I didn’t train for that, or that…

So, I’m having a lot of problems at home that I can’t go in to and probably never will. I’m pretty stressed out and depressed and it feels like things keep happening to add to an already pretty full load. Now, even seemingly minor things add to the pressure and make me feel even more inadequate. I am at the point where I feel like I’m not a good parent, I only make things more stressful for my husband instead of easier, and I am not skilled at anything. Even when I really put work into things, I’m not successful, so I’m destined for mediocrity or less.

I ran my 5k this last Saturday. It was the worst I’ve ever done. It was over 39 minutes and my fastest 5k was just over 30 minutes. When I saw my time, I wasn’t surprised. I felt disappointed and I tried to make myself feel better by admitting I hadn’t trained for the run. With all the things going on now at home, I haven’t found the time to get away to run.

My training for a half marathon starts in a little under a month and I’m slower than the time I stated in my sign up for the program. I am going to have to train to join training. Not only that, but because the problems at home, I will have to surrender much of what I’d consider ‘me time’ to assure some sort of serenity in the household.

This post is kind of dark, I’m aware. I just feel kind of lost. My life could change drastically simply because someone wanted me to suffer for not giving exactly what s/he thought I should give to them. I’m having trouble keeping my chin up and gaining the energy I need to stay on top of fitness. Without really trying, I’ve lost around 13 lbs in the last 2 weeks. I’ve also lost my passion for things in life and anything I thought of as faith in myself.

I hope that things will return to something resembling normalcy some time in the near future. I plan to set aside some time to try to get my endurance in running back. I’m going to ease back into a routine so it doesn’t add to what I’m feeling now. I’m not trying to disavow responsibility in the matters of things going awry in my life. I obviously have made some choices that have led me down this path. I choose what I put in my body, so I’m the reason for my poor health. I choose how I deal with other people, so I’m not fully faultless in those situations. I have learned from those things. Eat better, move more, and never behave in a way that could be misinterpreted. If people are given opportunity for honesty or tossing mud your way, they won’t hesitate to get their hands dirty.

So, on with the journey that has taken years longer than I planned and taken a path I could never have predicted. Here’s hoping that getting out to run more improves my mood even if it doesn’t improve the situation any.

Harsh critic

I tried going at weight loss hard and I quickly discovered that I was setting myself up for disappointment and for failure. I haven’t lost a measurable amount of weight or size. My pants are still snug and I can’t find many of my own clothes that fit me for the current season. Excluding clothes made of stretch material, I have almost nothing to wear. Stalled progress is not for lack of trying. I’ve stopped buying myself cases of soda to keep in the fridge, which lessens how much I drink. I have been mindful of getting in more steps on the pedometer. My steps have nearly doubled per day lately. I’m getting back into working out and running, but it is tough to find the time. So I’m depressed.

I’m certainly not the poster child for weight loss success. I’m mad that I seem to try hard and not get anywhere. I mean, genuinely angry. I often cry that I can’t run as fast as I did a few months ago or even a year ago. I often cry because I see my reflection in the mirror or a photograph someone took of me and I see someone fat. I can’t see past it and I can’t understand why I can’t succeed at something as simple as eating less and moving more.  That’s what people say is all it takes. I feel like every time I go out in public, people are seeing how fat I am and making snap judgements about who I am.

I have multiple friends that have lost a sizeable amount of weight and are so happy about it. I’d like to say I’m so happy for them. To a degree I am proud of them. I’m also jealous, though. While someone might look and say that I don’t try as hard, I try pretty darn hard. I spend more time with sore muscles than I do without. I go for walks just to get steps in for goals. I overlook foods that I enjoy to eat something healthy. I cook healthy foods. So why am I fat? Obviously, I’m going to have to go harder on myself. It seems unfair that I need to work so hard for nothing. This is what typically makes me quit when I’ve been going well for a long time. I weighed lbs less a few months ago. I haven’t been binge eating and sitting on my duff all day. Yet, I gain weight as if I’m eating nothing but Hostess Cakes. It gets old fast. As does climbing on the scale and seeing no movement. As does having people call you fat as if you don’t already feel that way about yourself.

