Tuesday, May 31, 2011

8 Months Later - Please Read

I took the week off from work so I could relax. After my 5k yesterday and sitting to talk with friends and family, I pause to reflect on the past eight months, what has changed and what challenges I still face. (I also included links on key words to past posts if you are interested.)

I am sitting in the same bedroom I wrote my first post from a little over eight months ago. I wish I could say I've been completely successful. Ofcourse there have been success but there have also been challenges I haven't been able to overcome yet. There have been  new experiences and falling into ruts and I've figured out this mental game is harder than it looks. 

My successes seem few and far between but they have been big to me. I finally got out of my butt rut. Although there is some time still spent on the couch, I am not there as much. I have been successful in getting into the idea of working out after work 3 to 4 times a day. Hell, I have even gotten to the point (some days) where I crave the exercise and am disappointed if it is raining or I have other plans for the day. I have run (walk/jog) two 5k runs in the past two weeks. I've run in the rain and it's not all that bad. On Monday, I ran over seven minutes without stopping out of the start line and I felt good. Couch to 5k has been really working for me...I think (this week I progress to week 4).

I've curbed my self-diagnosed depression. This spring has been so different from the few months after my hubby and I moved into our house last June. The days and weeks of him trying to pull me off my butt to get outside and work in the yard are a distant memory. There are weeks where watching the weather for the weekend almost becomes and obsession because I want it to be not raining so I can get into the yard. Our overgrown yard is slowly, but surely, getting under control. I think the enjoyment that exercise brings has been a huge help with this. I sleep so much better now because I am getting outside more. The fresh air has done me some good.

I have met some amazing friends through this world of blogging. The #priorfatpack was formed a few months ago through a furry of Twitter tweets among a small group of people that wanted to form a group that would have similar goals of getting healthy and losing weight in the process. One thing I have been doing more often lately is doing things that make me uncomfortable. The potluck The Pack had on Sunday night was one of those moments. I had originally invited a friend to come with me but I ended up going alone and boy, I was really nervous.... I am so HAPPY I went alone! I was uncomfy for a couple of minutes but was instantly drawn into the group like we had known each other for years. They were there to cheer me on when I crossed the finish line yesterday and I made sure I rang my cowbell loud whenever a pink-shirted member came around the corner! I am grateful for the support and love of The Pack. I make it almost sound like a cult! Maybe it will become a movement? Googling us will even come up with correct results!

Really at this point in the game, I thought I would have atleast been at 200lbs or less. To be honest, the scale hasn't moved much since the first week of this process. I try to live in denial, even yesterday, about why the scale hasn't moved in 8 months. I work out, burning at least a couple thousand calories a week. The scale should be moving but we all know it is not all about the calories expelled. It's just as importantly about the calories consumed. THIS has been the main struggle for me. I have not been really counting the calories with what I have been eating. Lunch with my friend Becky yesterday centered around talk of planning her wedding and my healthiness journey. I had expressed to her that I am working out but not losing any weight or inches. But I haven't gained weight or inches either. She asked if I was really watching what I was eating and I couldn't honestly give her the answer I wanted to give her. I wish I could have said "Yes" but it would have been a lie. My sister asked me the same question later in the evening while dinner was being prepared. 

I am not going to say it here today that I am going to start counting calories because I have said it before. It is just something that I need to do. I bite it, I write it (stolen from Jen over at Priorfatgirl).  The decision has been made. How long do they say it takes to make something a habit? Ofcourse everyone is different but from what I could find, 30-40 repetitions looks like a common comment. So that means if I track for a month or more, it should become a habit? That isn't too bad.  We will see where I am in 5 weeks!

I wanted to thank everyone for their support over the last 8 months. To my family and friends who donated to my ABTA run, thank you! To my priorfatpack, thank you! To my parents, thank you! To my sister, the Ironlady, thank you for your little words of encouragement. I wouldn't have been able to do it without you and I will still need your support in the future.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

A Little Perspective

Tonight was the #priorfatpack pot luck. I dont even know if I have written about the #priorfatpack yet. The priorfatpack is a group of people, men and women, that organized themselves because of the common goal of getting healthier and losing weight. We started out as just a random group of people that followed Jen's blog over at priorfatgirl. Well, we decided a few months ago that we would be doing a 5k as a group.

