Tuesday, August 30, 2011

For The Ficundity Of It

After a very uncommitted three weeks, I finally feel like I am gaining momentum in putting myself back on track.  I have been experiencing a lot of stress at home in the last month, and that is causing me to simultaneously not care about my body and comfort eat.  But I didn't put two and two together until this past weekend, and once I realized why I didn't care about my body and wanted to eat junk, it made me feel a little better, because I was starting to let doubt creep in; thinking that I wasn't strong enough or driven enough to see this through to fruition.  And starting to see a reversal of the work I'd done, which did not help my mood one bit.  The fact that my husband is now modeling, and is surrounded by beautiful, scantilly-clad women both at shoots and on-line, and he cannot tear himself away from the world of modelling, hasn't helped my self-esteem either.  And even though it is harmless enough, he is trying to persue a career in (ultimately) acting, and modelling is just a stepping stone, when I see him with another woman draped over him in a seductive way, there are intrinsic emotional reactions for me.  I also get jealous of him having an identified passion to chase.
This time of year, back to school time, always makes me feel restless.  I want to be going back to school, dreaming of something bigger, learning new things that I've always wondered about.  But, my life is becoming increasingly more difficult to navigate.  My kids have just about exhausted every daycare/babysitter option in the city, and we are starting to think at some point, it will necessary for one of us not to work, just to have reliable care; someone who can "handle" our kids and not kick us out.  Then things get more complicated.  Add my husband's workout and modelling schedule, and I'm lucky if I get time for a second workout, much less going back to school.  I know that there will be a way, in all aspects, if I am driven enough.  I just need to start putting myself first, which is a foreign concept to me.  But, just as important as showing my kids how to be healthy, is showing them how to make yourself happy.  For me, I don't hate what I do, I like being an optician, but I would be happier as a pastry chef.  My new coworker has been fanning the flames of that fire for me, telling me to persue it or I will regret not doing it.  So, it has been on my mind a lot.  The question is, when I will begin.  The issue of snow is a factor, as the nearest college to offer courses is a half hour outside of town.  Perhaps in spring I will take a chance. 
My health has been on my mind a lot lately, since the frequency of unclean food has increased over the last few weeks, and the scale has been slowly creeping up the wrong direction.  Although it is only three pounds more than pre-reunion weight, I feel like it is 15 pounds.  And then I start worrying about my cholesterol and blood pressure.  I desperately don't want to put myself back in the same place I was two years ago.  I'm glad I figured out what was going on before I made things irreversible.  Yesterday, I ate clean all day, but I had sugar cravings.  I have been eating a lot of ice cream as of late.  So, because I want to get back on track, when I had the sugar cravings last night, I rushed out to buy some sugar-free fudgesicles.  They worked perfectly, and I was good for the rest of the night.  I have also switched up my diet slightly, swapping my turkey burger lunch for a spinach and tofu salad, which tasted great and made my metabolism rev up yesterday. 
This morning I got back on track with cardio, it sure is dark out there at 5am, but it makes me feel good, and after drinking multitudes of fluids yesterday, my weight was back down to 156.  I feel fairly confident that I will be stronger now that I know why I got off track.  There is work to be done in several areas of my life, but that will all fall in place if I am taking care of myself.  Everything feeds from that, my mood, confidence, feelings of self-worth, and even dreaming of the future the way I want it, instead of dreading what will become of me.  A professor I once had used the term ficundity to describe exercise, explaining that it is something that is not only good to it's own end, but that it builds upon itself making other things good.  Like paying it forward, only internally.  When he said that to me, I was 220 pounds with no self esteem, and it made me feel guilty that I wasn't the kind of person who exercised.  Now, because I have lived it, I can confidentally agree.  Exercise, taking care of yourself, self love is a ficundity, but you have to be doing it in order to reap the rewards.  There is only so much about life that we have control over, so we have to make the things we can control really count.
Thanks for sticking it out with me, I know my blogs have been sparse lately!  Have a fantastic Tuesday, and thanks for reading!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Eye Opener

