Saturday, November 27, 2010
Anyway, for those of you who have lost a lot of weight, it's a complete body transformation. And even though you have been working so hard at losing the weight and changing your physical self, you may have not yet prepared yourself mentally for the change. You still see yourself as the big, fat chick so clothes shopping is usually a challenge. This may last for awhile. Case in point...
I was at Target the other day looking at the yoga pants. Since I am short (God, I wish I was 5'8"), I have to get pants in a short length and they are really hard to find for exercise pants. So I always grab two sizes in exercise pants, shorts, shirts, etc. Large and Medium. I can't get myself out of the large mentality. But, it is difficult for me to think otherwise. And everytime, I put on the large, it is always too big. I then put on the medium which fit. (Small will never be on the radar, I do not have a small frame) Why is it so hard for me to accept that larges are too big and after all this time? Scars I guess from our former selves. Plus, we are so used to using our clothes to HIDE ourselves, it is difficult for us to use clothes to show off our best assets. So, I dedicate this to all my ladies (and men) out there losing weight. Yes, you are changing physically and you look beautiful. You also need to prepare yourself mentally for how small you are becoming.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
We talked a lot last night about things for us to do in the future. Possible double family trip to the Outer Banks. I've never been there and my husband and I have been talking about renting a house one summer. Is this the year to do that? We also talked about skiing. The wife had only been skiing once as had I. So, at least if we are going to 2 newbies on the slopes, we can do it together. We also talked about a long weekend trip to the Adirondacks to try hiking one of the high peaks again.
The skiing and hiking a high peak is something really important to me for numerous reasons, but mostly because the last time I did both of those things, I was severly overweight. I still remember skiing for the first time and HATING every minute of it. It was hard to move, to steady yourself on the slopes when you had so much excess weight to carry. I still remember how embarrasing it was when I rented equipment and they asked me how much I weighed. I, of course, lied and said 180 (which still big) but clearly I was pushing to 200's at that point. Anyway, skiing is something I would like to try again because I am in MUCH better shape now, a lot stronger due to my strength training, and because I don't have that excess weight any longer. Another reason I want to try skiing again: I'm kind of a scaredy cat. I get scared when taking chances so I would really like to push myself outside of my comfort zone. Heck, I never thought I could run a half-marathon and I did!
The hiking thing is different story. Last time I went hiking with them, I barely made it off the mountain, I kid you not. I was clearly not prepared for the physical strength and stamina you would need to hike a mountain and it was one of the most hellish experiences in my life. I was still heavy, although not as heavy as the skiing weight. But, I was not in great physcial shape. I remember my husband coaching me and urging me off the mountain and me saying, "go ahead without me, I'm just going to sleep with the animals!" One of the worst experiences in my life. So, why do I want to try it again. See the skiing reasons but it also has a lot to do with proving something to yourself. And I need to prove to myself that I am strong, I am powerful and can accomplish anything!
I would like to add "run a marathon" to these resolutions. I just hope my body can heal in time!
Sunday, October 31, 2010
It's amazing what happens when you stop breathing in fresh air, stop physical activity because of an injury. Within 4 days, I had a full-blown sore throat and congestion. I hate sore throats, they are the worst. But I guess a cold once a year is better than 4 times a year.
Rewind to when I was much heavier and smoking. I must have had a cold every season, even summer. Summer colds are the worst, especially with the humidity levels. You feel like you can't breathe. Looking back on it, it's not surprising why I was sick so much. First, I was polluting my lungs and second, my level of physical activity was zero. Also, the colds I would get back then would be awful and would literally knock me out for a week.
Now, many, many pounds lighter and no longer smoking, I don't get colds as often, only about once a year. Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out why I am not getting as many colds. The clear lungs from quitting smoking has a lot to do with it. But, does the lighter body weight have anything to do with it? Not sure, but the increased physical activity has made a difference. Many studies have been shown that exercise can boost immune function. This theory probably is true since when I was heavier I would be out of the game for a week, where now, it may only be a couple of days. In fact, I took a sick day to get some rest and the next day went to exercise class because I was going to "sweat out the germs". The other thing I notice with running is when my sinuses are stuffed up, the fresh, crisp air and oxygen was a natural sinus rinse. And let's not forget the benefits of real food either. As opposed to food that looks beige (to use a term from Bob Harper, referring to fried food)
I hate being sick. Isn't that enough of a reason to get healthy?
