Spring Running

20140331-184152.jpg
We ran yesterday, then followed that up with a walk, then another walk. My daughter commented to me that we had a very exercisey day. My goal, when we headed out, was to just run. Lately I have been getting unnecessarily concerned about running long distances. If the distance is greater than about two miles it seems like I get worried about wearing out. My goal at the track yesterday was to intentionally lose track of how many times I went around, and it would seem that fate was on my side and my tracking app crashed not once, not twice but THREE TIMES! Blah!
At the end of it all I ended up running just a touch more than a 5K (according to my crashed app) at about ten minute miles. I was really happy to have made that distance and that time without thinking I was pushing too hard! I needed that to gain some confidence. After my spotty exercise record over the past few weeks, it was nice to prove to myself that I’ve still got it.
One of my favorite things that happened yesterday was that while we were at the track there was this group of 20-something year old men playing football. They had such zeal for being out on the field. Clearly they were enjoying the brisk, sunny, spring weather just like we were. For some reason I felt all proud of those guys. I know how hard it is to peel yourself off of the couch on a Sunday to go be active. They all did it and came together in the name of physical play and fun! It is so easy to submit to the couch and be lazy, but there we all were, at the track on a Sunday.
Furthermore, in non-scale victories, it was the first time I felt like I belonged at the track. I didn’t feel ashamed, like I was going to slow or that my ass jiggled to much. I didn’t feel like those guys were going to mock me or think about the fat, forty-something running around the track. I felt like I brought my own, did my thing, and didn’t really think about them. Afterwards, Bradley apologized that he left me and ran a few laps all fast and speedy style, leaving me to be possibly overcome with insecurities… But it wasn’t even a concern for me this time. What a great feeling!
That said, I’ve always believed I belonged at the track, intellectually. I just used to over-worry and over-think what others might have been thinking about me. It was a very real fear for a very silly non-concern.

20140331-190945.jpg
Derpy run face pic of the day. I love to mock these, but secretly (you know, the secret is held between me and the entire internet, but we’ll go ahead and call it a ‘secret’, m’kay?) I’m proud that I even have a derpy run face at all. Those flared nostrils and open mouth? They just tell the world that I’m breathing hard because I’m working hard. If I were a dog, I would be panting. My red cheeks, forehead, chin, neck and entire body just show that my blood is coursing madly through my system, oxygenating my cells, driven by my healthy heart. I love my derpy run face pics!
But even still…
>

20140331-193634.jpg
It’s hard to let the derpy face stand alone. I took this today while we were on an observation at a different school. I took pictures of charts, graphs… and myself one time too! >

The Week in Review- Hard

I feel like every time I write here lately I’m complaining about how hard my life is, how hard my job is, how hard it is to stay determined to lose weight… The result is that I find myself avoiding writing so that I’m not such a Debbie Downer.
I like TED Talks, it’s true. I’m one of those people. I know they can be contrived and a little bit too much to deal with sometimes… That said, I don’t know about you, but I sincerely appreciate self reflective and thoughtful people. I like to surround myself with people who have active brains, who still think they can impact this world positively, who are thinking of ways to live life more completely, so I love the TED Talks and frequently go down a TED Talk rabbit hole. It never hurts to turn away from modern cynicism and intentionally look toward something positive, so here; watch this:

