Canvas

OK, I’m going to stop going back and forth on this website issue as of right now!  Yes, I was upset and sad that I had “ruined” what I have here by letting my address get out by accident.  And yes I was as much as mourning the loss of a sounding board and support and comaraderie.  Yes, I thought about moving to a new address, of getting a pen and paper and going totally private, of going to subscription only on this site.  I thought about it all.  And then, thank heavens, my dear friend came back from holidays and said in no uncertain terms what I had been skirting around and waffling about.  I can’t let this website die from the teeny off-chance that I might be being read by people I had never intended on seeing this.  And yes, it would have been easier if I had just not been a careless twit…but I was and now I have to move on.

And where I’m moving to?  Right here.  I’m not running away.  I’m very good at that, you see; running away when things freak me out or get too intense or require too much from me.  These last years of my life I have spent a good lot of time running away from thoughts and from people and from situations that scared me or made me uncomfortable.  And what did I get for my trouble?  Not a hell of a lot, that’s for certain!  I ended up fat and alone and incredibly unhappy.  So to run away from a teeny possibility that makes me a little squeamish when I have so much to benefit from by staying?  No!  I have learned from my mistakes and I’ve learned from the last 7 months that I am stronger than the need to always be fleeing!  So I am going to stand my ground and live my life and write about it all in the same way that I have been doing all this time.  A very smart 15 year old said today that this website is my canvas to express my media.  My media has and will always be writing and I plan to keep doing it right here.  OK?  Good.

I really think that my lack of writing has made certain things get all bottled up and then they weigh me down.  Literally!  For 5 days straight I stayed at exactly the same weight which was 0.8 pounds above where I left off from last week’s weigh in.  Yes, I know that is almost an insignificant amount of weight and could probably be attributed to water or salt or some such thing.  I sometimes wonder though if the weight of thoughts and the heaviness of heart have any effect on the scale.  For me to weigh in for 5 days straight without budging an ounce is weird.  I’ve also been having the hardest time with my running training.  I know there are good days and bad days for running but I just could not make it happen and I started to get discouraged and frustrated and teary about the whole thing.  I wondered if I was just setting myself up for failure or if my goals were so lofty that I was crazy to think that I would ever be able to achieve them.  What I think it was, as weird and unscientific as it may be?  The lack of somewhere to vent plus the sadness of loss as soon as I opened up these pages made for a miserable, heart heavy week in which very little could go right because I was the catalyst driving it into the negative.  Does that make sense? 

Moving along.

I came to the realization today that it would be incredibly easy to become completely wrapped up in another person before you even knew what was going on.  For me anyway.  I’ve always said that I either like someone or I don’t.  There is no middle ground with me.  If I like you, I like you a lot, I care about you and what’s going on in your life, I want you to be happy and I’ll do anything I can to help you get there.  If I don’t like you, I could give a crap about any of that and my face will usually give that away.  That said, it can be hard for me to maintain a certain amount of reservation where boys are concerned because I tend toward the same type of behaviour in those situations as well.  I become invested pretty rapidly whether you’re a friend or a friend+ and it goes completely against my nature to behave in any other way.  I’ve noticed that I have been, in a way, lieing to myself about certain feelings so that I can keep from becoming overly emotionally involved right off the bat.  I got to wondering today if that was even an acceptable defense mechanism or if I need to acknowledge what the feelings are and then find another way to cope.  Is denying what you’re feeling the same as running away from a situation because you don’t want to/can’t deal with it?  I think it might be.  I do know that I have to be particularly careful about getting wrapped up in another person because it can blind me to the stuff that I need to be paying attention to where I am concerned.  It’s a distraction when you don’t want to deal with things and that’s not any better than using food as a distraction.  The obvious goal would be to intertwine with someone else rather than be completely eclipsed by them and that is something that I think I might always have to keep in my consciousness.

One of the things that I’ve spent the last few days trying to deny is how unfulfilling it would be to be single and alone for the rest of my life.  I’ve always said that I would rather be single forever than settle for someone who wasn’t solid gold (yes, I know everyone has their flaws…you know what I mean!).  In my adult life I have engineered the opposite sex right out of the picture.  By falling for unavailable/inappropriate men, by letting myself put on that protective layer of fat, by constantly running away from everything, I made it so that I wouldn’t feel the good parts: the affection, the contentment, the knowledge that someone out there in the world cares about you JUST because you happen to be who you are.  I felt the bad parts: the sadness, the rejection, the depression and the heartache.  And you know what?  It was easier to deal with the bad parts than it is going to be dealing with the first taste of the good parts.  Those good parts when they break, burst into a million tiny fragments; shards that are designed to hurt for a long time.   Avoiding the good parts altogether is avoiding the possibility of that torture altogether, the only problem being that you can only accomplish that in a couple of ways: constant running or some type of self protection.  I’m done running away and I’m done protecting myself like that.  I’m put back together from what may have been a more broken version of myself and I’m ready to deal with the good parts and the possibility that it might hurt. 

I’m not there yet, some stuff still scares me and some stuff still makes me uncomfortable.  I’m still not completely adjusted to this new body I have or to the new way in which people will look at me or touch me.  I’m still not totally onboard with being completely unprotected emotionally.  I still have a hard time trusting people.  I’ll get there.  I have some of the dearest friends a person could ask for to walk parts of this journey with me.  And I have this website.  I don’t presume to compare text on a webpage with the love and support of incredible friends, but if you look at it as the canvas that my very young friend said it was then it becomes something more.  It becomes my life’s story and I’m figuring it out and writing it one day at a time. 

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March Madness: Weigh In #4

I’m ever so sorry that I forgot to give you guys my March Madness update on Tuesday.  The goal of March Madness was to lose 8-10 pounds in the month of March (last weigh-in for me will be April 1) in whatever manner you choose, the only rule being that you have to do it safely and intelligently.  So far in this challenge I’ve lost 9 pounds leaving me with only 1 pound to lose this coming week to meet the outside parameter.  Not bad!  I really think that having an actual numbered goal to meet in a numbered period of time is a great idea because then you have something real to aim at. 

Now, moving on. 

Do you ever remember as a kid your mom saying to you, “No, you don’t need anything else to eat today.” when you were whining for a snack or a treat?  Do you remember if it was because you were bored or wanted comfort or attention?  I do know that this last week I’ve been whining for a snack or a treat in the worst way!  I’ve been working crazy long hours for the last 2 weeks and I think my snack needs are actually misread sleep needs.  Plus it’s Fourth Week right now which totally doesn’t help and it feels like FW has been dragging on forever! 

For the last two weeks, every morning I get up at a completely unreasonable hour, have breakfast over an hour and a half earlier than I normally do and then by 7am I’m starving.  What I’ve done is made my day about 2 hours longer but I’ve left my meals and snacks in the same places.  My brain thinks “It’s time to eat because normally we take our coffee break 3 hours after we have breakfast.”.  Unfortunately 3 hours after I have breakfast these days is still 2 hours before coffee time.  So I think even though my exercise has stayed the same I probably need to add in another small snack (and not just move calories around,sticking with my standard 1250) to avoid any ‘hanging on’ of calories.  I know long hours, routine change and added stressors can cause me to want to bury myself in food and not come out for awhile.  Purposely adding something else in to the day’s food will certainly help me stay content long enough to avoid that.

I think that this is all rubbing off on my exercise too.  The past couple of days I’ve had the worst time trying to convince myself to get out and run.  I’ve done it but I’ve been bitter and twisted about it.  And while I’m doing it I feel like I have a water buffalo tied to each leg, my breathing is very wheezy and the voice in my head that tells me I have to stop drowns out my iPod.  So is that from Fourth Week?  Or is it harder to exercise when you are mentally tired and when you’ve changed up your routine.    Not to be completely stupid, but I really don’t know since I’m pretty much making this up as I go along.  I’ve added an extra couple of hours to my day in the morning but I’m going to bed at a pretty reasonable time and I’m getting around 8 hours of sleep (sometimes a titch more).  If you shift your total sleep time up by two hours, are you getting less rest?  Or is 8 hours the same no matter what time you go to bed or get up at?  Does this all have any effect on performance in exercise?   I hope these questions don’t make me sound completely stupid.  Since I’m pretty much making this up as I go along, I’m bound to run into these bumps in the road.  This particular bump is going to go on for the next 4-6 weeks at least so I’m going to have to find some way to navigate around it.  Maybe like any change it will get easier as time goes by…maybe this is just the adjustment phase.  I think the first step is definitely eating a little more to make up for those extra hours. 

Do you guys have any thoughts?  Anything that you’ve noticed?  Have you had a hard time getting weight off when you’ve changed your routine even though you haven’t changed your calorie intake or burnoff?  Have you gained weight during the adjustment?

Sweet!!

I received this on my desk this morning from the girl that I work with.  How sweet!

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It’s a Potato Kind of Day

It’s funny because this has come up 3 times in the last week, me and my weird potato affection.  You see, I don’t normally eat potatoes, in fact I have very little desire for them most of the time.  But if I’m sick I want them (remember THIS post?) and apparantly if I’m feeling a little off, they help there too.  Today is definitely an off day.

Arriving to work at 6:20am this morning I found that the building was unusually cold.  It turns out that the boiler broke at some point over the weekend and wasn’t to be repaired until sometime late this afternoon.  I am cold enough all the damn time that I do not need to work all day in freezing conditions, it does not make me happy.  If I’d known I could have dressed for the circumstance and been less miserable but sadly there tends not to be any Boiler Breakdown warning!  Also I pulled a little something in my back yesterday and I’m overall feeling very Fourth Week right now.  So I came home and am now sitting here waiting for the potatoes to roast. 