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
The first show is always hard for me to watch and I wind up crying at some point. Or cry through the whole thing. I remember being so humiliated getting a sub at Dibella's practically every day feeling like everyone was looking at me thinking, "She is the last person who needs a sub, what a fat slob!" I remember walking around my apartment in a red, flowered housedress which might as well have been called a mumu because it was the only thing that would fit me. I remember being so sad that I couldn't shop in the misses department, that I had to shop in the plus department and how there was nothing fashionable for me to wear. And what I wound up wearing made me look frumpy and a lot older that I actually was. Not the way I wanted to live in my 20's but that is what happened. What should have been the best of times was actually the lowest of times.
And of course, you get the snickers and the jokes. I remember at my old job, I was leaving for the day and my key chain was making a sound like a cow bell. I walked past two guys and I could have sworn that I heard one of them say "moo". I am not sure if I imagined it, but it was pretty humiliating.
Remembering how humiliated and ashamed I was of myself, I swore that I would never let my kids have their mother be the butt of their friend's jokes. Because I know what childhood is like and how awful kids can be to one another. This is why I do what I do, why I push like I do, why I post my workouts like I do. If I can share my story and pass on what I know and pay it forward, I am going to do it. I am also sharing my story because I was once there in that awful place, being made fun of, having no confidence, wasting my life in an unhealthy body. I am not wasting my life any longer.
Sunday, August 15, 2010
Our lives really are decided on timing and the choices we make. Before I went back to Hartwick for my senior year, I reconnected with Jon who would eventually become my husband. I had decided for myself that this was fate that we were going to end up together. I went back to school for my senior year and I met this guy through the telethon work I was doing for the school. Dave was from a small town near me, so we did occasionally see other during school breaks. My husband wasn't able to make it to my sorority formal in November so I asked Dave to come with me. Little did I realize how much fun I would have with him that we would end up spending the whole next day together.
Things progressed that year and we became close, very close. There was a lot of heavy flirting and more. But, Dave knew where I was coming from and I told him I could only give so much, that choices had already been made. The night before I graduated, there were lots of kisses and lots of smoke.
Yep, Dave was a smoker. But then again, so was I. For those of you who follow my running/exercise posts, pick your chins off the floor. It is true. During college, it was a pack a day habit. After college, it continued to maybe 1/3 of a pack, 1/2 a pack habit. By this time, I had also gained quite a bit of weight so not only was I obese but also a smoker. A deadly combination. But if I quit smoking, then I would probably gain more weight too, so I needed to get the weight under control first.
I hadn't seen Dave since I graduated or even talked to him for that matter. It was probably better that way. We had both gone our separate ways, got married and had our families. Leave it to the power of facebook to find people. I found Dave and we reconnected. It was good to find him again and see what was going on. And that's when I realized what was going on. CANCER. Effin' cancer. Stage 3 Lung Cancer. Are you frickin' kidding me? He was 37. Way too young for lung cancer, or any cancer as far as I was concerned. My father-in-law had passed away from lung cancer at 61 and smoked 2 packs a day, unfiltered. That I could understand. But I couldn't understand this. I mean, I had smoked too. Why was this happening to him and not me? And he had a daughter that was not even 2 yet and found out that another little one was on the way. By the time I found this all out, I had successfully quit smoking for 2 years and had taken on a new addiction (working out) Thank God I had seen the light.
I had lots of tears as I realized what was going on with my friend and kept myself updated on his website, caringbridge.org. Dave lived for another 13 months after that, enough time to welcome the birth of a baby girl and have 2 Christmas's. The cancer had spread to his brain and I knew what that meant. The same thing had happened to my father-in-law. By the time he got pneumonica, I braced myself for the news that would eventually come. A week or so later, he passed away. I cried that entire morning as I realized Dave was gone, I cried for his family, his wife, his daughters.
