Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Move/make: Weeks 17 and 18

Weight (as of Tuesday morning): 175.6.

No idea. Not enough, and I didn't keep track. On the plus side, I'm keeping up (barely) with my 10k training schedule. I have to successfully run 55 minutes without stopping this week, but I plan on doing that tomorrow. 

Thoughts on food:
Terrible, until the middle of last week or so. Yesterday (Monday), I started eating healthier than I have in months. The last two weeks, not so much. I don't even remember if I went out or what I ate. I think my weight reflects all this pretty well. I just didn't care.

Overall reflections:
I'm depressed, though I didn't really realize it until this morning. I wrapped up my summer job last week, and am waiting to hear on a fall job. A fall job that comes with its own set of emotions and thoughts to work through (another thing on my to-do list, of course).

I have a long to-do list, no job, and plenty of time to tackle all these things. But I can't bring myself to do any of it. I couldn't even bring myself to keep up with this blog until just now.

Honestly, I'm not sure what to do. I'm not sure how to dig myself out and get back on track. I can't keep up on cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping, exercising, job hunting, finances. I overdrew my checking account. I'm late to everything. I can't finish anything, so I don't start much. My usual self-care tricks (taking a day off, running, watching a good TV show) aren't working. I just don't know.

Sometimes, the trick is to stay busy. But sometimes, I can say too busy. I've overbooked myself this summer. I've had weekend after weekend where I had literally five or six places to go in a couple of days. I've never been good at being on time, but I've also just taken on too much. I am not good at finding a balance.

When I finished graduate school, I immediately had to jump into a summer job (and then another summer job). I haven't really processed anything until now. I feel aimless, I've got nothing waiting for me in the fall. I haven't slowed down to think about any of it until now, and it's hitting me hard.

I don't know what to do.

I didn't do any of the things from Week 16, of course. Not one.

I said I wanted to move forward in my last post. I haven't.

I'm not sure what my goals for this week will be, other than surviving. I'm letting myself off the hook this time. I'm not making any new goals, adding any more pressure. I just need to get in front of some things in my life. That's all I want. This blog -- this project -- was the one thing that gave me some kind of structure, that encouraged me to take care of myself. And right now? It's not doing that for me. I'm not doing that for me.

I'll try this all again next week.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Think/act: The volume of the soul

“You are not your bra-size, nor are you the width of your waist, nor are you the slenderness of your calves. You are not your hair color, your skin color, nor are you a shade of lipstick. Your shoe-size is of no consequence. You are not defined by the amount of attention you get from males, females, or any combination thereof. You are not the number of sit-ups you can do, nor are you the number of calories in a day. You are not your mustache. You are not the hair on your legs. You are not a little red dress. You are no amalgam of these things.

You are the content of your character. You are the ambitions that drive you. You are the goals that you set. You are the things that you laugh at and the words that you say. You are the thoughts you think and the things you wonder. You are beautiful and desirable not for the clique you attend, but for the spark of life within you that compels you to make your life a full and meaningful one. You are beautiful not for the shape of the vessel, but for the volume of the soul it carries.”


Always relevant. Though the sentiment applies to anyone, no matter how they identify.

Original source unknown. 

Monday, July 16, 2012

Move/make: Week 16

Weight (as of Monday morning): 171.8 pounds. 

Monday: Biked 20 miles
Tuesday: Ran 45 minutes
Wednesday: Ran 40 minutes
Thursday: Off
Friday: Hiked 30 minutes
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Ran 45 minutes 

Thoughts on food:
Still eating gradually healthier. I am trying to swap out Diet Coke for iced chai and Arnold Palmers. So far, I've made it one day without soda. Not that all the sugar in chai and iced tea/lemonade is healthy. It just seems better than the toxic chemicals in soda.

Otherwise, my eating has been pretty unbalanced. Not junk food, per se, but a lot of cheese, crackers, soy milk and strawberries. Not exactly healthy. I have no energy, and I'm training for a 10K at the end of August. Go figure. 

