Restarting myself…AGAIN

I signed up for the Hot Chocolate 5k in St. Louis in December to motivate me to put my running shoes back on and get back to it. A month is too long to take off and I’m still not eager to get out there in the dark and cold to run. I use my Nike+ Running application to give me a training plan using the “coach”. I got a late start on an 8 week plan that started Thursday of this past week. The virtual coach had the plan for me to do cross training Thursday and Run 3 and 4 miles Friday and Saturday and then rest on Sunday (today). Thursday, I did a 30 minute workout called “Slim Effect” on another Nike based application with my 4-year-old son following along and my 2-year-old daughter watching like we were crazy. Friday, I woke up early and felt alert enough to go for a run. I heard the wind whipping the trees around outside and quickly decided that I should wait until later in the day to see if the wind would die down. It is an excuse, but I don’t run when it’s very windy. It takes my breath away and my contact lenses often end up rolling up in my eye. Yesterday was Saturday and I was planning to run in the evening. That was, until I ate a late dinner. That was certainly a poor excuse to skip my run.

I need to get back out there and run. Today is a rest day, but I’ve set out running clothes on my counter for when I decide to run later today. I want to start running in the morning, which might be my reason to hold off until I wake up tomorrow. I know that I enjoy the benefits of running. The soreness from my Thursday workout kicked in yesterday and is still there today. Had I gone for those running sessions, the soreness would probably be much less intense. It is more possible to find time to get a cross training or resistance workout in than it is to fit in an outdoor run. I can’t just head out when the kids go down for a nap. I don’t have a treadmill or a gym membership and they aren’t reasonably attainable now.

I made a spreadsheet the daily training plan on it all the way through the 5k race in December. I’ve also started a notebook of “when you feel like quitting, remember why you started.” I write one reason daily that I started working out. I’m assuming that will help me have something to look at when I really feel like quitting or when I need to motivate myself to get up and do the work. The main problem that I have with doing so much work for a fit self is that I know how hard I work to try to lose weight and I know how little it shows. I also know that people don’t see someone who works hard for her healthy when they see me. I’m not the perfect size, but I do work hard and try for a thinner and healthier looking version of me. I don’t like that I’m critical of myself, but I haven’t figured out how to appreciate myself at any size. I find it really hard when I see people who lost over 100 lbs in the time its taken me to roller coaster ride up and down 30 lbs. I can honestly say that seeing other people succeed doesn’t encourage me as much as it makes me wonder why I just can’t do it. It is so hard. It is painful. It takes a long time. BUT…You have no idea how much life you have ahead. It is better to live it feeling good from nutritious food and the energy from working out. I often say about a book or a movie that the story is more about the journey than the destination. This is especially true in life since the eventual destination could be delayed by enjoying a certain quality of life and treating your body right.

Are your expectations for your body realistic? Do you find yourself feeling encouraged by the success of others or discouraged?

This week’s training plan is as follows:

11/3/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/4/2014 RUN 4 MILES
11/5/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/6/2014 CROSS TRAIN
11/7/2014 RUN 3 MILES
11/8/2014 RUN 5 MILES
11/9/2014 REST

Missed ya!

I’ve been absent awhile. I need to work on my time management so I can do the things that make me happy more frequently. Putting the mess in my brain into words for other people to see is something that I know helps me out. Normally, I’m more likely to write when I’m on one extreme or the other. I just haven’t set the time aside to do it. I have thought of so many things I should jot down and put them off for far too long. I’ll do a quick catch up on things and work my way to the question I try to pose at the conclusion of my posts.

I’ve run 2 competitive 5k races this  year.  The first was a Superhero Dash in June. I dressed myself up in Superman gear and hit a personal record time of 30:29.  The second was the Susan G. Komen race for my area.  I ran my 5k in 30:01.  When I saw the time at the finish line approaching 30 minutes, I tried my best to get there before it hit. It is my best time for 5k so far. I came in exactly in the middle for the competitive runners. I would like to get that to 27 minutes or less, but I haven’t signed up for any more races. My husband came in 2nd for his age group. I hope to get a medal for placing in the top 3 at least once. I haven’t run in a month, which is unusual for me. I haven’t been setting aside the time and my excuses have been so good, I keep falling for them. I’ve blamed the kids, the weather, myself being sick, and it being dark outside. I was ill for a couple of weeks this month and that was a very real reason not to run. I was short of breath walking up the steps. I still feel a little under the weather, but I’m starting to think its time I get back off of my butt.

