Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Fighting demons

I get scared that I can't do this, that I will never finish this journey I have begin or meet the goals I have set out for myself. I fear that I'll become complacent, unchanging, unmoving and unmotivated. My biggest fear is that I'll let down myself, and everyone else who has given me so much support through the loss of my first 25 lbs.

When I start packing my gym bag in the morning thoughts sometimes creeps in my head. 'Why bother?' a voice says, 'you'll never finish. You'll never be great. You'll never be movie-star thin, so why even bother.' I find my shoes and zip them in the bottom. 'Those things will never carry you through a finish line.' I grab my pants, a sports bra. 'Those are XL and L. If you can't be smaller what makes you think you can do this?' My shirt lays on top. 'All your flab shows when you wear that one. You think you're running, but everyone is just laughing at you.' I fill up my water bottle and screw the lid on before tossing it in. 'You sweat so much that you should get two of those. It's disgusting, seeing the drips, smelling your stench.' I grab the gym bag and my purse, and head out to the car.
I take a breath of the cool morning air as I step out the door and treasure the silence around me.

Some mornings are harder than others. Some mornings I want to forget the gym bag. Then I have an excuse to come home instead of going to the gym that day. Then I have an excuse to stay home when it's so cold and windy outside. So after packing, I place the bag right on my purse. I can't forget my purse, so I can't forget my bag.

Some mornings are silent. Packing takes seconds and I'm out the door, on the go. I fling the bag over my shoulder like there's no weight at all in it and jump down the steps in exuberance. These mornings, obviously, are my favorite. There is no pep talk to give, no voices to dismiss. It's easy. Effortless.

It's not effortless for me to take a single step on this journey. Some may seem easier than others, but each one is step. A step backward, a step to the side, a step forward. They are all steps. Just like when I'm running. Each step is a step. Curving around a corner, leaning forward up a hill, take short strides on the way down, each is a step and each is important.

My demons, for now, are part of this journey. I may never conquer them, they may never disappear, but for now they are not dictating my life and they do not control my story. I decide if I will walk out that door with my gym back or without it. I decide if I will drive by the gym on my way home or stop and make myself healthier. I ultimately decide if chocolate or carrots will go in my body. This is my journey, and no voice in my head is going to tell me how it goes.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Have you lost weight?

It's the golden question for those who are trying to lose weight. The question is asked, you blush, your heart beats a little faster. You look down and smile the biggest smile your face can possibly muster and say 'Why, yes. Yes I have." The rest of your day is spent in euphoria as your mind replays the question, replays the look in the eyes of the asker and your heart once again leaps a little in joy.

That's the question I got asked yesterday and let me tell you, it was better than any chocolate could have tasted. It definitely was better than a lot of the sore muscles I've had losing some of this weight! The thing is, I was feeling down on myself. Way down.

I'm in the Biggest Loser Challenge 12, right? Well, I lost weight over the last week, but barely any. 0.6 of a pounds. I know, it's still a loss. I'm glad I lost and didn't gain, I thought I might after starting this new workout program that's incorporating a LOT of strength training. I also know that I'm working at getting healthier and as long as I move toward that goal I should be happy. But I did so WELL last session in BLC 11. I lost pretty decent numbers. Almost at least a pound every week. I wanted that back this week for our first weigh in.

So when my co-worker said that, it made my day. Mostly because I know I've been pretty good about staying in my calories and I'm literally working my butt off. But since that scale hadn't shown it that morning, when my co-worker said it I about lost my socks with happiness.

Then I started talking about Sparkpeople.com. Oh my, when you ask me about my weight loss or my eating, I'll go off. Be careful. I'll talk you ear off because I get really excited about how all this is changing my life. I'll tell you about my calorie counter and how much I weight and how much I've lost so far (breathe) and about how much I want to lose yet and how the BLC ladies on my team are so awesome and how my sister joined too (breathe) and how excited that makes me and that our lives are getting better and healthier and I think that it's amazing that this Web site is totally free and (breathe) there's a new book out that's really cool and I ordered it and love it and am thinking about giving one to my mom and other sister (breathe) and yeah, I should get back to work, have a good day!

I laughed at myself out loud after talking that lady's ear off but she just laughed and said she wouldn't have said it if she didn't want to know. She just thought I looked good and wanted to tell me. She gets me. And my new obsession with losing weight. She's cool like that.

So I loved it. The scale disappointed me, but I forgot to evaluate the other areas of my life. In one week my clothes are fitting a little looser. I feel stronger. Yesterday I could do more pushups in my class than I did only the Friday before. This class is good, I'm feeling good, and that number? It's just a number. The reason I'm doing this is to better my quality of life and if that's not my priority I tend to lose focus. I get disappointed by that stupid number. I will continue to weigh myself, because in the end, when I see 179 again instead of 181, I know I'll cry a little out of happiness. When I see 169 instead of 170, the same thing will happen. That number helps evaluate too, I guess. But if you want to make my day? If you want to see the biggest smile spread across my face? Just ask, "Have you lost weight?"

