A Return to Diet Bet

I found myself curling further and further into myself.  I tell you what, this year has really taken some of my sauce: my sass sauce, my awesome sauce and my energy sauce!  Sheesh!  I find myself in a constant state of recalibration, trying to ‘adjust my dial’ to keep moving forward on my personal health projects.  Last weekend I gave up and gave in.  I decided that I just don’t have time for this, at all, and my psychological balance is so brittle and fragile right now that pushing myself and relying on determination to drive me forward is making me a nervous, anxious, panic ridden mess.  I started failing in the sleeping department, and prior experience tells me that when sleep goes, I’m at the end of my rope: I’m over-stressed.

All week long I sat with that idea: just let it go.  Pick it back up in July, after this crazy school year, after the last day, when I’ll have time to run and weigh food and sleep without the structures of work.  

^Thursday, the day of reckoning.  Not pregnant.  Just filled with jelly beans and deviled eggs.

And then.  On Thursday.  I got dressed and my stomach stuck out farther than it has in a really long time.  Nothing I put on would disguise it, so I owned it.  I made a Facebook post asking anyone and everyone to join in with me on a diet bet!  I realized that I really don’t want my muffin top this summer.  As much as this is all about health, I also want the hard work I do to be reflected in my appearance!  Especially when all the layers come off!   I’ve worked too hard to let this all go because I have the most challenging year of teaching in my career, so far!  I needed to take control, but I needed help.  I needed transparency and I needed to externalize my motivation.  I am lucky because I received over 50 responses on my Facebook post from friends and family who want to jump in with me.  Wow, right?!  It got me a little jazzed, I must confess.

Knowledge is power, right?  Sometimes I hate to admit that, but it’s true.  Denial is easier, sometimes.  🙃 Once I know how much I weigh, I’m much better about keeping things in check.  On Friday I braved the scale.  Fully dressed, I weighed 213.  Undressed I was 209.  While I’m not thrilled to be back at 209 for the bazillionth time, I was sincerely thinking I had blossomed on up to the 220’s, so 209 was a relief.  It just makes things feel that much more accessible and achievable.

Today I created my first ever diet bet and invited anyone who wants to join a place at the table.  It will start on May 1st and will last for four weeks.  As soon as I created it, I got all kinds of excited to get rolling. When two people joined in right away, raising the pot to $75 in the first few minutes, I really got motivated!  If you want to play along, flow the link:

Tamara Shazam’s Spring Diet Bet

Gently Stepping into Spring

Breaks are a time of reflection and regrouping for me.  As a public school teacher, breaks are worked into my year at the behest of the district, not my preferences, so I am often in the position of having all the time in a day and nowhere to go.  It’s obviously a nice issue to deal with as my vacations are rarely impacted with flight schedules and missed connections, plus, I have time to heal.  It sounds odd to talk about restoring myself so intentionally after a few months with kids, and usually it is something I need to deal with, but this year is a horse of a different color and, boy howdy, do I ever need my weeks or days off.  While children invigorate me with their energy, their neediness and self centeredness often leave my bucket empty.  Add to that bonafide challenges children face outside of school that impact behaviors inside the classroom and I am leaving school and immediately flopping onto my bed, shoes and all for 20 minutes, before I can even consider doing anything here.  

Working out has become so hard, as I’ve said a few times this year.  Keeping my nutrition in check is a joke.  My knees have been bad, my hip has been throbbing and all of the sudden I’m feeling sick in that way that doesn’t feel like sickness but more like a biproduct of living an unhealthy lifestyle lacking proper nutrition and exercise.  I have to do this, just like in the beginning, no matter what.  When I started reflecting on this, I got mad at myself.  Disappointed that I’m failing and I started bullying myself to get off my tail and start doing it!  I realized that I tried that in February, though.  I succeeded with small goals in January, lost ten pounds, trained well, then upped the ante in February.  I missed the goals the first week, felt like a failure then hid out from myself for a few weeks.  It’s not always a choice.  It’s not always about my effort or determination.  Sometimes life is insane to the point that you have to dial things back or fail in a bigger way, mentally, and getting my head back in the game after too much anxiety is way harder than getting back on the weight loss wagon for me.  I need to grant myself some grace and gentleness.

