Sunday, October 26, 2014

FLAB-ulous 5k

A few weeks ago, someone posted an announcement on FB about this upcoming 5k. It was actually a girl posting it to her dad's wall ("hey, Dad. Do you want to do this?"). But because her dad was my friend, I ended up seeing it as well in my newsfeed. 

It was organized by Jackson Carter, who was one of the finalists on The Biggest Loser on Season 14. I actually watched that season… and I loved Jackson Carter. He was a Utah boy and from this area… so of course, I was already pre-disposed to cheer for him. But personality-wise, I liked him as well. So, when I saw the post for this 5k, the only ounce of "star-struck" I have in me went crazy. "Oh, my gosh! I could meet JACKSON CARTER!" Yeah, I know. It's pathetic. But I swear… I really don't get star- struck or celebrity crushes. This was my one exception. 

I have had a 5k on my bucket list for awhile. Wanted to do one eventually. But I kinda wanted to be able to run it when I did for the first time. So, any other ad for a 5k… I would have ignored. "No… not now. Give me a few months. Then I'll be ready.'' But this was JACKSON CARTER! 

Okay, stop judging me! The point is… I decided I was doing this. Even if I couldn't run it… I was doing it!

I invited my marathoner friend to join me… but as it turned out, he had other things he needed to do that day. My sister agreed to come along to be my cheering section though. And to take pictures. 

I was a little unsure how this was going to go. I knew I could finish it. That wasn't the question. I do that length anyway on the treadmill 3 days a week. But everything I've ever heard says that open road is very different than the treadmill and usually slows people down. I've been doing a 2.0 incline on the treadmill, which they say will better prepare you for the natural inclines, plus wind resistance of the open road. The flat open road. But I notice on Sundays I can't keep the same pace on my walks around the neighborhood that I do on the treadmill. So I was worried how this was going to go. I could finish… but how long would it actually take me? My usual pace on the treadmill is 3.5 mph. Which is 17:08 minutes per mile. Doing the math, I figured it would take me 53 minutes assuming I could keep up that pace. A 3.0 mph pace would put me just barely over an hour. I figured I would be satisfied with anything less than an hour… but ideally, less than 55 minutes.

I felt very out of my element the morning of the race. I'm watching the people who are showing up and every last one of them appeared to be in better shape than me. And it seemed like they were all in groups… or at least had one other person with them. And it seemed like they were all friends of Jackson's. I felt very out of place. But I was there. As we got lined up, they asked the runners to line up in the front. The run/walkers were in the middle and the walkers were in the back. I went to the very back. There was a lady beside me that I made small talk with and I thought I ought to be able to stay up with her if nobody else. 

When the race started, I took off. And I mean… I took off! From the very beginning, I just pushed it. There was no pacing myself. I just went! I was passing people right and left. I got up where I was more in the midst of the run/walkers. As long as they were walking, I could keep up with them, even pass them. But the second they started running again, then they passed me. And that's about where I stayed the entire course. I was behind all the runners, but ahead of all the walkers.

My wonderful sister took my phone and would drive ahead and find places along the course where she could stand by and wait for me so she could get pictures along the course. I was nearing the halfway point/turn around spot when I saw her for the first time. 

Jackson Carter had started with the rest of us… but ran up ahead and stuck around at the turn around spot for awhile to keep encouraging everybody. My guess is that he waited until everybody had made it to the turn around spot, then he ran back so he was back at the finish line when the last people came across. As it was, I made it back to the finish before he did! 

Once he was back, I was able to get a couple of pictures with him. I even got an autograph. 

This wasn't a timed race. There were no prizes for first, second or third place. So, when I got back, the first thing I wanted to see was the time… how long had it taken me. Without a stop watch… and exact to-the-minute start time… we had to estimate about how long it took me. We figured it was somewhere between 48-43 minutes. I was satisfied! My sister told me I was awful close to a jog when she saw me. 

Overall, it was pretty thrilling. One… to see that I could keep up the pace. And two… just being there and being part of it. It was kinda fun to me to see the flags at the start line. Of course they said start… but at the very top was the phrase "Get out and live." Which you may remember is what GOAL stands for in the title of this blog. It seems appropriate. 

Somewhere after half way.

Approaching the finish

Friday, October 24, 2014

Playing Favorites

So, I'm at the gym this morning… just finished my workout and wiped off my machine. I was heading in the locker room to weigh in and pick up my stuff to leave, when the trainer calls my name and motions me over to the front desk where he is hanging out with another staff.

