Writing, Running, not pushing Post

The last few months have been pretty interesting for me. I spent a good bit of time nursing a running injury. The injury, which I have struggled with before, took way more time to heal than I originally anticipated. The rehab process, while doing much better now, was slow going. An unintended result of the extended timeline was a whole lot of time to consider my injury in a broader sense – were there underlying causes, what do I need to do differently, is it a natural consequence of age, is all this running just fucking crazy, should I hang up my shoes?

I came to a few conclusions. I have a very limited idea where this is going this morning so my conclusions maybe in some kind of cohesive flow and you may just have to shake and shimmy through them just like I am ūüôā

writing monster

I run for the same reason I write. It keeps me sane. I have a tendency to pull towards the high and low extremes emotionally. When that happens, my brain tangles up and ideas get hitched. I am not always really sure what I think. When I am, I am not sure that I really think that. Maybe one day I will be able to explain that better, but for today, that’s just going to have to do. ¬†For a while in the beginning, we worked on bringing that back towards the middle with meds. I won’t go into all that here, but suffice to say it was not optimal. ¬†If fact, it became so counter productive that I ceased taking anything at all.

Writing has always been a great untangler of the brain snakes. I think we’ve discussed before the therapeutic benefits I experience in putting words on paper so I can consider whether or not they are mine.

answers four hour run

Running has the same untangling effect. Christopher McDougall has a great quote. “If you don’t have the answer to your problems after a four hour run, you ain’t getting them.” Folks have often asked me if I get a runner’s high. I don’t. I do get a runner’s level which, for me, is even better. Because I have high/low tendencies, running is a perfect tool. The endorphins keep my low end elevated and the run burns off the energy at the high end. It is a beautiful thing.

I have also fallen into the same mistakes running as I do writing. Most notably is ancillary work, consistency, and common sense activity.

I know I should stretch more. I know I should read more. I know I should should should….but I don’t. If it isn’t writing exactly, if it isn’t running exactly, it’s placement on my priority list goes way down. In case you were wondering, this is probably the worst idea ever. Okay, so maybe that’s overstated just a bit, but it’s a bad idea. Writing is hard. It is an emotional endeavor that leads to places I am not always ready to go and it changes me every time I do. As I look at that last sentence I realize I can say the exact same thing about running. It’s hard. It takes you places. It changes you. Shoring that up with the ancillary activities that support and care for that is important – maybe most important because it allows me to keep doing the main things longer with more effectiveness.

writing ink blood

I know I should be more consistent. I will go months without writing a word. Weeks without running a mile. Then I will explode into the gotta write every day and I gotta run 20 miles this week. This doesn’t work. The mind doesn’t function that way. The body sure as hell doesn’t function that way. It needs some warm up, it needs training. It needs consistency. Otherwise, the dormant / balls to the wall flip flop causes substandard performance with counter productive results.

I know that doing something, anything, is better than doing nothing. I know that. I know that. But I don’t always know that. I’ll look at my 20 minute training run and think, “Why in Sam’s hell am I even getting out of bed for 20 minutes?” Or I’ll look at the available time I have to write and think, ¬†“There isn’t enough time to get this whole thought out and formatted. I just won’t write.” Or even worse is the, “I can’t post that so I won’t write.”

That’s probably the worst – I can’t do what I think is the natural outcome so I won’t start the journey. Maybe I can’t finish the race. Maybe that piece of writing will get too personal, too convoluted that I can’t publish it. So I don’t. The problem with that way of thinking is I never start and therefore never know what could have been…that’s no way to be.

The Biggest Mouths

So, I have waited just a little while before weighing in on The Biggest Loser controversy. (See what I did there? I almost reworded that. Then I decided, “What the hell. Let’s throw bad puns to the wall and see what pretty colors it makes!”)

Rachel-300x254If you are not a Biggest Loser fan and somehow missed the February 4th storm, here is a brief synopsis. 24 year old Rachel Frederickson became the 15th Biggest Loser winner weighing in at 105 pounds. Her starting weight of 260 meant that Rachel had lost 155 pounds, 60% of her total body weight, in about 8 months.

Twitterverse exploded. Blogs rang out. Facebook posts abounded. I think petitions were circulated, a posse was rounded up, and an inquisition was launched to investigate whether or not Dolvett had let her eat in the last 6 weeks.

Seriously, the reaction, including that of the show’s participants, was intense.

