Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Yeah, I'm fat. What are you going to do about it?

I am a runner.  This is my new Mantra.

I joined the Exercise for Pink Community on facebook, and I found such an inspirational blog, Hey, fat girl,  as I scrolled through the posts.  If you have ever spoken to me about group exercise, I hate it.  I don't want to be seen.  I did not run through town because I just knew I would be laughed at.  My solution was to run on the river trail that is in town.  I started this about a year ago.  It was not easy and I was very embarrassed about my body and my lack of fitness.  I kept my head down.  It was away from traffic, but it was crowded with fit runners and bicyclists.  I looked up one day, and I noticed everyone would smile and say "Hello," or "Good morning."  My only thought was, Why are they not laughing at me?  I am fat and I jiggle when I run.  I'm the punchline in some awful joke.  As the case usually is, I was my worst enemy.  

Soon the weather started changing and it was too dark and dangerous to run on the river trail, so I began running on a walking track at a local park which happened to be just about 3 miles around.  My first day, I was amazed at the different shapes and sizes that were on that track.  They became my community.  I saw each of them as an inspiring piece of my life's puzzle. 

The weather continued to change, and one evening after a very intense run, my calves had me near tears from the cramps that they were feeling.  I can only imagine that this had more to do with the sudden cold that had hit town than with the "intensity" of my run.  My community had been abandoned for winter by everyone.  Including me. I didn't run often anymore, just on the weekends when I could make it during daylight.  It was lonely.

Then for Christmas, my biggest fear and at the same time, my biggest wish came true.  My sister, (we are not very touchy feely with each other, so I am tearing up here) who although doesn't share her emotions, shows them through her actions, gave me a membership to a gym.  I had been putting it off due to finances, especially when I could run for free at a park.  I also have somewhat of a social anxiety.  I don't like crowds.  I don't like to be the one who stands out.  I don't talk to strangers unless they talk to me.  I especially do not like others to see me exerting myself.  They'll only laugh at you.  

I was laughed at a lot as a kid.  I was a heavy kid who had ugly scars from automobile accidents.  I was laughed at by classmates, by friends, I think it hurt most when family laughed at me.  I brushed it off, but really I was laughed at enough that I don't like to share anything that I feel is important to me because I think I'll get laughed at if they think it's silly. I didn't even ask my parents to come to my sporting events.  I didn't feel worthy of their presence because I wasn't any good anyhow.  My parents never laughed at me.  The let me reach for my goals, no matter how silly they were.  Goals like running a 5K.  My mom has been there for me every step of the way.  Whenever I reach a new goal or break a personal record, I call her first and she always pretends to be as excited as I am.  

Late last week I finished the Zen Labs 5K app.  This training app gets you from the couch to a 5K in 9 weeks.  Admittedly, I didn't complete 5K, and it didn't take me 9 weeks.  It took more like 15 or 16 weeks.  The apps starts you with running and walking intervals and then takes you to a full 30 minute run at week 9.  I cannot run 5K in 30 minutes.  I have run 2.25 miles in the 30 minutes (not too far off).  

Initially, I had decided that when I completed 30 minutes of running, I would be finished with the program, but that is not the case.  How can I stop now?  I have not completed 5K.  NO!  I will continue.  I began the 10K program last Friday.  I don't expect to run 10 K in an hour.  I plan on using the program to get me to the 5K (regardless of the time it takes).  I started the program at day one in hopes of increasing my speed over time and my stamina.  I just completed week 1.  This is a 14 week program (realistically giving myself 20 weeks).  By the end of week 14 I should be running two 30 minute sets with a minute rest in between.  Eventually, that minute will be eliminated. 
Go ahead, call me Fat Girl, go ahead, laugh at me.  I will hide no longer!  If you don't like my jiggle, look the other way.  My goals may seem silly to you, but I take them very seriously.  I am the fat girl that will not leave the spinning class no matter how much she wants to.  I am the fat girl who kick Zumba's ass.  

I am a runner.  That's what I am.

