Saturday, August 31, 2013

A fond kiss goodbye to summer...

I can't believe that this is the last day of August.  I know that a lot of the country dealt with extreme weather conditions over the summer, especially the heat.  But not here.  This was an unusually cold and miserable summer, so it crushes me to see fall coming.

This summer, as you know, marked me being in maintenance for one year.  I'm pretty proud of myself.  While I certainly had my ups and downs, they were more mental then physical!  My weight really hovered within a 10 pound swing back and forth throughout the whole year.  I'm not completely sure what "normal" is, but that seems pretty freaking close!

So now, as summer says goodbye and we enter fall, I know that it is time for me to look at my life and re-evaluate my goals and objectives.

When I talk to my clients, we talk about how early recovery is a funny place to be.  Recovering addicts and alcoholics don't fit in with their old using crowd, but they also don't feel like they fit in either with those people that have never had an addiction.

I feel a little like that, too!  I'm not part of the obese and unhealthy, yet I still don't feel like I'm part of the "normal eater" club, either!!

So, tomorrow I run my 1/2 marathon and then will take some time to reflect on where my life goes from here!  But September is going to be a CRAZY month - I'm going to try to hang on and be flexible about where the ride takes me.  Flexibility and optimism are two things I am going to strive for!!

I hope that everyone out there is taking some time this long weekend to think about fall and what goals you have!  I'd love to hear about them!!

Oh! and P.S. - please send good vibes to me for the 1/2 tomorrow!!!!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

A little story...

I was just talking the other day to someone about this, and I don't think I ever shared this story with you.  Once again, it involves my dogs, so if you don't love dogs you're going to be bored!

This story dates back to right after my surgery last year.  It was the 2nd day of healing and it was relatively warm out.  Marc had to run in to get me some supplies and asked if I would be okay on my own if he biked in and back instead of driving.  I assured him I would.

So I hobbled out onto our back deck and got seated in the Adirondack chair.  

This type of chair was perfect post-surgery, because you bend at the wasit while sitting in it and that accomodated my hunched over position from the skin being sewed tight.  

You can see how when you sit in these chairs, you are bent at the waist.

I got settled in and Marc made sure I was okay, providing me with a blanket, my cell, something to drink and my tablet to entertain myself.  The dogs were out with me so they could play and hang out while I sat there.  Then Marc took off after I assured him that I would be fine.

So here I was in this chair, 2 days out of major surgery.  I dozed off, and the next thing I heard was some noise from right along the barbed wire fence line that separates our land from the land that our Amish neighbors own.  It was one of the young Amish boys leading a team of horses and spreading manure.  Since the smell of manure doesn't bother me, I was not upset about that, just that the noise had woken me up.

But suddenly I noticed that he had his dog running along with the team and the dog - who had not proved to be very friendly in the past - had slipped under the fence and had come halfway into our yard and was sniffing around the chicken coop.

From where I was sitting I looked over and the dog was right next to the door that the chickens use to get in and out.

Now, you should know that our house is built into a hill.  So our back deck is up a full story - here, let me show you...

This shows how the deck is elevated.

So when I looked over I thought "OH SHIT!" because both Chakotay and Archer were next to me and were staring at the dog, and Chakotay was emitting a low growl. The Amish kid was totally oblivious to his dog having come onto our property.  

Now my dogs are not aggressive.  But they are extremely protective of our property, and Chakotay especially does not back down from a fight.  And with that dog historically being not so friendly and being right next to where the chickens go in and out?  All I could think of is that there was NO CHANCE that if they went after that dog that I could even get up out of the seat, let alone get down the stairs and break up a dog fight!!

Both dogs ran to the edge of the deck and stopped at the top of the stairs.  I yelled at them to stay put.  They both halted where they were, still keeping a watchful eye on the intruder.

Both dogs stopped at the top of the stairs and remained there.

Finally, blissfully, the kid noticed that his dog was in our yard and yelled for the dog to come back to him and he did - crawling under the barbed wire and resuming his run alongside the horses.

As soon as the dog was back over the fence, my boys left the top of the stairs where they were sitting and came back over and laid down next to me.  I praised them profusely and sighed in relief.

When Marc got home I told him the story, marveling at the fact they didn't go flying down the stairs to chase the dog away.  As I was telling Marc the story, I realized something - THEY WERE BLOCKING THE TOP OF THE STAIRS.  

I am totally and completely convinced of this.  It wasn't just that they listen well - they knew I was hurt and they were making sure that they were preventing any chance of that dog getting up there and getting to me.

 Dogs are incredibly amazing and intuitive animals, and while they normally would have raced down in order to protect their property, their priority that day was protecting me!!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Having a dream...

Today marks the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech.  I thought about his speech and the dreams that he had for the world - some of which have been realized and some of which have not.  I also thought about my own dreams and what I have achieved and what still eludes me.

Here's the thing about dreams -  they are rarely handed to you.  I used to dream all the time about a different life.  A life where I wasn't fat.  Where I wasn't tired all the time.  Where I didn't hate myself every minute of every day.  

But I sat there waiting - waiting for someone else to make my dreams come true.  Every night I would go to bed and as I lay there I would promise myself that tomorrow would be different.  It's so easy to make promises like that when you don't have to actually DO anything.

The next day I would wake up and it would be the same all over again.  It wasn't until I realized that there was no person or thing or event that was going to make my dreams a reality until I began to do the work to make them happen.

So am I living my dreams?  Well, I'll tell you, my life is not perfect - not be any means.  I still have struggles and pain and days when I'm not happy.  But I'll tell you what - I have had more dreams come true then I ever imagined was possible.  

But it wasn't gifted to me.  Someone recently said to me - who wasn't aware of my history - she only knew me at the size I am now - that it is "So easy for you."  I seriously had a moment where I wanted to slap her.  Easy?  Are you kidding?

If this were easy, everyone would do it.  The question for us all is how hard are we willing to work to make our dreams a reality.  

The kids haven't gone back to school yet here, but they are all over a lot of the rest of the country.  Which means that people are flocking to the weight loss site - people wanting a new life.  And then I see the whining and crying that it is "so hard" and they've been at it 1 whole week and have "only" lost 1 pound... Seriously?

