. Like eating right. Truffles do not constitute a healthy meal, or a meal at all, although they do have enough calories in them at times to justify using them as my supper. In the same vein of thought, vegetables and fruits alone are not good enough for me. I do not eat enough of a variety to make them as nutritious as they should be to sustain my body. I need to eat rice or bread *insert other carbohydrates here.* I also need protein in my diet as beans alone will not keep my muscles growing.

Then there's exercise. There are days I bitch and moan to no end about not wanting to go down to the lovely treadmill in my basement even to walk for ten minutes. I mean, it's ten minutes? I spend ten minutes today deciding what nail polish I wanted to wear and then I try to tell myself I don't have ten minutes to walk, in front of the TV, with a ice-cold glass of water at my disposal? I think I needs to get over myself. And when it's nice out and light out AND I feel like going outside, how can I not be grateful, yes, grateful for the opportunity to enjoy myself? I mean, I'm off work by 1 p.m. I can enjoy parts of the afternoon that in the fall and winter are actually tolerable, while other people work from darkness to darkness and see the slanted autumnal light seeping through work windows. I mean, yes I get up at the butt-crack of dawn, but still, Light? Warmth? Sun? Hello?

Yesterday was one of those days. Of warmth and sun, yes, but also of getting off my butt and walking/running on my treadmill, even though my butt was very against the notion of working. I mean, I've got races to train for! And after? After it was glorious and wonderful. And then, to top it off, I didn't have to make supper and we watched Harry Potter. Oh, and the cats decided to cuddle with me. Can you say perfect evening? I blame the workout. But yesterday, unlike tens of days I've recently let pass without working out, I didn't give myself an option. It was done, the workout, before it even started because it was written in stone that I would work out. And I did.

Being healthy, unfortunately, is a choice. It's a choice I mess up far too often, especially because in my heart of heart I know how happy I am when I am treating my body like it deserves. I don't have a personal trainer to make me do things. I have a SO who knows better than to "make" me do something. I have a brain that likes to be lazy because it's smart enough to have figured out how. Well, for now that brain has met it's matched. It's my determination, and the knowledge that I can do this. I've proved before I can do more than I ever thought myself capable of. I'll do it again.

Monday, November 8, 2010

One step sideways

I think I may have been able to do better this weekend. And by this weekend I mean Sunday. Family was over, and I love to cook for family!

We started the day with homemade cinnamon rolls and cream cheese frosting. Then it was lunch, with pizza, hot ham&cheese sandwiches and chips. Lots of vegetables there, right? I also made apple pie, at least I got one fruit serving in. Top it off with pig-in-the-blankets and potatoes and mixed vegetables. I think I had three servings of fruits/vegetables the entire day!

But it's one day. One day to enjoy the company of family. One day to show off my culinary skills :D And oh, it was good. Other than the splitting headache I had when I went to bed (hello lack of water) it was amazing. Did we do anything special? Other than spending much-loved time together, no. It was wondrous.

Now, that splitting headache. It's back. With a vengeance. I feel some sinus pressure coming on in a bad way. I've upped my freggie intake again (as per normal for my week) and hope to get some relief, but my co-workers are almost all sick, so I think I may be doomed.

Anyone else have a serious lack of goodforyou food on the weekend, but stay strong through the week? I used to be the other way around. On the weekend I had more time and energy to cook for that was delicious and nutritious, but it seems lately, I'm more careful about what I eat Mon-Fri and then splurge on my weekend. Wuzzup wid dat?

Friday, November 5, 2010

Feeling good

Eating better. Check. Exercising again. Check. Feeling better. Check. It's amazing how when I do the first two, the third is pretty much inevitable. I feel whole.

I don't know how it goes for many people, but for me? I struggle. I want to be better. I need to be better. Life is not fulfilling unless I am the best of the best. Every day I talk myself out of this. Every day I try not to beat myself up for little things I've done "wrong" throughout the day. I've disppointed people. I've forgotten things (goodness knows I do that one a lot) I don't respond as quickly as I should to e-mail or phone calls. I didn't put the dish in the right place and I don't have a perfectly clean house. Oh my, not at all.

We talk about emotional abuse from significant others and from family. It's bad. It's horrid. It can cause relationships to fall apart and crumble and it can scar individuals for life. What if I'm emotionally abusing myself? I'm the one who gets angry at me when I "mess up." I yell, I beat myself up. I've been known to shed many tears and be upset and irrational. The SO may remind me to do something small and insignificant. He's trying to help, but because I'm so mad at myself and I have been beating myself up all day, I burst into tears and run from the room. What's he to think? My parents may call to try to help me out with something, but, again, because of the way I've been treating myself all day, I snap, am short with them and am unwilling to accept their help. These people love me. I know they would do anything they can to make me happy and healthy, but how can they help me when I'm not helping myself?

I know what to do to take care of myself. Eat foods that are better for me (and indulge in a truffle every now and then). Work out, sleep enough. Those things pretty much make a happy and healthy Jessica. Throw in a few hugs from the people I love, a few beers on the weekend with friends, and that's a happy life in a nutshell, for me. It just seems when I work out, when I'm eating better, then I find the energy to be kind to myself. I may still have an off day, but I don't yell "FATTIE" every time I look in the mirror. I allow myself to slide, I allow myself to not be perfect. It makes me happier, the SO happier, and anyone else who cares about me probably sees that I am happier.

Emotional abuse is a problem, I'm not making light of it, I'm just saying, when we're victims of doing it to ourself something needs to change. Just like an abuser needs to get help, we need to figure out why we are damaging our own psyche. What right do we have to continually tear our minds down? How is it less a form of abuse when we're doing it to ourselves? We need to change, to adapt and give our bodies and minds the love we deserve. I will not say we are entitled to many things, but happiness is one of those.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The G to the chest to the back pain

I think I may have mentioned before that I lost some weight. A little over half of what I want to lose all together. So you know one area that I haven't lost any? ANY!? *men look away* my boobs. Oh yes. My boobs. Where it seems most women lose weight there before anywhere else, the only thing that's gone down in size on my bra is the band measurement. What gives?

So now, where before the whole weight gain I was a badly measured 36D (probably really a 34DD) I am now a 34G. G people. Just to give you a reference, when I researched it - on the google machine - the answer given seemed to be that a G-sized breast weighs eight pounds. That would mean that there are over 15 lbs on the front of my body. No wonder my back constantly hurts.

I know this is down the road, but what if the rest of me shrinks and my chest doesn't? I don't really know if I can handle that. Yes it's hereditary in my family, from both sides, so I know I will never be an A cup, but still, a little off the front would be pretty nice.

The thing is, I am contemplating surgery. After checking with my insurance, it seems they'd cover it after the deductible. It just makes me really nervous. I won't be doing this for quite some time, but I've got to put it out there. If I get down to near goal weight and still nothing is off in the boob department, I think it's my option. I don't want to live with the chronic pain I have even now. I have permanent indentations in my shoulders from where my bra strap pulls down and even now, with a bra that fits properly, it's pain.

