Tuesday, June 03, 2014
That link goes to a post I wrote three years ago. It's when I first decided to actually follow through on a vague goal and run a half marathon. I had support and encouragement from a friend of mine and that started huge changes for me. It's the decision that made me a runner.
Three years later, I'm still slow. I'm still the same size I was back when I started. I've had injuries, I've given up and started again. I've cried and laughed, had successes and failures.
This fall, I'll run my second half marathon. The good news is that I'm going to have a personal best unless something really goes sideways. But I'm still not going to be speedy and much like my first half marathon, I have concerns about being last or not fast enough to finish in the time allowed.
This last weekend I ran in the 10K event at the 50th anniversary of the Calgary Marathon. It was a wonderful experience, great weather and a great atmosphere. It was also my first 10K. It's super flat and I was able to run a minute/mile faster than any of my training runs which felt huge.
Tonight, I ran 4 miles in the heat. I spend more on running gear than I do clothes for work or relaxation. I love my runs and get antsy when I miss them.
I love what running has given me. I follow a ridiculous number of runners on Facebook. I'm meeting up with a bunch of friends from around the US in September to run the half marathon and even though I haven't had as much success with weight loss as I'd like, I'm so much happier with myself and my life.
Now if only I could get my diet under control.
Saturday, February 01, 2014
I feel amazing. It helps that most things in my life are going really well right now - it makes it easier to stay on plan when I'm happy. It's nice to have no reason to resort to emotional eating. It's great to see success on the scale (and in my clothes), motivating me to continue to make good choices and keep going to the gym.
But this last week, I've felt something else. Pride. I'm proud of myself.
I've felt this before for other aspects of my life - getting my degree, completing successful projects, receiving recognition for my work and winning the odd curling event. Somehow it feels a little different this time.
First, I'm wearing the smallest jeans in my closet comfortably right now. Pants I couldn't wear at all before Christmas.
I'm increasing my running mileage and starting on a 10K training program in preparation for a 10 mile running program for a hilly race in June that also involves eating sticky buns. I might regret that choice, but it seems like a great idea.
I'm making healthy food choices most of the time. We went to a pub for lunch on Friday and I chose one of the healthy menu options (fish tacos with a side salad). It was delicious and I felt amazing all afternoon, rather than sluggish and overfull with indigestion. I"m not sure if the lazy cabbage rolls we've been eating for dinner count as healthy, but I made them and there's really nothing in there that isn't healthy. The bacon we're putting on top might be detrimental, though.
I've motivated my husband to move and he's taken up running.
We're eating in more than out, including packing my lunch. But I'm still struggling with getting up early enough for breakfast. I might have to make some of my own oatmeal packages to take to work for the drawer. Just have to throw some fruit in the bag in the morning and microwave it at the office (in the most tempermental microwave I've ever used).
I'm not going to reach my ultimate mid-month goal, but it was a stretch anyway. I know I can reach it by the end of the month so I don't feel too bad.
I just feel great. :)
Thursday, January 30, 2014
One day back in October, an image ended up in my Facebook news feed. On the surface, it was simply another piece of fitspiration - something I remain on the fence about. The picture was of a beautiful, fit woman surrounded by her three young children with the caption "What's your excuse?"
By the time I saw the picture, this had already blown up on the internet. It went from what I believe the woman originally intended to be fitspiration to, well, something quite different. Fat-shaming was thrown around, and then fit-shaming soon followed.
If you are unaware of the kerfluffle, the following links may shed some light.
Granted, these are biased toward the torch-and-pitchfork crowd. The reason I post about this is I bought an Oxygen magazine (Feb) yesterday simply because they decided to cover the story. Their article could be said to be more reflective of the other side of the story, only it hasn't been published online yet.
I, mistakenly, hoped that Oxygen would provide a moderate view of the situation, even if it is from the point of view of the very fit. Turns out, they either didn't do any research on the situation at all or they have extremely limited reading comprehension. I know. I shouldn't be surprised by this.
Basically, their version claims she was bullied and fit-shamed. The author of the article seemed to believe that people were angry that Maria Kang (the woman in the picture that started it all) was fit. Yep. Out of all of the fit women out there, "the internet" (that faceless, dehumanized internet) decided that Maria Kang could not and should not be fit. That her being fit is offensive and bad.
Also, they claimed that her original intent was to motivate people and "help" the unfit, overweight and obese to see that they too can do what she has done and the only thing stopping them were excuses. Yet, if that were her intent, then when "the internet" exploded at her initial picture and message, her response shouldn't have been, "I'm sorry, but I can't control how you read my message."
