Friday, October 28, 2011

A great run (169.0)

I wasn't able to run yesterday, because the dog needed to go to the vet (she was limping on the knee that had the ACL repaired last year--she now has arthritis) at lunch and had to be picked up after work.  So, no run.

But today I went at lunch, and it was fabulous.  3.25 miles in 37:42, which is an 11:36 pace--my best this year.  The last .25 miles I was at a 10:07 pace, and I felt strong the whole time. 

Yesterday was a crappy food day, though.  Just when I feel cocky about how well I'm doing, I have a day that knocks me for a loop.  I know what the problem was.  I had a lot of emotional stress, between work and the dog and an emotional talk with my daughter and the back-to-back dreary days.  I was nonstop busy all day long.  And I didn't get my run in.

I had choir practice at 7, ran to the grocery after, got a call from Mark at 8:20 telling me Sophie was crying and both the kids wanted to see me before they went to sleep.  I dug down and found some inner peace to give to both my kids when I got home a few minutes later, even though I didn't really have it in me. 

I hadn't eaten dinner before I left for choir.  That, plus all of the above, set me up for a binge last night.  It could have been worse, but it was still a binge. 

Vickie has some great links I read today (this one and this one) that helped me deal with what happened last night.  I already feel more positive about moving forward from the errors of yesterday.  Day has been much better.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No cookies. Feeling strong. (167.8)

Second day in a row at 167.8. 

Second night with no cookies.

Seriously, just fessing up and examining it on the blog helps me tremendously. 

Shining light on the problem, not hiding and pretending like it's not happening, admitting there is a problem....the first steps to healing.

I listened to myself when I wanted cookies on Tuesday night.  It was a knee jerk reaction--"the kids are in bed and I'm finally DONE for the day" reaction.  Cookies = comfort.  I had an apple and a cup of hot tea instead. 

I wanted cookies again when I woke up in the middle of the night to pee.  I just went straight back to bed, ignoring the pull of the kitchen.

Then Wednesday night, we got the kids in bed earlier, and I wasn't as stressed out at my bedtime.  I had hot tea again while in bed watching "Breaking Bad" on Netflix, and it helped again.  No cookies.  Had to pee again in the night and was so sleepy I just stumbled back to bed, no thought of the cookies.

Breaking a bad habit is a lot about replacing that habit with good ones.

It also helps that I've been working out hard, and I don't want to ruin all my good work with a stupid cookie binge. 

Weights class yesterday at lunch was awesome.  I need to increase my weights--they were getting too easy.  That's always a great sign.  Running again today, then rest tomorrow (I thought I'd do weights again on Friday afternoons, but my knees can't handle it, considering I have a long run on Saturday mornings), then the Saturday long run, then either rest or a weights or pilates class on Sunday, depending on how the day shakes out and how my body is feeling.

Right now, my body feels nothing but strong.  It ROCKS to feel this way.  And it just makes me want more.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

You're coming into focus, kid (168.4)

One of my favorite movies is Joe vs. the Volcano.  I first saw it when Mark & I were dating.  I have seen it multiple times since, and Mark & I have quotes that we sometimes use to joke with each other. Like "these lights are suck, suck, sucking the life out of me" and "that outfit is wearing you, Felix" and "I'm not arguing that with you." 

If you've seen the movie a bajillion times, these will mean something to you.  Chances are, you haven't, so watch it the next time it comes on cable.

One of the quotes that hit me yesterday was "You're coming into focus, kid."  The limo driver who takes Joe to the airport (for his trip to an island in the Pacific where he's planning to jump into a volcano) says it after he takes Joe to get new clothes and his hair cut.  Tom Hanks is transformed from an unhealthy looking sad sack of a man, to the handsome Tom Hanks of the late 1990s. 

Yesterday, I felt like that.  I felt like I was coming into focus. 

I can feel my bicep muscles now, and there's a nice cut when I flex.  Same with my triceps and shoulders.  My back fat rolls are completely gone; no more muffin top either.  My upper body shapes up pretty quickly once I start the workouts, which I've been doing fairly regularly since the first part of September.

My running pace is a minute faster (yesterday, it was 12:38 for a 3.25 mile run) than it was a couple months ago .  I did (a slow) 5 miles on Saturday with my friends, and it was almost too easy.  I just finished a pilates class, where we used a big ball, and I could keep up with everything.  It was challenging, but I could do it all. 

