Thursday, April 30, 2015

Impromptu Date Day!

Yesterday morning, Marc called and asked if I could take a half day from work to go watch the new Avengers movie--he's the Operations Manager at a theater and was able to set it up so we could watch it. They're doing a midnight showing for the employees tonight, but I just can't do that anymore, and they're not allowed to use employee passes for the movie for 2 weeks. So a half day it was! FYI, the movie was AWESOME and there's an extra scene midway through the credits, but there's nothing at the very end of the credits--so you don't have to sit around for 5 minutes waiting to see if there's something at the end!

It was a gorgeous day outside, and after the movie we walked around the Quarter for a bit.

There was a skywriter writing messages around the city like "Believe," "Hope," "Live," "Coexist," "Faith," "Pray," and smiley faces. "Live" floated by shortly after I took this picture.

I didn't see the actual writing, I just happened to look up
and see the word. 
We walked from the theater down to Jackson Square, around the square, and then back to the theater because we did have to return to our real life and pick up the kids from daycare :) It was a great day! 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Saturday Weigh-In + Struggles

Saturday's weigh-in was disappointing--up 2.4! I know I was on track all week, but I'd been *ahem* constipated since Tuesday, so I'm sure that had a little to do with it. (In case you're wondering, all the prune juice and laxatives I'd taken Friday and Saturday finally took effect on Sunday. Sweet relief.)

My husband's parents came in town for a quick visit (they live in Texas) over the weekend, so we pretty much ate our way through New Orleans. We had dinner at Mid-City Pizza (obvious), lunch at Ba Chi Canteen (Vietnamese), and dinner at The Galley (seafood). I actually did NOT blow all my points while they were here, so I was pretty happy about that.

I went to T@rget Sunday evening to pick up a few groceries, and saw that they had Ben & Jerry's Peanut Butter World in stock. I've never tried it, but it sounded delicious. My weakness is anything peanut butter and chocolate, and well, this just sounded amazing:

Unfortunately, it tasted just as good as I'd hoped and I pretty much ate the whole thing. I had the points for it, so I counted it and moved on. 

Yesterday had me in a funk after work, and I binged for the first time in several months--pita chips, 6 mini frosted sugar cookies, 2.5 servings of potato chips, and french onion dip. I'm 21 points in the hole for the week now, but I should be able to make up most of that in activity this week (too bad I didn't exercise yesterday or today). I was being pretty hard on myself about the whole thing, but I stopped and although I still regret it, I'm moving on from it. It happened, it's done, and I can't change that--but I can move forward

Here's to improving the rest of the week!

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Mosquitos Suck... or, Running With Asthma

Hahaha. Ha. 

Get it? "Mosquitos Suck"? I crack myself up.

Yesterday I didn't run. Wednesday's my early day at work, and although I did set a super-early alarm (4:30!), I opted to continue sleeping instead. When I plugged in my ActiveLink before bed, I'd only reached 50% of my activity goal for the day--that's pretty sad, lol. My current goal is 3 activity points (AP's) per day, so it's not even that much. Just goes to show how sedentary my job is. I really need to make a more concerted effort to be more active on the days I don't run.

This morning, I was all set to go for my run; when I picked up my Garmin, it was dead again! I'm going to start putting it up higher so kids can't get to it and unplug it. I popped it on the charger for about 15 minutes and got it to 20% and left for my run. After about 4 blocks (my warm up period), I realized I forgot to use my inhaler before I left--aaaaaaaaaaaarghghghgslkgho!

Since I'd already left so late, and I was already 4 blocks out, I decided to run just one 9-minute interval and then head home. Well, I made it 4.5 minutes before slowing to a walk, and then I just couldn't breathe. Ugh. I sat down to try to catch my breath and regulate my breathing, and during that 5-minutes, I think I got about 10 mosquito bites! It was ridiculously humid this morning, and those little bastards were out in full force. I finally caught my breath enough to attempt walking home, and I finally made it after going veeeeeery slowly and stopping a couple of times.

So, notes to self: It's never a good idea to attempt even a short run without hitting the inhaler first, and it's officially bug spray season in New Orleans. 