What does fat mean to me? Obviously, it is more than something that I have on my body or something contained in many foods. It means I’m lazy. It means I’m not good enough. It means I’m not pretty. It means I’m not intelligent enough to make healthy choices. It feels like a weight on my chest. It feels like the reason I don’t want to go out with friends because they’ll see how fat I am and other people will see how big I am. It means nothing looks good on my body. It means I am less because I weigh more. It means I’m a failure.

I’m not calling anyone else these things. I’m saying this is how I feel my size defines me as a person. It isn’t something that I carry proudly. I don’t even consider it a feature about me. I feel that it envelops and defines me. I’m no longer the happy person I was years ago when I was a normal weight. I am looking out of my eyes and hoping nobody looks back at my body. I’m ashamed of how I look.

I haven’t said much of this before because I worry about how people will take it and what they’ll think of me. I hate thinking that people would think badly of me even though I think pretty harshly of myself without anyone else’s help. I just wish I could be on the outside who I feel like I am on the inside. I’m a woman who can run miles, lift weights, and cook most anything from scratch. Yet somehow, after 3 years of trying, I actually weigh more than I did at the start and I don’t know what to do about it.

I’m not asking for suggestions on anything mass marketed for weight loss. I have looked into some of the more popular things and I absolutely will not spend that kind of money on anything for myself. This is about how I feel and how hard this is for me. This is about how I’ve somehow managed to make myself feel this bad and how it is working against me.

Thanks for reading. I know I need to come back more often.

I’m signed up for a 5k on June 6th. I start half marathon training in July for 12 weeks and will be running a half marathon at the end of September.

Oh, I’m feeling blah

Hey there! I haven’t had the energy or the drive to work out. I’ve eaten a bit better, though. Well, I’ve tried to eat fresh more often. I am depressed and would rather lie in bed all day than get up and be productive. It takes me a lot more effort just to finish my daily work like dishes and laundry. This, my friends, is what depression is like sometimes. Even with medication and the best intentions, I get down sometimes. This time around, I’m feeling weepy, physically sore, and very isolated. People who don’t have depression would have a hard time wrapping their head around how a person can go from feeling fine to irreversibly sad, angry, and hopeless. I’m actually doing really well-functioning day-to-day, but my mind is not kind to me at all. I’m especially critical of my size, the amount of time I’ve spent struggling with it, and whether I’m actually good at anything. Tsk, tsk…let us present the matter at hand.

This is what’s on my mind. I want to join a gym. I know which gym I would like to go to first.

  • I’m worried I won’t have time to work out. I know people think “make time” or “don’t you stay at home”, but I actually have planned things throughout the week that I do for my kids and my husband isn’t always in town. I’m just afraid to squander money on something if I don’t use it.
  • I’m completely intimidated by the thought of working out on the equipment. I know how to use an elliptical because I have one. I don’t remember anything about the weight machines when I had a membership a gym. I use free weights and resistance bands at home. Also, there aren’t strangers at home to see me struggling to run 30 minutes.
  • I want help, but not really ask for it because I’m embarrassed to need help with anything. Many things in my life would probably be easier if I didn’t feel that way.
  • I’m aware of how what I’ve listed above could be read as excuses and I certainly don’t disagree. I need to get fit and joining a gym is an excellent opportunity to break routines and to make my goals tangible.

All of that said, I’m thinking about enlisting the help of my doctor. The label of the medicine clearly says to report new or worsening depression. That applies to me just as much as anyone else. My hope is that through a fitness routine, I’ll be able to better manage my symptoms.

Thanks for hanging around even through this ugly post. I have signed up for a race in June. I will be training for it by running outdoors. I think that signing up for a race is a good way to encourage myself to work out.