I watched this TED Talk right when it first came out in October, and one thing continues to stick with me- that hard is not necessarily a relative term. The talk is all about coming out of the closet. While, indeed, Ash Beckam is a gay woman who came out of a gay closet, she is using the closet as a broader metaphor for any hard conversation we need to have- be it coming out of the closet as a gay person, telling your wife you have just cheated on her, explaining to your five year old about an impending divorce or explaining why you are filing for bankruptcy. All of those are hard things to face and explain. At about the 3:30 mark, Beckam, says, “Hard is not relative, hard is hard.” She goes on to say that, “We need to stop ranking our hard against everyone else’s hard to make us feel better or worse about our closets, and just commiserate on the fact that we all have hard.”
That sticks with me. Throughout my life I have come in contact with people who, when I say I had a hard day, immediately knock me down by telling me that I don’t know what hard is. That I’m too young/privileged/inexperienced to understand what hard means. I liked that Beckam gave my hard credit. Life is hard, and when we are in the thick of it, hard is hard. Regardless of anybody’s perspective on the degrees of hard.
My life is privileged- I never want to imply that I believe anything other than that. But I also work really hard- at my job, in my marriage, as a mom, as a human- and sometimes those many hard hats get overwhelming. I never want to inconvenience anyone by complaining. I would prefer to put a truth on my website that showed me being ridiculously happy and successful- and I am most the time, but lately things have been hard and I can’t hide that away.
I committed to writing here for accountability purposes. I originally thought that meant surface stuff like, mileage and poundage celebrations, but this project has been as much about internal, emotional changes as about physical, nutritional and activity level changes. Those have been the hardest ones to contend with. I guess I’m saying I have to talk about the hard stuff. I have to speak to the hard, or else I’m not honoring this process of owning who I am to myself and the changes I am trying to make.
Speaking of my hard…
Right now I am in a challenging spot. I’m having a really hard time, nutritionally. Basically, I am eating as though I’m maintaining a high level of activity. I’m not terrible about workouts, but I can totally see why I’m not losing any weight. My skin is shrinking up beautifully, but I’m eating way too much of the wrong foods lately. I need to get that in control. My goal this week is to journal three times to inspire a return to smart food choices choices and reasonable portion sizes. I’ve started doing that thing again where I choose to eat a bag of pop chips that, while yummy, just trigger a deeper need for munchies since they don’t provide a whole lot of nutrition. I need to eat whole foods and get back on track.
Exercise this week was seriously compromised by a monsoon. I was supposed to run outside three times. On Monday it was gorgeous! Then it rained for the rest of the week. I’m from Seattle, so the rain doesn’t phase me that much, but this has been ridiculous. It’s like that stupid, fakey rain that falls in movies and renders the characters completely soaked in about thirty seconds kind of rain- that is what we are having all the time lately. I only got two runs in this week, not three, but I did get on the elliptical twice, as well, took two walks and did weights three times. While I didn’t meet my goals, necessarily, I feel like I made progress towards doing better. This week, my goal is to hit solid cardio (140-159 BPM) four times and weights three.
So, yeah, I’m in a hard spot in my version of life right now. I’m happy to report, however, that change is still underfoot. I’m taking control and attempting to make some pretty significant shifts in my life to insure a more successful future- both short range and long term across the board. Life has been hard lately, but I feel like the momentum is shifting and I’m swing in back to some balance. Thanks for sticking with me through the rough patches. πŸ™‚

20140329-212407.jpg
After the birthday party we made the rumpus room into a more user-friendly space by moving our couch and putting the elliptical and bike in the middle. It looks like a gym, but we are in there all the time now. It looks a little weird, and definitely needs some tweaking, but I like it!
***
NKOTB are playing four dates in July in Vegas. I would do things to go to one of those shows. I’m not sure what those things are, but none of them, sadly, involve paying 600.00 for decent tickets after I’ve already paid to fly there, stay in a hotel and be on vacation for the duration. Booooo. Maybe 2015.>

