Friday, January 9, 2015

Sugar, sugar, sugar, sugar, SUGAR! AAARRRUUUGGGHHH!!!

A friend – acquaintance really, but soon to be friend I’m sure – posted yesterday about his addiction. Very brave. Very honest. Very enlightened. Very frustrated, and maybe a little bit scared. Definitely embarrassed. He is addicted to food.

I feel his pain and embarrassment. I understand his addiction because I am addicted, too.

It’s frustrating, this food problem. Smokers can quit cold turkey. Alcoholics have rehab. Hell – even sex addicts can literally go for the rest of their lives without ever having sex again. Food addicts? Well, we’ve still gotta’ nourish ourselves. We can’t just stop eating.

Too bad, too, because I’m sure that it would be easier than “giving up” sugar.

Sugar is a toxin, a poison – especially in the amounts that I sometimes eat it. Food is a crutch. No matter how strong I resolve to be, I still end up eating my feelings when sad, angry, or stressed. (So, I should just resolve to be happy, mellow, and upbeat regardless of what life throws at me, right?) Food, especially sugary food, brings me satisfaction. It is a very pleasing experience – the melting of chocolate on the tongue, the zing of the tart custard in a lemon meringue pie, the mouth-watering-ness of a simple jam on toast. No amount of lentils in the world can do this. Or quinoa. Or celery (although carrots have a strange sweetness to them). And when everything around me is going to crap, I must admit that I DO want to have something agreeable happening to off-set the crappiness.

I guess I could drink, but really – all of the best cocktails are made from mixers that have sugar or HFCS…

So, anyway, I respond to his post with my own declaration of abstinence from sugar! My rally-the-troops cry! My I’ll-be-there-for-you-bro statement of support! We’re in this together, man! I’ll lean on you, and you lean on me! We can do this!

When I got home (late), I opened up the fridge and pulled out some leftover Chinese food. Heated it up while talking to the boys. Sat down and ate it while talking to Bub. Then, as I was rinsing my dish to load it in the dishwasher, I finally realized that I had just eaten a serving of sweet and sour chicken.

FAIL! Without even realizing what I was doing, I managed to bash my new found goal in the head with a club less than an hour after I made it.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

New Running Buddies

A small sub-set of the TRC (Tooele Run Club) meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 3:57am. The 357 club. The run starts at 4am, and the distances are 5-ish miles. I've started going to these runs. I meet up with my neighbor, Charlie - 5 houses away, and we drive to the designated meeting spot. The meeting spots are consist of eight different places, so the run isn't always the same. We rotate through the eight spots during the month.

Charlie and I are basically the same pace. There are times when I want to run ahead of him, but I really enjoy his company so I don't. For a republican, LDS man in his 60s, he's a very liberal minded guy. And, he's genuinely curious to understand our experiences. The other runners are Diane, Sandra, Meg, Tracy, and Renae.

I've noticed that I don't take any walk breaks when I run on these days. I don't know if it's because my pace is slightly slower, or if I just don't notice that I'm tired because the conversation is keeping my mind off of things... Whatever it is, it's good for me.

Also, I'm down 1/2 pound. I was 196 in December. I'm starting the new year at 195.5. In the first six days of 2015, I've almost matched my mileage for the entire month of December... This is really good, right?

Thursday, January 1, 2015


At a race a few months ago (Red Rock Relay Park City), I was struck ONCE AGAIN at how much bigger I am than, well, everyone. I feel this way at every race. I feel this way during every yoga class, weight class, group run, boot camp class, team meeting, and family gathering. The only place I don’t feel this way is at WalMart where there are people bigger and sloppier than me. (Of course, there are loads of healthy people there, too. And, no – I’m not getting all “WalMart People” on you. It’s every store when you live in the 2nd fattest county in the state.)

Anyway, looking around the night before, wearing a baggie sweatshirt that hides everything at the waist, I know that I don’t look like a runner. Well, not the runner that I want to be. THAT runner is fit and lithe and has definition in her legs. THAT runner doesn’t have a 40” waist. (Geez – 40”?!?! and that’s down an inch in the past couple of weeks.) THAT runner isn’t the skinniest – she might have a bit of a paunch – but not a whole gut. THAT runner isn’t ashamed of the tech shirt that is so snug around her apron area that it rides up as she runs. Nope – THAT runner wears the cute, tight, tech shirts that her mother-in-law buys, and she wears them everywhere – not just when running in the dark or working out in her own basement. Nope – she wears them to the store before/after a workout. She wears them to races, group runs, workout classes.

The athlete that I want to be doesn’t sit in the back of yoga class and secretly harbor jealous thoughts about the other yogis and their poses, constantly comparing herself to everyone else in the room, continually reprimanding herself for being the heaviest person in the room. Instead, she turns her thoughts inward to find the strength to balance for an extended period of time or to master side crow or that damn half-moon pose.

The athlete that I want to be doesn’t just watch GoRuck videos and wish that she could do them. She CAN do those things, but at my current weight, it would be difficult. Nobody wants to strap on a 25 pound backpack and ruck around with a team of much fitter individuals when she’s already carrying around 50 extra pounds.