Do you want it?  How badly?  How hard are you willing to work today to make it happen?  

Monday, August 26, 2013

Making the impossible possible!

During this journey I have experienced so many things that I never thought possible.  Possible for others, certainly, but not for me.

I've wanted to lose weight for a LOOOONNNGGG time.  But I wanted to lose by some miracle potion, not by doing the work to lose it.  When I used to talk about "some day" getting motivated enough to actually do something about it, I would say that there were things I was willing to give up, but that I would NEVER give up Mountain Dew.  That was going to be my one vice that I would still indulge in.  

My last sip of that necter of the evil gods was May of 2010.

I joined the 3fatchicks weight loss site in November of 2010.  At the time I had lost 61 pounds, placing me at 283 pounds.  When you are setting up your profile it asks you your highest known weight, your current weight and your goal weight.  I can remember sitting at the computer staring.  I had no goal weight.  I truly hadn't thought about it.  I finally decided to enter 150.  It was a totally random number and I almost felt guilty entering those numbers because, even having lost some weight, the thought of getting under 200 - well, remember, I weighed over 200 my senior year of high school - I knew that it was impossible.  So I felt like a fraud entering 150 knowing that it wasn't going to happen.

I hit 199 pounds June of 2011.  And then January 2012, I hit 149.  

Did you guys know that I have a heart murmur?  Pulmonary stenosis.  It's a mild case and I used to have it checked every couple years as a kid, but was given the all clear by my 18th birthday.  And although I was never told that I needed to restrict my activity, I always used it as the excuse why I couldn't exercise.  It would be IMPOSSIBLE for me to do heavy cardio.

So when I started running - on the treadmill at 289 pounds - and thought that I would DIE after 2 minutes, I told myself that I just was not made for running.  And I ran anyway.  Then I ran a mile.  Then I ran 3.

But I got stuck there.  I just couldn't run more then 3 miles.  I just would shut down.  Ok, so 3 was my limit, right?  It was impossible for me to run more.  Then my friend Sal, the marathon runner, told me that he would make me run more.  So he ran with me and when we got to 3 and I wanted to quit, he wouldn't let me and we ran 3.5.  A small but significant increase.

But I was never going to be a "real runner".  And double digits?  Forget that!  Until one day I decided to try to run 10 miles and I did.  

But I was a slow runner, and knew that I would never speed up.  My first mile outside took me 16 minutes to run, after all.  And then last month I ran a 10K in under 48 minutes and WON FIRST PLACE in a field of over 70.  

And how about food?  I've always been a picky eater and I've never did anything more then basic - VERY BASIC - cooking.  So there was no way I was going to experiment with new food and recipes in my late 30's, right?  

So how the heck is it me learning about healthy foods, trying new foods - some of which I had never ever HEARD of let alone eaten - and liking them to boot.  Who is this person planting a full garden and trying healthy recipes all the time??

Oh, that would be ME!

So STOP thinking things are impossible.  Change is right there - just beyond your reach!  Keep striving and working and BELIEVING in yourself.  You will change "I can't do this" into "Holy shit!  Look what I did!"

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Appreciating accomplishments...

It's funny how I see my accomplishments differently then other people.  There are so many things that I'm like so impressed with myself and other people are like - yeah, so?  And then there's other things that I don't think are a big deal at all that other people are impressed with.

Today I ran 12 miles.  I set off to do 10, hoping my Achilles would hold out.  And I'm delighted to tell you that I felt GREAT.  I even smoked a great time - including under an 8 minute mile on the last mile when I felt like I was flying.  Usually I am fatigued by the end of a long run like that and my mile time sucks, but not today!

So you're thinking - yes, that is an accomplishment, right?

But that's not the biggest deal for me this weekend!  And when you hear what it is you are going to laugh.

Marc and I took the dogs to our local park yesterday.  And as we were walking them we detoured a little through a path they have where there are all these fitness stations.  One of the fitness stations had monkey bars.

You know what monkey bars are, right?  

And I said to Marc - "Do you think I can do those?"  And he said "Try it!"

You see, when I was a kid, the place to hang out was the playground.  And they had monkey bars there.  And I used to watch all the other kids swing from bar to bar and I was so jealous.  Because all I could do was HANG there - arms pressed against the side of my head - I wasn't going anywhere.  I was fat with no upper body strength, so swinging along the monkey bars - no way.

So yesterday I climbed those bottom rungs and grasped the bar.  And I took a deep breath and let myself hang from the first bar.  I hung there for a minute and looked over at Marc who was watching me expectantly, and the dogs that were also watching with a "What the fuck is she doing?" expression.

And I hung there, almost afraid to move - afraid I would fail.  And then I reached out and grasped the next bar.  And the next and the next.  I swung all the way across that mother-fucker and it was GLORIOUS!  

Not much of an accomplishment to some, but to me it was so more then a few monkey bars....

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hey! Go me!

So I'm pretty proud of myself this morning.  As you know I was clearly very upset yesterday.  And when I get in a whiny ass little bitch mode, it usually takes me quite a while to come out of it.

Not so this time!  I came home yesterday and pouted for a bit, and I acted like the drama queen that I am.  Then I did an hour of Yoga - good for the mind and good to stretch things out.  Then I went out and picked a load of veggies from the garden to have with dinner.  Dinner consisted of healthy items.  I did not eat my emotions!!

Wanna see dinner?

Cucumbers, tomatoes, fresh basil, watermelon, and corn on the cob.  All picked fresh from the garden.  The pork tenderloin is NOT from our garden ;)

Last evening I diligently spent at least an hour while watching TV foam rolling the Achilles as well as the calves, hamstrings, IT band, quads and the bottom of my foot.  And guess what.  It barely hurt.  I DIDN'T EVEN LIMP getting up this morning.

Don't get me wrong - it is still swollen and if I palpate it, it hurts.  So I'm not fixed.  But if one day of rest can do this, then I think I'm going to be okay.