So ... any thoughts?

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The blame game

How often have things in our lives gotten out of control? Work is stressful. Family is stressful. Friends are stressful. Things become overwhelming and, sooner or later, those things slip. We make mistakes, we screw up, we fail. Whatever you want to call it, people do it. What happens when you do it?

Who is to blame when I slip up? My boss, who gives me too much work? My friends and family for demanding too much time?

I am.

It seems counter-intuitive. Someone else is causing me to stress, someone else is making my life crazy, so how am I to blame? I choose how I handle my life. When I get too stressed by work or family, it is up to me to relay to them how I'm feeling, and then to do something about it. If I can't handle my workload, I need to go talk to my boss and together we can brainstorm about how to fix it. If I never talk to him about my problems, he'll just come down on my harder when I don't meet a deadline. If I feel family and friends are demanding too much of me and I never tell them, I will let them down when I can't be there for them through every second of every day. Others expectations should be taken into account, but ultimately we choose how and where to spend our time.

That goes doubly for exercise and a healthy lifestyle. I choose to take care of myself. When I do I am that much more able to take care of those around me. I can blame whoever I want when I don't eat right or when I don't exercise. "Well, it was a special occasion so I wanted to eat out with everyone." "We have so much to do around the house I just didn't have time for a run." You can eat out and still eat healthy and even if you don't have time for a run it's no excuse for not exercising. Squat while you move those boxes. Lift those cats like dumbbells (you can expect a few scratches from that one!). The point is, it's like Smoky the Bear telling you that only you can prevent forest fires.

Only you can make the decisions to lead, or not lead, a healthy life.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Just 10

I received a blue bracelet in the mail the other day. It says 'Just 10.' I'm wearing the conspicuous bright blue band today because I need some reminders. I need to remember that I don't have to eat every treat people bring into work. I need to remember that just ten minutes of working out every day can have a huge impact on my life. I need to remember that cutting one hundred calories a day can help me lose weight. My head has been in and out of whack lately and I need something, something that I can see all of the time to help me out right now.

The bracelet is intended to be part of Dr. Oz's Just 10 challenge. According to the challenge, "losing just 10 pounds can lower your blood pressure, reduce your risk for a stroke, ward off dementia, lower your risk for uterine and breast cancer, and lower your cholesterol up to 10%." Those are some nice statistics. Unfortunately for my brain, they're true. I want to think I can eat what I want and stop exercising and I'll keep losing weight. I want to believe that my weight is fine now, I've lost a decent amount, and I can stop all my hard work.

In short, I want to give up.

But that's the lazy me talking. In reality? I want to run 13.1 miles and smile when I finish. I want to race up the stairs at work and then be out of breath when I walk into the newsroom. I want to have clothes that smell like sweat and sneakers that are worn smooth. I want my nephew to yell "Wait up Aunt Jessie!" as we race down the block. I want to swing my niece in the air and be able to do it more than once. I want to race my other niece with her on her bike and be a close second. I want to live a long, healthy life.

I can do this by thinking just 10. I have lost momentum. I have to find another goal to hit. So my goal: To ready myself for the half marathon I dream of running by running a race every month, starting in January. I say January because it's the month of newness, it's a month when everyone wants to start at something and do something amazing and it gives me a couple months to train. I'm starting now, at the end of the month 10 in 2010. My goal? To run 10 races. January, February, March, April, May, June, July, August, September, October. I'm going to train now, so it will be a year of training, but two months to prepare. That's ample when I already run some now. My first races may be on my treadmill in my basement. I don't know if I'll be acclimated enough to the crazy winter weather to run outside, but I will be running a 5K, and I will post my timed results. By March I hope to run official 5Ks outside.

Yell out an Iowa 5K you think I should run! One for every month. May is spoken for, but everything else is up for grabs!

Being fat in public

Ignored. Invisible. Long sideways glances.

People think of you as jolly. Always happy. You have to be happy, what else do you have to offer?

I hate it. I hate the looks. I hate being ignored. I hate the perception that people who are larger have to be happy, compliant. The moment they rock the boat they are looked at with even more annoyance and impatience than 'normal' people.

I am a fun, bubbly person who is also, ironically, pretty shy around strangers. My exuberance comes out more because I want people to like and accept me. Just because I have an extra roll around my middle doesn't mean I will roll over and take a kick in the gut. No. Thanks.

I just think it's interesting how things change. Now, over 30 lbs. lighter, I get looks I wouldn't have gotten a year ago. I'm far from my goal weight, but already things have changed. I'm acknowledged. People will make eye contact with me on the street. I even got some catcalls. I feel proud of how far I've come and how much happier I am. The SO will definitely agree. I still weigh more than when we met, but I'm so much more confident. Maybe six years together does that to a person. Anyway. I was reading this article.

http://www.marieclaire.com/sex-love/dating-blog/overweight-couples-on-television

The writer says:"(I'm happy to give you some nutrition and fitness suggestions if you need them — but long story short, eat more fresh and unprocessed foods, read labels and avoid foods with any kind of processed sweetener in them whether it's cane sugar or high fructose corn syrup, increase the amount of fiber you're getting, get some kind of exercise for 30 minutes at least five times a week, and do everything you can to stand up more — even while using your computer — and walk more. I admit that there's plenty that makes slimming down tough, but YOU CAN DO IT! Trust me. It will take some time, but you'll also feel so good, physically and emotionally. A nutritionist or personal trainer will help — and if you can't afford one, visit your local YMCA for some advice.)"

I want to say Bite. Me. I know in the end, it's as simple as calories in, calories out, and moving more on top of it. But it's not that simple. If it really was that simple in my head I would be a normal weight. I would have no problem getting my butt off the couch and out the door or down the steps to get a run in. Part of it is choosing to be healthy, but I'm pretty sure no one wakes up and says, 'Oh boy. For a change, I would like to be obese. Really obese. I think that would be swell.'

In my case, I wish I had more willpower. More willpower to say no to the Rice Krispie treat I just ate. Yes, I'll count it in my calories, but why did I feel the need to eat it at all? What's the point? I eat tons of fruits and veggies. I eat better portions that I used to. My life has changed, but it's still so hard sometimes. Right now it's hard. But just because I'm "overweight" doesn't mean that I should be ignored. I am a person and I deserve recognition. I'm fun, entertaining, sad sometimes. But I do have feelings. Don't ignore me or toss me aside or tell me it's my fault I'm fat. I know I'm fat. I'm trying to do something about it. My weight can change. Hopefully your idiocy can, too.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Keeping the health

Flu Shot Update: Today, I am fine. My left arm is slightly sore, but I think my anxiety over needles gave me more issue than the actual flu shot! The SO, on the other hand, not so much. He's sick today. Hopefully it's not the shot, but I also don't want him to be sick for long. I definitely hope that after a day of rest he'll be feeling better.

