Tag Archives: self image

Running in public

The running workout that I have been doing for the last couple weeks has involved the sequence (run for several minutes, walk for a small bit, do some half squats)*several times. And it is fine to do early morning when there is no-one about and I am running around the back paths of my suburb.

On Saturdays, I have started going with my man and our boy to a lake where we meet with friends. I do my workout around the lake and everyone else walks around and we meet at a play ground at the end for the kids to all get out and play. It works really well. The path mostly follows the lake; there are two bridges next to a very busy road and about 400m on the side of another very busy road. Last Saturday I was uncertain whether I should do the squats. I mean, it would look… Well, you see people running and walking and power walking and stretching but not really doing other sort of moves… And I feel self conscious enough…

But by the time I was at the first lot of squats I was 20 minutes into the workout and didn’t care that much. As long as I was not on the bridge (where there is not alot of room) I was good to squat in public. I was even next to the very busy road towards the end of the workout and squatted. And it was just me, doing my exercise and it didn’t matter. I was very proud of myself at the end.

Today I overslept and I needed to leave 30 minutes earlier to get to work early. So, I did not get my early run in. But because I was there 30 minutes early I was able to take a long lunch break. I packed all my gear and at 12.30 I got out for my run by the lake – it’s a different lake; a busier lake with bigger roads and bridges and alot of lunchtime traffic around it in the form of people walking, running, riding, sitting, strolling. I decided that I would do the two bridge loop which would give me about 7km for my workout. I know this workout needs about that much.

Again I was really uncertain about the squatting! Initially I planned to just walk for an extra 30 seconds before running again but by the time I got to it, I just did it. I stepped off the path so no-one would run/ride into me and got on with my workout. And each time I got to the squatting segment I was able to step off the path. So I did. And I felt silly. But getting fit is more important to me than a fleeting silliness. These people who see me exercise really don’t care. They don’t know me, they won’t see me again. All they see is someone working out and working hard. And I am ok with that.

Well, mostly ok with it. The next workout, the one I had planned for today, had skipping segments (not jump rope skipping but skipping along). I did not want to skip in public, but I am mostly ok with squatting in public!!!

In other news. Today I weighed in and the stats are:
Starting weight: 140.9kg (310 lbs) 3/1/2010
Today’s weight: 96.0 kg (211 lbs)
Loss since last week: 1.6kg (3.5 lbs)
Total lost: 44.9kg (99 lbs)

Last week I exercised on 6 days – I did 4 running workouts and 2 walks. One of the running workouts was a bonus; it was not planned but I got the opportunity and I also thought that I was busy the next day. So, I went. And then the plans for the next day fell through and I went walking that day instead. I deliberately did not run on two of my workouts. Last week I did a total of 34kms.

I ate well and consistently, averaging at 9225kJ/day which was a little more than I was aiming for but only twice did I think I had a little too much. I am doing well not having chocolate and really am not craving sugar, although I am still loving the summer fruit and choose to eat my extra kJ that way.

I have been more consistent in saying my positive affirmation. It starts off “I breathe in, I breathe out. I breathe in peace, I breathe in joy, I breathe in strength, I breathe in love. I breathe out fear, I breathe out discontent, I breathe out stress.” I repeat that a couple of times and then the focus changes a little. But, I breathe deeply and relax and when I say ‘I breathe in joy’, I can feel my cheeks lifting and I am smiling.

It was a big loss last week. Look at the numbers!!! Almost 45kg gone! Almost 100lbs gone!!! And I am very close to the lowest I got to in early December. My clothes are a little looser and I feel really good. It is very exciting. But I need to be careful. I need to eat enough to sustain my exercise – that is one of the things I got wrong in January. This week I am aiming for an average of 9500kJ a day, so just a little more than last week. I want to slow my weight loss to about a kg a week but I want to keep my exercise intensity up. I will aim for 3 of my Up and Running workouts and 3 fast walks. Again, I will choose not to run in some of my workouts!!! I love how far I have come, that more and more the expectation is that I will run!

So far, Feb 2012 has been a good month. My exercise and food choices have been ones that bring me closer to my goal of health and fitness. And my actions and choices bring me joy.

