Every week, if not every day, I read a post on somebody's blog that talks about how it doesn't matter what we look like. That if it weren't for the fact that the fat was detrimental to our health, none of us would feel so bad about how we look. And that while they wouldn't mind looking thinner, that isn't really the reason they are in this weight loss thing - their motivation and drive comes from a desire to truly be the healthiest they can. When I read those kinds of posts, I go away feeling bad about who I am. I feel shallow and question why I can't be more concerned with who I am than with what other people see when they look at me and what size my clothes are.
Admittedly, for me it is the driving force in my efforts to lose weight. While I of course want to be healthy, the thing that has kept pushing me has been the desire to fit into my clothes better, and to be able to buy smaller sizes and cuter clothes. While I wish that I didn't spend so much time worrying about what I look like, comparing myself to other people, and always finding myself lacking, it isn't something I have been able to overcome.
Take for instance the fact that I am going to get some bangs cut into my hair this morning. While this may not seem like a monumental decision or act, I have gone back and forth with the decision for a couple of weeks. See, I want some of those swoopy side bangs that are popular now. I have been growing my hair out for a couple of years now from its previous A-line, ceasing the endless straightening of my natural curls. As anyone who has grown their hair out knows, it often seems like you are waiting to get to the point where your hair is long and beautiful, and meanwhile you are just trimming it every couple of months. It changes slowly, and seems to look the same for months at a time. So I have reached the point where I want something to mix it up a little, something a bit different, but I am not done growing it, don't want to cut any length off, and don't want to color it because the upkeep is just too much for me and most of the time I like my natural auburn and gold highlights. So bangs seem like a good idea - a small change but something different and fun.
So decision made, right? Ha! Because see, my mind doesn't work on a linear level. It curves and climbs and dips and doubles back. Worries and fears jump out from their dark hiding places and interrupt the path of decision. What if the bangs look weird? I mean, I will have to straighten them each day to make them swoopy, and the rest of my hair is curly. Will that look funny? What if I hate them, and after all this time of trying to get my hair to all be long in length, I now have to start growing bangs out all over again? What if I just looked better without them and never should have gotten them? And on and on and on. (To which my husband invariably replies - "What if your arm falls off?" I imagine twelve years with my insanity is enough to drive a man crazy - he doesn't even try to calm me down anymore.)
I have asked friends and family their opinions, looked at endless pictures online. All for this seemingly small change to my hair. Well, yesterday I finally made an appointment to get the cut this morning. Decision made again, right? Yeah, I am going to go through with it, but last night I had this terrible dream that I had already cut them myself into fringe-style bangs, which looked horrible, and then the lady who does my hair looked horrified, and really couldn't do anything to help me, and I was just so regretful that I had ever touched them. I woke up this morning thinking I should text and cancel my appointment. But I am not going to. I am going to go and do this, and convince myself that no matter the outcome, it won't ruin anything, it isn't a drastic decision, and it is only hair. It will grow back if I don't like it. And on the flip side, I may come back from it looking like a movie star. Who knows?
Now imagine that all this craziness is applied to my body. Even after losing 50 pounds, there are still days where I find it impossible to get dressed and feel good about how I look. It is a downward spiral, all fed by things I was told as a young girl by a vindictive girlfriend of my dad's and an ex-alcoholic grandfather who still had an occasional mean streak. But today I will silence the voices and take a small step in the direction of believing in myself and my decisions. And hopefully come back with my hair looking more like this:
Lately I feel that I have had two distinct goals in my life - 1) run a half-marathon and generally continue to improve my fitness and 2) lose weight. Now, #2 has been on the goal list for quite a while. And I have been losing. Slowly. And it seems like #s 1 and 2 go hand in hand. But I have to tell you, lately it really feels like they are at odds with one another. Because I have been improving my fitness - lots and lots of cross training, and I am definitely trimming down and gaining muscle. Which is what I think is causing some trouble with the weight loss. I may be losing fat, but I am replacing it with muscle, so the number on the scale? Isn't moving.