Oh! Tuesday night was a free concert at City Park with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra (LPO)--it was a gorgeous day, so we took the kids and packed a little picnic and walked to the park to listen to the music. It was absolutely perfect weather, not a trace of humidity. They played a lot of TV and movie theme songs--we heard a Star Trek-theme medley, Superman, Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, and a couple of others that I don't remember before we left. I managed to take this gorgeous picture as I was leaving (around 8pm).

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Kind of a big deal...

So, I ran half a mile this morning, 3 times, without stopping! I don't think I have ever done that. Not even when I played soccer in high school.

I think yesterday's funk was really just my body telling me I needed another rest day, because when I woke up this morning I felt so much better than when I woke up yesterday. I was still nervous about the run though because it was running in 8-minute intervals. My last run was 6-minute intervals and I kind of wanted to die by the end of it.

In any case, my run today was great! I ran super slow, but I ran nonetheless, and I hardly looked at my Garmin! I usually wind up checking it more frequently toward the end of each running interval because I can't wait to take a walk break, but I only checked it twice this morning. So, woohoo! I just might eventually run an entire mile with no breaks!

The final interval was 3 minutes running, then cool down. I always
try to push myself harder during that last little running portion.

Just Keepin' It Real

Monday was a strange, strange day. I woke up in a funk--I fully understand waking up on the wrong side of the bed now! I didn't go for my run, and had no desire to go to work for any length of time. 

So I didn't. 

I took a half day from work (if you can even call it that, since I most certainly did not get any actual work done) and hardly got off the couch the rest of the day. I had intentions of cleaning, preparing dinner... did none of that. Instead, ordered pizza and called it a day. 

And it was glorious.

My food log from yesterday. I also had a banana at breakfast,
and that's 1 with a 2 scratched out, not 12 slices of pizza :)

Monday, April 20, 2015

Dealing with Weigh-In Disappointment

I was really looking forward to my weigh-in last Saturday--I assumed that since I maintained the previous Saturday, I would see a good loss this week. Silly me! I maintained again (well, up .2, probably due to getting soaked in the rain before the meeting)... I didn't use all of my weekly points and didn't touch any of my 24 activity points. (I do realize that I've upped my activity level quite a bit, and running is certainly building more muscle than just walking! Maintaining these last two weeks is evidence of my body getting stronger, not fatter!)

I know I shouldn't let the number on the scale affect me so much, but I was so bummed! For a split second, I thought, "What's the point?!?" I talked about it during the meeting, and I felt a lot better afterward. I <3 my leader and group! I reminded myself that I've lost at least 12 inches from my body, and that I feel stronger and healthier than I have in a long time. I even took the stairs up to my office on Friday! I never would have done that willingly before I started exercising. 

When I got up this morning to go run (8-minute intervals today!), I was so exhausted--mentally and physically. Today was the first time in 3 weeks I haven't been excited to go exercise. I went to put on my Garmin, and it was dead--completely, utterly dead. Sigh. I think one of my kids managed to unplug it, and since I don't turn off the GPS because I plug it in every day, it used up all the battery. I probably should have gone out and at least walked, but I didn't. Instead, I laid down on the couch until it was time to get ready for work. Oh well. I'm going to go for a walk today, and resume my running schedule tomorrow. I hate that I've missed a day now! Or maybe I'll go to the gym later and run on the treadmill there... I don't know if I'm ready to run in the bright light yet; that's part of the reason I enjoy running so early in the morning, not many people can see me huffing and puffing ;) 

I did take a look at my food journal, and I realized that I'm eating way way too much sugar on a daily basis. A frappuccino, a cookie, ice cream, a few bites of chocolate all in one day... and not nearly enough fruit/veggie servings. So this week I'm focusing more on balancing that out, and I will tell myself again and again (until I believe it) that I will focus on how I feel, and not let that pesky number define me! 