She was labeled as astonishingly frail, lost too much weight, unhealthy, too skinny, and had an eating disorder.  This, said The They, was what has always been wrong with show. This corruptible and damned piece of reality television. Rachel was ushered in as the Queen Madame of all that was wrong with young girls, body image, healthy living, life balance, and, I think, the crash of the housing market was eventually tied to her as well.

The onslaught was intense. The battery of insults, accusations, and finger wagging coming from The They behind the keyboards was such that I felt the residual heat. My first reaction – which I tend to trust yet investigate – was.

Damn, some folks who don’t know anything sure are saying it with big mouths.

Understand, I am a huge critic of pop culture, media influence, and have expressed general disgust¬†over the handling of what some folks would call “entertainment.” Hell, I have banned The Little Mermaid from my house. There are quite a few pieces of TV production that I would label as dangerous, irresponsible, and down right trash. The Biggest Loser isn’t one of them.

Do I recognize that is only my opinion? It’s a blog, of course I do.

Do I recognize that some folks may have a disposition, challenge, or other personal hurdle that makes a show like The Biggest Loser a trigger point? Of course I do, I have the same kind of shows. For instance, Honey Boo Boo makes me want to slap people and The Bachelor(ette) makes me want to punch them in the throat. ¬†I am the momma of four daughters. I think Honey Boo Boo is an abused child and I hate watching girls go to any length to get a freaking flower. Seriously, you would date a guy that you knew was dating 20 other girls? No, you wouldn’t. But I digress.

But, The Biggest Loser has just wrapped up its 15th season. 300 participants have appeared on the show in the past 10 years. ¬†Some of the past winners have had starting BMI’s in the 60s. Yes, BMI, 60s. The show does not promote surgeries, supplements, fat burners, or the like. In fact, we saw what happened earlier in the season when Jillian committed what was called “an unprecedented violation.” She gave them caffeine pills. Even that is not allowed.

biggest-loser-then-and-now15 seasons, 300 contestants, certified trainers, nutritionist, therapists, medical doctors. The Biggest Loser’s cardinal sin, as far as I can tell, is that there is a cash payout.

Now I do wish there were some aspects of the show that were different – most notably the grotesque product placement. I wish they were able to make their marketing budget by promoting local produce, farmers markets, and the like. But hey, it is a business. I am sure the folks who participate in sponsorships and product sales to supplement their fitness businesses understand that.

Outside of the show format itself, what Rachel has accomplished isn’t the big bag of evil it is being portrayed as. At 105 pounds she is, by the guidelines, underweight. By THREE WHOLE pounds. I can lose and gain three pounds with water pills and few beers. So what if she cut the last couple of days leading up to the competition to win a quarter mil?? Boxers do it. MMA fighters do it. Body builders do it. Wrestlers do it. Lots of healthy, strong, athletes cut to make weight and/or appearance.

But it isn’t healthy said The They – neither was being 260 pounds and living off pizza.

And I look at the things they said about her again –¬†astonishingly frail, lost too much weight, unhealthy, too skinny – and thought “double standard”

I hate that. Quite frankly, most people do. Wanna see a facebook post blow up? Go to a female body builders page (which I love, by the way), find a pose picture and tell her she is too big, too muscley and looks like a man.

Let me look at the overweight They who criticized her and call them astonishingly fat, ask about the big meat wrapped around the big bones, grossly unhealthy, and tell them the buffet line is closed. I would never be allowed to say that about people. Why? Because it is wrong, it is ugly, and it is hurtful.

It didn’t sound any better when The They said it.

But I think the angle that pissed me off the most was the accusations that she had daddy issues, low self esteem, and, ultimately, she must have an eating disorder. Rachel became the poster child for what it looks like to have an unhealthy relationship with a dinner plate.

Except no one – NO ONE – knew that to be true. In fact, it still isn’t true. And it doesn’t matter how many times The They say it – it is not fact that Rachel has any type of mental challenge in the area of nutrition at all.

But her name still came out of people’s mouths like they knew her. And seriously, I hate that. ¬†The same “feel good, don’t judge me if you don’t know me, everyone has their own journey” They suddenly had some personal hotline into the life and motivation of a woman they had never met.

Never met. As in, don’t know, haven’t shared a meal with, no access to schedule, no conversation. In short, no clue about her, where she comes from or what she’s doing.

I bought People magazine because she was on the cover. Don’t judge. I wanted to know what she said. And here it is.