Ease up on me

I went at it hard like I said I would. I was so good at it for 3 days. Day 4, I started thinking that I didn’t want to miss out on things like chocolate for the rest of my life because I like it. I don’t want to miss out on my cola because I like it. By the weekend, I stopped at a gas station and got a 32 ounce fountain soda. I didn’t want to go running even though the 2 runs I went on weren’t the worst. Except the smell of those awful pear tree blossoms that smell so much like dead fish, I questioned the cleanliness of the creek and the lake that I pass along my route. When I set out to get back in shape, it would suddenly work for me if I threw myself into it. What happened was that I got in over my head and I quickly started thinking I was drowning.

So, back to it. I’m shooting for healthy and fit.  I hope I look and feel good in the long run. I’m not diving in full force, but I’m not going to just dip my toes in and keep whining about how it’s too cold to get in. I purchased meal replacement protein shake mix and almond milk to blend with it. I plan to use that for either breakfast or lunch, but not both. I bought some of my favorite fruits and veggies to munch on. I already had a pear today when I felt like snacking after breakfast.

My plan of action is completely different from the last time because you have to change your plan to make your goal happen when you see the plan isn’t working. Life is always changing;We’re always changing. I see no reason to continue along a road where I’m making myself miserable.

I signed up for a June 5k in St. Louis. I hope I will be back to running 3 miles daily in the next couple of weeks. If you’d asked me a week or two ago, I’d have said that I was going to just go out and run 3 or more miles every day and force myself to do it. Now, I realize that I need time. I need to build up to it and I’m ok with that.

My self talk is still negative. I feel like I’m fat and I’d like to just hide from the world until I’m not anymore. I feel like the struggle to not be fat is too hard. I get it, people who have never been overweight. “Eat less. Move more.” Trust me, I understand. I’m not sitting around my house eating fast food and watching TV. I hate most fast food joints and my favorite TV show is hockey. I don’t know who the characters are on any ‘real housewives’ or ‘bachelor’ shows. I have no idea what soap operas are still on. I play with my kids. I keep my house clean. If we’re eating something breaded, I haven’t fried it. So, if you think that I exaggerate my efforts and that this isn’t hard, you’re absolutely a judgemental flake. This is extremely difficult and I’m trying. So, next time you see someone heavy and think they need to ease up on the cheeseburgers, or you see a thin person and think they need to eat a cheeseburger, how about you get yourself one and shove it up your butt. That’s how I feel about it. The size of anyone else is none of your business. That said, I think my inner dialogue wouldn’t be hateful if there weren’t people out there who felt it necessary to pass harsh judgement on people who aren’t the size that we associate with normal. If someone specifically insults your size, know that this is something s/he hates about him/herself and it has nothing to do with who you are.

Oh, and if anyone wants to hire me a personal trainer to show me some stuff, I’d love that.

Finding my way back

I finally did some purposeful movement Sunday night. That is, more than for the purpose of getting from one spot to another. I told myself that I’d work out for 15 minutes on the elliptical before I set out to do it. When I got to 15 minutes, I asked myself if I was really ready to stop since I’d set the program to 30 minutes. I decided I should try to go a little longer. Then, when 20 minutes had passed, I decided that if I could make it 10 more. I actually did it. I wasn’t too sore from it Monday (yesterday). I worked out again last night and used the music on my phone to keep me on the machine for 30 minutes. I even did resistance when I finished with my cardio workout. I ate mindfully all day Monday with my only indulgence being soda that I had in my fridge already. It was a nice way to bid my sweet cola goodbye or “see you later, but not often.” In the next couple of days, I plan to try to head outdoors for my first run in just over a month.

All of that said, I also weighed myself Sunday and Monday. I weigh more than I ever have in my life. I didn’t use the settings on the scale for muscle and water, so I’m not sure about those numbers. Today, I weighed 3 lbs less than yesterday, so I assume that there was a little water weight involved. Now to put the scale away until next Sunday and stick to it. I know that my clothes are snug, but I’m still not as big as when I was at my biggest before now. That doesn’t really make me feel better, though. I feel unhealthy. It isn’t just because the number on the scale. I’m often tired. I get winded when I carry my little one in a parking lot. I see a belly poking out no matter what pants I have on, so I’m always uncomfortable. I don’t feel like myself.