Friday, January 15, 2010


In. Out. In. Out. In. Out.

My life is changing all around me. So many things have happened in the last week, month, year and decade. I tend to live in the moment. I love enjoying things as they come into my life and then, when they are gone, I don't turn to think of them very often. I reminisce, I remember friends and events, but rarely.

I don't like living in the past, thinking what could have happened or what could have been. What's done is done. That doesn't mean you can't learn from it, but why live in the past?

I plan for my lunch, my dinner, a trip that may be taken or time with family, but I don't enjoy only thinking of what's coming up a week, month or year away. I don't have a five-year plan. I don't have a goal at work other than to be the best I can be at what I do. Things may happen because I work as I hard as I can at what I do and I would love to see future events come to fruition, but I don't spend my time dreaming of a future that's never set in stone.

I don't like living in the future. Tomorrow isn't here yet. Why put all my hopes and dreams in a tomorrow when tomorrow is always one day away?

I live in my now. I live in the moment, in the life that's created here. This doesn't mean that I can't see beyond this moment. I can see the past, I can see the future, I can plan for tomorrow or question yesterday. But why live in the past or the future and miss today? The world is so varied, so uncontrollable. I may plan a life with the person I love only to see them slip away due to cancer or disease. I may have loved someone in the past, but that doesn't mean they were my only and all and I should stop living because they are not part of my life anymore.

I savor my moments. I relish the touch of a hand, a hug or a smile. I delight in what I can accomplish today. I can run 3 miles. I can cook a lovely supper to make family smile. I can be lazy or eat right or change my world today. This moment, this decision will impact my life. An apple will make me feel so much better than cake. A kind word will make someone smile rather than someone frown. I may have not made decisions I am proud of yesterday, but I can change that today.

Each day is a new day. Each day is what I make if it, and in each day there are chances to succeed and chance to fail. If I succeeded yesterday that doesn't mean that the rest of my life will be a success. That doesn't mean that I can quit trying or quit moving ahead in life. If I failed yesterday that also doesn't mean that I am only a failure and that failure is the only thing in store for me. I reach out for today. Today is always new.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Hurting, but moving

Five minutes after I finished my first cross-fit extreme class I could feel the pain set in. Well, it was numbness, but I could tell it was masking the pain. I walked down the stairs to the locker room to change into my street clothes on wobbly legs, hanging onto the railing. A half hour later I felt slight burning in my quads as I walked down the stairs to the basement to do some laundry. That night, I was rolling a massager up and down my quads to relieve the tightness. The next day? That was not fun. The rest of me was sore, sure, but the squats, lunges, lunges, squats, and more squats? I could feel those with every step I took. When I got to work I had to use both arms to lower myself into my chair. That minute I knew I was in the right class.

I had been pushed to my "extreme." My body was adjusting, but it would get over it. That night I walked/jogged lightly while I watched the last hour of the biggest loser. Yesterday I got on the treadmill and switched between walking at a 10 percent incline and running at a 2 percent incline for an hour. Tonight I'll play volleyball. Friday? I'll be back at the class that makes me hurt. I feel better at this moment, sitting at my desk with still slightly sore quads than I have in over a month.

Only by pushing myself will my body get stronger. Only by going to the edge of my limits will I know what those limits are. If I never try, I will never grow and I if never try, I will never know. I've carried this around in me for years. I knew if I didn't push myself at schooling I would never succeed the way I wanted to. I knew if I didn't push myself in any of my activities they would not come to fruition the way I had planned. Why would exercise be any different?

I probably will not push myself to the extreme every day of my life in all the areas of my life, but I needed this call, this wake-up moment. I needed to grow. I needed to learn and I needed to hurt. Through this pain I have learned. I am better because of it today. I will be better tomorrow. Pain is not always bad.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Good morning.

I've got to say that this morning was rough. I know, for many people out there the morning is just starting. But I've been at work for half my day already!

Okay, normally I come to work at 5 a.m. This entails me getting up at 4:05 a.m. Don't ask, it just works for me that way. Now the big but - BUT since I've signed up for this workout class I have to leave work an hour earlier to make it there at the prescribed 12:05 p.m. I don't want to lose hours at work so I'm going into work an hour earlier on Monday and Wednesdays for the next two months. Sometimes Fridays if I think I will be able to leave the paper before our afternoon deadlines. Oy vay.