I thought a lot about what I could do to tell his story. The story of a young man who never knew his life would be cut short because of mistakes made in his youth. So I will be running races in his honor to spread the word about living a healthy lifestyle. I am running because at the end, he had an oxygen tank. I am lucky enough to be able to run with the breath in my clean lungs.
I also urge you to visit caringbridge.org and consider making a donation. Or if you have a family member or friend who is going through a health crisis, consider using this website to share their stories, their fight and keep in touch with others. CaringBridge is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit providing free websites that connect family and friends during a serious health event, care and recovery.
CaringBridge.org is a website that is personal, private and available 24/7. It helps ease the burden of keeping family and friends informed. The websites are easy to create and use. The authors add health updates and photos to share their story while visitors leave messages of love and support in the guestbook.
I still miss you and love you. Rest in peace, my friend.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Wow, has it really been 2 months since my last entry? I am definitely going to make a promise to myself to be a little more active. I have been really busy though with my son's broken foot, physical therapy for he and myself, taking my daughter to soccer, working, working out, yada, yada, yada. You know the drill: the life of a busy soccer mom.
So this was a big weekend: The dreaded high school reunion, number 20. The judgement from your former classmates, will we pass the test of time? The last time our class had a big reunion it was for our 10 year. I was a little (okay, a lot) heavy and was not feeling really good about myself. I still remember wearing an undergarment from top to bottom that was designed to "suck" everything in so I would look thinner. It didn't work.
Fast forward 10 years later, last night. One of our classmates was taking pictures modeled after the 10 year photos. In other words, whoever we posed with in the 10 year photo, we posed with in the 20 year photo. Since making some diet and exercise changes, the 20 year photo looks a little different than the 10 year photo. Do I dare say I might look younger?
No, it didn't take me 10 years to look better, but it is a long process. I remember a line from Losing it with Jillian a few weeks ago and she said, "I don't walk in and you magically get skinny. I'm not a frickin' genie!" Hard work and dedication gets you results. There isn't a magic pill that you can take.
On another note, congrats to my friends Jackie and Meg. They both have lost 35 pounds recently thanks to exercise and making a change in their eating habits. They both look frickin' awesome!
One last image from last night. The attempt at the MC Hammer dance. But my arms look pretty good! Stay well!
Sunday, May 16, 2010
I lost my first baby about a year before Aidan was born. The possibility of miscarriage wasn't even on my radar. After all, my mother didn't have a miscarriage and I had thought it was genetic, that it ran in families. My husband and I went to our 14-week appointment, hoping to hear the heartbeat. When my doctor wasn't able to hear anything, she sent me for an ultrasound. I remember sitting on the table during the ultrasound, watching at what the technician was doing on the screen, looking at this fetus on the screen and it never occured to me that there was no heartbeat. When they had to come tell me the news, I was completely devastated. By their measurements, they guess that the fetus stopped growing at 10 weeks but weren't sure when it had died. Because of this, I had to have a D&C which was scheduled a couple of days after that.
I felt completely alone during this time. Sure your partner, family and friends are there for you, but you still feel very alone. No one really understands what you are feeling, except for those who have been through it themselves. There is a lot of guilt that you feel. For me, the guilt was from me not being able to protect my baby in my body and that I allowed this to happen. I was obese at the time, so I'm not sure if my overall health (or lack of), could have had anything to do with it. I never found out and will never know why I lost that first baby. Fortunately, I didn't allow myself to shut out everyone and put my faith in God that things would work out. But it took me a long time to recover from that tragedy.
Four months later, I got pregnant with Aidan. In those four months, I had managed to lose 20 pounds so I was able to get a little more healthy for my little one. As you can imagine, I was nervous during that first trimester but it did pass without incident. On May 22nd at 6:41, my son made his entrance into the world in dramatic fashion: vaccuum delivery with the cord wrapped around his neck twice and his stomach but he was just fine. He arrived one year to the day of my D&C.