I am a runner

I went running again at lunch today and today was better. My legs did not feel heavy or feel like they were on the verge of cramping. And I ran the whole second leg of the workout without modifying! I was so thrilled when I got to the end! I had to push myself and it was hard and I was so happy that I did! The two guys doing stretches at the same place I stopped smiled with me and made some good comment about my run – I can’t even remember what it was. But I was beaming with pride and I was breathing hard and they shared my success with me.

Today’s times 53 minutes, first interval: 2.1km in 13.52 minutes (6.36 min/km); 5 minute breather, second interval: 2,1 km in 15.01 minutes (7.09 min/km).

One funny thing today was that as I was doing my stretches after warmup I noticed a girl go past. She was thin and beautiful and dressed in good looking sports gear (I was in some more ordinary gear today). My mind mused – she is a runner; one day I will look like that – and then I thought about my running plan for today and was distracted as she walked away. I started off running. At about the 5 min mark I noticed her up ahead. She was still walking. She was a long way off but slowly, I caught up. She wasn’t running; today, she was not a runner. And I thought – I am a runner and I look like a runner because I am running; I should really just be me – and then I overtook her. And I kept running. I reached my end point for that interval and I stood and breathed and cooled down in the breeze and enjoyed the sensation of my body slowing. My body is strong and amazing and it helps me run. And then I started running again.

This is my journey. I should worry a whole lot less about what other people think and concentrate on my own plan.

Having put some thought into training plans for next year I am now thinking about how to record my training. I need to be able to do it easily but I also want to be able to look at the last month and say that I have run/walked so many kms or that I have met my goals with strength training. I think a spreadsheet might work. I can use conditional formatting to help organise the different workouts, I can keep a week or a fortnight in google docs but have the master spreadsheet on my computer so that I can do the stats. The reason for having a smaller version is so that I can access it and update it on my phone rather than keeping a paper version or keeping notes to update the version on the computer at home. I have not been consistent with recording my workouts in the last couple of months and I am short changing myself on the motivation that comes from having it all there. So, I will find a way to keep track. Another little project to work on 🙂

Saggy Baggy

I was out buying some new workout clothes this week. It is starting to get too warm to wear what I had been wearing, I need clothes that will wick!!! So, I was out in the shops and enjoying the choice I had. I also went looking for a new sports bra. I have started noticing on my runs that the sports bras that I have are starting to be less supportive as I lose more weight.

I was in the change room, trying on the sports bra. I looked in the mirror and jumped up and down a couple of times. That was not a good look. The bra worked just fine and that was not what bothered me.

I have lost 45kg in 10 months. And my skin is kind of too big for my body right now and I don’t like it. I quickly pulled a top over my head and then admired myself in the mirror because with clothes on I am looking pretty hot. But without… I am feeling increasingly self concious.

I ramped up the positive self talk… The loose skin is a sign that you have done so well! So what if belly and underarms and thighs are all saggy-baggy – be proud of that! Be proud of loose skin because it speaks of your determination, your commitment and your goals. And, this will change, this will not stay like this. Keep working, keep going and it will get better. It helped a little but not much, so, I made a deal with myself. I could by the cutest bra that I could find in the store. Because I could. Because I could pick any of the styles and it would fit. I have never had so much choice in clothes! I wandered the shop, picking up bras, putting them down and decided I was being silly. I don’t need a new bra to help me feel good about myself. It would be fun, but it is an extravagance at the moment. I can wait till I need to go down another size. I am ok. I am better with the baggy saggy belly than I am being size 24.

weekend write up and measurements

The weekend was good. I made some good choices and I made some not so good choices. Good choices were walking both days, being sensible at yum cha and the party. Bad choices included 1 piece cookies and cream rocky road. I regretted that almost immediately because after I ate it I went to a park with the small one and we went on this spinny ride which made me feel sick. The sweetness and the greasy feeling in my mouth made me feel worse than I would otherwise. And it also wasn’t as good as I was hoping for!! Another bad decision was the lemon lime and bitters I got for a drink at dinner. My dad wanted to get us drinks, I had said no to alcohol, someone else asked for a LLB and I jumped in and got one, too. It was so sweet! I looked up the kJ value later and was shocked at how much that one drink contained. Next time, I won’t get a drink just to be polite. Better yet, I will work out a fallback drink option so I won’t get caught out again. And then, getting home yesterday, I was tired and hungry and I snacked and grazed all afternoon. Most of the damage I did on the weekend I did after I got back. I had planned for the social occasions and the travelling but I had given no thought to what happened once I got home. It is frustrating! Sometimes I think I have come so far and other times I see very little change in my behaviour. Small steps. I need to remember this is not about perfection, it is about improvement. And I can see so much improvement in this weekend!

