Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Reflection



Having spent an ample amount of time at the gym over the past year and approximately 3 or 4 months I have had the opportunity to see lots of people come and go. I have seen really incredibly dedicated, focused individuals. I have seen flash in the pan people. I have seen some amazing transformations and I have seen people disappear. Such is the story of any gym. It’s kind of cool to get a small glimpse into the life of someone else struggling with their own journey.  There is one gym member in particular who I’ve had the opportunity to get to know over the past year. He started out in the over 400 some pound range and has lost over 200 pounds. This is the first time he’s ever lost weight. I have had a few in depth conversations with him about the process and more than anything the mental toll it takes on someone. I am very happy for him, but honestly, more than anything I find myself scared and cringing a lot because I see so much of me in his process.

He is obsessive. He has dedicated his life a 1000 percent to this. This is the ONE and ONLY thing he does. He is 37 years old, single, child-less and doesn’t really have a lot of other stuff going for him. He admits he has suffered from severe depression most of his life. I worry about him all the time. I see him daily at the gym. No one is there more than him, but honestly it’s scary because he hangs out there because he has nothing else to go home to.  I worry that once the excitement and the accolades wear off he hasn’t really changed anything on the inside.  There is nothing I can do, he has to live it. But it’s clear to me in talking to him that he hasn’t really addressed any of the issues on the inside or changed anything. He is substituting obsessions left and right. It breaks my heart. I worry that one day he will find himself right back to where he once was because unless you really can figure out your inner self, the outer has little hope. And we all know there is nothing easy about this process.

It has taken me 10 years to finally learn to love myself. It has taken 10 years to accept myself as I am. It has been a long and difficult journey to understand that beauty comes from within and that everything on the outside is highly irrelevant. Sure it’s fun to get dressed up and play and feel physically beautiful for a day. I am a girly girl and don’t mind admitting that I do care what I look like. But I also realize this is all about vanity and not at all what my life is about. It’s about those awesome moments where I am running and spending those precious before and after sessions with my husband who I feel so incredibly close to as a result. It’s about snuggling and hugging my precious niece and nephew and sharing as many awesome experiences with them as possible.  It’s about sitting on the couch with my dogs and seeing complete unconditional love in their eyes. It’s about Christmas morning around the tree with the people who matter most to me in the world. These are the things that make life valuable and determine your self-worth. Not a single one of them have to do with what I look like.

These are the lessons that I have had to learn the hard way, over the past 10 years, in my forever struggle to figure this shit out. I have discovered that I am happier and all around a better version of myself when I am active and working out and eating well. This is about general life health and wellbeing. Quality of life.

Last night while in the gym, seeing this guy work out in the distance, talking to my mom, I had a moment of gratitude for exactly where I am right now.  My mom was like, sometimes I feel like I should be farther along than I am, it’s been almost two years since I’ve been doing this she said. (Mom started the beginning of October, the same time I did 2 years ago) and then she was like, and then, she was like I just have to stop myself and go, no, I am happy with where I am. It’s a long process and in two years I have not gone backwards, I keep moving forward and so what? So what if I only ever lose another 5 pounds. I am a size 14 now instead of a size 22.

And I stopped and thought for a moment. Here I am, 2 years later, and while I may fluctuate 15 pounds give or take, in 2 years of my life, for the first time ever in my life, I have been able to maintain this healthy lifestyle. It’s not always perfect or easy, but consistently for 2 years I have exercised and tried to do good for body, mind and spirit. And you know what, this last year has single handedly been the happiest year of my entire life. I don’t think this is coincidental. I am strong. I am physically stronger than I have ever been at any point in my life. I am mentally stronger to as a result. I am so grateful that I have endured the last 10 years to get me to this exact moment, this exact place in my life where I am this comfortable in my own skin.

