When the Hurricane Heat almost broke me….

After I did my first Spartan race, the 2014 Edmonton Sprint, over a year ago, I made the goal that I would get my trifecta in 2015.

For those unaware, a trifecta is when you do the Sprint (5+km), Super (12+km), and the Beast (21+km) all in one calendar year. With each medal you also get a pie piece, and the 3 different pie pieces fit together to make one trifecta medal. You can also do multiple trifectas in the same year and then get cooler, larger medals as well.

pie pieces

pie pieces2

Neat, right?

I couldn't find a X3 one, but you get the idea.

I couldn’t find a X3 one, but you get the idea.

In order to make my goal as cheap to obtain as possible, it involved compressing as many races into one weekend as possible. Since the only Super in Western Canada was in Red Deer, and the only Beast in Western Canada is in Sun Peaks, I was then forced to do my Sprint in either weekend as well….I chose Red Deer since I figured that I would be pretty sore after the Beast. (Completing my trifecta outside of Western Canada is not an option).

Spartan also offers a 3-4 hour Hurricane Heat, held on the Friday night before a race weekend, where everyone operates as a large group to finish the Sprint-length course also as a group. You receive a special dog tag with the Warrior Ethos on one side, and a HH shirt.

About a month ago, I had emailed Spartan to see if there was a HH for Red Deer and was told that there was not one for that weekend or Sun Peaks -.- Of course, the only locations that I was attending did not have a HH! I wanted the dog tag so bad!

Imagine my surprise when about a week before the race, it was announced that there was in fact going to be a HH for Red Deer! I quickly signed up….I knew that it would be tough to do 3 races in one weekend, but I have no idea if I’ll be able to do any Spartans at all next year (racing is a ridiculously expensive hobby and my recent change in life circumstances means a  huge shift in my finances…) so I figured I might as well do it…..I was going to be in town anyway, so why not! (That was the same attitude that signed me up for my first Spartan as well!)

Then I was sent this ridiculous mandatory gear list and I wondered what I had gotten myself into….

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Thursday night came around and I realized that I had COMPLETELY forgotten about the essay due to being distracted by making sure I had everything else I needed. So there I was at 3 am on Friday morning, trying to write an essay on my phone, thinking that I would swing by the condo tomorrow to print it off. As I was writing it, I stopped making sense and I couldn’t process what I was reading anymore, so I decided to call it a night and in the morning I would proofread and email it to myself so that I could print it off.

The next morning I quickly threw it through a word counter and it was only 275 words!! Noooo!

So instead I decided that I would get my friend/carpool-mate Brittni to drive the first leg to Edmonton so that I could finish it off while we were on the road, and I would either send it to Cheryl, the Mudd Queen that I was picking up in Edmonton, for her to print off for me, or worst case scenerio I would email it to myself and make use of the “Business Centre” at our hotel, which I hoped would have a printer. Cheryl ended up being able to print it off for me, thankfully.

Brittni and I got to Edmonton super late, and ended up getting there right at rush hour so it took me an HOUR to get from one end of the city (where I dropped Brittni off) to the other to pick up Cheryl. We were running horrendously behind schedule. The HH started at 6PM on the DOT, and we didn’t even leave Edmonton until after 4!!

We had to make an emergency stop in Ponoka for gas because with all of the stress and worry of a) making it across the city to where Cheryl was and b) being so far behind schedule, I had completely forgotten to get gas in Edmonton! While we were filling up, I got changed in the back of the van and Cheryl quickly used the bathroom at the gas station as her changing room as well.

It was a great thing that Cheryl was able to print my essay off for me, because we pulled into the race grounds parking lot at 5:45PM! We didn’t have time to check-in at the hotel first!

“Before” – group photo

It was a long and difficult 3 hours. As expected, I was the slowest of the group. Us turtles were supposed to lead the group (as we were only to go as fast as the slowest person), and it started that way but switched halfway through for some reason as the faster people started going to the front and I pulled up the rear.

At one point we were ziptied to a partner, I was the odd man out of the group (sigh) so I was attached to our leader John of JohnnyB Fitt Fitness Centre in Fort Saskatchewan (check it out if you’re in the Edmonton area!). For obvious reasons this was a little humiliating….it’s happened before in school where I’ve been picked last and forced to go with the teacher for whatever, or had to be a third in a group of two. Plus being the slowest person and him being arguably the strongest/most in shape of the group, we were an uneven team, particularly when we had to navigate a bit of trails. I had to hyperfocus on where my feet were going so that I didn’t twist my left ankle (and as a result have to sit out the rest of the weekend), and being attached to someone who is fast AND the leader of the group made that incredibly difficult and more than slightly embarrassing.

