Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Defiant and Powerful

I'd love to give photo credit for this, but sadly I can't.  It is a greeting card I bought about 15 years ago.  I have always loved the look on her face.  Is it determination, or grace, or was the photographer saying inapporpriate things to her?  For me, I interpreted it as a look of defiance and power.  Doing things that people don't believe you could or should makes you feel really powerful.  It's the sentiment in many feel-good movies, news stories and even shows like The Biggest Loser.  And watching others being defiant inspires us to do the same, doesn't it?  I have this card matted and haging in my room, but it has become part of the scenery, like many of my inspirational visuals, and I forget to spend proper time focusing on the visual stimuli that keep my mind strong.  I will pay more attention to this photo now, it makes me feel powerful.
The weekend, by my perception was pretty much a success.  I ate clean on Friday, when my family went out to dinner, I skipped the chips and salsa they put on the table, and opted for chicken fajita.  I only ate one flour tortilla, and I felt really good about my decision to keep it clean.  On Saturday, I spent 6+ hours cleaning and moving heavy furniture- my knee felt aweful by the time I was done.  But I know I burned a lot of calories doing it.  And my space looks really nice to boot.  I ate clean all day Saturday.  Sunday was a little more lax.  My father-in-law asked to take us to dinner, and we went back to our favorite restaurant.  This time I had an ahi tuna wrap with fries.  After eating it, I wished I'd gotten the chicken fajita again, they season it so perfectly.  Yesterday being Memorial Day, we spent it with my mother-in-law, in her new house, which felt like a mansion to me.  She loves to host, and is a great cook.  I always know that any holiday we spend with her means we will be eating off-plan.  So yesterday went off the tracks a little, but I didn't find it difficult to get it back together today.
This sun allergy is driving me nuts!  It's just strange how quickly it cropped up for me.  I got some more sun this weekend, as it was beautiful weather and I took a few walks outdoors.  Unfortunately, it can sneak up on me when I forget about it, I didn't think to put sunscreen on before my half hour cardio session in partly-cloudy weather, but I remembered when the itchy rash came on a few hours later!  It is just a little hassle, and for me, a small but itchy price to pay for there not being snow to contend with this time of year!
Tofu and cod are the main proteins on my diet this week, as I try to think of other things I can eat that don't disgust me.  Oh, if only we could all just quit food, eh? 
Well, the week may be a little scattered for those of us who are starting it on a Tuesday, but here's hoping it's a defiant and powerful week just the same!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Bed Brain

As my alarm went off this morning, my brain was ar inner dialogue went something like this:
~Oh, it feels so good to sleep.  I'm sleeping so good lately.  My eyes feel tired, maybe I need some more sleep.
~That workout I was supposed to do last night didn't happen.
~Rest is so important for healing and growth.
~I'm already out of bed, I should just work out.
~Look at that warm bed over there, so cozy, so fluffy.
~Even if I sleep 40 more minutes, I will still feel sleepy when I wake up again, but a workout would make me feel awesome.

So I hit the pavement, and I was right, by the end of my high-intensity interval cardio, I was feeling so awake and good.  Sometimes I hate the fact that I have these little sticky spots in the mornings, but it's better than not arguing at all and just going back to bed every day.  My knee was bothering me a little bit during the walk, but I thought to myself, if I wait until my knee doesn't hurt, I will be 500 pounds!  It's really nice that the sun is partially up now when I walk in the mornings.  Being able to see where I'm walking and which animals are preparing to pounce on me is definitely a bonus!
My recent shift in diet has me a little confused yet, mainly because I don't really feel that I'm eating "meals" as much as snacks, but it's getting me through the day.  Yesterday I ran out of time to eat my normal breakfast, so I made a vanilla protein shake, and blended it with frozen blueberries, spinach and flax seeds.  It was so good that I decided to have a shake for breakfast again today.  This time with straberries, blueberries, bananas and flax.  I realize it was heavy on the fruit carbs, but they have so many health benefits that I can't overlook.  And boy does it taste good and save time in the mornings!  I might try to make that concoction and freeze it in a bowl as an iced treat for the weekend.  Totally on-plan and fairly nutritional.  And not meat.  Today's lunch is quinoa stir fry with snow peas, mushrooms and green onions.  I have been eating nuts and cottage cheese for my snacks, and drinking protein shakes as needed.  It works for now.
