Changing my body and changing my life

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Today I went 18 km. I was exhausted on the 2nd half, even though I hadn’t worked that hard on the first half. I was skimming over Stanton’s book and noticed that he advises varying the intensity of weeks, hard and easy, in training. I’ve just been trying to build, build, build. Maybe I need an easy week, but is that wise when I’m going to do a half-marathon in less than a month?

I am really, really enjoying food, enjoying not feeling hungry so much. My weight is fluctuating up and down within about 3 pounds. I’ve noticed that my weight seems to rise when it’s raining. That is also when my husband’s back acts up; he says it’s because of the low pressure, it seems to make joints swell. I’m wondering if low pressure can also make water retention more likely.

I am still having trouble with having normal amounts of sweets but it’s a bit better now that I don’t feel deprived.

My helpful tool that I want to highlight is my MP3 player. Running with music can be very motivating. But it does have to be the right kind of music. As I’ve been upping my running, I realized that a lot of my music was slow and not exactly invigorating. Jan Arden, for example. Praise and worship which does have some upbeat songs, but tends towards more contemplative. One day at work I passed Gary in the hall. Gary works for another program, but we’ve talked on occasion and I know he used to be a radio DJ and still does some work in the music industry. I decided to take a chance and ask him if he’d make me a playlist of songs that would be good for running, and he said yes! So now I have some new music, and I’ve added some of my favourite songs to it.

But sometimes I want to have something to think about, so there’s always CBC Radio which, imho, has some of the best radio programming around, especially The Debaters (although it’s never on when I’m running). And then there’s audio books. Winnipeg Public Library branched into more electronic resources in the last year or so.


I haven’t had time to post for a few days. Hubby’s back went out and when that happens I pretty much have to take over the household – all cooking, shopping, housework and most childcare falls into my lap. So something had to go, and it wasn’t about to be my training. I’m still keeping that up. I have to set my alarm for 5:30 each morning to get it in, but I’m doing it.

I’ve really been thinking through my goal weight, my food intake and my training. Basically, I’ve felt very discouraged that not only is my weight plateauing, but I have been gaining steadily in the last couple of weeks. I will admit to more than my 1200 calorie goal on some, maybe even many days. But what I’m getting from credible sights is for the amount of exercise I do, I need about 2400 calories a day to maintain, and even if I’m going past 1200, I have not been doubling it.

I’ve probably gained muscle. Quite sure of it from the feel of my body. But I was also hoping to lose fat at the same time.

I’ve read in a few places that training is hampered with low calorie diets. I’ve also read that fat burning potential during workouts can be hampered if one hasn’t consumed enough carbs.

I’m also tired of feeling discouraged by a number on a scale and putting so much effort into reaching that number without results.

So I’ve decided, at least during training until the half-marathon, to return to a more normal calorie amount. I’m not going up to 2,400, but I’ll try aroung 1800. Yesterday was the first day. It felt amazing to not be thinking about hunger all day long.

Healthy, not happy

I decided not to chance an outside run with 60% chance of rain and just went on the treadmill. Disappointing, though, I’d really like to get out. I did 14 km this morning and it took roughly 2 hours. The treadmills says I burned about 1000 calories. Nice. That of course was followed by ravenous hunger, which I’m still trying not to respond to by stuffing my face with everything in sight. I am eating, mind you, but trying to stick to the plan.

Interestingly, I found the 2nd hour of my run/walk easier than the first. I was noticing more soreness, but as far as my energy, it seemed like my heart rate was dropping faster after each run and I didn’t have to walk as long before running again. I wonder if that’s about when the carbs I ate first thing in the morning started to kick in.

My weight has risen in the last week. On one hand, I think I should expect that, because I do notice more muscle tone. But I still think I should be losing fat, and more staying the same weight rather than gaining. In reviewing my eating, I’ll be honest – I have been giving in to my sweet tooth far too often. It doesn’t seem like the amount I give in should be stalling me that bad, though. Mind you, I don’t stop and count the calories often when I do give in. Maybe I’m eating more than I know. Today I am trying to do a reality check and return to the plan.