Overall reflections:
There are parts of my life that are very, very good right now. But I also have a huge mental block about two things in my life: eating/cooking, and finding a job for the fall. Those two things are really sapping my energy. And, of course, I need energy to overcome those speed bumps.

Running, as always, has been keeping me relatively calm and happy. We've had heat wave after heat wave, but I've been managing to keep going. 

Given how I've been feeling, I owe it to myself to actually make good on some goals this week:
  • Do something other than running. Go to the gym and swim or lift weights at least once. It will keep me from burning out before the 10K.
  • Find two easy dishes to make for meals this week.
  • Go grocery shopping and make those meals.
  • Apply for jobs.
If I can do those four things, I'll be tremendously happy. And it will make my busy weekends feel better, because I won't have those things hanging over me. I owe it to my own mental health.

A bonus if I can finally get down below 170 pounds, but I'm not going to stress it. I need to start eating better, once and for all, first and foremost.

I'd like this week to be the last week I have to keep writing the same list of goals. I want to move forward!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Look/hear: Lucinda Williams

I love this woman. I love how bold and brave and vulnerable and broken-hearted her songs can be.

"Can't Let Go"


"Where Is My Love?" (bonus points for mentioning flannel shirts)


Think/act: Acceptance

I've been more active than I have been in quite a while, and I've been thinking a lot about body acceptance.

As a teenager, I was always self-conscious of my legs. I hated wearing shorts, because even at my skinniest, I had huge leg muscles. Even on the hottest summer days, I'd usually be in jeans. In college, there would be days where I felt so fat, and so unattractive, that I couldn't even get dressed and go to class. Paralyzed, I'd put pajamas back on, and get back in bed. 

I realize how ludicrous that sounds. I missed class because I felt "fat." And that was about 30 pounds ago.

Thirty pounds ago, I had disordered eating patterns. Thirty pounds ago, I couldn't even put on an outfit to leave the house.

After college, I realized that it was silly not to wear shorts, to be miserable because of something as superficial as clothing, or body shape. Especially when, by all accounts, I wasn't overweight. My legs were strong and healthy. There was nothing wrong with me. By then, I understood that bodies change. Mine had changed a lot. I had gained a good amount of weight -- I was probably at my heaviest when I first went back to graduate school. But I could get dressed, usually with minimal problems. I could wear shorts. I could leave the house. I wasn't crazy about how I looked. In fact, I was pretty unhappy with how much weight I gained. But I didn't linger on it.

Then, in graduate school, I started studying feminist theory, and thinking a lot about the ways women, in particular, are expected to look. The pressure that young girls feel to be thin, or pretty, or "perfect." The ways women pin their hopes and summer plans on fitting into the perfect pair of jeans, or bikini.

I thought of all the time and energy wasted on such a pointless thing. Imagine I had all the time back that I spent worrying about my clothes, my body. I could have been so much more productive. I could have experienced more life right then and there, instead of thinking I only deserved to live and be comfortable once I lost X pounds.

Think what would happen if every woman (and man) struggling with self-acceptance was able to trust that s/he was beautiful, and strong, and just fine. I read this blog post today, and it damn near broke my heart. A woman who has worked as hard as she has to get fit and strong has earned the right to wear running shorts, and look beautiful doing it. Shit, anyone should be able to. The idea that some people can wear some clothes, and others can't, is beyond upsetting to me. Who defines what beauty is?

Running has helped me with my own acceptance. Whereas before I'd wear shorts mostly out of necessity, I wear them now because I am proud of the muscles in my legs. A lot of hard work, sweat, and even tears have gone into those muscles. I've run in the rain. I've run in the snow. I've run during heat waves. I've run through shin splints, numbness, cracking joints, and other weird foot "things." I've run through heartbreak and depression. More than once, I've gotten up at 5:30 a.m. to run with a bunch of strangers.

Even so,  I'm not perfect. I still have days where I feel like nothing fits right, or where I wonder how I gained all this weight. But those days are farther and farther apart. I can go months without feeling bad about my body.

