New Attitude

Finding my way back to enjoying exercise again. I WAS not loving the running anymore, now that I have shortened the distances I’m running it is definitely better.
I found a women’s only gym in my city that has bootcamp style classes, as well as MMA style classes. Definitely enjoying that.
I have found I need to balance those tough workouts, so I am doing yoga with more regularity.
I weighed myself this week, first time in weeks. I don’t want to focus on my weight EVER AGAIN, but I wondered if my weight was still going up. I was hopeful that I stopped gaining, and I certainly felt like it had. And according to the scale, it has stabilized now. I started intuitive eating earlier this year, and I knew after coming off a restrictive long-term diet I would gain weight. But I accepted it and bought bigger pants.
I have to look up in my journal how long I have been ‘diet-free’ now.
Feels pretty damn good.

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Taking a few steps back

I have been struggling the last few months, with several things.  This is all my own fault though.  Sometimes I think I can do it all.  I can do that run, I can take that class, I can help that friend, I can do that extra work, I can do it!!!  I’ve been here before, welcome to burn out.

I work fulltime and I am also in school part-time working on a degree.  This year I signed up to do 4 half courses, two each term.  I knew I was in trouble after the first week, I was already behind in the reading.  I had assumed (mistakenly) that an online course would be less time then actually going to the university to do attend a class.  WRONG.

I ran a half-marathon this past spring, rode in a two-day 150k bike tour and ran a few other 10k runs.  I thought I could run another half-marathon this fall, no problem.  I have run two in a year before, and I run fairly consistently.  Piece of cake, right?  WRONG.

Last week I found myself sitting on the couch in tears, feeling like a failure.  I wanted to drop a class and drop out of the half-marathon.  What a loser.  Not sure why I still talk to myself this way.  I would never speak that way to a friend that was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed and needed to cut back on things.

This weekend I am feeling more relaxed and happy about the decisions I’ve made.  I had a number of good friends tell me what a good thing I was doing taking a few steps back.  Even the academic advisor told me it was better to drop the course then struggle and possibly not do very well.  For a young woman in her 20s, she had a lot of wisdom to share with this 40something.

So that’s it.  Sometimes you just gotta take a few steps back and get some rest.  I’m not sure at what point in my life I equated resting with being lazy.  But it can’t be such a bad thing, when I’m feeling so much relief!  And I have more time to post on my blog.

I am obese.

Warning:  Diet talk

Well at least according to the BMI I am, and I know how inaccurate THAT is.  I’ve been this weight before and higher, but this time it somehow feels different.

I had not weighed myself in weeks, and I was honestly curious to see what had happened to my weight in that amount of time.  Had I gained a ton of weight without me watching it daily?  So I weighed myself, with a pretty good idea of what the scale would say because I have been at this weight before.  The number didn’t startle me, but I am not going to lie and say it didn’t bother me at all.  The years of dieting and being taught to hate my body was not erased in a few months.  There are also several people at work that LOVE diet talk.  I excuse myself now from these conversations, and I think this is making me appear less social at work.

I find myself gloomy and unhappy more times than I’m not.  I mentioned before that I felt as though I need a new hobby, something to spend my time on.  I am certainly no longer logging my points, planning grueling hours of activity, scouring the internet for low-point/low-fat recipes, and searching for the next weight loss tip.  Unfortunately, I have lost some of my interest in activity.  This could be the reason for the gloominess.  I know that working out regularly makes me happier and it gives me energy. A good friend of mine said maybe I’m just in a slump and I think that’s entirely possible.

The fact is that it’s not just that I need a hobby, I feel as though I’m trying to figure out who I am right this minute.  I spent my entire life (yes, even as a child) dreaming about what I would do once I had the perfect body, once I had lost X number of pounds.  I would buy certain clothes, go to certain places, and meet really cool people.  Now that I’m not planning for the ‘future me’, I’m stumbling around feeling like I’m trying to figure out, what the hell do I do now?

All that being said, will I go back to the DIET?  Not a chance!  That’s why this time at this weight, it’s different.  This is who I am right now, right this minute.  And learning what exactly that means is actually kinda cool.  It doesn’t feel like at this weight my world is on hold, and I don’t feel ‘fat and awful’ like I used to.

I went for a run this afternoon, listened to my music, settled into an easy pace and paid attention to every moment of it.  No big spiritual moment or anything, but it was good and that’s enough.