And while on one level I know that this is the case, and that it isn't just that I am not changing at all, on another level it completely stresses me out that I am not seeing results reflected on the scale, and it is leading me to spend way more time than is healthy obsessing over what I am eating and why isn't all the time I am spending working out helping and blah blah blah.
I think that what my problem is (shall I say one of my problems? Because lets be honest, I have too many to list) is that I am splitting my focus. Right now, I feel like I need to either focus on one goal or the other. So for now, I am going to be focusing on improving my fitness and getting my training underway for my half marathon. I will put all my effort into that. This doesn't mean that I am not going to still strive to make good choices food-wise, or that I won't ever weigh myself, only that I am going to put the most work into improving my body through exercise, and along with that, maybe the weight will drop. But if it doesn't, I will do my best to be ok with it, and to be happy with the achievements I will be making in that arena.
Now, on a physical note, I think that I strained my foot when I went running the other day. I need new running shoes, as mine are pretty worn, and my best guess is that this fact resulted in my injury. My foot is really sore along the outside of the sole. I can walk on it, but after a bit it really hurts. Any thoughts on this???
Wednesday = workout class. I think it is called Group X, but in all the time I have been going on Mondays and Wednesdays, I have never referred to it by its name. Randy kicked our butts today. Actually, let me rephrase that. He gave us the tools to kick our own butts. Because really, while he will stand there and tell us to pick up the speed and correct us when we aren't doing something the right way, for the most part we are responsible for how much of an effort we put out. Some days, I have a harder time getting myself to really push it. Other days, I give it my all. Today was one of those days.
We did something similar to drills, so we were in a line. There were only four of us today. I was in front. And I pushed it and did things quickly. And ended up at the back of the line, because today no one else was really pushing. And I didn't fault them for that. It just meant there were times when I had to wait a minute to start the next exercise because I had just finished my 5th time through while the others were just starting their 5th. It felt good to be the one who was really on today.
I need to apply this principle to the rest of my healthy-living. Especially my eating. Because really, I know the drills. I have the tools to kick my butt into gear and lose the last 15-20 pounds. But I am just holding them, lightly using them, setting them down when they feel too heavy. And no one else can pick them up and finish the job for me. I am the one who has to do the work. I will be doing my best to focus and remember that today. Because while I still haven't had sugar since last Friday, my other eating habits haven't gotten any better. And it isn't any one thing that is holding me back, it is a general faineance in the eating department.
After yesterday's walk turned into a run halfway through, I kind of caught the bug to get back into my running. I don't know if anyone remembers, but a while back I declared that this would be the year of the half-marathon for me. Since then, I have done nothing in the running department to further my goal. Sure, I have put in a mile or two here and there, but I found myself in a funk and just couldn't bring myself to really run. I kept up with my other cardio and my strength training, but since running outside in my first (and only) 5k last November, the treadmill just doesn't do it for me. And I didn't have the will to push it.
Well, with the return of the nice weather here in Northern California (at least temporarily,) I got just the inspiration I needed to get my feet moving. This morning I left my house, intent only on running as far as I felt able, and just getting back out there. We live in a rural town, but right next to a (slightly) bigger one, and so I headed out down my country-ish road towards our local grocery store, Raley's. My husband was home working on something, but he was going to be heading to the store to pick up some chorizo for breakfast (as my mother-in-law is making homemade tortillas as I type this,) and I figured that I would just keep running as long as I could, and he could pick me up on his way back home if I couldn't go any further.
Where the rural part of our road ends and the more populated area starts is about a mile and a half. When I was training for the 5k, that was how I marked where to turn around to come back to get the full distance. But as I reached that point this morning, my hubby had not yet driven past me on his way to the store, and I didn't want to turn around and run where I had already been, so I kept going. Where our road ends altogether is about 2 miles from my home, so I figured I would get to there, and if I hadn't seen any sign of my husband I would just keep going as far as I could. I reached the corner - still no sign of Hubby. So I thought "Well, I'll just keep going until I can't."