A look at my summary page from last week. ("PF" is Power Foods)

Friday, April 17, 2015

Fueling Before an AM Workout

Since I walk/run (I'm still uncomfortable really calling calling it a "run") first thing in the morning, I don't normally eat anything before I go--just drink some water and go! Since I've started running more and the humidity's increased, I've started trying to remember to eat a little something--right now that's 1/2 a Luna bar, because that's what was in the cabinet. I'll probably eat 1/2 a banana or some other fruit in the future.

Anyway, I've starting noticing a pretty significant difference in my performance on the days I forget to eat anything. Yesterday and today, I ran 6 min/walk 1 min x 4, plus 2 min running at the end. I was almost a full minute faster yesterday, which surprised me because I thought I'd run it faster today since my body was more used to it. However, this morning I didn't eat anything, and yesterday followed a rest day (unintended, I overslept). Plus I just felt super exhausted this morning. I can really see how it affected my performance! (The first and last intervals are warm up and cool down.)

If you work out early in the morning, do you eat something beforehand? What do you eat?

Thursday, April 16, 2015

My Story, Part 2

Welcome to My Story. Part 1 Part 3 Part 4
In January 2008, my mom died suddenly. I was 24 and had gotten married the previous August. To say that my world crumbled would be an understatement. My father was in a very serious accident just over a month later that would ultimately leave him in a rehab facility for 3 months, through June of that year. I was on a seemingly never-ending binge. I think I weighed about 245-250 at the time of my mom's death; by November 2008, I was 301 pounds, my highest weight ever. I started having to regularly use my asthma inhaler, and I was put on cholesterol medication.

301 pounds - that's about as happy as I ever looked during that time
Marc and I decided in September 2008 that we wanted to teach English in Korea--why Korea? They paid for your flight there and back, paid for your housing, relatively good salaries (depending on your school), and they only required a Bachelor's degree in any field. We also wanted to take some time to travel a bit before we had kids, got a mortgage, etc. I suppose the real reasons we wanted to go though were A) Marc was having difficulty finding a job with his shiny new Master's degree, B) I was really starting to feel burnt out at my job, and C) we both just needed to get away from the depressing year we'd had. Marc left for Korea that November, and I followed in February (stayed behind to finish paying out our lease).

At my Going Away Party
I think I probably lost 10-15 pounds within the first couple of months; walking everywhere and the change in diet certainly helped a lot! I didn't own a scale for a while, so I'm just guessing on that number. There was an incident probably my second month there; I was teaching adults, and one my students said to me, "Teacher, you are so fat. You need to stop eating hamburgers, and eat more rice."  I was so dumbfounded; I couldn't believe this 40-year-old woman just said that to my face! I did my best not to burst into tears, and responded with something like, "Well, I do enjoy the occasional hamburger, but they're not the reason I'm fat. I'm also sure that eating more rice isn't the answer."

When I relayed this story to another teacher, she helped me understand that the student didn't say this intending to be rude or mean, but that she was concerned and Koreans are just very blunt and straightforward (something I came to appreciate during my time there). I think that was the first time I started to really see myself as "fat"; my entire life, I'd always carried my weight well and most people didn't think I weighed as much as I did. However, at this point I could no longer deny the angry red stretch marks on my belly, or my size 3X, 24W clothing.

Despite this, I still didn't really actively try to lose weight--which, honestly, was just fine with me. That summer, I started exercising--but again, not having scale make it difficult to really track any progress. That was probably one of the most freeing things, being without a scale for so long--I no longer was a slave to losing weight. I was just living.

Continue reading Part 3

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

The Simpler Life

My husband and I have moved many times over the course of our marriage (nearly 8 years), and each time we donate loads of stuff, and just trash a ton as well. Yet somehow, we still have a TON of stuff! Every time we move, I wonder, "Where did all of this stuff come from?!"

Well, we are now living in a 2 bedroom apartment, and we have stuff coming out of our ears. Every cabinet, drawer, and closet is packed to the gills, and I keep buying more plastic bins and drawers hoping to make it better, but it just doesn't. Instead, all I've managed to do is create more space for us to stash more stuff. Sigh. Having so much crap really makes everything more difficult; moving, cleaning, relaxing because I feel like I should be cleaning something... 