Last week's heat wave was my most recent test. I was determined to keep up with running, despite the heat. I usually run in shorts, a jogging bra, and a tank top, but even the tank top was too much last week. Before now, I have never run in just a jogging bra. I feel vulnerable, and I'm self-conscious about my stomach. But, dammit, it was hotter than hell, and I wanted to run. So I took off my tank top. After all, it was so hot that no one else was out anyway. And the few people I came across just expressed disbelief that I was crazy enough to be running in the first place. No one told me to put a shirt back on. No one made fun of me.

And you know what? After a minute or so, I was so distracted by the sun and heat, that I couldn't even think about what I might have looked like.

I feel like, of all the runs I've done since last May, I earned those six miles.

I only wish I could have felt like this sooner in life. And that everyone else could feel the same.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Move/make: Week 15

Weight (as of Monday afternoon): 172.2 pounds. 

Monday: Ran 30 minutes
Tuesday: Off
Wednesday: Ran 37 minutes (Fourth of July 5K)
Thursday: Off
Friday: Ran 37 minutes
Saturday: Ran 37 minutes
Sunday: Off 

Thoughts on food:
A little healthier than last week. I've been eating more fruit, less take-out. I had grilled fish and vegetables for the Fourth, and I even helped cook. Ate out twice (Thai and Chinese). Overall, not too bad. 

Overall reflections:
Last week was terribly hot all week (upper 90s and low 100s), so it was hard to get outdoors very much. My runs on Friday and Saturday took a while, since I stopped every 10 minutes or so to drink water and rest in the shade. Even so, they took a lot out of me. But being in constant air-conditioning meant that I couldn't stomach being stuck inside at the gym, either. 

Thanks to the holiday, I had a long weekend that I got to spend with some of my favorite people. My weekends have been great this summer. 

The only thing I did from last week's goals was to run the 5K successfully. I didn't stop once, because I knew I wouldn't be able to get going again. It was hotter than hot at 8 a.m. I did fit in a long bike ride (20 miles), but I did that today, so it doesn't count toward last week.

For the rest of this week, I want to:
  • Work out a total of 5 days.
  • Go to the gym at least once.
  • FINALLY tackle the two major things on my to-do list: Finish my CV and apply for jobs.  
  • Do a 25-mile bike ride for charity.
This weekend will be busy again, and though that's a good thing, it means I need to be good about getting things done this week.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Move/make: Week 14

Weight (as of Monday morning): 171.4 pounds.

Monday: Ran 20 minutes
Tuesday: Ran 20 minutes
Wednesday: Ran 40 minutes
Thursday: Does chasing a 2-year-old up and down inflatable slides and ladders for an hour count? It sure felt like it.
Friday: Biked 10 miles
Saturday: Off
Sunday: Hiked 30 minutes

Thoughts on food:
This last week was more of the same. But I went grocery shopping today, and am running a 5K on Wednesday, so I'm making a more conscious effort to eat healthier this week. The few times I went out to eat were healthy, though -- salads and healthy pizzas. I also finally cleaned out my fridge. Sometimes I get this mental food block, especially when there's nothing but expired eggs and wilting spinach in the fridge.

Overall reflections:
I know I wanted to get a variety of workouts in, but I since I decided to do a 5K this week, I've been focused on running. I wanted to make sure I could run a 5K without feeling too exhausted, and I think I'll be all right.

Overall, I'm feeling good. Last weekend was a whirlwind: I saw my best friend and her son, reconnected with an old friend on her birthday, had lunch with another friend, went to another friend's baby shower, went to Cave of the Mounds in Wisconsin, went for a bike ride in my hometown, and visited my grandparents. All in four days! I have a five-day weekend coming up that's promising to be similarly busy. I feel very lucky to have so many wonderful people in my life that I can spend time with. When my last relationship ended, I swore I'd do better at cultivating friendships. I'm happy I made good on that promise.

For the rest of this week, I want to:
  • Successfully run that Fourth of July 5K.
  • Go for another long bike ride.
  • Go to the gym at least once.
  • Tackle two major things on my to-do list: Finish my CV and apply for jobs. 
Since this weekend will be so busy, I'll be happy to just do those things.  Anything else will be a bonus.