And I did. I just kept running, eventually deciding that I would just try to make it to Raley's. At some point I figured that my husband must have already passed me and I just hadn't noticed. Well, I made it all the way to the store. A distance of 3 miles. And I probably could have gone a bit further, but at that point I just decided that I might as well meet my husband there and catch a ride back home. So I pulled out my cell phone and called him, figuring he was already inside somewhere, and simultaneously when he answered I saw him at the stoplight waiting to pull in.
"Did I pass you?" he asked me. When I told him no, that I was at Raley's, he was surprised. "I was starting to worry that maybe you'd hurt yourself and fallen in a ditch."
But no, I ran all the way. The first time since Thanksgiving that I have run that far. And it felt wonderful to accomplish. I think I am ready to start my training for the half-marathon. But for now, there is chorizo & eggs and fresh-made tortillas waiting for me.
Not my chorizo, but close enough. This one doesn't have eggs in it yet.
Good morning, blog peoples. It is 8:02 a.m. on the west coast, and already it has been a great day! How many times do you get to say that? Me? Not very. So I will claim it, and love it, and carry the feeling with me in hopes that I will remember to look for it again in the future.
Today has been declared Pajama Day for my family. A day off from school, Hubby's day off from work, and we are going to cocoon ourselves for some much needed family time. There are copious amounts of movie watching ahead, and maybe some board games. And probably a nap. Or two. Heaven? Yes, I think so. However, Pajama Day falls on a Monday, which is one of the two days a week that I have my workout class with the evil trainer, and I refuse to miss those classes unless I am dying or out of town. They are that killer.
So I was up at 5:15, and out of my pajamas and into my workout clothes while the rest of the family slumbered on blissfully. I hit the all motion trainer for 28 minutes, then the half hour class (today's focus was strength - my muscles were so shaky by the time we finished.) Then I hopped in my van and headed home, fully intending to change immediately back into my jammies and call it good.
Only I didn't. Somewhere between the gym and my house (which keep in mind is only a two mile distance) I had decided that I was going to go for a walk when I got home. (I know - who am I, and what happened to Morgan?) So I came into the house, said good morning to three of my children who had risen in my absence (my 6 year old son looked at my workout clothes and said "You are going to put your jammies back on, right?") and then headed out. There is a hilly 2 mile loop from my house, which was my one source of exercise in the months when I lost my first 30 pounds a couple years ago. I decided I wanted to revisit it, as I hardly ever use it now that I use the fitness center.
My fastest time to do the loop in the past was 27 minutes, and that was sometime after I had lost that first chunk of weight. Today I set out at a determined pace, and about halfway through I started jogging. And I didn't stop. Downhill, uphill, slow but steady, I ran over half the loop all the way back to my house, and could have kept going if I hadn't reached my destination. It felt wonderful. And before I had always used the end of my driveway as my stopping place, telling myself when it would get rough to keep going "Just to the mailbox, then you can stop." But today I ran to my front door. Upon checking my time, I was pleased to see that it took me about 24 and a half minutes.
I feel great, and am so so glad I went out. I am a little sweatier than I intended, so I think I will actually shower before putting my jammies back on. But pajama day doesn't officially start until everyone is awake, and Hubby and the eldest girl are not awake yet, so I have some time. I hope that everyone out there has a great President's day, whatever you are doing!
Let me start by saying that the day you go to a baby shower is not the best day to decide to not have any sugar. What is it about celebrating an impeding birth that inspires buffets of brownies, cake, and candies? No matter - I didn't touch any of it. I said I wouldn't have sugar yesterday, and I didn't. And I at least partially owe that to you all - making it a public statement on the blog made it more necessary for me to stick to it. So, one successful day over. Today I am still not having sugar, but I am also going to focus on portion control. I feel like I ate a lot yesterday, some of which wasn't strictly necessary. We are spending a Sunday at home - kids are sick, Hubby is going to work, so I am missing church and hanging by the fire. Hopefully I will get a walk in later, too. Happy Sunday all!