And proud. I am proud that 2 years later I still care. I still care a very great deal about myself to make good decisions for myself. Proud that this truly has become the life I want to live. Simply proud of the things I am capable of today. I am going to celebrate my 2 year anniversary in San Jose with a big smile on my face, because I survived. I survived 2 years of living this life, with all the ups and downs and I managed to come out the other side, 2 years later, still happy and healthy and strong. I have never lasted 2 years. But I have also never felt this sure of myself or at peace with my inside. This is the sign of real growth and change. Life is not perfect, but its mine. I am just simply grateful to be exactly where I am today.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Trust the process



I had a super busy morning at work; it seemed like it was constantly one thing after another and now I am grateful it is the afternoon and things seem to have calmed down for a brief moment in time. I feel tired today, but that might also have something to do with it being 1:30 in the afternoon and I’m approaching my normal slump time. There is forever always an afternoon lull where I simply want to curl up and sleep.  It’s kind of obnoxious really. I stopped at a Plaid Pantry on my way back to the office for some energy drinks, because despite knowing they are full of horrific chemicals that certainly do not actually help you at all, I am very addicted to them. They are my vise. We all have one; a vice that we know is bad but can’t seem to break. Energy drinks are mine. I just like them.

Anyhow, I went in to buy some energy drinks and they had those little packs of peanuts on sale right when you walk in. They said they had a coupon at the register so they were actually 4 packs for 44 cents. For some reason I decided that I should get 4 of them because that is a great price and honestly peanuts are pretty good and healthy for you despite their incredibly high calorie and fat content. What is shocking is that 280 calories and 25 grams of fat is really equivalent to so little. I easily could have eaten 5 times the amount I did in that little pack. Probably why I will forever have a weight problem. If a little is good, a lot must be better!  It was not at all planned for today, and considering I only get 1200 calories a day, 280 calories seems steep, or actually ¼ of my entire daily food consumption. Geesh, when I say it like that it hardly seems worth it. Too late, because it’s already been consumed. I was hungry, it was an impulse purchase and I’m just going to live with it. Besides it was peanuts, I didn’t eat a candy bar. I ate good healthy peanuts in their raw form. This is hardly something to be that concerned about.

Last night I killed it at the gym. I ran for 20 minutes, 2.25 miles and I was dripping sweat. Then I did a half hour class, butts and guts and the room was HOT which made me sweat like a horrible stinky pig, but it also upped my heart rate for sure and I was working really hard. Then came an hour of Iron Power class. By the time I had finished the night, it was almost 2 hours and 900 calories. This is a lot for an evening. I will not be putting out that much effort tonight. I promise I will be thrilled with a good solid 500 calories of output tonight. And that is only if I’m lucky, meaning if I find some hidden drive to do some cardio. I can only get real calorie burn in when I do cardio. Lifting weights is really important but does not produce the same calorie burn. I seem to need to start with the cardio to warm my entire body up and then it burns more when I am lifting as a result. Right now cardio does not sound that fun actually. Hopefully in a few hours my outlook on it will change.

In terms of weight loss I feel like I have not been all that good this last week, since last Thursday’s weigh in. I really only have today and tomorrow and then I weigh in first thing Thursday morning. This is where I just have to put my blind faith in the process and trust. I have not gotten on the scale so I really have no idea where I’m at which is good, a few of those days were rough. Of course it could be really good too. In the end I am just going to have to trust that this process works if you are good and healthy and treat yourself well, results will happen. Perhaps not crazy insane results, but those don’t last anyway.  Thursday will be my fourth whole week of being back on track. Boy how time does just fly by.  I can tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt I feel better than I did 4 weeks ago. Caring about yourself and your health just has so many positive benefits on your life. Most of them have to do with how you feel on the inside and your own sense of self-worth. Let’s be honest the 5 pounds I am down on the scale are very insignificant. But the stuff that is affected on the inside is well worth any effort I’ve put out. I am infinitely happier when I am living a healthy life. That is the best reward, period, end of story.

Sometimes I have moments where I wish my life were more exciting but honestly I have worked pretty hard to get to this exact place I am at right now, and despite massive amounts of everyday excitement, I really can’t imagine it any other way. This is the life I have chosen for myself and I am pretty comfortable with it. Sometimes I forget I am 35 years old and want to behave like a younger version of myself. I suppose we all do that from time to time, but in reality at the end of the day I far too often realize that I am in fact 35 and just want to come home to my house and rest and relax in my own domain. I don’t need a lot more than I already have to be happy and content. The older I get the more I realize that all the rest of that shit is just superficial unimportant crap. What really matters is the love and people you surround yourself with. And at the top of that list is that whole self-love thing. I could easily see that by the time I reach my 40’s being in that complete place of zen, I do not truly care what other people think of me.  I truly do like what age is doing for my mind, body and spirit.