I am proud of my journey and excited for this new life…I’ve never felt better. I keep saying it: I am healthy.

Then rock on baby girl. Rock. On.

2012 Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon

So I took the plunge and registered. (FYI Registration goes up after the 28th)

As you may know, I fractured my heel Labor Day weekend. For those of you who aren’t runners, that kind of thing wrecks a training schedule – especially when the event you are training for is only nine weeks out. The silver lining – I hadn’t paid for it yet. The elephant in the room – that was the perfect excuse not to try.

I have spent the last 6 1/2 weeks hemming and hawing about whether or not I was going to register for this race. Why? Because I was coming off of an injury?

No. The truth is I hadn’t committed because the dumb bitch in my brain still has some sway when she¬†whispers¬†“you can’t do it.”

Screw her.

One of the best things about running longish distances is the time you get to spend alone with yourself. It seriously clears out the cobwebs. It is for sure cheaper than therapy. Today, I decided it was time to work through why I wouldn’t sign up for the Savannah Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon.

1. I couldn’t finish due to my jacked up training schedule. Truth – I could walk the damn thing and still finish under the 7 hour course time limit. That is a 16 minute/mile pace. I currently average about 9. I can finish.

2. Well, I CAN finish, but my time would be embarrassing. Truth Рego is a dream killer. Embarrassing? To who? People who will ridicule me for not finishing 26.2 miles(!) in a time they deem appropriate? Why on earth would I even care about those people? Nope, I mean embarrassing to me. And that my friends, is just stupid.

3. I will seriously¬†re-injure¬†myself and I won’t be able to run in Savannah’s first Ultra Marathon, the Rails to Trails 50k. The truth is, I could do that anyway. My last injury happened on a training run. I have a sweet friend who is recovering from an injury that happened via car wreck caused by a texting driver. Anything can happen. People have been telling me for 14 months that I am on the verge of killing my knees, hips, back, ankles, feet, baby unicorn – whatever. And the truth is my body will not be able to do these things forever. But it can do them now. It can do it on November 3rd.

So, I ran up the drive, fired up the computer, and I registered. For 2 seconds I considered the half (which, by the way, is an amazing respectable feat for all those brave enough to try it).

Then I remembered that I wrote this. And I sure as hell don’t want to write it again…

Diet ~ Reclaiming (or Deep-sixing) the word

If you have not read this, (I will tell you‚Ķbut we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks ūüôā

Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.

Definition of DIET

  • food and drink regularly provided or consumed
  • habitual nourishment
  • the kind and amount of food prescribed for a person or animal for a special reason
  • a regimen of eating and drinking sparingly so as to reduce one’s weight¬†
  • something provided or experienced repeatedly

Origin of DIET

Middle English diete, from Anglo-French, from Latin diaeta, from Greek diaita, literally, manner of living, from diaitasthai to lead one’s life

The above edits and emphasis to the definition are mine. And while I do not purport to have the authority to just change the English language, I do think that taking into consideration the origin of the word justifies a reclaiming of the idea.

The word diet is not bad or good. It is amoral. It is just a word. Unless it pisses you off. Then it has to be dealt with.

It pissed me off and and so I am dealing with it.

Lesson – you gotta be ready for you. There is no outside force that will do this for you. There is no knowledge, no article, no lesson learned, nothing cerebral that will make this happen. If you have a habit you want to change, you have to want to change it.

Lesson – Just saying you “really need to do” something. Doesn’t mean you really need to. It means you really want to need to. I wanted to need. When I actually needed, I did. It is all about choices.

The truth is, I wanted things to work the way I wanted them to work. I wanted to do what I wanted to do AND get the results I wanted to get. I wanted to feel strong, look strong and be strong while eating all the things I used to eat. Essentially, I wanted to be a ferrari that ran at an optimal level off of whipped cream…is that really to much to ask?

Truth:

 

Notice the word “diet” needed the descriptive “bad.” And there is no time qualifier. “Diet” is not a program – it is a lifestyle. Diet is not a rigid set of unbreakable pass or fails. It is an evolving, daily¬†practice¬†of choices. These choices are not¬†independent¬†of each other. They are big picture choices, “if/then” choices. And they are widely personal. What works for one may not work for another. Food may not be an issue for you. This may be easier or harder. For me, it was, and continues to be, an amazing battle of the wills.

I LOVE FOOD. It was one of the biggest jokes when the Husband and I were dating. He couldn’t figure out where it all went! I am an amazing cook. I appreciate great meals. I eat for pleasure and not purpose. If I am hungry and the food is not great, I won’t eat. If it is wonderful, I will eat…and eat…and eat.