I have had a difficult time losing weight. That doesn’t help encourage me to maintain fitness because I figure I’ll weigh the same whether or not I put forth any effort. I haven’t gained anything in this last month that I’ve been inactive, either. While I find it defeating,it worries me. I still need to be active because I’m prone to getting depressed when I’m sedentary. The problem is often finding the right motivation to push through my excuses.

I eat healthy food because I like it. I try new things so that I don’t get bored with what I’m eating. Sure, I bake cookies or other sweets if I feel a craving. I don’t often deprive myself of what I enjoy, which can be harmful to my goals at times. This month, I gave up my favorite cola as a member of a motivational group on social media that challenged its members to do so.  I’ve had it 4 times since giving it up. That isn’t failure. I didn’t have one, then say “screw it” and. fall off the wagon completely. I’ve forgiven myself and moved on and slipped up a couple of additional times. It happens, but the change I’m going for doesn’t occur overnight or over the course of a month. Moments where I’m finding a small win help me more than telling myself that I’d probably look hotter in a dress if I was a size 5 instead of a size 12. I don’t react well to shaming myself or punishing myself. I also don’t react well to promises of rewards to myself. If you’ve heard that you need to be nice to yourself, it is true. I’m still working on that, of course. I’m not nice to photographs of myself that show my whole body. I don’t have nice things to say about my reflection when I’m dressing to go somewhere. I should, though. I’m still 20 lbs lighter and 2 jeans sizes smaller than I was when I started this journey. Slow progress is progress. Of course I wish it were faster. I wish I looked like I did when I thought I was fat in my 20’s. None of that says anything about who I really am and the people who think that it does, don’t deserve to get to know me. I’m pretty awesome. I keep moving forward because that’s the only way I have to go. Even if it takes me down familiar paths, I have to. Time only goes one way.

I’m still suffering from bouts with my depression. I’m still extremely uncomfortable with saying anything about it in detail. I apologize for being vague. It isn’t so much that I don’t want to talk about it as I don’t have the right words for the feelings of isolation and worthlessness that go along with depression. Along with it comes the social stigma and judgement from people who never have and likely never will have to endure the absolute low feeling that it causes.

I’ve covered my bases for the subjects I most often cover in my blog, except for parenting.  Another day, perhaps.

How do you motivate yourself to keep going toward your goals whether they are related to fitness or another life goal? Do you know what your “carrot” is to motivate you to keep moving forward?

Been awhile

I haven’t written anything on this blog for a while. Plenty of interesting things happen, but I’ve felt “blah” lately.  I think I’d rather have something to brag about than complain about.  I don’t want to give a negative vibe.  I certainly don’t want people to associate negativity with health and fitness.  Parenting, maybe…but not being our best selves.

I’ve been running three or more miles 5 days a week.  I enjoy competing against myself to go faster and further than my personal records.  I signed up to run a 5k next weekend with my friend, Liz.  That keeps me motivated.  I realize that I want to do well and that I need practice.  Also, Liz knows where I live and she’d probably pull the valve stems out of my tires if I don’t visit her that weekend.  When you live 200 miles apart, you can’t stand each other up without trouble.  Back to running: I’m pretty steady with my pace, but I’m trying to improve.  Tomorrow, I’m going to run in the morning because I mostly run in the evening.  I feel like my running in the evening puts pressure on my husband.  While I’m gone, he bathes the younger kids and puts them to bed.  I know they enjoy it, but I don’t want to overwhelm him.  It also sometimes means that the kids take too long and he doesn’t have time to go for his run.  I’m glad I have someone like him to have a hand in my success.  He’s a real prize when he wants.

Do you have a specific goal in mind?  Are the people around you supporting you or sabotaging you?  Do you have a time of day you prefer to work out?