Late Night

I want to report that I’m actually doing pretty well on my goals. It has been hard, after being out of the habit of working out upon arriving home, but I’m doing it again! Last night it was 70 degrees and we spent it outdoors on a lovely family walk. Being in Seattle, though, means that rain is always right around the corner. Today it rained. Hard! So instead of a run, I did 20 on the elliptical and 20 of weights. I feel appropriately sore, so I’m satisfied!
***
Soooo….
I’m up at 11:00 right now.
It’s windy.
Loud.
So I’m up…
I hate nights like this though. All I do is lay in my bed and overthink stuff. Tonight I’m feeling guilty because of snap decisions I have to make at work. Sometimes the exact right thing doesn’t come out of my mouth and then I worry that I’ve said one of those things that you remember your teacher saying for the rest of your life. You know what I mean. Today I told a student that sometimes we have to pick our battles, and then realized that the student was asking me to stand alongside them in this battle. I was having a hard time picking up my sword (bad metaphor) so I tried to blow it off, then apologized and helped the student out. But along the way I was not as helpful as I could have been. I hope that student remembers the second part where I made good and not overly much the first part where I was tired of battling altogether.
My neurosis have refocused from the insecurity of my weight to the insecurity of my teaching and social situations. Like, I used to worry about myself and the space I occupied as a bigger girl, but the good thing about that was that I knew what I was thinking. Now that I don’t worry about my weight as much, I’ve started worrying about my teaching and relationships instead. The problem with that is I can’t know what other people are thing, and it absolutely drives me nuts, so I imagine and think through multiple possibilities. It’s exhausting.
It’s hard to constantly remind myself to live in the present and move on to productive thoughts of the present than it is to constantly review the past. I think of it as reflection, but really I’m just dissecting things in order to torture myself with small comments and conversation components that really have little to do with moving forward, and more to do with self evisceration.
I’m working on stopping this.
***
Ok… At last, I think that all is quiet in/on/around Lj house. Off to bed I go. G’night!

Edmonds

Oh the cake. The cake, the cake, the cake.
Jude’s birthday cake is a big part of my life right now. Like, should I have some? Every time I walk by it? Well, at least I need to think about it. And swipes of frosting off the edge, as well as the less tasty stale crumbs that rest around the perimeter- those don’t have a significant enough caloric impact to worry.
Eye roll.
This is what I’m dealing with:

20140323-210648.jpg
It was a Skylanders party, and the cake? Excellent. Tasty. Moist. Delicious. I can tell you from personal experience.
***
But what I really want to talk about is not the cake, but the celebration of today! We ran today, Bradley and I! It was short- just two miles- but we actually went out in the glorious sunshine and ran. It felt good to get out and just do it. My lungs were burning but my endurance held and we weren’t even that slow. Then, two hours later, I met one of my favorite people in the world, Hannah who I used to work with before she went on maternity leave forever, and walked all over Edmonds with her while my daughter and her friend were at an artsy birthday party. It was so fun to laugh and walk with her. When we parted, we decided to meet up to move together at least once a month. I’m totally game for that. :).

20140323-211309.jpg
It felt really good to follow through with my goals starting on day one of this week. I’m already feeling stronger. It’s funny how a little confidence can change my entire outlook on how I’m feeling about things. Cheers for a great week!>

The Plan

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want to accomplish before summer gets here. My breaks have proven, over and over, that they are not good times for me to make strides in weightloss. Fitness, yes. But weightloss? Ha! I know that things can change and that this time could be different, but I’m going to try to maximize the next three months in an effort to get as close to a beach body as I can. (Beach body is a totally relative term. I plan on looking like a post weightloss beach body with batwings and wobbly bits waving in the wind.)
I will admit that Jude’s birthday came and went and I do not weigh 199. I weigh 205. I really can’t complain about weighing in at 205. That, right there, is a pretty awesome accomplishment. But it does tell me that I’m not working quite as hard as I could. I have lost about 20 pounds since the New Year. I’m pretty proud of that, honestly. I’m averaging about two pounds a week, but I had really hoped to push it to 25. It seemed do-able. My goal at this point is to be in the 180’s by the time school lets out in June. In three months time it should be possible to lose more than 16 pounds.
To accomplish this, my plan is to run, lift and watch the calories. The calorie intake is going fine. I have not worked out much in the past few weeks and I have still been managing to lose a little here and there. It’s the working out that has been hard. I think that now that Jude’s birthday is over and most of the major night stuff (open house, music night etc.) is done at work I will be able to start running again.
My goal, this next week, is to run three times. I am not going to put mileage expectations on it just yet. I’ll admit that I’m pretty freaked out at the prospect of running at all. I’m worried it’s been long enough that I’ve lost my stamina, so I’m taking baby steps. Silly, huh?
In addition to the run, I’m planning on lifting and doing my abs routine five times this week. That does not take the same kind of stamina as running- just determination and willpower. There’s no reason I shouldn’t be able to hit them each five times.
I find that when I make a goal for the week that I usually follow through, and when I make my goals, I also make my targets. So the last part of my plan is to commit to making goals every weekend for the next 8 weeks. The disappointment I feel in myself when I don’t make my goals is pretty intense (I’m more relaxed about scale goals- don’t worry), so hopefully the added pressure will hold me a little more accountable and will propel me more rapidly into the 180’s.
Man, that is an intense idea: me in the 180’s. Gulp. A few years ago, I never would have guessed that I would even be close to the 100’s at all. I never thought I’d see less than 250 again in my lifetime. 180’s.
Wow.