Simply put, I quit smoking before I changed my diet because it was easier.

I needed a full reset. Not a¬†permanent¬†change (I had tried Atkins years ago, and while it worked, it was not sustainable), but a serious “control-alt-delete” reset. I looked into a few things. I knew what I didn’t want

  • fad diets that require long term usage to maintain
  • shakes, powders, pills
  • artificial
  • expensive

I opted for The Daniel Fast. It is 21 days of over achieving veganism with some spiritual help. Why it appealed to me

  • I can do nearly anything for 21 days
  • it did not require me to buy anything but food
  • it was completely natural
  • it is super easy to follow

In a nutshell

DON’T

  • consume anything with or from a face (meat, cheese, seafood, dairy, butter – nada)
  • consume anything processed
  • no sweetners (no sugar, no honey, nada)
  • drink anything but water (no coffee, no tea, no booze, nada – water!)

DO

  • drink LOTS of water
  • eat anything from the ground (beans, nuts, whole grains, fruits, veggies)
  • start on a slow day – you may feel a bit tired/cranky the first day or so. Lots of water helps

Side note – I tried to limit grains, beans, etc. to breakfast and lunch. Almost full veggie dinners. Some folks have done this and go heavier on the the starches and grains. Their weight loss isn’t as great. I was really heavy produce (high bulk/low calorie). And I exercised throughout – the energy level bounces back quick.

AFTER

  • Be super careful what you¬†reintroduce¬†and how. I had a steak on day 22. I was sick for four days after.
  • Be mindful what what you reintroduce and why. I had successfully cut out processed, artificial foods with¬†ingredients¬†I¬†couldn’t¬†pronounce. Could not think of one good reason to go back to that. Except for¬†Jalapeno¬†Cheetos…I miss those things…
  • Figure out what works and keep it simple. I¬†basically¬†figure if it comes out of the dirt or the ocean, it is fair game. Everything else has to be considered on the “if/then” scale.
  • Pay attention to your body during and after. I have found that my skin is one of the first things to gauge the quality of my choices.
  • Be kind to yourself. You are doing this to be a healthier you. Guilt, stress, self-beratement does not equal good health

Me now

  • I almost never eat red meat. It makes me feel physically bad.¬†Occasionally¬†I will. So far in the last 7 months I think I have had red meat 3 times.
  • I LOVE pork. Bacon is the main reason I reject vegetarianism. I limit my pork to very rarely. Maybe once a month. It is a treat – not a staple.
  • I have eliminated most dairy for the same reason as red meat. I can tell a difference when I eat too much of it. I use an almond creamer for my coffee as that is the only major adjustment that I needed to make for daily use. I still love cheese on my sandwich – but it too is a treat.
  • I eat some fowl. Not often. Once or twice a week.
  • I love whole grains, beans, legumes, etc. This has replaced the meat products and provides the calorie count I need for long run days. I tend to stay away from them late in the evening, but they make a great breakfast!
  • I love my juicer. I use it for those veggies I probably would normally eat. I hardly ever put fruit in it as I would just assume eat that. I have found that I can throw nearly anything into it. As long as I top it off with apples, it tastes good.
  • I won’t eat out just anywhere. And I won’t eat¬†just¬†anything. And I am not tacky about either. Staying focused AND positive are important.

In all this, please remember, I am not stuck up about any of it. I treat myself to frozen yogurt. I have had a burger with cheese off the grill. But I did opt to NOT have cake on my birthday. I have¬†indulged¬†and I enjoy it. But it has its¬†limits¬†and consequences. I don’t do it like¬†everyone¬†else and I don’t expect folks to do it like me. But I am appreciative of what I have learned, and continue to learn from others. And I hope I have been helpful here.

Enjoy your lunch!

 

…But I am not stuck up about it

If you have not read this, (I will tell you‚Ķbut we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks ūüôā

Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.

If you missed my First Steps
…or Some Excuses

This is not supposed to be the next step…this revelation actually didn’t hit me until my Daniel Fast. But, with it being the Nation’s Birthday tomorrow, I figured we should talk about cake.

This is a beautiful, nearly ready to give birth, 210 pound April Groves. And 210 may not be so bad…except I started at 130. 80 pounds ladies and gentleman (look at that neck!) ¬†And while my Savannah was a respectable 8lbs¬†15ozs,¬†that is still little better than 10% of my total weight gained.