So, Drama Queen Jen, here's the deal.  You are not permanently injured.  You need to get through the next couple of weeks, nursing this injury, taking it easy and being smart about it so you are able to run the races you are scheduled for.  Then you'll have to re-assess and maybe even take some time off running.

And let's put this in perspective - your worst case scenario is that you would have to give up running.  Which would SUCK.  And you would be devastated.  But you would be alive and healthy which is a hell of a lot more then a lot of people out there have!!!

So, I'm in the hippy-dippy "power of positive thinking" mode today!  

What are you grateful for today?

Friday, August 23, 2013

The crash!

Well, I knew it was going to happen.  After flying high for a long time, I've had the inevitable crash.  I'm not totally down in the dumps, but I'm not doing so hot, either.

There's a couple of things going on.  The first is that we are nearing the end of the summer.  I have a touch of Seasonal Affective Disorder that kicks in in late August every year.  And I'm really feeling it this year.  I've noticed the sun is going down early and walking through the grass in the morning to my SUV there is that heavy dew that just lingers on.

I hate to think of fall approaching, especially since this summer was SO terrible weather wise.  Cold, cold, cold.  I feel like I have been cheated.

Part of Seasonal Affective Disorder involves a tendency to overeat and extreme cravings for carby foods.  And boy, have I been feeling it this week.  I am just HUNGRY all the time.  I've been trying to keep it in check, but I apparently haven't been successful because my weight is up by a couple of pounds.

I think all of this would be manageable if I wasn't battling this Achilles Tendonitis.  Yesterday, I ran the course for the 10K I'm doing on September 7th.  So I only went 6.2 miles.  And today the Achilles is BAD.  I'm in a LOT of pain and there is a huge lump.

I brought my running gear and thought about toughing out a short and slow lunch run, but I think I am not going to do that and instead will walk instead.  If it were only as simple as this.  

So only running 3 days this week - AGAIN - tiggers feelings of EXTREME anxiety and guilt and fear.  I am actually typing this with tears in my eyes.  

Send me some good vibes, my friends, would you?

 I hope so...

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Tell me sweet little lies...

Last night Marc and I were watching the show "Do No Harm".  Don't bother to look it up because they canceled it :((  Anyway, the series involves doctors and in last night's episode there was a man with a mass in his brain.  There were 2 doctors there talking to him about it and one was trying to be optimistic and soften the blow when talking about surgery and aftercare while the other doctor - more of a blunt realist - was trying to prepare them for the worst.

The partner of the man with the brain mass said to the first doctor "We don't need to be comforted!  We need to know what we're in for."  Or something to that effect.

And that got me thinking - am I the type that would like to be coddled a little in that situation or would I want to hear the worst case scenario so I could be prepared?

And then I thought about a thread recently on the Runner's World forums where someone asked if all runners lied to themselves.  He was talking specifically about doing something like "promising himself" that he would only have to run 4 miles instead of 6 or something like that to get himself out the door.  

I laughed when I read that thread, because I do that ALL THE TIME.  I'll be dreading getting dressed to go run and I'll makes deals with myself, like "You only have to run 5 miles" or "If you want to stop, you can just walk instead of run".  Or in the evenings when I don't feel like weight lifting I'll say, "Well, just go down for 1/2 hour and take it easy."  Once I'm out the door and actually DOING it, I almost always do exactly what I originally planned, but those "lies" help to get my ass in gear.

On that thread, the field seemed about split.  There were others who lie or bargain with themselves.  Then there is another group who say that they NEVER do that, because if they make that "deal" they will end up taking the easier way out.

I once had a friend who was a terrible alcoholic.  He quit and struggled MIGHTILY, so he PROMISED himself that when he had 5 years clean and sober he would get sloppy ass drunk.  By the time 5 years rolled around, he decided he didn't want to drink.  I know that wouldn't work for everyone.

So is it healthy to lie to yourself or not?    

Gawd I miss House!  Anywho.  When I was fat, I lied to myself all the time - call it denial or lies, I did it.  I mean, I'd be watching football and they'd put up stats of a 6'2" LINEBACKER and I weighed MORE THEN HE DID and I would still tell myself that I wasn't that overweight.

Or I'd try to convince myself that my weight was not effecting my health.  Or that I wasn't eating that much more then a "normal" person.  

And I hear other people lying to themselves - the scale went up 2 pounds "But I was wearing a heavy shirt when I weighed in."  Or telling themselves that they had a "tiny" piece of cake and it couldn't have been more then 50 calories.  Or that the "little nibble" here and there is not effecting her weight.

Yeah, sure.  

So those lies are clearly not to our advantage.  But then maybe some self-delusion is good.

I mean, I had to be pretty delusional to think I could lose this much weight.  And those "Polyannas" out there that simply REFUSE to think the worst, even when faced with overwhelming odds against them?  That's pretty spectacular, I think.  I once had a psychology professor who said the world sucks pretty bad and it's the people who see things clearly that are depressed.  The happiest people are those that are somewhat delusional.   

And if telling myself the lie - to get my ass out the door - works?  What's wrong with that?  

My current PROMISE to myself is that when I turn 70 I'm going to resume eating like a PIG.  And I'm going to gain weight and I don't give a shit.  

Will I do it?  I'll let you know in about 30 years!  

What lies - healthy or unhealthy - are you telling yourself?

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Diet fatigue

During this journey it's easy to get diet fatigue.  You become sick and tired of counting every calorie, getting on the scale with a mixture of dread and hope, depriving yourself while everyone else indulges - I can go on and on.

There is nothing wrong with taking a diet break.  If you are getting so frustrated and discouraged that it is making you miserable, it might be time for that break.  

There are a few things to consider, though.  Are you taking a LONG break?  If so, you should try eating maintenance calories.  See what you body thinks about eating the amount you plan to eat pretty much forever.

OR, are you taking a 1 or 2 day break?  That's what I did on rare occasions on my way down and it's what I do now.  In that case it's usually okay to over-indulge - by a LOT.

Here are the important things to consider - are you the type of person that can eat really badly - lots of sweets and carbs - and get back on track?  Or does eating something like that send you off the rails for a long time?  Only you know your history and what carby sweets do to you.  For me, I can eat that type of stuff and then it satisfies me for weeks afterwards.  But for some people it triggers something in their brain and LOOK OUT.

