May 5, 2012

Workouts: April

I can't believe it took me six days to get my April workout review posted. It's been a busy week: most of my semester isn't terribly busy, but there are always a few points where it gets incredibly overwhelming. Right now is one of those times: finishing up all my grading, making final exams (then proctoring and grading them), calculating final averages. Not difficult, just time consuming. Add in trying to figure out the logistics of my move back, and it's a recipe for stress.

Something else that's had me away from the blog is that I've started getting ready to move, and so I cleaned out my desk and moved my computer to the island in the kitchen. This is a two-fold solution to a few of my issues: one, it's now a standing desk (I sold the island stools) so I don't sit for hours and hours, and two, with the computer on the counter, there's no room for the dishes to pile up. I keep my apartment spotless for the most part, but dishes are my downfall. I hate them. My standing offer with everyone is that I will cook them whatever they want, any time ... as long as they do the dishes.

So, I've spent less time on my computer. But that also means my Google Reader is filling up. I can't wait for it all to settle so I can catch up on blog reading and commenting!

As for my April, I'm not thrilled. By the numbers, I weighed 4 pounds more on May 1 than on April 1. I biked over 300 miles, and ran under 10. The number that bothers me the most, though, is the number of really big binges I had this month. I got very, very deeply depressed after deciding I had to do the financially smart thing and stay in California, and I relapsed terribly. It was a depression like I haven't felt in years, and huge binges one day after another to try to feel something besides numbness made me feel worse.

Whether I'm in California or Chicago, I need to do what is best for my body and for my health. And that means eating well, and healthy portions. And that means not using exercise as a punishment for a binge.

I decided to do what's best for myself, mentally and physically. And that means leaving California. And as soon as I made up my mind, the urge to binge went away. The numbness was replaced by a renewed feeling of purpose.

I've said it before but I'll say it again: moving to Chicago isn't a cure-all for my issues. But for now, it's enough to keep me hopeful and optimistic. Being in California doesn't feel terminal anymore. It isn't great here, but my days are numbered. I have something to look forward to.


After making my decision, I did my post-binge recovery: stop exercising. In order to lose weight without running or biking, I have to really focus on my eating. It's especially important after very big binges, because my body still craves high calories even if my brain doesn't. It may seem counterproductive but it helps me reset, in a way. Then I slowly add exercise back in.

As of this morning, I'm at 191, with my eyes on the 180s again, for good. It's a lofty goal at this point, but I'd like to be at 185 by Bay to Breakers - it would be great to celebrate my no-longer-obese BMI at a race (especially alongside Miss Marisol, who is on track to hit her 100 pound loss by then!). As long as I'm in the 180s, though, I will be happy.

So my May goals aren't mile based - I started marathon training on May 1, so I'm back running, and still keeping the biking to a minimum and focus on controlling my eating while I wrap up the semester. My main goal for May is to be binge-free. (Sub-goal: no ordering takeout for the rest of my time in California.)

I want to remain in control. I want to be out of the 190s forever. I am leaving California, and I am leaving the 190s. In fact, my goal is to be out of the 180s by July 1. I'm not typically one to set up a system of rewards, but Matt and I were discussing our mutual struggle and we came up with a few ideas. I'm certainly motivated, and ready to look and feel my best when I get off the plane in Chicago on June 30.

What about you? How was your April? What are your goals for May? How do you recover from a day (or days) of bad eating?

May 2, 2012

Exposure

Yesterday, I was the featured runner on the official Facebook page for the Ragnar documentary film project.


This whole experience is kind of surreal, in many different ways. I can't believe I'm going to be running a race in Florida. I can't believe I'm going to be running a race in Florida as part of a team. And I especially can't believe I'm going to be running a race in Florida as part of a team while a film crew follows us and records the event.

There are so many wonderful things to be said about these people, and about this project that I am so amazingly lucky to be a part of. But at the same time, a few things about it make me a little nervous.

My initial concern was weight-related: with the exception of a few days earlier this month, I haven't left the 190s since leaving Chicago. I know that with marathon training - and once I get out of California and back to a place where I feel more at home - things will be better. I have done a few races since moving, but haven't trained (properly, or really, at all) for them - that simply cannot be the case for the marathon. I have my sights set on a 4:30-4:45 finish, and I'm determined to make that happen. Along with proper training, continued weight loss will help with my speed.

My biggest anxiety, though, has come from the notion that my online and offline support systems would finally collide. The page and the photos have received "Likes" from my siblings, the boy I love, my colleagues/former students from Chicago, childhood friends ... even my high school Spanish teacher. My family and some of my closer friends knew that I have a blog, but for the most part, I haven't allowed them to read it. Now, though, the link is out there, and knowing they're a few clicks away from some of my deepest secrets ... it's a little nerve-wrecking.

Needless to say, the finished post about the specifics of the Justin situation/my anxiety about letting down my father because my happily-ever-after with the handsome psychologist didn't turn out quite so perfect ... taken out of the scheduled queue and back into the graveyard I'm accruing of undeveloped posts.

I'm perfectly alright with spilling my guts to strangers.

But being honest about my struggles with my friends and family is a whole nother story.

When I hit rock bottom, I didn't want to talk to anyone - family and friends included. I was so ashamed of the extent to which I'd let myself go, how deep I'd dug what I assumed to be my grave. Plus, everyone I knew had the usual 10, 20, 30 pounds people say they want to lose - no one could possibly have understood what I was facing - needing to lose 200 or so. Having to let go of more of myself than I intended to keep. I eventually started writing this blog because I knew I couldn't go through this alone. I needed to know my struggle was common, even if the specifics were unique.

At 345 pounds, it may have seemed obvious that I was battling with something. What was less apparent, though, is what exactly I was struggling with. Everyone's demons are different. There are some people who become overweight or obese because they like, or even love, food. I was not, and still am not, one of those people. Food was the drug I found myself medicating with in order to cope with my parents' divorce. It was my coping mechanism, and as my life carried on and my struggles changed - college stress, then grad school stress, and all of life's issues in between - it was the one way I knew I could find comfort.

It's hard to let the people you love know you're struggling.

And it's especially hard to "come out" to them as an addict, as someone in recovery from an eating disorder - particularly after a month that can only be described as a complete relapse into my old way of life.

So, in a way, I'm glad for this experience for giving me a means to expose my struggles to my offline support system in a way that makes sense to me. Writing has always been a strong suit of mine, and it's the easiest way for me to facilitate conversation. And I'm so lucky that the response so far has been nothing but supportive - both in one-on-one interactions, and their online comments:
So proud to be able to say that Mary is my older sister. She's such a great inspiration to our family and to so many others too...
can't be more proud of my daughter... 
... So proud of you and your accomplishments!!
Even if nothing comes of the film, I'm already grateful for this.