Love yourself just as you are.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Number 18



Just as quickly as the weekend comes, it is gone. A few days post IUD I can safely say that Friday I was really truly feeling the effects more than I realized. Funny how we try and convince ourselves we are fine, when in reality we are hurting. At least I was smart enough by midafternoon to listen to my body and decide AGAINST going to the gym. So yes, I did not exercise Thursday or Friday and I am okay with that. I was exhausted and my body needed the recuperation, especially considering I ran a half marathon on Saturday morning. In the end, it was the smartest decision for me.

What this means is that on Friday night I again ate to much food. I mean, both Thursday and Friday night were not crazy crazy but they were not great. It’s really funny how on days when I exercise and could eat more food without feeling guilty I don’t. I am much more able to keep myself in check. Then on days when I don’t exercise it’s a double whammy and suddenly I eat more as well. I am going to chalk all this up to the trauma my body underwent and let it go. Especially considering Saturday morning we woke up, got in the car, and ran a half marathon.

They are getting slightly harder. Or else I care a lot less and therefore they just seem harder. To be honest my body was not 100% recuperated and I felt pretty crampy, and around mile 2 or 3 I knew it was going to be a long process but I endured. It didn’t feel awful awful so I kept going. I ran solidly for 8 or 9 miles and then I just got tired. I was already feeling extra exhausted and woke up with zero energy or motivation at all so the fact that I lasted 8 or 9 miles was pretty impressive to me. I spent the last 4-5 miles alternating between run/walk stretches. To be honest the course was boring, it was a smaller race and there was zero excitement to keep me going.  In other words, it was no Rock N Roll race and therefore the outcome is perfectly acceptable to me.



What is fairly amazing is that this was my 18th half marathon of the year. That’s a lot and I often forget to give myself credit for doing the shit that I do. 13.1 miles seems fairly common place to me now, but it’s still a hell of a hard distance actually, and I would do well to remember that. I finished the race, there was not really any fun post-race activities, had a bite to eat, drank a bottle of water, and we headed home. We stopped at the grocery store for the fixings for Turkey Burgers, which were amazing. I spent a perfect afternoon lounging outside, playing with my dogs, watching some TV and just hanging out with my husband.

Then, after a few hours of inactivity you start to get rummy or bored. I was getting antsy to do something so I called my mom to see what was going on. She has been dating someone from an online dating site, don’t even know which one she met him on, and he was over. Anyhow, she said that in 15 minutes they were going to dinner and a movie with my sister Erin and her husband. I’m like, really, you didn’t invite me? She said, of course come. So in 15 minutes I got ready and headed to my mom’s house. So my sister and brother in law, me and Chris and my mom and her “boyfriend” that I have never met before all went to dinner and then a movie.

You know what; it was a really nice time. I didn’t mind the guy, although bizarre to see my mom be affectionate with another man it has been almost 11 years since my dad passed, so I guess its okay. I’m a grown woman and can understand my mom’s need for companionship. He seemed to do pretty good with us in our vocal, liberal setting.  We went to an appetizer place, but it was happy hour so we got tons of weird but good appetizer dishes. It would not have been my choice of food but I didn’t complain or pick it, I just rolled with it. I drank 2 sangrias and ate the food and just lived with it. There was no way at all to track my food, just had to live with the idea that I could eat some, not indulge or gorge on it and be confident knowing that I ran a half marathon earlier and burned 2,000 calories in the process.

We were going to see Guardians of the Galaxy but when we got to the theater it was pretty much sold out so we ended up seeing the other movie that was playing at the same time, which was Let’s Be Cops. It was a stupid comedy but I did laugh. Fairly low brow humor but enjoyable none the less, especially after having 2 alcoholic beverages on a slightly empty stomach. It was all good. I came home and I was just exhausted. I did not take a nap in the afternoon like my husband and by the time 10 PM rolled around I was feeling the effects of an entire day of activity.