*All pictures were taken off of the Exercise for Pink Community facebook page.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My first D was in PE

During my freshman year in high school, my PE teacher was also the track coach, and I had been friends with her daughter for at least five years.  Track and field was the one sport that I participated in annually without fail.  This does not mean that I was runner in any real sense of the word.  I threw.  I threw the discus, the shot put, and tantrums whenever I had to run.  If you had predicted that, nearly 20 years in the future, I would run without being forced to, the ensuing laughter would have been overwhelming.

So, when our assignment was to run a mile, I thought maybe Coach would have some compassion.  Coach posted the scoring rubric on her office window a number of days before the big run.  My stomach was in knots over it. My report card always consisted of A's and B's.  The lump grew in size as I gazed at the overwhelming information (this is not exact, but it is the best of my recollection; I definitely remember what earned me a D):
A   Up to 7:59
B   8:00-9:59
C   10:00-11:59
D   12:00-13:59
F   14:00 and above

This rubric was NOT compassionate.  It did not take into consideration fitness level and running experience.  What about effort?
I swore that I would run the mile without stopping, no matter how much my thunder thighs and burning lungs protested it.  Coach would be proud that I didn't give in and stop, and she would reward me merit points. 

I remember the big day so vividly.  Some of the track stars lapped me two, maybe three times!  My life would end before I finished the mile.  A stabbing pain tortured my side, the atmosphere lacked oxygen, and I was on the verge of crying, no sobbing.  My feet moved beneath me, but it felt as if I was going nowhere.  I recall some the girls walking and gossiping the entire mile.  How could they not care that they would fail this assignment?  What seemed like an eternity later, somewhere between 13 and 14 minutes, I completed the mile.  I recall Coach saying something to the effect of "You put in a great effort, you didn't even stop once!"  I'm not sure if I responded, but all I could think is how much I loathed her in that moment.  For the record, during a workout I hate anyone who makes me sweat.  My sister experienced it first-hand last summer as she gave me a personal training session.
In the end, she did not take pity on me and I received a D for the mile run.  My heart shattered.  How could I put so much effort (every last ounce of effort) into something, and still fail so miserably?  She had even acknowledged my hard work! It was at this time that I made up my mind that I would NEVER be a runner.  And I wasn’t.

Not until this year.  Eighteen years later, I decided to give running a chance.  I am NOT a GOOD runner, yet, but I am a runner (or a jogger if you want to be specific).  I have completed not just one, but two miles without stopping.  I would still earn a D, but not an incomplete. 
My current goal is to run 5K without stopping.  It has taken more time than the c25k program prescribes for several reasons.  First, life and death has gotten in the way.  Second, if I attempt a day, such as a 28 minute run, and only am able to run it partially while walking the rest, I repeat the day until I can complete it.   Of course, there are also some days where I am lazy and just don’t make it to the gym. 

To be straight forward, when I started the program, I did not believe that I would be even minimally successful.  I did not believe that I could complete the third week, much less the eighth.  Two minutes of running alternating with 90 seconds of walking felt like I would be falling directly into my coffin.  I never actually expected to ever be able to run a mile again (especially over and over again).  Now, I have one more 28 minute run left and then I will complete the training with 30 minutes nonstop. 
One day, I will complete 5K in 30 minutes, because: I AM A RUNNER. 

Friday, June 1, 2012

55184 calories burned!

Annual state testing and the end of the school year left little time for posting and working out.  May was not a good month for the gym.  I will be more focused and going to the gym at least three times a week this summer.

I sat down today and calculated the calories that I have burned since I started working out last year.  Cardio Trainer is in the early stages of development and in the shuffle of new phones, some of my data is in limbo.  They promise that it will all eventually be restored. In all I have burned roughtly 55,184 calories (roughly about 16 lbs.).  Although I have not lost any more weight, I have not gained those 16 lbs either.  My intent isn't weight loss, but it would be nice, so tomorrow I will be starting a trial of Visalues in hopes of having better calorie control.

Last Saturday, some coworkers and I ran another mud race, Dirty 6 at Old Tucson Studios.  I felt funny being passed by 7 and 8 year olds (seriously), but we did not finish last, and we DID finished.  We were around 143 out of about 214 women, about 70 men came in after we did.  This was a 5K with some (lame) obstacles.  Most of the obstacles were simply piles of dirt.  Only two or three were worthy of being called mud run worthy.  You can see some awesome pictures taken by Zazoosh, the same ones who took pictures at the Kiss Me Dirty event.  I hope to run more "fun" events before trying a real 5K.  Eventually I may have anough bibs to make a race bib quilt with the snazzy sewing machine I got for Christmas.