So, here I go again on the path to being a fit and healthy person. I’m not sure it will ever actually stick. I might just be a serial weight gainer/loser. I’m still trying, though. I’m not ready to accept that this is just who I am. I am probably putting the pedal to the metal pretty hard this time, but I really feel like I have to dive in all the way to see if it sticks longer this time. I’m hoping it sticks permanently.

I don’t use supplements and I try to eat well without buying things that are part of the latest fad. I buy energy granola bars for meal replacement sometimes. This time, I’m going to try to plan better for my meals so I don’t end up at a drive thru anywhere. I am also drinking water before and after I eat to regain control of my appetite. I refuse to let myself binge. Once I get better control of what I’m eating, I can add in occasional treats. My sweet tooth will have to enjoy prunes, which are sweet and rich tasting, and snacks that center around fresh produce. I want to succeed and to be the person I feel like on the inside.

Jenn Propulsion

That was creative, right? I’m proud of that title. It has a double meaning. I need something to move myself forward, but I’m that thing that moves me forward. I’m the only person who can choose to do it.

I haven’t worked out in a couple of weeks. From the way my jeans squeeze me a little tighter in the waist to having trouble falling asleep at night, I’m feeling the effects of my sedentary habits . I am getting pretty good at excuses. I’m too tired and I don’t have time seem to me my favorites lately. I’m also angry that it doesn’t seem to get me where I want in my physical appearance or on the scale.

I think I will get out and run this weekend. The forecast is above freezing, so I’m hoping no more patches of ice everywhere. I understand that there are people who get out there when there is snow and ice on the ground. I admire their dedication. I’m not confident in my ability to stay vertical in those conditions. I feel that the sidewalk isn’t safe to run on and with snow banks on the side of the road, I would be unable to move for cars. It isn’t a matter of being cold. I’ve played with the kids by running around inside of the house, but that isn’t enough to count as exercise.

That’s still no excuse. I have an elliptical machine and I have my body that I could use to work out. I’m having a hard time setting aside that time for myself since I’m comfortable at home. I have a habit of telling myself I’ll do it later. So today, I’m saying it to my blog so I’m accountable. I will work out today for 30 minutes. I will work out 5 out of the next 7 days for at least 30 minutes per day. I’m the only thing in my way.

I’d like to assert that I don’t feel like my story is the story of everyone who is overweight. We all have our own struggle with it. Working out and being fit doesn’t get easier. You get better at it and you find new mountains to climb to stay fit. Sore muscles hurt and running isn’t easy. On the other hand, being overweight doesn’t feel great. Lack of muscle volume will put pressure on your joints and make short walks painful. So, while working out is painful now, you’ll thank yourself for it.

My depression is better than it was recently. I realized I haven’t been taking my vitamin supplements and it might have been a contributing factor in the decline in my mental health. I also know that I tend to feel better when I’m exercising regularly, so I need to get back into it for that benefit to myself.

I sat down to balance my finances and to shop wireless plans and I wound up typing this out. My little one that doesn’t go to school yet has finished coloring, so I suppose I’m finished with this entry. I appreciate you reading this. Any comments are welcome!

Do you find something that motivates you more than anything else when you’re in a workout rut?

I’m a year older now

My birthday was Monday of this week. I’m now 34 years old. I have no great milestones to cover. This birthday was just like any other day. As is true for each one as you get older. It tends to serve as a reminder that I’m edging my way closer to old age.

I have not been great with my commitment to fitness. I didn’t enroll in the program for a 10k like I’d intended to. I haven’t been out running more than once this year. The weather really isn’t a good excuse, though. I have an elliptical machine in my bedroom and I could be using my free weights or resistance bands to get a good workout in. I’m making excuses. Shining a light through them is the only way to make sure that I’ll stop trying to use them and be committed. I can only blame myself for not being accountable for my commitment.