Here is my updated graph.

Today I was thinking about a former roommate of mine, the kind of person who seems to be naturally thin. When I lived with her was the first time I tried to lose weight, and was successful, and gained it all back when I got tired of paying money to Weight Watchers. That’s the trouble with weigh loss plans that involve corporations – they are designed to keep you dependent, because what profit is there in a person who can maintain a healthy lifestyle on her own?

Anyhow, back to my roommate. I would have killed for her body. She was not happy with it, however. I remember her cutting out a magazine picture of a thin, muscular, model and putting it on the fridge to motivate her to exercise. She was very active, and got me into cycling, which I still appreciate her for. But it wasn’t enough to be thin and healthy. She wanted to look different.

All throughout my weight loss I have tried to avoid the words diet and thin and use phrases that emphasize health, like healthy eating and healthy weight. A part of me means it, but a part of me lied. I want to be thin, not just healthy. And I want that thin to look a certain way on me. Which it doesn’t. I maintained my basic pear-shaped body. I can see my ribs on my top half, but I still have a pronounced abdomen thanks to three pregnancies and pronounced hips and thighs thanks to genetics. Even those final five pounds to my goal will probably not make that much difference in the long run. I’ll still look like me.

It’s been hard work to eat and exercise to change this body, but I knew what I needed to do. It seems to me the mind work that I need to start, to change from wanting something different to simply accepting my body as is, is also hard work, but the steps to that end are not so clear.

Getting real

The running book I’ve been reading has been quite informative. Don’t know how much is backed by research, but theoretically it makes sense. The author pushes for not pushing it. He keeps saying that no one has every been injured by running too slow.

He also went into target heart rate stuff. I’ve been using THR on and off since we got a treadmill 3 years ago and it came with a free heart monitor. I’m not sure where I got the THR I’ve been using, but it turns out it’s way too high, which makes sense because it exhausts me. When I adjusted it today, however, I realized that I get to my THR just by walking very fast, and even fairly slow running takes me right over it. So my helpful tool is getting real and realizing that to reach my goals I may have to stop pushing for speed so much and go for endurance. I probably need to expect that I’ll end up walking MOST of the half marathon. But apparently a lot of people do, so I won’t look like a total idiot. It probably also makes sense because my right foot has been bothering me for days and quickly acts up whenever I get on the treadmill. If I overdo it, I may end up doing damage to my body that keeps me from the marathon. Better slow and steady.

Getting real is something that Beck talks about a lot in her book. Measuring food. Weighing yourself. Realizing that everything we do has an influence and not making excuses for our bad choices that then ultimately bring us down.

But getting real is also the challenge of the day. I feel so good when I’m running. Like a real athlete. When I’m walking, I feel like I’m back to fat-Judi. And I keep thinking of that Dave Barry column where he calls speed walking “Walking Like a Dork.”  And I keep thinking that there are people who are running the entire marathon who will come in ahead of me, and I feel just a tad pathetic.

Today I paid the dues and signed me, middle and youngest child up for the Manitoba Marathon. Both the kidlets want to run in the 2.6 mile Super Run. I am also fundraising for the event, which raises money for individuals with intellectual disabilities. This is a demographic close to my heart, both because I have worked with individuals with cognitive delays and because Fragile X, a condition that causes intellectual disabilities, runs in my family, so I have many relatives in my extended family living with a developmental delay, including 2 of my uncles. Here is my fundraising page.

I’m a real runner now

I visited The Running Room today. It seemed like the Thing To Do now that I’ve decided to run a half marathon. I have in the past felt very conspicuous if I’ve gone into any sport-type shop, as if the people there are looking at me and thinking, “Her? She’s fat. She’s not an athlete. She doesn’t belong here.” But it occured to me that there may be things that could enhance my running. Hubby went with and encouraged me to buy a book. So I bought The Running Room’s Book on Running by John Stanton. I have no idea if his ideas are backed by any kind of scientific research, but I’ll start somewhere and see how it goes.