I went on Pinterest in search of a "declutter schedule" of sorts; I wanted one that was thorough, yet concise. I do not want this to be a six-month project! Finally, I found a 30-day schedule that's exactly what I was looking for, and it's cute too! 

I will say that I haven't followed the schedule exactly, and I certainly don't work on it every day or in the exact order; however, each time I declutter an area, I check it off the list and feel quite proud that I just managed to clean out a junk drawer ;) 

I went through the bathroom first, and I couldn't believe how much stuff I threw out. Who needs 3 trial bottles of the same shampoo from a hotel we stayed at 4 years ago??? Not us, obviously, OR IT WOULD HAVE BEEN USED. Please excuse the caps; it seemed necessary to illustrate my confoundedness. 

This past weekend, I overhauled my and my husband's closet and drawers, and removed 5 GIANT TRASH BAGS' WORTH OF CLOTHING. And our closet and drawers are still full! A lot of this is because we've both gained weight, lost weight, gained again, and are losing again, so we don't want to have to purchase new clothes every time we revisit a size; however, I'm pretty sure that the pair of pants I've been hanging on to for 8 years aren't even in style anymore, so, goodbye. 

I look forward to getting through the rest of the list and taking the first steps toward living a simpler life. I will keep you updated on our progress!

Because we're Star Wars nerds

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Becoming a Runner

Since my first few posts have focused more on my history, I thought I'd post about something more current. For the last 10 months, I've walked the same route from my house to City Park, around Big Lake (yep, that's the name), and back--it's about 2.1 miles. I've slowly started incorporating more running, but for a while I was doing it without any sort of plan and wasn't really getting anywhere. Now I'm doing Runner's World 8-Week Beginner's Program, and so far it hasn't been too difficult and I feel like I'm actually making progress. We'll see what the coming weeks bring!

If you knew me in my former life, you'd know that I loathed running. I mean, really sincerely absolutely detested it. When I played soccer in high school, I'd fake* asthma attacks during "conditioning" (in quotes because it was really just a euphemism for run 'til you puke). I took Aerobic Walking as my PE class during my senior year in high school--occasionally the coach would make us RUN up and down a block a couple of times... cue the fake* asthma problems (in my defense, this was supposed to be a walking class--running was not mentioned in the description!).

*I do have asthma, but I'd fake these attacks maybe 30 seconds into running. My asthma wasn't THAT bad. I do use my inhaler prior to any physical activity these days.

Anyway, I hadn't really run since then. I started reading some weight loss blogs, and I found that the people who started running were really inspiring to me. I guess because they were just like me. And I started to think, "Wouldn't it be awesome to run a 5K half marathon marathon one day?" So, I'd like to ultimately run a marathon one day... in the far, far, far future. Right now though, I'm just focusing on week 3 of my running plan, and being able to run a mile without stopping (I've never run a mile without walking!):D

I was out the door at 5:45am for my run--5 minutes running, 1 minute walking, 5x. Honestly, I don't run much faster than I walk (and some of you could probably walk faster than I run!), but speed isn't the point right now. Right now I'm just trying to build up my endurance. I seriously wanted to just walk a few times, especially during the last 2 intervals, but I didn't! I knew I'd be disappointed with myself if I did that.

This was actually my fastest to date! I've been getting a little bit faster each week; even though there's more running time each interval, I run slower as the intervals get longer. So I'm happy to see that my overall time is still improving :)

It's already ridiculously humid in the mornings here in New Orleans, so by the time I finished my run, I was SOAKED with sweat. I love sweating when I exercise--I think of it as all the fat melting off of my body.

I'm off to work on the blog some more--I'm hoping to get a Weight Loss Stats page up, and a Goals page by tonight. 

My Story, Part 1

Welcome to My Story. Part 2 Part 3 Part 4
It's hard to know where to begin... so I guess I'll just start from the beginning.

I've never been considered a skinny girl. My mom was fat. My dad was fat. All I knew was fat. I didn't know it was "fat", though, until I was older. I just thought it was normal. I remember when I was 5, my best friend's mom was pregnant--I recognized that she had a big belly, just like my mom, and later that day when I saw my mom I asked if she was pregnant, too. I didn't understand the hurt in her eyes at that moment, but she got very quiet and told me never to say anything like that again.