I have reached and surpassed several personal records.  Today, I was able to run 25 minutes nonstop and a distance of 1.75 miles, beating my previous personal record by .2 miles and 3 minutes.  I had attempted this two days ago, but failed miserably, only running 15 minutes.  It was the start of week 7 in the C25K program, so for me, today counts as day one of week 7.  Two more 25 minute days, and then we bump it up to 28. 

All in all it has been a very busy couple of months and it's time to make myself a priority again.  My life has been as scattered as this post.  Hopefully the next one will be sooner and more cohesive. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

I'm Supergirl?...Maybe not; the rise and fall of an ambitious goal (and an unrealted tragic loss).

celebrating after one of the obstacles...we nearly lost our shoes,
but a lady did lose her phone in some very thick mud.
Last week was a very long week for many reasons.  The week just before last I began the final preparations for kiss me dirty, my first of many mud runs to come.  It was a fun and ambitious goal.  I fiured I could run half of it.  Well, color me stunned.  The Arizona sun was BLAZING.  I had not been out for a run in full sun before.  None the less, it was loads of fun. 

I thought I was Supergirl, and then I learned I wasn't.

There were definitely a few obstacles I was not so sure of.  But, this was something that I had challenged myself with and I would finish, even if at a brisk walk.
I have a terrible fear of falling.  This was a challenge.

Thankfully, my gym partner kept me company the whole way.  We are both on a journey to get healthier and she has been one of my rocks.  In the top pictures, she second to the left of those standing up. 

My partner in crime and I finished about 5 minutes after the rest of the team. 
Not bad, considering how fit they all are.

We finished the race, which really isn't a race since times weren't kept.  The race was a slap in the face.  I ran maybe half of a mile.  but I completed the obstacles.  The end result:  A sunburn, some gnarly bruises, a ding in my confidence, a little bit of pride, a free hand towel, beer and T-shirt (when I say free, I mean $50, since that is what the registration cost).  Let's not forget a couple of very sore shins.
The back of my knee got a little banged up.

I am looking into another mud run, Dirty 6.  My biggest fear is starting first and coming in last, but what the heck who cares?

Two days later, our school week started.  This week we had parent teacher conferences, always a joy!  These weeks are always longer for me than most only because I work a second job.  I am a Teacher, but I also teach cake decorationg two nights a week.  The end result, on three out of 5 nights this work week, I left my house around 6am and returned home after 9pm. 

Sadly on the first late day of parent teacher conferences, one of the families at our school was involved in a serious car accident.  In the accident our school lost a student.  We were informed just 15 minutes before school was to start.  It was a very solemn couple of days.  The students and teachers held each other for comfort. 

Students wore pink on Friday in honor of our student who passed away.
Today, all the articles left at the memorial wall/tree will be delivered to her mom.

Today I will be taking the kids to the church the family attended which will be followed by a fundraiser to help the family.  On this note, I hope that you show your loved ones everyday how much they mean to you.  I came home that night and kissed my kids and told them how much I loved them, although it is impossilbe to explain how much I really do. 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A Three Point One Mile Goal that Feels Like a Million Miles Away

Yesterday I finished week 2 of 5K training.  The first week alternated one minute jogs (I averaged 5.2 mph) followed by 1.5 minute brisk walks (3.7 mph).  I kept thinking how easy it felt.  It was too easy.  I wished for a bigger challenge. 

I got that challenge in week two of training.  Jogging was bumped up to 1.5 minutes followed by 2 minutes of walking.  Prior to finding a training program I liked, I was simply jogging for 15 minutes or one mile, whichever came first.  I was doing this at a pace of 4.0-4.5 mph.  However, I assume that those who have run a 5 K know what they are doing and I am going to try their method. 