Yesterday I got notice from the marathon website (that of which I ran my 5K) that the official results were up.  It turns out my time was actually 1 minute less than the finish line said as I crossed it.  At the beginning of the race, there were so many people in front of me that it took more than a full minute from gun time to cross the chip mat at the starting line.  Not a huge deal by most people's standards, but it was a bit of a moment for me.  I did even better than  I thought, and I didn't run the whole thing.  That means when I was running, it was at a faster pace than the first one.  This should bring closure for me and running, but there is something in me that likes the torture.  Or maybe I like the idea of being a runner.  Yes, I think I like the thought of running more than the actual act of it.  The topic deserves a deeper exploration for me. 
I am starting to see some really nice changes in my physique as my body recalls where it was that we left off.  I am so fortunate that this little miracle still happens to me at my age, and as far off-track as I allow myself to get sometimes.  My metabolism has been an absolute firestorm, with my stomach growling every 2 hours.  There have been times when I think of how fun it is to have junk food, but then I remind myself how bloated and over-full those things make me feel, and to be honest, being hungry actually reminds me that I am doing things the right way.  I know I'll have a cheat meal this weekend, but I am going to challenge myself to keep it to one meal and be done.  Going crazy on the weekends, especially since this is a holiday weekend, only makes me keep climbing those same 100 ft of the mountain.  I want to work my way back down to where I was.  152 lbs was the lowest I got, I want to try and get past that and keep going.  This morning I was 166.  I think I can reach my goal of 130 in the next year if I keep a positive mindset and stop living as if I'm already in maintainence phase. 
Lately I feel like my thoughts are so thick that I can't write much/well, and that these blogs are so boring, just me droning on and on, thinking out loud.  But it helps.  And if my progress sustains, I'll have more of those positive, uplifting blogs coming again.  Right now I'm just trying to figure things out, so I can keep the ball rolling. 
For my readers in the US, enjoy your long holiday weekend!  Everyone else, hope you have a fantastic weekend full of great weather!  Thanks for reading.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

If It Can't be Chewed, It Shouldn't be Swallowed

The fact that my last snack was two pickle spears and a vanilla protein shake should be sufficient proof that it's been an interesting day. 
I took a break from blogging yesterday in order to dig into my new book, Think and Grown Thin by Charles D'Angelo.  And now I am through it.  The book is full of colorful photos and inspirational quotes, and a bit of basic information on which foods to eat and which to avoid.  The foods are pretty much what you would expect, lean proteins, slow-digesting and nutritionally-packed carbs, and good fats.  Not that much different from the South Beach Diet.  It also focuses on overcoming the mental challenges that are keeping you from moving forward.  For yo-yo dieters he uses the analogy of mountain climbing, where we keep climbing the same 100 ft of mountain and never reach the top.  I am in this frustrating lot, by my own choices.
The book's main premise is that you need to change how you view yourself in order to change.  He agrees with the philosophy that the man decides who they are and the universe conspires to keep making that so.  So if you see yourself as fat, the universe will work to make that be so.  If you see yourself as a fit person who is just carrying extra weight right now, the universe will help make that truth.  Pretty hokey stuff, and I am a cynic for all of these The Secret-esque philosophies.  However, it would be a logical conclusion that if I viewed myself as a fit person, I wouldn't eat unhealthy things because that's not what fit people do. 
Maybe it's just my current mindset, and my stubborn German blood, or maybe it was the bit of spiritual fluff he tried to add to the book, but I didn't get much from this book.  It is written for the beginner who has virtually no idea about healthy habits.  The program that he designs for the reader to follow religiously, has no variety and not enough calories, including making the last snack of the night a sugar-free fruit pop.  How is that supposed to keep anyone full for the next 7-8 hours and work to repair muscles while you sleep?  And his exercise plan that goes with it, focuses only on cardio for the first 12 weeks!  I was surprised that weight training was put in the end of the book as an after-thought, it is so vital to anyone wanting to tone up, loose weight and keep their bones healthy.  Also, it revs up the metabolism way more effectively than cardio, and keeps your metabolism elevated for hours afterword, compared to cardio which elevates in for only a very short time after exertion.  As far as healthy weight loss plans, I think the South Beach Diet (Supercharged!) is the most informative and helpful, and easy diet.  And the cardiologist who designed it was smart enough to know to include strength training in the plan.  I feel good knowing that between Oxygen magazine and SBD, I have a strong foundation of knowledge.  Focus is the key, and I've been a little blurry lately.