And so, the scales are up a little today and I am not surprised about that. But rather than focus on that number, I thought I would take my measurements and post those instead 🙂 I don’t take my measurements very often because they don’t seem to change that much if I do. Last time I recorded them was 3 months ago.

Bust – starting measurement: 130cm (52″)
Bust – 3 months ago: 117 cm (46.8″)
Bust – today: 107 cm (42.8″)

Waist – starting measurement: 137.5 cm (55″)
Waist – 3 months ago: 115 cm (46″)
Waist – today: 105 cm (42″)

Hips – starting measurement: 141 cm (56.4″)
Hips – 3 months ago: 124 (49.6″)
Hips – today: 115 cm (46″)

That is so very cool!!! I have noticed in the last month that my waist goes in. I like that my waist goes in 🙂 I have been wearing clothes that show my shape off! It is really exciting. There are bits of me that I don’t like. I don’t like my hanging belly but I can also see it is getting smaller. I don’t like my flapping arms, I don’t like by baggy skin. But these parts of me also show me how far I have come. And I love my waist!

One thing I do for my skin is to exfoliate weekly and then apply moisturizer. I have an exfoliating glove and it is wonderful. I feel so clean and smooth after using it 🙂 I started this routine in the hope that my skin will be stimulated to regenerate and so would shrink down. I think it has helped; at least I feel better for it than doing nothing.

I got alot of positive comments from my family over the weekend. My younger sister said she is so proud of me for taking responsibility for my health and my body. She has done something similar in the last few years, although not starting from as large a point as me. And she looks amazing. She is one of my inspirations so her saying that meant an awful lot. I talked with my older sister about some of the reasons we eat; how it is about comfort and acceptance and self-worth and trying to create new patterns. My cousin and her man saw me from the car as they were driving up and they did not know it was me. Most of my conversations at the party were about food or exercise or getting healthy; what I eat, what exercise I do, how much further I want to go; their plans for getting healthy and the action they are taking. It was encouraging and affirming. That I am an inspiration is a little alarming! I still have so far to go. But it is also such an honour to be told that someone looks at what I have done and they are inspired to make changes in their own lives.

This is the last week of my 40 week plan. There will be some reflection this week about how far I have come and where I want to go. I might look at some new goals for the summer to keep me focussed. This is not the end.

Rush

Official 4km race time: 30.24 minutes 😀

I jogged the first full km and the last full km. It was going to be too hard to work out the 500m lengths and when we started I just wanted to go. It has tricky to not run during the middle stretch. I wanted to go but I also really wanted to finish strongly. Somewhere along the route I calculated that I was expecting a time of about 32 minutes; that would be two 7 min kms jogging and 9min/km for the middle two kms. I was hoping for something about 32 minutes. That last km was amazing. I started off slowly because I was not sure how I would go, having already jogged 1km at the start. With 500m left to go one of the race officials cheered me on from his spot on the route. I got teary, I knew at that point I would finish well but I could not let the emotions go at that point! Then I rounded the corner and could see the finish. I started running. I had been jogging but I decided to finish as strong as I could. And it felt completely different to the jogging. A little like moving from a trot to a canter when horse riding, I guess. It was amazing. I loved it. And my man was there with my little boy. And I ran through the finish line and ran to them and I had done what I set out to do. I had run half of my 4km fun run. And I saw the time on the race clock at about 30 minutes and I was so thrilled!