<<interupted for dinner and nightly run>>

Having gone out for this evening’s run I have a question.  At what point is listening to your body and taking an unscheduled rest day a good thing to do and at what point is it the first step down a slippery slope?  Walking down my street today to get to my running area, everything hurt.  My back was tight, my knee was twingy, my yoga pants were prickling me and I had an upset tummy.  Post run, everything still hurts but has the lovely addition of what feels like a pulled groin muscle but is likely not considering that I don’t have the first clue how I would have done that!  All whining aside, I did manage to chalk up another point for my fitness simply by over-riding the voice that wanted me to come home and go to bed!  At the end I wanted to be done so badly that I sprinted the last 500 yards as fast as I could.  I guess that’s one bright spot because I never would have done that on a regular day!  I do notice that everything is getting easier and more efficient, from breathing to motion control to mental chatter.  Even the hill repeats are getting easier and I was pretty sure those were going to kill me when I started doing them!  I suppose that’s another good thing that came out of tonight’s run because I realized that even when I feel like sh*t I can still get a reasonable workout in without expiring on the side of the road.  It might not be pretty but I’m doing it!  So I guess I answered my own question: if you have to think about whether or not you should take a rest day off schedule, the answer is probably “No!  Don’t be soft, get out there and run!”

Blue

So this morning I went for my Sunday run.  This being the long run that I am starting to do once a week (the term ‘long’ of course being completely relative to what I do normally) to train for the 10k in July.  Anyway, off I went in the rain and the cold, jogging along until I could jog no more.  Teeny tiny problem with where I go is that I have no idea how far it is which is actually a giant problem for me mentally.  So in a fit of frustration I decided that I am changing the driving factor in my exercise routine.  I am definitely going to do the 10k in July and I am still going to run every day (except my rest days, relax!) and I’m still going to do the Sunday long run and increase it incrementally as the weeks go by.  But my motivation has changed.  I’m now going to run until I reach the point where I am no longer comfortable and then I’m going to push past that a little and then stop.  Maybe it will take longer this way and maybe that’s not how athletes do it.  But I am not an athlete.  I’m a former overweight smoker who happens to have lost 70 pounds and quit smoking.  Nowhere in that description is there any requirement that all of a sudden I have the ability to do crazy amounts of exercise.  Plus, not knowing exactly how far I’ve gone is really frustrating for me.  I’ve done everything else by tracking and watching numbers and this fuzzy distance-measuring nonsense is driving me nuts!  It doesn’t work with the previous motivation to run 10k in July without stopping however it does work with the theory that I’ve just described so that’s where I’m going to stay for now.  Continuous improvement is nothing to sneeze at even if I can’t tell the exact distance that I’m able to go.

While I was running around Mud Bay this morning I was suffering a little mentally. This whole website address thing has me pretty upset.  Not so much who might be reading it because I’ve never said anything on here that wasn’t honest.  When you maintain that level of honesty you really have nothing to worry about aside from people who might not normally have known stuff will now know the personal stuff.  What bugs me more is that I now feel like I have a filter on.  I feel like now I won’t be able to write quite like I did before, with nothing held back.  I guess I’ll have to wait and see how it turns out.  This little corner of the internet that I’ve made my own has been such a huge factor in what’s gone on in the last 7 months and it makes me so sad to think that I might have ruined that.

So Happy Chocolate Bunny Day (Sugar Free Chocolate Bunny Day at my house).  I’m going to spend the rest of it lazing about drinking copious amounts of coffee spiked with SF Caramel syrup to make myself feel better.

Unknown Readers

Remember back in THIS post where I mentioned that I am pretty particular about who I give my website address out to?  Remember how I said that a grand total of 7 people who know me in real life have the address?  Ummm….it could be significantly more people than that! 

As it turns out, I’m dumb and I’ve been tagging all my emails with my website address for…well….I’m not sure how long it’s been there.  I’m not even completely sure who all has received an email with that tag on it since I don’t keep sent items.

When I figured that out this evening I just about had a heart attack!  It’s one of those things where you KNOW something isn’t quite right but you can’t put your finger on it so you just let it go.  Because as soon as I realized what I’d done I realized that I have seen that website address on every email I’ve sent in the last couple of months and it never even twigged that people would then be able to click the link and read every thought I’ve ever had.

So once again I am forced to put up a disclaimer.  It’s either disclaim or close the website.  Don’t worry about commenting that you love me and you don’t want me to go, that’s not why I put that up there.  The fact is that I was so overcome with angst about not knowing who all had the address that I was nauseated and came about 1 click away from deleting the whole thing!  So instead I choose to disclaim!

I hereby no longer have any control over who in my real life has this website address due to my own stupidity.  Because I refuse to write anything but the truth (otherwise what point would there be!) if you, Unknown Reader, choose to continue to read this website, please realize that you are likely to find out all sorts of things about me that otherwise you may not have known.  You, Unknown Reader, will have a very private piece of my world and I won’t even know it.  You are now, by default, in the circle of trust.  Please don’t screw it up!

Where Did You Go?

More to the point, where did I go!  I’m still here.  Specifically where I am right now is sitting on the sofa in my jammies watching The Ten Commandments (1956).  I LOVE this movie so I will be right here for the next 4 hours watching it.

In all the things that have changed in the last 7 months there has been one common thread that I have been aware of but haven’t really noticed, if that makes any sense.   That commonality is that things are successful and more easily achievable when you are ready.   I do believe that it is possible to do anything at anytime but in my experience if you aren’t ready mentally or emotionally or physically then it is far more difficult and uncomfortable and you have less likliehood of maintaining your achievment. 

I guess what I’m trying to say is that everything becomes clear given enough time and to force something outside of its natural timeline is simply putting undue pressure or stress on everyone involved.  Things tend to work themselves out if you are watchful for the small signs.  For example when I started to lose weight it was because there were several small signs over a short period of time that lit up what had always been a very dark path and I was able to make the decision to put my life back on course.  While the signs may have come in a short period of time I know that I was preparing for this for a good number of years before it happened.  Had I waited, or worse not noticed the signs, I do believe I would have missed the timing altogether and I shudder to think what would have happened.  But I did notice and I did slip through a small window of opportunity and I was absolutely ready to do all the work that came with it.  I’m not saying that because I happened to time it right that there was no effort or struggle involved, quite the opposite in fact.  

The same circumstance held true for quitting smoking and taking up running so if my theory is solid then shouldn’t it logically also hold true for dating?  I don’t believe that there is one person on the planet that we’re each destined to be with, I think that we can ultimately be happy with many different people (hopefully just one at a time though!).  What I mean by my theory holding true for dating is that for each relationship or each person there is going to be a natural timeline specific to that situation.  I think that a person has to be aware of what the timeline is and then just watch for signs and be ready to squeak through those windows of opportunity.  The opportunities to have certain conversations or take certain actions will naturally come up (or not, that’s a sign too), you just have to be paying attention to notice them and then act on them.  Not to say it might not be a little uncomfortable but it will be far less so than if you’re trying to jam something into an unnatural timeline.

So The Cleaning…

How many days have I been at this?  Cleaning every nook and cranny, tossing stuff I haven’t used or looked at, vacumming under furniture, polishing appliances.  And you know what it is?  It’s a crutch.  It’s a way to do something for distraction.  I have been craving a cigarette like CRAZY this evening because that is something that I used to use for distraction.  I’m already well entrenched in the eating plan so gnoshing isn’t even a consideration and now smoking isn’t either.  I’ve already done my run, made and cleaned up dinner, packed my lunch, picked out tomorrow’s clothes, remade my bed and started on my spare room.  And you know what I’m left with after all that is done?  My thoughts.  The stuff in my head that’s swirling around.  The serious stuff.

I’ve lived in a self-created bubble for the last 8 years.  I engineered my bubble to only have me in it, completely safe and unharmed.  And then one day I decided to pop the bubble and re-enter the real world with all of its hazards and scary bits.  (fortunately there are so many great things that counteract the scary bits)

I know that some of you are going to think that I am overthinking this particular situation and in a way I might be.  First of all I’m not used to doing nothing, to waiting to see how things are going to go.  I’m a do-er and a create-er and a manipulator (not in a bad way!).  I have always needed to try to control everything and make sure it’s all working out either exactly how I want it, or failing that, as unharmfully as possible.  This waiting to see?  Drives me! 

I got this on MSN from a friend of mine tonight: 

“but you need to decide what you want in life. And if it’s been awhile for you and dating you may have put things behind you because you didn’t think they were possible. If you think you want them then pull them out of the closet and have a damn good look at them!”

Well great!  Since you put it that way!  In the same conversation I also got this statement:

“a relationship with no future is not neccesarily a relationship with no value”

So which is it?  Have I had a tiny taste of what I’ve always wanted and now I’m going to have to make a decision and possibly send it away?  If what I want in life differs from what this person wants/is willing to give longterm is it alright to agree on that, know that there is an expiry date and then just let it go on as long as it can? 

There is quite a major stumbling block right from the get-go in this situation which makes all of these questions important in the early stages of this.  They don’t all need to be answered right this second but I’m supposed to have some clue as to what I want out of life by the time that they come up. 