So will you be able to get on track after taking a break?  Are you mentally prepared to gain some weight?  Those are tough but real questions you have to ask.

And while we're on it, no decision you make has to be a FINAL FOREVER THIS IS IT decision.  If you choose to maintain for a while that is PERFECTLY fine.  Even if you have not arrived at your original goal weight.  Even if you are not the same weight as other people you see.  And guess what?  If you gain a few pounds, that is not forever, either!!

Some people are perfectly happy and healthy being ABOVE the ideal BMI.  And that is totally and completely ok.  If you have lost 5, 10, 50, 100 pounds, you have done FANTASTIC.  You have made sacrifices that other people never have and never will make.  

So take a breath, evaluate where you are.  Make some decisions, but remember, they are NOW decisions, not FOREVER decisions.  And please, be nice to yourself.

It makes me so sad to see people angry and frustrated with themselves and berating themselves for not being perfect.  Give yourself a hug for me!!

Monday, August 19, 2013


I was watching ABC News last night and there was a young man on there who was shot several times at the movie theater in Aurora, Colorado last summer.  This guy was biking across the country when he stopped to take in a movie.  He was shot in the neck, arm and chest and, as there always seems to be someone in horrific cases like this, he miraculously survived.

He is in the news now because he has set out to finish his ride and accomplish what he was originally setting out to do.  In the interview I saw, he was so positive and made a comment that he actually didn't mind the scars because every day when he looks in the mirror it reminds him that he is lucky to be alive and that he should live life to the fullest.


Every single day when I look in the mirror I see a lot of scars.  From childhood accidents, to a chicken pox scar to the scars from my most recent running fall, they are all written there.  But by far, the biggest and most noticeable scar I see is the one that surrounds my body in a circle from having the excess skin removed.

Every day I have thought of it as constant reminder of what a failure I was most of my life.  An "in your face" reminder that I was such a fat, out of control loser that I required MAJOR SURGERY to fix what I had done to myself.

But what if I have been thinking of it wrong?  What if I took the attitude of this young man who sees his very visable scars as TRIUMPH rather then tragedy?  What if I look at that scar and say to myself that I finally got it right.  I made a choice to EXTEND my life and have more QUALITY in that life as well as quantity.

Looking at the pictures Marc took at the beach, I focused on my stretch marks and the disgusting amount of loose skin covering my thighs that hide the wonderful muscle I have under there.  And I thought about how UGLY I look and I wished that Marc could have an incredibly attractive wife.  But rather then see these imperfections as deformities to disgust me maybe I should think of them of reminders of where I have been and how lucky I am to be where I am now.

I am certain that many of you out there also struggle with the scars you wear on your body.  For those of you who have had children, do you see your stretch marks as a disfigurement or do they remind you that you created and carried a wonderful life inside you?

Do you see that scar on your arm as a reminder of accident that you lament or does it tell you you are lucky to be alive?

I think that it would be wonderful to get to that place of acceptance and gratefulness rather then the constant judging and self-hatred that I still have over my appearance.  And it's all about changing perception now, isn't it?  

Thoughts on your scars?  

Sunday, August 18, 2013

How about some updates?

So, I thought I would give you some updates today!  I ate some salt laden bagel chips with dinner last night and found my weight up today.  I am trying really hard to not let this effect me the way it used to, but we went to the beach yesterday and Marc took a couple pics and I totally picked apart the parts of my body that I just HATE.  I did like this picture Marc took of me with the dogs, but there is still so much about me that I wish I could change!!

After taking Friday off of running I was still unsure how my Achilles would be today.  So I headed out for my run and there is good news and bad news.  The good news is that the opposite knee was COMPLETELY fine - PHEW!  The bad?  The Achilles was talking the whole run.  Not PAIN, but a dull aching.  I still managed to pull out 15 miles and was pretty happy about this!  I am confident now that I might have to rest, but will be able to run my 1/2 marathon in 2 weeks.  

After getting back from running, I iced while eating lunch and it wasn't bothering my too bad, but, later, after an hour and a half of being on it weeding and harvesting some veggies, there was definite pain - so I bit the bullet and took some Ibuprofen and got off of it and relaxed.

Ok, the second update is on the chickens.  Did I post here about getting a new rooster?  Well we did.  Instead of a Bantam (small) breed, we ended up getting a young Jersey Giant.  We have never had this breed either rooster or chicken, but they are very large.  We have not had any predator problems (KNOCK ON WOOD) since the foxes were relocated, but I am hoping a larger rooster might be more intimidating to any potential predator.  

He is just learning to crow, but clearly takes his job as protector quite seriously.  He even tried to chase Archer the other day.  That was pretty funny.  He is a nice looking boy, though!  And this breed is known to be friendly so theoretically we won't have to worry about him getting aggressive with us or anyone else, including our young nieces and nephews - especially since we will be relying on people to "chicken sit" when we go on vacation!

 Since he is a "Jersey Giant" we have taken to calling him Tony Soprano!

Here he is with one of our hens - a Brahma which is also a large breed.

Finally, I wanted to update you on Chakotay.  We have continued to work diligently on his weight issues.  It is so hard for me to call him away when he is eating.  :(  He just can't understand.  Even though I know it is best for him, it still sucks.

BUT, his original measurements on May 28th were 36" in his chest and 28" on his waist.  I measured him today and his chest was 34" and his waist was 24"!!  I think a 2 and 4 inch loss in less then 3 months is pretty impressive!!

And we have noticed and comment all the time how much more energy he has and how the heat bothers him less then it used to.  He has a very short nose, so the heat is always going to bother him more then some dogs, but he is doing much better on long walks and just in general in the hot weather.  He now chases Archer around the yard and yesterday we were amazed  at his stamina and playfulness in the water!!

The boys played for HOURS in the water - jumping into the water and retrieving their frisbee and other water toys!

I took a pic today - to me the difference is definitely noticeable.  This is going to be a continual battle, but, just like with me, I'm going to have to work at it with him!

Friday, August 16, 2013

Betrayed by your own body....