I don’t have much going on in my life that gives me a buzz of satisfaction; that really intense high. New relationships are ‘buzzy’; or a passion for something can do that. When I work for something hard or challenging and achieve it, sometimes I get that feeling. I have enjoyed my exercise before, it helps give me some time, it helps my head work through stuff. I like feeling strong and like I am doing something for my health. I always assumed that I was getting the endorphin rush. But in the last couple of weeks, it has been more. I ran up the stairs at work on Friday after my walk, just to see if I could. I ran up to the third floor. And it was great! And crazy!!! I mean, who does that??? And today, it was cold and showers were forecast and I got dressed and went out!! Crazy! And I loved it 😀 I loved being part of the event.

I have 5 weeks till the next event. I am doing the same distance on the same route but I am registered for the run and not the walk event. I want to run the whole 4km. I have a time to beat, some new goals. I have Up and Running training to take me there.

I am tired now. But I had a lot of fractured sleep last week so that is not surprising. But more than just tired, my legs are tired, my back is tired and I am happy. I want to do it again.

Move it on out, girl… you will feel better for it

Lower back ache and general discomfort and grumpiness. I hate this time of the month. The best thing I have found to help with the pain is exercise. The thing I want to do least right now is exercise. I will fit it in today, even if it is a walk to the shops with my boy. The sun is out, it is a beautiful day. I will go to the shops soon. And tomorrow morning I have my Up and Running workout planned. I will do that one.

On Monday at work I was at a morning tea for a colleague who is going on leave. There was a little speech by her boss. I was sitting on a 2 seater couch with 2 other people. There were three of us and we were sitting comfortably!!! That absolutely thrilled me 🙂 I got good comments on what I was wearing as well. And it might be my imagination but I am starting to get appreciative looks. Actually I don’t care if it is my imagination 🙂 I am enjoying the idea of it.

My special dress arrived last night, the one I bought at the craft fair, that helps me celebrate my 40 week commitment and my success so far. (See Celebrating Success) I tried it on and it is beautiful. I love that it is the style that I can keep wearing as I lose weight – it is a wrap it up, tie it up dress. So, do I wear it to a picnic this weekend or do I wait till I complete my 40 weeks?

Official Weigh In Monday – Less than 100

Yeah Baby!
I got up this morning and jumped on the scales. I am so happy to be reporting on my stats today!

Starting weight: 140.9 kg (310 lbs) 3 Jan 2011
Today’s weight: 99.2 kg (218 lbs)
Loss since last Tuesday: 1.2 kg (3 lbs)
Total lost: 41.7 kg (91.7 lbs)

I am so thrilled :)To be less than 100kg was my goal for Christmas. And I have done it! My mind struggles to accept this because it seemed so far away when I started and I still have ‘fat girl’ as part of my identity. But ‘healthy for life’ is getting stronger; committing to the Up and Running program is really helping build this new aspect of me. (See Kaleidoscope View for more about what this means)

I had an excellent week last week. I exercised on 6 days, averaging at 47 minutes. Not including Saturday, my kJ intake averaged at 7900/day. And at the party, I did well.

I also asked for help last week and that was a big step for me. My man was amazing and his love and support was so evident in the way he helped me with the post party clean up. I have no idea what happened to all the left overs. For that I am extremely grateful.

Today I will celebrate. I will celebrate my weight loss and improved health and fitness. I will celebrate my waist and my curves. I will celebrate that I am strong and beautiful.

Kaleidoscope view

I like who I am. That is a good starting point.

About a decade ago, I was in a bad situation. Part of the consequence of that situation was that I lost my sense of self. I did not know who I was, what I wanted, found it difficult to form opinions and more difficult to vocalise them. I was scared and felt trapped. I was not safe, there was no respect for me at home and I had very little respect for myself. I did have enough respect for myself to leave.

A year or so after that I had found a good counsellor. One of the things I spent alot of time working on was who I was. At the time I felt defined by the bad situation but I came to understand that was just one aspect of who I was and that aspect did colour alot of other things about me at that time. That aspect is still a part of who I am but has very little impact on my day-to-day anymore. Building a concept of who I was involved several of these aspects and all of them impact to some extent. Then there are the other things about me – skills/talents/preferences. These also help define who I am. For example, I like reading, I like making things, I like cooking and am good at it; and I don’t like watching or participating in organised sport. These are tangible things about who I am that other people see and also know about me. There are also some fundamentals that define me – I am a woman, live in Australia, white anglo-saxon protestant upbringing. This is a very basic and simplified summary of the work with my counsellor on this issue.