Yesterday my spirits were soaring, but not because of weight-related issues.  I have mentioned my Human Development of Adolescents class a few times in my blog, and forgive me if I have repeated myself.  The professor I had for that class is someone I admire greatly.  I grew so much, personally, from her course that often as I drove home after class, I would open up the darkest places in my past that have been begging for attention for years, and delve into healing/freeing those demons.  All along I knew that when class was done, I would write her a thank you to let her know how much she meant to me and how impressed I am by her.  She has started so many non-profit organizations that help people in our community and serves on several boards, along with teaching at the university and holding a full-time, very powerful position with the health corporation that I work for, and she is a life coach in her "free time".  In my letter I opened up about my past, and about one of the things I had worked through as a result of taking her class, and the way she asked questions that prompted me to go to those dark places.  It choked me up writing it.  And I got a really nice card to put my letter in, then sent it via inter-office courier to her.  She e-mailed me yesterday to say that she was tearing up the whole time she read it, and that I made her year.  I don't know if we'll stay in touch, due to her busy schedule, but it meant so much to me to connect to her and share those thoughts, and to hear that it touched her.  I was in a great place all day.
Then came my lunch.  Turkey burger no bun, and a spinach salad with tomatoes, green onions and lightly dressed with olive oil and cracked pepper.  The salad was delish, but the burger had so many not-chewable parts to it that I ended up having to throw half of it away.  I always get to this point eventually, where meat absolutely disgusts me, then I go on tofu for a few weeks and get sick of the texture too, and I am stuck.  So my diet is in transition right now.  Can't fathom eating ground turkey right now, and chicken sounds horrible to me too.  I am thinking quinoa might be high enough in protein to substitute it for meat, and make a veggie stir fry.  It shouldn't have to be this hard.  I was raised on this stuff, but as I got older, and my mom went back to college, I ended up delighting in ramen noodles and frozen burritos.  Those things do not generally gross me out.  The problem is, that a lot of healthy things do, because of the inconsistency of flavor and texture.  Cottage cheese is a good example.  The same brand can have very different taste and texture from one tub to the next.  That makes me a little queasy.  Right now, there isn't anything I truly love to eat, so designing a diet to help keep me on track is going to be tricky.  My lunch today is greek yogurt.  Not very nutritionally sound as a meal, but it's something I will eat without problem.  And the reason I was having pickels and protein shake for a snack?  My metabolism is so revved up this week that the once serving of sunflower kernels I had less than 2 hours prior, didn't keep me full until my planned lunch, so I had to come up with something to get me by.  The pickles were left over from a catered lunch we had yesterday, I was able to stay away from the yummy-looking subs that accompanied, but the pickles had to happen today, they were making my mouth water!
That being said, I am not giving up.  This week has been a great success.  I did some low-intensity dancing yesterday, to my surprise, it bothered my knee a little bit.  Today I slept in, but will get a strength session in this evening, when I have more energy due the fats and carbs I have consumed throughout the day.  I will get to the grocery store and invest in some quinoa, extra eggs and cod as protein sources I can continue with for now.  All I can do is keep moving forward, and keep learning as I go. 
I will leave you with some of the quotes I liked from the book.  Have a great Thursday!
"Many of life's failures are men who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up."  Thomas Edison
"To avoid criticism, do nothing, say nothing, and be nothing. "  Elbert Hubbard
"Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes. " Carl Jung
"We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them." Albert Einstein
"The person who uses the word 'but' all the time usually has a big one!" Tony Robbins.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Take Away My Caffeine So I Stop Typing

I have lost four pounds of water weight overnight.  I knew that was part of the issue, but I wouldn't have guessed it would be that much!  I'm not going to lie, seeing that new, lower number on the scale made me feel really good today. 
I downloaded a new app on my iPhone yesterday, called My Fitness Pal, and for the most part, it's pretty awesome!  I entered in my information about my weight, age, goal weight and my activity.  It gave me an allowance of calories per day and an estimate of how long it would take me to lose 5 pounds.  Everything I eat I enter into the program, mostly everything is already pre-loaded, a lot of the brands I eat are already pre-calculated with all the nutrition info I could ever need.  It is a really good tool, in that it makes me aware of the ratio of fats to protein to carbs that I am eating, and I get a breakdown of all the nutrients in comparison to recommended daily consumption.  I'll admit, I don't keep track of how much sodium, potassium etc to eat daily, and for someone with heart disease in the family, I should be watching these things more closely.  This program is good for that.  I also like that it adjusts calories needed/allowed for excercise done.  For instance, I did two sessions of cardio yesterday, equating to 298 calories burned, so the program allwed me 298 calories from food for the day.  In the end, I had 234 calories to spare, so it was easy to see that if I hadn't done all the work, those calories would have kept me at a stand-still with my weight loss.  I am taking it with a grain of salt though, and just using it as a rough guideline, considering it didn't give me any extra calorie allotment today, and I did a great strenth workout.  The body needs more calories on the heavier trained days than it does for cardio.  My main purpose for getting the program was not to become obsessive about calories, but it is helping me assess where the weak points in my diet are, and it's keepig me accountable and making me think about everything I'm putting in my mouth.  FYI, if you don't have an iPhone, you can use this app on-line, and it's free.