I’m not good at this stuff.  And to be honest?  I don’t like it!  For now?  I’ve been trying to stay uninvested but I think that might be the wrong approach.  I am invested because I happen to like this person and it’s disrespectful to myself to keep denying that.  What I definitely do have to figure out pretty quickly is how far those feelings go.  Like I said before he is very nice to me and courteous and interested in me and sweet and it makes me feel content inside to think of myself as part of two people.  I just need to make sure that those feelings aren’t taking the place of or overpowering my feelings for the actual person.  I know that after a particularly dismal day today the one person I wished that I could see (and have a snuggle with…yes, I know, that’s very unusual for me!) was this person.  Unfortunately he’s on GY this week and that’s just not possible.  Would I still want that snuggle if it was possible, if he wasn’t on GY?  Or am I coveting something that I know is not available again?  Or, on the other hand, am I simply practicing for it to be OK in my head to want comfort from someone?  Then again, maybe it is simply just me wanting him and that’s all there is to it?

See?  I told you, this stuff gets me so twisted inside that I need distraction!

Comments are always welcome however please avoid any variation of        “just let it happen”        or        “you’ll know when it’s the right one”        or         “don’t overthink things”              because I find all those particularly patronizing.

March Madness: Weigh In #3

I had success this week, weight wise (I know, ONE day has passed since I said this was no longer a weight loss blog!) and the results page is updated.  I have only a range of 0.4 – 2.4 pounds to lose by April 1st and 2 weeks to do it.  I’m right on track!

I don’t have time to write anything much tonight.  I’m just waiting for the brussel sprouts to cook and then it’s dinner time. Following that I have an evening packed full of stuff since tonight is my rest night for exercise…HA!…there will be no actual resting!  I have to zip up to Costco, I’m making a cake for one of the boys at work…the one who brought me apple crisp last week, I’m getting started on cleaning my spare room up and the plan there is to be completely RUTHLESS!  I’ve been cleaning like crazy over the last couple of days.  Not that I don’t normally keep a pretty clean house, I do.  But it almost feels as though I’m cleaning out the last vestiges of the debris and detritus from ‘the old life’ so that I can move on in full into the new one.  I know, I manage to find symbolism in just about everything…it’s what keeps me learning and growing.  Anyway, I’ve been cleaning and while I’ve been cleaning I’ve been thinking and I have to say, things are coming up…well…cleaner!

Thanks to you guys who commented and told me that you’ll still be reading, I appreciate it!  I appreciate every single one of you! 

OK, the brussel sprouts are done now I have to run!

A Change

I knew when I started this website that it would have an end date, that if I were successful at what I was doing that it couldn’t go on forever.  Well, I’ve been successful!  More than I ever could have dreamt.  That means that this ‘weight loss’ website has served its purpose and is no longer neccessary.  I still definitely have food related issues and body image and weight issues but in the months that have passed I’ve sorted through most of them and what’s left are just small ongoing issues that need to be sorted regularly.   So what do I do? 

Writing is cathartic for me and without a doubt something that I will continue to do so I’m simply going to change my website.  I’m going to stop tagging as “Weight Watchers” and “Weight Loss” so if you were used to reading me in the Tag Surfer and still want to hear what I have to say, add me to your links.

What’s the website going to be about?  Ummm….ME!  It’s always really been about me but I’ve been hesitant to talk about things that aren’t weight related because that seemed unfair to people who came to read for inspiration or motivation in their own weight loss journey. 

I hope the reason that you guys have kept coming back is my honesty and openness in discussing issues.  I hope it’s because I try to get to the what and the why in order to sort things out.  That said, if you were coming here for strictly weight loss discussion I’m afraid you are going to be disappointed and I truly don’t mind if you don’t come back regularly.

I believe that my success in my weight loss has had to do with my complete honesty with myself and what I’m thinking or feeling.  Those thoughts and feelings come out on these pages and then I don’t have to keep them rolling about in my head.  That’s the idea behind where these pages are going now…the problem is that there are several people that I know in real life who read this website.  So here is fair warning:  IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW ALL THE PERSONAL DETAILS ABOUT ME, STOP READING! 

OK?  Right. 

So now onto the topic of the day.  As I mentioned the other day, on Saturday I was invited out by a guy (that I’m interested in) to visit with a couple of friends of his and watch the hockey game.  I may not have mentioned how content that made me.  How nice it was to be the other half of a couple (not that we’re A Couple, just that there were two of us…let’s not rush it!).  How nice it was to have someone that I’m attracted to want to spend time with me.  When I explain who this person is to people, the first thing that I say is how nice he is to me.  That may not be as important to everyone as it is to me.  He is nice to me, courteous, gentle and respectful.  That is such a HUGE deal to me!  In this last year I’ve seen what love looks like and I’ve also seen what I’ve been doing to myself.  I made the decision that I deserved love and respect and kindness and that nothing else was good enough or worth my time.  While he and I have only been out a couple of times and I have NO preconceived notions of where that’s going to go or how long it’s going to last or what it’s going to turn into, I wanted to explain why it’s such a big deal to me that he’s nice to me.  Because I was right!  I do deserve that and if I take care of me then other people notice that I live out that belief.  And they are more likely to live it out as well.  Does that make sense?

Something else that I noticed that I’m sure has more to do with how I am these days than anything else is how easy it was to just relax and be there.  I wasn’t worrying about how I looked or worrying about making him think I was funny or smart.  I wasn’t worried the entire time what he might’ve been thinking.  I was just able to be there, watch the hockey game (and cheer!), eat chinese food and chat and laugh.  I’ve always, ALWAYS been the one who arranged or invited or cajoled or bribed the other person to spend time with me.  And now?  Although it was originally at my request that he got my phone number, he’s the one who asked me out, he’s the one who made the plans, he’s the one who made sure that I was comfortable the whole time.  That’s very unusual for me and I have to say, I liked it.  I’m not usually so much with someone else doing the ‘taking care’ of (not taking care of me neccessarily but of the plans, of the driving etc.) but for some reason I was totally alright with it. 

Now, as content as it made me, on the other hand made me really nervous.  I know I’ve said time and time again on this website that I have trust issues.  Mostly, I don’t trust people and it takes quite a long time and a lot of bravery on my part to give them a little piece of me and see what they’ll do with it.  Now add to that that I have affection/intimacy issues and I turn into a real prize!  No, really.  I feel dumb sometimes because other people seem to be able to do this stuff just fine and it makes me really nervous.   I do realize that I engineered my life a certain way after some very unfortunate circumstances many years ago.  I designed my life so that the only person in it was me and that was the way I was comfortable with things.  There came a point though when I finally recovered and banished most of my demons and decided that what I’d created was no longer enough.  It wasn’t good enough or fun enough of happy enough.  So I started making changes.  First to myself and my respect for me and my love for me and how I take care of me.  And once that started being successful I was able to start looking outside my self-created world to see what else was out there.  What I discovered is that once I started caring about me, other people started taking notice.  To be honest that alarmed me and still does a little bit.  It’s odd, but by making myself fat and unattractive I was trying to make myself invisible so that I didn’t have to deal with the things that bothered me or disturbed me or made me uncomfortable.  Now?  Just about everything I do makes me a little uncomfortable but the reward at the end is SO WORTH IT!!!! 

So back to the dating thing.  This person is so respectful and courteous and, again, is so nice to me that I do not believe I am going to have any problem when I explain to him that whatever road we end up travelling down we’re going to be going down it slowly.  There is no other option.  While I am now used to being slightly uncomfortable with some of the stuff that I have been doing, I have no intention of being uneasy or rushed or obligated.  It’s just not worth the struggle to come back from.  Again, not that I believe for one moment that I’m going to have any difficulty with this person, just that I have to enforce my groundrules and that means enforcing them with myself as well.  A large part of my previous dating experience caused the issues that I have now with trust and vulnerability and intimacy and affection.  I am finally, FINALLY able to work around and past that and I am not willing to let it get away from me again.  So the next time we go out (this coming weekend) I’m going to have to broach the subject somehow.  It’s going to need to be short and sweet and to the point.  I’m not sure yet exactly what I’m going to say.  I’m none so good with the talking but I’m going to have to do it because otherwise my nervousness is going to ruin something that hasn’t even had the chance to get off the ground yet.

So, that was the first post in the NON-weightloss blog that is Ask Lady Shanny.  I’ll leave all the features up as well as the Journey in Pictures and the Results page for the foreseeable future.  Since I’m not actually done with the fat losing yet I’ll still be using them and I’ll still update on Tuesday evenings.  I have no interest in turning this into a weight-maintenance blog, I think that would get really dull.  I have so many more things to work on and work through and this is the place that I’m going to do it.  I would love it if you stayed around for the next leg of this journey but if you aren’t interested I completely understand!

Master Bombardier

I happen to be very fortunate to know some really smart people.  One of these really smart people is someone you’re about to meet.  His name is Evann and he is an active member of the Canadian military.  Additionally he runs a fitness program in Kitsilano (unfortunately too far away for me to actually attend).  You can go and see his website at http://www.corporalpunishment.ca (that’s actually him on the front page) and if you happen to live or work near there, GO SIGN UP for the workout of your life.  He’s probably the fittest person that I have ever met and so I thought I would pick his brain a little.  I asked him whether or not he happened to have any suggestions for me for training to run the 10k in July without stopping.  The incredible wealth of information that I received back from him was so impressive that I had to repost it here (with his permission, of course).  The repost here of the emails are as they were received but I’ve removed some of the irrelevant chatter (all on my part) so that you can get right to the useful information (all on his part!).  The first part is more about run training and then it moves on to talking about caloric needs as it relates to weight loss.  The whole thing is pretty long but I think it’s well worth the read if you’re trying to lose weight while getting or increasing physical fitness.