Tonight's potluck was nerve racking for my at first. I get nervous about being in a new group of people, alone. But within minutes, I did not feel alone. We all had a little something in common and everyone was so incredibly welcoming! I was so surprised and happy about that. The evening was filled with chatting and some great healthy food. We were filled in on the 5k tomorrow morning and questions were answered.

Here is where the perspective comes in. I came into this weekend thinking "This is JUST a 5k". I was even thinking it while some of my fellow priorfatpack was talking nervously about what was going to happen tomorrow. I realized that this 5k is really special for most, if not all, of our group. Some of us will be running the distance while others will be walking and jogging the 3.1 miles. I am pretty sure I will be doing a combination of walking and jogging. For most of the group, this is their first 5k. I am really inspired to be part of this group! Thank you everyone for the great night and see you in the morning.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Food Allergies and Decision Making

I have a few food allergies, the main one being an allergy to pecans. I didn’t have many allergies growing up besides cat and some medication allergies. Since I’ve become an adult, I find myself developing more food allergies. The pecan allergy crept up when I was in college. A banana allergy has shown up in the past year or so. There is a slight allergy to melons and this is the one that disappoints me the most. I really, really love watermelon and musk melon but they make my lips tingle a bit when I eat them. I’m ok with having to stay away from pecans and bananas, but melon…yummm!

Since I have discovered these various food allergies, it has been pretty easy for me to make the conscious decision to stay away from the food. The consequences are just not worth it. Even though I have and Epi-Pen to save me in case of my throat swelling up, I still would have to go to the ER after using the medication. Life is scary without the Epi-Pen. Before having an Epi-Pen, there were times when I would have to make an emergency trip to Walgreen’s to pop some Benedryl as quickly as possible. I try to avoid having to do this.

When I dine away from home, I often have to ask if there are pecans in whatever food I am ordering at that time. Most foods I can predict whether or not there will be the allergen in the ingredients but sometimes it sneaks up on me. When that happens, you will find me spitting food into my napkin and pushing the plate away. This is really rare though. Often times, I will be asking if there are nuts in cakes, cookies or pies. I rarely order these things as I feel I don’t need them but when I do, I’m usually glad I did. Often, bakeries will ground up pecans to add them as flour to desserts. I have even found pecan flour in cheese cake crusts and cereal. Even if it is the second to last ingredient on the list,
I still react to it.

So this got me thinking. If I am able to make the conscious effort to avoid my allergens because they might kill me, why is it so hard for me to stay away from the fatty and sugary foods in my diet? I mean, they would kill me eventually via heart disease, obesity, or diabetes. My body’s reaction is just not as immediate as it is with allergens. Avoiding these high fat/sugar foods should be as easier on my mind but for some reason it isn’t. At least with these foods, I could have them as a treat. Pecans and bananas won’t ever be in my diet again unless I want to end up in the ER.

I should find it easier to stay away from these foods that are bad for me. I need to remember my 10 Things and I need to think about WHY I make the decisions to eat healthier. There is so much promise in my heart when I think about these motivators as I write them but how will I be tomorrow when I am confronted with the chocolate on my desk for the customers? Oh the hurdles.

Today is the last day of the Step It Up Challenge run by Jen over at PriorFatGirl. There were multiple groups to compete in for a great Polar watch. I signed up for the mixed cardio group because I knew I would be getting the bike on the road for the first few times this season. The challenge has been over the past two weeks and I managed to put in 51 miles over those two weeks. It seems like such a far distance in a mere two weeks but then again, it could have been further. I could have done more biking than just the two times I did it. I am excited to see how I did in the challenge and how far other people
in my group went. There should be results in the next couple of weeks.