I feel stronger, I feel thinner, I feel like I'm going to be able to reach my goals in the foreseeable future.

So, what are my goals?  It's nice to have some again.

Weight loss wise, I'd like to be at 160 by Thanksgiving, although realistically it will likely be 162 or 163.  I'll be happy with that.  I want to weigh 155 by my race in February.  I think that's totally doable. That weight is important because it affects my running pace significantly.

I don't know what my "final" weight will be.  I want my saddle bags to be nearly gone. I want a normal shaped body, proportionate all over.  Whatever weight that ends up being is what I want to weigh. I do know that I still had significant weight in my hips when I weighed 146, so I'm guessing it will be below that. I have no idea when I'll hit this weight.  It may be next summer, it may be in 2 or 3 years, or it may take longer.  Depends on how hard I work for it and how my body cooperates. Time doesn't matter.  I just want to get there by consistently moving forward. 

Running wise, I want to run an avg 11:00 min/mile for my long runs.  I want to run an avg 10:30 min/mile on my short runs.  These paces are only possible when I have less weight to carry around.  Eventually, I want to run a full marathon, maybe in 2013.

Food wise, I want to kick my darn cookie habit.  I don't know what the problem is--muscle memory, sugar memory, comfort habit?  Probably those and more.  I almost always have 3 or 4 cookies right before I go to bed.  Yes, I realize how stupid this is and how destructive this is for weight loss.  Yes, I realize I could put the cookies somewhere I can't get to them.  It's more than behavior modification or mind games.  I need to figure out why I still eat them, after having a well-fed and productive and happy day.  Just writing about it here will help me work on it, I'm sure.

Still busy at work, still busy at home, still maintaining mostly healthy habits, including my SAD light--which I consider one of the most critical to my overall health.  Lunch time workouts are fortunately completely doable most days. I've already run and taken pilates, and it's only Tuesday!  More running Thursday, weights class Friday, running Saturday.  It's all good.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Would you like plastic with that oatmeal? (167.4)

Because of my new work schedule, I've been having to eat part of my breakfast at work. I usually have my homemade soy latte, an egg & a few bites of oatmeal at home, then bring the rest of my oatmeal to work & finish it at my desk.  This is a new routine for me; I usually only eat a snack and lunch at work.

Last week I reheated my oatmeal in a plastic glad ware container, and the whole thing tasted like burnt plastic.  Blech.

I know reheating food in plastic is a horrible idea.  At home I don't, but at work I will sometimes heat anything that won't stay on a paper plate in the glad ware containers I bring the food in. 

After the oatmeal incident, I decided it was time to invest in glass containers.

I've looked at them at Target before, but they were a fortune.  I found a set on Amazon called Snapware for $45.  There were mixed reviews about the durability of the lids and the glass, and indeed, the large container arrived with one of the snaps broken off.  It wasn't a huge deal--it's not a container I'd bring with me to work, which is the only time I need seal-tight lids--so I just kept it and didn't bother with a return. I needed the containers right away. 

The rest of the bowls and rectangular dishes have been great.  They seal tight and don't leak, they have gone through a couple dishwasher cycles & the seals are still OK.  I haven't broken any yet.  I'm very happy to have the set and glad I won't be filling our bodies with toxic plastic any more.

Any my oatmeal this morning tastes like oatmeal (and pumpkin and peanut butter and cinnamon, 'cause that's how I roll).

My weight yesterday was 167.4, too.  I had lunch with friends at Panera yesterday, 2/3rds of a chicken salad sandwich, and I expected my weight to bump up today. I was surprised & happy it stayed the same.  It's my lowest weight yet this year.  I'm half a pound away from losing 20 pounds.

My clothes are fitting better and better, and I'm feeling better.  I really want to be in size 10s by Thanksgiving.  I have very few fall clothes in 12s, and am just wearing the same clothes over and over (I barely have enough to get through one week without doing laundry, but I manage) until I lose more weight.  I have two pairs of jeans in 10s but nothing else for fall, so I'll have to buy a few pieces when I get to 160.  I'm looking forward to it.  