I’m not invincible

So you read the title and thought, “Of course she isn’t.  She’s just realizing this?”  Don’t you worry.  I know this.  Most often, my struggle to finish lifting weights or delayed onset muscle soreness reminds me that I’m mortal.  That said, I have rarely been sick over my life.  I get sick less than once a year.  I actually remember every time I puked as a kid because it was a rare occasion.  I guess it was bound to hit me eventually since the last time I got so sick I had to be catered to, it was December 2011.

Sunday afternoon, I went for a run on the trail near my house.  It was awful.  My throat felt dry and my legs didn’t seem to want to go.  The run I went on the night before was perfect and i was hoping to repeat that feeling.  I told myself it was mind over matter and pushed through, stopping occasionally to catch my breath.  When I got home, I felt like no matter how much water I drank, I couldn’t make myself feel hydrated.  My mouth felt dry.  I continued on to do my resistance workout and had to push myself to complete the 3 sets in the 15 minute workout using the training application on my phone.  I took some pain medicine before bed to ward off any soreness.

Monday morning, my husband was up and about and I looked up at him and told him I was too dizzy to move.  After declining his offer to stay home, I was begging him to come back home by 10am.  He came home and sent me to bed.  My family barely saw me again until Wednesday morning.  I was weak and barely getting around, but I disinfected every inch of my house.  By Thursday, I decided I wanted to go for a run.  It wasn’t easy to get going and I didn’t feel great, but I’m glad I got out and did it.

So, I’m not invincible.  You know what I am, though?  I am persistent.  Fitness is becoming a habit and a regular part of my life.  I’m not the ideal size or weight just yet.  I’m not sure if I’ll ever be fully satisfied with how I see myself physically.  I am proud that I’m making changes and things are going in the right direction.  When I realized I had to recommit to fitness, I couldn’t talk myself into working out.  I made excuses.  Now I realize that the days I don’t feel up to it couldn’t possibly be as bad as the days when I cannot do it.

Have you learned anything about yourself on your own fitness journey?  Do you realize when you’re making excuses that are getting in the way of your own success?

Yes, I’m here

I missed my posting goal last week.  I normally try to have at least one new thing each week.  My closest friend was in town and I didn’t feel like getting on my laptop and posting while she was here.  It was great  having time with another adult during the day.  I kept on track with fitness while she was here, so I got a workout buddy, too.  I’ll have to say, I enjoyed having someone to work out with that wasn’t my husband asking if I’ve lost my mind.  The down side was that my two younger kids have been wild lately and the duration of her visit, they weren’t going to pretend to be little angels.  My oldest was rarely around, which is also par for the course.  I didn’t exactly follow healthy eating, but I didn’t go overboard.  

Since the last post, I’ve been running more frequently.  The weather has allowed me more opportunities to get outside for my workouts and I have been slowly improving my average mile time with each run.  I’ve also been using a training application (NTC) for my phone at home.  I’m considering using a feature on the application that arranges a 4 week training program with workouts and outdoor runs, but I would like to have a little more time to ease into it before committing.  Fitness is starting to come together for me.  

Now, about my eating.  I’ve been using my food tracking application daily.  It gives me 1300 calories a day and adds more on if I list having done a workout.  I typically eat around 1600 and the calorie burn helps it even out.  Easter came around this weekend and I have done very little to resist the temptation of eating the junk that I bought.  I also haven’t done well at tracking it.  In other words, I’m lying to the application even though my diary is private and other people can’t see it.  I’m ashamed of it, so I’m eating in secret.  I have still been eating fresh food with my meals and incorporating more healthy meals into my day.  I just binge on junk, too.  I’m mad at myself for it.

Finally, the depression is annoying.  I’ve been especially stressed out lately.  I don’t feel like taking care of other people constantly.  I don’t really even want to take care of myself.  I just want to crawl into bed and sleep.  I was feeling better than I had from November to March.  I thought perhaps the physical fitness was taking care of the mental health side of me.  I’m not saying that it hasn’t helped.  I feel more energetic after a workout even on the days I want to skip the workout and nap while the kids do or just watch TV.  That negative voice is still inside of me, though.  I feel like I’ll never reach my goal no matter how hard I try.  I feel that what I’m doing isn’t special because plenty of people have done it and been successful at a greater rate that me.  

