bookmark_borderFueling 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.)

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

bookmark_borderMy Story, Part 2

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.

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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).

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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.

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To be continued…

bookmark_borderThe 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!

bookmark_borderMy Story, Part One

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.

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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”. 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.

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).

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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.

To be continued….

 

bookmark_borderBecoming 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.

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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.

bookmark_borderOn 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.