To that end, I'm working out regularly now.  Pilates on Tuesday, weights at lunch and a 75 minute walk at night with my friend Debra on Wednesday, weights tonight, and a 5 mile run tomorrow morning with the girls.  Princess Half Marathon (in February) training starts this weekend; it's the first time I'll train for a race with other women, and I'm really excited about that. I can FINALLY share my love for running with friends In Real Life.   Hooray for exercise!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Safe at this size (168.0)

I've been bopping around 170 pounds for a couple of months now.  Last week I started thinking about the Why of this plateau.
And I realize it's not a long plateau and not (necessarily) a big deal, but I'd still call it a plateau.
When I first started writing this blog, I regularly read a blog by Jonathan.  He wrote the best explanation of what a plateau is (back in 2006... how quickly time passes) that I've ever read.  The key point is this:
‘When you are experiencing a true plateau –that is, you are not gaining, and you are not losing– it is the result of the fact that your desire to change is exactly equal to your desire to stay the same.’

This Truth has nothing to do with playing scale games, making up excuses like "I'm building muscle and that's why I'm not losing weight" or "I'm eating too many carrots" (which some weight counselor once told a blogger was why she wasn't losing weight).  

It's an in-your-face, look at what you're really doing kind of explanation for a plateau.

I am at that point of exactly equal.

My desire to stay the same stems from:

I don't feel obese anymore.  Size 12 is average.  I am still overweight, but I can run and lift weights and hold my body weight in pilates.  I'm not eating sugar or processed foods as my main meals (although my nights are still a problem as far as that goes).  My husband likes the way I look.  And I feel good.

But all that combined isn't the true, deep down reason for staying this weight.  The real reason is that I feel SAFE at this size.

Nobody comments on my body or my clothes.  Nobody asks if I've lost weight.  Nobody asks me about diets or exercise or "what's your secret?"

At this size, I'm still invisible.

Understand, though, that Safe isn't where I want to be.  Safe is not a happy place.   The need to feel Safe stems from childhood damage and comments from men I received when I was thin in 2008 and recent issues with my uncle.  I wrote in detail about the need to be invisible here.

Deep down, who I want to be is what Vickie described in her zip line post (which I found easily because Vickie is the Queen of Tags, and yes indeed, she has a tag for "zip line."  Love it).  I want to feel like this, as Vickie wrote in this post:
"I am not an average person.

That illusive "normal' that bloggers often think about wanting to be.

I am above, beyond, better than a 'normal' person. Because the average joe in line at the license bureau is a 'normal person'.

And what I do to take care of myself is beyond what those people know, do, understand.

And what I have, physically and emotionally is (in my opinion) beyond what they have too."
Getting beyond Safe is, I believe, going to take some more therapy sessions.  I don't know any other way to get past it.  I had the breakthrough of understanding a few months ago.  Now I need the breakthrough of change, so that I can get my head around learning to live beyond Safe, beyond Normal.

Deep down, I know I can be that person.  Now to start digging through the layers to bring that deep down belief to the surface.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Making the most of it (169.2)

Tuesday was the worst day, as far as this work thing goes.  My knee jerk reactions went into my post Tuesday, and I did FEEL all those things at the time, but my first reactions were more dire, I suppose, than reality.

I'm still not happy with the situation, but I'm setting boundaries and I'm determined to take care of myself.

Boundary example:
The broker I'm working with now asked me to access his calendar for client meetings and to see what his schedule is so I can see who he's meeting with and schedule appointments for him.  I will not do this for him.  I asked him to get me names & dates in advance so I can prep his account review material.  He is calling his own clients back when there are issues.  I've heard how he deals with Sara on his calendar--it has been a source of conflict for them, and I'm not getting involved in that. 

I am only doing "account" work for him.  I will not do personal chores for him.  If it's related to sales or service, I will help.  Anything else, I'm telling him I'm not comfortable handing that (such as entering his business and personal expenses from his bank account into Quicken).

I'm tracking every minute I touch the other broker's business. My goal is not to work more than 3.5 hours a day (half my day) on his business, so that I don't feel like I am short changing our business.

Taking care of myself:
Since I have to be here regular business hours, I'm taking a lunch like regular business hours people do.  I never took lunch when I came in at mid-morning, of course.  The past two days, my lunch has been working out at the gym.  Pilates on Tuesday, Weights class on Wednesday.  Those two classes are 45 minutes to accommodate the lunch hour.  Lunch classes are only on Tues & Wed, so I will be going to the gym and walking or running the other days. 

My plan is to go 4 or 5 days each week.  I told Mark I need this hour away from the office to maintain my sanity.  I eat lunch at my desk when I get back from the gym.  I change my clothes at work in the bathroom, drive 5 minutes to the gym, workout, drive back, change back into work clothes (sweaty but not stinky :).  Total time is about 65 minutes.  Totally worth it.