As I finish this up, my daughter is putting lipstick on me and I am in tears thinking of how lucky I am with the two healthy kids I have. My daughter just asked, "Mommy, why do you have water on your face? Are you sweaty?" Nope, I'm just thanking God for the gifts I have and thinking of the one that I never forgot about.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
As mothers, we tend to fall into this same trap as well. Everyone comes before our needs: our children, our parents, our husband, our job. Everyone is more important than we are. Because of this, we fall further and further down the chart until we are basically non-existent. When we start to feel this unimportant, we don't care about what we look like. So who cares if I dress sloppy, my hair is out of date, or I am not eating right or exercising?
We should. As mothers, we want to teach our children self-respect and taking pride in yourself. But if as mothers we don't take this same pride in ourselves, then what have we really taught our children? We need to be role models by example and not just by words.
Some people may think that mothers who spend some time on themselves by improving their looks, exercising, etc. might be selfish. After all, that extra time she was at the gym or with her friends was extra time she could have devoted to her children, right? I suppose. But another thing I want to teach my kids is to love yourself and love others. How can I teach them how to love without first loving yourself? So that's why I make sure that I carve out time in my crazy, hectic life for me, just me! For me, it's going out for a run or going to the gym. For you, maybe it's scrapbooking or getting together with your girlfriends for dinner. Whatever it is, it's that time where you realize you haven't forgotten about yourself and become a non-existent person. That you do love yourself and love yourself enough to move up to #1 on the priority list!
Saturday, March 13, 2010
In honor of my 38th birthday coming up!
Monday, March 1, 2010
For those of you not familiar with C25K, you can look it up at www.c25k.com. This man went from an overweight smoker to a lean non-smoker and ran his first marathon in 10 months. Amazing! Although it's not the program I started my running with, I have heard lots of good things from novice runners who found it easy to gradually get their bodies moving.
Because of this, a co-worker said she wanted to try out running and was looking for some suggestions on how to get started. Naturally, I referred her to C25K. She had her first training run tonight and although she was tired, she finished it. I told her that each run would get easier and that there was a half-marathon in her future for sure. I told her that since the days were getting longer, maybe we could run together after work. She felt such a sense of accomplishment that she called me at home to share her excitement. She said, "Jenn, you're inspiring me".
I've heard that before and that kind of praise makes me a little uncomfortable. I suppose however, that this is what I am trying to accomplish with this blog. To inspire others the way I was inspired to lace up my running shoes. To inspire others who are unhappy with their bodies, their fitness level and unhealthy nutrition habits to make a change. So what does it mean to inspire?
Thank God for the online dictionary! No need to grab that heavy book any longer! Anyway, it gives similar definitions of "to affect, guide, or arouse"; "to fill with enlivening or exalting emotion"; "to stimulate to action, motivate" or "to affect or touch". So I took these definitions and thought about it. Am I affecting or guiding? Am I filling with emotion? Am I motivating?
Well, maybe I am affecting? I guess my daily mile posts and facebook posts while they seem numerous and hopefully not conceited, it is obviously having an affect on some people. Maybe it is spurring them to action to see what they can do or to get fit. That if I can run (and remember, I was a person that HATED running) anyone can run!
Maybe I'm stimulating to action? Obviously something stimulated them to lace up their shoes. But I would argue that it wasn't me stimulating/inspiring them. They inspired themselves. To start to believe in themselves that they could accomplish anything. That change may not happen overnight, but change is possible. Something inspired them to take that first step and something will inspire them for their next run.
Am I filling with enlivening or exalting emotion? Maybe. But what about the two friends I mentioned above? The one that is sending me race information, wanting to run a half-marathon with me and looking towards a long-term goal. My friend that called me tonight after she her first C25k run and was on such an endorphin-high that she wanted to share the emotions she was feeling with somone who would understand. Enlivening or exalting emotion? No, I'm not doing that. That's all you.