And, it’s humiliating. If I had once been 500 pounds and was on my successful journey to leanness, I would be proud of how I look right now. But, I’m not. I’m on my journey of the same fluctuating weight since high school. HIGH SCHOOL! 25 years, and I still can’t get my shit together? It’s a constant and consistent thing… Fattest girl (only chunky girl) on the drill team. Too hefty to try out for the dance team in college. Didn’t join the Air Force because I was afraid that I wouldn’t pass the physical in basic training. Fattest or second fattest in my group of friends since moving to SLC. Heaviest in my immediate family.

But, it’s not fun – not even a little bit – to look at pictures of [insert any awesome fun event here] and see only my large muffin top, my apron, my cottage cheese thighs. And, trust me – they are there. I’m not making them up.

There is that whole psychological thing going on. Yes. There is some underlying reason why I eat too much or eat the wrong things or make bad choices or fail to work out regularly. It’s all there, and I’m sure that with time and counseling, I could get to the bottom of it all. But, really, it’s all a bunch of bullshit. Everyone has these problems. Everyone feels a huge loss, like a black hole in the center of the heart, when a parent dies. Everyone was teased or bullied at some point. Everyone has a part of themselves that is incongruent with society / family / the workplace. Nobody feels like they fit in perfectly for all aspects of their life. The difference is that not everybody eats their problems and stress. Not everybody turns to the fridge to stuff their faces with food when life seems out of control.

I walked down the “seasonal” aisle a few days after the above mentioned race because I was angry about something. It was Halloween time, so I really wanted some candy corn (aka sugar and high fructose corn syrup with yellow and orange coloring). The entire time, I kept telling myself that junk food wasn’t going to make the problem go away, that junk food was going to make me feel worse afterwards, that the real problem was [insert problem here]. I couldn’t find the candy corn. What a good thing, right? Nope. I still left with a bag of mini-Twix. I ate four of them before I got home. It didn’t make me feel better. I felt worse afterwards. I was still angry/sad/upset/disappointed – but now it was worse because I was still mad about [insert problem here], but I was also mad at myself.

The thing is, though, I can do this. I really can. I know that I can.

I don’t have to look around me and wish that I were more like the hundreds of runners who are fit and trim. I can be one of them. I know that they train harder and eat better. I know that, although some of them do, not all of them live lives of depravation – that they eat crème brulee and ice cream and lasagna. The difference is that they just eat one scoop of ice cream. They just eat one cookie and are done. They limit themselves. They train hard. Then, they train harder.
That’s what the athlete that I want to be does.

I am an athlete. Somewhere beneath the weight of a constant 40 extra pounds and 10 more that come and go and come and go and are currently here, I am an athlete.

It’s my brain. It’s in my mind. Mentally, that is where I am failing. No. Well, yes.
(Should I do that whole thing where I don’t say negative things against myself? Where I surround myself and my brain with positive and reinforcing behaviors?)

But, without being honest, will I get anywhere? But, with honesty, do I defeat myself before I start?
Like this: people with their shit together do not claim to aspire to healthiness and run 25 miles per week and do yoga 2-4 times per week do not go to the treat table three times and walk away with a donut each time. They don’t do that. What athlete does that? What person who WANTS to be an athlete does that?

At the same time: people who get up in the morning after only 4 or 5 hours of sleep so that they can run are doing great, right? That’s what all athletes do. That’s what I do! So, am I an athlete or not? Do I really have what it takes, and why haven’t I capitalized on it?

So, how do I bring the best behavior forward and eliminate the bad behavior?

Well, first – I’ve learned that I need to be accountable to someone. To myself isn’t enough. I recently did a DietBet with a friend. I made the goal (barely) in the time period. But, I knew that I had to report to her. I knew that I had to look her in the eye during our next visit and know that I had done my best. So, I did a decent job (not my best), but I did well enough to meet the goal. She did, too. Yay, us, right?
But, I only did a decent job – not my best – then I lapsed into my normal behavior, and I gained part of that weight back.

So, accountability. I have to answer to someone. It’s that simple. So, I will blog here as often as possible. It’s obvious that I’ve fallen off of the blogging wagon. Well, no more. I will blog, and I will post my entries onto SparkPeople.
By the way, it doesn’t help to be accountable to my spouse. We don’t do this well. We do weight management differently. And, the stress of life in general currently “helps” us be at each other’s throats more quickly than we would like. Adding to that with monitoring of food or portions or exercise just doesn’t help. We’ve tried. We just end up resentful and grouchy.

What is my ultimate goal? 140 pounds.
Some ancillary goals: size 8, a BQ, 100 full push-ups, 250 full sit-ups, and 200 squats.

I know that I work well with a reward mindset, so here they are:
196  140 in five pound increments – I’ll pay myself $10 for each 5 pounds lost. ($110)
Size 14  Size 8 in size increments (obviously) – I’ll pay myself $10 for each size down. ($60)
Marathon PR of 4:59:25  3:45:59 (BQ) – I’ll pay myself $10 for each PR regardless of how small
0  100 full push-ups – I’ll pay myself $10 for each additional 10 that I can complete ($100)
30 250 full sit-ups – I’ll pay myself $10 for each additional 10 that I can complete ($220)
20  200 squats – I’ll pay myself $10 for each additional 10 that I can complete ($180)

This is a minimum of $670 when I reach all of my goals. It will be bigger, but by how much will be based on the number of PRs that I achieve. I’m going to put all of this money into an account that I cannot touch until I achieve the goals.