The past two weeks have been way too lax for me as far as diet and exercise, driven by the carefree, celebratory mood of my approaching reunion weekend, then by feelings of over-training.  In reality, my feelings of exhaustion were due to a virus passing through our house, and once again, hormonal factors.
I did get two improv workouts in last week, when I had to haul my new home gym into the house, and again when I assembled it, which left me sore for a few days, but I did very little cardio last week, and my diet was spotty at best.
I finally got things back on track yesterday, even though I was giving myself a free pass through the weekend.  I found that I had become so accustomed to eating two cheat meals during the weekend, including sweet stuff, that even after eating a clean meal, I was wanting something sweet.  Last night when that happened, I had a piece of sugar-free spearmint gum to chew, and was surprised how effective it was. 
I have been yo-yoing in the 150's for months now, getting down as low as 151, then swinging wildly back up to the rafters.  It is the evidence of my waning focus on my body, or more directly, lack of focus on the prize.  When I began this, I knew I was going to do it, finally go all the way and be happy with the results.  Somewhere along the line, the original passion has fizzled.  I have discovered that I can have a weekend of indulgence and still hover around the same few pounds.  But when did that become OK to keep looking at the same numbers on the scale instead of moving forward.  I am definitely not content with where I'm at; still look at fit people and want to get there, still feel fat and know I have work to do.  There is a disconnect somewhere, and I think I need to take a step back and figure out what's going on so it doesn't yield to horrible habits that will have me stuck in the same pattern that got me miserable in the first place. 
I had an awesome leg workout yesterday, on my home gym, it is nice to have any weight I need at my disposal, and the gym is so versatile that I can hit muscles I haven't been able to.  I knew I was doing something right, because during/after training my legs, I felt nauseous.  I am going to split my training into three workouts, hitting legs, chest, bis, tris,shoulders and back.  I have more energy for that in the evening, so I think I will try to do those workouts after work, and continue to do cardio in the mornings.
This morning I did low-intensity cardio outside, and wasn't sure I was going to continue to do that.  It was so dark out that I had to push the light on my watch to keep track of my intervals, and it is already getting fairly chilly.  The moon and stars were fully out this morning, and there was no sign of a sunrise until the extreme end of my walk.  During one of the unlit blocks I walked, I noticed how the moon illuminated the jet lines in the sky, making them glow the most brilliant shade of blue, alsmost emmulating northern lights.  At  that moment, I thought about how I slept in most of last week and thought, you don't see things like this in your bed.  It was a little moment that reminded me what I am doing, and why I need to do it.   I'm thankful for moments like that, they are the key to continuity.
Happy to be back on track and in a better place physically and mentally.
Have a great week!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Reunion Recap

All the goals I set for my reunion, went casually out the window last week, which was my last week to make it happen.  What is up with that?  I felt like I was already in celebration mode, and my inhibitions were fairly low.  I had a lot of unclean food during the week, despite continuing with my two-a-day workouts most of the week.  By Thursday, I was starting to feel really overtrained, completely exhausted and walking around like a zombie, unable to maintain a decent level of body heat.  The extra fat and carbs I ate helped me feel a little more alive, not that I am recommending that.  On Friday, I took the day off from working out, and had two cheat meals, the later one being with my family at our favorite restaurant.
Saturday I kept things clean to start out, knowing that I was about to completely destroy my diet.  No matter what else happens, I can always stay on track for my breakfast, it's my favorite meal I eat all day.  When I got to my hometown, my friend and I ate lunch at Applebee's, where I had a chicken breast smothered in Jack cheese, and some fried potatoes.  It was delicious, of course.  Even though I gave myself a free pass to eat whatever I wanted for the weekend, my body was not liking the excess salt I was giving it.  I found myself wanting to eat things even when I wasn't hungry, just so I could hurry up and get in the indulgences before I had to get back to eating clean. 
The reunion went pretty much how I expected.  My friend and I sat at a table by ourselves, with a few people drifting over to say hello from time to time.  It was good to see some of the folks I hadn't seen in a while.  For me, it was a case of recognizing the faces, but not being able to recall the name, as the majority of my classmates were people I didn't talk to back then.  I got to dance a couple times, and bumped into a good friend I'd lost touch with over the years, but most of the time was spent reminiscing with my buddy and as always, we had each other laughing so hard I was wiping the tears away.  I felt really good about how I looked, and knew I was right where I was supposed to be in life, that is priceless.