We are inspiring ourselves and each other. I can't wait to see how far the two of you go...
Stay fit and healthy!
Friday, February 19, 2010
The weight gain had started my senior year in college in 1994. I wasn't playing volleyball anymore. I was living off campus, which meant that I was driving to and from campus, no walking. I had a thing for creamy soups, which also meant soups with a high fat content. My favorite soup was Chunky Brocolli Cheese Potato and I ate a lot of it! I also had a lot of beer. Hell, we were seniors now! We were at the bar all the time! I wasn't sure how much I weighed or how much I was gaining, but I was wearing size 18. I guess when you are that heavy, you stop weighing yourself because you are already depressed enough.This picture is from my sister's wedding, 7 weeks after I had my son. This is one of the lowest points in my life. The smile on my face doesn't show the pain that was inside. Some of you are probably saying "Of course she had a bit of weight, she just had a baby!" I don't think it should look like I am still pregnant. I remember when we had to order our dresses the previous fall. The woman in the bridal salon told me that I should order a size 22, just in case. I remember walking down the aisle at my sister's wedding and I all I could think of was what the people were saying. "Wow, did she get big!" or "She is huge, she looks disgusting." It was supposed to be a happy day but in reality, I just wanted to hide from everyone.
This is me about 10 months after starting Weight Watchers, so this is 2003. You can see I was still on the heavy side. Losing weight is never quick. I love the Biggest Loser, but it's not reality. We have families to raise and jobs to do and don't have 6 hours each day to work out. We are lucky if we get in an hour! It took me 20 months to get 5 pounds within my goal weight. Also, I wasn't perfect. I cheated. I gained. But, we are human. All you can do is forgive yourself for the transgression and start over the next day.
Here I am in September 2009 after running the Rochester half-marathon. I am thinner now than I was in high school. If you had told me that when I started losing weight that I would run a half-marathon, I would have said you were crazy. Let alone 2 half-marathons in 2 months! 89 pounds seemed like an impossible feat, but I was able to do it. I often tell people that nothing tastes as good as thin feels. I think that is absolutely true. The weight loss journey is going to be a rollercoaster. You will have your up weeks and your down weeks. The weight gain didn't happen overnight, so the weight loss won't either. This is reality, folks. And the reality is that it is going to take awhile. But maybe that's what will convince you to never go back. It worked for me.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
See I made a big mistake on Saturday before I got on the treadmill to run three miles. I forgot to stretch. Shame on me, because I always stretch before I begin a workout. I think I was rushing around on Saturday to get a workout in that I forgot to do it. At the end of my run on Saturday (it was only 35 minutes), my groin felt tight, but nothing that would make me contemplate my Sunday run. I was finishing week 2 of the 12 week half-marathon training. Sunday's run would be an easy 6 and would not be a problem. Meanwhile, every time I walked on Saturday, I could feel the "twinge"
Enter Sunday. Had the Stabilicers on the bottom of my running sneakers so I could run in the snow. Speaking of: I forgot how difficult it is to run in the snow. You definitely have to use more leg strength to push off of snow than off of pavement. Because of this, I could feel the groin muscle getting overused and at the 5 mile point, it was definitely hurting. I had slowed down at that point and was just trying to get the run done. When I got home, the treatment plan was plenty of ice, relaxation and a Blue Moon. I don't think the beer has any sort of medical benefit. Maybe the relaxation part.
Woke up on Monday and I was walking with a definite gait. Time to call the Chiropractor. Since I have become a running addict, I have made friends at the Chiropractor again. I have also made friends with their ultrasound therapy machine. The idea of this therapy is that it reduces the healing time for soft tissue injuries by increased blood flow. I first used this when I had pain with my IT band after my Denver half-marathon. What a difference that made! I went in on Monday to have some therapy done. Monday night, I did a light upper-body and ab workout. Waiting to see if I could run on Tuesday.