Well it's off to bed for me. I am hoping it is warm enough in the morning before work to get Week 3/Day 1 of C25k completed.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

ABTA Path to Progress Results

Well, I despite all the wind and cloudy day in Chicago yesterday morning, Christina and I finished the American Brain Tumor Association  Path to Progress 5k. In the sixth year of this 5k, I am excited to report that the organization reached its goal to raise at least $900,000. We also received our race times.  Ours are right down at the bottom of that list.
Race Results
 There were at least 150 people that finished after us. Christina has not trained as much as I have but I was determined to cross the finish line with her next to me.The day was very windy along the lake, sometimes to the point of pushing us to run.

Finishing the Race
Race Start
 I wanted to thank again everyone that donated to this race. I didn't reach my goal of $500 but I was able to raise $320. I made it a goal to run it, and even though I didn't get to run the whole thing, I had a great friend by my side. Thank you to everyone that helped Christina raise more than double her goal. It was amazing to see over 4000 people registered for the run and the walk. We both hope to do this event again next year, hopefully with more people.

We spent the rest of the day walking around Chicago, hitting up Millennium Park and some shopping on Michigan Ave.We did some typical tourist stuff and ate some great Chicago Pizza.

It was so dreary and cloudy. We splurged and got some food at a fancy restaurant in Millennium Park for lunch. We spent some time at the Cultural Center while it poured outside. Around 3, we gathered out things and headed out of Chicago towards home. We decided next time we come to Chicago, it will be by bus or train. There is just too much traffic for us in this city.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

A New Idea

We had a freak rain storm on my lunch break. I realized my windows were open in my car about 15 minutes after it started. Atleast I have leather seats so I just have to wipe them down with a towel. Later in the afternoon, my boss and I watched as hail plummeted our cars. We were just hoping that the hail wouldn't get any bigger than peas. We don't need any damage to our cars.

I actually was able to pull myself out of bed early this morning to get my workout in before work. The hot and humid weather did not seem appealing for running. Even this morning it was it was 60 degrees at 6am. I was thinking it had cooled down pretty nicely overnight. But I failed to look at the humidity level, which was obviously high! I was already sweating 5 minutes into my 25 minute workout. Most of my customers are complaining that it is supposed to cool down after the rain comes today. I am really fine with that because it makes for better weather for working out. Who cares if the high for the day is 60. If you are cold, put on my layers!

While I was running, I was thinking about how frustrated I have been lately with the scale. How the crap did I gain 5 pounds over the last couple of weeks! I haven't really changed how I have been eating but I have really ramped up my amount of exercising by quite a bit. I have gotten comments from people that I look like I have lost weight, from both my husband and a friend. I told them thank you but I still wonder why the scale creeps up. Could I believe that I am building muscle, which of course weighs more than fat (or is it that muscle is more dense than fat?)? I do realize that I have muscles around my middle that I havent had the opportunity to feel in a while.

Weighing myself makes me frustrated and then I just want to emotionally eat. Sometimes, the thought crosses my mind that I should just give up and start living the lifestyle I used to when I didn't work out  and didnt watch what I eat and I didnt gain or lose wieght. Sometimes I feel like that would just be easier. But then again, I think that I don't want to go back to when it was easier. I am actually enjoying the challenge of training for a 5k, an ultimately my duathlon in September. If I gave up, I would never get to complete my 10 Things. I wouldn't continue to feel my legs and lungs getting stronger each time I walk/jog/bike. I would just feel my but getting bigger and fatter while I sit on the couch.

So how am I going to keep myself going and not get overly frustrated with the number on the scale? I think I am going to give up the scale for a month and go strictly on how I feel. Maybe I will keep track of my measurements instead of the pounds. I just have to do something different because I cant let the number on the scale pull me down. It is really ruining the running high. I'm so proud of myself with the progress I've made on my running. The scale is just not worth it. So I am going to weigh myself tomorrow morning and then forget about the scale for the month. I will weigh myself in a month and see what happens. Here's to a new adventure

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Gonna Be Some Changes Made

I heard this song for the first time one night when I was driving home from Winona State to my parent's house. Its really sad that I remember where exactly I was on 494 in Minnetonka.  There is something I really love about the beat that it has and the lyrics. Enjoy.