Yesterday in my post I made a comment, "what we do for what we think is health." Let me explain. I think a majority of people are concerned with their health. They may not think in terms of exercise or fitness, but they want to be well. Often, we go crazy. We think that a diet, being a perfect weight, be able to bench 225 lbs. etc. is what will make us 'well' and by association, happy. If only we can lose those last ten pounds. If only we can be smaller or bigger than so-and-so. Those size six jeans will make us happy. A 32-inch waist will make me sexy. If I can just lose _____ or if I can just be a size ____ all will be right with the world.

It won't.

Health is defined as: Physical and mental well-being; freedom from disease, etc.

Being a certain size or reaching a specific number does not mean you are healthy. No fad diet or quick-fix deal can guarantee health. Often when you cut one kind of food out of your diet completely you start missing out on key nutrients. Our bodies have to have carbs to function. We need protein to keep our muscles strong. We must consume vitamins and minerals to carry out the needs of our bodies. We also need balance.

When our lives are overtaken by one thing be it children, work, exercise or family, other areas suffer. If we give up our social lives for working out and so we can eat the exact same thing at the exact same time of day we are losing. If we give up exercise to spend more time with family or work, we are losing. It's hard to find the balance. I'm more likely to go all out on one thing, then burn out, and then go all out on something else, but balance is key. The more balanced my life is the healthier I feel.

When I'm eating things that benefit my body and doing activities that do the same, I feel well. I'm more likely to start balancing friends and work then, too. It's trepidatious to say the best. For me, when one thing starts to slide out of control, I start to drop the ball on other things, too.

Reaching a certain size or weight might make us feel victorious, and it's good to have goals to reach for, but when we base our happiness on something we may not be able to control (with my curves, I may never be size 6 due to hips alone!) we may be devastated. A size or weight will not determine happiness. Ultimately we determine our happiness. Will being lighter or stronger help you reach goals and make day-to-day life easier? Yes, especially if you have more than five or ten pounds to lose. Will it make you happy? Will it make life all better? Probably not.

Life is what you make of it. I want to yell that from roofs and mountains and maybe even the top of my truck. People get so caught up in quick fixes or any fixes. This one thing they do will fix their life forever. I'm sorry. It won't. Life is hard, doubly so for some . Problems come and go and it's how we choose to deal with it that starts defining our lives. If I didn't admit that I eat more when I'm bored then that habit will never stop. I eat when I'm upset. I love to have a chocolate chip cookie when I'm feeling happy. However I eat, I need to recognize why I'm doing it. I eat from emotional ups and downs. Until I get to the bottom of my emotions I will not be free from emotional binging. If I run from other things in my life, losing weight won't make my life better. It will just make me thinner with the same problems.

It's hard to face issues in your life. I understand that. But a strict diet and regular exercise could be the thing that you move onto to run away from issues. Facing them is hard, but that balance, that spiritual, emotional and physical balance is so key in life. It's hard, but definitely worth working on.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Flu Shots

It's that time of year again. I love fall. The crispness in the air (not to mention Honeycrisp apples, oh me oh my) and the warm days and chilly nights, T-shirts by day, favorite sleeping sweatshirt by night. It's by far my favorite time of year. All the color and promise in the leaves. I love it. They just explode in color as if to say, 'Here we are, look at us, appreciate us!' And I do.

What I don't love? What follows Fall. Winter is fine, don't get me wrong, but I'm already pretty much a hermit and then you go and throw snow and ice in the mix? -32 degrees? I live in Iowa, I think last year it got down to -34 at one point here. Ouch. The ice, the snow, even they're beautiful and I can appreciate the fact that I'm experiencing four seasons, but oy. The colds. The flu. I do not want to get down with the sickness. And so, controversial as it may be, I'm getting a flu shot today.

I hate shots. They make me nervous and sweaty and my brain starts to think the needle is poking my skin when it's still, at this point, literally miles away. Last year I got one. I think it was my first one ever in my adult life, and no sickness. That also could be because I was exercising at least three times a week and eating food that was utterly beneficial for my health - hello whole grains!. But I'm sticking (ha!) with it again this year. I know many people don't agree with flu shots. Many people live by them. I'll let you know how it goes. But if you hear a squeal, or even a silent sigh of scaredy-catness around noon, please think of me! What can I say, I'm kind of a wuss sometimes.

What we do for what we think is health. Will the flu shot ward of sickness? Maybe. Will it make me feel better? In the longterm, yes. It will give me peace of mind and hopefully help keep me healthy.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Sick and tired

No, really, I was sick and tired. Now I'm just tired. Oh was I sick this weekend. Starting Friday. The last time I was that sick was before we left for Virginia to see the SO's family, that was more than two years ago! I guess I was due, but it just makes me wonder what caused it.

I happen to think that what started it was the fact that I haven't been exercising and my immune system was getting crappy. Couple that with the fact that we had United Way fundraisers all week at work (lots of food, lots of bad for you why did I eat that food) and I think my body was due. It just decided to shut down.

On both fronts (exercise and healthy eating) I'd like to report that I'm doing better. I AM reporting that I'm doing better! I worked out Thursday, Saturday and Sunday of this week. I'll be working out again tonight. I've been eating more in moderation, and found out that if you're doing fast food, Wendy's has some amazing salads. So good you don't even need the dressing. Which, hello, is another 110 calories you're not putting on your 'healthy' salad.

I think an entire day of soup and crackers definitely helped my body jump start its way back on track. I've been craving some cinnamon rolls, but everything in moderation, right? So I felt weak, of course I did, but I made myself go downstairs and walk on that treadmill. Then, I couldn't help it, I felt the need to run. So I did.

Three days of working out. Four days on plan for eating. I think I can feel my body gaining energy for today's workout. And energy for today's nap. I'm still tired, after all. I'm recuperating, which is wonderful for me, and it means I just need to take it easy for a few more days on the exercise front. What it doesn't mean is that I can't work out. I'm not congested, I'm not nauseous any more. But I am excited. I feel like I'm back! All it took was an entire 24 hours of not really doing anything, and I feel so much better.

What I'm most excited about is that when I was sick I didn't give myself leave to just give it all up. I stuck to eating, I walked, I did what I could do. For me that just proves to myself that I'm in this to win it. Goodbye poundage!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sweat = happiness

I was in a foul mood the other night. Just ask the SO. Nothing was wrong other than the fact that I was tired. Overwhelmed by so much to do at work. Planning, committees and meetings, and getting everyone what they needed when they needed it, and that was the extra stuff, I had all my regular work on top of that!

So I'm at home. I'm making a supper I don't want to eat and I'm not hungry. Mood getting fouler. Then the SO says he's not hungry. Well, I'm not hungry either, so why am I making this? Why are we even planning on eating. I snap a little. Not horrible, not nice either. Then go and get my PJ's on. I sat down for a  minute and thought about my evening. I could go to bed. But it's just after 6 p.m. I could watch TV. I like TV. I could watch TV while I work out on my wonderful treadmill.

And I did. I got up and switched my PJ's for work-out clothes. Pulled on socks and strapped myself into my running shoes. That was it. No whining. No trying to talk myself out of it. I just did it. One hour later I stopped. I felt amazing. I had walked for twenty minutes and then ran a good, steady pace (which, btw, for me is super slow) for thirty-five minutes. Without stopping. And I loved it.