Since I was in the Navy, I had to go back to work 6 weeks after her birth. While you can wear your maternity uniform for a while after that, who in world does that? In my 11 years in the Navy, I NEVER saw one woman come back from maternity leave in their maternity uniform. We maybe should have, but we did not.

The Cliff Note’s version is I got down to 160 before I had to go back to work. Yeah, that uniform was a sight. I had a job conducive to regular and extended gym time and a great workout buddy (not as great as you, Mel!) Next thing you know, my post pregnancy body was doing some crazy stuff. So I egged it on. Atkins was king and the gym was my friend. I got down to a lean 120 pounds with muscles to boot.

I learned a lot on that journey. I learned that ~

  • water was the absolute best thing I could put in my body – ever.
  • Weight training is the key to all shape issues.
  • Weights can be heavy, and that is good.
  • Food matters.
  • You can get your body back.

But, what I didn’t learn was the importance of sustainable change. My health and wellness was not in a GNC store or a diet book or a fitness magazine. I thought that it was and I loved them all. But, as we all know, over the course of the years to come, I would put back on 40 of those pounds – and I ain’t knocked up.

I say ALL of that for a few reasons

  • If you have taken off and put on, you are not alone
  • If you have started, quit, started again, you are not alone
  • If you have tried stuff that worked and then didn’t, you are not alone
  • If you have huge goals to make, you are not alone

Basically, you are not alone.

I chose to do a hard reset with my eating at the beginning of the year. I will get into the hows and the whys later, but for now I will just say that the Daniel Fast was one of the best choices I ever made. I read most of the book. In it was my “Damn it!” moment. Face palm included.

Susan Gregory said something that should be obvious. Obviously, it wasn’t. She discussed a situation that occurred during one of her fast times. Her daughter in law had prepared a special meal. In that meal were foods not appropriate for the fast. Do you know what Susan did? She enjoyed the meal with her family.

She cheated. She gave her self some breathing room. She enjoyed her life. She practiced moderation. She was not stuck up about it!

And that’s what I had been. Totally stuck up. Either all or nothing. Militant or complacent. That isn’t a lifestyle – it is a life sentence. And that mentality only leaves you looking for parole!

I came to understand that there are times when strict discipline is necessary, especially during the beginning stages of a particularly difficult habit change. But, while many of us believe that grace and forgiveness are wonderful gifts to give to others, we rarely find it appropriate to gift it to ourselves.

Now, I gauge myself.

  • Have I been allowing too much “moderation?” It is easy to tell – I feel bad. I call them food hangovers or¬†endorphin¬†withdraws.
  • Am I about to partake in something for which I know I have very little control? I try very hard not to eat donuts. I love them. I will eat the whole box. Moderation be damned. Yeah, I need a 12 step. I probably won’t eat even one because I just can’t.
  • Am I going to enjoy this or feel guilty about it? If it is just going to make you sad, leave it alone.

So tomorrow I will probably not have any cake (it is kinda like the donut thing). But I will most likely eat a burger. I may even put cheese on it! Of course, I will probably log some miles before the festivities too.

Because it isn’t about quick fixes – it is about living my best life.

Enjoy the holiday!

 

 

A few more excuses…

If you have not read this, (I will tell you‚Ķbut we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks ūüôā

Yeah, that will be at the beginning of all these posts. I am kinda serious about it. I realize I can be kinda snarky, this topic is kinda sensitive, and we all beat ourselves up enough. It is important to me that you know that is NOT happening here.

If you missed my First Steps

Just a few more things to get in place, then I will be ready. Tomorrow, Monday, the beginning of the month, the beginning of the quarter, after this season, at the New Year…whatever. If you are anything like me. That time will just keep pushing itself backwards to a new milestone. I have heard of this phenomenon somewhere. I think it has a name…oh yeah, procrastination. (Don’t you like how I pretend I don’t know this cat amazingly well?)

First, I am not a fan of the word “excuse.” I think, by¬†definition,¬†it conveys the appropriate idea. By connotation, it sucks. When we say “excuse”, we assume lazy, non committed, unable, failure, lack of¬†discipline, untruthfulness, and general full of shitness.

We are not any of those things. I am not any of those things.

What I am is a married mother of four children with a demanding profession. I am active with my family, friends, parish, and community. What I am is what you probably are Рchallenged to do one more thing in your non-forgiving 24 hour day.