Then we had to get up and over the 8ft wall while still being attached to our partner. John and I were demoing and it went about as well as you may expect, I straddled the wall wrong and hurt my vagina ( :/ ). Then when he went up, instead of sitting up on the top and jumping down together, he went down, and snapped the ziptie on my wrist. Thankfully I was holding on tight enough that he didn’t also pull me off the wall.

During the Hobie Hop (a rubber band worn around your ankles, you have to hop around a little mini course), the band rubbed on my bare skin and was quite painful. I was already feeling pretty low at that point and the pain of thick rubber on already broken skin broke me a little.

I was so frustrated with myself and how out of shape I am (relatively speaking) that I started hyperventilating and almost cried, I had to walk it off and be far back from the group for a bit so that I could get myself together. This in and of itself made me annoyed….why am I about to cry here? Why am I so weak? Ugh. I managed to hold it together, but jesus. There was no way in hell that I would let anyone see me cry, especially in that environment. I am supposed to be a strong Spartan, a Canadian Mudd Queen, a warrior! Warriors don’t cry!

People kept asking me if I was okay. I really hate that, it happens when I’m walking in road races as well….yes I am totally fine, I am just fat and out of shape, thank you! To be fair, I was also not putting 1000% in, only because I didn’t want to wreck myself when I still had 2 more races to do that weekend!

A little while after that we had to build a raft out of our hockey sticks and zip ties…. that also went about as well as expected and immediately sunk as soon as John got on it, lol.

We had to swim across the water, and let me tell you….I don’t have any fears or issues with water, but having to swim in cold water in the dark while wearing actual clothing (I feel like wearing actual an actual bathing suit may have made that seem less intense, no idea why) made me have a minor panic attack where I couldn’t remember how to swim besides treading water. One girl was afraid of water and was freaking out getting into it, but she was a strong swimmer once she actually got in. It was interesting to see.

After around 3 hours, John checked to see if we had written our essays on “Why I Race”. There was a whole family that were doing the HH, and for some reason they all had the exact same essays! Not going to lie, I judged! Maybe I’m just a keener but that bothered me immensely. I never would have thought to copy someone else’s essay, everyone’s motivations and life experiences are so different, there’s no way that the dad runs for the same reason that his 16 year old son does!

John asked who would like to read their essay aloud. I, of course, did a little jump in the air while shooting my hand up and saying “me! me!” uh….yeah. Is it a surprise that I was a total teacher’s pet and I am the first to volunteer to be on stage for things (in the context of being at a bar or a performance or whatever where they ask people to complete tasks on stage, etc)? John chose me and two other people.

The teenage boy of the family, who apparently was the original author of the essay that his entire family used, read first. After he was done, John had Jaime (a fellow Mudd Queen) and I rock, paper, scissors to see who would read theirs’ as the first one had taken so long. I unfortunately lost, but was visibly disappointed enough and someone from the group said something like “oh but she really wanted to read hers!”, that John ultimately let me read mine as well.

(You can read the essay here)

Afterwards we ran as a group and jumped over the waiting fire, which was a very welcome sight at that point!

And we were done!

And we were done!

And the Hurricane Heat was done. It was beyond challenging, stressful, and humiliating at times, but overall it was also incredibly rewarding and something I definitely don’t regret doing.

A few of the Mudd Queens came up and asked me when I was running Sun Peaks (8:30!) and when I said that I was running alone, they offered to run it with me 🙂 so yay! I found people to run with! lol!

A beer, a group photo, and some chatting later, I was beyond ready to go check in at the hotel, get a hot shower, some food in my stomach, and then get some sleep for the 13+k Super I had to run the next day.

🙂

So proud. So hungry.

So proud. So hungry.

“Why I Race”

For the Hurricane Heat, we had to write a 500 word essay on “Why I Race”. I volunteered to read mine aloud.

This was my essay:

“My son Noah suffered a severe brain injury at birth. When he was 4 days old we found out that he was essentially “brain dead”. On Christmas Eve 2010, at 5 days old, we took him off life support and prepared to say goodbye.

He ended up pulling through and we took him home 5 days later.

He is now 4.5 years old, has severe cerebral palsy, and is wheelchair-bound and non-verbal.

After Noah was born I suffered from PPD and PTSD. I gained back all of the weight that I had lost from giving birth, plus 20 more pounds. I was a total of 60lbs over my pre-pregnancy weight by Noah’s second birthday. I was severely depressed and actively planning my suicide when I finally got the help that I needed. In 2013 I got a hold of my mental health and grew to accept myself and my body.