Me and my friend at our 20 year reunion
At the hotel, we had a few drinks, I drank the better part of a bottle of Plum sake, and despite having just eaten an awesome protein wrap for dinner, I found myself eating while I was drinking, just to help the acidic burn dissapate.  By the time we went to bed at 2:30am, I was feeling so very bloated and over-salty, and just generally uncomfortable.  I woke at 7am, unable to get back to sleep, so I enjoyed a make-it-yourself waffle with a little syrup drizzled on, and a cup of coffee, before heading to the pool/whirlpool while my friend caught up on some extra sleep.  The pool and whirlpool were in a sunroom, and I had them to myself, so it was so peaceful.  I sat in the whirlpool for a bit, then eased into the pool and did some laps.  Getting the blood flowing felt really therapeudic, and at first made me feel so awake, yeilding to a relaxed sort of euphoria.  I lounged on a long chair in the filtered sun, closing my eyes and letting the hum of the ducts above lull my into a deeper relaxation.  Then I realized, I never get to do this, just lounge in complete peace, with no distractions or demands on my time or attention.  I revelled in it for about twenty minutes before becoming bored, and went up to the room to see if my friend was awake. 
The rest of the morning consisted of a continental breakfast with my friend, and we hit the pool a bit more, this time with a bunch of kids splashing around, then a bit more lounging before checking out, catching lunch at McDonalds, and heading back to Green Bay.  My stomach felt horrible all yesterday, so much so that I couldn't bring myself to eat until seven hours later, and then, just some toast with ginger, to help calm my stomach.  It didn't help that one of myself had a sick belly and felt like he was going to be sick.  Thankfully, I felt much better when I woke up this morning, my stomach was growling fiercely, and I knocked out some high-intensity interval cardio which made me feel like a human again!
The week/weekend of indulgence brought me back to the realization of how good it feels to be healthy.  My stomach never bothers me when I eat clean, and I can move freely, have energy, and feel young and vital.  I am not in danger of going back to where I came from, because it simply doesn't feel good to live that way anymore.  It's fun to indulge every once in a while, but for me, clean is where I need to be.  When I used to eat whatever I wanted, I imagined making the switch to clean would mean constantly fighting against myself to not eat things I shouldn't eat, and forcing myself to eat things I'm not enthused about.  Now I realize that it's not a chore to eat clean, once your body feels clean, that is how you want it to always feel.  And the beauty of that is, there is no torture involved, I want to eat clean because I feel "normal" when I do, it truly has become a lifestyle change, which takes the work out of it. 
I have some work to do, to get the extra water and weight back off, but now I can begin to focus on the long term again.  I pick up my home gym on Wednesday, I can hardly wait to start training on it.
Well, here goes another Monday.  Hope you all have a great start to your week!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Making Good Use of Time

Yesterday I woke up tired, and couldn't shake the cobwebs, despite an unusually high amount of caffeine.  My body felt stiff and heavy, felt like I just couldn't get the blood moving.  Since it was a fairly slow day at work, I decided to make some positive use of my time, and got in a leg workout at work.  Sure, it wasn't a full-on heavy workout, but the work I did do had my quads pumped up for more than an hour afterword, and really sped up my metabolism.  I did a deadlift/squat compound move, and a step-up with leg raise (for glutes) and did two sets of each.  By the time I finished, I felt so much better, awake and even cheery.   For a Monday, it went really smoothly and ended really low-stress.  What a relief.
This morning I did my favorite interval cardio, and shaved a little more time off, not really knowing how I did it, as each time I walk that it feels like I am walking as fast as I posibly can.  It was so dark out this morning that I had to use the light of my iPod to see my stopwatch.  I am going to keep going outside until the snow comes.  Blah, that's a depressing thought, but I'm not going to dwell on it.  It is garage sale season here in Green Bay, so I feel confident I should be able to score a treadmill before the snow flies.
Even though it looks like I won't get close to my goal of being under 150 by the time my reunion hits this weekend, I feel great about how I look, and feel really amazing about the transformation of body and mind that I have been able to make.  Now all that's left is to finish out the work week, which should be pretty mellow, and go have fun. 
Hope everyone is having a productive week!

Monday, August 8, 2011

Weakened Weekends

Last week was very successful in terms of reaching my goal of two-a-day workouts, starting split training, and staying on track with my diet.  The scale made a slight dip at the end of the week, but after enjoying Pizza and ice cream with my family on Friday, of course it rose back up a couple of pounds.  That is how the weekends go for me lately.  What used to be one cheat meal per weekend, with me not allowing myself any sweets, I would get right back on track and stay there.  But for the last month, my weekends have been fairly loose, having at least 2 cheat meals, plus ice cream and sometimes snacking on other stuff in the mean time.  And while I know that some of the weight I see on the scale every morning is the water retention caused by ungodly amounts of sodium consumption, it is really a horrible way to treat one's body.
This morning I held myself to low intensity interval cardio, and even at my slow pace, I felt like everything was so jiggly.  I hate that feeling.  I need to not let my lax weekends become habit, or I will end up in maintainence mode, and I'm not at a fitness level or weight where I want to be stuck indefinitely.  In order to keep progressing, I am going to have to reign in my weekend indifference.
On a positive note, I will be getting a home gym at the end of this week, and it is perfect timing.  I found it in my company's classifieds, so it is coming from a trustworthy place (a cardiology RN) and the best part is, I am getting it for free!  I'm not sure what it all has, but anything is better than what I have, 5 and 10 pound dumbbells and a stability ball.  Now, if I can just get my hands on a good, used treadmill, I should be all set for winter.
I have decided that, even if there is not another Eat Clean Diet Makeover Challenge contest this year, I am going to train as if there is.  I want to challenge myself to keep my focus and transform my body into the physique I've always wanted.  By the time July 31, 2012 rolls around, I will have been on my journey for just shy of 2 years, I think I should be one hot tamale by then!  Thinking of the future, and how awesome it will be is a very uplifting and motivating feeling, I just need to clear up the stuff in the middle, and make sure my resolve doesn't slip.  Once I get my weekends a little cleaner, I think I'll be well on my way!
Happy Monday everyone!  Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Speed Bumps