Today was a lot harder to get out of bed, and I credit it to two reasons.  One, that I slept soooo good last night from the fresh air and exercise, and it felt good to finally sleep so restfully that I wanted to keep sleeping.  Two, I still have a mental block when it comes to strength training.  I never want to do it.  But I did today.  I told myself that I will never get the physique I want without doing strength training.  During my session, I noticed myself just going through the motions, and then I thought about what I want the muscle being worked (at the time it was my bicep) to look like, and that made me really push myself.  I went to failure on a few sets, and really trashed my muscles.  And while I felt like a bit of a whimp for only doing three moves, I really pushed myself on those three, and made the workout count.  Having a plan in place will really benefit me in the long run.
My knees are feeling so much better today, as if they are healing not just from the past weekend, but from the past few weeks of issues.  I am being careful so as not to re-insult them, but now that I'm not running, it is tempting to train them with weights.  I miss the feeling of deadlifts, and I feel triumphant when I make it through three full sets of walking lunges.  In the long run, I know I have to strengthen them in order to protect my knees from everyday life. 
I'm happy to say that my sugar cravings have disappeared really quickly this time.  I can always count on the South Beach Diet to kill my sugar cravings, that's why it's hard for me to think of switching to another program.  I did however, order the book I referred to in my blog a few posts ago, Think and Grow Thin by Charles D'Angelo, a fatty-turned-personal trainer.  I don't know what the premise is, other than the focus on getting over your mental roadblocks in order to lose weight, but there are some really impressive before and after photos on his website, and nearly all the 500-some reviews of the book on Amazon were 4 and 5 stars.  I should have that waiting in my mailbox for me when I get home tonight, so I am excited to get started reading that.  I'm always open to any new tools that help me toward my goal, and right now I'm in the right mindset.
I have discovered I am allergic to the sun.  It is a mild allergy, I get an itchy rash over my neck and chest whenever I am in the sun for more than a few minutes.  It is really annoying, but quite common.  It is something I will either have to learn to live with, or move to Seattle.  Which, I wouldn't mind one bit.  It seems the fates are conspiring against my dream to look good in a tank top in the summer.  If it's not fat making me look bad, it's a red rash.  Isn't that just Murphy's Law?  The whole five years I spent in Vegas, where there is sun 300 days a year, I was fine.  Now that I'm in a place where sun and warmth are more rare, I develop and alergy?  I have found the humor in it. 
One last thing on my mind today is my gray hair.  I started going gray at 23 years, and have colored my hair off and on ever since.  The past few times my roots started to show I was trying to decide whether or not to color, or just leave it go natural.  I am interested to see how it looks, and once I discovered that mine are actually a shiny silver instead of a flat gray, I decided I am going to take the plunge and let the silvers shine for a while to see what I think.  Right now, since it's just the roots, I think it looks a little punk rock, and I am all about that! 
That brings me to the end of my babbles about what is on my mind today. 
Hope you are enjoying a lovely spring day where ever you are reading from!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Try and Umph

This morning, still reeling with emotion from my 5K, I woke with no problem and went out for some brisk cardio.  Even as late as last night, I wondered if I was ready to get back on track, I have been so far from it for so long, that I don't remember what commitment looks like!  And there are still parts of my "plan" that have yet to come together, but I have to start somewhere.  As I took some new "starting over" photos and measurments, I knew that continuing on the path I've been on is pure self-destruction.  And the measurements were a real wake-up call, because I can easily dismiss the weight as " just ten pounds" and "some of it is water", the inches are the concern, especially the ones around the waist.  I know some of the reason I have been feeling odd lately has to be due to what is going on internally, with my blood/heart.  I can't take my health for granted just because the naughty little kid in me is whining for a treat or is too lazy to make an effort. 
Today I began tracking my nutrition, to get a better idea of where my weak spots are.  It is not by accident that I have added fish and more veggies to my diet this week.  I know my joints need the omega 3's and I think my extreme banana craving as of late, may have to do with a potassium deficiency, so I am adding in generous helpings of spinach as well.  I wasn't sure weather of not I wanted to go ketogenic to start back, but if I learned anything from my 5K, it is that it doesn't have to be black and white.  I do think that there is so little nutrition in bread, even 100% wheat bread, that I should find a different grain to have with breakfast, or at least save bread for an occassional treat.  This morning I skipped the toast, and just had eggs and turkey bacon, and a cup of blueberries.  Tracking my nutrition is actually making me more aware of serving sizes.  For instance, I poured myself some coffee this morning, added some sugar-free creamer and splenda without even thinking of it, then when I went to chart it, it was a guessing game as to how much I used.  Then as I was putting my lunch together, I weighed my portion of fish, out of curiosity, and discovered that it was only 2.5 ounces!!  I quickly fixed the problem so I would have an ample amount of protein to keep me full and feed my muscles.  But that really made me aware of how I really slack when it comes to portions.  It is something I will be focusing on this time around.