Finding new hobbies

*trigger warning: diet talk

I used to spend a lot of time researching food trends, diet ideas, low-fat recipes, diet books, and weight-loss websites.  I would look into every new diet idea like it might be that holy grail of diets! I remember numerous times thinking that this time will be different, this one is going to work.  I would prepare myself to start the diet, go shopping for whatever special foods I needed, get the protein powders and supplements.  Come Monday morning I was READY!  Then I found weight watchers, which was great for my dieter’s mentality. (Although they call it a lifestyle change which is really bs.  Any program that instructs you on how much to eat is a DIET).  Every week at the meeting they gave us a new flyer, and some tidbits of information to use for the week.  This always felt kind of exhilarating to me, because I would weigh in on Saturday morning, and then start ‘fresh’ on Monday armed with any new information I had, or goal for that week.  The instruction might have been to try and add veggies to every meal, add extra activity, focus on healthy snacks or something.  I would spend the week watching my points, counting my points, logging activity points, calculating points of recipes, planning how to spend my points, or figuring out how many points I’d need to enjoy 2 drinks and a piece of cake on the weekend.  I felt and acted obsessed.  Oh! and if I found another weight-watcher and we could talk ww stuff… heaaaaaven!

Now, I eat when I’m hungry, I eat what I want and I stop eating when I’m full.  It’s so simple!  It’s also far less time consuming.  Honestly, I have felt kind of lost the last couple months.  I couldn’t figure out why I was feeling so antsy and a little bored.  Fact is, the dieting thing was such a huge part of my life for so many years.  It kept me so busy and so preoccupied and it was all-consuming.  I’m discovering new ways to spend my time and realizing now how much time I wasted on this obsession.  But it really is difficult.  I still find myself on occasion reading a weight-loss ‘success’ story and wondering if that person has maintained it?  Have they lost the weight before?  I have to admit, I am still obsessed.  I want to be free from dieting, free from worrying about the 12 pounds I’ve gained (yes I broke down and weighed myself… that’s for another blog entry) and free from worrying about how I look.

There is so much more to life than this obsession, I’m able to see that now.  I’m doing my best, although it can be hard with the images in media and hearing the diet-obsessed people at work natter on about their weight struggles.   My fitness goals are a good focus for me now.  I am redirecting my energy into performance fitness goals, and not about calories burned.   I have also rediscovered reading fiction (I mean other than diet books-haha!!) and I am enjoying looking for really good books. (I take suggestions-hint, hint)  I forgot how much I LOVE to read.  Just to get lost in a fascinating story is such a pleasure!

I’m off to bed now to read!

Defending slow running

A recent conversation with someone pissed me off.  I have had similar conversations before this one with other people, and they have had to do with the definition of a runner.  We were discussing another runner’s time in a long distance run.  I said something about how long it would take me to run the same distance, about an hour longer.  This person stated, “Yes, but he’s a runner.” ….pause… “Well, I mean you’re a runner too but you know what I mean.”  No, actually I do NOT know.  I was actually kind of shocked by the comment since this person knows how much I run.

So first of all, since 2006 I have completed 21 races, which included 8 half marathons and one 30km run (that one in pouring cold rain-yuck!).  Therefore, I have logged thousands of kilometres of training runs since 2006. According to my Nike records since mid 2010 I have logged 1,339.18 km and that was with some big non-running periods in there when I focused on cycling, and a few months when I just didn’t feel like running.  I also run sometimes without any gizmos, so there’s no record of those runs.

I have also had several running related injuries: planter fasciitis, IT band syndrome, morton’s neuroma.  I’ve recovered from all of those, and learned stretches and exercises to prevent further injuries.

All that said, I don’t think anyone has to run as far as I have or suffer injuries to be able to call themselves a runner.  Nor do I think you have to be fast, which I am not.  That brings me back to the comment above.  Was the comment because I am not a FAST runner?  No, I’m not fast but really the vast majority of runners will never win a race, and even if you do win that still doesn’t mean that winning a local small city race will make you competitive enough for the Olympics, not by a long shot.  I think there are runners and then there are professional runners.

I really don’t care about my speed compared to others.  I like to compare my time to my previous times but even then I don’t beat myself up about it.  I like to run; it makes me feel good and keeps my heart healthy, which is very important given my family history of heart disease.  I also know that I have limitations on the speed I’ll be able to achieve.  Everyone’s body is different.  For example, I can do pushups from my toes, and I can do so with fairly little effort.  I know some women that struggle with pushups from their knees and they work very hard at building strength to be able to do a pushup from their toes. In the same way, some people are just naturally faster runners. But that’s no reason to disregard my efforts as runner, and I don’t disregard other people’s efforts to build strength.  We all start from a different place and work towards OUR best.