I look at all of this and to me it works like a kaleidoscope. The aspects are like colour filters that fall in and out of view. The fundamentals and preferences/skills are like the jewels that are in the kaleidoscope. All the components are there but it shifts and changes. The aspects give their different hues depending on how dominant they are at the time. Who I am changes but is made up of the same components.

And so, I like who I am. I like having this understanding of who I am.

I am coming to realise that there is a part of me that I have never really addressed. It is an aspect that I am actively aware of, it is dominating at the moment and I want to reduce it’s influence. I have always been the fat girl. I am working on changing that. Part of me wants to keep changing it and part of me wants things to stay as they are now. Being fat has always been part of who I was. When I left school, I was bigger than I currently am now; that was 18 years ago. In the last 18 years I have only once made it close to where I am now but the bad situation that I described above happened and that was that. So, for my entire adult life, I have been fat. I have used it to avoid doing things that I did not want to do; I have hid behind it; I have used it to fade out at social occasions; I have used it to be invisible in public. I had accepted that being fat was ok.

But I know who I am and I like who I am. I am not defined by my physical size. Sure, ‘fat girl’ has been an aspect of who I am but it is not me. I am so much more. I have so many skills and I know what I like and what I don’t like. I need to start saying goodbye and letting go of ‘fat girl’. It is really hard to replace something with nothing. So, I need to start celebrating something new and help build this new aspect of who I am. How am I going to do this? I will enjoy the journey – enjoy the exercise, challenge myself with exercise. I will enjoy what I am eating and keep that interesting. I will enjoy my body, wear clothes that fit and that make me feel good. I will think about my goals of being healthy into my future. They are some big ideas and I don’t quite know how I will make it happen day to day. I will think about it. I also don’t want to be defined by the fact that I was fat… so ‘former fat girl’ doesn’t really work for me. It will be there but I want to work on the idea of ‘healthy for life’ as my new aspect.

I don’t need to be scared about this change. Sometimes it feels like it is all unknown from here. But it isn’t because I can apply the same things that have got me this far to the next stage of my journey. I know I can lose weight, I have already succeeded there. I know that I can get clothes that fit on the internet or at second hand shops that will get me through the changing sizes. I know that I can manage my food and exercise consistently. I know that I am getting better at managing my stress with strategies which don’t involve eating. I know I have the support of my family and friends. The fact that I don’t know what I will look like or feel like at a healthy weight is ok and is actually only a small part of the journey. Afterall, I like who I am.

Pretty in Pink

Today I went shopping on my own. I might just type ‘on my own’ again. I had an hour before I was meeting up with my toddler and his grandparents and I really did not know where to start. I thought of getting coffee and reading in peace. I thought of going to the new chocolate store and getting chocolate and reading in peace. But I decided to look in some clothes shops. I have been buying clothes in the larger sized shops for so long. Now that I am losing weight, I need to look in the regualar shops and get some idea of what they sell.

I wandered around the shops. I was looking for something in pink to wear to a breast cancer fundraiser in a months time for a colleague. I don’t wear alot of pink, I am not that fond of it. I was being picky about what I looked at and I finally found some things that I thought would look good and be appropriate to wear to work. I took some sizes into the change rooms and tried them on. The size 16 clothes that I had selected fit. They are a little tight but in a month they will be spot on. The size 16 fits. That I will say again, as well. The size 16, off the shelf from a regular store, fits.

Size 16 AU is a 12 US or a 14 UK. In January, I was a size 24 AU (20 US, 22 UK).

And so, I am going to say again. Size 16 fits.

I remember wearing size 18 clothes in my final year of highschool. I was 18. I don’t remember when I work size 16 last. We are talking maybe 20 years ago.

My brain is really struggling with the idea that I am a normal size. I kept repeating to myself as I bought the clothes today I am just a normal girl. I am not the fat girl any longer. I am so glad I bought the evidence because it will take a while to sink in. Evidence is reassuring. I know I still need to lose weight. I know that I am not there yet and I don’t want to stop here.