I prefer “challenges” to “excuses”. And if you are one who thinks that is little more than a cop-out or feel good semantics, just keep going with what ever works for you. But most people I know already have more than enough¬†self¬†hate speech going on in their heads. If that kind of motivation works for you, go with it. Seriously, I am for whatever helps you¬†achieve¬†your goals. But for me, it is paralyzing and defeating. Then, not only do I have real challenges to contend with, but I have to move past the mental sewage that just stink piled in my brain. No thanks.

Second, I found no point in morally sorting my challenges. Do I lack time because I watch too much TV or because I have four kids that need homework help? Do I eat fast food because it was the only option or because I just really wanted that cheeseburger? Did I make this choice because I am a good, upright super citizen of the world, or a big, fat piece of crap? See, how it doesn’t matter? Just more brain sewage.

But, I DO have challenges. The most pressing one is time. And there are a ton of reasons this is a challenge. Some could be classified as legitimate and some not. Not the point. The point was not beating myself up over choices I had made with my past time, but making this new thing a priority…making new choices in spite of, and without¬†carrying¬†the baggage of, the previous choices.

I am always thinking about how to answer your question. “April, how did you do it?”

The answer is I haven’t done it. I am doing it. And it is a process of waking up every morning,¬†identifying¬†the specific challenges to my priorities for this specific day and making it my mission in the next 24 hours to¬†successfully¬†navigate those challenges. Not yesterday’s challenges. Not maybe¬†unforeseen¬†challenges of tomorrow. Not cranked up brain sewage shitness. But honest to goodness logistics of Friday, June 29, 2012 “To Do” list.

There is no better day ūüôā

Gearing Up and Walking the Dog

If you have not read this, (I will tell you‚Ķbut we have to talk about this first) please do that first. Seriously. Thanks ūüôā

It is true that I should have been writing about this all along. When Lisa says it, it is almost always true. But I didn’t. And I know why.

I didn’t know how it would turn out. Truth be told, I still don’t. Who in the world wants to embark on a journey of such a personal nature in a public way without knowing the end? Well, I don’t know who would, but I can tell you who wouldn’t. This girl.

Fear is a funky thing. And we will talk about that maybe. Not now I don’t think. I don’t really feel like giving it any play right now. But, just know, if you are fearful, frustrated, failed before – you are not alone.

In 2010, I looked like this ~ and that ain’t so bad. 30 something Momma of four. Busy woman, limited schedule. A little extra weight, a little soft. But my clothes fit poorly. My energy was down. My blood pressure was up. And Karen Handel still looks great.

However, in the middle of the summer (swimsuit season!!) this happened.¬†And you can read all about that “AH Shit” moment here.

And I was over it. Sort of…this picture was taken in May…it will take me THREE more months before I actually DO anything.

Battling self-esteem issues, depression, stress, and general mental and physical pissed offedness (<< should SO be a real term), I needed to get to where I loved to be – outside. But the phone and the kids and the chores and the world follow you outside. The dog needs a walk…so that’s what I did…

On August 12, 2011 at 6:41 a.m., I laced up my shoes, leashed up my dog, turned on my Nike+ app and walked. Ka’nani and I covered 6 miles in an hour and a half. It was amazing. So I walked some more. (I switched trackers a few times…I don’t use Nike+ anymore. I am on Endomondo and you can friend me here.)

And I just walked…nothing too serious. And don’t let the high mileage fool you. I was poking along pretty good. There were walks where I averaged more than 17 minutes a mile. Towards the end of the month I had picked up some speed and started jogging. But that was only because my body said it was time and it was okay. Even then, I never broke the 11 minute mark. That 8 mile stint that you see on the 24th took me nearly 2 hours. And what a mind clearing two hours it was!

By the end of the month, these were the numbers I had accumulated. But let me tell you a few things about them.

I had lost NO weight. None. Nada. Read that again…the scale DID NOT move.

And that pissed me off a bit. And I had to do some soul-searching about that for a minute. Because while the scale reflected nothing, my personal well-being was starting to reflect a lot.

I felt stronger. I felt stronger. Yep, I typed that twice. Why? Because that one change changed everything. It wasn’t about being skinny or fast ~ it was about being better today than I was yesterday. It was about mental fortitude and physical ability. I didn’t have to compete against anything but my own challenges. And I was winning!