Just about everyone out there has experienced this, I imagine.  Being betrayed be their own body.  I experienced this on the way down the scale.  You all know what it is like - being PERFECTLY on plan - eating right, exercising and day after day after day, the scale. won't. budge.

It is incredibly frustrating.  I am going through this right now - not in weight loss but my body betraying me.  I dealt last winter with my IT Band acting up.  And then that resolved.  But this nasty Achilles Tendonitis just won't go away.  But I feel like I've been managing it while still trying to make sure I'm in shape for the 1/2 marathon in (gulp!) 2 weeks.

So yesterday, I headed out for my run and not only was the Achilles screaming, but the knee on my other frigging leg started to bother me!!  What the fuck??!!!  OMG I am so upset.

So today I brought my running gear to work but all morning the knee and Achilles were achy.  Not bad, but I was fearful what would happen if I tried to run.  So when Marc - who was in the area running some errands and taking his father to the doctor's - asked if I wanted to join them in a local park for lunch I said yes.

Speaking of Marc's father, he is betrayed by his body as well.  I noticed at the party and then again today how truly SHARP he is for 95 years old!  Like most old people, he has his quirks and can be stubborn and irrational.  But cognitively he is really on the ball!!

But he has a bad hip.  A really bad hip.  And at his age, there ain't NO doctor out there who is going to put him under and do major surgery - he likely would never recover from that.  So it's sad to see this man who has been so active his whole life and who still has a ton of energy and is so "with it"  - he can hardly walk.  And you can tell he is in pain but tries to either not let it bother him, or not let us see it, or both.

Anyway, so intellectually I KNOW that I need to rest my body.  But it's just not in me any more - rest = evil/fat/lazy in my mind.  Plus my thinking is totally irrational - it's like there is a part of me who is bound and determined that I can force my body to get with the program if I just ignore the pain.  So I come back from having lunch with Marc and Dad and spend the afternoon feeling sick to my stomach and panicky and riddled with guilt for not running over lunch.

Which meant that the minute I got home I threw the collars on the dogs and took them on a 6 mile walk.

Sigh....  No lectures please!!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Mind your own business....

I've been thinking about this a lot since last Saturday.  You know how they say "There's nothing worse then an ex-smoker"?  As far lecturing others about their smoking.  Does the same go for the formerly obese?

I can't help myself now.  I watch what others eat.  And I hate to say that there is some judgement involved.  Not as far as people's weights most of the time, but when I watch people - fat or thin - eat really processed or bad foods, I do think about how terrible it is for them, etc.

But normally, I know that it's none of my business.  If someone asks for my advice or input - well, that's different.  And being...delicate...?  Not my style.  They get my opinion - right in the face.  

What about non-strangers - family or friends that aren't asking for my advice?  This came in to play during our get together on Saturday with Marc's family.  He has a family member who always been on the heavy side, but had gotten into working out and lost some weight.  The doctor had told him that, given a family history of diabetes and heart problems, even though he was young, he really needed to do something about his weight because he was playing with fire.  Unfortunately, he has fallen back into old and unhealthy habits and has gained back weight and more.

I noticed that he took a sausage patty and a hot dog.  Then he went back for another hot dog.  Then, when everyone else had stopped eating and were visiting, he went and got a turkey burger.  And what was concerning was not so much what and how much he was eating, but how he sounded.  He sat down close to me while eating that turkey burger and he was almost...panting.  He sounded so out of breath.  Then as dessert was served, I watched as he went into the screened gazebo where we had the food and just CRAMMED two cupcakes in his mouth. 

He obviously was barely tasting and not even enjoying the food by doing that.  Ug... I remember those days!

I'm noticing and commenting on stuff like this not because I have any desire to judge him, but I am genuinely concerned for his health!  And I asked Marc if he thought that I should say take this person aside some time and have a heart to heart with him.

And I think back to the recent past and my obesity.  NO ONE - not a doctor, friend, or family member - ever took me to the side and had a sit down with me about my weight.  I wonder what my reaction would have been if they had.  I know I would have felt terribly ashamed.  And probably defensive.  Would I have been angry?  Would it have caused me to change anything?  I honestly don't know.  I don't know what made me finally "get it" and start losing in the first place.  So I certainly don't know if someone said to me that they cared about me and were worried about my health if that would have prodded me into making a life change.

So I still am torn between wanting to help - not just this person, but others that I care about - and my belief that I should mind my own damn business because they will change when - and if - they are ready...

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Let's stop the war!

I am starting to realize this.  For so much of my life, I have been in a battle with my own body.  And then I began this journey and started to see food as an enemy.  It's a difficult place to be - I need food to live, but to constantly be battling it is exhausting.

But my perspective has changed and now in maintenance is slowly changing even more.  As I've moved away from eating things that are overly processed and terrible for the body I've gotten some perspective.  I admire people that can see food only for what it is - FUEL.  And they live that way.  But for me, food is also pleasure.  I love eating - I love the taste of a really great meal.  

So, that brings me to some things that I have also realized - if you are eating the right things, you can eat an awful lot and not gain weight.  Last night - after dinner - I went outside and was harvesting from our garden.  As I plucked some newly ripened cherry tomatoes off the vine, I ate a few.  And they were delicious!  No guilt afterwards - they have very few calories and were a pleasure to devour.

I am OWNING my love of food.  I recently got a headband for running that says "I RUN SO I CAN EAT".  It's supposed to be funny but there's a hell of a lot of truth in that - not just for me, but for many others as well.  

Which brings me to another point.  You can "get away" with eating a lot if you are exercising.  I am a very short woman in her 40's.  And I eat an average of 1800 calories a day and am maintaining my weight.  That's a lot of food.  And I enjoy every minute of it. 

Yesterday I found out that the half marathon that I am running in September has a "recovery tent".  It is sponsored by a local chocolate milk maker, Panera Bread, JRECK Subs and Chobani Yogurt.  I was immediately DELIGHTED and EXCITED to think about all the food that will be available for me to scarf down after the race.  

My first thought was that this shows that I'll never think of food like a "normal" person.  But then I said to myself "The hell with that!"  I'll burn approximately 1100 calories on that run and I will be gluttonous after the race!  It doesn't make me fucked up in the head.  I get that now.  