Big mistake! I could only run about a half-mile and when I did finish, it felt like the pain was creeping all the way down to my knee. Treatment plan: time to ice again. Now, I'm getting nervous. Will my training be out of sync?
Wednesday: time to make friends with the Elliptical again. It was like time had never passed. If you are new to working out or are looking for a workout that is easy on the joints, I would recommend the Ellipitical. I was working up a good sweat, yet didn't feel any pressure on my groin.
It is now Thursday (actually it's Friday now as I haven't gone to bed yet), and I still haven't run. On Tuesday night, I felt defeated. So frustrated and angry, I felt like crying. How long was this injury going to last? What impact would it have on my training? I had done some google searches and found that people have been sidelined with this thing for a week, two weeks, a month, maybe more. What would my recovery time be? Maybe I was being a bit dramatic (I have been accused of that), but I felt like my running had reached a new level. My times were getting faster, my focus had returned and then this had to happen. What now?
I don't have the answers to this yet. Only time will tell. I am thinking of getting back on the treadmill tomorrow to see what happens. Maybe I will be pain-free. Or maybe I won't. All I can do is try again and let the chips fall where they may.
Until next time, stay fit and healthy!
Sunday, February 14, 2010
I was not on the track or cross country team in high school. The sports of my choice were volleyball and softball. Sports that involved a quick lunge towards a volleyball before it hit the floor or towards a softball before it ran right past you. I was fine with that.
We used to have to run suicide sprints in volleyball, but not anything that was long distance. My softball coach had a different kind of running. Not only would he have us do suicide sprints, but Indian sprints. I don't know where that name came from but everyone would jog around the diamond and the person in the back would have to run all the way up to the front and it would continue like that. Any sport that involved little running, I would enjoy. Except golf. I still don't understand the enjoyment of hitting a small ball around a big course. Maybe it's the beer. Feel free to explain it to me.
Fast forward to two years after I first started my weight loss journey. My workplace, particularly my department, was planning on running the Chase Corporate Challenge, which is a 5K. I was 25 pounds from my goal weight and figured it was time to give myself a challenege. I had never run a race before. I had never run farther than a mile and a half. Even playing volleyball in college, I think the most we ran at one time was a mile. It could have been more, but I'm sure I just blocked it out. I had no idea where to start or how to train, so one day I just decided that instead of walking, that my feet were going to be running. I started out on the treadmill at first and would be out of breath after 1 mile. I then began to extend that gradually and slowly. The first time I ran 3.1 miles on the treadmill, I think it took me an hour. Huge accomplishment for me. Then it was time to take the show out on the road. I had never run outsidebefore. Big difference! Those of you who remember going from the treadmill to the road for the first time know what I am talking about. Talk about winded! Holy cow! How was I ever going to get through that 5K?
Well, I did get through it and ran the race in 44 minutes. Considering this was my first 5K, I was pretty proud of myself. Not once did I stop running and walk. I got through it. Six years later, I have been able to run a 5K in 28 minutes. I guess that's what a little practice will do for you.
Which leads back to the question, "Why do I run?" Because running is a challenge. Getting past a certain mileage that you thought you would never get to. Getting a PR on a route you have previously run. Another reason I run is I am thankful that I can run and that I am healthy enough to run. I run because at 89 pounds overweight, I would never have been able to run a 5k, let alone a half-marathon. Now, look at all the races I am planning on for 2010? I run because of people who inspire me, people who motivate me and people who dare me (more on them later) I run for the heavy people to show them that there is a way out, that you don't have to be a prisoner in your own body. It will take some time, it won't be easy, but you didn't gain the weight overnight, so don't expect to lose it overnight either. Just start moving!
Stay fit and healthy!
Monday, February 1, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
So, I will think of this as my online diary. Maybe I will get some followers, maybe not. It will be nice to have a record of these things that are on my mind, things I accomplish during the year, trials and tribulations, etc.
Speaking of tribulations, I just hit a milestone today with 500 miles run on the daily mile since joining in June. I hope that by this time next year, I will have accomplished that feat, twice.
Stay fit and healthy!