In January 2014 I weighed 250lbs. I decided that I was finally ready to do something about it, and Noah was my inspiration and motivation. He will never be able to walk, run, or do anything that a typical child would be able to do. I already have to be his voice… I have to be his arms and legs too. He is only going to get bigger and heavier, so I needed to get smaller and stronger.

I found Crossfit and that ignited a fire in me that led me to signing up for my first Spartan on a complete whim… the 2014 Edmonton Sprint. By all accounts I didn’t do very well, but I did something for ME, and the sense of accomplishment I felt jumping over that fire led me to setting a goal of doing 25 races by the time I turn 25.

Finding a love for fitness and racing has allowed me to deal with my depression in a positive and healthy way.

Throughout the last year and a half I’ve learned that I need to be “selfish” and do things that don’t revolve around being a mom. Noah helps me push harder when I want to give up, and he gives me the strength and purpose to even be alive today. When I struggle I think about seeing my baby in the NICU and all of the emotional pain I went through when we were told we would lose him. I know that I’ve already been through the absolute worst and most painful experience that I could go through…. Any physical pain is nothing in comparison. Noah has taught me to be thankful for the fact that I have a fully functioning body and mind.

The biggest reason why I race is because I deserve to treat myself and my health as the number one priority. I race for the sense of pride I have in myself when I cross that finish line, knowing that I can push my body to limits that I never thought possible.

‘It’s a shame for a woman to grow old without ever seeing the strength and beauty of which her body is capable’

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My essay ended up getting shared via Allison Tai’s blog here, and the Spartan Canada blog here. That was pretty neat.

Changes

The last couple of weeks have been full of change and weirdness.

Caleb and I are separated.

I moved back to my parents’ house.

Noah is living with Caleb.

I got a job. It’s going alright, there’s quite the learning curve, especially considering that I have not had a real job in almost 5 years.

I am still in town every day taking care of Noah, which is sort of awkward. It’s like I am still living at the house and eating the food like normal (I don’t have to buy my own food yet), but none of my stuff is there and I don’t sleep there at night. The drive to my parents’ house is also an adjustment, it’s pretty brutal having to drive out of town in the middle of the night when you’re exhausted.

I wish we could have a cleaner break, but Noah makes that impossible, unfortunately.

I had to step down as web coordinator for the Run/Walk Club….with everything going on I’ve been severely neglecting it and I needed to walk away for the time being.

I’m also dating, which has been mostly successful. Even though I don’t have a lot of actual dating experience, I feel like I know more now what I’m actually looking for. But I am primarily just having fun and meeting new people.

I am mostly happy. The living situation is a huge adjustment, but I think it will work out…or maybe I will just get used to it. It’s a strange juxtaposition, feeling like a stranger in my own house, and also feeling like I never left. Seeing “our” bed no longer being “our” bed is hard. Trying to adjust my vocabulary to reflect the house being “Caleb’s house” or “the house” vs “my home” is almost heartbreaking, and it’s worse when Caleb either says it wrong or says it right, really. Him saying “…when you’re at my house tomorrow” last week made me cry (he didn’t say it to intentionally make me upset). Then it’s a whole other emotion when he refers to it as ours still….I can’t even describe it. It’s mostly melancholy, I guess.

I’m not sad about the separation, I’m sad about losing my home and also not seeing Noah go to sleep at night. I was comfortable. I had my house, and sat on my couch with my TV with my Netflix that I watched almost every night. Now nothing besides my personal belongings are mine. I am essentially a drifter, having to take a huge suitcase and/or an overnight bag and my “hobo pillow” (as I call it) to town every day, depending on what I am doing that day.

Change is hard.

The next few months will be really interesting, I think. I am hoping to move back into town for November 1st (moving in with my sister if it all goes to plan), in the meantime I need to sort out my work hours and try to figure out how to get as close as full time hours as possible so that I can even afford to live. I also am not really sure how to navigate us towards actually getting a divorce. The process seems very complicated. But I’m sure we will figure it out eventually.

Onward and upward.

10847928_10156020083875434_2708233565610939978_nPS: I am writing this in a Starbucks right now and the super depressing mellow music is not helping my mood very much.

PPS: SPARTAN NEXT WEEKEND (yes I am still going)!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My Weight Is A Mindfuck

As I get older, I have started giving less and less fucks about what people think about my body. I’ll change outside of the stalls and only cover enough that I don’t flash people. I can be naked in front of people and just be like….what’s up, this is my body, and not care if they may be judging my saggy boobs or stretch-marked stomach that also happens to carry all of my extra weight.

I went camping this weekend. I wore a bikini in public. I honestly don’t even think I wore a bikini as a kid (a tankini for sure though), and my mombod self was wearing one on the beach and also walking back to our campsite, giving zero fucks even though I was getting some side eye. I felt GOOD about myself. I forgot to shave my legs and honestly didn’t care that much.

I drank a lot of Twisted lemonade this weekend.

I drank a lot of Twisted lemonade this weekend.

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Wearing a bikini in public, drinking in public (breaking the rules), giving zero fucks.

I didn’t really think too much about my diet. I didn’t go too crazy until the last day, and that was only because I drove my friend back to Edmonton and I have to constantly eat to keep myself awake on longer road trips -.-

I got home last night. I weighed myself this morning, and 201 was staring back at me. I was 197.2 on Thursday morning. Is it really possible that I gained 4lbs over the course of the weekend? Why do I put this much stock into the number on the scale? Maybe because after I finally hit 199, I thought that I’d never see 200 again (barring pregnancy)?

I thought back to how good I felt walking around in a bikini for the first time in my life…..why does seeing this number make me feel disgusting?

WHY AM I THIS HUNG UP ON THE NUMBER ON MY SCALE?

I have a feeling the simple answer is that I need to stop weighing myself…but I just CAN’T. Maybe once I eventually get to my goal weight and can go on maintenance I’ll weigh myself more infrequently, but for now, keeping a consistent eye on the fluctuations from day to day is what makes me feel like I have some control, when it goes down I feel accomplished, when it goes up I feel frustrated. I WISH I didn’t obsess about it so much, I see innumerable posts on my lady fitness groups about throwing away the scale and these beautiful buff women who apparently never weigh themselves.

I’ve spent the last year and a half steadfastly focusing on losing weight. Not weighing myself would mean that I’d be letting that focus go to waste. It may not be the healthiest thing in the world to be so obsessive about little electronic numbers that dictate whether I’ve been a good girl or a bad girl, but their very basic purpose is data. I NEED to know that I’m going the right direction.

I really don’t know what the point of this post was beyond that camping makes me fat and I make a lot of excuses about my need to weigh myself daily. Sigh.

DUCKS

DUCKS

/fin

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

There have been innumerable ups and downs for me over the past year and a half that I’ve been doing this whole lifestyle change for. My weight has gone down and up and plateaued, and down again, I gained back some of the inches that I lost during Biggest Loser and am only now getting close to where I was at the end of the competition.

My mental health has always been a bit of an issue, some days more than others. Hormones play a huge part in my mood and how I feel.

I’ve been very lazy lately, I haven’t gone to the gym and lifted in at least a month 😦 and not going to the gym makes me depressed. I haven’t even been doing training runs or going for walks with Noah like I fully intended to. Summer is really hard for me, I don’t get that daily break from Noah to do my own thing, and it makes me want to hermit. The only time I have to go to the gym solo is after Noah goes to bed, and that’s also when I need to squeeze in any adult socialization….and socialization has definitely taken the front seat for the past few weeks!

I’ve been trying to go to the playground more often to practice my monkey bar skills. I can now actually swing instead of just falling down the bars, but my body moves a little too much from side to side for it to be totally comfortable. I am noticing a huge improvement in my upper body strength. Today I went for a run for the first time in 2 months and ran my fastest 5K time to date, even with having a stomach ache and feeling like I needed to throw up for 90% of it. I did 3.34 miles in 37:49, average pace 11:19/mile, which is a big deal for me.

That’s all of the good and the bad, but the ugly….

I set out to run 25 races by the time I turn 25, inspired by someone on a lady fitness group I’m in who did 50 races by her 50th birthday, and a local friend who ran 50K on her 50th birthday.

But in the attempt to complete my goal, I’ve hit a lot of motivational snags. A lot of really disparaging moments during races that really make me not want to race anymore this year. Which is really sad, I enjoy racing, but god sometimes I just get so frustrated with myself for being so ungodly slow.

A friend told me the other day something along the lines of, “you inspire me. You get out there and finish the race, even when you’re last….most people would just give up, but you finish”. I realize that he was being encouraging and I appreciate the sentiment, but at the same time I wonder if I am just being unrealistic with my aspirations. Do I even belong in the racing community? I know that someone always has to be last, but am I just being foolish by continuing to do all of these long distance runs when I’m probably not actually ready for them? Should I be sticking to 5 and 10Ks instead of pulling in dead last at 21s?

In the last month I’ve had two really negative racing experiences.

The first was at Tuffest 10 at the Nitehawk ski hill just outside of Grande Prairie. I ended up stepping wrong in a soft spot on the trail and twisting my bad ankle. It took me 2:41 to do 10k (the terrain was ridiculously treacherous), so I called it at that point instead of completing my intended 21K (I may have been DNF’d anyway, the course was only open for 4 hours). I was so disappointed in my performance. I’m still disappointed. I did so well at Mountain Madness (another 21K trail race that I had done a month before, in comparison I finished it in 3:16) that I was really expecting a similar showing at that race, and it did not happen. The food after the race was excellent (spaghetti and meat sauce! ceasar salad! garlic bread!) but to be honest I could barely choke it down because I didn’t feel like I earned it.

The second was Beat the Bear #2, a duathlon. The first one, in June, I had finished second last and it kind of broke me. Completing a triathlon is on my list of ultimate fitness goals, but I realized after that race that I am HORRIBLE at the bike (it didn’t help that the route was all forest trail). It took me an hour to finish 8K of biking (I actually think it was closer to 10K, but that’s unconfirmed) :/ So going into #2 (I had paid for the 3 race series, otherwise I definitely wouldn’t have done another one after #1!) I was DREADING it. I knew I would be last because the person who got last for the previous one was out of town.

It’s only 3K running + 8K biking + 3K running, but dear lord even with a Red Bull 30mins before the race started (my new pre-race ritual since Mountain Madness), I had zero gas in my tank and the first 3K took me 26:53 (felt longer). The biking took me 55:29 and the last 3K took me 30:27. Overall I took almost a full 10 minutes longer with #2 than I did #1, although I enjoyed the route itself more.

In any case, I came out of it feeling very grumpy and discouraged, and now I don’t have any races until the third installment of Beat the Bear, followed by the Glow Run 5K the next night, which I am actually looking forward to.

Next year….I don’t really know what my racing schedule will look like. I don’t know if I will be doing Spartans again once I get my trifecta this year. I would like to do a marathon, but I don’t know how my schedule will be in regards to getting the mileage in to train for that. Noah is starting full time kindergarten in the fall, I’m hoping to get a job starting in October….who knows what that will mean for my free time? I may even decide to not work and just enjoy the time I have until Noah’s in all day school next fall (at which point I will definitely be working)? This year is going to be such a huge transition, I have no idea what’s going to happen or how I’ll feel after my 25 races are completed.

beat the bear #1 results

Beat the Bear #1 results….

beat the bear #2 results

….as compared to #2.

Ugly DNF next to my name for the 21K :(

Ugly DNF next to my name for the Tuffest 10 21K 😦

PS to finish this super negative post with something positive, I FINALLY BROKE 200LBS THIS WEEK!! FUCK YEAH, ONEDERLAND!

weight loss milestone

July 17, 2015

😀 😀 😀

Ermahgerd, Monkey Bars!

Two days ago, I managed to do 6 monkey bars in a row! I cried!

This is HUGE for me, I haven’t been able to do monkey bars since I was 10 or so years old!

And yesterday I did the full set of dips (assisted with 85lb counterweight) without stopping! (But I still needed to stop for pullups haha)

GAINZ.

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PS if you don’t watch BroScienceLife videos on YouTube….YOU NEED TO START. Best channel of all time.

Thoughts on my new lifting program

I have been busy gearing up for the final few weeks before the race season officially begins for me (16K road race on May 10th, 13+K OCR on May 16th, 21K road race on May 23rd!) slash being lazy and not going to the gym.

I started a new lifting program called the Shortcut to Shred on recommendation from a woman in a fitness group I’m in on Facebook, after she posted a 12w before/after picture where she went from a little chubby to friggin 6 pack abs. I don’t expect that to happen to me, but hey even a nudge in the right direction would be good….I wrote on my last post that I lost 2 inches from my stomach, but it’s still holding a lot of fat and a lot of inches as compared to the rest of my body so I need to work on that.

I am well aware that you can’t spot reduce, so I’ve been really trying to focus on my diet and keeping within my calories. I tried to do macros for a little while (like a week? lol) but it was just way too complicated for me and got too reminiscent of my previous struggles with obsessive eating. I very very loosely follow them now, pretty much doing the exact same thing that I did from the beginning of 2014…..aim for high protein, moderate fat, and low carb. But really it’s pretty much, limit dairy (I only eat cheese, ranch with my raw veggies, and butter in my cooking, basically), and limit grains (I try to only eat grains at supper). Most of my (non-plant-based) carbs are eaten at night because after 7 is when I do most of my snacking. I have dessert every night as well, but I may need to cut it down or go back to eating protein bars for dessert 😦 I like protein bars but I’ve been in a big baking kick lately and that stuff is just so much better, haha. I made a strawberry crisp the other day that was amaaazing 😀

Anyway. Back to Shortcut to Shred. I don’t like it as much as I liked Simply Shredded….just because of the way it’s organized. I think that in a home gym it would be great but being at the gym and it telling me to jump from exercise to exercise, it’s really not conducive to that type of environment, or at least the way my gym is set up! On a couple of the days it asks you to go from a strength exercise to doing a minute on the treadmill….at my gym the weight section is across the room from the cardio section. Plus, you do it between each set of strength exercises. How dumb would I look running across the gym, running on the treadmill for a minute, then running back and repeating X4? Also, I really hate the Smith machine (it encourages bad form), and there are quite a few things you’re supposed to use it for…..no thanks! I adapted them a bit so I wouldn’t have to use it.

This workout makes me feel like this tool (collect all the equipment, no I’m still using it!):

With Simply Shredded, it groups the exercises based on what equipment you’re using. So there will be like 3 dumbbell exercises and then barbell squats and deadlifts, that makes sense, right? Well with Shortcut to Shred, it’s a lot more nonsensical, it mixes in dumbbell exercises and machine exercises and then barbell exercises, back to dumbbell….like, what? Also, they seem really redundant. Like one day you’re doing med grip bench press, close grip bench press, decline benchpress, incline dumbbell press…..why? There also isn’t a ton of lower body work, it’s mostly all upper body.

I don’t hate it, it just doesn’t make much sense to me. I’ve been doing run training as well so I end up just combining 2 days of the Shortcut to Shred into one, which eliminates the redundant exercises lol.

I think that once May is over and I’m back to focusing on strength training, I’ll have to find another program, or just continue to make adaptions from this one.

fc,220x200,white.u1

 

Today was a weird day.

This morning when I stepped onto the scale, it read 207.6.

I very recently finally broke my 210lb plateau and was just starting to wrap my mind around 208.8…..I haven’t been below 210 since the first 6 months of my pregnancy 5 years ago. I didn’t even trust that the scale was telling me the truth until the third day of 208.

So this morning my mind was blown a little more. I had really buckled down over the last two weeks to eat within my calories (1750), and so far I’ve been doing pretty good. Clearly the scale agrees.

And  check this out!

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GAINZ

 


 

This afternoon Caleb wasn’t working, so while we were out running errands we decided to stop for lunch. I ordered a burger and it came with coleslaw and a side (I chose seasonal veggies). We also ordered 10 wings to share.

I took one bite of my burger to see how it was, and I decided to take the top bun off, and cut the rest of it up and eat it with a fork. I also decided to only have 2 of the wings and I actually spent a long time deciding if I wanted to eat the second one or not. I decided to eat it, haha. So once I was done that, I had a bit of the coleslaw left over that I left on my plate, along with the top of the bun.

Now, the only reason that this is something notable, is to try to convey how out of character this is for me.

I am a chronic emotional and general overeater. I would characterize myself as a food addict and I don’t think it’s being dramatic to say that. I was raised not to leave anything on my plate, and that has been a large learning curve in terms of what a proper portion size looks like. I think that a lot of people who struggle with their weight as adults had shitty food influences growing up, whether that was because of a lack of food or too much food. For me it was that I had no idea what a proper portion looked like, I just knew to fill my plate and eat the whole thing. Hell, if it was something delicious, have another plate! At some point around the time I was 8 or so, it became a contest with my sister to see who could eat as much as our dad. My dad has always had a very active job, and at that point was still playing baseball in the summer and hockey in the winter, plus he has a wicked metabolism that basically immediately burned whatever he put into his mouth. He always reminded me of Jughead in that regard.

That is a LOT of food for a little girl, and that “contest” lasted until I was around 12, and I think at that point I started becoming much more aware of my body size in comparison to the other girls’. I was never really “fat” as a child, just big. I was taller than everyone in my class until 3rd grade and the tallest girl until at least 7th. I had big feet and wide shoulders, and my weight distributed in such a way that I was solid but I didn’t have a double chin or anything too crazy. I remember starting to notice my best friend’s food intake as compared to mine, I would have 3 pieces of pizza no problem, she would have 1. I could eat an entire bag of popcorn, she’d have a bowl or half the bag and be good to go. She was 5’0″ fully grown, so she was always significantly shorter than me growing up and much slimmer (especially as adults).

If there were any leftovers, my dad usually got the biggest portion, then my mom, and then my sister and I would share the rest. This resulted in me becoming very territorial about food, which really is weird considering that I have never had to go without food. I still eat ungodly fast as an unnecessary defense mechanism. I still flip out probably more than is usual if Caleb eats food that I have set aside for myself, and I hide food sometimes because I don’t want him to eat it.

I have had a lot of trouble with binge eating as an adult. I really didn’t have a problem until after Noah was born. I barely slept and I was severely depressed (especially after about a year), I ate my feelings and packed on the weight, but eventually after therapy and medication I’ve gotten a lot better. I’ve outlined in previous posts about my struggles with obsessive and disordered eating, so I won’t get too repetitive there).