It's ok to do "naughty" things at times.  Sometimes we act like idiots while on vacation in a town where we're never going to see anyone we know.  We act like fools doing the "Electric Slide" at weddings.  

So it's ok that once and a while I eat wayyyyy tooooo muucccch - or something that isn't 100% healthy.  If I do it all the time?  Well then there's a problem and I will pay for it.  Just as if you acted at work the way you acted while on vacation in Las Vegas!  But once and a while.  Hell to the yes!

I believe that today!    

Monday, August 12, 2013

Obsession, vigilance, and quality of life...

On the weight loss site that I am on, there is a discussion going on about obsession versus vigilance when it comes to those of us that have lost a lot of weight.  The question is where does one draw the line between being "obsessed" with activities related to maintaining our weight and not regaining and where is it simple vigilance?

Many times I - as well as others on the site - have heard from acquaintences, friends and even family members that we are "obsessed" with eating right and/or exercising.  What does that mean?  Personally, I believe that obesity is a disease.  It is a disease for me that I have not "cured" but rather I'm in remission from it right now.  I have not yet met anyone who was truly obese who lost the weight and now doesn't have to take measures that "normal" people don't have to to maintain the weight loss.  Maybe they are out there, but I haven't met them yet.

So I guess I compare this to the diabetic who has to check his or her sugar and check labels for sugar content.  Or how about the person with Celiac Disease?  Are they "obsessed" when they check to make sure something is gluten free?  I worked with a woman whose daughter had a severe nut allergy.  So before she would bring something home for her she would ask, ask and ask again - "Are you SURE this does not have nuts in it?"  Is that obsessive or vigilant?

I told a story on the site about last summer.  Marc and I were on vacation.  We were in a touristy area and there were ice cream stands all over.  I had literally not had ice cream in over a year - and I LOOOOVVVEEE ice cream.  I began crying - yes actually CRYING - because I wanted some ice cream SO BAD but it was not "allowed".  I did not see it then, but now I can see it for what it is, my friends, obsessive and unhealthy.  If my standards are so rigid that I break down in TEARS over a food?  

On the other side of the coin would be wanting to know which restaurant we are going out to eat so that I can check the menu and calorie counts of some of the dishes.  THAT is being vigilant.  It doesn't cause stress and drama and fear, it is just part of the management of my disease.

The same goes for exercise - I am vigilant about making sure that I exercise daily.  But when I get to the point where I am having severe anxiety or can't adjust my plans?  That is obsessive.  I am slowly getting better about this!

I have to remind myself, sometimes several times a day, that I worked HARD to lose this weight.  I don't ever want to gain it back.  But I also don't want to be so focused on NOT gaining that I lose sight of the whole reason for losing weight in the first place - to have a better life!

What are your thoughts on obsession versus vigilance?

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Just enjoy the ride!

That's what I'm telling myself today!  I continue to feel so awesome.  But then there's the part of me - which I know I get from my mother (Thanks Mom!) that is the pessimist.  That part of me says that I can't continue to ride high without an inevitable crash!

After going to the work related get together and eating way too much, my weight spiked as I knew it would.  But then I hopped on the scale yesterday and it was really low.  So we hosted a family picnic for Marc's father's 95th birthday, and I again ate too much BUT I was successful in stopping before I really pigged out.

And, even better, everyone seemed to have a wonderful time at the party.  It was relaxed and everyone got to sit down and chat and catch up.  
Then, even after being exhausted from the day, I got a second burst of energy.  My mother went down south to visit my Aunt Karla last month and she had sent back some clothes - really nice ones - for me.  (Thanks so much Karla <3 )   I went through my closet to make room for the new clothes and pulled out some that I just know I'm never going to wear and put them in a bag to bring to a friend from work and got the closet all cleaned up.  Where the heck did that energy come from? 

Still I was worried about running this morning, because usually my body is not enthused about a long run after eating way too much.  AND I was on my feet all day and I am still nursing my Achilles tendinitis which is better but not great.

I was a bit timid starting my run.  I have the half marathon coming up and really wanted to hit 13 miles today, but was unsure what my body would think about that plan.  It ended up I felt GREAT!  I was listening to a Stephen King audio book and both my body and mind felt great.  It was windy, but otherwise perfect running weather - around 70 degrees and low humidity.  I easily ran 14 miles and could have kept going, but decided not to push it.

After lunch Marc and I even laid in the hammock for a while.  Yes, I could have been doing something more productive, but there is value in rest, right?

I am telling myself that this IS possible.  I can be someone who maintains their weight loss and feels good and in control of their lives.  So I am challenging myself to just enjoy this ride and to stop myself from thinking that the other shoe is about to drop!!!

I have a wish for everyone out there who is reading this.  I WISH that everyone out there could feel as good as I have for the last couple of weeks.  That feeling can be achieved!!  I hope you are striving for it and believing!

Friday, August 9, 2013

Product review: Yoplait Greek Yogurt Bars

I recently got a coupon for Yoplait Greek Yogurt bars and decided to give them a shot.  They currently come in 2 different flavors - Honey Caramel and Raspberry.  I bought mine at Walmart and they were $3.98 for 6 bars.

I first tried the honey caramel.  Opening it up it is a fairly large bar - you can see the honey and caramel swirls thoughout the bar.

Now for the tasting - OH YUM!!!  The frozen yogurt is thick and creamy with a deliciously sweet taste.  The yogurt is nice and thick and has a compareable texture to ice cream.  Getting into the honey and caramel I found a nice mixture of both flavors which you could clearly taste both.  They were tantalizingly sweet and delicious.

The yogurt holds up well and didn't melt too fast even though when I first tried it, it was an extremely hot evening.

Next I tried the raspberry:

The same smooth creamy yogurt was present in this one.  However, I didn't like the raspberry flavor itself very well at all.  Getting down into the raspberry, I found that rather then a nice sweet berry taste, it almost had a bitter flavor.  I wonder if people that don't like really sweet things would like this?  But I was not a fan.