"So, Brooke (the other staff) and I were just talking… about how great you look! How much have you lost now?"

I told them and they both gave me high fives. Brooke proceeds to tell me that I'm amazing that I inspire her. She told me I'm her "favorite."

And, by the way… I love Brooke (and not just because of what she said!). She's my favorite too. She is so cute and sweet and friendly. And she was the first staff that made an effort to learn my name and memorize my membership number. So, she sees me coming and logs me in automatically, so I don't have to stop and check in. Not that checking in really takes very long (like 5 seconds tops)… but sometimes there is only one person at the desk and you've got a whole group that comes in, each bringing a guest that they need sign for. So, it's very handy to have staff like Brooke, who know your number and can just wave you on.

Craig (the trainer) asked me how I was doing with this latest program. He said he saw me doing a few things and it looked good. He just wanted to make sure I was feeling okay. That it was challenging, but not too challenging.

They encouraged me to join this Biggest Loser challenge that they are doing within the company. I tried looking it up online, but I couldn't find any information. I'll have to think about it and check in with them on Monday (or tomorrow) for more information. I'm really not one for challenges like this. There is zero competitiveness in me. But I respect Craig and Brooke and I really appreciate their encouragement and faith in me. I feel like I owe it to them to at least consider it.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Things I Just Don't Understand

What is it like to have been thin (or you know… normal weight), then gain weight?
What is it like to have a closet full of clothes that are too tight?
What is it like to feel somehow "unworthy" because of your weight?
What is it like to know what weight you want to be at because that is when you looked and felt your best?
What is it like to hate yourself because of your weight?
What is it like to be able to whip out a list of 10 things right off the top of your head that you hate about being overweight?
What is it like to be able to pinpoint an event/time in your life when you started gaining weight?
What is it like to have to deal with some emotional baggage in order for you to keep losing weight and/or keep it off?

These are questions that I can't answer. Because they are things I have never had to deal with. I spend a fair bit of time at night perusing the forums on My Fitness Pal. So many topics are discussed and so many things come up. And there are so many that I can't relate to. And it kinda surprises me. I'm overweight. I have been my entire life. You would think I would know that place. And I'm losing weight. I've lost 85 pounds. That's not a small amount. So you would think I have a pretty good idea of that place too. The only thing I don't understand… and I know that I don't understand this… is what it's like to try to maintain your weight. Because that's a place I've never been. But I am realizing how much of a world is out there that I don't understand… even in the overweight world.

How is it that there is so much about being overweight that I have no clue about? My best guess is because it's the place I have spent my whole life. It's a place my entire family has spent most of my life as well. The only time in my life that I know I wasn't overweight… was the day I was born. I was a healthy sized baby... 7 pounds, 14 ounces. But I wasn't a fat baby. I've seen pictures of 2 year old me. I was stinkin' cute little toddler. Complete with fat little cheeks. I see those fat cheeks and I don't know if that was normal baby fat or if I was a fat toddler. I just don't know. I know I was the "fat kid" as early as kindergarten though. I know what it's like to be teased or called names because of your weight. But I had been overweight my entire life. As a kid when I had to endure the worst of the teasing… I wasn't aware that my weight was something I could control. It was just who I was. And my whole family was overweight. Calling me names for being overweight was like teasing someone for having a particular color of eyes or hair. Yeah, I endured the teasing… and yeah, it sucked. And it hurt. But it was always chalked up to "kids are cruel." I never knew it was something that I could change about myself. Fortunately kids grow up… and while there will always be the jerks… the teasing kinda died off by middle school. I don't know at what point that I became aware that weight was something that was within my control. In high school, I had some really, really wonderful friends. And I had gotten involved in extra-curricular activities that allowed me to make even more friends. I had discovered talents that I had. I never felt held back because of my weight. I was in the drama club, I was on the newspaper staff, I was the manager for the volleyball team. My senior year, I got involved with the spirit club. And the summer before my senior year, I started a part time job. I kept busy. I didn't date a great deal… but I got to go to two proms and one girls choice dance. And I had friends… including male friends. I didn't lack for things to do on Friday nights.

Obviously by high school, I was aware that weight was something I could change. But I never felt the need to. I never had health problems because of it. And like I said, I had found many activities that I could be involved in. I could even be part of a sports team. I wasn't "popular," but I didn't need to be. I had friends and I had things that I could do and that I enjoyed and that I was good at.