And I was just walking the dog…

Ka’nani August 12, 2011

I will tell you…but we have to talk about this first

So a really cool thing happened on my Facebook page a few days ago. I posted this

After 5 pregnancies, 4 deliveries, nearly 36 birthdays, I NEVER thought I would look this way again. Stronger than I have been since I was in my early 20’s and my washboard is back (although with some new tiger stripes). Melissa, Tanisha, Marc, Victoria, Dan, Shannon, Tony & Allison, Lisa, Sabine ~ and a host of others I can’t tag because of facebook’s stupid tag limit ~ Thanks…the hard work, attention to food and body, focus and spirit connection, is not only paying off now, but is proving to be a shift in lifestyle and not another tangle with fad diets and sporadic exercise activity. I really appreciate y’all. My future grandchildren thank you as well!!

And my friends showed out to the tune of 117 notifications!

**Are most of the comments made by folks that liked thus not actually resulting in 117 individual people? Yes. Did that change the number of notifications that came through and actual instances of encouraging moments to me? Not on your life.

Almost immediately my friends came to my side, encouraging and congratulating. The amount of happy conveyed was immeasurable. I hoped one day to return the favor. I quickly discovered how.

There are a bunch of folks out there just like me who want to make different choices. They want the results I am getting. They want me to tell my story. And I will. In a minute. This conversation has to happen first.

I hit a ton of roadblocks in my journey. I am still hitting them. I do not do everything “right”. Quite frankly, I don’t even know what that means. In all honesty, if I did, I probably still wouldn’t do it.

While researching, talking, and listening, I encountered quite a few folks who obviously did know “right.” And if it didn’t feel right to me, conflicted with a different piece of research I found, or just didn’t factor high onto my personal priority list, well, I was obviously the uneducated dolt who just didn’t care enough about my well being to hear what they had to say.

I can’t function that way. Good on folks who can. That ain’t me.

I am going to go back to last year and tell you my story thus far. Please know that I made no decisions haphazardly and my choices may or may not fit for you. That’s okay. We are all different. We all have different perspectives, resources, priorities, desires, and lives.

Here is what I can tell you.

  1. We aren’t talking real estate, so I am not trying to sell you anything ūüėČ
  2. Every word of that Facebook post is true.
  3. I am happier than I have been in years.
  4. Your choices are not my choices and vice versa. So there is no judgement here. You do you, I do me, and maybe we can help support and encourage each other in the process.
  5. I am not a professional dietitian, nutritionist, sport medicine, whatever ~ I know some, but I ain’t one. All the information I give you will be solely¬†anecdotal with references that stand on their own.
  6. Thanks for everything. I can use all the help I can get.
  7. In appreciation for that help, I offer all the help that I can.

So, that being said, I will post about my health choices. But you have to know, you are probably already mostly awesome ūüôā Your path may have different things in store for you. I can’t wait to hear what they are!

Little Bit of Accountability and Hopefully Some Fitness Fun

I love new stuff…and the 1st of the month is like getting new stuff. Kinda gives you some mental permission for a mulligan. At the very least, I can feel justified taking a deep breath, pulling in all the new and breathing out all the past (with a little does of kiss my ass for good measure).

March was BANANAS! April was a bit wild. May will probably be the same. But today, she isn’t. She is a calm and good girl with tons of potential and so I will treat her that way. My calendar is up to date, my to do list is sparkling clean, my goals are set.

While all of this is good, i am going to shock some you (ok, none of you) when I reiterate that I am, in fact, a pretty social creature. While it is true that, as I get older, I find more value in my time alone, I am still, by my hard wiring, and extrovert. I like to do stuff with people. These kinds of things are no different.

I started running walking in August. It was good. It became great when I picked up the pace and met folks like Marc, Dan, and Victoria and discovered the #runsav hashtag on twitter (which is a bit dead right now until RnR training kicks in). It was fun and social (and it made my butt look fantastic!) I have run a half marathon since and have plans for a full in November.

I started eating better. Motivating messages and tips came from folks I know on facebook and twitter. It was easier to do when you knew there were other folks out there doing it to.

I got a workout buddy…life changed. (that’s her at the beginning :))

Now it is May…and what is more fun than winning? I don’t know (there goes my Type A). So we are going to try to put my competitive, love to win, ain’t gonna punk out in front of you, not afraid to die on a treadmill tendencies to good use.

It is May 1st. The brand new start of a Health Month. And I joined a team (courtesy of the wonderful Lyman Reed) of Fitocracy users. So now there are 2 point keeping systems tracking my progress and showing me that progress in light of other people while promoting an amazing atmosphere or grace and support.