This morning I got up at 5:30 and did my SAD light/Bible reading time.  That helped center my day.

I haven't been able to eat breakfast at home, though.  I need to get up at 5:00 or 5:15 if I want to eat at home (at least, I haven't figured out any other way yet).  I had coffee (1 c. soy milk and espresso) at home, then had steel cut oats with PB and berries at 8:15.  I need to work on breakfast, b/c I'm not happy with the late hour and the lack of significant protein.   It's all part of the adjustment process.

Thank you for all your words of encouragment and support.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Big change at work (170.0)

The other assistant in the office quit yesterday.  She was totally justified in quitting.  If I were her, I would have left her boss years and years ago.  I don't know how she stood it for 8 years.  I am not upset with her in the least.  I know whatever she ends up doing, she will be happier with.

But, I am now the solo assistant to my husband and the other advisor in the office.

Needless to say, my work load is increasing substantially, and there's a big learning curve because they do things differently than we do. 

This is an unwelcome change, to say the least. My hours at the office are increasing, my flexibility is decreasing, my patience is being tested. 

The advisor treats me with respect, at least he always has in the past (I am, afterall, the wife of the branch manager and Mark & he have been friends for over 20 years).  Hopefully that will continue.  Who knows how long this situation will last.  I doubt that he'll be that motivated to hire someone while I'm doing so much for him.

Yes, he's paying me (us, really.... when I'm working for him, I'm not taking care of Mark's & my clients), by the hour.  I'm tracking my hours on a spreadsheet. 

I won't do a lot of the personal stuff he had his previous assistant do. I'm being very clear about what I need from him to do things he needs done the right way. 

The problem is, things go in one ear and out the other with him.  I've seen it & heard it for almost 5 years of working in this office.  I'm going to have to take extra care to cover my butt. 

This is a HUGE test of my patience and Christian attitude toward someone I don't particularly like (and often, can absolutely not stand at all).  I'm having to hold my tongue already; the past few months of therapy and blog writing have, in a big way, prepared me for this situation.

I don't know when I'll be on here next.  I don't like to blog at night--I'm on this thing all day long, the last thing I want to do at home is get back on my computer.  Hopefully it will be soon. 

Friday, October 07, 2011

One year later.... graces, big and small (170.6)

Today is the anniversary of my dad's death.  That day marked the end of the most difficult, challenging, gut-wrenching year of my life. 

The 12 months that have passed since his death have been full of significant changes for me.  I've written about those changes as they've happened, here on my blog.  I don't want to go through a list of them today.

Today I want to talk about all the grace I now see at work in my life.

Last Friday I had an extremely frustrating day.  Nothing was going right.  I had a long list of things I needed to get done at work, but I got sidelined with an unexpected client issue instead.  I also had email and computer problems that day.  I banged my head against the wall for hours, getting nowhere. It was very frustrating, and I broke down at one point because I felt so out of control and helpless.

At the end of the day when I was on my way home, it hit me--I haven't had a bad day like that in a very, very long time.  From January 2010 to October 7, 2010, I had bad days (and worse days) several times a week.  Sometimes entire weeks were bad like that. 

I can look back now and acknowledge how utterly horrible the year of Dad's illness was.  If God only gives you what you can handle...well, he pushed me to the very edge.

I can look at today and see clearly that I am happy.  I am blessed.  More often than not, I am filled with peace.

Even when I have a bad day like last week, it's nothing compared to the turmoil I suffered before. 

And that's where the Big Grace comes in.  Because of the year of Dad's illness, I have the ability to look at "bad days" and not let them wreck me.   It's not a "my dad is in a nursing home unable to move a muscle, bitter and angry and blaming me for putting him there" day.  It's just one bad day.

A few other Big Graces:

My husband and kids are healthy. I am healthy. We have a warm, safe home. We have decent clothes. We have food in the fridge and the cupboards. 

My relationship with my mom is healing and much stronger.  Not because she has changed, but because I have changed.

I'm on the right medication to keep my moods stable.  I am not suffering from SAD symptoms because I am treating it with light therapy.  I am sleeping well.

There are so many more--Mark passed the CFP exam, we are making a living and can pay the bills, I am cooking and buying fresh foods every week (& Mark is eating what I make) and we rarely eat out anymore.

