July 17, 2015

Roses and thorns

I'm down another two pounds this week! I really committed to staying on track this week - logged everything, stayed hydrated, gave the workouts my all. And everything is coming together.

I go to the gym every day except Saturday and Sunday, when the gym is closed. Last Saturday, we woke up early and drove to a park with a 1 km running path - we only walked around it twice before Noah started to get crabby, but still, it's more exercise than just sitting on the couch! I did Week 1 of Couch to 5K and some time on the stationary bike on Monday and Wednesday (and I'll go once I post this!), and Tuesday/Thursday I was in the mood for the elliptical.

I'm proud of being consistent with routines since getting back from Connecticut, especially logging on MyFitnessPal.

I've tried to keep it as close to 1500 calories as possible - some days I wasn't feeling well, or just wasn't hungry, so it was a bit lower, and some days it was slightly above. It all balanced out, though, and I'm liking the visual of progress from when we got back from the trip.

I'm still up 3 pounds from my pre-trip weight - I need to remind myself of this next time we visit there. As stressed as I get, as anxious as it makes me ... it took two weeks to gain the weight and 5+ weeks to take it off. Not worth it!

With last week's weigh-in as a maintain, I don't know if my goal of getting under 300 is going to happen - it's 9 pounds to 299, and there are only two more weigh-ins this month. But I'm still proud of the progress I'm making - the scale is moving in the right direction, and I am doing right by my body. I'm not going to fixate or obsess about deadlines - as long as I get healthy, that's all that matters.

And - I feel great right now. It's remarkable how quickly my body responds to being treated well. I still have a very long way to go, but I can already feel a difference - less bloated, stronger legs, looser belly. My clothes fit better already - straight out of the dryer, I can put on one of my workout tees, no need for stretching it.

My mind feels clearer, too. I sleep better. I feel less anxious. I still have worries, concerns, stresses - but I'm dealing with them through journaling, through exercise, through prayer. I'm not eating my feelings, and that, to me, is the greatest progress.

What about you? What is your weekly workout schedule? How do you stay active outside of the gym?

July 13, 2015

My first run, part 2

I get emails every so often from readers who say they've gone back to the beginning and read my blog from the start. That always floors me - that people are interested in my experiences and my journey, that they want to hear all of my stories. To be honest, I haven't gone back and re-read most of my old posts. Every now and then, I start looking for a post where I'm sure I've already discussed X or Y, and I fall into a rabbit hole and read maybe three or four. That's about my limit ... before the tears start.

It's hard to explain how emotional losing the weight was the first time. I believed in myself just enough to get through each day at a time, and every night, after my workout and dinner but before bed, I would sit at my desk and draft a blog post for the next morning, working through whatever emotional issue was at the front of my mind that day. I talked about my childhood, my past relationships, my concerns about what would happen if I ever made it to my goal weight. There really were few stones left unturned, and most nights, pounding away on the keyboard, my face would be streaked with tears as I tried so hard to work through the issues I'd buried under hundreds of extra pounds.

And I think now, I am almost afraid to re-read them, because I don't know if I can stomach all the emotions. Binge watching TV? I'm great at that. But consuming post after post of heavy subjects? I already know I'd be a mess. There are lessons to be learned in my history, and I want to retrace those steps and review for future reference. But I can't do it all at once.

Sometimes, I remember old posts - or at least, I remember the events, and my mind subconsciously makes the connection to what I wrote. Today was like that. I went to the gym with my running shoes laced, my water bottle full, and a Couch to 5K app downloaded on my phone. I got on the treadmill and was on my way.

I forgot that Week 1, Day 1 is a lot of walking. 5 minute walk to warm up, then alternating 60 seconds of jogging and 90 seconds of walking for 20 minutes, then a 5 minute cool down. I did the warm up/cool down at 2.5 mph (24:00/mi), the running at 4.5 mph (13:20/mi), and the walking at 3 mph (20:00 mph).

During the running parts, I thought about my first half marathon - I remember certain sections of it so vividly ... the 5K point where my pre-planned playlist started to increase in intensity ... the 6.5 mile point, running along the beach ... uphill at 8 miles, then downhill at 10 ... and clearest of all, seeing the 13 mile marker. It was at the top of a very small hill, and the last 0.1 mi of the race was around a corner. I knew I would cry at the end of the race, but hadn't imagined it would start before the finish line. Seeing the 13 mile marker, it finally hit me that I did it - I had ran the race without stopping, and I was going to come in way under my expected time. And I was flooded with memories of not having the energy to get off my couch, and then making the decision to live better, and then every milestone of the training process. And I just bawled.

I thought about that last 0.1 during the running intervals, and marveled at how quickly the love of running came back to me. It was sixty seconds at a time, but it felt like coming home to somewhere comfortable and familiar. I am a runner - again, and always.

During the walking intervals, my mind wandered to the blog, and to the post I remembered writing after W1D1 the first time around. I remembered how I ran it (on a track, with a stopwatch and an index card so I'd know when to switch to running). I remembered that I had to slow myself down and contain my excitement at being able to move like that. And I remembered that I loved it - that as much as I moved, it moved me. It was one of those moments in my life where I knew something big had happened and I wasn't going to be the same after.

I came home, did a quick search, and found the post. It's just as I remembered it, but - more.
Yesterday, I finally went down to the gym at the university where I work. I had been putting off registering since I had been walking around my neighborhood and I wanted to enjoy the nice weather before the Chicago winter decides to roll in, but since I was starting the Couch-to-5k program, I wanted somewhere level and even to work on. Secretly, I also just wanted to be off the street so no one could make me feel bad. It's hard enough when I'm walking and people yell things from their cars (it happens more than I'd like to admit), but if it happened during this, a major step that I'm taking? I can't risk letting some jerk's baseless remarks get me down and make me lose my focus.
I can't believe I wrote that. I mean, I can - I remember so many of the nasty things people have yelled at me, and it happened so often in Chicago. But ... especially given my struggles lately, and as recently as this week, with my friend's odd comment about my shoes ... it's remarkable how life is echoing.

I finished the workout today and felt empowered. Like everything was possible again and that I was unstoppable. It felt like the motivation from the first time around - strong, unshakable, tenacious. I am so, so happy to be running again, even just in sixty second intervals, because each step is a step closer to health, and to the emotions and feelings of success and accomplishment I experienced when racing.