Shanny Says:  Anyway, I’ve started doing Fartlek training and hill repeats as well as increasing my running distance.  Since 6 months ago I weighed 70 pounds more and only last month I was still a pack a day smoker, I think I’m doing pretty well.  I know that most people would probably go further or run faster or do it for longer but I figure that I’ll just gradually build up my endurance and stamina.  Since this is supposed to be a lifelong commitment there is really no time limit on how long it takes….except that I really would like to run the 10k on July 20th without stopping.  Any suggestions?

Evann Says:  I think its amazing the way you have been able to motivate yourself to stay fit – if everyone was like you though, we wouldn’t need people like me!  But it’s that kind of determination I like to see in people.  Plus you have someone to encourage you and that’s a prime motivating factor for all of us.

Okay, here are several suggestions:

1.  You mention running 10k “without stopping”   Do you stop now?  How far can you make it before you feel you need to stop?  If you’re always stopping, then you are always going to need to stop. Erase that need by slowing down near the end of your workout but keep moving forward even at a snail’s pace.

2. Run intervals along telephone poles.  Similar to fartlek, this will help you learn a tempo and force your body to deal with increased HR and energy output.  Run along the roads and alternate sprinting and running between telephone poles.

3.  Long Slow distance runs or LSD will increase your endurance. Run really slow and do your best to meet the 10k or more mark.  Do this twice a week at a casual pace, something you can still talk/sing during. Everyone always runs this too fast – its REALLY slow so always asses yourself as you go along.  Make your footfalls very ‘light’ and soundless.

4. No more than once a week, do a speed run.  You should be running hard and fast for a good long distance.  It’s okay to run hard for 1k, walk 500m and then run hard for 1k again.

If 10k is your goal, you need to be running 12k or more during your training so that race day seems easy.  IF you know the route of the run you want to do, go run it now and get used to the area so there are no surprises on race day.  Lastly, make sure you are eating enough.  Now that you are outputting more energy, you need to increase your caloric intake.  If you are running and working out 3 or more times a week or a total of 4-5hrs a week, you should be eating upwards of 2600calories a day.  You will need the energy to keep up with the expenditure and allow your body to build muscle.  You also have to eat after your workout to balance out the calorie-deficit you just created. So eat more than you did before you started running, not less.  

Shanny Says:  As far as the calories…I have issues with this…ask Kathleen, she knows!  I still have around 15 pounds to lose so I’m still on a bit of a restricted calorie intake and there is no WAY that I would increase by more than double.  I so wish that there was some way of knowing exactly how many calories a person burns.  I know that there are websites that estimate the totals but those are a little vague.  I would love to know the exact number that I burn.  I don’t do well with approximating because as a formerly fat (quite!) person I am now always erring on the side of caution.

Evann Says:  I understand about the calorie thing – all women have this issue, but trust me when I say that you WILL burn more by taking in more.  If you’ve gone from a sedentary lifestyle to one of activity, your  Mean-Caloric-Need has changed to reflect your activities.    Basically, our bodies like to stay in a certain range so before when you ate and did nothing your body responded by stating “this is the norm for me” and it remained in a certain state.  When you add more activity and don’t add more calories it states ” I need to hang on to my calories to keep in the norm” and the body therefore will not burn calories because it is unsure when the next intake will arrive.  If you are to eat a little more the body states ” I can expel fat/calories and use it as energy because I know more will be coming to replace it” 

It’s an odd thing but its how the body works.  Getting women and even some men to understand this relationship is the hardest part of fitness.

I eat a fairly high-fat diet – and I cant KEEP the weight on.  Nothing gets stored, it’s used as fuel and burns up before the day is even over. I’m actually anorexic by definition! When you start working out you can eat more, eat fattier, eat more carb-loaded meals, ingest more sugar all because of the increased activity you are doing.  But it seems so contradictory doesn’t it?

One more contradiction, or oddity:  You burn zero calories when working out.  ZERO.  NONE.  Contrary to what we think we know, what cardio machines tell us, not a single calorie is burnt while doing an exercise.  Our body burns only while at rest. So you may run 4km but you aren’t loosing any fat until later that night when you sit down to watch tv – that’s when the body says “okay time to let go of this stuff..”  and that is why its so important to consume calories because if you do not, then the body won’t release anything. The machine that tells you “you’ve burned 400calories”  should actually say “you’ve expended the equivalent energy that is found in 400calories of nutrition, please insert 400calories of food to loose weight now”      lol…  Because what you’ve done is create a calorie deficit which needs to be immediately replaced (creating that norm we talked about) so that the body doesn’t frighten and allows itself to convert its fat stores into energy.

It’s very hard to explain over email.. drawings are actually better. I hope it makes some sense to you.

Number 3:  Muscle weighs more than fat but if we increase our muscle mass, we reduce our fat even though we may gain a pound or two(of muscle) in the process.  Don’t think about your goals as being weight/fat indicated.  True muscle weighs twice as much but it also burns twice as much just by nature of its existence.  Since we know our body only burns at rest, would you rather have 12lbs of muscle to do the work for you or 2lbs of muscle and 10lbs of fat?  Sitting around breathing burns fat! So why not help out the body by increasing its ability to do so?   

Serious runners need to put on muscle to assist with their locomotion and to burn fat stores.  If you were to ask a tri-athlete to take off his shirt you would see more muscle on a skinny dude than you could imagine. ALL RUNNERS should do some form of weight training to gain muscle mass as this will assist with burning your fat stores.  Have you hit a wall with your weight loss?  Get in the gym or train at home… you’ll now burn more fat and lose more weight.

Shanny Says:  I do understand the idea behind eating to burn…I like to think about it like a car (do tell me if this is totally off base since I use this example on my website a lot!) where if you drive the exact number of km every day then you could probably figure out exactly how much fuel to put in to get you there and back.  But then if you decide to drive an extra 50k you are going to need to put in more fuel to get there.  I get that.  My problem is with determining exactly how much to add back because I have a really hard time determining how much I actually burned off.  There’s a bit of paranoia about eating more too.  My nature, once I become committed to something, is to become somewhat militant about it and I do not waver from my plan.  Since a person cannot live like that forever (I completely agree with that) you can get yourself to the point of burnout and then the whole thing goes for a shit.  Same with exercise, I think.  Even when I really don’t want to do it or I’m exhausted, if it’s not one of my preplanned rest days (Tuesday or Saturday) I go do it.  It’s not pretty but it gets done.  So it’s hard to then train yourself that it’s OK to add more calories or take an extra day off…because where does it end?

I’m still losing about 2 pounds a week which is not too bad.  Pretty soon I’m going to be done losing though and I’m going to have to figure out exactly what I need to eat to maintain.  I think that will actually be easier for adding back calories for exercise because you can keep increasing until the scale starts rising and then cut back a bit.  That’s the hope, anyway.

Evann Says:  While you are out there running around, there is nothing stopping you from throwing in a few pushups, sit-ups along the way.  Every bench you see should be an opportunity to do an exercise.

I suppose the car analogy works..  especially if you use it to eat breakfast, which no one ever seems to do.  Imagine the car being empty every morning but you have to go 4km – where are you getting the fuel from?  Would you rather burn fumes or actual fuel?  Put in some breakfast before your morning workout people!

It’s not that important to determine how much you burned off.  That’s a tactic on the part of the fitness industry to get you to think in that manner, become obsessed and then fail so that you need to buy another product or diet scheme. It’s really ok to ingest more than you burned – it won’t turn into fat, I promise.  Lets use some arbitrary numbers to illustrate this:

You ran 5km, creating a  500calorie deficit

You ate 650 calories worth of food, replacing the deficit and then some.

Your body now has 150 cal worth of energy left bouncing around in the tank so where does it go first for life functions such as breathing, digesting, and resting?  It goes for the available 150 in the tank.

-OR-

You ran 5 km, creating a 500 cal deficit

then you only ate 450cal worth of food meaning you never replaced the deficit, nor do you have any energy left in the tank.

Does the body look to it’s fat stores?  Nope, its too afraid to dip into these because you never replaced the deficit.

It holds onto fat in this case and it reduces the function of it’s breathing, resting, digestion and muscle growth because you left it with no fuel.

The second example leaves you with less energy in the day, reduced brain function, reduced muscle growth/repair, reduced digestion, no fuel for fighting illness, and on and on and on.

In the first example, lets say you ingested an extra 400cal – what happens?  Your functioning improves, more muscle growth occurs, more energy is left for brain function, etc.  In other words, the body WILL find a way to use that energy.   Oh, and it takes energy to burn fat so where do you think that energy is supposed to come from?

2 lbs a week is pretty good, more fuel means faster weight loss  😉  

Think of a coal-fired stove that burns hotter the more you add to it – that’s your metabolism and fat burning ability.

So that’s the end of the emails at this point.  Evann certainly knows his stuff and instead of me espousing what I THINK is probably happening this is some great and accurate information about what actually DOES happen.

What do you guys think?  I’ll make sure that any comments get to him.

Pork Balls From Heaven!

I left a comment on p4pretention’s site just a minute ago and thought I would expound on those thoughts here.

We’re in the middle of March Madness right now so I had my whole weekend all planned out.  I had my snacks and my activities all laid out with the intent of staying RIGHT ON COURSE all this weekend.  Ha!  The best laid plans.

I woke up this morning at my regular time to have breakfast and then trot on back to bed for a little nap.  Problem!  The power went out at 6:30 this morning and didn’t come back on.  So my quick errands that I needed to run were delayed while waiting for power to be restored.  So I went back to bed which meant that coffee time and lunch time were delayed.  which meant that my water drinking fell behind (yes, I am THAT scheduled!).  Anyway, I zipped up to the mall to buy a new pair of work pants that fit (success!) and then came home.  At this point the plan was still salvageable.  And then?

I got a last minute phone call from a boy asking me if I wanted to go for dinner at his friend’s house with him.  He was going because they have an upcoming trip that they needed to finalize and he wanted me to come with him.  Ummm…sure!  Since I had no real plans to speak of I couldn’t think of any reason not to go. Plus, I quite like him and I liked the thought of spending some time with him.  (I’ll deal with the lack of notice thing at some other point…Shanny does not do spontaneous!)   So the plan?  Completely thrown to the wind!

Dinner ended up being chinese food (oh my God, so good!) and there was some pre-dinner, hockey watching beverages to be had.   (by the way, it turns out that chinese food and beer makes me crave a cigarette….)

When I got home this evening I sat down and did a bit of thinking.  I realized as I was sitting there eating, that with the exception of the boy (who, I sometimes wonder if he’s noticed), the couple whose house we were at don’t know that not so long ago I was 70 pounds heavier.  To them I’m just a normal sized person.  And that’s odd to me because this has been such a huge thing going on over the last few months.  It also makes it slightly more difficult when someone tries to serve you seconds and you refuse because they don’t understand why not and so they tend to think you’re being demure or polite.  They don’t know that to stay a normal weighted person that I run every night, that I weigh and measure everything that I eat, that I get on the scale every morning.  They don’t know the emotional and mental struggle that I’ve gone through to become a normal weighted person.  To them I just am. 

And now I get the weekend indulgence thing.  It’s not so much that I have to throw my entire plan out the window on Friday night, just that I can veer a little off course on the weekend without having to chalk the whole thing up as a failure.  Would I have said no to this date for the fear of having to eat off my self-prescribed plan?  No way!  Will I make it a habit to eat chinese food and drink beer every Saturday night?  Not so much!  Will I relax my restrictions occassionally so that I can actually live the life I have been working so hard to build?  Absolutely!

I’ll be back at some point in the not so distant future to talk about this boy thing.  I have some concerns/issues with the whole dating thing that I need to somehow get worked out.  I have wanted to write about it here for quite some time but I don’t quite know where to start or how to do that since some of the stuff is incredibly personal and makes me cringe to even think about writing it down (vulnerability and looking stupid and all that).

I should say that this particular boy is very nice to me, courteous, gentlemanly and sweet.  He has a good laugh, laughs at my silliness and clearly wants to spend time with me.  This is all so very different than what I’ve engineered in the past.  I’m also pretty fortunate that this particular boy had/has some reservations about us dating and so things have started out very slow and that’s just fine by me!  So far I’ve done pretty good about putting things into context and not getting overly invested.  While that might not seem like a big deal to some people it’s very much like swimming upstream for me!

Go, Run, Be Free!

There are not many times that I come across something on the internet that I believe 100% (except maybe some of the stuff that I write some of the time).  So when Comrade GoGo linked to THIS article I clicked through like a good blog-buddy expecting to gloss over a few paragraphs on someone else’s opinion. I couldn’t have been more wrong!

GO READ THIS ARTICLE!!!!!!

This guy explains in a way that I have not been able to, how what you’re thinking can directly affect how much weight you’re losing.  It explains why when a milestone pound drop or goal number is coming up that it takes 3 times as long as it normally does.  It explains why sometimes I have had to actually tell myself to ‘settle down, it’ll happen’ when I’m starting to get stressed over the weight loss.

GO READ THIS ARTICLE!!!!!!

It is quite long but well worth the read right to the end. 

I would not normally send traffic away from my own website with such vigor, so if you`re wondering why I`m so bent on this one it`s because it has played out to be completely true in my experience of losing weight and trying to get fit.

Stuff It!

I’m a little tired.  OK, I’m a lot tired!  Actually, I haven’t felt this whole body kind of tired since I started both Weight Watchers and walking to work.  That is why I presume that this spacey exhausted feeling is just my body adjusting to the new exercise routine.   Since the 8k this past Sunday I’ve been very diligent about getting out and getting my running training in.  My goal is to run a 10k in July without stopping and since that’s not a lot of time and my cardio is a lot of terrible, I started to do Fartlek training.  Go see p4p for a good explanation of what that is.

Part of what is making me tired is that there is a lot of stuff swirling around in my head right now from work stuff to a couple of instances of boy stuff to exercise stuff to body/weight stuff to personal stuff.  It’s a lot to focus on at any one time and it makes me want to just close my eyes and go to sleep…for a week!    Stop with the STUFF already!

I just about erased this post right now because it sounded particularly whiny but then I thought “this is my website and I am getting slightly “whelmed” with stuff and if I want to write about it I can!” (not OVERwhelmed…not yet…just….um….whelmed…)

One of the great things that I realized this afternoon when I got home was that I even though I want to just go straight to bed, the foundation of exercise is ultimately going to help me through life when it gets hard.  It’s a distraction for me because I can only think about what I’m doing.  It’s a constant from day to day and it’s also something that I get to do all by myself.  I know that I live by myself but at some point that is going to change and what the running gives me is guaranteed Shanny-time. 

I’ve seen it happen before where someone is completely dedicated to their health or fitness goals because they have nothing else going on.  And as soon as they get in a relationship or move in with someone or become otherwise distracted those goals become secondary and the focus becomes blurry and eventually just fizzles out.  I actually think it might be MORE important to continue on with your routine as a foundation to who you are as a person.  I know that I’m getting a little ahead of myself since I am quite a ways away from that sort of distraction but it’s something that I have to plan for.  The way I am and the way that I don’t neccessarily trust myself makes it neccessary for me to work things out in my head first.  That can sometimes cause little things to become far larger than they need to be but the value in the preplanning outweighs the occassions when I lose perspective on things. 

What do I mean by all this?  I mean that even though I am butt-dragging tired today I still ate properly and I am still going to go for my run.  Tired or stressed out is not an excuse for me to let everything slide.  No, it’s actually a reason to keep things as routine and regular as they are when I feel fantastic.  Maybe by doing something that usually makes me feel great I can trick myself into believing that I am not tired and a teeny bit stressed.  It’s worth a shot.  Plus, I have it together enough this evening to go and do my Fartlek while it’s still light outside which is like a little gift, just for me!  I’ll take it!

TiLT: Things I Love Thursdays #2


blueberries.jpg  Blueberries.  Specifically blueberries that have been heated up in the microwave for about 35-40 seconds (on high) so they are nice and warm.  Such a sweet and cozy morning snack!  I should point out that I am currently doing this with blueberries that have been frozen and then thawed.  I’m not exactly sure what would happen if you microwaved fresh blueberries.  Blue explosion perhaps?

woods.gif  Since this particular coffee shop is in the states, I can’t say that I’m loving it daily.  But I AM loving the travel mug that I bought from there.  It’s stainless and pink enamel and I love it!

facebook.gif  I haven’t always been a huge fan of this site but in the past couple of weeks I’ve definitely been checking it more.  I do love updating my status because it’s like a little exercise in condensed creativity every day.

sweet-pea-lotion.jpg  I love all the Bath & Body Works lotions but this is my scent of the moment.  It’s light and fragrant and reminds me of standing in a garden early on a summer morning when the sun is already warm on your skin but the dirt is still cool under your feet. 

joefresh.gif  This is a brand that you may have seen advertised on television.  It’s available in Canada at Real Canadian Superstore.  Why do I love it? You can buy really good quality work-out wear for very little money.  I know, it’s not the same as the expensive stuff, I understand that, you get what you pay for.  But if you are new to exercise or your body is changing and you are having to get new yoga pants every month then you might want to consider Joe Fresh!  The crap that they are showing on their website does NOT do this brand justice!

Feel free to participate on your own site or, failing that, in the comments here.

Serves Me Right (but in a good way!)

So ya, the eating disorder thing.  Definitely go and read the comments in the previous post.  The ones from Princess Darcy are hilarious (that’s my twinny) and JanB had a great thought too.  I expounded on my thoughts as they relate to hers and also there is someone in the comments asking for advice.

So wouldn’t you know it, the day that I am accused of having an eating disorder and starving myself, one of the foreman showed up to work with a generous serving of his homemade apple crisp for me.  I don’t actually remember asking for a taste, probably because I never for one second thought he would bring any.  But he did…this morning.  Once I realized that he wasn’t kidding I got kind of nervous (kind of?  how about a little panicky!).  This offer of apple crisp came directly on the heels of a conversation with my dear friend about how occassionally I’m going to have to start treating myself and not call it a failure.  One of my new things to work on is definitely going to be how to indulge a bit but still have the next meal or the next day right on target.  So, golden opportunity, right?  You bet!  Aside from a certain person who kept saying he wanted to WATCH me eat it (ya, cause that won’t make me more nervous!), it was actually the perfect opportunity to indulge a little, completely unplanned, and then get right back on track.  So I did.  And it was incredible!  Buttery and sugary and crispy and DELICIOUS!!!!!  I actually realized while I was eating it that I haven’t had anything with the real butter and the real sugar in a very long time.  Even my occassional indulgences are within a certain guideline (eg. sugar free hedgehog = 3pts) and I mark them down in the food journal.  How do you mark something like this down?  There is no way…and I’m actually alright with that.  I didn’t think I would be but I guess it’s one of those things you have to actually DO to see what’s going to happen.  Today was a weird day!

Today is also weigh-in day!  Did you forget?  I didn’t.  I moved weigh-in time to the morning and marked down my loss this morning.  Since I was already doing a post this morning I thought I would wait until this evening to give you the update.  It’s a good bloody thing that I did, too!  Apparantly my subtraction skills are not all that they could be at 5:05am!  The difference between last week’s weight (185) and this week’s weight (182.8) is…wait for it….NOT 1.2 pounds.  It’s actually 2.2 pounds.  And in a way?  I almost feel like I was supposed to think that I had a below normal (for ME) loss this week so that I could do the indulging thing even though I figured that I should have lost more.  Ya know what I mean?  It was almost as though the extra pound off was a little reward for stepping into new territory this morning.  That theory probably sounds questionable but I’m sticking with it. 

So for March Madness I am down a total of 4.8 pounds with only a range of 3.2 – 5.2 left to go and 3 weeks to do it in.  Totally do-able!  How is March Madness going for the rest of you?

Clueless Comment!

Wow!  When I woke up this morning and checked my comments as I do every morning I was none so happy to find this one on yesterday’s post: 

“Without sounding like I have some kind of eating disorder, I need to see what that looks like. I need to see what that feels like. I need to get there. I may not stay there but I do need to get there.”

If you need to say “Without sounding like I have some kind of eating disorder,” that should make you pause. Think about what your friend said about you not needing to lose weight and think about the fact that you are literally starving yourself to fit a mold that your body very likely just doesn’t want to fit. Do you really want to let yourself and your life be controlled by a fleeting cultural idea of what’s beautiful (not to mention one that’s perpetuated by multitudes of people trying to sell that idea)?

Regarding how many calories you’re limiting yourself to: There was a famous experiment on starvation and refeeding during WWII, and the study subjects back then were given 1800 calories a day. That was considered starvation level. (For more info: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minnesota_Starvation_Experiment) Losing weight is not going to make you happier, trust me.

And speaking of that, you may also want to check out this piece: <link removed>

Take care of yourself, okay?

I have to respond to it because, well because I’m beyond annoyed!

First of all, Commentor, I would hazard a guess that you haven’t been around this website very long.  A couple of parts of your comment indicate that you haven’t actually read what I write.

Like, for instance THIS post where I pretty much say flat out that I realize losing weight won’t change my life (which includes making me happy).

Or THIS post where I went to my doctor to discuss my caloric intake and exercise and what is a reasonable body weight for me to get to.

Let me make myself really, REALLY clear.  I am not ‘starving myself to fit a mold’.  It is not unreasonable to eat 1250 calories/day and I am perfectly happy there.  I’m not uncomfortable, my hair and my skin are fine, I’m not losing weight at a ridiculous rate, I’m not hungry all the time and I don’t think about food constantly.  I’m sure that you’ll say that people can talk themselves in or out of anything but rest assured, I self assess regularly (which you would know if you read my website) to make sure that I am living the healthiest life I can.   I consult a registered nutritionist on a somewhat regular basis as well as have the green light from my doctor.

As far as your saying that ‘my body very likely just doesn’t want to fit’ into the number that I’m aiming for?  Well, I guess all I can say to that is that time will tell.  As you have never seen me naked you wouldn’t have a clue how much fat I’m still carrying around or where it is.  I will say that my current weight is above where the Canadian health guidelines say it should be by about 15 pounds.  I realize that those charts should be taken with a grain of salt because they don’t take into consideration what type of build you have.  Trust me, I am not carrying tonnes of muscle around and I’m pretty average as far as bone structure goes.  So yes, I can still afford to lose some weight.

Also if you had been reading you would know that I fully admit that I have a screwed up perception of myself, that I will never be fully pleased with what I see in the mirror and that I probably won’t notice if I go too far.  As I’ve said in several posts, I have a couple of dear friends in real life who are willing to be brutally honest with me and part of that honesty will be telling me if I’ve gone too far.

And last, your question ‘Do you really want to let yourself and your life be controlled by a fleeting cultural idea of what is beautiful?”.  Answer?  I will absolutely and without hesitation allow myself and my life to be controlled by health and wellbeing and how I feel every day.  If that happens to fall in line with the cultural idea that thin is beautiful then I’ll go with it.  To continue to speak only for myself, there is a REASON that my body has dropped 65+ pounds when I started to eat healthy foods and exercise regularly.  It is absolutely expected that if doing that causes weight loss then I had the weight to lose.  And if continuing to do that causes greater weight loss then I had the weight to lose. 

In future I would suggest that you not make assumptions based on an off the cuff comment in one post.  

As an aside, please note that in your original comment as well as the repost here, I have removed the link you left.  That woman is part of (or possibly completely responsible for) the Fat Acceptance movement which I feel is a load of malarky and I will not be responsible for sending anyone to her site.  I absolutely do NOT accept my fat.  It’s the byproduct of unhealth in both body and mind and it has to go! 

A Secret No Longer!

Every time I do two posts in one day, it seems that people miss the first one because they don’t scroll down….SCROLL DOWN!!!!

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I can’t stand it!  I am TOO PROUD of what I did yesterday to not mention it here.  I kept it a bit of a secret because I wanted to be completely responsible for my own decisions regarding this endeavour.  My sister knew about it (cause she did it with me) and a couple of people I know in real life knew about it, but for the most part?  It was a secret.  Well no more!

My sister and I ran the Harry Rosen Spring Run-Off 8k!!!!!!  Do you have ANY idea how big of a deal that is?  Huge.  HUGE!!!!!!!  Consider that 6 months ago I was 65 pounds heavier and a pack a day (pretty much) smoker.  And yesterday I ran the majority of 8 kilometers!  So ya, I’m pretty proud of myself!

I won’t give you a moment by moment break down because that will be very dull for you.  But I did get a couple of text messages during the run and there are some pictures for you.  The messages I’m putting on here because, once again, the support and encouragement that I receive is astounding to me.  Really, I’m flabbergasted!  And because I am the way I am, I must share them with you!

Shortly before the start ~ Friend A:  Enjoy your run and remember, whether first or last, you’re a winner for being there at all.  You’ve come a long way baby  (this message was so unexpected and sweet that it brought tears to my eyes!)

About 15 minutes in ~ Friend B:  Don’t be SOFT!!  (this may seem like not very nice encouragement but coming from him it’s exactly the kind that works for me and flips the switch in my head when I’m in the process of talking myself out of things.  SOFT is BAD!)

Exactly 30 minutes later ~ SHANNY to Friend B:  Six done…send motivation please  (this was the 6km mark and I thought I was going to expire!)

Friend B’s response:  Suck it up and run!   (and the immediate thought in my head?  “Yup, that works!”.  And so I sucked up the whining and I ran!)

So what comes next in my running career?  At this point 4km is about the furthest I can run non-stop without feeling too much discomfort.  So here’s the exercise plan (because there is a goal in mind):

Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday: 1km jog followed by interval training (fartlek) or hill repeats

Sunday:  4km run (I’ll do it during the day, relax!)

Tuesday, Saturday:  rest days

I have it on good authority that if I stick with the one big run day and then add a kilometer every 3 weeks that I should be in pretty good shape to run a 10k with little or no stopping round about the middle of summer.  The interval and hill repeats are suggestions from a running clinic and should help improve my cardio.  The main reason that I had to keep stopping yesterday was that my breathing became wheezy and unless I was willing to do a header into the ocean, stopping was the only reasonable alternative.  I tend to recover fairly quickly though and had no real problems starting up again.  So I’m guessing that the fact that I’ve only been quit from smoking for 25 days may have had something to do with that.  Plus, I’d only been doing the jogging for about that same period of time (a little less) so it’s no bloody wonder.  Again, I think I did pretty well all things considered!

OK, so now you get pictures.  Since wordpress was kind enough to increase our free webpage storage, the pictures are going right on here.

1.The Beginning

Here we are first thing that morning around 9am.  Race started at 10 so we stood around and FROZE for an hour!

2. Beginning Both5. Start Line That’s the start line…maybe this isn’t so scary!

3. Both Start Line Still too nervous to goof around though!

 

 

 

 

 

6. The End

Race over!  Makeup all sweated off…but happy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Rosen Run Results And finally?  The results.  Chiptime is the actual amount of time it took from crossing the start line to crossing the finish line.  Guntime is how much time had elapsed from the starting pistol until you cross the finish line.  So if it takes you 15 minutes to even get to the start line then that 15 minutes is added to your time.  Apparantly that’s the way that it’s official.  Seems weird!

I Changed My Mind UPDATED

Remember how, since the beginning, I’ve been saying that I would let my body stop losing weight where it was happy?  Ya, I’ve changed my mind!  Tomorrow is weigh in and since I weigh every day I can tell you that if there is any movement on the scale it’s going to be very small.  Which doesn’t seem quite fair given the extraordinary amount of exercise I’ve gotten over the last few days. 