As I got into college, I became more aware that my weight was probably hindering some dating opportunities. But it was something I never understood and I still don't. In my mind, you get to know someone and become attracted to them and then decide to start dating. I've never understood the need to be attracted to someone first. I get that you need to be attracted to your spouse. I really do get that. But I also believe that if you love someone, they will be attractive to you… no matter what they look like. So, I've never understood why attractiveness is so important when people have lists of qualities they want in a spouse. I mean… I was a typical teenage girl. I had my lists of all the qualities I wanted in a future husband. And it got pretty extensive at one time. But no where on my extensive list did physical attractiveness come in. Seriously. It wasn't even 500 items down. It just wasn't there. Because I knew that if I loved someone… they would become attractive to me. In all of my dozens of "crushes" I had in my teenage years… not one of them was because I thought they were hot. The hotness came afterwards.

Anyway. All of this in a nutshell… Yes, I was overweight. But it never bothered me. Why should it? I never had health problems. I was still able to do the things I wanted to do. Dating was the only thing that I was aware it might be effecting. But in my mind… that was because the guys were all stupid and shallow. So, really… what was missing out on? A dumb*** guy that only had one thing on his mind? Yeah, no. I wasn't bothered.

I don't know what it was like to have a closet full of too-tight clothes. Elastic waistbands were very forgiving… which is what I wore my entire life. They always wore out in other places before they would get to the point I couldn't wear them anymore because of size.

I have no clue what weight I want to be. I have a goal in my mind… sure. But I was probably 14 the last time I was at that weight (I'm guessing… I have no idea really!). So to pick a time when I looked and felt my best? Uhh? I don't know. I've always felt fine. But I've always been fat… so that doesn't work.

What do I hate about being overweight? Uhh? That it's harder to find clothes? I don't know… I've always been there. My thighs have always rubbed together. I had no idea "thigh gap" was even a thing. I've always had to bring my foot up to my knee to be able to tie my shoes. It never occurred to me that other people could just bend down and tie them. And so many more that I've always just accepted as life. That it's "just the way it is." I had no idea it was a "fat person problem."

And to pinpoint a time when I started gaining weight? Uh… yeah. Birth. Injuries or accidents that all of sudden made me sedentary? No. My favorite activities for as long as I can remember have been reading and writing. When I'd go shopping with my mom and got bored of following her around… I didn't go to the toy aisle. I went to the school supplies aisle. The stores that left me speechless and so excited I couldn't sleep? Yeah, that would be Barnes and Noble and Office Max. Death of a loved one that I medicated by food? Nope. I've lost all four grandparents and both my parents in the course of my life. I was overweight before they died. I was overweight when they died. And I chose other ways to cope. Some possibly even more damaging. But still.

I know what it's like to be miserable. I know what it's like to hate yourself. I know what it's like to feel "unworthy." I know what it's like to have 50 tons worth of emotional baggage that you feel is holding you back. But I was overweight before that time. I was overweight during that time. And I continued to be overweight even after those issues were resolved. I have no clue what it's like to feel miserable, self-hatred, or unworthy because of weight. They never had thing one to do with each other.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Celebration and Affirmation


Can I write that any larger? Can I emphasize it any more?

This weigh in on Friday put me below 300. 296 to be exact. Which is a total of 85 pounds down. I can't begin to say how thrilling that is! Seeing a 2 as the first number somehow seems… I don't know the word. But it feels like the biggest milestone to date. I can't imagine that even losing 100 pounds would be more thrilling to me than this has been. It starting to make this seem real… like, "Wow. I really am losing weight. I can do this." All my other goals still to come, all of a sudden seem doable now. It somehow feels like I'm not so huge anymore. Being in the 200's somehow seems like "normal" overweight… not like "embarrassingly huge" overweight. I mean, I obviously still have a long way to go… but this one has probably been the most surreal moment yet. I can't hardly believe that number can belong to me! When I think about it… it kinda brings tears to my eyes. 

I don't know how long it's been since I've been that weight. My weight is something I've never really wanted to know. Even when I've gone to doctors appointments, I have not paid attention to what the scale said. The last time I was aware of my weight was about 9-10 years ago when I attempted to lose weight before. I was about 350 then. Before that however… the only time I can really remember knowing what I weighed… was back in second grade. And I know that will not be a number I will reach. It wouldn't be healthy for me to get back to that weight! My sister believes that I'm smaller than when I came back from my mission and supposes that I'm at my high school weight. I don't know. I know that the jeans I'm currently wearing have the same number on the label that the jeans I wore in high school had. But with vanity sizing… I don't know if that really means anything. 

