September 11, 2011

Wake up

In the beginning of August, I got a message on Facebook from a former student.
Okay, so I have been totally inspired by you to run and get my butt back in shape! I was wondering if you had any music suggestions, because my ipod is full of non-motivating songs. Also, I plan on running the AIDS 5k on October 1st and I really cant run a 5k yet. Did you follow a running plan or something? I would appreciate your input!
I've received lots of comments and messages from people who were excited about the fact that I ran, but none asking for my advice on how to get started. Perhaps she wanted to reach out to me because I had been her teacher, but I saw it as someone reaching out to me because I had become an athlete, and it made me feel incredible.

She kept running, and on the day I left for California, she sent me another message.
I have been running consistently for about two weeks now and have mapped out a 5k route that I run/walk on. I just hope I can get to running the whole thing by October 1st [...] I will definitely update you on how it has been as I go along. I just hit my first milestone... I alternate running 1/4 of a mile at a 2.5 minute pace followed by walking 1/4 of a mile at 4.5 minute pace. I finish a 5k in 45 minutes this way... I was super proud of myself (although I always think I might puke lol). Maybe we could run together some time!
I was proud of her progress, though certainly sad to be losing yet another running partner. I had finally found a solid group of runners in Chicago and was really looking forward to the fall race season, to running the races that I was walking last year in XXL tech shirts. I told her I had moved, but still wanted to hear about how things were going with it all.
Im so excited for you and your new job!! You are an amazing teacher and I know they will love you. Let me know when you'll be back and maybe I will be in shape enough to run with you :)
And I moved. And I stopped running. And I got off track with my eating. And I lost my motivation, because I lost sight of the goals I set for myself when I first got started living healthier: to live with balance, to not be obsessed with positive or negative extremes, to properly nourish my body in every sense of the word.

My student messaged me again late last night.
So, I said I would update you about my running. I have lost motivation. I was trying to lose some weight, but over the last month of running three times per week... I have lost nothing. I was eating better and less, and still no weight loss Now, I don't want to do it at all and want to eat everything in sight. Did you encounter this? Not sure what to do
And you know, it feels one of those signs from the universe, things that come right at the precise moment to wake you up and show you what you need to do to get back on a healthy path.
Oh yes, I certainly understand! My honest belief all along is that I don't want exercise to be something I dread - it isn't something I do to punish my body, it's something I do to reward and nurture it. If I don't feel like going for a run one day, I don't do it. I always come back to it.

And I definitely understand waning motivation with weight loss. I have lost and gained the same 6-8 pounds for the past three months - which has been tough, considering I lost 100 lbs. in six months/150 in a year. Something I've learned is that the less you weigh, the harder it is to lose weight.
I then explained BMR and TDEE and what essentially needs to happen in order to lose weight. I explained how to cut calories on a healthy level, and why we need to eat some/all of our exercise calories. And I continued.
I hope this helps a little with the weight loss part - to be honest, writing this all out has been pretty helpful for me, for figuring out what I need to do to get back on track. I've been struggling since this summer - first I was worried about not finding work, then I was dealing with the stress of leaving my comfort zone and starting over somewhere new. Time to get back on track and stay focused on living my healthiest life possible.

Another thing to keep in mind about running, though - and about any physical movement, I think - is that it's not just about calorie burning. I didn't start running because I wanted a good workout, I started to run because I wanted to be fast, to move myself forward, to feel like an athlete. Even if the number on the scale doesn't move, I still want to keep running because I love the activity, not just what it does for me. Finding that passion, I think, is so crucial.

So, I say - keep your spirits up with it. Run a little less if you have to, eat a little more if you need to - but do what you have to in order to find a healthy balance for yourself and your body's needs. Listen to your body, first and foremost.

Cheering you on, always -

Now, to take my own advice.

I had a very tough day yesterday, and I can't guarantee that it won't be the last of its kind, now or ever. That's life. I keep beating myself up for maintaining - the pressure of being the weight loss wunderkind for the first six to nine months of my journey had me believing myself to be failing, when what was actually happening was my body taking control of itself. I am clearly capable of losing weight. Right now, I need something consistent in my life, and this is what my body seems to have chosen. When things settle, the numbers will change. Until then, I just need to keep focused on living my healthiest life possible. Stay active. Eat well. Get upset within reason. Don't sweat the small stuff. Let go of stress over the things you can't control. And let go of the guilt already, for goodness sake.


Hyla said...

Right on!! Now get in contact with some people there!

Jen said...

Love this perspective. Love your last line. Cheers! Enjoy yourself. :)

Weight Wars said...

I'm so glad you posted this, I'm glad you are posting tbh, I hated the idea of you disappearing.

You can make life happen, you can do anything, how much did you think you were going to shift 150lbs in a year?! No much I guess. Cali may feel like a mistake now but life is what you make it. So far you've made it amazing so this is just a new challenge and I know you can do it.

wenchlette said...

Soso glad that the universe gave you what you were looking for, Mary. :D

Anonymous said...

check out online,,, most cities have a forum of groups of people looking for more running partners to add to their group....


Jessica said...

Glad to see you here this morning. Hold strong :)

Jill said...

Well said! Glad to see things are looking better for you today :)

Joy said...

I have no doubt you will be on task soon. You've got what it takes!! Keep focused on your health and fitness plan!

Erin said...

Ya know, I always read your posts and I absolutely love them. You are maintaining in the 190's, I am maintaining in the 250's. What I realize is that I am beating myself up for not continuing to lose when I should be celebrating the fact that I have not gained 25lbs, or even 5, in the last several months. You have come a long way, and when you're ready, you will lose the rest. Continue to celebrate your success!

marisol said...

You had a bad day. You will probably have many more. We all do. Weight loss is a struggle. Life is a struggle. When you want to cry, cry & scream & shout. When you want to laugh, laugh so hard that it makes yours stomach hurt. I know it seems like you left everything important to you in Chicago. But you didn't. The most important thing in your life is you and you are in CA. Life is an adventure. Don't sell yourself short & give it a good try.

Tim said...

Yes! I'm so pleased to read this post. It's much more positive.

Tami AKA My Kid's Mom said...

I am so glad you're feeling better today. I try to read your posts every day and think you have made amazing progress. When I get discouraged because I need to lose some weight, I think of you and what you have done and it gives me hope for myself - that I CAN lose that 20 pounds - just look at what Mary did. I think you're an inspiration for a lot of people and we're all pulling for you.