I should have posted sometime in the last week to capture how I was feeling, because things change quickly around my house and now I am in a new state of mind. Which is good - the state I was visiting was ugly. But what good is a blog if you don't use it to document these things? And somehow it never sounds the same when being recounted rather than written when it is happening.
At any rate, the past week has been horrendous - stress, tension and arguing with my husband, annoyance and then anger at my kids, fighting amongst themselves without stopping, so on and so forth. I was feeling so upset and guilty and such a slough of other negative emotions, and then I started eating sugar. Anything I could get my hands on. And I didn't want it AT ALL. My body told me no, the food turned to ash in my mouth, and yet I pressed on. Why is it that the only thing I am good at pushing through and forcing myself to do is bad eating? And as I thought about what I was doing, and I did think about it, even while eating a peanut butter cookie every time I passed the plate in the kitchen, I knew that I was punishing myself. For yelling at my kids, for fighting with my husband, for being so miserable. I felt bad emotionally, and I was going to make sure I felt bad physically too. I am not sure that I have ever done this before. My emotional eating in the past has been linked to boredom, or sadness, or searching for something that I am missing that can't actually be filled by sugar. But this is the first time I remember eating out of spite for myself.
And the crazy thing? I wanted to stop. My mind and body both told me no. But I was determined, and I just kept going. Well, Hubby and I were finally able to sit together and talk things out last night, without the negative emotions getting in the way, without the kids needing immediate attention, and were able to validate each other's feelings and also express what each of us has been going through separately from the other. And this morning I feel much better. Even throughout the events of the week, I was sure to get my workouts in, so those were, at least, still in place, and this morning I made it to the gym before Hubby had to leave for work at 7. And I made a goal for the day. For just the day, because right now I can't handle anything longer-term than that - with everything else that we are dealing with it becomes too overwhelming. So I will take it a day at a time.
That is it today - no sugar. I am not going to count all my calories, or cut out sugar and carbs and fats, or only eat vegetables. I am just eschewing sugar. And I am happy about it. And my stomach is happy about it - I feel nauseas just thinking about those cookies - I sent them to work with my husband. So today is a new start - thank goodness we get one every day.
Last Monday as I was standing in the workout room waiting for my 6:30 a.m. class to start, the trainer who teaches it, Randy, looks at me and asks "How much more weight have you lost?" The heads of the other four people in the class swivel to look at me. Great.
"None," I reply, hands on my hips in my defensive posture. "I am pretty much maintaining." 'Now can we please just get on with you kicking our butts?'
"Well you can see a difference." He says, while eight other eyes continue staring. Have I mentioned that I am the biggest person in the class? And while I am, admittedly, not as big as I used to be, I am still aware of that fact.
"Yeah, well, it is annoying." I reply, referring to the fact that the damn number on the scale doesn't. want. to. budge.
"That's because you are looking at the scale." He says smugly. "Throw that thing away."
Ha, yeah right. He might as well tell me to throw out my tennis shoes. It feels that essential to my progress (an issue to be addressed later.) So class starts and during the half hour of torture workout, I catch myself several times staring at the region of my body that exists from just below my waist to my knees. Those full length mirrors are brutal. And while I have lost 50 pounds, there are still a good 15-20 hanging around my hips, thighs, and butt. And let's be honest, who doesn't want to hang around my hips, thighs, and butt? But I want them GONE. I continue the workout, and at the end we all say goodbye and turn to exit through the gym.
"Morgan, let me show you something. Do you have a minute?"
Crap. "Sure, yeah."
"I know where you are trying to get, and I can help you out."
