An Extra Dose of Gratitude

Somehow my body knew I needed an extra pick-me-up today. I woke up and found out that I weigh…

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213!!!
Thank you, body. πŸ™‚
We went for a run today. We did 3.1 miles as a run then walked 1.6 with the kids. Now we are prepping for tofurkey and Brussels sprouts. Yummmm! Happy Thanksgiving!

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Thankful

Life is tricky right now. There is a huge list of things that are making me stop, paralyzed, and freeze in my life. I’m not writing, reading, running, playing… I’m just. Hardly present. In a whirlwind.
Work is hard right now. I won’t air my dirty laundry any more than to say I have a few unique situations at work right now that are causing me tremendous stress. I’m not sleeping more than 3-4 hours a night right now and the wee hours are spent pondering a million possibilities of how to solve the problems, reviewing the issues and, when I get bored of that, thinking about the atrocities that Christopher Columbus enacted to started the whole slave trade… I’m serious. That guy was terribly, horribly bad if this is all true.
Pardon me while I think on this some more and have panic attacks about it.
I’m joking, but every word is true. Panic attacks suck. So does depression. So does anxiety.
Perhaps I should try my happiness strategy…

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I have a lot to be thankful for.
1. Disneyland is looming in our very near future. I neeeeeeed some Disney magic about now. I’m thankful I get to go soon!
2. My husband keeps telling me stories about teachers and staff members from my daughter’s school who come up to him to talk about how wonderful, compassionate, patient and kind our daughter is.
3. My son is a good kid. He is always trying to be on his best behavior at school and knows, absolutely, what NOT to do. When he got his class picture, he was sure to show us which kids talk a lot. He let us know he doesn’t sit by those kids. I’m glad he knows that he can control his environment to make it the most educational one possible.
4. My husband is incredible and supportive. Each day as I have come home from work, claiming another tough day, sometimes even with tears, he lays down on the bed, invites my head on his shoulder and takes the time to let me process my day aloud to him. It’s incredibly healing for me and I only hope I offer the same compassion to him.
5. I’m grateful my family does not really know what hunger is.
6. I am healthier now than ever. I can move and play, I’m flexible and capable. My body is mine for the first time in my life and I love it.
7. I weigh 217 216. I never thought I would weigh less than 250 in my life, ever again. I’m glad I proved myself wrong because I taught myself that there are way more possibilities out there than I ever would have allowed. Possibility still exists. Dreams aren’t dead. I’m a walking cliche, I know, but it’s true.
8. While it’s difficult at times, I can’t think of a better job than teaching that is better suited for me. I love working with children, I love teaching, I love laughing, I love their youth…
9. I also love the breaks. At this point, with little kids, it is really nice to be at home together as a family, when I have time off too.
10. I was born into opportunity. Though mine is limited by finances, my situation is tremendously fortunate. While we, as a family, live just above the poverty level, I can’t imagine how more dough would improve our lives that much differently. We are clothed, fed, educated, have healthcare, a home, a yard and even get vacations. That’s a pretty privileged life.
11. I love technology. My iPad, phone, Nook and, now, my fitbit (more on that later) go everywhere with me. It’s somewhat embarrassing, the attachment I have to the devices, but it love the creative expression through writing that the iPad offers, the entertainment (and discretion) of the Nook, the world is accessible through my phone and my Fitbit tracks my every step and calorie burned. I love it ALL.