I am now drinking coffee. Since I don't normally drink coffee this may become a coping mechanism and thus I may become a coffee addict. Please forgive me for this. My sarcasm may also become a coping mechanism. My co-workers deal with this on a daily basis, you may have to as well.

Not really. Well, maybe really, but I'd like to think that I'll still be cheerful and honest and just myself. This is just one itsy-bitsy thing I'm giving up for 8 weeks, 16 days total, to get myself off my butt and moving toward better health. I think I can deal.

Don't derail yourself with your progress toward fitness. I'm not losing any sleep by getting up earlier two days a week. I may drink coffee for a little while, but that's a big maybe and could be only on Mondays, but think of where I'll be. I'll have had two weeks of getting my butt kicked into shape. I'll have more skills when it's time to work out on my own, and I'll have warmer weather to get back into running outside instead of on the treadmill. I'll also be healthier, feel better, and, my stomach fat willing, be able to fit into a sz. 12! This for 16 hours of my time. Yeah, I can deal.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Gearing up

I like to run. I like to lift weights, I like feeling myself sweat. What I don't like is getting my butt off the couch to do those things. So, I've joined the YWCA. I've also joined an extreme cross fit class they're offering. It starts right after I get off work, I'll be going two times a week AND I got a $15 dollar discount!

So I joined the Y - $35
Joined the class - $40
Got a discount - $-15
And I'm getting a jump start on my year - priceless.

Allegedly there's running, weight lifting, stair stepping, aerobics of other kinds and flexibility training. Two months of my time two days a week. I'm pretty sure I can do this. I'm kind of excited and I'm kind of nervous. The receptionist said the trainer really pushes people hard, so I'm excited about that. I'm excited about being in an environment that will push me while making sure I'm doing exercises correctly. I'm worried that I'll punk out. I'm worried I'll throw up, and I'm worried I'll look like a fool. But I'm ready.

I'm posting pictures of before (now) they're not pretty and they DON'T make me happy, but I'm interested to see how my body might change from this class. I'd also like to document a before and after for BLC 12 as well! Wish me luck!

Me, at 180 lbs. on January 9, 2010

Friday, January 8, 2010

Instead of eating I can ...

Watch TV :D
do situps
chase the cats
go on a walk
run up and down the stairs
do wall pushups
drink a glass of water
visit Sparkpeople.

When I head for the fridge I need to remember these things. I may not be hungry, I may just tired. I may be angry (but then I normally clean, I should be angry more often) or maybe I'm just bored. I need alternatives, I need to be able to tell myself that I don't need to eat.

If I say it three times out loud does it make it true?

I don't need to eat.
I don't need to eat.
I don't need to eat.

Well, except for surviving and living and all that, other than that, I don't need to eat.

That chocolate? It sure looks good, but I'm not hungry so I really don't need to eat it. That spaghetti, sure I might need to throw it away tomorrow, but I ate supper and I don't have more calories, so I really don't need to eat it.

Controlling my food intake is important. I don't have the time or desire to work out for eight hours a day. So my new mantra may be a question. Do I need it? If the answer is no, then I'm trying to walk on by.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Renewed energy

I love January. I don't like the cold so much, though the snow is gorgeous, but what I love most is the scent of hope in the air. People have resolutions, they have goals and they're working toward something. I find that if I don't have a goal I'm quick to falter and quicker to fall.

We had holiday stress and family time, good and bad, and there was food and laughter and arguments and tears of all kinds. Then, come January, people look at their lives. Sometimes out of habit and sometimes out of desperation (or anywhere in between) most find something they want to change.

At this time of the year I know most of us are working hard mentally and physically, many people will quit and never quite realize that they could have met that goal, they didn't have to give up. That is sad: Not realizing you can accomplish amazing things is definitely heartbreaking.

What is beautiful and worthy and wonderful about January is that people haven't gotten to that point yet. They still believe that they can do amazing things and change their lives. They're so right. That energy and that belief is catchy. It's like a fire running through people. You see someone striving for a dream and most of us want to strive for a dream too. I know, like I said, that many will quit only to wait another year to try again. But while the energy is here use it! The more fire we have racing between us the more likely we will keep motivated to change our lives.

January will come to an end soon enough, but keep the fire going.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Kicking myself to the curb

I need a break from me. My brain says "oh, I'm too tired to work out" or "but that chocolate looked way too good to pass up" well here's a message from my mouth and heart to my brain. Shut it.

This is my decision for getting healthy. My brain can participate when it comes to calculating calories and seeking out nutrients to fit my lifestyle, but when it comes to my health it needs to give it up. I know that sounds counter intuitive. I need to eat right and my brain can help me with that, but my brain is the problem. It's been programmed to eat whatever treats it can find. It's been able to rule the roost in terms of over indulgence and a sedentary lifestyle. My new lifestyle is not a choice, it is a necessity.