The Small Graces are things like this:

This Sunday is the Half Marathon that I've run the past 3 years.  My coworker Sara is walking it--it's her first half.  She's so excited, and I'm excited for her.  I'm also pea green with envy.  I wish I'd trained.  I want the t-shirt, the medal, the 5 gallon bucket (that's the bling every year--a 5 gallon bucket... only in the Mid West :).  I want the thrill of the accomplishment of 13.1 miles. 

Yesterday morning I was so tempted to sign up & just do it, conditioning be darned.  I schemed about what I'd have to do to swing it.... I'd need a sub for my Sunday school class, which wouldn't be that hard.  But I'd also have to skip singing in the choir.  We only have 4 sopranos, so me skipping would leave a small hole in the choir that would make me feel bad without giving the director prior notice (we can miss, he just asks for advance notice so he knows what music to plan for).  I'd also have to walk a lot of the race, which wouldn't necessarily mean I'd finish injury free.

I had a very small PLUS column, and a long MINUS column.  The answer was obvious.  By the end of the day, I was pouting because I couldn't do the race. 

Then last night at choir practice, we rehearsed our anthem for this Sunday.  Great Is Thy Faithfulness.  One of my favorite hymns ever. The arrangement is beautiful and has wonderful soprano sections.  Vocally, it's simple but challenging. 
Our choir director is a professor of music at the private university in town, and he is also the conductor of our city's Philharmonic Chorus.  He conducted at Carnegie Hall this year; he's extraordinarily talented.  He brings out the best in us.  It's a privilege to sing in his choir. 
Normally we sing in a choir loft at the back of the sanctuary, so the congregation doesn't see us (we see the backs of their heads, except when someone occasionally turns around to look at us if we are singing really, really well).  This anthem is best sung with a piano instead of an organ, so we are singing at the front of the sanctuary with the grand piano. We only sing up front a few times a year.  I love singing in front of the congregation.  Not because they can see us, but because I can see everyone's faces when we sing.

I won't be disappointed that I'm not running on Sunday morning, because I will be overflowing with joy when I'm singing the words of this hymn.  This is a small grace, but it means so much to me.

"Great is Thy faithfulness," O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.
"Great is Thy faithfulness!" "Great is Thy faithfulness!"
Morning by morning new mercies I see;
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided—
"Great is Thy faithfulness," Lord, unto me!
Summer and winter, and springtime and harvest,
Sun, moon and stars in their courses above,
Join with all nature in manifold witness
To Thy great faithfulness, mercy and love.

Pardon for sin and a peace that endureth,
Thy own dear presence to cheer and to guide;
Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow,
Blessings all mine, with ten thousand beside!

A year ago, I don't think I could have sung this song without breaking down and sobbing, mostly because I was sobbing almost every day anyway.  Two weeks ago when we first practiced this anthem, my voice did break a few times.  It's still very emotional for me, even reading the words now. 

"Strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow."
I'm stronger because of all I've gone through.  I feel like it's my tomorrow--filled with bright hope--at last. 
Blessings, grace, and peace.  I can't ask for more.

Monday, October 03, 2011

the insanity will be over soon (171.2)

The stress is starting to get to me.  I had sugar this weekend, and it turned me into quite the bitchy wife & mom.  Not pretty.  Yes, it was a good lesson.  Sugar makes me miserable.  But it also soothes the pain, like a drug.  It is a vicious master.  I'm tired of learning the lesson over and over again.  I just need to remember the awfulness of its affects and stop myself before I start. 

Weekends seem to be harder for me, because they are less structured.  Something I need to work on... but it's hard to be continually "working on" stuff, you know?  I just want some mindless down time.  Mindless down time is often when the sugar crazies hit.

I kept thinking of it as "demon sugar," because I am a big fan of the series "Boardwalk Empire," which is set during the temperance movement in Atlantic City.  The movement to get rid of "demon liquor" was obviously not successful, and mostly inflamed organized crime and the mob. 

There will never be a movement to rid the world of demon sugar, but I do want to rid myself of it.  I failed this weekend.

It's not hopeless by any means.  I'm eating real meals--but I am letting the stress consume me at night and I am obviously not yet impervious to my drug of choice.

I have a lot going on between now and Friday.  I will likely not be around much until then.

I may get to take a yoga class tonight. I'm hoping to at least squeeze in some exercise to alleviate some of the stress and anxiety.

I am going to eat the best that I can, and go to bed on time, and take care of myself, and work really hard to do all these things so I don't lose it again.