12. I love clothes and putting outfits together, so I am thankful that Old Navy and The Gap put out 30-40% off coupons out at this time of year like nobody’s business.
13. I love the holidays. I love eating good food, making good food, spoiling my kids and having excuses to laugh and hang out in our pajamas a lot. I love the holiday movies and stories, I love the Elf on the Shelf, reindeer and snow- I hope we get some snow this year! That would truly add some magic!
14. My mom and dad are wonderful, generous, loving people. They recently moved out of state to take care of my grandfather, so we miss them, but understand the good, compassionate work they are doing.
15. I’m thankful for running shoes. It turns out that different shoes really do make for a different run. At present, I love my neon pink Asics!
16. I am thankful for my website. People tell me they read it, and I love the feedback, but the best part is that I have a record of my progress. When I feel like things are going too slow, I look at it, see how far I have come and get back on the wagon! I find myself incredibly motivating! LOL!
17. I’m thankful for my coworkers. They are so supportive of me, so open to me, so kind to me. I appreciate their friendship and laughter tremendously… You may have realized I have no filter and will talk about almost anything to almost anyone, but they still accept me. πŸ™‚ I work with some pretty amazing people.
18. I’m thankful for my scales: the wii and my digital. While I loathe them sometimes when the numbers still, they are marvelous for showing my progress and they always point me in the right direction (that’s down, for now). Magnificent tools.
19. Love. I live for love. Love is the foundation of my life, my reason for living, for rising every morning and for committing to the job I have. Love is paramount. I love love.
20. Resilience is something I have always had until the past few years. Then I lost it. I crumbled at just about anything. Depression, anxiety and panic took over… It’s been a long climb out. This year, however, I’ve learned a little more resilience- through confidence. I’m learning to be a better advocate for myself. I learned to pick myself back up and keep kicking. I’ve practiced not taking things personally. It’s good.
21. Determination has been a driving force behind my body weightloss project. Determination is the active choice. It’s making a decision and sticking with it, even in the face of a more appealing alternative. I’m not sure why this has impacted me so much now, but this time I know that the power is within me. It’s not going to happen externally.
22. Motivation: I get tremendously motivated to exercise when I’m training, I want to work out and lose weight when I watch weightloss shows and I bask in compliments that make me just want to keep moving forward. That said, motivation is the passive version of determination- waiting for an external stimuli to propel you forward is great for part of the journey, but it won’t carry you all the way. You need to believe in and rely on yourself.
23. Intentional positivity is a phrase I invented a few years ago (based on a goal I made to be more like Mr. Rogers) when I was having a very cynical and negative time in my life. I decided to see things in a different light, to bring my happy, to distance myself from negative forces around me. It worked. My life is so much happier now and, even though I feel like a total cheese sometimes, I totally sound like Mr. Rogers (honestly, one of my heroes) in my head and aloud quite often.
24. I have a couple of old girlfriends who I just can’t seem to shake. I’ve tried, trust me, but they just keep caring about me and I about them, in return. I’m grateful for seasoned friendships.
25. Me. I’ve been pretty good to myself this year. Thanks, me.
***
As I said, I have a lot to be thankful for. After making this list, I feel so much better and I’m suddenly soooo tired now that the anxiety has abated. I so hate two o’clock from this morning. She is going to haunt me alllll day.