My one complaint with both of these bars is where to top swirl is, the bar has broken off in a LARGE CHUNK every time I've eaten it.  For me, I like to slowly eat and savor a treat like this, so I don't want a huge piece breaking off while I'm eating it.

See the thick top swirl?  That breaks off and you are left with a mouth full of the whole top section.

Overall, though, I gotta say that as someone who LOVES ice cream but has given it up, this is a wonderful substitute.  I can't believe that they can pack all this goodness into only 90 calories for the honey caramel and 80 for the raspberry!

These yogurt bars have little fat, not much sodium, a good shot of protein, and healthy ingredients.  I highly recommend the honey caramel and I'm really hopeful that Yoplait will come out with some new flavors!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Trying something new....

It's easy during this journey to get stuck in a rut - eating the same foods, doing the same thing day after day - no wonder we get bored and lose motivation.  I run the same route all the time and I often think that I need to change it up!  I haven't yet, but it might make getting out there a little more fun.

I have, though, during this journey, tried new foods that I had never eaten before.  Things like quinoa, barley, eggplant, tomatoes, oatmeal, okra, spinach, scallops, sweet potatoes, kale, lettuce OTHER then iceburg, yogurt - some of these I had never HEARD of let alone eaten!  Or I'd tried them once years ago, decided I didn't like them and never tried them again.   Now these healthy foods are a staple in my diet!  

It is much better for me then eating ground beef and white potatoes and corn for dinner 3 nights per week like I did in my past!!  Not only is it healthier, but learning about varied foods has allowed me to lose weight without eating salads every day (although I do love my salads!) and getting bored and antsy.

Yesterday I tried something new the exercise department!  My boss had a summer party for everyone at work.  Marc and I got there early and decided to try kayaking on the small lake that he lives on.  What a frigging blast it was!  

I found that I took to it like I had been kayaking for years!  That's one thing about being fit - when it comes to new activities, I find them much easier!  There is a short learning curve!

What great fun as well as a great upper body workout!  I have never thought that I would be interested in kayaking but wow! this totally sold me!  

Marc got out there, too, although he is not as comfortable on the water since he can't swim, so he wasn't quite as adventurous as I was.  But these things are really stable and with a life jacket he felt pretty comfortable,  Now my task is to convince him that the dogs can be trained to sit calmly in the boat and - if I can sell him on that and get the boys to comply - we might have a new hobby!! 

Either way, my point is this - you never know where this journey is going to take you.  Don't limit yourself!  Keep an open mind, be adventurous!  Live life on the edge!  Climb a mountain, travel to a foreign country,  try something you never thought you would.  PUSH YOUR BOUNDARIES.  It's great for body, mind and spirit!!  And, as of today today, it's become a new goal for me!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Personality and weight loss

When I was taking classes for my Master's Degree, we had a class about personality types.  No, not the Myers-Briggs, this had more to do with personality types working together towards a goal.  There were four personality types:

Type I personalities are those that want everyone to get along.  They avoid conflict and want everyone to end up happy about the decisions that are made.

Type II personalities are the "by the books" type people.  They research everything exhaustingly and hesititate to make decisions before they know everything about a situation.  

Type III personalities are "do-ers".  They are the type that just grabs the bull by the horn and start a project when maybe they are only partially informed.  

Type IV personalities are the dreamers.  They envision what else could be done.  Sometimes they get so caught up in their fantasies about how things could be that they don't even get started.

When I took this test, I fell pretty solidly in Type III.  

What does this have to do with weight loss?  A lot actually.  I feel pretty lucky about my ignorance going into this.  I had never really tried losing weight - not seriously - before I started in 2010.  And so when I decided, I just decided and blindly began.  I had not researched diets or plans or how many calories to eat or how much water to drink or anything like that.  I literally just thought to myself - "Well, if I eat less and exercise more I'll lose weight, right?"  I DID NOT have a goal weight in mind.  I had no idea how much weight I "should" be losing per week.  I just changed some things and began losing.  

Everything I know not comes from researching afterwards.  In some ways this is why maintaining has been more of a mind-fuck then the losing weight was - I am too educated now!  My brain totally gets in the way!!

So what is your personality type and how can it get in the way?  

If you are a people pleasing Type I, you might find yourself unable to lose weight because you are too worried about other people.  You might be putting everyone else ahead of you.  You don't exercise because you are too busy waiting on other people.  Or you don't stand up for yourself when your family wants to order a big greasy pizza because you avoid conflict.  It also hurts you really bad when someone makes remarks to you about your weight or your journey and it sets you back.  

If you are this personality, you need to stand up for yourself.  Don't take any shit and carve out time in the day to take care of yourself.  No more being a doormat!  

If you are a Type II personality, you probably know the details of every diet out there.  You know exactly about calories and how much weight you "should" be losing each week.  You get caught up in precise measuring and obsessing about portion size.  You want to know EXACTLY how many calories you burned per workout session.  This can hinder you because the body doesn't always respond how the math says it should.  You won't always lose 2 pounds per week and you can get discouraged easily.  Also, you might find yourself jumping from diet plan to diet plan - intermittent fasting, low carb, paleo, weight watchers - in order to find the perfect plan.

If you are this personality, you need to turn off your brain for a while.  Stop reading so much and listen to your body.  Realize that this is not going to happen overnight.

Type III personalities, like me, don't look before we leap.  We bull headedly charge into something without thinking it through.  That often means we don't have a plan.  We can get easily sidetracked.  We are also vulnerable to jumping into the latest fad because it sounds good.  We are also prone to making impulsive decisions in eating and regretting them later because we didn't think it through.  We are also prone to injury from leaping head first into an exercise program without regard to working ourselves up to a certain level of fitness.  Counting calories, weighing meals - those are too boring for us!

Us type III's need to slow down.  If you are this personality, you need to take a breath before acting.  Do some research before jumping into things and recognize that you are going to have to have patience to make this work.

Type IV personalities have little tolerance for the journey.  They are the ones that are constantly thinking about what they are going to do when they hit their goal weight.  They have elaborate plans of trips they will be taking, clothes they are going to buy and spend a lot of time day dreaming of how their lives will be when they are thin.  That can be a detriment because the person does not put in the work that they need to to get to their goals.  They have little patience for counting calories and want to see results immediately and weight loss doesn't work like that!