20140322-162853.jpg
This week had some wet days so Boy and I went for a splash walk in our rubber rain boots. It’s been ages since I walked through a deep puddle in rain boots. It is such an incredibly satisfying experience. πŸ™‚

Stick With It!

One of my oldest, dearest, best-est friends and I were texting back and forth the other day about how hard it is to get the ball rolling on losing weight and, simply, how hard it is to lose weight at all.
There’s a pervasive piece of wisdom that circulates with regularity that says if you are very heavy (like me at 340) the fat will just melt right off of you once you get some solid habits. For me, this was not the case. When I was heavy I was really sick. My body was telling me this, but it was a message that was hard to hear. I have PCOS, and while I was at my heaviest, I was taking metformin to help control my blood sugar, I did not menstruate and I had a really hard time getting pregnant. My body was actually closing down certain features as a result of my weight. When I finally became pregnant, losing weight was a breeze. I lost 30-40 pounds with each pregnancy purely by accident… which I gained back within 3-6 months of delivering each baby.
Anyhow, I found that losing weight, straight up, when I was in my 300’s, was harder than losing weight now. The PCOS just made me into a very efficient fat making and storing machine and it would not let the weight go. I recall a time when Bradley and I were on very similar diets. I gained weight while he dropped 20 pounds. It was very frustrating. The most recent, present and most successful weightloss I’ve ever had started out with obsessive tracking of my cycle- I had to watch my nutrition like a hawk and exercise like mad all month, but the only time I would lose weight would be the 3-5 pounds I would lose on approximately days 4-10 of my cycle. It was super annoying. Now I can lose anytime, it’s kind of nice. The way my body responds to weightloss as I make my way down the scale really makes me wonder how much my body’s chemistry impacts my ability to sustain loss.
I finally started achieving some level of success when I incorporated consistent exercise. And when I say exercise, I mean pushing yourself to the limits kind of exercise. Sweating through shirts exercise. Heartrate in the 150’s for 30 minutes exercise. Finally, when I incorporated the exercise 4-6 days a week, things started changing. As I lost weight, it became easier to lose more weight. At this point, after 2.5 weeks without exercise, it would seem that now I can lose weight without exercise, but I’m way more successful when I’m running and lifting.
I also know that over time my habits have changed tremendously. My diet is broader now, inclusive of many more flavors and textures than ever before. I rarely eat refined carbohydrates anymore and I actually enjoy foods that I despised before- raw mushrooms and the formerly banished bell pepper, to be exact. We are active as a family now too- we run, hike, fly kites and get outside as much as possible these days. That is new and really fun.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that even when you lose a discouraging 1/2 pound in a month, it’s still progress. You stuck to the plan, you built solid habits and you proved to yourself what you’re capable of. Furthermore, you’ve laid the groundwork for greater success in the future as long as you stick with it.
Speaking of sticking with it…

20140319-205252.jpg
{I was very reasonable with the treats :)}
Today my littlest little turned 6. I got all sentimental last night as I was tucking him into bed, realizing that we are no longer a ‘young family’. We are an established family with no crazy toddlers or crying babies anymore. We have big kids, now, until one of them blesses us with a grandbaby, and that, hopefully, is decades away. I feel another parental time warp happening, where it feels like we are passing a milestone, compressing time and logging one more scrapbook for the shelf; another volume has been completed. We are moving on… It’s amazing how quick this life happens, is happening, happened.
I think I need to go look at my gigglers right now and share some love with one at ten and one at six. Wow.