Me with my best friend; we were probably 4 or 5
I was in 3rd grade when I first became aware of being "bigger". I was 5 feet tall and 115 pounds. My doctor told my mom I needed to lose weight. I'm not sure that she changed anything in my diet or that she took him seriously, but I joined the basketball team that year. At my next appointment I was 104 pounds. The doctor seemed pleased, and I was too. I sprained my ankle that year and a male teacher carried me out of the gym to the lunchroom; I was surprised that he could carry me. I was "fat," after all.

I remember always being aware of weight. We'd drive an hour to my mom's "diet doctor" and get her "water pills". There was this fad diet, and that fad diet... nothing ever worked.

I was in 4th grade the first time I was called fat. There were 2 sisters, twins, in my class who each weighed 47 and 48 pounds, respectively (I know this because we were weighed and measured in front of the whole class). I don't remember a lot of specifics, but I know that I cried a lot that year. I would get home from school and get to the top of the stairs and just collapse and cry. The final straw was at the end of the year, when the twins' mom was (supposedly) going to rent a limo to pick up all the girls in the class (there were maybe 8 of us). My "best friend" told me that one of the girls (the meaner of the two) told her that I couldn't go because I was too fat to ride in the limo. I told this to my mom, and she had some choice words. She was more upset with my friend for telling me that--she called her a shit-starter and called her mom.

When I think of us as a "fat family," this is the picture that comes to mind. It was 1995,
I was in 5th grade, and I'm surprised that swing didn't break under our roughly 700 pounds.
I'm sharing these things because it's important to understand that there has never been a time when I haven't been at least aware of my weight. I haven't always been embarrassed or ashamed of it, but I've always been aware. I stayed a size 14-16 throughout middle and high school.

In 2004, the summer before my junior year of college, I took diet pills (Phentermine). I dropped 20 pounds in a couple of months, eating Ben & Jerry's Phish Food ice cream and french fries from Al's Late Night diner--oh, and my trusty blue and white-speckled pill every morning. Everyone told me how great I looked. I hadn't even realized how much weight I'd lost. I was 5'9" and about 175 pounds, a size 12-14--pretty normal. For the first time in my life, I actually felt like I was worthy of being described as hot. I decided to see how I did without the pills. I think I gained back all 20 plus some by the time I woke up the next day (at least, that's how it seems when I remember it).

This was my favorite picture for a long time because I felt so skinny;
see the strip of skin showing? Now I realize I wasn't happy at all, and
only saw my worth in what other people thought of me.
I tried all kinds of things over the years, and the only thing that I was certain of was that I'd feel worse at the end of each weight loss "attempt" and be heavier that I was when I started.

Continue Reading in Part 2

Monday, April 13, 2015

On Vulnerability

I'm ready to share. 

I wrote the first two entries on this blog back in September, and haven't written since. I made the blog private because I wasn't ready to be so vulnerable, but I'm ready now. 

vul·ner·a·ble: susceptible to physical or emotional attack or harm.

Something I learned in therapy is that people who allow themselves to be vulnerable tend to be happier than those who do not; I now see the truth in that statement. I always considered myself to be an open book, completely open and honest with people, but that isn't true at all. 

I was only that way as long as it didn't go too deep. I love Summer! Ever After is my favorite movie! I hate iced tea! 

Always keeping people at arm's length.

Yup, vulnerability at its finest.

Well, I've learned the true meaning of vulnerability. Therapy forces it out of you... a nudge here, a gentle push there... until you're realizing things and saying things that you never even knew you felt. 

My father was a binge-eater; I know he was always fat, and I know my mom always found candy bar and vending machine food wrappers in his car. I never thought this was strange; I just assumed he didn't want her to bug him about his poor food choices. Now, in my 31-year-old wiseness, I recognize the evidence of his binges. At eight years old, I remember my mother and I sharing a half-gallon of ice cream as if it were a pint--what, you mean people don't do that? Huh... well, we did. I never stood a chance.