I was just going to run during the commercials and then walk during the show on TV. But when I started, I could feel my mood lifting. My head and body felt ten pounds lighter. And three minutes turned into thirty-five. It's what has been missing. I miss feeling that good. I miss feeling like my body is this machine that I haven't reached the limits of. I can do so much more than I give myself credit for. I just forget.

When I came back upstairs the SO asked if I felt better and I couldn't put enough exuberance into it. It was a resounding "Yes!" He didn't ram down my throat the fact that I hadn't been particularly nice just one hour before. He just was happy I felt better (and that I wouldn't be jumping down his throat in the near future). He even made us supper then, not the eggplant parmesan I had planned, we'll have that another night, but such a good meal. One we both wanted. One we both were hungry for. 

It's amazing what exercise does for me. I know this and yet I push it to the side. I claim I'm too tired or too busy or too this or that. In reality, exercise really does help keep me sane, literally. With darkness coming faster and staying longer, I know I need to keep my wits about me to not sink into the mild depression I know so well. I know I struggle, I know exercise helps. I just need to do it. It's not just for my physical healthy, but my mental health as well.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Angry

Dear me,

How could you do this to me? I leave you along for a few years, try to trust you and let you deal with the goings on of my body, and I come back to this. Where did these rolls come from? How did you let it get this far that I can't walk up a flight of steps without holding my side and panting? How could you not see what you were doing to me?

I'm so mad and frustrated and angry at you. I just can't see how you had so little respect for yourself that you disrespected yourself. I just can't see how that cupcake was worth more to you than a year of your life. I can't understand why you refused to go outside to enjoy this beautiful world that's here for your pleasure, for your joy. What happened to you?

Is a piece of pie really that good? Well, fine. Eat it, but then go DO something. Don't sit on your butt watching shows of other people doing things. Don't complain that you never get out, never try something new. Eat what you want, but then go and use that excess sugar and energy and move your bloomin' arse. Is that cookie, that sugary headache waiting to happen, really better than those fresh-picked grapes? Whatever. Do what you want but don't hurt me because you can't keep your mouth in check.

I'm sorry, I don't mean to yell so much, but I love you so much. I want to hug you. I want to wrap my arms around you. I want to be with you when you go on a hike and watch the freshly-turned leaves falls around your feet. Hear them crunch in the crisp air as you watch birds in flight dive and swoop and sing along with their wings. I know how much you love it. I want to be there when you do those things. I want to see the mixed look of panic and pure excitement when you kayak for the first time. When you realize that you're along in that plastic shell. Pure millimeters separating you from the water. I want to see the smile and relief and exhaustion on your face when you cross the finish line you've been dreaming of. You've done it once, now you know you can do it again. You know that determination and drive is in you.

I want that smile back. The smile that can light up a room, put a friend at ease and make your boyfriend grin cheek-to-cheek. I want everything in the world for you. The light, the laughter and the lessons. I wish so much for you. I wish for you to see your potential. Part of that potential is being healthy, being true to yourself with food, with friends and with God. My heart is ready to burst out of my chest with the pride I feel at how far you've come, at how much you have accomplished, and what's still in store for you.

I want you back. I want you around for years to come. I want you to be so happy you feel like you're going to explode. Please try. Try for me. Try for us.

Jessica.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

I will

I will smile when I see myself in the mirror.

I will MEAN IT when I smile at myself in the mirror.

I will love the days I have been given to fight this battle against obesity.

I will continue to count calories.

I will one day let myself eat as I should, no calorie counting, lots of veggies.

I will continue to love almost every vegetable I've come across. Beets, I don't know if we're there yet.

I will run.

I will sweat.

I will laugh and cry and shake my fist with anger at "those days" that made me sad.

I will eat my fruits and vegetables, just like my mama told me to.

I will get guns. GUNS MAN! (biceps, for all those who fear my shooting ability).

I will take one step forward.

I will look behind me to appreciate where I've come.

I will continue. Walking, running, crawling if need be.

I will go on.

I will.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

30 pairs. No. Joke.

I had a mini meltdown this weekend. I went out, supposedly for a very short shopping trip. I was picking up spices and little kitchen things we were out of, was going to check out a couple of shoe stores and swing by a crafts store to get me some candy melts (cake truffles for the bake sale, Helloooo!)

And then I ran into these.



I have issues with jeans. The issues are that I can't find any (since the Silvers I bought in high school that yay! now fit again) that I love. I have jeans. They're fine. They sag or bunch or are just a bit too short. But they're fine. Whatever.

So I saw jeans. And I wanted to find THE jeans that fit. THE jeans that I loved. The jeans that I would wear until they fell into bits around my ankles. I don't envy my company on that day! Or me. I hope I have on good underwear. Anyway. I proceeded to try on jeans upon jeans upon jeans.

Too short. Too tight. Top too long. Bottom too short. Too loose. Do not fit butt. The list goes on. I estimate my jeans marathon to have topped out at 30 or 40 pairs. And I was not pleased with any. ANY! I know I have a thicker waist and longer legs, but still. I want jeans where the crotch doesn't hang down to my knees and the waistband ends up above my hip line, while not looking like I'm 80. I want them to stay, and as they stretch out through the day from me sitting on my rear I do NOT want to look like I have the flat butt that I do. I promise, if I find these miracle jeans, I will buy you year after year after year. You will complete my wardrobe. And I will love you and call you jeans.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Get your body on the floor

Oy. Is it bad when you start a post with oy? Well, that's how I feel about my exercise life. It's been seriously lacking. Yes I'm eating right. Yes I'm active, in my own way. But wowza I need a kick in the butt.

I now have a beautiful wonderful treadmill that is mine to use whenever I desire. Be that 7 a.m. 7 p.m. or any other hours of the day. What is my excuse?

I'm lazy.

What other excuse is there? What motivation do I need to get down there? I've thought about posting pictures of dream pants, sweat, a 1/2 marathon medal, etc. around the house. I think I may have to and then the SO may have to live with the images as well. What else do I need?! I even have a TV hooked up, courtesy of the SO, to watch my favorite afternoon shows to my hearts content.

I like working out. I like the sweat and the glow afterward. I like the feeling of exhilaration, even when I didn't run ten miles ('cuz I never have :D) so what's up? I'm trying to sort through this issue; trying to nip it in the bud. I think part of it is because I've reached so many goals. No longer obese. Check. No longer tired all the time. Check. Eating better. Check. Fit in small pants and shirts. Check.

I used to work out at LEAST three times a week, for about an hour each time. I used to hem and haw for five minutes and then bam. There I went.

Any suggestions on how to kick-start my brain into exercise mode again?

Friday, October 15, 2010

Stuggles

With every day comes a struggle for me.

Keep going? Or give up?

My mind says keep going, my body says keep going, but sometimes it just doesn't synch up. Today is fine, great in fact, but when I look back at the last month I wonder what I was doing? I'm not dwelling on the past, but I think I need to take a look down that road to prepare myself for what's ahead.