To live the life that I have planned, the life that is before me, I need to be healthy.

To go kayaking with the SO when spring comes around is a plan. To be able to do it so that the SO doesn't have to do all the work and so I can enjoy myself means I need to stay healthy and fit.

To go home and play soccer with my nephew and to wrestle with my niece I need to be able to move. I want to play with them, their smiles can light up a whole room. To do that, to play, to not get tired AND to give them a run for their money I need to be able to run, to swing and to laugh - sometimes all at the same time.

To make each day better for myself I want the energy and the perseverance to get through it, to not get home from work and lay on the couch because I don't have the energy to go out and do what I really want to do, running, gardening, making a great supper for the SO to come home to (his smile can light up a room, too!) and making my life all I want it to be.

So, as a final message to my brain, this is your final warning. Either get on board or get out of my way. Your negativity is not welcome here, but your help is always encouraged.

The reason for change

Some people don't understand why I want to lose weight. Well, for one thing, I'm overweight. That's a big reason right there. I'm smaller than some people, bigger than others, but for me, this weight is not a healthy weight. Yes the doctors told me that, yes the BMI tells me that, but my own body keeps telling me day after day that it's not good for me to be as heavy as I am.

My hips hurt because they have excess weight on them. My back aches at night and has spasm because of weak muscles. I get out of breath walking up one flight of stairs. This is my body's way of saying 'Enough is enough, get in shape already woman!'

This journey is not so that I can brag I'm a size 2 someday (Honestly, these hips weren't made to be a size 2) and this road to my reduction isn't so that the SO will love me more. He loves me just the way I am. This isn't for anyone else but me. I need to feel better. I need to be healthier and I need to be happier because I know I'm healthy.

The doctors can tell me whatever they want, but if I I'm not in this for me, it won't matter, it won't work and I won't be running my way toward health. The SO could tell me I'm fat and he doesn't want to be with me because I'm too heavy (don't worry, he never has and I know that's not the way he feels) but if I lose weight only for him, it will never stay off and it won't make me happy.

This change is for me. This change is for my betterment and it's because I need take a part of my life and say 'This is for me. I deserve this.' Because you know what? I do. I deserve my health. If I can't give that to myself it will never come because I'm the only one who can bring about this change.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The chance to change

On January 3 I will be 26.5 years old. I will be 25 pounds lighter than I was June 30, four days before my 26th birthday and the day I joined sparkpeople.com. I will have NOT gained the 5-10 pounds I have gained every year since I graduated from high school in 2001 and I will be six months away from my 27th birthday, the day I have set to meet my goal weight of 155 lbs.

I am overweight, but no longer obese. I am still heavy, but I no longer feel fat. I can't run 13.1 miles yet, but I aim to be there for the Des Moines half marathon THIS year.

I feel fitter. I feel healthier. I feel sexier. Most importantly, I feel happier.

Six months, that is all it has taken so far. I've gone at it slowly. I actually took about a month off and gained a few pounds back and now have taken them off again. Did it make me happy? no. Did it derail me? NO.

At the beginning of a new year people set resolutions for the next. They want to meet goals, they want to complete projects and they want to better themselves in some way. I think it's incredibly important to look at the last year while planning for the year ahead. You need to know where you've been and where you've come from to show you where you're going. You know where I've been but where I'm going, especially in 2010, is amazing.

I'm going to run a half marathon in Des Moines. I'm going to meet goal by my birthday. I'm going to 'Keep on swimming' in the wonderful words of Dory and my life is going to be better. Is it going to be better because I lost weight? Well, yes. I can't say it won't, but losing weight does not automatically qualify you for a better life. My life is going to BE better because it already IS better. I am getting healthy, one literal step at a time. I'm preparing my mind, body and spirit for a future. I am taking care of these three very important aspects of my life so my life will be better. I have changed my life. I didn't like where I was and so I set a new path out for myself.

I've met goals and I have made new goals, but you know what setting and meeting goals teaches us the most? That we do not have to be slaves to a way of life we do not enjoy and that does not better us. We can change. We can change our minds. We can change our eating habits, our exercise habits, our way of thinking and so many other things. In this new year and in this new decade remember that. We are capable of doing incredible amazing things. We only have to tap into one of our greatest resourses: Ourselves.

Listen to yourself today. What will ten minutes walking in place do for you every day? How will doing your best to incorporate more fruits and vegetables in your diet change your life? If you park your car at the end of the parking lot or take the stairs at work instead of the elevator, how many more steps can you work into your day? These simple changes can lead to a better life, a longer life and a happier you. So why not give yourself the chance to change?