Week two was tough for two reasons.  Walking actually hurts my muscles more than the jog.  Jogging 5.2 mph for 1.5 minutes seemed far more difficult than for 1 minute.  The first workout of the week felt like it would kill me.  I hadn't felt so out of shape since my first week at the gym.  I monitored and adjusted.  I kept my walk at about a 3.6, but lowered my jog to a 4.6-4.7.  I was able to complete the week, but  not with a small dent in my confidence. 

This week, my routine will change slightly again.  I want to monitor how much I am actually moving in the 20 minutes of run/jog intervals.  Currently, I am traveling between 1.6 and 1.7 miles in 25 minutes, but in those 25 minutes, I have had a 5 minute warm up before the jogging begins. 

What keeps me going?  My book, my music on FIT radio, my determination.  I am reading a book called The Life of Pi.  In the book a couple of lines have really got me thinking when on the verge of giving up.  One of them states something along the lines of your worst enemy being doubt.  Once you doubt yourself, you allow yourself to be defeated.  Another has to do with determination and how some will give up in the face of death (this was how I was interpreting my run at the moment I read this line.  I was fighting a battle against a tiger) and others, no matter how hopeless the situation, will fight to the last minute.

While my fitness is definitely better than it has been in a very long time, maybe than ever, my body is not.  My weight loss has been halted for 3 months.  I have been stuck weight wise.  Some change is needed and I was considering trying  If you have tried it let me know.  I also have a friend in town who is a distributor of herbalife.  Each has it's downside.  First is based mostly on frozen meals.  I want to learn how to eat better fresh foods, not processed foods.  Herbalife is not fresh foods either, and the cost is inhibiting on a teacher salary.  I know I can overcome this hurdle. 

I think I am a fighter.  I was run over at the age of 11 and walked home.  The next year I was thrown out of a car that had been hit at a high rate of speed, I woke up on the asphalt and started to search for my dad.  My family is full of fighters.  My sister fought and won a battle against cancer as a teenager.  Two of my aunts bravely fought their cancer until the very end.  We are fighters and I will fight for the 5K. 

My reward?  Accomplishment.  Maybe a new pair of running shoes from The Running Shop.  HEALTH!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

C25K (Couch to 5K)

     While searching for a 5 K training program, I found this website:  Beyond Diet Community for healthy happy eating...the yogurt bites look Delicious!  I haven't signed up because it was not my targeted search for today, but I will definitely be looking more into it.  If you take time to watch the short video, you would see that they recommend that for a FLAT belly, you should NEVER eat artificial sweeteners, wheat bread, soy milk, fake butter,...and there was one more thing, I don't quite remember. 
     As I quickly skimmed the site, I noticed so many more helpful articles below the video.  If the service is free, I will most definitely be signing up.  Speaking of freebies, just yesterday, maybe the day before, there was link available to download a fee copy of a Paleo Diet book, click here, although it seems that they may have changed it to premier members only.  This diet is supposed to be based on the caveman days...honestly.  How many fat caveman have you heard of?  If you don't have a kindle, you can download the app for your computer or smart phone.  I will be reading this while jogging at the gym. 
     Finally, I did find a lot of 5K training websites.  I specifically chose to go withthe couch to 5K running program (C25K) because I know that they offer an app on my phone.  Hopefully, this will help me to stay motivated as I prepare for the kiss me dirty event in a couple of weeks.  Don't get me wrong, they specify that this is NOT a race and times are not kept, but in the long run, I hope to some day run a real 5K.  Baby steps though.  I never thought I would even run a mile and now I want to do 3.1! 
     Happy (Muddy) trails to you! 

Monday, March 5, 2012

Kiss Me Dirty!

     I have been contemplating doing some kind of a charity run/walk event.  I would really like to challenge myself and participate in the Susan Komen 3-Day, which begins November 9, and runs through the 11th.  It is a 60 mile walk!  Not sure who would like to join me, but it is in Phoenix, if enough people would be willing to join me, I'd say let's do it!  there is some fund raising involved.  Recently a former college classmate of mine posted that she would be participating in an event called Kiss Me Dirty.  It looked like fun, but was intimidated.  Just tonight however, a co-worker posted that she would be participating in the same event.  This sparked a conversation with a friend who was at the gym with me and we decided to join.  Thus...My first 5 K will be muddy...Kiss Me Dirty!
     It is a 5K that runs you through a muddy obstacle course.  Times are not recorded, as it is not a race, so it is not as intimidating as other similar events.  Another is a female only even.  I will be having fun in the mud and sun on March 24, 2012 at the Tucson fair grounds.  Come watch if you get a chance, or better yet, join and help raise some money for gynecological cancer research!
     On another note, I have been able to increase my running speed, but keep my running duration!  Up to 4.5 mph for 15 minutes.  I think next time, I will do 4.5 for 20.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