Oh yeah, this is Momma’s game ūüôā

So, I have seven rules for May

  1. Exercise for at least 60 minutes at least 5 times a week
  2. List things that I am grateful for at least 2 times a week
  3. Drink at least 42 glasses of water a week
  4. No fried foods
  5. No red meat or pork
  6. No soda or energy drinks
  7. Limit dairy to 2 times a week

There are a whole bunch of other rules you can adjust for your own situation. And you only have to have 3 to play.

So this could be fun. I am looking forward to it. I invite you to join me. Text me if you feel like it. If you are a group kinda person, we could all use a little more support ūüôā

It all Started with a Trip to the Chinese Buffett

On this beautiful Monday morning, I am confident the weather will be glorious and I can smell the coffee percolating in the kitchen. I am reflecting on a wonderful weekend full of rest, relaxation, productivity, family time, and a long run that I truly enjoyed. The house is relatively clean and the laundry is not exploding into the hallway. Life is a beautiful thing.

~~~~~~~

On this Monday morning from hell, I roll out of bed and realize I am already 30 minutes behind schedule (probably because I set unrealistic goals to begin with). I forgot to put the coffee on last night and now have to wait until it brews. There are dishes in the sink and dirty clothes on the bathroom floor. And I have gained 7 pounds over the weekend! This is just like a Monday and I should just go back to bed.

Woo hoo y’all! Look at me! My Sybil is showing!¬†I am, in fact, currently¬†experiencing¬†both mornings at the same time.¬†Perception¬†is a¬†doll baby, ain’t she?

In all honesty, I believe most of us have these types of moments far more often than we think. Unfortunately, I often think that it is some weird psycho-warped chick thing and just ignore it. At it’s worse, in order to ignore it, I take the path of least resistance (yep, that’s the second one). The problem with that action is this – while it is way easier and takes far less energy to get pissed off and depressed, it consumes far more energy over time than maintaining a positive perceptive. In other words, you may jump off the line quicker, but you likely won’t¬†finish¬†well.

You have probably noticed that none of this has anything to do with a¬†Chinese¬†buffet. Well…that’s because it doesn’t. I usually write real-time and have no idea where I am going until I get there and…this is quickly becoming yet¬†another¬†post, so I will get back to the Chinese buffet and hopeful remember to come back and elaborate on this other topic later – or not, pretty sure the world won’t end either way…well, not because of that.

As many of you know, I have recently began to look at my health in a new and proactive way. I took up running and I got fit. I went back to the weights and I got strong. I changed the way I ate and I got slim. I went to the Chinese buffet on Friday and I felt guilty.

Yep, guilty. I almost never eat red meat, pork, or fowl. I am whole foods mostly (while not necessarily raw). I juice. I hydrate. I seriously limit processed foods and carbonated beverages. I exercise maybe 4 or 5 times a week – and I am talking ugly faced, sweat making, not going to be cute running into the grocery store afterwards exercise.

Then the husband took me to lunch, on a weekday, with no children…I love those. And I enjoyed it and the¬†Chinese¬†buffet. Then I spent all day Saturday with the three youngest children. We did yoga in the park. Morgan “dreams of Waffle House.” The others would be good and keep their rooms clean forever if I would just get them fro-yo. We did both. My mother invited us for dinner. And it was wonderful (and I am not just talking about the food). Sunday was gorgeous and Mark was dying to grill. We had chicken and fresh corn on the cob. I said I almost never eat chicken. And who grills without a beer?

What part of that doesn’t sound wonderful? The 7 pounds part. And if I am honest with myself, the average weight fluctuates a pretty good bit depending on water retention, time of the day, etc. And if I am really honest with myself, I pay too much attention to that damn scale anyway!

The moral of story is ~

Yes, I cannot eat 25 pounds of food at a¬†Chinese¬†buffet everyday. I cannot have both Lovin’ Spoons and 32 Degrees in the same weekend, every weekend and call it a “consumer comparison.” Waffle House is a treat, not a staple.

No, there is nothing to feel guilty about. Being hard on ourselves for things that are relatively insignificant is worse for our health that the actual thing. Being good to our bodies includes the occasional indulgence. But the whole purpose of an indulgence is to enjoy it! A jacked up perception sabotages that. And I am not interested in self sabotage.

It is a glorious Monday ūüôā