And she wouldn't have followed that up with getting banned from Facebook for hate speech after harassing overweight women who were posting pictures of themselves in lingerie in response to a plus sized lingerie page's request for images representing "regular" (Thank goodness they didn't say "real") women.
She also wouldn't have said such misguided things as, "You can just tell when someone is healthy."
This is from someone who claims to have "overcome an eating disorder."
My real issue in all of this comes from the fact that she claims she's just trying to be motivating, while ignoring the complexity around weight loss with her message.
1. Self-Esteem/self-worth are key to losing weight. If someone doesn't feel good about themselves, if they're filled with self-loathing, they're much less likely to feel like they're worth it. This extends well past weight loss, but for the purposes of this post, I think it's easy to understand that if you don't feel like you're worth it, you're not going to put effort into yourself. This may also be accompanied by a fear of people judging you for trying to become better than you really are by improving your health. For me, a key realization was that I never wear makeup because I was afraid people would think that was trying to make myself into something I am not and cannot be - beautiful. Yes. That's messed up and twisted, but when I consider that, I understand that I've always thought being fit was for pretty people and since that didn't include me, well, bring on the Doritos.
2. If only someone in the billion dollar diet and fitness industry had come up with this solution earlier. Think of the money that could have been saved if people had simply sold posters of fit people with "motivating" captions...
3. Belittling, shaming, berating, and negative messages rarely inspire or motivate people to change. Most successful weight loss comes with support and understanding that it isn't easy to change your lifestyle significantly, and for some people the behaviours they are trying to change have been ingrained from childhood.
4. Overcoming an eating disorder is rarely accomplished alone, rates of failure are high and many people struggle every day with recovery. It's a little like alcoholism that way except that never eating again is an eating disorder so for someone living with an eating disorder, every day - every meal - involves decisions directly related to eating disorder recovery. Also, I strongly suspect that the individual eating disorders each come with their own issues and challenges around recovery such that one single person who has recovered from one eating disorder is ill-equipped to help anyone else dealing with an eating disorder.
5. Self-esteem and feeling beautiful is not a badge earned when you reach a certain body fat percentage, pant size, chest size or number on the scale. It is a sad realization that there is a portion of the population that feels that people (yes, people, let's stop dehumanizing here) who do not meet a certain (somewhat arbitrary) standard of appearance should be relegated to the shadows and a life of shame, guilt, depression and self-hatred. That being overweight means you are not beautiful, but shameful. That you are not special. That you are not a person deserving of respect, love and compassion.
I'm sad that both Maria Kang and Oxygen Magazine have chosen to ignore or misread the criticism from much better writers than I. That they've chosen to oversimplify the struggle that so many people experience every day; the struggle that many people have just given up on because they don't have the tools to accomplish their goals - whether it's knowledge, time, self esteem or support.
I hope then when I've written in the past, I haven't come across as insensitive to the issues that other people struggle with daily. I hope that my struggle with eating healthy, exercising and remaining positive comes across in my posts, because I know that it isn't always easy. I know that just because I can do something, doesn't mean that anyone else can or should do what I'm doing. I recognize that seeing destructive eating patterns was different than having a counselor tell me that I had an eating disorder (binge eating), and that overcoming that eating disorder is something I still struggle with.
I want to say things like, "if I can do it, you can do it!" And I think I have in the past, but this isn't true for everyone - even if it comes from a place of encouragement and support.
I actually wanted to send an email to Oxygen magazine saying this, but they do not have an option to email them, unless it's a subscription problem. So I'd be forced to comment on their facebook page - something I'm not willing to open myself up to in the form of the torch-and-pitchfork crowd. Additionally, I don't think that it would make a difference as they couldn't be bothered to look into the details around the situation that prompted the article - they're unlikely to see anything more than someone angry at fit people.
For the record, I'm not angry at fit people. I'm motivated by motivating, positive people - regardless of size. My running friends are all ridiculously fit (and faster than me) and I don't trip them. It could be argued that I don't get a chance to as they're faster than me, but even so, I probably wouldn't if I had the chance. Probably.
Also, I'm tired of the "-shaming" trend. Too many complex issues are getting boiled down to "shaming" that real discussion and, yes, disagreement is discouraged and avoided. We restrict our growth and learning without discussion and reduction of an issue to accusations of shaming seems to be the tool of people who are unable or unwilling to actually discuss a topic openly and honestly and with understanding. However, this is the internet so maybe it's best to just fall back on accusations of shaming.