Redeye

I’ve been pushing myself pretty hard for almost a year now. In that time I have been so paranoid about losing my momentum that at the most, I have allowed myself to take a 4-5 day break from working out. I am presently on day four with no running, no weights. I’m not gaining weight- I’m actually slowly losing weight- so I know it’s ok. I’m just saying it here so I can be ok owning the fact that I am really tired, really being affected by the dark season, so I’m listening to my body and taking a short break from working out. I know I said a few days ago that I have to just keep going no matter what, but I’m not. I’m letting myself have a down weekend with lots of couching, snuggle time, kid time and there may even be a Christmas tree involved…
I made this to make myself feel better, like see? I’m ok! Everything is going great!

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I had forgotten I asked Bradley to take a series of before pictures back in January. We were cleaning out our photo library when I spotted this. Funny thing is, I felt pretty slim and sassy in this picture- I had already lost 68 pounds at this point! What a difference a year makes. It is SO nice to have the technology to give myself these comparisons. The before was on 1/28/13 and the during/after is from Friday of this week. *
***
This morning I was working with nail polish remover. I set the bottle down a little hard, I guess, because a drop of the remover flew up out of the bottle and made the turn right towards my face. I actually watched the droplet enter my eye, felt it pretty intensely when it got in there too. I have always wondered about those eye baths from chemistry class- you remember, the corner with a weird drain in the floor and a eye washing fountain posted, or a giant hose and shower head on a big spring… You were instructed to hold the eye open and bathe the area for 10 minutes. I always thought that water hurt my eyes, so that task might be uncomfortable EVEN in the face of chemicals burning the eyes, especially for ten minutes! Turns out the water feels pretty amazing when one has a chemical in the eye. Holy cow, it was like Christmas for my eye once that water hit. Sweet sweet relief. I can’t imagine getting something worse in there! I didn’t wash it for ten minutes though… Getting actual water into the eye when you’re looking down is hard, thanks to gravity- but I rinsed it till it didn’t burn and now you can call me Red-eye.
*
And for those of you who are gasping and clutching at your pearls because I posted pictures of myself on the internet in my skivvies, here are my retorts-
1. this is a weightloss blog. If I were perfectly fit, no one would give a second glance. My imperfections/ non standard beauty is what makes me obscene, not my underwear.
2. I am supposed to compare and look at my body here to note progress.
3. If I were wearing a bikini instead of underwear, no one would feel uncomfortable.
4. Who cares? You know you’re fascinated anyways. It’s always interesting to see what people look like.

Yes, You Have To!

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YES! You have to continue to run almost every night!
Yes, It is dark!
Yes, it is wet!
Yes, it is cold!
Yes, it is late!
But you made a commitment to be a fit person! You have to run! You have to put miles under your feet! You have to keep burning calories! You have to keep moving or else you’ll stagnate before you reach your goal!
YES! You have to continue to avoid eating eating candy! It is delicious poison! You feel crappy after you eat it and get into a viscous cycle of craving more more MORE! Plus, it makes you tired. Don’t eat it! You’ve done pretty good so far!
YES! You need to keep limiting calories! You can cut loose on Thanksgiving and Christmas a little. Enjoy it then and you’ll enjoy it more instead of letting loose for the next two months altogether. Remember the 13 pound gain of the 2012 holiday season? Hmmmm?
YES! You have to run without walk breaks even when no one is looking. Just because you run alone doesn’t mean you can cheat! When you keep running you keep getting stronger, faster, better… And you lose pounds. You like losing pounds.
YES! You have to keep running even though you are terrified of getting hit by distracted drivers who are texting or on their phones. You can’t live in fear and the benefit is profound. Be safe, be bright, be smart and be attentive.
***
Obviously I’m feeling a little unmotivated. I’m still losing. Well, I gained a pound that stuck around longer than I would like to talk about and now it’s gone, so I’m feeling a little bit better about that. I think I’m bored and as the winter is coming, so is the darkness, the rain, the chilly, dampness. The top of my head aches with cold while I run and my ears too. Running in winter is not all I had dreamed it would be. Clearly there are some adjustments happening in my brain about this!
I’m losing weight, but is thinking I may have a little winter blues with the onset of daylight savings. I’m just a bit depressed, sinking into a few anxiety attacks, feeling on the edge of panic and irritability. It’s not super fun. The funny thing is that running totally helps with the blues but, it’s the last thing I want to do when I’m feeling blue. It is a tremendous hurdle to remind myself, when my brain is trying so hard to be depressed, that a run will make me feel better. I’ve gotten better about ‘taking my medicine’ though and try to use a run as the first step in my battle against depression. It works 75% of the time. It worked pretty well today πŸ˜‰

I May, Indeed, Have Super Powers

Remember how I said it’s dark when I run these days? Today I ran with the moon at 4:45. It was beautiful. πŸ™‚

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Yes, I may have superpowers. How else can you explain how I, Tamara Littlejohn, AKA T-Diddy Lj, Cap’n Awesome and Mrs. L, ran her fastest ever mile?!
8:24 minute mile.
8:24
My average pace was 8:51!
Granted, I only ran for 1.5 miles, but they were a pretty fast 1.5 miles!!

