Saturday, May 21, 2011

May 21: Assignment: Change

At this morning's weigh-in, Laura gave us the following assignment to be completed by Wednesday (who could wait so long?): Write about your biggest change so far during the contest.  As I quipped to my wonderful husband, "For me, clearly it won't be the number on the scale."  J

My body has undergone changes: I've dropped several clothing sizes, I haven't pulled my back in months (knock on wood), I feel less lumpy (slowly unpacking my saddlebags), I've got new-found trapezius muscles, there's no more muffin tops, and the shape of my face is different.

I've developed stamina for cardio workouts of all sorts, and have steadily increased my workload in weightlifting.

The greatest change?  As Whitney Houston sang in "The Greatest Love of All," I've learned to depend on me. 

·         By digging deep within to push through sometimes brutal workouts,

·         By getting to the gym even when motivation was low,

·         By examining my relationships with others – how I see them and how they see me,

·         By opening myself to opportunity,

·         By following my trainer's instructions even when I was scared,

·         By exploring and gaining understanding of how I used food for coping rather than for nutrition,

·         By reading the experiences of others,

·         By evaluating who and what are most important in my life,

·         By speaking my insecurities and listening to the honesty of loved ones, particularly my husband, and

·         By praying and reflecting…

I've learned who I am, and found that I am strong.

I never knew that before.

Since the start of the contest, with no place to hide from published monthly weigh-ins, I've learned to face challenges, and to find that I really am strong, and I really can endure.

I've always admired strong people, more than I can express.  And now I know that while I'll never be perfect, and while I may end up as the most slender 234.4 pound woman you've ever seen, I am strong.  I'm strong enough to work with others; I'm strong enough to continue my hard work, no matter what the scale says; I'm strong enough to be humble and imperfect; I'm strong enough to look everyone in the eye; I'm strong enough to speak up, and strong enough to listen.

Physically and emotionally: I'm strong. 

I'm strong.

That realization is my greatest change.


Friday, May 20, 2011

May 20

It amazes me that after all the exercising I've been doing for so long, my muscles still hurt when I switch things up.  I've got all kinds of achy stiffness after yesterday's workouts.  This morning's swim has left me ready to go back to bed (alas, my youngest has other plans), and I'm wondering how badly I'll hurt tomorrow after a day of planting the garden today.  I can already feel my hamstrings & lower back!  That said, I'm so proud of how I'm challenging myself and of what I'm able to accomplish.  These healthy aches & pains are my badges of honor.

I'm so pleased with switching eating plans.  I'm eating much healthier and more in-line with my body's hunger signals.  It's too soon to see results at the scale this month, but I'm hoping that this change will pay off in the long run.  In the meantime, I continue to shrink but am well aware that there's plenty more shrinking to do.


Thursday, May 19, 2011

May 19: celebration!

If I show no loss once again on the scale this month, it's certainly not for lack of trying (I'm shrinking out of another size!).  I'm happy to report that I surprised myself by completing the walking/jogging portion of the Y's triathlon today (I didn't know I was so close to done), and I have plenty left in me to finish the biking and swimming by the deadline.

I started today with my 5:30a.m. cardio work.  When I returned to the Y later for weightlifting, I was early enough that I did a couple more miles of cardio.

And then there was weightlifting.  With the help of a bosu ball, floor mat, and body bar, David shredded me.  My sweat-o-meter reached new levels, and I dug really really deep to hang in there.  I'm absolutely proud of what I accomplished today.  I never thought I'd be able to do push-ups and planks on an inverted bosu ball.  And with my knee brace I was able to do countless squats (though I opted for floor rather than on the ball).

I'm really proud of holding it together, and of working harder & longer than ever before.


May 19: Health 202

Today I used my Morning Strength to prevent an afternoon stumble.  Yesterday I was the recipient of chocolate(!!!), and while there was a part of me (my taste buds) that really wanted to eat it, there's also the part of me (my eyes, which sees my image in mirrors & photos) that doesn't want to have eaten it.  So I sampled – not devoured – some –not all of – the chocolate.  Then this morning I gave the rest away.

Also this morning I kept plugging away at the elliptical machine, even though my body was whining at me "I'm tired!  My hip hurts!  These shoes are uncomfortable!  It's hot!"  I used the Biggest Loser lessons I described here yesterday. 

I've also made a couple huge steps.

1.      I realize that I struggle with boredom.  Not only do my 2 year old and I suffer cabin fever (together!) thanks to our new rainy climate (I swear she doesn't believe me when I tell her the playgrounds are all soaked), but she no longer naps (though if I'd strap her in the car and drive her, she'd snooze... at $4.00 per gallon).  I'm finding that even though I keep busy with projects and chores, I'm bored with projects and chores.  For those couple hours after morning chores and before the big kids get home to provide conversation other than "I want," I'm bored, bored, bored, and the most exciting distractions are

·         Books – which burn no calories and keep me from interacting with my little one

·         Computer – same as books

·         Food – a variety of flavors & textures, can be experienced with my little one

            I seriously need help with this.  Does anyone have helpful ideas?  I'm thinking maybe afternoon field trips, but I realize I also need to be get by without external stimulation.  I need to create my existence, and I need to make joy a part of daily life, even if those around me (you know who you are) are moody.