Randy walks me out to the lying chest press machine, and throws a mat on the floor beneath one of the handles. "Get down on your hands and knees," he tells me. Thus far in my time since I started the class with Randy, there are times when I will be working out on the equipment and he will come by and tell me how to do things a little differently, or how to ramp it up to get better results, and I ALWAYS do it. I figure, the man is a professional, and I am, at best, a layman. Or laywoman. Whatever. And I ALWAYS wish he hadn't come by and told me to do whatever it is. Because it nearly kills me. Every time. But just nearly. He knows how to keep me alive so that he can torture me again later.
So I get down on the floor, and he proceeds to tell me how to do mule kicks with my foot on the bar of that machine, thus adding weight to my kicks. I start the exercise, as he is telling me to do 3 reps of 10 on each side every other day. As he watches me he lowers that to 8. And then 5. That is encouraging. I am worse than he thought. He tells me that in a week or so, he will give me another exercise to add in. He goes back to his office, and I do the sets, and when I am done my legs are jelly. With a capital J. My thighs and butt are throbbing. Throbbing Jelly? Not so conducive to walking. But I make it to my car and off to home.
On the way, I was thinking that I have never told Randy that I want to cut the fat off of my legs and butt, with a sharp knife if necessary. That while I feel pretty good about how I am looking in the last few months, Those areas of my body are the bane of my weight-loss existence. But he knew. And he is giving me free personal training advice, something that the other clients in the gym pay through the nose for. And as I have watched him run the class and work with the other people in the gym, I have seen time and time again that all he really wants for any of us is to experience personal improvement. He doesn't yell, belittle, or force anything. He just challenges us continually, and that has really helped me see that I am capable of more than I ever thought I was.
I just jogged laps around my kitchen counter at 10 p.m. at night in order to get the last calories needed to change my Gruve light to green, thus officially meeting my "green goal" for the day. Don't tell me this thing doesn't motivate you to move. G'night all.
I have never been awarded anything as a blogger. And let me be honest for a minute here - I am not sure that I deserve this one. I haven't been doing too well with the blogging lately. But I am very very grateful to Gen over at Gen's 110 for giving it to me. Go and check her out - she is new to this weight-loss blogging thing, and can use some support from you all. And I am going to use this award to jump back into blogging - I have some things I want to blog about that have been rattling around in my mind. So here goes nothing:
The rules for this award are simple:
Post and link back to the person who awarded you this award;
Share 7 things about yourself;
Award 5 bloggers who have "stylish" blogs
Well, seven things about me...
1) My birthday is on St. Patrick's Day, and it was also my great-grandma's birthday. I am part Irish and love having that be my birthday!
2) I hate olives.
3) I have three chickens named Lucille, Smidge, and Kevin (yes, a hen) that my family wanted but I didn't, and in the true nature of being the mom, I am the one who takes care of them all and they follow me everywhere.
4) I secretly dream of being a gospel singer, ever since playing a gospel singing nun in a musical in high school. Sorry, I don't have a scanner or else I would post a picture. It would be very embarrassing.
5) I love Disneyland. Well, really I love Disney in general, but am really interested in Walt Disney himself and love love love going to the theme park. I know more about Disneyland than your average person. Luckily for me, my husband loves it all as much as I do. Unluckily for me, I live 8 hours away (7 if the traffic in L.A. is good, which let's face it, is never.) My husband is trying to convince me to remedy this.
This picture is the hubby and I in Disneyland in 2007 - it is also a wonderful example of the difference between who we were (physically) then vs. now.
6) I am forever taking pictures of myself, trying to get that elusive "good one." Most people just think I am vain.
Sometimes I include some of my children, as they always make me look good.
7) I LOVE to read. I have been known to finish a 500+ page book in a day if I am really into it.
Ok, that was much harder than it should have been. Surely there is more to me than seven facts! Well, part three of this award is to award five others. I am sure that some of you have already received this, and others probably eschew all awards. Since I don't know who specifically feels that way, I am taking my chances and awarding: