Archive for the ‘Flashback’ Category

My fiance just unearthed this photo of me:

September 2006

September 2006

He flashed it to me, pointing out how different I looked then, so much heavier than I am now (and holding cupcakes no less). But I find the photo less interesting for that difference than the fact that, at the time, a friend had given me the photo to show how much thinner I was looking.

Yep. That was me looking thinner. And I was, comparatively. At the time, I was running, a new activity I’d started a couple of months before to train for and complete a half marathon. I thought running for a marathon would help me get in shape and lose weight. It did one the first of those things, but not so much the other. Over the course of five months of distance running, I lost a total of three pounds. It turns out it’s normal for people to not lose weight, and even to gain it, when training for a long-distance run. I did get in much better shape, and as a result, my body shifted, became somewhat more toned, which is what my friend saw in the picture, and what I eventually saw too.

But of course, I was still severely overweight. I clocked in at just under 200 pounds when I ran that half-marathon. I was in good enough shape to get through it, but still heavy enough to injure myself training for my next run, by putting too much strain on my muscles and joints.

I was changing some of my patterns with the running, but as the cupcakes give evidence to, not all of them. There was a lot about my relationship with food and alcohol I still wasn’t willing to look at. And it’s interesting to be reminded of myself at that time. Because I wanted so desperately for things to be different, but still not desperately enough to actually do the hard work needed to make that change happen. I was trying, but I wasn’t actually doing, at least not fully. And we all know the lesson Yoda taught: there is no try.

It’s true, what the Nike slogan says, you do have to just do it. But how you get to the place where you’re willing to fully commit to that action, that’s a big part of the challenge.




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I found something I wrote about five months before I started working with my trainer and changed my life. This is what I said:

I am aware of pressure. When I sit, it is often uncomfortable. It is one of the worst things about being overweight, feeling that pressure – the pressure of my own body on itself.

My lower stomach roll pushes down into my thighs, which fight against each other. When my legs are crossed at the knee, it is only comfortable to have my crossed foot jutting out at a forty-five degree angle, poking into the space of others in close quarters, unable to hang demurely next to my other leg.

Not that I have ever wanted to be demure. But I do want do be comfortable. And that lower fat roll presses up as well, pushing on its companion. Once a slight fold in skin, then two folds, eventually, like dough rising, it became a big lump of its own – the most visible and obtrusive, the one that asserts itself against the fabric of all my clothing. This one is the real pain, the real discomfort. It has grown well passed its allotted space. It pushes up at my breasts and out from my sides. It declares itself, bulbous and demanding, causing discomfort whenever and however it can. I am always aware that it’s there.

It is taking over. And I know how bad it is. It is the watermark, the signal that change must come. Because I want it gone. I want to be able to sit on a couch that is not my own and stay composed without constant pressure, constant discomfort. I am tired of feeling buried by myself.

It makes me both sad and glad to read this. Sad, of course, because I feel for myself and remember how truly painful it was feeling suffocated by my own flesh. I really was always uncomfortable. I remember the day I realized that the only place I felt truly comfortable anymore was lying down in bed. It hurt to realize I was the reason I felt that way.

It makes me glad, though, because I don’t feel that way anymore. At all. I feel pretty fucking great in my body actually. Sure, I’m sore half the time from my workouts, but that’s a good discomfort because it lets me know I’m getting stronger. And I sure can cross my legs and sit comfortably, without having the crossed leg jut out to accommodate all my extra thigh fat. I still have thigh fat. Make no mistake – I’m not done yet, and I can look at myself and tell. I’m still overweight. But not by so much anymore. And I have something I didn’t have then: lean muscle mass. I’m strong. And I can feel it. And it feels good.

It’s good to remember where I was before. It helps me see not just how far I’ve come, but why it has been so important for me to take that journey.

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A year and a really hardcore personal trainer, that is. And a lot of commitment and hard work on my part.

Last year, when I started my current job, after leaving the one I’d previously been at for four years, all that change spurred the demise of the short-lived attempt at healthy eating I had been pursuing via an iPhone app where I logged my daily food and calories. This sample day of eating came from near the end of that time, when I was still logging food daily and staying within a certain calorie count. Here’s what I ate (all italicized comments are written by me now):

1/2 cup lowfat yogurt
1/2 cup blueberries
Cereal – Oatwise Life, 103 calories’ worth
10 steamed vegetable dumplings (which I – probably erroneously – thought were worth 383 calories in all)
2/3 cup green beans
a serving of shanghai rice cakes (which is this AMAZING dish at probably the best Chinese restaurant ever – it’s basically pork, spinach and round flat rice “cakes,” but which is probably not so healthy)
pinkberry froyo (150 cal worth)
pretzel sticks
peanut butter (1 teaspoon)
cadbury cream egg
1 pack of hi-chew candies (210 cal worth)
a gluten free cupcake

My calorie record for that day showed me going over by a mere 6 calories. Looking back, I can see better now why that diet attempt wasn’t going so well. I don’t know what kind of fuzzy math I was using to make a day that featured several kinds of candy, a cupcake, AND frozen yogurt a more or less acceptable food day, but clearly I was fooling myself.

Here’s what I ate on the same day this year:

1 slice Ezekiel bread
2 slices chicken breast
2nd breakfast
yogurt with banana and cinnamon
1 slice Ezekiel bread
black coffee
chicken and vegetable stir-fry with brown rice (1 cup)
small green salad
Snack at 7pm (b/c I had to go to a middle school play)
Kind bar
big ole salad with grilled chicken
1/2 banana

It wasn’t a perfect day (see the Kind bar) but it’s a day of all real, healthy food that nourishes me and, significantly, doesn’t have much sugar in it (even though I still totally want sugar). I eat smaller meals and more of them now. I eat balanced meals throughout the day. I’ll admit that the old way still seems “sexier” to me at times – more alluring and bad. But I also know now that it’s just bad bad. That it made me feel bad about myself and that it made me feel bad physically. The food I eat now makes me feel good, all around. And on days when I deviate from it – which is always just a little bit when it happens – I can feel the difference. And it helps me realize and remember and appreciate just how important these choices about how I fuel my body are.

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