Friday, May 6, 2011

Much more than the Bathroom Scale, Blog Day #12

So last fall, after weaning my last baby, I decided it was time to kick it into high gear and get to BK (Before Kids) weight. That would mean I needed to lose a shocking total of 35 pounds. It seemed so high since my ethnicity states that I should be skinny as a rail, cook a mean fried rice and play piano like a maniac. Well, one out of three isn't bad.

This was back in September. School was in full force, football season time consuming, and ballet was a 40 minute drive into Sacramento three times a week.  I didn't know how to start any kind of exercise routine and just tried to get in one long nighttime walk with the dog a week.  And I tried to stay away from the refined sugars and refined flours.  Then the series of setbacks began.

First was California's lousy economy. My husband's job is an essential, so no matter how much lobbyists want to do away with them, we will always have employment. The setback, though, was that any kind of overtime coming from other state-run budgets was dried up.  No overtime = no extras = no cushion = bad for an over-spender.  And since healthy food is slightly more expensive and constantly needing replenishing, I had to make cut backs almost as soon as I started.

The next bunch of setbacks were the holidays.  Specifically: Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas day.  The four self-indulging and feasting holidays of the year, all lined up in a row.  Candy, more candy, cupcakes, turkey, pies, cheesecakes, tamales, cobblers, potatoes of all kinds, jello salad, cookies, milk, pasta salads, Happy Birthday Jesus tacos with plenty of sour cream and cheese. . .I'm getting hungry just thinking about it.

It's too bad that, at the time, I did more than think about it. I partook...And gained around 10 pounds.

*sigh, As if I wasn't big enough. And to add insult to injury, sometime in this 10 pound weight gain I got a mosquito bite on my neck under my chin.  As if I needed another chin. . .

So with all the New Year's resolution hoopla, I resolved to get myself in shape and spend 2011 getting back to BK weight. One of my good friends suggested the Couch to 5k program. Running? I had never run in my life.  Even in the peak of swim season as a high schooler (and I was a pretty decent swimmer) I could barely run a mile. But I have many friends who run for exercise. And I know many women with grown kids who look fabulous because they took up running. So I downloaded a schedule and before my mind could change itself, I started.

I was all for it at first. I am the type of person who gets fired up and jumps right into things. So when I completed that first 5 minute walk-2 minute run- 5 minute walk day, I thought, "I can do this!"

So running and cutting calories became my obsession.  I especially got pumped when I got new shoes, my knee healed, and I could run 2.5 miles without gasping for air. I ran a 5k and had fun. And the only thing that had to give way was the housework. Who needs to do housework, anyway?

I hit a total weight loss of 20 pounds. I started getting compliments from people who noticed. My clothes were fitting better and I could go buy new clothes without feeling like a rhino in the fitting room. Not to mention, I was way less jiggly during my runs. Yay!

But exercising and changing eating habits is exhausting. You have to constantly think about running, otherwise you lose motivation and procrastinate.  You have to constantly think about food so that you mind your portions and read all the labels.  The food part is hard, because the more you exercise, the hungrier you get. And when you are cooking for small people who need to eat multiple times throughout the day, you tend to have little bits of food all day long until, before you realize, you've gone almost 300 calories over-budget. Great for maintaining weight if you burn that much during exercising, which I do. But bad if you still have 20 pounds left to lose.

So I've hit a plateau. And it didn't help that I had hosted a delicious feast to celebrate the end of Lent, the greatest holiday of the year, Easter. Then proceeded to eat leftover ham, potatoes, cheesecake and carrot cake the whole next week. And my husband switched to day shift on weekends, throwing my running schedule off.  Argh!

Now I'm struggling to keep the momentum going. I get the runs in, but there is hardly any time to cross-train. So my muscles are very tired. The weather is against me, too. The rain was fine and the cold was bearable. But lately it has been crazy windy and now it is getting hot. My run yesterday had to be cut short because 1)I tried to run way faster than I am capable of maintaining and 2) it was darned hot and I hadn't fueled and hydrated enough during the day to compensate.

There is so much to this route to a healthy temple (ie body). I can understand why people resort to pills and fake milkshakes and frozen diet dinners.

But instead of the easy ways out, I am choosing balance. I eat food that is the way God intended: real. Real fruit, real juice, real eggs, real wheat, real sugar, etc. . .It's such a more efficient way to get what I need to run 11 miles a week. If I am in the habit of eating the right ingredients in all my yummy food, and keep the portions reasonable, I can have the occasional Costco chocolate cake or cheesy enchiladas and such. I just don't touch the label, haha. . .

And as far as exercise, balance is the key again.  Lately my body is crying out for sleep. As I'm typing, I am emitting the pungent odor of Tiger Balm because of a knot in my neck. I've had the knot for 6 days now, giving me a slight headache for those days.  I can't seem to get rid of it. It's not a coincidence that I have gone to bed no earlier than midnight all week, it's been very warm outside and I've kept my running schedule anyway. Balance here would have been listening better to my body and skipping one run to rest and let my muscles heal and catch up.

Balance. Another one of those simple, yet so hard, concepts to apply. It seems so easy in words: Eat right and in good portions, plus exercise and rest according to how your body feels, plus sleep at night. But I find that I'm always tipping the scales in one way or another.

*sigh.  I guess the scale in the bathroom is not the only scale I need to pay attention to. . . .

Stay tuned, I'll update on the weight loss towards the end of my 40 day blogging blitz. . .I'll have run a 10K race by then. . .

1 comment:

Shelley said...

I love it!! I'm in the same boat, 34 pounds to lose. I'm 20 down now and feeling unmotivated. I have realized how heavy those pounds were now that I am carrying a 18 pound baby everywhere! No wonder my hips and ankles hurt all the time. Finding time for exercise is where I have trouble and also not snacking. I went through two bad weeks and feel back on track. It's nice to hear about someone going through the same thing.

Also the flabby running, totally feels like my behind is tapping me on my back while I jog!!!