I still struggle with binge eating from time to time, which is why it’s so incredibly bizarre that I sat there  and REALLY thought about that second wing. Hell, 3 months ago I could have powered through all 10 on my own, after finishing my entire plate. I thought about how full I was, if I actually WANTED it. At the start of my meal, while I was eating the coleslaw, I didn’t finish it, because in my head I thought about how I wanted to make sure I wouldn’t be too full after eating the burger. Like wtf is this conscious eating shit, right? So at the end of the meal, when my top bun and some coleslaw was still on my plate, I thought, do you know what? I don’t actually want to finish this. And I DIDN’T FEEL GUILTY about spending money on a meal and not finishing it or not taking leftovers. I just was done eating when my body told me that I was done.

I’m actually tearing up a little typing this, because it feels like I really turned a corner today and it was the first time I ever felt like a normal person eating a meal.


 

Every day I eat some sort of dessert after Noah goes to bed. Sometimes it’s a protein bar, sometimes it’s ice cream, whatever.

Yesterday, being Easter, meant that I had a chocolate bunny in my possession. Last night I had chopped it up into separate portions and put each portion into a ziploc bag. I had already put in a portion of bunny for my dessert today (I made homemade apple crisp for dessert last night, YUM).

But when I got home tonight, I couldn’t decide whether I wanted chocolate bunny or ice cream….so I thought….why not both? I served up a  half portion of each (1/4c ice cream, 20g bunny), and thoroughly enjoyed it! The best part was…..I DIDN’T WANT MORE. AND! By having half of each, it was actually less calories than a whole portion of bunny, so I ended up only going about 4 cal over today, rather than 20! What!


Today was a really weird day. It really felt like I have been making some great strides in attaining my weight loss goals and my mental state definitely is a huge factor in that. I wouldn’t say that I’m totally cured or anything….but things definitely look very promising!


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Self-Love and “The Struggle”

My mental health issues are not a secret. If you look back in the recesses of this blog you’ll see tons of posts from when I was at the lowest point of my life. I’ve struggled with depression for probably 10 or so years, and then after Noah was born that manifested into severe PPD and PTSD due to the events of his birth.

In November/December 2012, when Noah was almost 2 years old, I was actively planning how to kill myself. However, I decided to get help. Talk therapy and Zoloft helped pull me out of the hole. I also decided to take 2013 off from any weight loss attempts, and just concentrate on pulling my mental health back together.

After 6 months, I got pregnant so I dropped my pills cold turkey (not smart, I know). I had a miscarriage only about a week or so later (it was very early), but I decided not to continue with the medication or therapy.

I decided that I didn’t want to hate my body anymore. I came to accept that that was the weight that I was. I got rid of all of my skinny clothes and bought clothes in my actual size. I decided to stop putting off my wedding in the hopes of getting to my goal weight. I got married in July 2013.

When 2014 came around, I was in a completely different, and much healthier mindset. I was ready to actually put the work in. So I did. I lost 40lbs between January and May. Then I got lazy and basically maintained (I gained 7lbs but that is so incredibly minor that I was not too concerned about it) until this January.

Self-Love

I am outlining my mental health issues because of a comment someone made on a lady fitness group I’m in:

“I strongly believe that loving your body is the first and foremost step to losing weight. Believing that you deserve to have the body you want is so much more important than people can believe.”

I very much strongly agree with this. So many people, women especially, are prone to starting diet or exercise plans because they HATE themselves. That negative thinking and attitude will NEVER attain positive, long term results. Starting out hating the way you look will (more often than not) result in someone who is obsessive about the scale fluctuations and obsessive about every single thing she puts in her mouth. That kind of thinking results in fad diets, scammy MLM diet aids, crash dieting, etc etc. These are NOT good things.

Look at food as something that nourishes and propels you. It is not your enemy. You have to consume SOME sort of food for your entire life, so don’t demonize it. That gives it too much power.

Don’t punish binges with insane cardio sessions. Exercise is NOT a punishment and shouldn’t be used as such.  Exercise helps your cardiovascular system, helps build muscle, overall health, and many other key components for living. Regular exercising also helps with bone strength and density for women in particular. And guess what? You physically CANNOT work out enough to burn all of the calories from your binge (nor does it really work like that).

You also can’t binge on Sunday and work it off on Monday morning. Sorry.

Losing weight is 80% food / 20% exercise. You can lose weight without exercising (this is easier to do when you have a lot of weight to lose, and it tends to be a slower way of doing it – BUT THAT’S OKAY), but it’s pretty damn difficult, if not outright impossible, to lose weight without changing your diet up first.