I’m still trying, though.  Even with all of the negative emotions that I have towards what I’m trying to do, I believe that the end result is going to be something worth the time and effort.  Some days, I don’t believe it as strongly as others.  None of those bad days are enough to make me scrap the whole thing.  I can’t give up because I’ve given up before and come back to it, so its worth holding on to and trying to make it click this time.  The biggest mistake I’ve made in my journey has been throwing in the towel when I start to feel like what I’m doing doesn’t matter.  Starting over sucks way more than keeping it up and challenging myself.  

Can you think of how you get in your own way?  Do you have ideas on how to overcome that?  Do you have a  friend that can help you be accountable?  Think of someone that might need your help in keeping him/her accountable.  Maybe you can inspire each other.  

Progress report 4/10/2014

I’ve been keeping up with healthy eating and working out since committing to it.  I can’t say that everything I’ve eaten has been healthy, but I try to stay within a reasonable calorie range and I’ve been working out.  There have been days where I don’t want to work out at all and I somehow talk myself into it.  

One thing about deciding to get back into shape is that I’ve been a little more stressed out lately.  Changing my life takes a lot of planning ahead from day to day and meal to meal.  I’m not going to use it as an excuse to give up.  Some days, it clicks more easily than others.  Those other days, I try to accept that everything doesn’t have to be be perfect.

I’m still obsessing with the number on the scale.  I read things that inspire me to forget it, but the belief that I must be a certain weight is deep in my head.  My non scale victories are worth bragging about.  I can go the full 30 minute cycle on my elliptical program without stopping.  I can do more reps with weights without taking a break.  My pants fit the same, but they aren’t tighter and that’s a win.

What I’m learning is not simple as how to be more fit, but to think more highly of myself regardless of my size.  There are so many other things that I have to be proud of than the pounds lost.  Can you list one positive thing about yourself each day for a week?  You might find that you’re pretty great.

Also: My 5 year wedding anniversary is tomorrow.  My husband and I bought ourselves a new bed as a gift to each other.  The mattress was delivered today and I’m impatiently awaiting my sheets and comforter set.  We went from a queen to a king sized bed and from somewhat firm to softer.  I’m hoping that this improves my quality of sleep.  Maybe I won’t have to spend so much time talking myself in to a workout if I’m well rested.

Yes, I have to

Working out again helped me realize that I don’t want to get out of shape again.  It also made me a little angry that I work so hard for so little payoff.  I am not expecting it to be easy, but I don’t want it to be absolutely miserable.

I enjoy working out most of the time.  I like to be fit and strong.  I like to challenge myself to beat my best time in a run.  I don’t like missing out on foods I like to eat.  I don’t like having my joints hurt making me unable to move during the daytime and I can’t sleep at night.  I also don’t like feeling tired all the time.  These are things I had problems with before I started working out that I assumed would go away with weight loss.

I am disappointed that I’m not 55 pounds lighter by now and wearing much smaller clothes.  I’m jealous of the people I see that were successful at losing a large amount of weight.  It just hasn’t clicked with me.  I eat better portions and I have fresh produce each day.  I still drink a cola every day.  I’m not ready to give that up.  I drink my coffee black even though I loved having it sweet.

For some reason, I can’t rid myself of the thought that “if I were only thinner, I’d be happy.”  This ties into depression and distorted thinking that can go along with it.  I’m not unhappy in life.  I’m married to someone who thinks I’m beautiful and great.  I have 3 kids that drive me nuts, but make me smile.  I can chase them around and play soccer in the backyard, but I don’t look healthy.  That bothers me.

So, I ask myself “Do I have to?” The answer is YES.  I have to do this.  Even though this is slow progress and I need my ego stroked once in a while to keep it up, I need this.  I can’t wait for consistently warm weather so I can broaden the possible type of workout I do.  I’m burnt out on the elliptical and the recumbent bike takes a long time for any real payback on calorie burn.  I’m going to keep tracking my calories using an app on my phone that allows me to scan bar codes.  I’m going to work my way up to working out daily.  I’m going to be fit.  There’s no guarantee I’ll ever be satisfied with the woman I see in the mirror or in photos, but when I’m really old, I should be able to go hiking still.

Thanks for reading.  What keeps you motivated? You don’t have to tell me, but maybe you should write it down to look back on once in a while.  The lock screen on my phone says “If you’re tired of starting over, don’t give up.”  Food for thought.