A Blast to the Past

     I updated my "about me section" and it took me to a place I did not expect.  When did this struggle begin?  From the stories that I have heard, I have always been a bit of a chunk.  I was born weighing 9 1/2 lbs.  I can only imagine my mother gazing at the little plastic crib in the hospital wondering how in the world she survived the birth of the "Grape Ape" as she has sometimes referred to me.  She has told the story so many times, and I enjoy hearing it each time.  She waited too long to go to the hospital, my dad insisting they go and her rebutting that it would be HOURS before it was really time.  He finally convinced her and I was born within the hour.
     Growing up, I was the heaviest of all my friends.  The only one who even came close to my size was my sister.  My friends consisted of neighbors, somehow all of us were nearly the same age and most of us wound up in the same grade.  Most of them were thin enough that you could see the bottom of the rib cage jut out slightly.  I remember looking at them and wondering why they were deformed.  It wasn't until many years later that I realized it was me who would be considered deformed.
     My first crush was a neighbor.  He was my age, but much smaller.  I remember being head over heels with him until around first grade.  Legend has it that at four  years old I would have him pinned against the fence giving him a piece of my mind (and I wonder where my daughter gets it from).  I also ran inside and demanded my mom make me a wedding dress because I was going to marry him.  Thus, the first of many heartbreaks would come to be.  At some point he told me he no longer loved me, that he loved my sister because he liked chubby girls.  Apparently I intended to fix the problem by eating everything in sight so that I could be chubbier than her.  Although I could go sit on a therapist couch and claim that this was the beginning of the end, I don't believe it.
     Unfortunately, it was the beginning of a youth filled with ridicule from all around.  What's the easiest insult to throw at a heavy person?  "You're fat!" or "Fatso" or "Pig".  I recently took a walk down memory lane and looked at my yearbooks.  In my fifth grade autograph book, one entry reads along the lines of "good luck finding a boyfriend...EVER!"  Since I am a fifth grade teacher, this pains me more for the girls in my class than for myself, although at the time, I remember it hurting so bad.  This is the first REAL painful memory that I have.  I was only 11 and already being attacked for not having a boyfriend.  Unfortunately, the pain was just beginning.  This was the first jab in a series of jabs, upper cuts and blows to my self esteem.
     Middle school is a cruel place, I'm sure it is cruel to everyone, but it is especially cruel if you are fat, do not wear brand names and come from a traditional Mexican background and everyone else around you, or at least it feels like everyone around you, is allowed to run free.  Being from a traditional Mexican family (my children and my nieces and nephews are the first generation born in the United States), I would be having a 15nera, but only if I lived by the rules.  I was not to wear make up.  No, not even play make up at home.  Nail polish, lipstick, boyfriends, heeled shoes, shaving and most painfully, dancing, were off limits.  Being a typical adolescent, not all were followed, though I THOUGHT I had done a good job sneaking behind my parents' back.  I'm not too sure now. 
     I had an advantage being the youngest child.  My parents had relaxed a little by the time I was going through this awkward stage.  My mom allowed me to wear natural color lipstick and nail polish starting my 13th birthday, although for as long as I lived at home, I could wear neither in red.  At age 12 I was in a serious car accident.  My very hairy legs required tape daily.  I was allowed to use Nair to get rid of the hair so it wouldn't be constantly yanked out (it was almost worth the accident not to have to look like Sasquatch any more, I was also one of the tallest in my age group).  In seventh grade, at age 13, I met and "dated" a 15 year old seventh grader (I know, I know).  I didn't even like him at first, I think I just said yes to being his girlfriend because who else was going to take me?  I took tickets at the door of school dances so that I could feel like I fit in.   
     None of this made me less fat.  Two memories have haunted me.  The first came in Spanish class.  one of my classmates asked, "How do you say fat in Spanish?"  The response was another student yelling out my name.  I hated them for it, I hated them for a very long time.  I was humiliated.  The second came at the end of 8th grade/the beginning of 9th.  I intended on playing volleyball and therefore needed a physical.  The doctor weighed me and I could not believe what I saw.  The number was so high.  I had never really weighed myself before.  I didn't tell anyone how I felt.  My mom went to work after my appointment.  I was heartbroken I was the Spanish word for fat.  I did not eat all day, but rather headed to the gym that my dad had built in our back yard.   It was equipped with a basketball outside for my sisters, a dance floor/aerobics floor inside for my mom and sister, weights and a punching bag for my dad, a nordictrack, a TV for exercise videos a stereo.  Notice that none of it was for me.  I was mostly an idle person. The only piece of exercise equipment I ever used was the swimming pool in our back yard.  In a swimming pool I am lighter than any skinny person on land, I can soar through the water like a bird on the wind.  I can dive to the bottom of the pool and be pushed up by the water because I am not dense enough.  I didn't think this way now, but that is where my memory takes me.  My aunt, who is like a second mother to us, came home to hear weeping and ran, trying to figure out the source.  I was the source, I was sobbing, while I willed those pounds away on the nordictrack.  She was so confused. 
