Thursday, August 02, 2012
For those who asked "what's next"... I've known for some time that my next long-term target is the Women's Half Marathon in St. Petersburg, Florida, in mid-November.
Y'all know me, gotta have a plan, have to be prepared and trained. So, here are the lead-up events:
1) This morning I finally succumbed to temptation and signed up for the August 25th 10K Mud Run. Last year I medaled in the 5K version of the same event... we're going to see about upping that distance.
2) September 9th, the 5 Mile Buffalo run. It's a hilly course through a gorgeous park, and one of the mainstays of our local running season.
3) October 21st, the Governor's Cup, which I intend to do as a 15K.
The races listed above are part of self-tests / mileage increases leading up to the main event.
And of course, in between, a little bit of everything: 3 runs a week, one of which is a mileage builder. One strength training session a week. And a recovery bike or swim thrown in here and there.
So, that's it... there is a plan. Now work the plan, modify as needed, and kick Polly Perfectionist right on out the door!
Because Life is Good... Spark on!
Wednesday, August 01, 2012
A couple weeks ago, a niece posted this on my FB wall:
"I think you are the most Bad-Ass (pardon the language) Aunt I know! Love the new profile photo & cover photo!!!"
The profile pic and cover photo you've seen, the profile was me before the open water swim, and the cover was that "victory leap" after the Color Run.
When I ask "When did THAT happen?" it's really a question about re-defining one's family identity. You see, I grew up being "the good daughter", "the happy baby" who stuck with mom & dad's church after all the others had left. But I was also "the fat sister".
I have struggled with those labels most of my life, trying for some crazy reason to live up to them? Awakening happens slowly. It does require self-examination. I guess living up to "happy" finally moved me into things that CHANGED the family identity, at least as far as how the next generation sees me. I'm now more identified with fitness and exercise and promoting healthy habits... and overcoming limits!
I'm proud to be a "bad-a$$ Aunt". Glad to leave the "fat sister" label on the cutting room floor. Here's to removing, ripping off, and burning labels that limit, and embracing not just who we want to be, but turning that into who we are becoming... one day, one decision at a time.
Life is good. Spark on!
Tuesday, July 31, 2012
SUNNY332 Sparked this blog when she asked in her comment to yesterday's bonus blog: "When are you going to be featured in the WW magazine?"
The short answer to that question is never.
Why? Because 1) I never reached my goal weight with WW, and 2) I was not successful at maintaining that loss. Therefore, WW would not be able to claim me as a success story.
AFTER that, I did keep *most* of the 80 pounds off for nearly 5 years. But then "life happened" and I had, as I kind of hand-waved over, more lessons to learn. And most of MY life lessons have tended to come in the form of lapses in eating and exercise habits, and a lot of self-blame and feelings of worthlessness. I regained.
Weight Watchers is not the ONLY commercial or non-commercial tool I have used in getting to where I am today. I purchased and read tons of books.
At one point I went to TOPS meetings because they were more affordable at the time than WW, but I ended up stopping with that because I did not feel at home there... there was a lot of crafts and food in the group I was in, and it just wasn't ME. I started feeling "less than" the other women who seemed to have different more fulfilling lives than I did. I regained.
I sort of despaired of the commercial tools and even the books at one point, about the time Oprah and Bob Greene's first book came out, and wrote in my personal journal, "I need to write my OWN success story."
Years later, in a therapy session when asked what I did for myself... a light bulb went on and I realized I was at my happiest when I was *working on* my weight/fitness. Spark AHA related to this? That it was the healthy habits that made me happy, not the results on the scale! I started losing again.
After battling the pounds back off, as an empty nester in 2007, I noticed binge behaviors coming back, and I went to the last house on the block: Overeaters Anonymous. There I found a whole new set of insights. Among them that there indeed *is* a physiological element to my own weight issues. And an emotional one. But then I overextended myself into social situtations with THAT group, and ended up leaving and regaining yet again!
I finally ended up with Jenny Craig, not because I believed in their program, but because my daughter in law wanted to try it, and it was less expensive for her if we both joined. I flat out told the director of the center that nothing they had to offer would ensure success! There are still grocery stores, and I have money!
So seriously, the lessons learned in OA are probably the ones most valuable to me in long-term maintenance. One, I now recognize that I truly am a compulsive eater, and some things are just going to require daily diligence... for the rest of my life. Some things that work for folks who just have sloppy habits with food or need to learn about nutrition are NOT going to work for me.
Two, I now fully accept that I cannot control the scale. I can only control my own behavior, and that only through the grace of a higher power who gives me first the willingness and then the ability to stick with the program for ONE decision at a time.
Three, enter SparkPeople. I now have a place to go where people don't get tired of hearing my babbling... my real life friends and family probably *do* wear out from this stuff. The "normals" are puzzled that someone like me has to keep working at it, just to stay in the same place!
So, who gets the credit? ALL of them, to some extent. Because they are ALL good tools. In the end, the decisions are mine. But mostly, I'm grateful to that Higher Power, which re-lights the spark, and gave me the body that amazingly has responded to being treated well.
Life is Good... Spark on!
Monday, July 30, 2012
1989, February. I tripped over this photograph this morning as I was looking for something else. The notes on the back identify it as being from our trip to visit my parents, about two weeks before I joined Weight Watchers at work. This would be very very close to my heaviest. You can see how swollen my wrist is, how uncomfortable it was to even bend over or get up from a chair. Later my mother (to the left in this photo) told me she was worried about my health, but she never said anything during this trip.
I ended up dropping 80 pounds in that first attempt to change my life. And then had to learn some other lessons to get where I am today. The woman in this first "before" is neither healthy NOR happy, and is desperately looking for answers. The little boy in the foreground, grows up to be the man in the next picture.
Hopefully, by this point, I have learned some lessons about how to maintain fitness. Let me say, it is NOT easy to lose, but it is far more challenging to maintain, in my book.
This morning, the woman depicted below had to prove she weighed enough to donate blood.
Be not discouraged if it takes more than one try. Be not discouraged if it takes years or decades. Never, ever, ever give up! Because it is worth it to feel the way I do today... and I wish I could bottle and sell it. NOTHING tastes as good as FIT feels.
Life is good. Spark on!
Monday, July 30, 2012
This is my brother in law, your host, "splaining" what a melodrama is (audience participation) and welcoming you to the show up at Mahoney State Park. I went with my sister (his wife) and neice (his daughter). Now something you should be interested in, Spark buds, is that this particular BIL lost some significant pounds himself last year, to get off medications and manage a family history of diabetes. Besides being a funny guy, author, actor and producer... and working a day job to support his family, too.
Now I'm going to show you just a piece of the fun... this particular offering is called "Robber's Roost". And yes, our favorite villian, played by Hunter Larrison (remember the name, for when he hits the big time) targeting MY lap for retaliatory popcorn dumping! He's a stitch... they all are.
Any locals out there... don't miss this year's fun, this cast is just superb in how well they play against one another and feed on audience energy.
So that's my plug for "having fun"... it's so important to have non-food rewards and fun in our lives, because it's not ALL about nutrition and exercise. It's about having full lives and living them. Nutrition and exercise just make the rest of it both easier and feel more like a reward.
Ever punish yourself by withholding "life" for being "bad" with food? I used to do this warped thing, once upon a time. Now? Not so much.
Here's to living our lives, one day at a time, fully, with joy, and love in our hearts, and sharing that love by giving encouragement to others!
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