Fitness Rollercoaster

I’m approaching my 5 year wedding anniversary with my husband.  My wedding photos are on display in my home.  I was fat in those pictures.  Not obese, but not fit.  I just didn’t commit to losing weight in the year between the engagement and the wedding.  I guess I was ‘fat and happy’ at the time.

About 6 months into our marriage, I was pregnant with my second child (my first is 10 years older than the second).  I ate well, but gave in to cravings while I was pregnant.  I gained a few pounds during that pregnancy and the baby came out nearly 10 pounds.  I was breastfeeding him and found it difficult to find time to work out.  I also felt hungry all the time.  I started working out and eating better when he was 6 months old.  I started feeling ill, discovered I was pregnant, and then suffered a miscarriage early on.

A couple of months after that, I was pregnant again with my 3rd child.  I stopped working out because I was experiencing spotting and didn’t want to risk loss of pregnancy.  I was doing well at eating good foods for most of the pregnancy.  Near the end of my 2nd trimester, my husband applied for a new position with his company that was nearly 200 miles from our home.  Trying to pack things to present our house for sale, deal with finding a new home in a new town, and everyday stresses resulted in eating my feelings.  My 3rd baby was my smallest newborn at less than 8 pounds.  My pregnancy weight gain was mostly me.  That was bad news.

When my baby was 7 months old, I was so ashamed of my size, I decided to do something about it.  My closest friend had been successful at losing a large amount of weight and getting fit.  She helped keep me motivated via text.  She directed me to web sites and phone applications that were helpful.  We were able to exchange stories and experiences.  I lost 27 lbs and hung there wanting to lose nearly 20 more, but somehow feeling stuck and like I’d failed.

This past November, I felt stressed out and I decided to take a break from the workout routine.   Little did I know this would result in me losing my commitment and gaining back 20 lbs.  My clothes got tight.  My body got bigger.  My face looked fat in pictures.

I just now am getting back on track.  This Monday, I started logging my food again and working out daily.  My goals this time are less weight oriented and more fitness oriented.  I want to run in a real 5k this fall.  I want to have more energy.  I’d like to have my depression and anxiety lessened through physical fitness.

So far, I find it hard to squeeze in a workout at the same time each day, but I haven’t let myself off the hook if I don’t feel like it.  I am trying my best this time to develop a habit so I don’t have to start over again.

I’m excited about this fresh start.  I’ve felt a little more optimistic and confident in the past few days.  I hope this feeling continues and I hope that writing this will make me feel more accountable this time so that I’m less likely to stop.  I need health for myself and for my family.  I have control over this aspect of my life.  I need to control it.

I appreciate you reading my blog.  Thanks!

Mommy brain clutter

I am a mom.  I don’t work outside of the home.  I don’t have each kid involved in a sport I have to tote them around to.  I am almost constantly stressed out and tired.  I let the opinions and expectations of other people get into my head.  I get into my own head.  I am constantly criticizing myself.

Part of my problem is depression.  It is a big, mean liar.  It tells me that anyone could do what I do better than I do it.  It tells me that every minor roadblock is total failure.  It tells me that everyone is judging me negatively for everything I say and do.

The job I left to stay at home was not my favorite.  I was in an entry-level position for almost 7 years.  I felt like I worked hard and just couldn’t get ahead no matter how hard I tried.  I worked in the same field for over 10 years and was still entry-level.  I failed at working.

My youngest two are home with me all day.  They’re 2 and 3 years old.  I’ve tried having preschool with them .  It was structured; I had all the supplies and teaching information I thought I needed. I set out to do it and it was frustrating.  My husband and I are shopping preschools to  put our 3-year-old son into.  While this is more about socializing him with other children, I feel like it’s because I failed at teaching.  Then, there’s the fact that I get so annoyed with the kids sometimes that I want to go back to working.  It couldn’t be the same thing since I live nearly 200 miles from the old place.  I also don’t want to feel like I failed at being a stay at home mom since I already failed at working.

There’s also the matter of the 13-year-old girl.  She can be sweet, but can also be extremely difficult.  She can be downright mean.  She says she’s extremely unhappy living with us (her parents).  That breaks my heart.  I want to be a good mom to her, but I get so mad at her when she is ungrateful that I’m just as mean in return.