My eating habits are getting back on track. Right now I feel like I'm overdoing it on the fruits and veggies. I normally eat a piece of whole wheat bread with one tablespoon of peanut butter for breakfast along with a banana. Sometime in the midst of my morning I have grapes (at least lately, or an apple or such). Then I've been snacking on carrots, califlower, broccoli, radishes and celery with some hummus. Lunch is leftovers, with a salad. For my afternoon snack more mixed veggies, but sometimes it's a smoothie: 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1/2 banana, 1/2 blueberries, 1/2 cup to 1 cup water. Supper, whatever we're eating plus at least two veggies. I'm veggin' it up.

The more I do it, the more my body likes it. I feel like I have my body back now. It's not horrible and drudging through my daily activities, though I am sick. Ugh. I've been yucky sick for over a week now! Not sick enough to stay home, but too sick to feel well. Sucks, right?

So tonight? The agenda tonight is sleep. I've been up too late watching too many crappy (and wonderful) shows!

Next week? Halting the procrastination that is cramping my workout style.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Cookie monster

To eat the cookies or not to eat the cookies, that is the question.

Well, the answer is I ate them. I ate them and I liked it, hah! So, tmi, I'm pmsing. Bad. Worse than I have in many months. I attribute the lessening of the PMS to the fact that I've lost weight and I've been eating better. My cravings aren't as bad, my mood swings are slightly more stable (sorry SO!) and honestly, that bloating thing? (all the ladies out there know what I'm talkin' 'bout) has been much better. But I ate the cookies.

I had cookie dough I pulled out of the freezer fully intending to bake and bring to work a few days ago. In my state of doing nothing because of the sickness it's sat in the fridge for a couple days now. Instead, I made two giant cookies - really the equivalent of four - and at them with relish and glee, savoring each bite. For those of you who are trying not to eat cookies, I am very sorry. But I had to do it. There was nothing else I wanted. I had eaten fruits and vegetables all day (and forgot lunch, wups, my bad) and so I ate cookies at four in the afternoon. Then I went to bed. Sleep? No. A fifteen minute nap was all I was allowed until 10 p.m. when exhaustion overtook my brain, but I tried.

Mr. Sandman, why do you leave me so forlorn?

So, while I know that two large cookies are not the best for me, I'm not considering it a failure. I felt much better after the cookies. I didn't turn to them out of comfort or boredom, I went to them because it's what I wanted. Maybe with all my fruits and veggies I haven't been getting enough good fats, maybe it was the sodium, maybe my body just likes chocolate and now considers it one of it's necessary food groups, who knows. The point is, I didn't binge 3,000 calories of cookies. I didn't binge more calories that what I would have had for supper. Was it fully satisfying for my body? Probably not. Do I regret it? No. Will I let it happen again, maybe, maybe in three or four more months. Definitely not tomorrow, but as something that happens every now and then instead of every day, I'm considering being a cookie monster for one night a win.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Why I write

I write to ease my soul, to calm my mind and to reach out into an empty space so vast my problems and issues and joy and love can't possibly fill it all. I write to find myself again. When I feel I know who I am, when I am at ease with myself, my world seems more at ease with me in it.

Problems do not disappear. I could lose 50 more lbs (though that would be too much!) and the problems that existed when I was 205 lbs. would still exist. By losing weight I am not running away, I am not giving up on my demons, I am facing them head on. I know life continues whether I'm fat or not. How I choose to live that life, fat, fit or in between is what's important.

I write to remind myself of the times I stumble down this journey of mine. I write to remember the triumphs and the upsets. I write to let people, and myself, know that we are not alone. This is a journey only you can do, this is a journey people can walk with you, but they cannot walk for you. But with a community around us we can get back up if we falter and fall. We can reach out to hear a friendly voice when nothing else seems friendly and we can vent to people who will not tell us to just get over it. I will not get over it. I will get through it. One step at a time.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Growing pains

There is a voice in my head that is three years old. She whines and cries when she doesn't get her way. She laughs and cuddles when every thing is right with her world. Let me tell you, 'right' is a very relative concept.

Sometimes she gets on my very last nerve.

She wants chocolate and cake and candy bars. No. No carrots. No broccoli. Maybe some grapes. Grapes are sweet. Yum. Ooooo, apples? Apples for pie? Apples for cake? And I try to be nice. I try to say, 'no no now Jessie' (don't any of you ever call me that. I'll cry). 'That will make your tummy hurt.' Or 'Sweetie if you eat that you'll be hungry again in ten minutes!' And more along those lines.

Sometimes it just gets outrageous. Three-year-old mental me lays down on the ground, tears streaming down her face, and pounds on that floor for all she's worth. She cries. Screams. Then she's screaming so long she can't remember what she's screaming about, but she knows she needs to keep on screaming. 'CAKE!' She howls. 'I want chocolate,' she cries.

Sometimes I break. Sometimes I walk to the kitchen and try to find something that will satisfy her. Before, that used to mean baking and eating an entire pan of monster cookies. My excuse? I'll bring them to work. Sometimes I walk away and let her cry. Let it all come out. Then, when she's calm and rational we'll go to the kitchen if we're still hungry and have a banana.

This is what is hard for me. I like immediate satisfaction. If I want something, I don't like to wait and save and be patient. In that respect I'm very much like a three-year-old. I want it now.

There are days when this constant battle wears on me. I hope for the day when sugar-filled treats don't call to me and I turn to them with reckless abandon. (You didn't know this was a romance novel, did you?) I want to be that so-called normal. But then it hits me. Normal does not mean eating an entire pan of cookies. Normal does not mean living my life satisfying my every craving and desire. Normal means growing up and living a productive life.

It's hard. Growing up sucks - at times. It hurts and things are accomplished through trial and error more than we care to admit, but in the end, every time I walk away from toddler mental me I feel better.  A small victory. Every time I cave, I still try to make it count. One piece of chocolate. One cookie. One mini candy bar. They aren't the best options, but they get me through the day with minimal damage, and they allow my mind to focus on my next run instead of my next fix of sugar.

How does the song go? "Growing up is hard to do." But so worth it.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Getting lax

I have become complacent in my old age. Okay, so my old age is 27 and I'm not so much complacent as lazy, but what has been wrong with me lately? I have weight to lose, miles to go, half marathons to train for! I've been dead on my feet and I can't place it.

Yes, I've lost a decent amount of weight, around 35 lbs., but still I am not done.I am technically OVERWEIGHT. I am no longer obese, which I am thankful for all of the time, but I cannot be done yet. I've been eating okay, watching portions and all that, but other than the watching portions part I've given myself license to each what I want when I want it.

My body knows it's messed up. It's not been responding the way it should be and before, when I ate everything I saw and my body didn't know any better and I didn't know any better it wasn't so much an issue. Now my body is off and I want out. I want out of this slow downward spiral. I haven't gained, but then again, I haven't been weighing myself so who knows if I gained and then slowly lost it again!