This Week in Non-Scale Victories…

Victory #1
This weekend we were playing the closet game where you take about 4000 things off of hangers and try them all on in search of the perfect look and you finally settle on something that is close but not quite right.
It’s been years of me looking longingly at my husband’s hipster tees. Around the holidays, his favorite place puts on sales where all their tshirts are $5-10 and he just loads up on a bajillion clever tshirts, while I would scour Old Navy for a tshirt that I liked and would pay $18-26 for. When I would get one I liked, it would be worn until it was threadbare, so hard it is to find a cool tshirt for a fluffy girl…
Enter this weekend when I casually picked up my husbands size medium tshirt with a cute little jellyfish on it. It fit me. Then I tried the John Hughes one and it fit me too! Bradley whipped the songbird tshirt off of his very own back, threw it at me and guess what? It fit! I came to the realization that I can wear my tiny husband’s tshirts now! Tiny, of course, is a relative term, but I have never been able to really share clothes with the man until now. And they’re not even tight, I can authentically wear them! My closet just got a whole lot bigger.

20140316-164338.jpg
Victory #2
I was at a friend’s house this weekend, and we have always been mom-friends. That means we only do stuff with our kids and mostly just talk about getting together without them but never do. Well, I’m determined to hang casually with her this summer, and I made plans to go jeans shopping with her, my size four friend, and we can shop in the same store. I don’t have to act like I’m just shopping accessories- I can try stuff on. How weird (and awesome) is that?!

Let the Light In

This morning I got on the scale, and I really wasn’t too excited to get on it. You see, the past four weeks have been really hard. I know I keep saying it, but I have been challenged, to say the least. Pushed to my limits, absolutely. Remember when you were in labor with your first kid and you thought that it hurt so much it couldn’t possibly get worse and then it did? Yeah. It’s been like that. Like, this can’t possibly get more challenging or complicated, and then it did. That has been my past four weeks.

Then, suddenly, the clouds seemed to lift and sunlight started making its way through, both literally and figuratively. This week things started getting better- the weather cleared, and with it, the insane things in my life seemed to settle too. I’m cautiously optimistic that this is a trend that will continue globally, in my life, over the next little while.

It’s been hard to keep up with my fitness. Over the last two weeks, I pretty much let it go. My back went out, my neck did a psycho freak out that has effected me all week and I decided to just let it go until I was ready to get back to it. I thought I would start today, but I woke up with a twang again, my husband hit his head really hard, and rather than exasperate either of our injuries, I’m taking the weekend off again.

That said, I’m still trying to keep up with the nutrition aspect. I thought I was eating poorly. There have been cookies, nummy food in the staff room and a larger number of Mike and Ike’s than I care to admit have gone down the hatch. So, back to my opening line, when I hopped on the scale today I pretty much expected to weigh in around 215, not in the 205-206 range! Then, to make the good news even better, my WiiFit meter glitched last week and I thought I had lost my data. Instead, I had all of my data from this week plus all the data from my hikes last weekend! I’m so close to making the altitude goal! Sometimes those little goals make all the difference in the world for motivation!

20140315-153607.jpg
And do you see that I am less than half a percentage point away from a BMI of 30? When I get under 30 I will no longer be clinically obese, I’ll only be overweight. I know it’s just semantics, but that means so much to me. And to seriously be so close to 200 is just amazing. Amazing!