In conclusion, I am just me, but it’s so hard to accept.  I don’t know where the idea came from, but I have this image of the way everything is supposed to be in my head.  I want everything to be that way instead of the way that it is.  I want things to be just perfect and to make everyone happy and everyone proud of me.  Even though if they said they were proud, I wouldn’t believe them. I’d chalk it up to sympathy or simply stroking my ego.  It’s the same way when I see people.  I don’t think they ask how I’m doing because they want to know.  I assume they want something juicy to talk about.  Here’s the juicy truth…I am pretty average and I live a very boring life.  I have something to give, but for some reason I have no idea what the hell that is.

Teens kind of suck

In a couple of past posts, I’ve mentioned my daughter being one of the many teens experiencing harassment at the hands of a fellow teen hiding behind the confines of a keyboard to make terrible comments.  I even expressed concern for her friend Ally, who was suffering from online bullying and even in person bullying at school.  I was so wrong.

Ally, who is 13, recently started having sex with her boyfriend.  She told my daughter about this.  Someone told Ally’s mom about it, which was likely her sister who is close in age to her.  Somehow, her ‘cool mom’ managed to get Ally to blame my daughter for this.  Ally has now targeted my daughter.  I read the text discussions between the two.  While my daughter used language that is inappropriate for her age, Ally made threats of physical harm to her and tried to instigate a fight with her.  I blocked Ally’s number from texting or calling my daughter’s phone.  She went on to anonymously harass her within 10 minutes of me blocking her.  The next day at school, Ally and another girl named Leah tried to instigate a fight at lunchtime.  They all had to go to the school office where they talked things out and the principal let me know they’ve smoothed things over, cried, and made up.  This…was bullshit.  I knew it, but I waited until my daughter got home to confirm my suspicion.

Ally continued sending her messages asking my daughter to  punch her (so Ally wouldn’t be the one starting the fight) and telling my daughter she was too much of a coward to fight.  Ally spoke to friends of my daughter and had them send her texts about fighting.  Also, she told my daughters close friend Renee that she was talking bad about her at the lunch table.  This is stupid on so many levels.  I would talk to Ally’s mom again, but I think that she knows who her daughter is and is comfortable lying for her .  I think she believes her own bullshit.

I’ve talked to  my daughter, who doesn’t want anything to do with Ally, about the situation.  She absolutely doesn’t want to fight her.  She has verbally expressed that physical violence solves nothing in the matter of personal conflict and I am proud of her for that.  She’s also said that fighting is for people who are “trashy”, which I agree.  I’ve let her know that the only reason Ally is upset is because she’s ashamed of what she did when she had sex and her anger toward my daughter is misdirected shame for herself.  I’ve also let her know that hanging out with people who do that sort of thing can unfortunately put a mark on her own reputation even if she isn’t involved in the same activities.

What I’ve learned is that I’m a sucker for a sad story and that I’ll defend people when I think they are going through something hard.  I don’t lie, and therefore assume that other people don’t.   Some naïve part of me wants to be the person who stands up for what I believe is right and fair.  Sometimes, the two aren’t the same thing.   I wasted an hour talking on the phone with Ally’s mom about her daughter being bullied at school and getting beat up for no reason, then getting suspending for egging it on.  I did research for this woman on how to discuss the matter with the school board.  I believed her because my daughter was being picked on and because she said that she was involved to the point of checking her daughter’s communication tools.  These were most likely lies.  The mom wasn’t being vigilant.  Ally was lying to her mom and instigating a fight just like she’s trying to do now with my daughter.  So either her mom is lying or she’s trying so hard to be friends with her kids, that she forgot to parent them.

I’d like to note that I know my teen daughter, and my other children, are not perfect angels who can do no wrong.  Children and teens are young people who require that we nurture them and that we keep an eye on their path.  They sometimes need a nudge in the right direction and sometimes need to be permitted to get lost and find their own way back or blaze their own trail.  While I cannot watch and correct each move, I’m clear about my expectations.   My daughter might not always say the right thing in the heat of the moment, but its unlikely that she would enlist people to hurt someone else through words or threats of physical violence.