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…Contented sigh…

I May, Indeed, Have Super Powers

Remember how I said it’s dark when I run these days? Today I ran with the moon at 4:45. It was beautiful. πŸ™‚

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Yes, I may have superpowers. How else can you explain how I, Tamara Littlejohn, AKA T-Diddy Lj, Cap’n Awesome and Mrs. L, ran her fastest ever mile?!
8:24 minute mile.
8:24
My average pace was 8:51!
Granted, I only ran for 1.5 miles, but they were a pretty fast 1.5 miles!!

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…Contented sigh…

One of ‘Those’ Days

Yep.
One of those days.
If you’re a teacher and you have one of ‘those’ days, it’s usually because your students got ahold of a wild hare that day and went crazy. That’s what happened to me. I won’t go into details, but let’s just say that neither the children nor their teacher were in saintly-most-kind form by the last half hour. Some people, who will remain nameless, perhaps even needed to step into the hallway to count to ten before they could return to the classroom.
I wonder who I might be talking about?
Anyhow, I got home and all I could think of was my pajamas. You know how you have that one pair that you just love? The ones that are your favorites? You know them- the go-to comfort jams that soothe the worst of horrid days and look best accessorized with the remote control, a large fuzzy blanky, slippers and huge cup of tea?
I need some.
Bad.
Yeah. I’ve shrunk out of mine. Mine are big now. I do not feel at all cute or glamorous in them.
Woe is me, I know. I don’t care. Today I really want comfortable and cute jammers. But all I have are my size 3x pajamas that, while comfy, I just don’t feel charming in them. See? Look:

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I just can’t ditch perfectly good jammies. Even if I do trip over them on my way down the stairs because my feet get caught up in all the fabric (no, I’m not joking).
Perhaps it is time for some smaller jams. Ha ha.
Mostly I’m just whiny complainy.
If you want to see how I decompress after a long day…

Diet Better

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I just heard of diet better last week and boy, am I intrigued…
The deal is, basically, you pay 25 dollars a month to either lose ten percent of your weight over six months or four percent of your weight over four weeks. At the end of each month, there are winners and losers. The winners claim a cash prize and the losers lose their 25 dollars which is put into the pot to split among the winners at the end.
I know I am a contender. I’m losing weight well. Like, very well when I really put my mind to it. I could totally win some bucks and I am not adverse to using external rewards to net such an important result. This time it is fear holding me back. Going into the holidays I want to make sure I approach it reasonably. I want to be smart about my choices but I also want to leave room to indulge. My plan is to diet and exercise my butt off, then on actual Thanksgiving and actual Christmas I can cut loose a little. Skip my run. Eat some cheeze ball. Committing to losing 8.2 pounds between now and December 15th sounds like folly, but I’m thinking a 10% goal between January and June would be totally reasonable- right around 22 pounds, by today’s numbers.
The other part of me, however, is more altruistic. While I’m joining a group that is intending to lose weight, we are all betting on ourselves, that we will be successful. And we’re also kind of hoping that the people in our group won’t be successful. If they are not, we get their money. It’s greedy and self serving and while I can turn a blind eye to the whole dark side, I’m complicit in capitalizing on someone else’s failure.
Am I too worried about this? Probably.
As of now, I’m thinking it will be my new year commitment to try it out and we’ll see if I can keep up with it.

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We started our run today by combining our extra large loop with the Finn Hill Park loop, creating a super loop. Only the super loop was just about 3.8 and I was hoping for closer to a five miler. You know, cuz I’m pushing my mileage? Anyhow, we followed that big loop up with the smallest loop and totaled a 4.6 mile run. At first I was disappointed I didn’t make five, then I realized I pushed past four miles with little issue. Pretty awesome. After that we walked a cool down mile with the kids. Gigi ran ahead like the dickens, running almost the whole distance. The trees were beautiful, my family happy and I had this moment where I marveled at my amazing life. I probably say that too much, but seriously, look at my little Cap’n America there. That’s happiness. That’s family. That’s why I’m doing all this.
***
Goals:
Run between 12-15 miles this week
Be honest about what you’re eating (Halloween candy is a b*tch)