Whatever particular diet you subscribe to, the first and foremost thing you need to establish is….is it sustainable?

There are NO quick fixes. No 21 day diets or 30 day diets or detoxes or cleanses or anything like that. They don’t work.

General Dieting Tips (from a non-expert)

  1. If you do not have a good knowledge base for how much food you are eating and how many calories you are consuming, start weighing and measuring your food (use grams as much as possible) and logging your calories on a program/app like My Fitness Pal. (Click here to add me as a friend or just to check out my food diary).
  2. Do NOT estimate your food consumption. This is how I ended up eating 2 tbsp of peanut butter and counting it as one serving, resulting in an unknown extra 200+ calories a day. Weigh and measure EVERYTHING until you feel like you have a good idea of what a serving looks like. Even then, don’t get cocky! Weigh it occasionally to make sure you’re right.
  3. Go figure out your BMR. That’s the number of calories needed to maintain your current weight if you were in a coma.
  4. Try not to eat less than that (I know that can be difficult).
  5. For the love of GOD, do not aim for 1200 calories a day. You are a grown ass adult person and need more than just air to survive.
  6. “Clean” eating is a damn lie. Pretty much everyone can stand to eat less processed food and more greens and meat, BUT demonizing food as “bad” while allowing marketing to determine what is “good” is not a good thing to do.
  7. Organic is not better. Sorry, it’s a marketing tool. If you like the taste better or just prefer it, go for it. I’m not your mom. But don’t feel guilty about not buying organic, and don’t think that you are ruining your weight loss attempts because you are buying conventional food. GMOs are not evil or dangerous for human consumption.
  8. 1-2 lbs is a healthy weight of loss. However, when you are first starting out and/or have a lot of weight to lose, you will probably lose more than that initially. But it will slow down. That’s normal.
  9. Your weight fluctuates 1-3lbs/day on average. Always weigh yourself at the same time and in the same conditions. I prefer to weigh myself every day but only log my Wednesday weight because I like to see the fluctuations. I know that if I was 210 on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, and then had pizza on Tuesday night and weighed in at 213 on Wednesday, that 213 is not my real weight.
  10. Women can fluctuate around 5-7lbs per day when they have their period or in hormonal changes in their cycle. Keeping track of where you are in your cycle can help you understand why your weight may change so much from day to day (I’m not sure if this varies depending on what birth control a woman is using or not using, though). As an example,  I “gained” a pound on my last period two weeks ago, but when I weighed in last week I lost 4, and I’m not on any hormonal birth control.

It’s so important to remember that real life is always a factor. There will ALWAYS be birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc, where food is a central aspect of celebration. Having a cupcake won’t kill you. One day of overeating won’t ruin your entire diet, it just doesn’t. Part of self-love is not getting obsessive over what is put in your mouth.

“The Struggle”

Blah, blah, love yourself.

I realize that this is way easier said than done. I look at old pictures of myself and the feelings of shame and embarrassment creep in around the corners. It’s HARD not to judge yourself for your body, especially if you’re like me and you’ve lost a significant amount of weight (and have more to go). I still catch myself feeling up my belly fat and wishing it would go away. I think that this is normal. I mean, I’ve been doing the same thing since I was a small child, which is sad in it’s own way.

In a society where a woman’s worth is determined by the number on the scale, it’s really difficult not to internalize that message. Shopping is still pretty terrible, especially for tops. I see pictures every day of women in my various lady exercise groups who have my dream body, or women in my local running club who are beautiful and fast athletes, and it’s hard not to have little twinges of disdain for my own body.

But I really try to focus on the good parts of my body. A woman from my bootcamp class complimented me on my shoulders over  a month ago and I still think that’s one of my favorite compliments ever. I’m getting my  collarbones back and I’m really proud of that.

A year ago I couldn’t run across the parking lot of my condo complex without huffing and puffing. This past Sunday I ran/walked a half marathon. In 2012 it was discovered that I had a fatty liver. As of this summer it’s cleared itself up and I’m back to being completely healthy again.

My body is capable of so many amazing things and it’s really important to concentrate on that. I know that I have a long way to go. I probably will never be an elite or in the top 3 of any race, but I think I’m okay with that. One day I won’t be dead last. There will be someone like me out there and maybe I could encourage her too.

We are only limited by the boundaries we place for ourselves. If you wish to lose weight and/or achieve fitness goals, you need to WANT it. You need to know that you are worth it. You are worth so much more than a number on a scale. You have to accept that there are no quick fixes and to not get hung up on the plateaus, weight gains, life circumstances, or anything else that may impede your progress.

You’ll get there eventually.

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