Yesterday was successful on so many levels.  At work, there was a catered lunch brought in by one of the sales reps, and it was salad, steamed veggies, brown rice and some type of greasy looking meat pocket thing.  I just grabbed some salad w/out dressing and some steamed veggies to eat along with the turkey burger I brought for lunch, and it turned out to be a really satisfying lunch.  I didn't even think about the array of cupcakes laid out next to the food.  I also got a chance to talk to the doctor who had been causing me some stress at work, and at least we got the air cleared.  Then , after work I started my first installment of split training, and it was pretty intense.  I trained bis, tris and shoulders.  By the time I finished, my arms felt unusable.  That is the kind of training I need to be doing in order to see results at this point, and it was a great release from recent stress.  I stayed on plan the entire day and the training felt really productive. 
I am still doing cardio every morning before work, trying to vary my intervals so I'm not doing the same intensity or same length of interval each time.  My favorite, the one that makes me feel really good when I'm done is 60secs highest intensity with 30 secs lowest intensity.  I did that one today, and I pushed myself to see exactly how fast I could walk for the high intesity cycle.  It shaved nearly 2 minutes off my time, and my leg muscles were beginning to ache by the time I got to my apartment grounds.  As I was doing my final high intensity cycle, I crossed a speed bump in the driveway, and nearly tripped.  I found it humorous that a speed bump could nearly slow me down on foot, as if telling me I was going too fast.  But I just kept on going, finishing strong, gratful that I didn't trip on that silly speed bump.
Of course, me being me, I saw the symbolism in the event.  There are always going to be things to try and trip me up, but I have to look at them like the speed bump, they may make me loose a little footing, but they will not change my course.  Last night as I was admiring my newly developed/uncovered arm muscles, I thought to myself, "I am going to get where I am going!"  and it was a very powerful feeling.  I will get where I want to be, there is no doubt.  And I don't care how long it takes.  I am still seeing changes in the mirror, which continues to motivate me, and reaffirms that this is really happening.  A year ago, I was an obese, depressed woman, barrelling toward 40 and feeling like I was 60 years old already.  I can't wait to see where I'm at in another year, because right now I feel vital and young and ready to take on the next 40 years!  What a gift fitness has been, it's too bad it's not one you can give away to others, because I wish this feeling for everyone.  Perhaps that is the greatest reward for putting in the work, knowing that you did it for and by yourself.  And man, does it feel wonderful!
Have a great day, and watch out for those speed bumps! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mondays Suck

Monday used to be my favorite day of the week.  The prepetual fresh start.  The back-on-the-straight-and-narrow day of the week.  But now, Monday stresses me out.  It is the first day back to squeaky clean eating after the weekend indulgences, and for me, my longest (and often busiest) work day for me.  I won't go into details, but yesterday stressed me out to the point of me being crabby with my kids, and that is not where I want to be.
I ended up missing an entire meal, due to the events of the day (there were a few factors, involving my manager and a doctor who relies on me to do the work that her technicians are supposed to be doing), and by the time I got home at 7pm, I was tired, hungry and ready to comfort eat.  I immediately got my clean food started, and ate two sugar-free fudgesicles and a handful of Doritos while my food cooked.  It could have been worse.  I ate my regular food, and was grateful that I didn't want anything else after that.  I tried to focus all my attention on my kids, which put me in a much happier place.
That being the case, I need to find other ways to deal with my stress on Mondays.  Since I work such a long day, I end up being away from home for nearly 12 hours, and getting home so late, I don't get the opportunity to work out after work, as I only get one precious hour to spend with my kids before I put them to bed.  Thank goodness it is only one day of the week, and once I get past that, everything seems to go much more smoothly.  And, now that we have our new optician on board, I will get a bit of a break some Mondays.
So, this being an obstacle, my challenge will be to find a successful way to deal with my stress that stems from work-related incidents, so that I don't take it out on my kids, and don't feel tempted to comfort eat. 
On a positive note, I found a dress that I think will work well for my reunion, and it is on it's way to me.  My old habbits of worrying if it will fit are underlying, but I bet it will fit just fine.  I am so looking forward to getting out of town and having a girls night with my bestie, I need a little break! 
I am pretty sure I am going to start split training on my strength training this week, perhaps tonight.  That will assure I am getting strength training more times a week, but without my entire body being sore all week.  We'll see how it goes!
Well, sorry for the boring blog, feeling a little uninspired today.  But hey, it's not Monday any more, so life is good!
Have a great Tuesday, and thanks for reading!