     I tried to explain between sobs what had happened at the doctor's office.  Even thinking of it now brings me to tears.  It was a very dark moment in my life.  My weight was a source of me not knowing that my life was worth living.  I don't remember how, but my aunt convinced me to get off the machine and go inside.  She must have consoled me even though I felt inconsolable.  The rest of the summer is a blur.
     I tried out for and made the volleyball team.  I joined the track team at the end of the year.  I began to move.  My weight did not change. The summer after my freshman year though, something did change.  A boy noticed me.  A man really, though I use the term loosely.  He was 19 and I was 15.  I was not interested in him, but he asked my cousin about me.  He asked about ME,fat and all!  I was flattered, but not interested.  One day, without warning, he kissed me.  I didn't like it.  I didn't like him.  I was in a strange place.  My sister was battling cancer and I ran away from it.  I avoided her out of fear.  My family was having a prayer circle and I had mounted my getaway vehicle and pedaled my way to our summer sanctuary, the park.  He insisted on accompanying me for the ride home that night.  Not sure if he sensed my hesitation, but he did not kiss me again. 
     Somehow, I fell for him.  I didn't even know when it happened.  I spent the next two years feeling good about myself thanks to him.  That summer, that next school year, something happened.  I went from being the fat girl nobody noticed to being the curvy girl boys, that's right, boys with an s, noticed.  My confidence blew up into a mushroom cloud.  I was okay with being my size.  I looked GOOD!  Not everyone agreed, but I made peace with it.  The relationship ended two years after it started (it was never official, and many didn't even know about it).
     Just a few months later, a new relationship blossomed.  Not a boyfriend not a friend.  I don't know what we were, but we were on and off for 4 years.  Both of us too young to know what we really wanted.  By this time I had moved out of my parents house and started college.  College only increased my confidence.  There are so many different people and so many open minds in a University setting.  I didn't think that I would ever find "the one" though.  I didn't look like the  sorority sisters.  My hair was too dark, I was too tall and my body too round. 
     I was right, I did not find "the one" at the University, I found him at a restaurant.  I was 21, young, but I knew I wanted marriage and a family.  He was older and was ready to settle down too.  It only makes sense that food led me to my man!  From the first day we spoke he has loved me unconditionally, no matter my mood or my size.  In my time with him, I had grown, emotionally, mentally, and physically.  when he met me I was in a size 16, 13/14 if I was lucky.  At my heaviest, I have worn a 22.  Within our first year of marriage I gained 17lbs. during the first pregnancy lost all the weight right afterwards, only to gain it back and more, winding up heavier than when I was nine months pregnant.  Not having lost the weight, the same thing happened in the second pregnancy, only this time, I gained 15lbs.  In our 9 years of marriage I gained 44 pounds.  I started about a year ago to really evaluate the reasons and try to correct them. 
     It turns out that the beginning of the end is in my mouth.  More specifically it's on my tongue.  I LOVE flavor.  I begin to eat because I am hungry and eat myself into a painful drunken stupor because of the flavor.  I love tomato and garlic and salt and BREAD, oh the bread.  I have come to the conclusion that the reason I do not lose weight even when maniacally working out is because I eat what I like and I eat plenty of it.  When I constrict myself to one serving of the chosen meal, the weight melts off.  Give me food with no flavor or that I do not care for and I may become a skeleton.  And so, no, I will not deprive myself of delicious food (except for breads and rolls for Lent), but I will attempt to restrict myself to one serving.  I will continue to work out because I am meeting some pretty serious goals that were once unimaginable for me, even if I don't feel it has aided my weight goal.  Ironically, my goal weight, that which was recommended by a personal trainer, is the weight that first caused me so much pain. 
     And so I thrive not for perfection anymore, rather for health.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

One long mile for me, one small step towards my goal

On the day that I started this blog, I had run (jogged really) my first entire mile since freshman year in high school.  For those of you who are counting, it has been roughly 18 years.  I had never run more than 3 minutes without stopping since beginning my journey.  It is this mile that I ran on Monday, February 6th, 2012 that sparked the beginning of my blog.  It took 15 minutes, but to me those fifteen minutes made me feel like a had just run a marathon.  I followed up the treadmill mile with over 3 elliptical miles.

I was high on achievement.  This has been one of my major fitness goals.  Much to my disappointment, Tuesday was not so successful.  I'm sure I could have finished a mile, but I didn't push myself as much as I should have.  I jogged a half mile and then followed up with 22.5 minutes on the elliptical.

I told myself it was because I was tired from working my second job that doesn't allow me to arrive at the gym until almost 9:30.  That was an excuse, and excuses are not allowed.

Wednesday, I work the second job, but I would not accept excuses from myself.  I had done it once, I could do it again.  I committed to 30 minutes of my hardest workout.  I ran my mile .1 miles per hour faster than Monday.  it was just as hard as it had been on Monday, however, I knew I could do it because I had done it before.  I did not give up!  I finished it off with the remainder of the time on the elliptical. 

30 minutes isn't much, but its a push to my goals.  I will continue to push.  I have put approximately 162 running miles on my shoes not to mention the time I have spent in yoga, zumba and spinning classes, which do not show mileage.  I am keeping my heart rate at 80-90% of it's maximum for working out.  somewhere between 152 and 160 BPM. 

In total, since starting this journey I have burned about 36,000 calories, and maybe I have not lost much more weight, but that is equal to 12 lbs I did not gain!  That's something to cheer about.

Peace Love and Health

Monday, February 6, 2012

What is there to Lose and What is there to Gain?

Blog it is!  I have been debating this blog with myself for the last month or so.  I recently began a journey that was intended to help me lose weight, however, this journey has had many unexpected twists.  2011 was a very trying year.  I  believe that around this time this year, I was suffering from a pretty serious case of depression.  I have had a few times in my life where, in retrospect, I should have sought a therapist.  It's hard to admit.  I am a very closed person emotionally, and I pride myself on being strong.  Truth is, I put on a front, yet am very weak and vulnerable. 

At some point, my middle sister invited me to join her in Texas for a month during my summer break (I am a teacher).  I hesitantly agreed to three weeks.   It was nice to get away from my real life and for my kids to get to know their cousins.  Foolishly, I told her that I would join her when she went to work.  She used to teach fitness classes at the YMCA.  She informed me she no longer taught classes, but that I could join her when she worked out.  She held me to it.  Reluctantly, I tagged along, and she worked me out!  When I came back home, it was over.  I was not going to work out alone, without someone nagging me.

I continued my quest for weight loss simply by watching my diet, until one glorious October day.  Very early in the morning, I rubbed my eyes as I stared at the scale in awe.  A number i had not seen in six years stared back at me expectantly, it was as if it were screaming to me "What are you going to do about it?"  I was so excited, that I immediately put on my tennis shoes, merely a fashion accessory until that moment, and told my husband I was going for a run/walk.  Since then, my workouts and I have been evolving.  I started with a goal of 2 miles in 30 minutes.  It was hard.  Eventually I did it.  I couldn't even run a block without stopping, and then I couldn't do it again for the rest of the walk.