Did going to The Running Room make me a real runner? No. But today I decided to think of myself as one. I think if someone had asked me “Are you a runner?” yesterday, as people are apt to do, I would have said, “No, not really. I mean, I run. And I’m planning to run a half marathon. But I’m not a runner, not like some people.” I’ve decided to think of myself as an athlete. This is bigger than it might seem. I’ve thought of myself for about 30 years in a few ways, first of all being I’m chubby/fat/overweight. This changed when I crossed that magic BMI line where the experts declared that now I am in the normal weight range for my height. But it’s still taking hold. I was recently talking to someone who is new in my life who is struggling with weight, and I shared with her that I’ve lost 75 pounds so I get it. And she said, “You mean you haven’t always been thin?” and I said, “You think I’m thin?” It takes awhile for this kind of thing to take hold.

The second way I’ve thought of myself is being non-athletic and uncoordinated. I’m starting to realize that after exercising regularly for 3 years and now getting to the point where I can train for an event, I am probably an athlete. No, I am an athlete. I’m a real runner now.

So my helpful tool today is thinking of myself in new ways, and transforming my identity.

Today’s training was to run 6.5 km. The rain made the treadmill the most reasonable way to do that, but after a week of running outside it felt a bit stifling to be down in the basement again. Outside I was finding I needed to stop and stretch every 2.5 km. I decided  to push for 3.0 today. At 3.0 I decided to push for 30 minutes, and at 30 minutes I decided to push for 4.0 km. So I did that straight running, no stopping. The last 2.5 km needed a lot of walking though; I was beat. I’m thinking to do my long run tomorrow (about 10 km) I should do a run walk cycle of about a minute walking every 10 minutes.

Eating wise – yesterday I ended up going out to eat for both lunch and supper. At lunch I was at Boston Pizza and chose a dish from their healthier selections area, which had whole wheat linguini, chicken and vegetables. It was disappointing – the vegetables were supposed to be steamed but they tasted raw, and I think softer vegetables would have suited the dish better. Hubby and I went out in the evening as it was our 16th anniversary. We went to Joey, and I had another pasta dish, asian flavours this time,  with chicken, cashews and lots of vegetables. That was wonderful, but I realized I was getting full and didn’t finish it. This almost astounded me as I’ve been a clean-your-plate person so much of my life, eating well past the point of fullness. To be able to say I’ve had enough and leave it is a pretty big thing to me.

What I continue to find challenging is figuring out the solitary and community parts of my life. How this relates to weight is in terms of the impact on my stress and emotional health, and my stress and emotions impact my use of food as fuel or as drug. I was thinking of it in reading the first part of the running book where he talks about running in groups and it being a group activity. Exercise is something I’ve done in relative seclusion. I do a lot of things in relative seclusion. On the Myers-Briggs scales I’m an introvert, and I’m fine with that, but I know it can, at times, get to a point of being unhealthy for me. I feel the need for community, but I’m not always sure how to meet that need.

It works, it really works

Today I made sure to read my reminders, and I kept on track with eating. I even stood up and moved around when I was reading reports (Remember NEAT). So my helpful tool for the day is definitely reading the reminders. If I do it in the morning, it feels like it sets my mind in the right frame for the day.

Breakfast was a funky monkey smoothie – banana with chocolate milk and yogurt with vanilla (yes – the chocolate sauce fits in within the Mayo

plan) and an egg, cheese and tomato sandwich.


Then for lunch, some leftover turkey “lasagne” and a salad with orange, broccoli and feta.

I went for my run right after work, doing 7 km today. I stopped ever 2.5 km to stretch and it makes a difference. But my legs still hate me. I noticed later that while my toes aren’t hurting anymore, the second toe on my left foot looks reddish/purplish under the nail.

After that I had more freezer leftovers – the salmon and sweet potato patties with lots of carrots and green beans.

For the heck of it I ordered  the Atkins Starter Kit (which I refuse to link to) because they were giving away free protein bars. I had half of one for dessert. It was not too bad.

As for what I continue to find challenging – today I don’t feel challenged. Things went right.

How to have your kid’s birthday without overdoing it.

I have no idea.