If you are this type you need to take a step back and a deep breath.  Having goals and rewards in mind is wonderful, but if you weigh 250 pounds and are thinking so far ahead, it can be incredibly discouraging how long the process takes.  Setting smaller goals and enjoying small parts of the journey will serve you well!

No one is going to change their fundamental personality.  I never counted calories or weighed my food until I had to.  And it helped me get through the last part of my journey.  Knowing how your personality can be either help or hinder your success, can make you aware and able to modify your instincts in order to reach your ultimate goals!!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Getting into a rhythm...

Is it possible?  Could I really be getting this?  Since I hit one year maintenance last week, I've been remarkably at peace over the last week.

I have managed to not obsess about calories.  I think I might have actually had 1 or 2 days where I didn't mentally try to calculate how many calories I had eaten that day.

After the 10K they had a pancake breakfast.  And I ate some chocolate chip pancakes.  Without then berating myself for it.  I felt almost....normal.

Then came yesterday.  I had planned to run.  However, because I had run so hard on Saturday, my achilles was killing me.  So I decided that even though I might be able to push through the pain and run, that this would be stupid and that I needed to rest it.  I'm not going to lie - there was some anxiety involved in this.  But, it was better then it usually is.

I am becoming optimistic that living a healthy lifestyle is becoming a routine reality for me.  I am seeing a glimmer of hope that I can just live my life as a real person that doesn't constantly obsess about food and exercise and calories.  The line between dedication and obsession is a fine one, I think.

Right now I feel that I am just riding a wave of calmness and inner peace and satisfaction.

How long can this last?  I don't know.  I wish I had the confidence that it is a permanent state of mind and body, but as soon as the scale spikes up for one reason or another, or I miss an exercise routine or it will probably drive me batshit again.  We'll see....

Oh, and I wanted to add something.  It is interesting how long the mind takes to catch up sometimes.  I was in Walmart yesterday.  And as I walked by an aisle, I heard a young woman talking to her boyfriend and I wasn't really listening but then heard the words "SO FAT!"  INSTANTLY, the old feelings of shame and anxiety came on, because they were clearly talking about me, right?  And then I was like"Oh, yeah" - I realized that no one would be talking about me using that phrase anymore.  

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Yet another 10K!

You guys are sick of hearing about my running right?

I ran another 10K this morning.  My alarm went off 10 minutes earlier then when I get up for work fer Pete's Sake!  I used to sleep in on Saturdays until at least 10AM.  Where is that woman??

This race was to benefit neurofibromatosis research.  You probably have never heard of that disease by name, but you do know it.  It's what John Merrick, also known as "The Elephant Man" likely had.  

I ran this race last year as well - it was BLISTERING hot last year.  I remember people stopped at water stops just looking like they were dying.  Today was very different.  It was sunny and very windy - once again, this run was along the water in Pillar Point.  But it was COOL.  Only about 65 degrees when we started running.  

Perfect running for some, but too cool for me!

So, how did I do?  I REALLY pushed myself HARD this race - I so wanted to come in first again.  So my time - for me - was killer - 46:49.  BUT I could not catch the girl in front of me and so I placed 2nd for females.  Damn it!

In looking at the results, the girl who beat me is 21 - a full 20 years younger then me, so I guess I shouldn't feel too awful bad - and in a field of over 70, I did place 5th overall...

My Achilles felt really good during the race, but I imagine I will pay for it tomorrow for pushing so hard. 

  Here I am with my medal!

I won a sweatshirt for coming in second!

So I have a month now before my next race - another 1/2 marathon.  Hopefully my tendonitis will be healed by then!

To learn more about neurofibromatosis or to donate, please go to

Friday, August 2, 2013

Things I love: My Foam Roller

Last winter when I developed IT Band Syndrome, I talked about how after doing a lot of reading, people recommended getting a Foam Roller.  So, after doing a lot of research I decided to go ahead and get one.  

Since then, it seems like foam rolling is EVERYWHERE on the fitness sites.  The newish P90X 2 series does a TON with foam rolling.  I have learned to LOVE mine so I thought I would talk about it today.  

So, what is the deal with foam rollers, anyway?  Basically it is like getting a deep tissue massage, and is fantastic for sore, knotted muscles.  It HURTS SO GOOD.  A foam roller is usually made of a hard styrofoam material.  It is rounded so that you can roll back and forth and work on your muscles.  And BOY does it work your muscles!

They come in all shapes and sizes.  The one I bought myself is short and wide:

Mine is the one in the middle.

And when I bought one for Marc, I ended up going with one that was longer and thinner:

The longer thinner ones are great to use along your whole back.  

I credit foam rolling - in part - with helping both of my IT Bands get stretched out and heal.  After foam rolling, the muscles feel SO GOOD.

It does take some getting used to.  At first, it hurts!  You are rolling on muscles that often have knots - but that's where you want to concentrate.  You work on those knots and get them all rubbed out won't believe how good that feels. The great thing about a foam roller is that you can roll youself - which means you get to control how much or how little pressure is applied, so you can be gentle with yourself to begin with.

So what do the experts say?  In general, they agree that foam rolling can increase blood flow to muscles and improve flexability.  They also agree that it is fantastic for working out the knots and strains.  It can actually break down scar tissue allowing more flexability and less pain in a scarred area.  Some sites indicate that foam rolling can actually increase the length of muscles, ligaments and tendons, although that seems to be a  subject of debate even amongst experts.  

Foam rollers are quite cheap - a hell of a lot cheaper then getting a massage several times a week!

I continue to roll my IT Band as a preventative measure even though, knock on wood, I haven't had problems in months.

I have recently developed a severe case of Achilles Tendonitis in my right leg.  Because I have a 10K race tomorrow, I have been spending about 20 minutes every night while watching television foam rolling my achilles and calves.  

Obviously, this is not a device just for runners.  It is great for anyone who works out and/or has sore muscles that need to be worked out.  You will notice the difference after only 1 or 2 sessions, trust me on that!