The problem is that I do not think there are many more adjustments I can make to Ye Olde Eating Planne.  I’ve pretty much come to where I’m happy and content but not over fed.  As mentioned a couple of posts ago there are certain things that I don’t mark down (such as anything less than a cup of berries or my tablespoon of flax seed each morning) where I believe that there are enough health benefits that they outweigh the caloric content of the food.  Just my opinion.  I stick pretty closely to 1250 calories/day.  The only thing I could probably be doing is adding food for exercise….yes, we’re back to that.  I know, it feels like I’ve written about this a hundred times and I’m certain you guys are getting sick of reading about it.  The problem is, how do I know if I actually AM eating enough and the scale just naturally has slowed down versus I am NOT eating enough and Body is hanging onto every little bit?  How does one know?  Without some experimentation it is very difficult to figure that out.  The problem with experimentation is that it takes a few weeks for the adjustments to show up and if I make the wrong call then I could have set myself back.  What ends up happening is that I stick with exactly what I’m doing now and then lament this again in a couple of weeks.  Brilliant!

I also think that a large part of the apparant slow down is due to the overwhelming DESIRE to be a certain weight by a certain date.  Once March Madness is over I’m going to have to reassess and see what is reasonable and then make a new goal because the mental stress of thinking about this all the time slows it down…it’s happened a couple of times already during this adventure.  I have a pretty major out of the country shopping trip planned for the first weekend in May and I really would like to be as close to my finished size as possible by then so as not to buy a bunch of clothes that aren’t going to fit for a while.  I think a more constructive thought process is to remember that I am already pretty close to what the end result will be, that May 2 is still over a month and a half away and that things can always be taken in if neccessary.  Yes, that’s what I need to be telling myself.  Because things have definitely slowed down! 

I was talking to a friend of mine this afternoon about whether or not there is ever going to come a point when it’s not just fat that I see in the mirror.  I mentioned that I was still wanting to lose another 20 pounds (trust me, it’s there to lose!) and he didn’t think that was neccessary.  Maybe it’s not neccessary but it is definitely where I want to go.  Without sounding like I have some kind of eating disorder, I need to see what that looks like.  I need to see what that feels like.  I need to get there.  I may not stay there but I do need to get there.  I’m going to do that via my continued healthy eating and increased exercise.  It may take a long time but I AM GOING TO GET THERE! 

UPDATE:  It appears that perhaps Ye Olde Portione Sizes are getting a little on the large side.  Since I eat the same stuff over and over I tended to stop measuring as much.  My eyes tend to measure things in more excess than my measuring cups and scale!  How did I not notice that????

March Madness: Success

My co-hort in this month long challenge did a post today that outlined exactly what it takes to make her successful (successful defined as a lower number on the scale each week).  And then she suggested that I do the same.  So here it goes.

I am most successful when I: track my food.  There are some things that I don’t write down anymore but for the most part writing it down helps me to stay fully on course.

I am most successful when I:  remember how far I’ve come.  It can become very microscopic day after day and it’s easy to forget that it isn’t just one day that makes for success.  While each day is important, it’s the overall effort that matters.

I am most successful when I:  pay attention and reassess on a regular basis.  What might have worked for me a month ago may not work anymore.  I am pretty vigilant about assessing my routines and habits to make sure that they are still working for me.

I am most successful when I:  throw a bit of challenge into the mix.  If I get bored or I find that it’s getting too easy I don’t FEEL as successful.  The feeling I get by challenging myself a little (eg. cutting out dairy, quitting smoking, pushing the exercise) is almost as important as seeing that number on the scale go down.

I am most successful when I:  am in complete control.  When there are no food surprises I am definitely the happiest.  Being required to eat out or having to eat off my self-prescribed program makes me nervous and uncomfortable.  That’s something that I will soon start working on. 

I am most successful when I:  talk about the whole process with people who understand.  That can be anything from blog posts, comments to other people’s posts, reading other posts, reading my own website and mostly, talking to a couple of very dear friends.

I am most successful when I:  pull it together and make a plan.  That one is a bit of a misnomer since I always have a plan.  I have not missed making a work lunch in 27 weeks and I’ve only forgotten that lunch at home ONCE (and then I drove alllll the way back home to get it so I didn’t have to eat off the plan).  I have not ordered out, ordered in or driven through in 27 weeks. 

I am most successful when I:  keep an eye on the negative self-talk.  I try to stay pretty concious of what is going on in my head and put a stop to it as soon as I notice.

Obviously all of those things don’t always come together at the same time.  But to get a couple of them going at the same time is a must for me to see consistent losses on the scale.  I’ll be interested to see what happens when the weight stops coming off when I’m done because I will have to find a new way to define my success.

Anyway, if you’re on board with March Madness, feel free to do this post on your own website.  And for the couple of you who do not have websites?  Feel free to do it in the comments right here.  The more the merrier!

March Madness

Remember when I was talking about the fact that I set myself a goal of losing 8-10 pounds by the end of March?  Well someone jumped on board with me and now we’re having a mini-challenge.  Not a challenge in the competetive sense of the word it’s just a time-driven goal.

p4pretention is the one who is in on it with me and she introduced our challenge on her blog today so I thought I’d better introduce it here too.

Anyone who wants to do it with us is more than welcome, announce your wagon-hopping in the comments.  We are all going to have the same goal (lose 8-10 pounds by the end of March) and we all have to follow the same ONE rule:  do whatever you want to do to lose those pounds in a healthy and intelligent manner.

That’s it, hop on board with us if you like. 

*growls*

Take this bitchy little post with a grain of salt…I was happy and loving things about an hour ago…scroll down, you’ll see!

First of all, it is MARCH!  And allergies?  Already?  Are you f*cking KIDDING ME???  My eyes are so itchy I would like to pluck them out and put them in the freezer, just to relieve the agony for a minute!

Second of all, the last two days have not been good exercise days for Lady Shanny!  Not to say that I didn’t do it, I did!  But it felt like I was dragging a piano loaded with bricks along behind me!  Why are some days sooooo hard?  I know it’s not easy, but come ON!  I’m trying here!  I am trying and I am being outright betrayed by my body!  It just won’t go.  So tonight I came up about 50 yards short of my regular ‘you can stop running now’ point, I just couldn’t go another step.  And after a couple of minutes of walking and catching my breath I started to feel like a big failure.  And the drill sergeant in my head was yelling at me telling me to go back around (my route is circular) and do it again until I got it right!  Obviously if I come up short the first time around, I’m not going to be any more successful forcing myself to do it a second time.  I feel totally failure-esque for not just pushing through for the last 50 yards….but at the time?  There was no way I could draw another gaspy breath or take another stride!  What is UP with that??

And finally?  Boys!  The boys you DON’T want calling you won’t leave you alone and the boys that you DO want to hear from are completely silent.

*growl*

TiLT: Things I Love Thursday #1

I stole this from Tarable, who stole it from Comrade GoGo, who stole it from Gala Darling at iCiNG.  The idea is to do what amounts to a weekly love list outlining things that you love or are obsessed with at the moment.  So without further ado:

tbspa.jpg True Blue Spa “Take Your Sweet Time” body polish.  It smells like almonds and cherry and has the most incredible texture that makes you want to stay in the shower and polish your skin for hours!  It makes your skin soft and bright and the scent of the product, while incredibly sweet and YUM, doesn’t last after you get out of the shower so you needn’t worry about conflicting fragrances.  Check out the Bath and Body Works site for more info.

powerflax.jpg Red Square Bakery “POWERflax”.  It’s almost a perfect food.  I should mention that I only received this today but I already love it!  A friend dropped it off today and I sprinkled some on my chili tonight.  Adds a bit of crunch, does nothing to the flavour but does LOTS for your body.  All good fat, LOTS of fibre and the carbs and protein are very balanced. Check out all their products at www.rsquare.com

jogging.jpg  Jogging.  OK, that is NOT me in the photo although one day perhaps I will look that good from the back.  Since this is a TiLT list (the “L” referring to love, not loathe) I should be honest and say that I mostly love it.  I love it when it’s over, for sure.  I like it while I’m doing it most days and I certainly am loving the results.  It’s something I never ever believed that I would be able or willing to do but something that I’ve always wished I could do, especially when I was at my heaviest weight and most unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle.  So yes, jogging goes on the love list!

nano.jpg  iPod Nano.  Alright, I had to add this.  I had to add it because it goes hand in hand with the item right above it.  I absolutely would NOT do the jogging if I had to do it without my little nano.  Would not!  If you have an mp3 player and are apathetic about it, you leave it at home regularly, you let the battery die by accident or you forget to add new music to it then you don’t know what you’re missing.  Get the real deal.  Get an iPod and you will never, NEVER go back!

OK, that’s it for my TiLT list this week.  I’ll remember to mark things down as I think of them for next week.  I know that this is a fluff post and not the sort of thing you usually see here but I enjoyed doing it and sometimes it’s nice to switch things up a little.  Go TiLT on your own blog and leave us the link in the comments!

First Solo Week = SUCCESS

UPDATE:  I just came across this post on a website that I read and it brought tears to my eyes.  For every woman who has ever pined for an unavailable guy, who has ever hoped for too long and sacrificed for too little in return.  For every woman who hasn’t figured it out yet and for those of us who have all too recently figured it out.  Read THIS!!!!!!!!! 

Results page is updated.  Was I a little worried about my first solo week?  Umm…ya!  It’s always a little worriesome when you take something that has worked really well, ditch it altogether and still expect to get the same results. 