To my delight, my knees only feel slightly worse than they did before the 5K.  I took all the precautions I could, and when I got home after, I did my yoga stretches and iced the bad knee and applied Icy Hot.  I feel much better than expected today, muscles still sore, knees feeling a little bruised, but I am moving around a lot better today than I was two weeks ago, when I did a practice 5K.  Still, I don't have any problem putting running behind me for good.  Seeing all the people at the race with knee issues, was a visual confirmation of what I already knew, it will most certainly destroy my knees if I keep doing it.  That is why I had to run on Saturday, it was part of the release, and all the emotion was of me living the dream and letting it go.  And it was through that release that I became OK with letting that part of it go.  Now I can say that I did what I thought I couldn't do, and I was healthy enough, and commited enough to go through with it.  I ran.  I triumphed over myself.  Now I move on.  There are many more battles to win.
I know I will probably stumble again, as I am human, but I'm OK with that as long as I keep stepping up to the starting line.  Everyone likes to use the Yoda quote about there being no "try" only do or do not.  I rather prefer the one that says the difference between try and triumph is a little umph.  It is the TRY that moves us forward.  And here's to my next try.
Happy Monday friends!  Thanks for being here!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Beautiful Compromise

Some people love to run, and many of them look attractive while doing it. I am not in either of those categories!
Today was my 5k and it was an emotional experience.
When I first got to the starting line, I was overwhelmed by the amount of people in the street, more than 2,000 runners and all their supporters. I made sure to take some ibuprofen and wrap my knee for good measure, but I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to walk or run it.
As I stood among the other runners, waiting for the race to begin, one of my favorite DJ's from a local radio station came over the speakers and said something inspirational, then started playing the song, Stronger by Kelly Clarkson. I felt so much pride well up in me, I felt so proud to be in that moment, acting on life instead of just watching. That was the first time of many that I teared up with emotion. I thought about my dear friend who passed and I knew I couldn't just walk this, my final run. It was 72 degrees and extremely sunny, but I did my best not to let the heat get to me. There were people lining the streets with signs that really motivated me. One said, "I'm so proud of you, perfect stranger. ". Another said, never lose, simply run.". And there were funny ones like the parent who made a sign that read,"Abby, run like you stole Beiber!". Near the finish line, that parent had another sign saying just kidding! There were signs that told someone that they were someone's hero, and a lot of shirts with "I'm running for -----" statements.
I think I ran approximately half of it, the full first mile, then intervals of walking/running. The photo is of me nearing the finish line. In a way I thought it was a cop-out for some of us who walked a lot, but then turned it up at the end. Then I realized, there are a lot of people who never even get to the starting line, much less the finish line. There were people who were much older, children, crippled, heavier than me, and many, many taped, wrapped and stabilized knees. There were people whose faces looked lobster-esque from the heat, and some getting sick, many people who crossed the finish line limping. When I finally got to that magical finish line, I thought to myself, I did what I could. I compromised so that my mind and body could experience what will be a very memorable event for me, for years to come. And the emotion, the pride and the triumph meant so much to me that my finishing time was of little significance in comparison, but I do feel pretty satisfied that I finished 30 seconds faster than last year's attempt, where I ran the whole way.
All in all, I'm happy I finally saw the light about this challenge, I was thinking in black and white, thinking I either had to run or walk the whole thing. My mind, body and especially my knees are grateful for the compromise. Now on to healing!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Doctor, My Knee Hurts When I Run

I am a self-diagnoser.  A doctor without a licesnse, educated by many a medical website and discussion board.  If something is bothering me or my children, I Google it.  By the way, Bing sucks.  I am definitely a Google girl.  You would not believe all the ailments I have!  For example, I don't like to read, unless it's something I'm really interested in [ Asperger's, ADHD], and I often lose my train of thought mid-sentence [ADHD, learning disorder-not otherwise specified] and I can get pretty anal about how things are arranged/done [OCD].  I'm having trouble sleeping at night [perimenopause] and have early morning nausea [hey, that can't be what is happening, you better think of another ailment!]