As far as eating healthy, I’m not doing poorly at it. I have caught myself snacking on sweets a couple of times. I’ve given in to soda cravings. I haven’t just scrapped the idea of eating healthy in spite of my mistakes. I made sure I had some iced tea ready to drink in place of sugary sweet soda. The tea has half of the sugar I used to drink in it. It still tastes good. I bought some of my favorite snacks that aren’t sugary or starchy. My favorites include colby jack cheese with an apple (think caramel apple), snap peas (raw or roasted with pepper like fries), and broccoli slaw.

While the scale has not budged much in either direction, I’m still getting healthier. Of course I get down on myself for not looking like Kate Upton does. I want to look as good as I feel. Honestly, who doesn’t want to look good? Fortunately, my husband is constantly supportive and complimentary. He tells me that even if I don’t see it, he can tell the difference. That’s actually really encouraging to me. So is hearing from a friend that I help motivate her to get fit. I can’t stress enough how support is a major part of this journey.

Is there someone you’ve seen that looks like they’ve lost weight or taken up a physical fitness hobby that you think deserves a compliment? Is it difficult because you feel a little unsure about yourself?

Shifting focus

I completed my third 5k race of the year. I didn’t beat my best time. I ran my behind off, though. I thought I was getting sick right before the 3 mile marker. It wasn’t pretty, but I made it without hurling my breakfast on the road. I was training in the cold for a race that turned out the temperature was near 50 degrees, which is hot when you’ve run in the teens and 20’s for practice. The temperature was a reason in the way that I felt nearing the finish line. I told a fellow runner about my experience and she told me that she’s proud when she’s ran hard and finished. She’s right. I did both.

Now that I’m finished training in 2014 and there are no races in the foreseeable future for me, I’m shifting my focus. I’ll still be running in the cold with groups on Mondays and I’ll still be getting in some good running. I’m starting a plan that will focus more on weight and resistance training with running as the lesser focus of the program. I had the Nike Training Camp application form a 4 week plan based on my goal and I’m not sure I’ll be starting immediately, but that is the direction I’m taking with my journey.

I enjoy running and challenging myself to get faster and run greater distances. With resistance and weight training on the back burner, I don’t know if I’m getting the results I’m desiring. We’re also entering the colder months where I won’t enjoy running 4-5 nights a week. I plan to run a half marathon in 2015. I plan to begin training in the warmer months, though. So, we’ll see if shifting my focus awhile on building strength will ultimately help me with my fitness goals.

Those of you who are curious, I ran the 5k in 31:11. My best time so far has been 30:01 in a 5k. I was 1177th of 4920 runners and 719th of 3780 female runners. I didn’t fare too poorly for my 3rd ever 5k race. I’m proud that I trained and I finished the race. I had fun and I learned more about what I’m capable of.

Thanks for reading. Are you starting to think about your fitness goals for 2015? I recommend making sure they are realistic and healthy, and make your plan with milestones to pass.  This helps you gauge your progress and have something to see as complete as you work your way to the big goal. I think it is a better way to set yourself up for feeling good about your goal.

Running on Cold

I’m training to run a 5k in mid December in St. Louis. I’ve run outside in temperatures as low as 21 degrees (Fahrenheit) this past week. The cold is unrelenting, unfriendly, and uncomfortable. I haven’t gotten layering quite right. I’ve returned home with sweat on my forehead and arms, while having painfully cold hands. I haven’t found the perfect combination just yet, but I’ve purchased a few things that have worked for me.

I use a moisture wicking tank top for my base layer and tuck it into my running pants so even if my long-sleeved top rides up or lets air under it, I’m covered. I’ve added warming socks over the top of my compression socks so my toes aren’t painfully cold. I haven’t figured out how to keep my hands warm enough in the sub freezing temps, but I know that performance gloves are not enough to prevent painfully cold fingers. I’ve added a running torch (flashlight) to my collection of gear so I can see the road ahead and people behind me can see me because it has a flashing red light on the back.