So, it's fruit and veggie galore for the next few days. Last night I made myself some homemade hummus (with pinto beans, sorry, it's not "real," I know) and cut and sliced and diced and bagged and I now have at LEAST five whole days where every snack I need and every addition to a meal that must be included and now, I don't have to worry about it, I just have to eat it. I need to get my system back in gear.

Oh a more positive note, I walked/ran on the treadmill for fifty minutes the other night! Woot!

Friday, October 8, 2010

I will not

I will not let my weight determine who I am.

I will not let my only focus in life be on my waistline.

I will not stop living my life to get to the perfect size.

I will not stop eating chocolate unless I become deathly allergic to it.

I will not crawl into bed to fight another 'I feel fat' day.

I will not let the weight machine beat me. It's not so tough and scary as it seems.

I will not let society dictate to me that healthy is really stick-thin skinny.

I will not stop running.

I will not stop making choices for me.

I will not stop fighting against my binges.

I will not stop.

I will not.


Success means having the courage, the determination and the will to become the person you believe you were meant to be.

~ George Sheehan

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Three Weeks??!!!

Three weeks, it's been THREE weeks since I've posted. I have posts saved, thoughts written down, what happened? Well, I happened. I've been cycling on this leg of my journey, that's for sure.

I have ideas, I have thoughts, but sometimes I clunk in front of the TV before I sit down to try to type out what is irksome and bothering me in the eating or exercise department. The thing is ... I do better when I write. I think it has to do with holding myself accountable. Yes I've been eating OK (except for that chicken sandwich at Hardee's - no mayo, no cheese, extra tomatoes please) but I can do better. I can be better and why I won't let myself just keeps nipping at my heels.

I think it's partially because I'm pretty happy right now. Yes I still have twenty more pounds to lose. Yes I still want to be able to run further and faster and better, but right now, I'm enjoying the fact that my stomach is a wee bit flatter and my legs a tad shapelier. The only thin that might help me a little more is a little less in the upper chest area. We'll see. I'll tell you more later.

So: I have a treadmill now. What?!? Yes. Super cheap and I've had it for five days and I'm organizing the basement around it. 'Cuz I want no excuse from this butt of mine when I need to go walk/run on it and "It's raining" or "too dark" or "too cold out" Treadmill = dreadmill, I know, but hopefully I'll be able to either get off my butt and get outside (here's to cold-weather running!) or work it out on the 'mill.

So the other day I got some kick-butt lifting and cleaning and vacuuming exercise, about six hours worth. Our basement needs it people. Don't judge. And now, now I can run. FREE!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Never fully dressed

I don't know where it came from or why it's so perfect, but if you've ever seen the movie "Annie" then you've heard the song "You're never fully dressed without a smile." I love that song. It makes me want to smile when I pick up the phone, when I meet a stranger walking the street and especially when I'm in Hy-Vee.

A smile makes me feel like I'm having a better day. It makes a "I'm feeling super large today" into a better day. However my clothes or my mind are making me feel, a smile in the mirror makes me feel better. Probably due in part because when I smile at myself in the mirror I laugh at my reflection for smiling and then I pull really weird and funny faces and then I crack myself up because I'm such a nerd. Who else makes faces at themselves in the mirror other than a nerd?

But regardless, it makes me feel better. A smile changes my day, and I hope that my frown doesn't dress me up as much as a smile ever will. I crumpled forehead just gives me a headache, but a smile can take aches away.

I don't smile as much as I should. I worry about money and friends and, oh me oh my the fact that I need a new car. Does that go under money? I worry that I'm not doing enough and that the cats are sick and ohIneedtobreathbecauseit'stoomuch. Then I try to remember to breath. Sometimes, a lot of times, I forget to smile. I forget to smile at my wonderful SO because he comes and sits by me at the end of his day. I forget to smile when my mom makes a mom comment. I forget to smile when my nephew is just being a boy.

Since when did life get so serious? Not for me today. Today I will smile like a grinning fool. Some may make fun, but I'll make 'em smile. And you better believe I'll have an extraordinary day!

Friday, September 10, 2010

Expectations

Sometimes I hate expectations. They often serve to let me down. What I hate most about expectations are the ones other people have for me that, try as I might, I can never live up to. How can you live up to someone elses expectations when you never know what they are? You do your work, you accomplish everything you're "supposed" to, but still you fail because you missed some deadline that was never mentioned.

It makes me feel:
defeated
stupid
slow
unworthy

Interesting, right? Let's just say it's been a day today!

I also am not a fan of failing at expectations I set for myself. I set something in sand so that I can see it, look at it and reach it. I expect myself to go running three times a week. I expect myself to eat the proper (if not more) servings of fruits and vegetables every day. I expect myself to go to work, go home, keep the house in reasonable order and take my turn making supper! I do not feel these things are too much to ask from me. I do not think it's too much to ask my body to respond to what I'm doing and lose some gosh darn weight.

Expectations set us up to fail, but they also set us up to succeed. They give us goals to reach for and keep is moving, instead of allowing us to become stagnant in our lives. As much as I dislike the pressure they put on me at times, I'm thankful that my failures allow me to push harder and to be better. This is a life journey after all! However much I want it easy, I want it to be better that much more. As much as I get frustrated, I keep right on truckin' one foot in front of the other, one day at a time.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

I run

Do you remember the Dick and Jane books? I love those books.

See Spot run.
Spot runs fast.
Run Spot, run!

Okay, I don't really know if that is actually in a Dick and Jane book, having read one probably when I was four. But when I think about those books, I think about Spot. And then, to tell you how I feel about me and running. Insert "Jessica" for Spot. I don't necessarily run fast, but oh I like to run.

There's a freedom when I get my feet moving that I can't quite describe. I know I'm doing something healthy. I know I'm making my life better AND I get to be outdoors, enjoying the weather, as gray or as sunny as it may be. Slowly but surely I'm walking and running my way to a better me.

One more thing running does, other than give me amazing healthy benefits, is allow me to shuffle through the thoughts, good bad, ugly, frivolous, that speed through my head. Most times all that humming in the background of my brain is just that, humming. I don't pay attention to it unless it causes a tune to come to mind, and it leaves me be. Sometimes I have to focus, to pull out thought that maybe need a little attention. I get time to decide if I really am enjoying the new bread I made. If there is something that needs some thought, or planning. Sometimes I just get to listen to my tunes and focus on the breath coming in and out of my body.

Running frees me in a way I had never known. When I sing a song and I can hear the notes carrying away into the sky and hear a melody being made from my throat outward, that's what running does. I have raced a couple of times. Racing is great and when I finished my first 5k I had a sense of accomplishment like no other. Unlike singing, which has comes naturally to me and then I used to fine tune in choirs and lessons et al, running is something I work at, something I strive for something that never has come naturally.