You get the drift.  So I have self-diagnosed my knee with IT-band issues or Runner's Knee.  The band rubs wrong while running, causing swelling, popping, and tightness in the hamstring while not running.  I know I have really bad form while running, and my hamstrings become so tight and pumped that I look like a power-lifter trying to walk afterword.  I think I simply wasn't made to run.  It's like the old joke:
PATIENT: "Dr, my knee hurts when I run." 
DR: "Then don't run".
That being said, one of my lovely, bright readers recommended I try yoga, so I decided if such an intelligent person recommends it, it must be worth trying.  I have done some yoga before, and usually find I am too fat or too uncoordinated to do most of the moves, but I went to my other friend, Google, and looked for yoga for runners, and I found a great set of stretches for my entire lower body.  I did them in my office yesterday, and the entire leg felt more in harmony almost immediately.  This morning, my knee was popping a little less, and I stopped myself as the twinkle of *maybe* running my 5K this weekend tried to creep into my mind.  I got so far as to make a case for running it, and reason returned as I bent down to fetch a dish and my knee made a huge KLUNK, POP, and as I stood back up, finally a CRACK!  It doesn't hurt, perse, but it's not the most comfortable feeling, and definitely a sign that the offending activity is not one I should repeat.  A long, deep sigh slipped out of me and I realized that the childish show-off in me will have to take a back seat this time, so that I don't end up with arthritis.  That is it, decision made, no more reconsidering.  I am trying to stretch more, just to have the leg feel better, it is still a bit foolish of me to walk 3 miles, but if I can't even walk, I feel like a failure.  I'm sure with some ibuprofen and a little heat, I should be fine.  I might wrap the knee too, just to add a little support.  Saturday will come and pass quickly, and the 5K will be behind me.  Then I will celebrate my husband's birthday.  The weather is supposed to be absolutely beautiful for the event, and I'm looking forward to it, despite.  I am still walking it for those who can't.
Today is the day I am going to start to pin down what my idea of a healthy plan is, and put it on paper so it is easier to follow, and to see where I go off, if I do.  I will put this into play beginning Monday. I might post some new photos, sort of my new starting point.  I have just been spending too much time focusing on other things while the gains I worked so hard for slowly slip away. 
So this weekend, I'm sure will be full of junk food, as this week has been, and most of the days that preceded it this month.  But it will also be a time of research and reflection, and reassuring myself that I have what it takes to prevail.  The 5K walk will definitely help me, being surrounded by all those fit people, and reminded why my knee has failed me, and it will be a reminder of where I don't want to be in ten, twenty or forty years from now.  I know it's time to take action and fix what is broken before the rest of my body falls apart like my knees! 

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Behaving Badly

Sometimes I go for days tongue-tied or brain-tied, overwhelmed by my underwhelming life, and feeling like I have nothing to say or simply can't put words to what I am feeling.  It's frustrating not being able to write, even moreso not being able to think clearly. 
I feel like I am in a general state of being "unwell" but can't pinpoint anything in particular that is wrong.  My knee is still not back to normal, it does feel like it is healing somewhat, it is less painful but still pops constantly.  I have not been doing any cardio because of it.  Moreover, I allowed myself to slip into the mindless thinking that since I'm not getting any exercise, I might as well not worry about my diet either until I can get it all in order.  Bah!
I know part of the reason I feel so blah right now is because I am not taking care of myself.  There are times when I feel the way I did before I was diagnosed with high blood pressure and high cholesterol, weak and shakey and worn out.  It scares me to think of the cause, and I am so aware of it that it has become the dark cloud following me around. 
Up until this morning, I was seriously thinking about not going to the 5K.  Partly because I was pouting about not being able to run it, and partly because my knee is still legitimately messed up, and I would be wise to just let it heal properly, rather than risk a regression by overuse again.  But then I began thinking about my dear friend who passed too soon, and I know that she would be telling me, "Aw, you gotta do it!  You've worked so hard for this, Babe!"  and I know that I have to do it for her.  I am capable.  I may not be able to run it, but I can take it on and finish, and I will think of her the whole time.  And furthermore, thoughts of her made me realize that the 5K isn't the only race I need to finish.  My health is deteriorating in front of me, I feel it on a cellular level and I see it in my growing belly.  I need to change things up, take action instead of simply talking about how I need to do it.  I have been waiting for some spark to ignite itself on my behalf, and it isn't.  Woe is me.  My knee is behaving badly, so I have an excuse to be lazy and uncommited.