I really hate feeling out of shape now and I miss feeling like a superstud, so I decided to look at my dial again.  Clearly, my dial is still turned up too intensely.  I can’t keep up with the simple plans I’ve had, that signals a need to dial it back and simplify, asking what CAN I do when I return to school tomorrow.  In other words, what can I promise myself that I will do?  What is so easy that if I fail I will feel foolish and know that I just didn’t put enough effort in?  I came up with this list:

  1. Track my food in myPlate to learn more about my actual intake, then post it here on tamarashazam.  Make adjustments as I notice things, but don’t worry overly much about it.
  2. Keep it in my head that I’m suggesting going to go for a walk every day. I will keep in mind that I can say no if I want or need to.
  3. A short run on a sunny day is fun. Maybe give that a try one day this week.
  4. Run at least once on the weekend.
  5. Magic Wish Goals

  6. Lose 20 pounds by the end of the school year.  I’m hovering right around 205 and my summer clothes look soooooo much better sans muffin top and weighing around 195.  The Neil Diamond and NKOTB concerts will be much more fun with less to shake!  LOL!!
  7. Run 3 days a week and be in condition for 10-15k runs by school’s last day.
  8. Lift 3 days a week.
  9. They’re magic wishes because I’m not going to put pressure on myself to achieve them right now, but it’s good to keep them in mind.

So, this is my week as I get back into the swing of teaching.  There’s something like 55 days of teaching ahead of me.  I’m coming into the home stretch and am excited to rebuild my spirit and body this summer.  If I can start moving forward on my project, great.  If not, it’s a good thing I have July and most of August off to get going!

Super Selfie

Today when I went out running I had to bring an extra phone to capture the moment on a camera since my iPhone camera is currently having issues and won’t work.  I felt a little ridiculous at how important is felt to document this run!  I’m embarrassed by the selfie movement and how it turns the focus onto the self, so much, when we really need to be turning our focus on building community, compassion, relationships and empathy.  In my humble opinion, that is.  

Midrun I started really considering this: when I was first considering getting healthy through a nutrition and activity shift, the whole thing was overwhelmingly complex.  Only people with superpowers could do that shit, and that was not me!*  I decided if I were going to take this on that I would have to forgo shame, embarrassment and modesty.  Success was going to have to be public.  Transparent.  Visual.   So was failure.  I was going to have to prove to everyone that I could do this ‘get healthy’ thing while I also convinced myself that I could do it, because I honestly felt that I couldn’t.  I was destined to be bigger for life.  It was in my genetics and , frankly, on my body.  I needed to be able to look back at my story to remind myself that it wasn’t a dream.  

Furthermore, we take pictures to capture moments in life.  Moments of happiness.  Moments of fun, friendship and pride.  We take pictures of the moments we would like to have last beyond that moment.  During a run, I feel invincible.  I’m doing this thing that requires grit, dedication, endurance and hard work.  I feel like a superhero!  The same can be said after I finish most runs!  I’m glowing with self respect and unabashed admiration of myself.  I feel strong and beautiful.  I feel healthy.  I look like a hot mess, but I’ve come to realize what strength and beauty look like on me, and right after a run is when I feel and see that most.  Of course I want to capture that!  I don’t feel like that most of the time!

Today was a success.  We ran just a little shorty, but it was enough to feel out my knees and know I’m going to be alright.  My knees don’t hurt, my hips feel normal and any real pain or swelling I was feeling seems to have gone away.  I may have caught a problem, stretched and healed it before it became a real issue.  Phew.  Deeper explorations didn’t turn anything up so I’m just going to train, listen to my body,move forward, be cautious with my training and return to my Dr. if anything else comes up.  She did mention that I’m 43, after all.  Who cares?  I’m itching to be in good condition again.  

Both taken in the same few seconds.  I find it interesting how my body mass shifts to give the impression of being heavier or lighter depending on if I’m in the jump or land of a run.

*I’m the kind of girl who loves a well placed swear word and this is the first time I’ve used one here because that is how difficult the concept of exercise and diet were to me.  Insurmountable.