I may never run the half marathon I dream of, but I'll for sure partially walk one! I may never flow with effortless grace down the last 1/2 mile stretch on my running route, but I'll run it, and sprint the blocks at the end just to show myself that I can (and I hear it's good practice for those races). I run for me. I run because I never thought I would, and now I can't believe I do. I can try to compare myself to people who run faster or longer or farther, but in the end I can't because they're not me. I run to give my dreams that kick in the butt they need to keep on fighting. I run.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Oh what a wonderful feeling!

Lately, I've just had a sense of accomplishment. I feel like I'm doing things and getting things done that I've always wanted to get done! I grew a garden this year. Goodbye black thumb, hello cucumbers! I've CANNED! Love it. There are few things more satisfying to me right now than hearing the lid on a can of diced tomatoes seal. Hours of work and you know in four months when the winds are a-blowin' here in Iowa you can open the freshness of summer in a can. And the SO and I are back to doing anything and everything around the house we want to make it purty. His broken leg is not so much broken anymore, but it still hurts from time to time. I don't know what it is, but today I just feel satisfied. Satisfied with our life, my life. Satisfied with family and friends. As the verse goes "My cup overfloweth."

This weekend was just part of this goodness. Friday we chilled (after work, of course) And by chill I mean we went everywhere in tarnation getting everything ready for Saturday. Saturday was brake day. The SO (that wonderful man) is handy. Love it. I like doing things myself if I can instead of paying someone else to do them and, luckily, he feels the same way. So the squeaking on the front of the car has stopped due to a few handy-man hours and some brakes, a la Advance Auto Parts. Next week maybe the squeaking on the back? A man's car work is never done. Then Saturday night I worked.

Sunday, oh Sunday was a beautiful day. It will filled with boating, laughter, a run and these amazing steaks for supper, followed by our own little bonfire. I don't know if Sunday could have been a better day. We both commented on it, and I was just waiting for the spell to be broken, but it never was.

And Monday, though Labor Day, another hard-working day. Around eleven I got in into my head that I really wanted to put the ceiling fan up that we had purchased a few weeks earlier. This involves going up into the attic, crawling around in blown insulation and find the perfect spots that we need to run wire. I volunteered. What was I thinking? In hindsight it wasn't that bad. While I was doing it, not fun. Since there isn't a walkway up there, there luckily were three boards I juggled to make my way from one of the house to the other. I pushed wire like a pro (well, maybe not, but I tried!) and now, all that's left to do is the wiring! Good Luck, baby! I'm so glad I did it though. With his knee still not on the best of terms with the rest of him, I'm pretty sure it would have been agony for the SO to have done it. And while he tried to take the job away from me, I held out and made it my own. A shower never felt so good.

All in all, some good work. Sometimes toiling has its benefits, especially when you get to reap all of the rewards!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Letting go

Letting Go by Leslie Bricusse
Letting go. When the day comes that I must say goodbye to you, It's the last thing in life I'll ever want to do, I know it has to be, But it's so hard for me.
Letting go. Facing up to the truth that it is time to part. Giving way to the day that may well break my heart. It's not a thing I choose. To win, I have to lose.
Letting go. Moving on in my life into the time to come. Day by day. Page by page, sure of what I've become.
But then you always knew, that's what I had to do.
For I know, the only way to grow, is just by letting go...
Letting go. When the time comes I know I will return someday. But till then, this is when I have to find my way. It's a fact of life, though it isn't fair. There will always be all the love we share ...Still the hardest thing, is letting go... The hardest thing is letting go...
This is a song I sang my last year in grade school. To me, the melody is hauntingly beautiful and it epitomizes how I feel about relationships of any kind that come to an end. The only difference between the good and the bad ones is that hopefully we don't return to the bad ones.
Sometimes I lament my lost friends. People who I still love dearly and hardly ever see or fail to keep in touch with. I know we really haven't lost each other. When we reconnect it feels like we've always been together, but my time with them is precious and sparse. I also think about the people I have chosen to part ways with over my years. I'm not an old woman by any means, but this number is higher than I want it to be.Sometimes we both just changed and grew apart, other times it was something, a specific incident that occurred and now, now we barely - if ever - speak.

I have a hard time letting go of people. I want to believe in happily ever afters and in friendships that will always stand the tests of time. The truth is people change. People's lives change and time and energy are valuable resources for us all. We choose where to spend that energy and who to share our time with. We prioritize and, cold as it sounds, cuts must be made.

When I choose to workout in my scheduled time slot instead of meeting someone for lunch (psshh, like I ever go out for lunch, but let's pretend) that is me prioritizing. Choices are hard. It's easier to give in, to stay in a bad relationship with others and yourself. When I choose to disconnect myself from someone who is purely a negative influence on my life, that is me prioritizing. I choose my health, mental and physical, because if I don't do it for myself, other people won't necessarily intercede on my behalf. I need love and family and friends, but I don't need interlopers and instigators who have nothing but their own gain on their mind. 

Hopefully some of those people that don't fit in our lives (or in whose lives we no longer fit) do come back around. We reconnect, sing songs of merriment and joy and give each other big big hugs. It's always my hope.

Friday, September 3, 2010

My life in an ink drawing

It's taken me a long time to figure out my life. To realize that sometimes starting slow and steady was better for me than to be gung ho and burn myself out. My whole life has pretty much been slow and steady. I was grumpy through a lot of it, but when I found my cup of coffee, life definitely got a little better and I became a little happier. Yes, I'm talking in metaphors (coffee being exercise and a healthy lifestyle) and the fun that goes with it.
It took me quite some time to realize that being healthy was more than getting my waistline in check. It means checking with myself and knowing that emotionally I'm doing okay and spiritually my life is where it needs to be. I can work out and eat right, but that's only part of what makes a body whole.

This is a permanent ink drawing I have done on my left wrist. Aka, a tattoo :D

It's a Celtic sign that stands for the spiritual, the mental and the physical. The circle connecting the three points stands for the circle of life / God's eternal grace.

I wanted this to be able to look at it permanently. I forget things. I lose focus on the big picture sometimes and all the daily grinds get to me. When I stop seeing the big picture, I also lose sight of myself in the big picture. I need that reminder to pull myself together. To realize that my life is different from the thousands and millions and BILLIONS of other people out there. There is not a cookie cutter way for me to live my life, it's just me and figuring it out. Figuring out what works for me, what doesn't work for me, and how fast or slow I need to take it. No one else can decide this for me, regardless of how hard they try to. The best they can do is support me, urge me on toward my goals. The rest is up to me.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Going au natural

Ooo la la. Can you only imagine? Okay, I'm not talking about a loss of clothing right now, I'm talking about trying to eat food without all the preservatives and additives and all that fun stuff. I know, it's hard, especially when that pre-packaged meal you can get it, stir it and let it go for twenty minutes, where if you're chopping and cutting and blending for twenty minutes and then baking or cooking for twenty more it's twice the effort and twice the time.

I'm not saying that all that packaged food is bad. I have a degree in English, not in chemistry or nutrition, so I wouldn't know if X is better than Y or vice versa. There are some packaged foods out there that aim to give you healthy food while meeting you budget needs, which is definitely a concern for me. Since with no kids and lots of time (hello, when you get off work at 1 p.m. you HAVE time!) cooking is hobby for me, I'm trying to go more natural with it all. My garden is there, calling my name, and I hate to waste what I have. The SO is on board, we both like fresh ingredients and he definitely doesn't mind when I spread my wings in the kitchen. So here goes more!