Over the weekend, my husband had a photo shoot on the west coast, and while driving home from the airport in the middle of the night, he hit a deer.  Luckily, he was unharmed and was able to drive is car the rest of the way home.  But it really had me thinking about what I would do without him, and how it would effect my children to grow up without their dad.  To them, he is so fit and muscular that they think he is invincible, and I tend to look at him that way too.  But when I looked at the other side of it, and thought about how they would fair without their mother, I felt really guilty and sad.  I know I haven't been taking care of my health as though I care about myself, and that is truly selfish and lazy of me. 
Because I work in a health clinic, I encounter a lot of people who are sick, some who are terminal, and it is easy to become too accustomed to helping people without thinking about their struggles.  But a few days ago, I met a woman a few years older than me, battling cancer.  She was self-conscious about her wig and weight gain, and wanted some glasses that made her feel good about herself again.  She had lost her voice and her hair from the chemo, but there was still a sparkle in her eye.  After working together for a while, I was aware of her glow.  And when she finally felt comfortable enough, she removed her wig to reveal short, spunky peppered hair and she was radiant.  We found a pair of glasses that made her feel good, and she thanked me for my time and understanding, but I was the one who felt grateful for the lessons she taught me without directly addressing it.  I am the one who has time.  There is time left for me.  I feel broken, but I am not.  I am vital and strong and glowing.  So many strong people have come into my life and lifted me when I am in the midst of drowning in apathy.  I am not backing down from my petty challenge, I am strong.  Sometimes I just need someone even stronger to remind me of that.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Oxygen and Fresh Air

I ran three miles three days ago, and my knee is still doing bad things.  Lots of popping and things relocating, some tension in my hamstring to go along, it all feels like my body is telling me, no matter what you have to prove, I will fail you if you fail me.  And I am tortured by the thought of not pushing through it, but I know it is like playing Russian Roulette with my body.  Permanent damage to such a vital part of my body would have me back in heart attack range in no time.  It is one of those situations where I cannot afford to not listen to my body, despite my mind acting like a spoiled child.  So I have to come to terms with the fact that walking it at as fast a pace I can maintain, is going to have to be my go-to option.  On the surface, I'm OK with that.  The rest will fall into place.  I don't have another option.  When I think of living every day with bad knees, especially knowing it was somewhat preventable, I can't do that.  Part of the reason I wanted to lose the fat is so that I could be fit enough to keep up with my kids.  People with bad knees are generally not very active. 
Anyway, I am feeling like I need some fresh air in my diet and fitness world.  My diet has been similar for so long, with only one or two changes every few weeks, I am getting bored with the food and my exercise has been all over the board, no consistency.  So I am devising a plan to help freshen things up.  I am making a binder to help keep me more organized.  I will record everything I put in my mouth and any workouts.  My binder will also include recipes, strength training routines and inspirational photos from my favorite fitness mag, Oxygen.  I want to stick to something positive for a month before deciding whether or not to A. ask my husband to look at my diet for weak spots or B. see the nutritionist here at work.  If I can stick to something good for a month, I think I can figure out where to go from there.  If not, maybe I need help figuring things out.  I feel like I have a pretty good grasp on what to do, I just need to commit to myself again, and make it a priority. 
Today I began the task of going through some old issues of Oxygen to gather the aforementioned goodies for my binder, and it got me back in the groove of thinking about my fitness level vs my fitness goals.  I came across an ad for a book called Think and Grow Thin by Charles D'Agelo.  I had never heard of him before, so I went online to research who he was and why Oxygen would have his ad in their mag.  All of the reviews on Amazon were glowingly positive and people have lost a lot of weight following his program.  I would love to hear if any of my readers have any experience with this plan?  I am inately skeptical, and didn't buy the book, even though it's affordable enough, but it got me thinking about diet success.  Everyone gets fired up at the beginnning of a program, it is a new adventure peppered with so much hope and vision, I nearly bound out of bed with joy when I am beginning a new plan.  The question I am trying to answer is, can I get that same feeling from starting the same thing over, or does it only come from starting a new plan?  The reason my current plan isn't working for me is because I don't adhere to it.  Half the effort should lead to half the results.  And I guess in a way that's true, I haven't passed the point of irrevokable damage, once I stay commited for a week or two, the inches usually start coming off again, I am effectively maintaining at an overweight place, instead of returning to obesity.  But that's not good enough for me.  My dream was to have a wild physique.  Well, wild in comparison to what I've always looked like.  I definitely improved on the physique I started with, but it's not wild by any stretch of the imagination.  So it's time to fire myself up again about what is posible, and bring back that driving feeling of hope that has made me successful in the past.  Maybe a new book or workout is part of the trick to get my mind back in the game, I won't rule it out.  But in the end, what is most useful is the same trick I've had hiding up my sleeve for a year and a half now, belief that I can do it, that I am a force to be reckoned with, and that if I keep throwing my noodle against the wall, eventually it is going to stick. (Yummm, noodles!)