Eventually, I decided I needed a bigger challenge and began walking around a local park...nearly a 5K.  The thing about this park is that there is no way to cut across it.  The track I walked surrounds a golf course that is fenced in.  Once I was half way around, I had to complete the 3 miles.  I started at 48min.  My fastest time became 42 minutes.  I rewarded my hard work with real running shoes from a local running shop where "real" runners by their gear. I was evaluated by the employee and given several options for my stride/arch.  Unfortunately, real running shoes are not the cutest things in the world.  This time, function would have to prevail over fashion. 

I loved getting out, and I felt amazing each time I beat my best time, even if only by a fraction of a minute.  On the other hand, it was a little scary how dark it was by the time I was able to make it to the park after my husband came home.  Apparently my oldest sister shared the same feeling and expressed to my mom over the Thanksgiving break that it worried her that I ran alone at night. When my mom shared this with me, I responded by explaining that I felt like my entire life I looked for excuses not to move and the excuses are always abundant.  I was determined not to allow myself excuses.  I preach self discipline, commitment and responsibility in my classroom.  Why was I not holding myself to those same standards?

Then, a sudden turning point occurred in November.  I experienced excruciating cramping and pain in my calves after the first real cold weather run.  I wasn't so sure I could do this again.  I could scarcely walk and when I squatted down in search of relief, I was unable to get back up without holding on to something.  I was in tears and hyperventilating from the pain.  This could have ruined my motivation.  .

To me, the risks were worth it.  I felt healthier and the runs were becoming easier/quicker.  Best of all, the dark heavy clouds that had been hanging over my head since January had finally lifted.  The metaphorical rain had dissipated and I walked on sunshine.  The only thing holding me back now was the weather.  Fast forward to December.

December is always hectic.  It flew at me like a bat out of hell.  I didn't run much.  I was afraid this was the end of my new life.  Until December 25th.  I opened a gift from my sister, expecting the usual Lane Bryant gift card, because let's face it, I'm working out, but I'm still "plus sized" or big boned, call it what you want, I will call it "thick".  This is what a meter reader once told my cousin about me.  I sounded much less ugly than fat.  Since then, it is my favorite term to describe myself.  Instead, I opened what may be the most loving gift (please no offense to the other gift givers, I loved all of them, but this was just such a milestone for me) I have received from her, a membership to LA Fitness.  I must say it made me nervous.  I was afraid to disappoint her.  I feared she would regret it. 

Enter Yoga, Zumba,  and Spinning classes.  One of my biggest phobias has always been to work out in front of others.  I have LOVED the elliptical and feared the treadmill.  I have tried the stationary bike, not my favorite, and lifted some weight other than my own rear end.  I have not lost much more weight.  To date, I lost 10% of my starting weight (heaviest ever).  I have lost enough to weigh what I did after my son, but before my daughter. 

The blog is called Something to Lose, and a lot to Gain.  So what have I gained?  I have gained a confidence in myself that I have not had in 6 years.  Not necessarily in physical appearance, but in the ability to reach goals that I set for myself.  Mental clarity that was very clouded a year ago now allows  me to see the positive.  I'm amazed at how many people have said that I am always happy or that I have made their day or that they really needed a little time with me to cheer them up.  The funny thing is that I am not trying to cheer anyone up or going out of my way to make their day.  I am simply allowing what I feel inside to show outside.  I am not tooting my own horn so to speak, but this blog is supposed to help me be brutally honest and perfectly clear with myself and with anyone who chooses to read it.  I have been told that I seem to be in much better place.  I find myself smiling a lot more.  The gym is the therapist now, the treadmill my boot camp sergeant.  The elliptical is my psychologist, and the weight machines my Prozac.  With that, I have gained myself back, the person I enjoy being.  I no longer wonder who I am.  I will never be you or her or him. I am a work in progress.  I always have been, and I always will be.  I am happy to know that I can always strive to be a better me.  I am not comparing myself to anyone but the me I used to be.   

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