We already eat vegetables from the garden, and we definitely enjoy the steamed vegetables found at any grocery store, but my next jump is bread. I love bread, fresh-baked buns, loaves with a springy but dense crumb, oh my, my mouth is watering. I would love it if I can made the bread we need in this house. I love a good wheat bread. The SO likes white sandwich bread, and we both like a little something else. My goal, should I choose to accept it, and I do, is to make a kick-butt sandwich bread. I'll let you know how it goes when I get more flour in the house. I used it all making cinnamon bread last week and I've been too lazy to go out and get more.

I know that homemade bread won't necessarily be cheaper than buying it at a store. If I get all fancy-nancy and do gourmet bread, then yes, I'll probably be saving money considering a loaf of my bread is normally $3 at the store, but the SO's is only $1, if that, and that will be hard to beat. What I want to get away from are the preservatives and the other fun stuff that goes into that kind of bread. Will it be better for us? Who knows. Will I feel better about it? Maybe, but I'm not going to beat myself up if I have to go buy a loaf of bread because I really didn't feel like having a bread day that week. Life it what it is, and I'm doing the best with it! I'll let you know how it goes on the flip side!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Saving

When I started trying to lose weight I thought that was all it was going to be. I would lose weight and start to feel better about myself. I don't think I was ready for everything I would learn and do along the way. Treating myself the way I deserved to be treated was an eye opener. My life changed and I changed with it. My latest change is trying to be more frugal.

I'm turning into the coupon lady, and I think I like it. I look for deals, I look for ways to save money and time. I'm the person standing in front of you in line who has fifteen coupons and ten items. I rock like that.

I can't explain how my weight loss has played a part in this, other than saying when I got one part of my life under control, I started working on others. One way I wanted to change is by being better with money and if I can save thirty dollars (or more!) a month by taking the time to cut rectangles out of paper, so be it.

With my frugality on full display, I'm also trying to freeze and can and become quite the domestic. Last week before my vacation I canned diced tomatoes and fruit salsa. The weekend before that a friend from work and I canned tomato sauce and regular salsa. My garden has helped contribute to this and I'm eating more eggplant and fresh green beans than ever before. My wallet and waist both like this, and I will no longer boast about my black thumb.



I never knew I could get so much pleasure out of growing and eating my own produce. It's so tasty, so fresh and I know it's organic. My excitement for all things garden isn't really coming across, so let's just say I beam. Oh I beam! Btw, does anyone need any cucumbers?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sadness and its counterpart

I get sad sometimes. At least that's what I call it. Other people, those with the degrees and all that call it depression. My sadness comes whenever it wants. I can be having a fabulous week with nary a care in the world, but I'm in a haze. I could win the lottery and while I care, trust me, I care, there's a shadow hanging over the world and everything is heavier and darker and not as easy. This is my depression. I can still laugh, I definitely can still cry. I don't lose my feelings or my mind, but life is not what it's supposed to be.

Sometimes I wonder if I should get someone professional to talk to. If I could get a pill or a philosophy to make life what it's supposed to be, what it is for most people, I would say it's worth it if my life comes to a point where my joy isn't taken away by my sadness. For what is life in the end? My life? I want my life to matter. It may not change the world and I may not win a Nobel Prize, but my life will be full of joy and love and wonder. Sadness will not hinder my quest for a full life. We all deserve a life like that. Not one where we struggle emotionally to make it through the day. We deserve to laugh and cry and learn and love. We deserve life.

I'm lucky about the fact that my sadness comes and goes. I can feel it when it's here and then I make efforts to get more sleep, allow myself time to cry and feel and to work out. Seems silly, right? Through my studies on myself I know that lack of sleep will bring about a phase of sadness faster than almost anything else in my life. I also know that when I push my feelings away, I just end up feeling hollow and eating everything. On that same note, working out brings me a peace and happiness that keeps the sadness at bay longer and longer. For quite some time I've felt almost normal.

I talk about this now after a decent talk with some family members last weekend, but also because it's a part of who I am. These feelings were held down so long by chocolate chip cookies and cinnamon buns, and my refusal to acknowledge them played a part in my eating and in how I felt about myself for too long. To keep my depression at bay I let it out in the open. I let my friends help, let my family know, and keep myself accountable.

If the time ever comes where these things stop helping to keep my depression at bay, I know I need to talk to someone. It won't just be a breath in, breath out, keeping going this will pass kind of a week or month. I will not put my life on hold when I can do something to help it along. I have to take a pill and it will correct this chemical imbalance I have? Great. Bring it on. I need to see a therapist or talk to one on the phone? What's the number? Life is hard enough when we're trying to live it with joy. I will not give up that joy, give up what is so important to me to struggle through this on my own, not when there are so many resources out there for me to turn to.

Attempt at life

This vacation was much needed. Not that I'm worn to the bone at work, they work me hard, but I enjoy what I do. But everyone needs a break from the routine. Work, wonderful as it may be, can wear on a person. So I started my vacation with what, more work! I canned, I baked, I made freezer dinners and oh my, I was tired. More on all the domestic activity at a later date!

This past week I got to enjoy some downtime with my family in Okoboji. Oh my was it lovely. We ate, played games, boated, and I even attempted to water ski. How blessed am I that I got to see so many friendly faces and laugh so hard.

So this was my attempt at water skiing ...

Oh goodness I failed. I definitely failed! I was "up" for about two seconds at least three times and after that, oooo, lake water. Lake water sure fills a girl up! At the end I was getting slightly frustrating because I felt so close to being able to do it! I'm not a huge fan of failure, I doubt anyone really is, and I so wanted to feel the water skimming under my skis while I held on for dear life. Alas, it was not to be.

As I came out of the water into the boat after my sixth or seventh attempt I was expressing my frustration. My mom took a moment and said to me, "You know Jess, last year you wouldn't have even tried this, and now you're out there!" (Okay, it's not verbatim, but it's definitely what she was saying!) Her point was to look at how my life has changed in a little over one year.

The day I decided to stop using food as a crutch this was in store for me. The day I put my health first in my life, this was waiting. The day I stepping out onto the road in a old pair of sneakers to try running for the first time, this, and SO much more was out there. My journey concentrates on the scale and how much clothes fit and all that other stuff that you think about while actively trying to lose weight, but that isn't the point.

I'm doing this to make my life better and to live with more joy. I wanted my life back. I didn't want to tell myself 'no, you can't do that activity, you're too fat and you'll get laughed at' when I really wanted to say 'yes,' even if I failed. I didn't want to sit on the sidelines anymore when life was calling to me again and again to get in the game. I wasn't going to sit there any longer and see others memories played out. I was going to make my own attempt at life. Pass, fail or somewhere in between, now I'm out there. And I am so full of joy.