I don’t get to go shopping on my own often. I so appreciated the opportunity today. I now have something to wear to a breast cancer fundraiser that will look good on me. I am healthy and strong. I am so fortunate. I want to stay healthy and look after my body. I want to be there for my family as I grow older. I am going to enjoy wearing these clothes I bought today.

emotional eating

Usually where I have come from is not an issue but yesterday it was very much part of my day.

The things my head is trying to process:
– I have lost 25% of my start weight and am halfway to a healthy weight. That is simultaneously wonderful and difficult. I have come so far! I have so far to go! How did I get that overweight? I am doing so well!
– I found pictures of me at Christmas to put in an album to show where I started from. They were hard to look at. I remember at the time thinking they were realistic and that I looked terrible. I had already started working on a plan so it reinforced my motivations. But I felt ashamed looking at them.
– I had pictures taken of me yesterday and I look so good in comparison! I look thinner and happy. I put one on facebook and lots of friends commented about how well I am doing. And again, simultaneously wonderful and difficult. And I also felt vulnerable. I was letting people who didn’t really know what I was doing that I was doing something.

Last night we went out to dinner and that was nice. We had Indian and the food was fabulous. I found myself missing green vegetables even though we had one vegetarian dish. I ate more than I needed but I did not overeat. And we stopped at the Indian Grocer next door and I got one Galub Jamun for desert. I just wanted something a little bit sweet. But in the course of events, it never made it home. Which was frustrating.

My man was going out, I was staying home with the toddler. I had a little bit of the chocolate slice he was taking with him. And that did not ease my frustration. He left and I prowled the kitchen looking for … something. I deserved something. I had worked hard all week at tracking and exercise and had been spot on. I had such a stressful week at work as well. The scales were going down – quite quickly and so I was entitled! I was entitled!

And what did I do with the feelings of entitlement, frustration, vulnerability, loathing and success? I ate. I had one bottle of cider and a packet of choc finger biscuits; the whole packet. And while I was eating I felt relief and acceptance and comfort. I knew last night that it was a one off. I knew it was not the same as a couple of weeks ago where the compulsion stayed with me. I knew that I would be ok the next day. This morning I got up, did 60 minutes fast walking up the hill and back. I have eaten well and am tracking everything and I have had not problems with keeping to my plan or any desire to deviate.

Tonight, I told my man a short version of what happened last night with the biscuits. I guess I was testing myself. I did not want it to be secret eating. I wanted to say the words and make it real and have it known. But I had not worked out why I had eaten the way did last night, I thought it was just the frustration and did not link it to the photos and stuff from earlier in the day. And so I was left with feeling exposed and I wish I had said nothing. I just wanted to hide and I slipped quickly into control/freak out behaviour. I cleaned up in the kitchen, I got my food ready for tomorrow, I kept myself busy as my thoughts spun and spun and spun.

Not normal, not normal, what is normal anyway, it was normal for me, not good certainly but it was my normality, what do other people do anyway? Why would I want to be like other people? I like who I am, I am strong, I am clever, I am making my own way. This is my path. Not normal, what is normal?

I don’t know what normal eating is. I don’t know what the average person eats. I know what books tell me people should eat but I don’t know what people actually do. But I know that food is not just food to me. Food is acceptance and comfort. Cooking and eating is about sharing and love and family and acceptance. This is me. This is my struggle.

With all of those emotions last night – the self loathing at what I had let myself become, the vulnerability, the fear, the frustration and the sense of entitlement, is it any wonder that I ate? No, not really. Did I feel better? Yes, at the time. And tonight? I have worked through my reaction and understand why I wanted to say it out loud and why I then responded the way I did. And now? The spinning has slowed down and I feel like equilibrium is returning.

I don’t want to be normal. I want to be me – understanding where I have come from, where I want to go and be real along the way. My man supports me. He doesn’t understand my twisted relationship with food. I suspect he eats for hunger while my normal patterns for so long have been to eat for acceptance and comfort. I am trying to build new patterns and they are getting stronger every day I keep at it. I have a long way to go on this journey. Eating well and exercising is the easy part.