Wednesday, January 29, 2014
Back in my last post, I talked about things I was doing right and things I was doing wrong. And I said I was starting the next day improving those things I wasn't doing well. That was in October.
For the record, I'm pretty happy with what I've done in the months in between, even if I wasn't on Spark or posting on my blog (bad blogger!).
First, I've actually set and met goals. Yes, indeed.
I started running regularly in late October. That continued through November, December and January. I ran 3-4x per week. I'm running further, faster and better than ever. Consistency really does pay off.
In addition to that, I ran over Christmas. I got up in the morning and headed outside into the cold and snowy winter landscape and ran at least 2 miles. I kept up my schedule which included 2.5 miles on Christmas morning.
Because of that, I didn't actually gain weight over Christmas. And, since Christmas I met another goal. Between Dec 28th (when Mr. Moose and I looked at each other and said, OMG, what did we EAT???) and Jan 10th (when we went to Vegas for Mr. Moose's b-day with friends), I set a goal to lose 5 lbs.
For those 2 weeks, I ate really healthy. I skipped junk food. I continued running. I did yoga at lunch at work (WITH MY skinny, fit COWORKERS!). I increased my mileage.
The day we left for Vegas, I clocked in with a 6 lb loss for those 2 weeks. Yes, it's high, but let's face it, that's going to happen when you cut salt and decrease processed carbs so I had a bit of help that way.
In Vegas, I maintained my running schedule. Every other morning I got up between 6 and 7am and went to the gym with Mr. Moose (hey, guys, I've motivated my husband!) and ran 2.5 miles. Do you know how awesome you feel when you do something like that? Even if you follow it up with a buffet breakfast because it's free with your room. You feel like an absolute hero. You may or may not feel like a completely different person - especially as you fill your plate (one plate, tyvm) at the buffet with mostly healthy foods (ok, bacon isn't healthy...)
Vegas being Vegas, most days I had 10,000 steps before we left the breakfast buffet. Every day I was over 20,000 steps, my biggest day saw me hit 33,000+ steps and I didn't feel tired or sore at all! In. Vegas.
I rewarded myself for meeting my short goal with a Pandora bracelet and my first charm (vegas exclusive dice) representing the half marathon I ran there a couple of years ago. The plan is that I'll buy a charm for each city I finish a race in. They were sold out of the running shoe, but I'll add it eventually (probably a good thing, holy pricey!)
When I returned, I set another short term goal - lose 8 pounds before February 12. Another stretch goal - 8 lbs in a month is right at the 2 lbs a week so I have little room for error. If I don't reach it, I won't beat myself up, but it's nice to have something short term to look forward to. I don't have a reward picked out, but I'm sure something will come to me when I reach that goal.
I'm finding myself extra motivated since shopping in Vegas. I bought a size smaller and it fit well. Yesterday, I found some dress pants on a clearance rack in a store I thought typically fit small, and I still managed to buy that size smaller.
Additionally, I've helped motivate my husband again. He's started running along with strength training and we've been to the gym 3 straight days in a row which is unusual for him. He's also managed to lose 2lbs.
My Mom was looking for a pedometer for their trip to the US and she's also started to add some running into her regular walks.
My Dad thinks running is crazy and wonders why I do it...
Anyway, I hope you're all having some great success since the holidays.
Monday, October 21, 2013
I've been slacking lately and feeling quite badly about it. I haven't even been logging on to SP (great new homepage btw).
I had goals to accomplish by Nov 1 and I haven't met a single one of them and last night I had one of my "OMG I SUCK" evenings. Which, to be fair, was unfair. I haven't regained. I've just stayed steady. For a very very very long time. Because I stopped trying.
Which is a very me thing to do.
So right now, I want to focus on things I do right and very well.
1. Exercise. I really DO love running. Once I get started. Sadly, my running has been sporadic at best and non-existent for at least a week. That ends tonight and I AM going for a run and getting back on that schedule. At the very least, I should be doing things I LIKE to do when they're darned healthy things to do.
2. Breakfast. I love my morning smoothie and at 330 calories of fruit packed goodness, it's a habit I'm glad I maintain.
3. Taking the stairs. I was doing this every morning - taking the stairs to the 6th floor. Why did I stop? I'll be getting back on that habit ASAP.
4. Eating in. We've actually maintained this habit fairly well, even if our choices can be hit and miss. But, an evening of chicken and apple sausages with some kraft dinner is still a lighter choice than most restaurant and fast food options.
I'm not THAT far off track so it won't take that much to get back on the right path and there's no better time to start than October 21. Because the "tomorrow" I've been telling myself about is clearly not coming any time soon.
Have a great Monday everyone.
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