Yesterday I woke up in a daze, still completely exhausted and not wanting to do anything. Chris had to work, so I knew I had the day to myself which is nice on occasion to. I put on my workout clothes because I knew that I wanted to get in a good workout since I did miss last Thursday and Friday. My stomach was finally feeling a little better so after a little while I was ready to go. I decided that ultimately I just wanted to go to the gym and do what I wanted to do, so I didn’t make plans with anyone. I drove to the gym and decided that I wanted to run to wake and warm myself up.  I have to admit that over the past couple months I had become a terrible running slacker. Sure I’d run half’s on the weekends etc., but I wouldn’t run a single step in between and ultimately this wasn’t that good for me. I need to run more. The last week or so I’ve been upping my running game and honestly it’s been making me work that much harder when I lift.

Shockingly my legs were not sore at all from the half. I guess this is probably because I gave them a two day rest prior to the run. Nothing hurt, no tired. So I just decided to run. I was only going to run for maybe 20 minutes, but I felt pretty good, so I just kept running. It really did the trick in waking me up and getting my excited to work out so I just kept going. I did 4 miles in 40 minutes and felt amazing. I then went over and hit the weights. Lots of different exercises, nothing really in isolation or specific. Just overall a good solid workout. Headphones in, world tuned out, sweat pouring. I didn’t have to answer to anyone, had nowhere I had to be, etc. It was pretty perfect.

I walked out of the gym 2 hours later, having burned 1110 calories, but more importantly feeling amazing. And accomplished. And glad that I had just done that. I ran a few errands around town, special light bulbs, a few food items, etc., and then I stopped by my mom’s house for a few hours and just chatted with her. Eventually I went home, played with the dogs and then Chris came home. He made an awesome dinner for us. Boneless Pork Tenderloins, mashed potatoes, corn on the cob and bread. It was amazingly good.

I feel pretty good about how the entire weekend went all things considered. I had a few bad days of eating, but I had some highlights as well. Today I feel really refreshed and energized and ready to go. I’m excited to hit the gym tonight again and kill it. Classes tonight and I am just READY. Yup I feel good right now at 11 AM, but we will see when 5 PM rolls around.

But for right now, today, I am feeling pretty good and happy and on track. Whatever happened yesterday is in the past and today I am confident and strong and ready to keep moving forward towards my goals.

Friday, August 15, 2014

IUD Pain



I feel pretty beat up today. Like every part of my body aches. I am thinking this has something to do with the reality that I did in fact get an IUD put in me yesterday. I am very happy that this happened, but somehow over the course of 5 years I had forgotten how incredibly painful, jarring and invasive the whole process was.  In the grand scheme of things it’s like 15 minutes of uncomfortableness for 5 years of peace of mind, well worth it, but it does leave your body a bit in the ringer for a little while.

Here’s the thing, when I got to the office I had to pee and silly me, thinking how uncomfortable it would be to have someone digging around inside me with a full bladder, literally 5 minutes before I was called back I went to the bathroom. And wouldn’t you know it, as soon as I walk back the nurse was like we need a pee sample from you. EPIC fail. I did not have to pee. They have one of those magical little 2 sided doors from the bathroom into the medical room. She kept opening her side to see if my pee sample was in there. It was not. I could not pee. I drank little tiny cup of water after little tiny cup of water. No pee. Then the nerves set in. The panic. I can’t pee. And they are all sitting around waiting for me to pee. The door opens again; my stress level rises and I can’t pee. I am in the bathroom for 25 minutes, door checked a million times and there is just no way I’m peeing. I finally come out and am like, I am so sorry, I can’t pee. I knew it was totally stress as this point. So she says okay, and takes me to another room to try and calm me down, go over some stuff and hopefully induce pee. Apparently I have to pee before they will actually give me the new IUD.