Moving On

20140309-183730.jpg
Many moons ago, on this blog, I wrote about my superstition- that if I got rid of my bigger clothes that I would need them shortly. Last time I lost a significant amount of weight, I immediately expunged all of my clothes as a symbolic gesture that I would never again return to those sizes. Within a year, I was busting out of my 18’s and re-purchasing size 20’s, 22’s and, finally, 24’s. I told myself that sizes were changing- certainly, I was not blossoming weight again! But I was. I had to eat some humble pie and buy a few new things, but mostly I decided to lose weight again.
So I did. I lost a bunch of weight. As I shrunk out of my clothes I would get rid of stained stuff or things that were clearly out of style, but my core I kept: jean skirt collection, a pair of jeans or pants I like, a few neutral shirts… But the collection grew rapidly and more copiously than I thought it would. Initially I thought it would fill a plastic bin or two, but it took over my closet, my garage and just bugged me. Then I realized that when and if I ever did/do need those clothes again that they are going to be just as out of style as the tshirts and tops that I was already getting rid of. The pant legs flare, the waists are short… You get the idea.
So I bit the bullet this weekend and organized all of the clothes by size. I’ve asked a few friends if they would like a few clothes that might fit them today or that might fit them as they make their way down the size charts. I’m getting rid of them, regardless. They don’t fit into my life or on my body any longer.
It feels weird, but I honestly will be surprised if I ever get above a size 18 again. I’m committed to my health and this, honestly, feels like one more way of letting that part of myself go. I loved these clothes. It’s hard to let them go in the same way it’s hard for me to clearly see myself again. I hope their next owners love them as much as I did, and I hope that saying goodbye to these clothes helps me to turn the corner and say hello to the newer version of myself. πŸ™‚

10,000

20140309-141049.jpg
We bought our WiiFit Meters with the intention of just kind of seeing what kinds of numbers we keep, activity-wise. I have to say, they made us really cognizant of all of our activity. They really allowed us to see what we were doing versus what we thought we were doing.
Mostly, for me, I think that I walk a lot more in my day to day life than I actually do. I only take between 4000-6000 steps per day. It takes about 2000 steps to make a mile, so it takes an intentional run or walk at the end of the day to make my goal of 10,000 steps.
The other day I was reading at Runs For Cookies about how Katie took a challenge to make 10,000 steps per day for a month. She was kind of laughing about how difficult it was to make the goal, how tired she was. I started laughing because I thought that 10,000 steps was what I was supposed to get! I started researching and found out that my average was pretty average for American women. In other countries, more steps are way more common. I suppose living in such a vehicle-rich society lends itself to fewer steps. So, while my goal was a bit out there for my culture, it still seems like a reasonable milestone for most days for me. I’ve met it most days, I just need to keep being intentional.
***
I took last week off. It was an interesting experience since I seriously just went off plan. I didn’t diet, I didn’t exercise, I didn’t think about it much at all. For a couple of days I worried that I was embracing going off track a little to well, but then I started noticing that I wasn’t actually having th at hard if a time. I wasn’t overeating and my food choices were reasonable. In fact, when I weighed in yesterday I was half a pound down, and even briefly saw my Dietbet goal of 207.
I realized that if I hit the diet and exercise hard for March, April and May, I should be in the 180’s by the time summer hits. That would feel pretty amazing. The last time I was in the 180’s, I was 17 and about to go to the prom in a size 12 dress. Wouldn’t that be amazing if I could fit back into my prom dress for my promiversary in May? Hmmmm… Unofficial goal made. πŸ™‚
***
I was all prepared to make a running goal this week. I realized that I lose weight best when I’m running, so I want to re-assert my efforts in that area. We went for a hike yesterday (hence the photographs). It was slippery and intense and re-activated my lower back issues. Today, even though I was a teensy bit sore still, I decided to go for a run and to do the hill. We did both and after I got home, my neck started hurting so much that I feel like I’m going to throw up! Ack! So, my goal was to take at least two more runs this week, but not if I feel this way. I’ll have to wait and see…
I hope I feel better tomorrow or the next day. Then I can get things rolling again and can get some of this excess off my belly!