2.      I realize that recently I fell into the "my needs come last" trap.  That would explain why, if I attended all the meetings people/committees wanted me to this week, we'd have needed baby-sitters 4 out of 5 nights.  That's crazy; that's not parenting.  So last night I did the unthinkable and said, "No."  I didn't attend a meeting someone wanted me to attend but of which I wasn't a vital part.  I remember now that I need to do it more often.  I need to distinguish between beneficial work and busywork.

            So once again I'm working on issues which, though at first glance have nothing to do with Lighten Up, are exactly the reason I ended up in Lighten Up.  I'm trying to learn to live a healthy, balanced life. 


Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May 18 Learning from the students

I never know where the next burst of inspiration will come from.  Last night, for example, I thought I was just in for another busy night: our son's school band concert, and afterwards maybe catching part of The Biggest Loser.  This morning, I figured I was just hauling myself to the Y as usual.

As it turns out, the Euclid Schools' All-City Band Concert last night was very inspirational.  In one of the high school's gyms, all the band students from grades 5 through 12 were gathered to perform for the audience who filled the bleachers.  What I found so inspiring at the concert were

·         the  progress made by the students between their winter concerts and this spring concert: The improvement was incredible!  These students were living proof of what persistence can accomplish, particularly under the guidance of good role models and leaders.

·         the difference in ability across the grades:  As you might expect, the higher the grade level, the better the sound.  The 5th graders did a good job with their music: students from all the Euclid elementary schools performing together for the first time.  The students from the two Euclid middle schools, who'd worked together before, showed a higher level of ability and training.  And Euclid High School students' performance was so well done that it gave me goosebumps.  The lesson here: As we go through a journey, we acquire new skills and are able to attempt what before would have been unthinkable.

By the time I settled down to catch the second half of The Biggest Loser, I knew I'd already missed what I usually find to be extremely motivational: the challenge where the contests don gear equivalent to the weight they've lost.  Usually a race of some sort, the contestants pass checkpoints which match weekly weigh-ins, at which they drop off the number of pounds which corresponds to the amount of weight lost that week.  You'd just have to see it.  Anyway, I missed that part.  What I did get to see surprised me: people talking about finishing strong.

I never really think about finishing strong.

I never really think about finishing – I think of how to get things started and how to make things work, but I rarely think about the end.

Now I'm thinking about the end.  I know that my weight goal is a long way off, but it's a different kind of motivation.  I remember hearing my wonderful husband talk about how sometimes you can't aim for an end point, you have to aim to go through it.  For example, in football, you don't think about running into someone, you think about running through someone. 

All these new perspectives were occupying my thoughts during my cardio work this morning. 

Also this morning, I think I found a temporary distraction for my food bordeom problem.  I've gotten bored with Weight Watchers, even considering quitting or at the very least taking a sabbatical.  But in the midst of all my thoughts this morning, I remembered that WW offers two food options, and I decided to give the other option a shot for a week.  I'm already excited by the notion of a little change.  Boredom is a big enemy of mine.

So even though it's Wednesday (and the weigh-in is Saturday! gack!), I'm starting a new week today.  I've got the fine example of perseverance given to me by Euclid's strong & talented band students, the change in view about reaching goals, and a new eating plan. 

I'm excited!


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

May 17: Triathlon Status Check

Swimming: 56 lengths done, 130 remaining
Biking: 43.2 miles done, 68.8 miles remaining
Walking: 20.4 done, 5.8 remaining
I'm confident that I'll complete all the events within the time allotted.  I hadn't expected that I'd have to increase my time in the gym in order to accomplish it.  In the past I've paid more attention to the number of calories burned than to distances completed.  I like having to think about the process differently.
My biggest May events are done (Relay and First Communion), and I'm working to get back into the fresh produce frame of mind for eating.  Though a kumquat from Trader Joe's yesterday was so sour that I flushed my poor taste buds with running water in the kitchen sink.  My 2-year-old thought it was hilarious.
On one of the few recent non-rainy days I had my first crack at my planned neighborhood exercise route, involving a small hill, some stairs, some sand, and some grass.  Unfortunately my aging dog who was with me was unable to cope with it, making it a very sad workout.  He and I will stick to sidewalks; and if the rain ever dries out the path I wanted to use, I'll have to do it by myself.
Last night I saw weekend photos of me, and was remotivated to continue shedding the fat.  Though swimsuit season may never arrive, I'd still like to look as nice in pictures as I do in my imagination.  How's that for crazy - for once I have it in my head that I looked nice.  I, the ugliest person I know, actually thought I looked nice, till I saw the pictures.
C'est la vie.  I'm alive, and I want to stay alive and healthy.  I'm going to keep working for it.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

May 15

How am I going to get going again tomorrow?  Friday & Saturday were Relay for Life and all that went with it.  Those days were also spent preparing our home for company as our middlest made her First Communion today.
I'm a little tired, too well fed, and wondering how I'm going to get myself back on track in the morning. 
Please send exercise vibes my way!