Here's to a hope-building-Tuesday. 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Implimenting Plan B

As my semester as school comes to a close, I am letting out a long sigh of relief and release.  I am happy to put the first semester back, behind me and resume a somewhat normal schedule again for a few months.
I ran 3 miles on Saturday, in preperation of my 5K on May 19th.  While I was running, I tried to think about other things, to keep my mind off the fact that I was doing something I don't really enjoy, and for what purpose?  To prove to myself that I can?  I've already done that.  I thought about my beautiful friend, Trish who left us too soon.  You may recall, she was in a horrible marriage with a drug addict, and when she finally got the courage to leave with her young son, she wanted to do something for herself, so she decided to have plastic surgery.  When the anesthesia entered her bloodstream, her heart stopped and she never awoke.  In the end, it was her heart that was the culprit.  I thought about my own heart, and the poor way I've been handling my health.  Then I thought about her son, growing up without a mother.  I decided, while I was running, and trying hard to maintain rhythmic breathing, that I was going to do this 5K for Trish, to honor her memory, and to commit to taking better care of my health so I can be there for my own kids. 
But after two days of recovery, I am beginning to realize that my foolishness, and having to try and prove something, is not encouraging healthy things for my body.  My left knee is scolding me fiercly for aggrivating it.  It is a feeling that I would not tollerate if it were caused by anything other than running, but I have learned to expect and allow it after running, and if I am being honest with myself, I know it is an indicator that I should not be doing the activity that caused it to feel so poor.  And my whole lower body is still very sore too, just the standard muscle soreness, but it really makes me dread running, which isn't a good way to convince myself to do it again.  So while I was lying awake during one of my recent bouts of insomnia, an idea came to me that made me realize I can outsmart myself.  I wonder how fast I can walk that course?  It is better than the thought of giving up and not going at all, and I will be doing my knees a favor by not running it.  And, if I really push myself, I might be able to walk it faster than I can run it.  It is just a thought.  I am not going to have too many more opportunities to get out and practice, but I think I am going to have to put this Plan B into practice, I just don't think I can do this to my knees much longer without creating irrivokable damage.  Again, for what purpose? 
My lack of blogging last week was partly due to the busy things I mentioned in my previous blog, but also out of pushing healthy things out of my mind.  The fact that I ran Saturday actually surprised me and I ate pretty healthy that day compared to all the others, but in general, mine has been an attitude of I'll fix this pretty soon.  As backwards as it is, some of my indifference to my health lately, has come from me dreading this 5K.  I keep looking at is as an obstacle, making plans for when it's finally out of the way.  Then I can train my legs again and enjoy cardio again, and really focus on some great workout that I like instead of dreading/forcing myself to try to run three days a week.  So I am hoping that this new idea of speed walking it will help alleviate some of those nasty roadblocks I am throwing in my own way.  My waistline is continuing to grow, and I am really not liking the way I look right now.  I need to put the brakes on all the bad habits and remember what I am doing.  I even thinking about making an appointment with a doctor for a few months out, to motivate me to get on the right track, because that has been a really effective tool in the past.  Right now, I am not accountable to anyone, and that is a problem.
This week, my plan is simple.  I want to stay on track during the week, which will be much easier now that I am going to be getting home at a normal time of night.  I want to walk that 3 mile stretch at some point this week, to see what kind of time I can make.  I'm not sure what other kind of activity I will be able to do, it depends on how my knee feels and how long my lower body stays sore.  But it is my goal to start to work back towards some sort of normalcy.  And in the long term, that is going to mean that I am going to have to reign in my cheat food to one meal a weekend.  Lately, I haven't even been trying on the weekends, it is just a free-for-all, and I am paying for it in an ever-expanding waistline, low energy and low self-esteem.  The sad part about it is, it is so automatic for me to just eat whatever I want on the weekends, that I don't even think about exercising controll anymore.  But that has to change, and I have some fun ideas about how we can make it work as a family, so we're all eating better on the weekends. 
Though it may take a bit to surface, my husband will be in an ad for Apple's iPad 3, which should get him some really nice exposure.  We are hoping it gets him "discovered".  He is going to San Fran this weekend, and I am really hoping he changes his mind about moving to Florida.  I'd much rather have to weather a couple more winters in Wisconsin to save up for California that suffer the bugs and humidity of Florida!  Fingers crossed.
Hope your Monday is off to a great start!  Thanks for reading.