Everything is going well and then it’s time to try and pee again. Despite drinking tons of little cups of water, the nerves were definitely preventing me from having to go. I tried to force something out. I mean, normally I can pee no matter the situation.  Apparently not today for some stupid reason. I literally squeeze out a tiny bit in the cup. I was hoping that more would come, it would not. She started checking the door again and my nerves were shot. I should mention I had a moment where I wanted to fake it the first time I was in there, where I literally was going to just put water in the cup but then realized water doesn’t look like pee and they’d know. I was that desperate. Alas, the tiny amount of my pee in the cup was going to have to be enough. To get the show on the road I decided to just put that little cup in the door and pray there was enough to do whatever they needed to do. It really wasn’t a lot, but I guess it was enough. Thankfully! This entire process of trying to get me to pee took like 50 minutes. No joke. Retarded.  The whole time wishing I had not peed right before I went it, because at that moment I really had to pee.

So I go in and see the doctor, get undressed, etc. I don’t care how many times you ever go to a gyno in your life, it is still one of the weirdest things you will ever do. I’m not embarrassed or ashamed or anything but it’s just a crazy situation a complete stranger sticking their fingers inside you while narrating what they are doing. I got a shot on my inside to numb the pain I was told. It didn’t numb the pain let me tell you.  As soon as she was in measuring things and feeling around the cramps were instant and fierce and entirely body wrenching. I felt it from my toes to my head. It was epic.  And I’m a pretty tough chick. At least that’s what my brain kept repeating as I endured the pain, you are tough, you got this. I tried to not let my body twitch on the table to badly.

This is the 3rd IUD I’ve had inserted in my life, the first two times the doctor had a hard time getting it positioned correctly and had to take longer than normal so I was prepared for a similar outcome. It happened. She tried to go in the normal way, and couldn’t get it in. She said she was so sorry but she was going to have to completely move things around and try a different angle.  The sharp pain returned and I clenched my teeth and a few seconds later she had inserted it. In all honestly it doesn’t take that long to do, but it just feels epically horrific. Of course this process also causes some bleeding which is always nice as well. Once I saw the doctor it was only about 15 minutes and I was out of there. An hour to pee, 15 minutes to get my IUD.

I had moments afterwards where I was like I’m totally cool, no problems. Then I’d get this horrific shooting cramp throughout my body. Excellent times. I went home afterwards and just decided to stay home with my doggies and forget about the gym for a night. I think this really was the wisest decision. I was sure I’d feel better this morning, but honesty I woke up exhausted and sore. Part of the sore I am sure is from the gym. But I am for some reason still cramping and I don’t like it. It’s not unbearable by any means; it’s just a random shooting pain. I am sure it will go away, but it’s just annoying.

Things definitely hurt more than they should. My energy level is depleted and I’m ready for this Friday to be done. Of course it’s almost half way thru the day and my bosses are not in town so it defiantly could be worse.  Also as a result of being home all afternoon/evening and feeling not great, I way overate yesterday. Granted, nothing too terrible and it was good stuff. Meaning I indulged in a few extra handfuls of almonds. The horror I know!  But I ate like 1800 calories which mentally doesn’t make me feel all that good. I am sure a day of 1800 calories is not really that critical but it throws off the mind a bit.

I am seriously fighting with myself about what to do tonight. There is a strong part of me that wants to go to the gym. Just go do something to make myself sweat to feel better mentally and physically and then there is another part of me that is like please just rest and let it go for one more day. Not sure who is going to win out in the end. I am running a half marathon in the morning and that is weighing on my mind as well. 8 AM I will be running 13.1 miles tomorrow so that is leading me towards taking one more rest day so I’m recuperated enough to run properly in the morning. But we will see. I also don’t think it would actually kill me to do some upper body strength training tonight. Nothing too crazy mind you, but again, we are just going to have to wait and see.

I seriously had forgotten how invasive the IUD is and how it might take a day or two for my body to rebound. I did not consider this at all when scheduling the appointment. There is a part of me that actually believes the endorphins from exercise will actually help with the cramps and that I’d probably feel better after working out in some strange way. Is that seriously crazy? Possibly, I mean, I know I’m crazy sometimes.  Regardless, I am glad it’s Friday and I get a weekend and I’m glad I’m running a half tomorrow. It’s been far too long since I’ve run one and I really want that high again.

Have a fabulous weekend, whatever you are choosing to do!