Friday, November 12, 2010
Helen Heroine was trapped in a fat body. There was no other way to describe it. She felt ugly, and her life was a shambles. She just knew if she could only get to her ideal weight, life would be perfect.
She read ads about diet plans, she tried a few, then she decided to go on an adventure with something she'd heard might work: she would almost fast every other day, and allow herself to eat whatever she wanted on the alternate days.
On those fasting days she ate a little, for good form... a salad for lunch, a can of tomatoes or spinach for supper, but there was very little balance to it. It was no wonder she was ravenous on the "feast days", and then she ate whatever took her fancy. Everything did.
At the end of three months, Helen was pleased with her weight loss... she was a slim 129, perfect for starting college. But she was still ravenous. And her life, unlike what she thought it would be, was far from perfect.
She started going to dark places in the evening, particularly. After supper, she would have a burger and fries in the basement of the dorm where they had a grill for those who had missed supper. She would raid the vending machines at work on her breaks, candy bars and full sugared sodas were favorites. It wasn't long before the comfort of this extra food was not an "every other day" but a daily thing.
And the new clothes stopped fitting. Helen felt like a complete failure. And after all that bragging she did! She was imprisoned by a monster appetite... and her body wasn't about to hide it.
Her friends told her it was "nothing", but the monster kept growing... and growing... and growing. She tried to keep it at bay, from time to time trying exercise programs or more of those "diets", but she never did get it right. Unlike in the movies, she didn't have someone coming to rescue her... she eventually had to rescue herself!
She signed up for a program called Weight Watchers at Work, and as she was preparing to leave for the first meeting, her monster's co-conspirator, her husband - locked her coat in her room, not wanting her to go. She rebelliously took HIS coat and drove off to the ray of hope over the hill.
This turned out to be the first step of the rescue. Helen learned some ways to deal with the monster. She learned about tracking. She learned about balancing nutrition, not just restricting calories. She now had weapons for the fight. It wasn't over, and there are many more skirmishes, many more helpers along the way, many more tools learned. This tale has a team of powerful allies for the fight, including books, group support, co-workers who encouraged exercise, and a 12-step program called Overeaters Anonymous, and a web site called Spark People.
It takes a team to defeat the monster within. It takes a team to tame and nurture the heroine. The tale is not over... because the monster still lives... but Helen has learned to not just do its bidding. She's learned to talk to the monster, ask it questions, find out what its pain truly is... and most of the time, to find other ways to calm and sooth the monster.
Because, in the end, what Helen discovered, is that the monster is a part of herself, and to heal herself, she had to learn to love the monster.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Helen Heroine grew up thinking she had to be perfect, and that if she wasn't, she must be unlovable. She listened to her mother criticize thin women, and trash every diet story. She listened to her dad's idealism that valued mind, not body, and she worked hard to develop her natural mental talents, while neglecting her looks and while she was at it, her health. She was young. She was immortal, right?
When she was low, she turned to her one best friend, Freddie Foodbinge. She stole minutes with this friend, even as a child, finding him in the fridge or in cupboards where her mom tried to conceal him. She met him at the little diner across the street from her grade school, or at the drug store on the way home. She funded the dates with Freddie from her allowance, from her baby-sitting earnings, and shamefully, with dimes she filched from her dad's change jar.
She had no idea that Freddie was abusing her. To her it was "normal", and she loved Freddie, after all.
Years passed, and she was separated from Freddie when she started hanging out with Earnie Exercise between high school and college. She just didn't have time for Freddie, and she recognized that being with Earnie made her feel good. Over the decades, the two vied for her attention.
She kept trying to break it off with Freddie, but he kept showing up when she was feeling low, anxious, or stressed out. The biggest problem with Freddie was how jealous he was of Helen's attention. He didn't want her spending time with Earnie. He wanted her planted on the couch and wherever she went he wanted to be there and be the focus of her thoughts and actions. He pretty much succeeded.
It was a long time before Helen was introduced to Sam Spark by a mutual friend. It was not quite love at first sight, but Sam grew on Helen over time. Before long, he was taking her to all kinds of Spark Team parties. He encouraged her to keep seeing Earnie, and another helpful friend, Ted Tracker. He supported all the things Helen had learned in her various breakups with Freddie, and he encouraged her in her efforts to change to a healthy lifestyle. Gradually, Helen came to understand what Freddie had done to her over the years, and she learned to shut the door more quickly when he came to call.
It looks to be a lifelong match... Sam and Helen ride off together into the sunset, and live happily ever after.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
OK, Barb's feeling whimsical all of a sudden. In honor of NaNoWriMo (the National Novel Writing Month of November)... would your weight loss / fitness journey be:
A horror story?
A fantasy / science fiction?
I think mine's been a bit of all of these through my lifetime. I sense a series of mini-stories coming on... in blog form... of casting the journey into each genre. Happy ending or catastrophe? Stay tuned!
Tuesday, November 09, 2010
I don't know how this will fit into my spark tracker, but I decided to use the two training links that FitAt50 shared to help me train for those sit up and push-up goals.
Both are six week programs. They may not be directly aimed at passing the APFT, especially as the two hundred sit ups one trains for crunches, not military style sit ups. But they are nice, structured, easy to follow programs. Kind of like the couch to 5K thing was. So, worth a try as a means to an end.
Last night before supper, I did my baseline initial test, and came up with 12 or 13 push ups and about 25 crunches. That puts me at a pretty average place for my starting point. Wish me luck on the journey, I will of course provide accountability posts or status from time to time - three workouts a week, six weeks, right on track for that first of the year goal!
Meantime, back at the running game: I bought jingle bells yesterday. I don't know if they pass them out at the run, and I wanted to be prepared, in case they don't.
Monday, November 08, 2010
What a difference from last Wednesday (first day) to today (last day)! From the initial panic of "how will I survive all this unstructured time" to picking one thing to do at a time, to performing the one thing I was committed to do, to assessing new goals... to this morning of the last day, sitting in my warm fuzzy sweats and feeling... relaxed and victorious.
Yesterday afternoon was sunny and I finished taking down the last stumps from the corner of the house... this is not to say they won't grow back next year, but I feel better for now.
This was earlier in the summer, when everything was in leaf... ugly.
This was "in progress", quite a bit done, but not yesterday's final take-down. Today is supposed to be warm again, so I may do more in the back yard. I'm thinking anything more I cut down will build a brush pile in the back yard because I figure I'm taxing the trash man's limits of what they will haul away in a single week.
Later I took leave of my senses and signed up for the Jingle Bell Run 5K on November 20th. I am convinced this will doom our local weather to snow. However, it will fulfill my 2010 promise to myself to wear an official bib in an official 5K this year, leaving only the "ride a horse" one unmet.
OH... OH... OH! I forgot to mention that I got a nice FB message from Kerry Cahill down in Fort Hood... they will mail me my "real" T-shirt from the Run to Remember. Nothing could make me happier. I was willing to live without it, knowing in my heart that I participated... but you know me, I like those symbols!
Tomorrow it will be back to work, which of course has its own set of challenges and distractions. But there are things to work toward again. Those push-up and sit-up goals are calling.
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