I’ve been pretty good with the scale, I don’t let it make me feel bad or control me.  I do get on it every morning and mark down the measurement in teeny tiny print in my daily log book.  I don’t use it for anything I just find the daily fluctuation interesting.  This evening’s weigh-in is the only one that makes it onto this site and it’s truly the measure of my success.  I realize that daily fluctuation is totally normal and it’s a good bloody thing that I realize that.  I weighed yesterday morning at 182 pounds and by this morning, my first day of ‘that time’ I was up 3 pounds.  Now, obviously I did not EAT 3 pounds worth of extra calories, nor did I become so sedentary in ONE DAY that I managed to not burn off the extra 10,000 calories it would take to actually put on 3 pounds in fat. 

What did happen was what probably happens every month.  In fact I find it incredibly interesting that while I knew that the monthly increase would happen, I had NO IDEA that it would happen inside of 24 hours.  That’s crazy!

So, since I am determined to not let the lack of WW get to me, I am setting little goals for myself as we go.  You may remember from last Tuesday’s post that I set the goal of losing 8-10 pounds by the end of March.  Well, subtracting what I lost tonight, I have only 5.4 – 8.4 pounds to lose to reach that goal.  Completely do-able!

A couple of little updates before I go.  Krystle, I have your prize package done, I just have to get a box made up for it…and since that’s what we DO at my place of employment, I will get that done this week sometime.  GoGo, yours is a little more difficult.  I didn’t realize that I could not load a Starbucks card with AMERICAN money here in CANADA.  So I’m going to have to figure out exactly how to do that…but it is coming.

Second, there is supposed to be a very big day coming up on Sunday but the nice people have not cashed my cheque yet and they need to do that before I can participate in Big Day.  Unfortunately I can’t find the number of anyone to call to find out. Big Day is on, confirmation email was received!

That’s about it for this evening.  I spent the last two hours of my work day in a meeting with my supervisor and while the meeting went very well, that kind of thing can be very draining.  I have a lot on my mind lately and I’m just working on making sure I stay as level and unemotional as I can.  Incidentally, someone commented today that I seem far more ‘serene’ (their word, not mine) and relaxed than I ever have before and they wanted to know why I thought that was.  I will definitely give that one some more thought at some point in the near future but for now I would just like to go to bed and sleep a dreamless sleep!

Oh…one more thing.  My mom, my sister and I are going on a shopping weekend to Seattle at the beginning of May.  I can’t freaking WAIT!!!!!  But since that’s so far away and a person needs something to look forward to, I have the following: 

March 9th ~ Big Exercise Day

March 30th ~ Date to go to Canucks game

April 5th ~ Hair appointment (color, baby!!)

There are other assorted little things that I’m looking forward to along the way but those are the big ones.

Night-night!

Ask Yourself The Question

At various points in life a person has to decide if the risk outweighs the reward or if the pleasure outweighs the pain.   

Exercise for instance.  For me, it is not something that feels particularly lovely while I’m doing it.  The fact is though, the pleasure I get in wearing smaller clothes, in feeling better and looking better far, FAR outweighs any discomfort that I may have while I’m doing it.  And let me tell you, some days are VERY discomfortable (yes, I know that’s not a word!)!  So the question is:  “Am I willing to only achieve a portion of my potential, just so I don’t feel any pain?”

How about smoking?  Does the irritation of craving a cigarette outweigh the reward you get for not smoking?  Does that temporary itchy feeling need to be scratched so badly that you put yourself back to square one?  You know that the feeling passes and you get back to normal.  You know that the itchies get fewer, farther between and less intense.  And yet in the moment it’s as though you will never feel normal again.  So the question is:  “Am I willing to experience temporary discomfort for permanent gain?”

How about weight loss and calorie control?  Does the desire for a piece of cheesecake mean more to you than the desire to drop extra weight?  Does the way your clothes fit make you happier than eating half a pizza?  One provides instant gratification and the other takes longer to realize, is harder work and possibly more uncomfortable, depending on your original reasons for wanting that pizza.  So the question is:   “Does the instant satisfaction of running wild have more value to me than the longer term satisfaction of achievment, control and discipline?”

How about your job?  Does the risk of laying your cards out on the table outweigh the reward of getting what you’ve wanted all along?  On the one hand you’re opening yourself up to be trampled on and to have your world shaken up.  On the other hand you are moving toward what you want and that is always respectable, no matter what the outcome.  So the question is:  “Does the pleasure of safety outweigh the pain of monotony?”

In all of the examples above, the same series of questions could have been used:   “Am I happy where I am or do I want more?  To get more, do I have to do more?  If doing more is uncomfortable or risky, am I willing to endure it for the end result?  Does the pleasure of my success outweigh any pain it took to get there?” 

A Letter to my Body

This is an idea that Tarable passed along to me in a comment.  The idea originally came from BlogHer.  Click the BlogHer link for details.   


Dear Body,

6 months ago I would have started this letter by attacking you for the way you looked and the way you felt. I would have asked you why you felt like you had to torture me so much of the time. I would have told you to get it together and I would have blamed you for all my problems and all my failures. I wouldn’t have taken any responsibility for what I’d done to you or what I’d let Mind do to you. The fault would have landed squarely on your shoulders.

The thing is? I realize now that it was never your fault. The ongoing conflict between you and Mind created a lot of the dissonance that brought about the negative feelings and appearance. Mind has never been nice to you, I realize that now. I realize that I should have stepped in far more often when Mind was picking on you and making you feel so terrible. I realize I let Mind convince me to do things that were just disastrous for you. Every time I let Mind get the upper hand, you felt like I didn’t care about you and that just compounded the situation.

At times when it was necessary for me to protect myself you were willing to take the short end of the stick and do what needed to be done to make sure that I felt safe. Even though we both know that the concept was illogical and not well thought out, you didn’t complain about the situation even though I know that the extra weight you were forced to carry was hurting you terribly.

Regardless of all the pain and fat and illness that I have inflicted on you, when I decided that it was time to start making some changes, you responded with gratitude and the commitment of a winner. It seemed that you were so happy about what was going on that you were willing to make the changes I wanted at a really rapid rate. It’s obvious that you’re still holding on to some resentment about past events but we’ll work through that together. You’re starting to get really good at piping up and explaining what you need and Mind is getting much better at relaying those messages promptly and in a positive manner. You and Mind are finally finding a way to work together for the common purpose and for that I am eternally grateful!

Sometimes when I look at you now I am amazed at how beautiful you are and I feel sick about what I did to you. There are still parts of you that definitely need some extra time and attention to recover from so many years of mistreatment, but overall you are lovely. Your eyes are big and bright and blue, you have amazingly soft skin, you are proportioned nicely and a lovely feminine shape is starting to appear. I’ve realized that what I need to do is help you to be the best that you can be without trying to compare you to anyone else or cram you into a mould.

So Body, given that we are now getting to common ground, we should set out guidelines so that we can refer back to them if we ever start to stray from each other.

THINGS WE WILL ALWAYS HAVE TO AGREE ON

1. We have to exercise. You need the exercise so that you can lose the extra pounds you’re still hanging on to and to maintain your size when all the excess weight is gone. I need the exercise because it makes me feel good to know that I’m doing what is best for you. I promise that on the days when Mind is trying to talk us out of it that I will intervene, if you promise that on those days when you’re just not feeling it that you’ll try a little harder so we can be successful together.

2. We can’t eat garbage. You have certain needs that are fulfilled by healthy, whole foods with little or no processing. You, I’m sure, would be the first to admit that when I give you too much food or not the right kind that you don’t feel well and you don’t really appreciate that. I’ll admit, sometimes Mind can be really persuasive and occasionally it gets the better of me. As you’ve seen, I try really hard to stay in control for both our benefits but I apologize in advance for the instances that get away from me. Most of the time I think I do a pretty good job for us.

3. I know that you don’t like being looked at and you are very uncomfortable with most people getting too close or touching you. We need to work through that though because not everyone is out to hurt you and always having to be aware of who’s around and how close they are is stressful and wears on your nerves. In order to help you out, I will make note of the situation and the people involved and I’ll let you know if you need to get worried. If you can try to trust me, I will do everything in my power to not let anything bad happen to you again. I know that trusting me is the last thing that you probably want to do given past events but we have to move on so you’re going to have to try. OK?

4. I will keep practicing listening to you but you have to understand that sometimes what you think is terrible is, in actuality, not that bad. We cannot keep dropping everything as soon as you feel a little under the weather or uncomfortable. That’s not the way life works and you’re going to have to buck up a little and learn to deal with it. I promise to always make time to let you relax and recover from the stresses of life, but you have to stop shutting down every time things don’t go your way. That is not OK. The more times you cry wolf, the weaker and less in control we look and that is not good for either of us. We’re stronger than that so let’s pull it together!

THINGS WE WILL PROBABLY ALWAYS DISAGREE ON

1. That you are small enough. I know that you’ll tell me when you’ve gotten as small as you’re willing to get. You have to understand that I don’t think I will ever be completely happy with that. It’s human nature to always want what you don’t have and I’m no different. I do promise not to be mean to you about it though, we’ll just agree to disagree and still work together to be the best we can be and to maintain our overall health.

2. That you are pretty enough. I do what I can to make you look as nice as possible (although it has come to my attention that I need to work on that). I know that how you look is how you will always look (give or take) and I accept that. I will never be rude or mean to you about what you look like but you have to understand that, again, I will never be completely happy with it either.

I think that’s about it, Body. We’ve had some rough times over the years but I really feel that through our hard work and committment, we are turning the corner and things should be much better from here on in.  As long as we keep communicating with each other and striving to do only things that are in both of our best interest, we should be just fine!