Most importantly, I’ve discovered that I can run in the cold. I can do it. My body is slowly adjusting to it and my running times are getting closer to what they were running in warmer temperatures. I didn’t expect the weather being this cold so early in my training, but I’m managing to push through and get out there and run. I can’t say this means I’ll be outside running in the particularly frigid temperatures of the early months of the year. I can say that I’m damn proud of myself for getting out there now and keeping at it.

A neighbor once asked me over the summer how I like running since she’d noticed I had headed out nightly. I replied to her a simple, but honest, “It’s painful, but I like it.” That’s the best I can describe it. It isn’t easy. It isn’t always fun to push your body to the limit and then tell it to go just a little harder. I have to compete against myself to get better at it.

I cross train in addition to running. I lift free weights, use resistance bands, do body weight workouts, and push my muscles to work harder. Some days, I do a quick 15 minute workout after my run. There are other days dedicated to a 30-45 minute session after an indoor warm up.

Do you push yourself out of the comfort zone? What would it do for you if you did? I challenge you to do something to push yourself this week. Walk or run one extra mile. Lift the weights one  level up from the ones you have used. Just do one more set than you’re used to. Try it to see what you’re capable of. Get uncomfortable.You might enjoy it.

My training plan for this week is as follows:

11/17/2014 REST
11/18/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/19/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/20/2014 CROSS TRAIN
11/21/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/22/2014 RUN 5 MILES
11/23/2014 REST

Hit the ground running

After a 6 week absence, I started running again this week. Monday, I signed up for a fun run with a local running store. It was tough to push through the first mile, but I made it 2.75 of the 3 miles I’d planned.  I’m not sure I could have made it the full 3, but I didn’t give up with a quarter of a mile left. I didn’t check the course map closely enough when I left the starting point and I got turned around on the dimly lit roads. I wound up finding other runners from the same group and following them back to the starting point. They were fairly fast, so I really had to push myself to keep up with them the last bit of the course.

I am shy, and being around people makes me really nervous. Even with people I’ve known for a long time, I get anxious. I almost didn’t leave the house after signing up to go for the run. My husband encouraged me to get out there and do it. I’m glad he did. I talked a little with people and I found out about another social run this Friday where we have cocktails afterward. I know I’ve craved a nice draft beer lately, so I’m actually really excited to join them for a Ladies’ Night run. I also think I’m going to try to make the Monday night social runs a regular thing. I even studied the course so I shouldn’t get lost this time around.

Getting back to running is so hard! I don’t remember the last time I ran outside when it was chilly. The first two times I ran this week, I over dressed. I wore tight-fitting long sleeves and pants with compression socks. I got uncomfortable during both runs. Last night, I wore Capri pants with the knee-high compression socks, a moisture wicking t-shirt, and a light jacket. After the first mile, I tied the jacket around my waist. I think it was more comfortable than the two earlier times. The temperature was near 60 degrees for all three runs. Today is a cross training day, so I’m planning to do a 30 minute workout before I put my little ones down for their naps. My 4-year-old son enjoys doing the moves with me and its been a little too yucky outside to play, so this should burn some energy.

I am glad that I’m back to running and working out. I find myself craving sugar less often and I’m listening to my body about when to eat and when to stop. The only problem I’ve had this week is with sleep. I have a feeling that will be something to deal with for a while until my 2-year-old learns to go to bed and stay there all night. I’m thankful that I can still have energy for fitness. Also, I’m glad that this fall from the wagon only lasted 6 weeks and not longer. My endurance suffered from my laziness, but it could have been worse. I’ve changed the lock screen on my phone to say “Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion” Muhammad Ali. I like to think of myself as a future champion.

Do you have something that inspires you to keep going?

Tip: I write my workout plan for the following day on my bathroom mirror in dry erase marker each night before bed. When I wake up and look at myself in the mirror, I know what I’m expected to do. Erasing it once I’m done feels good, too.