If you know me… you know that there is one person that I trust 100% with everything. He is my dearest friend, my greatest supporter/cheerleader, and somewhat of a father figure to me… and I can't tell you how much I love him. As a man… and an older one at that… he would never comment on my weight. He's way too respectful to do that. Maybe being married and having two daughters, he's learned that comments on a woman's weight are at best, a loaded gun. But in the process of conversation a few weeks ago, I mentioned that I am trying to lose weight. He didn't really comment on it. Took it with about as much reaction as if I had mentioned I was trying to grow my hair out. And that was fine. It was appropriate considering the context of the conversation. Today I was walking around the neighborhood, which is the extent of any exercise I do on Sundays. I pass his house on my route. Today he was just pulling in his driveway as I was coming up to his house. He stopped briefly to wait for me. Put his hand on my shoulder and said "you're looking good kiddo. What you're doing is working." I thanked him and continued on my way. But coming from him… it made my day. He loves me and is my biggest supporter. Anything I do that is even remotely positive… he supports and will help me with as much as he can. But he is also 100% honest with me. And he will call me on my crap. He won't blow smoke. And while he will say things to be nice and be supportive… he won't say it if he doesn't mean it. And that brief affirmation… meant the world to me. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

A Break From the Routine

The last two weekends have been spent places other than home. And when that happens… it means any exercise is limited to whatever short walk I can squeeze in in the morning before everybody gets moving for the day. And it also means trying to stick within a calorie goal becomes very difficult!

The first weekend (the 3rd - 5th) was a joke! Friday was my birthday, which I intended to enjoy. But I also knew Saturday would offer a great deal more opportunities for high calorie food, so I wanted to go easy on Friday. With cake and a high calorie dinner (because that's what my family serves!)… even taking it easy put me eating more than I usually like to. My only saving grace was that I got in a good workout before I left that morning. Saturday on the other hand… was a JOKE! Big breakfast. No lunch. Then dinner at a Mexican restaurant. So, so bad. I ate way more than I should have. I was getting full after about half of my entree. And I should have stopped and taken the rest home. But it tasted so good! And so I kept eating. And I felt miserable afterwards. Not guilt. I don't waste time feeling guilty about being human in these matters. But I was sooo full! Miserably full. But lesson learned. I'm not an emotional eater. I'm not even really a binge eater. But I like food. And so I eat it. Even if I'm not hungry, I'll eat it because it tastes good. That's something to be aware of. And something I can work on. Because I still could have taken it home and had it later. Oh well. I knew there would be days like this. Days where old habits rear their ugly heads. The good thing is... I recognized what the problem was and where I could have done something different. And that I just got back on track the next day.

The next weekend found me traveling again. This time leaving on Thursday. This was two days of workouts missed. UGH! I hate that. I don't mind missing a Saturday here and there. But I hate missing two in a row. Friday is usually my weigh in day. Since I wasn't going to be around on Friday and because I know my body hates not being in a routine… I was just going to skip the weigh in that week. That would give me two weeks between weigh ins. And while both weekends would be out of routine… it would be give me one solid week before the next weigh in. However… I couldn't resist a sneak peak on the scale Thursday morning before I left. If the scale is to be believed, I dropped below 300 for a total loss of 85 pounds! YAY! However, because of the change in routine and what not… I'm not counting that weigh in for official purposes. But, if the number was accurate, and this last solid week will be within my average loss range… it'll be a rather impressive loss for my next weigh in.

For whatever it's worth… the reason I was traveling this past weekend….

My niece is studying esthetics and had an event coming up for school that included a professional photo shoot. Which she could use for her portfolio. She asked me a couple of months ago if I would be her "model" for it. She would do my make-up. Then photos would be taken. I agreed.

While I was down there… my niece said that one reason she wanted me to do this was because of all the hard work and dedication I had put forth toward losing weight and she felt like I deserved to show off this new me. Even though these photos were primarily for her to built her portfolio and show off her skills… she wanted a full body shot done of me. It was kinda fun. She did my hair and make up. And then the photographer had some fun putting me in all sorts of awkward positions that she swore would make me look great… some smiling. Some serious. Some that I think ended up looking like a smirk. I think the photos will be done in a couple of weeks. I guess we'll see how they turn out! I'll post a few here if they turn out any good at all.