I've Been Neglectful

I'm sorry blog...I have been neglecting you.

I have had a pretty relaxing week. I am starting to get used to this exercise thing. It is really starting to become a part of my daily life. Or, atleast I am making it be that way. I don't really have anything specific to write about tonight. So I will just write about my week.

My hubby was out of town most of the week, leaving me to babysit our new kitty, work, and fend for myself. We picked up a new kitty from the Iowa County Humane Society last Saturday. She is a teeny bit over a year old and has the farts! How could we not be told about the farts when we picked her up?  I think it is actually due to the fact that I have been feeding her the same food that we feed our other cat who has long fur and gets fed hairball food. Maybe this food has too much fiber for our little kitty.  I purchased some kitten food at the grocery store this morning so I have yet to see what the results are. 

Ugh, I need a vacation from work...that is all I have to say about my work week.

I got three days in of working out last week. I really pushed myself last Sunday and again on Friday to do week 2 of Couch to 5k, 90 seconds of running followed by 2 minutes of walking. I think that is what I will do this week as well. Week 3 scares me for some reason. My first 5k is next weekend in Chicago. I'm not sure what the plan is. I will probably be walk/jogging it since I am only on week two of C25K. I am praying for nice weather.

Wednesday, I went on a four mile walk with hubby. We would have gone further but it was getting dark and he wasn't dressed for the weather. I was actually pretty surprised how much my legs hurt from just walking that far. I can understand all the training that has to be done for the Susan G Koman 3 Day Walk.  Today I pulled the bike off of the trainer in the basement, lubed up all the moving parts, strapped on my helmet and got on the road. I was planning on a 20 mile route on the new Badger Trail and then back through Verona. I ended up with a flat tire at Verona Rd and Mckee.  Well, I had a new tube but no air the inflate it. The first guy that stopped realized he didn't have any air either! I wished him a good ride and went to my cell phone to start calling friends in Verona. No one answered their phones so I even resorted to calling my boss. He didn't answer his phone either. About 20 minutes after I initially stopped, a very kinda lady stopped to help me with my tire. I had nothing to give her except for my thanks. I cut my ride a little short and only put in 17 miles today.  My first ride of the season included a flat tire and ended with my first bike short tan/burn line on my thighs. I will be heading to a local bike shop tomorrow on my lunch break to pick up a couple of new tubes and some air.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Week 2 of C25K and a Worry

This was supposed to be posted lastnight but due to the news, I got distracted.  So read on.

I skipped to week two of Couch to 5k and to push myself passed last week's positive outcome, I pushed up the time from 30 minutes to almost 50 minutes. I was worried last week that I was already passed week two so I decided to push the distance a bit further, and it's also Sunday so I had time to kill. I did 3.3 miles in a little less than 50 minutes. I am coming across a strange feeling that I like running up hills! Sure, it really kills my legs but it also makes me feel soooo strong. Once I am able to get passed the aches and pains in my legs, my hips feel really great when I'm pushing up that grade. I might become one of those crazies that runs up hills for fun. My little sister finished the Lake Minnetonka Half Marathon this morning in 23 degree windchill.  Maybe I will make it a goal to run this race next year.

Onto the real topic of the evening. This is completely unrelated to my first paragraph but it has something to do with what I read, or heard somewhere. I worry a little bit about what I look like when I run, about what my ass looks like in work out pants or how my fat jiggles under my shirt (ew). I heard somewhere that people driving by me really don't care. Or I hope that they dont. If they do care, they need something better to do.  One thing that really bothers me, and it always has, is that my face gets really really red after I work out. I dont think it is because I am out of shape because it would get red when I was on Nordic Ski team in high school and I was in much better shape then. Please pardon picture. It was taken nearly 15 minutes after I stopped moving. I just don't get why my skin is so red? My skin stays red for atleast a half hour after I am done working out. I have no idea what is causing this. I see pictures of other people after they exercise and sure, they are a little flushed, but they don't look like they have spent the last hour in a steam room. (I am not wearing any makeup so that is the real color of my face). I know my body is just pumping more blood because I am exercising but does all the blood go to my face?