I don’t like to hear other runners say they are not a ‘real’ runner.  If you’re out there pounding the pavement or logging mileage on a dreadmill, I don’t care the speed or the walk breaks taken… you can call yourself a runner.

I am a runner.

Where’d my Mojo go?

I am terribly UNmotivated lately.  Last night I ran a local 8k race with my fav running buddy.  Problem was neither of us really trained for it.  Well, it was a problem and a blessing that neither of us trained because we both felt the same, sluggish as hell with heavy-leg syndrome.  You know, when your legs feel like tree stumps? But we got it done and enjoyed some refreshing beverages afterwards. J

That brings me back to my opening though.  I’m not entirely sure what is going on with me lately but I don’t feel like running, biking, walking… not even yoga. I am still trying to do something 4 times a week but ½ hour is most I can muster and I have to really coach myself to do it.  I know I will feel better when I do it, but sometimes that’s not enough to get my butt out the door.  I was reading an article about starting to run in the early morning.  I contemplated it because I am just pooped when I get home from work and wondered if that was leading to my lack of motivation.  But I am also not a morning person.  Can I change from being a night person to being a morning person??  Is that possible?

I also wanted to start lifting again, and had planned to start back up last month.  I did more weight training in my 20s, before I had started karate and before I started running but those last two things took over and I felt I had no time left.  Then I lost interest in karate, and started doing more cycling.  Perhaps if I start the weights again the new activity will renew my excitement about working out.  I don’t want to be someone that works out just because it’s good for me, I want to enjoy it.  I have seen far too many people stop working out because they began to hate it, unfortunately because they didn’t see the quick weight loss results they had hoped for.

I’m hoping this slump doesn’t last long.  I know it is a slump, I have been working out long enough to recognize it now.  The last one was 6 months!!  Fingers crossed this one is much shorter.

Feeling Fat

Recently I was reading a blog and the writer posed the question, “when did fat become a feeling?”  I can’t recall the blog unfortunately because I read it and thought it was a good question but kept going on my way reading through other blogs. (I have a short attention span)  Later that day I was reading Linda Bacon’s book, Health at Every Size and she stated in her book that fat is NOT a feeling.

I had not really given this much thought before now, but I certainly know that I have said aloud, “I feel fat today!”  And I have heard other women say the same thing.  But as Linda suggests, there are feelings behind that statement that should be explored.  And this really got me thinking about ‘fat feelings’ and where they come from.

I went out for dinner to a restaurant with a group of women.  I was the oldest in the group and at the end of the night I felt like the most fat and unattractive in the group.  None of the other women did ANYTHING directly to make me feel uncomfortable; everyone was very nice and friendly. However, the conversations that occurred really stood out for me.  First, one of the women just finished a low-carb diet to lose some weight for an upcoming event.  Several women commented on how amazing she looked.  Personally, I didn’t see the reason for the weight loss, because I thought she was already stunning.  This conversation of weight loss went on for a while, with a few making comments about wanting to lose weight or how to lose a few pounds, and it made me uncomfortable because I was visibly larger than each of these women.  I could not help thinking that if these women thought they needed to lose weight, what do they think of me? At one point, the manager of the restaurant that knew two of the women came over to our table and he chatted with them.  Then he looked at and addressed each of the other women at the table but deliberately ignored me.  WTF?  And it was not my imagination, I watched his gaze scan past me from the woman to the left of me to the one on my right.  He didn’t speak to me at all.

At that end of that evening I thought I felt ‘fat’.  But looking back on that event I know now what I felt was invisible and unimportant.   Really, I couldn’t care less what that manager thought of me because he was just rude.  And the other women were really wonderful and fun to hang out with.  It was my own damaging thoughts that ruined the evening for me.  It was the same thoughts I had as a kid.  Although it has taken me years to get here, my attitude is changing and I know what to do when I start having those ‘fat’ thoughts. I change that dialog in my head, and recognize those thoughts as unproductive.  It really is bullshit the stories we tell ourselves. Also, if I’m with a group of women and they start talking about dieting, I will try to change the topic. The diet talk is exhausting to me, and pointless.  For me, a big part of learning to eat intuitively has been more about emotions and how I feel than the actual food itself. Also, it is about how I treat myself on a day to day basis.  Wow, who knew?? It really isn’t about counting points, calories, and numbers on the scale!