Monday, November 26, 2012

Speed Bump

These past two weeks have been less than stellar. I went on vacation the second weekend of November and ate... a lot. I gained 2 pounds over that weekend and it really upset me when I got back. I also did not keep up with my exercising so when Dan, Tell, and I went running the following Thursday (we had to skip Monday) it was much harder than it should have been. We changed up our routine a little and ran on a track instead of our usual run at the park. Instead of 2 miles we did a mile but in intervals, meaning we sprinted the straight parts and walked the curves. My breathing was labored, my shins were in a lot of pain, and I felt dizzy. I felt like a loser. And because this past week was a holiday week we were off our regular schedules and did not have the chance to meet at all and I did not keep up with exercising on my own..

This is a common theme with me. I usually do really well for 2 or 3 weeks and then I get depressed that I have not accomplished my goal. I realize that it takes more than a few weeks to lose any significant amount of weight but when I get depressed like that I usually start eating more and exercising less. This obviously means that I gain back everything I lost in the time I did really well and then have to start all over again. This is an extremely frustrating cycle, which is why I have resorted to fad diets (which I'll write about more later) in order to lose weight quickly.

Which brings us back to why I started this whole lifestyle change/blog. I need to learn to exercise regularly and eat better routinely. I also need to stop getting in my own way and give myself some leeway in order to make small mistakes, learn from them, and overcome them instead of them making me stop altogether. This is all easier said than done but hopefully with a little accountability and support I can push through this minor bump and still keep going.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Flying solo

Monday marked another milestone. Tell and I were forced to run sans trainer and I must say....we were awesome! We ran for two miles and finished it in the fastest time we have logged yet at 21 minutes. It definitely wasn't as easy as it would have been with Dany there to cheer us on but Tell and I tried to encourage one another (as well as we could while still trying to breath) and afterwards we both felt pretty triumphant at our accomplishment.

Today I took in a step further and ran on my own. I did 1.81 miles and it was a lot harder for me. I don't hold myself very accountable (thus, the blog) so usually I give in pretty easy and quit as soon as I feel any discomfort. But today I did a lot better than I have in the past. I have been using Nike+ to track my progress and they have this cool feature that lets you link your account to Facebook so people can see you're running and cheer you on by liking the activity. I got two likes while I was running and each time I heard the cheers on my phone it really helped pump me up and push through my discomfort.

Here is a basic outline of what our plan is been in case anyone out there is interested. We run two days a week and run two miles each time. During the first two weeks we ran for two minutes and walked for one and repeated this pattern until we were done with two miles. Starting this week (our third week) we have been running for three minutes and walking for one, repeating until 2 miles is completed. Dany has threatened us with doing three miles and although I am dreading this push a little, I know it's necessary in order for us to progress and keep pushing ourselves.

My eating habits have also changed the past three weeks. I have taken some advice that Dany gave me and have been trying to eat 100-200 calorie meals/snacks every two hours. I work from home so on the days when I'm not doing visits and am  able to be home it is a lot easier. On those days when I'm in the car I have to put more thought in to what I am going to take with me so I can make sure to always have food with me it's harder. I have been relying a lot on yogurt, nuts, and string cheese. This is definitely an area I need to work a little harder in because in the past I have just starved myself during the day because I didn't have food accessible and I'd eat a ton at night to make up for it. If anyone has any suggestions (please remember I almost never have access to a microwave) I would appreciate it.

Weight update: I have lost 1.4 pounds since I started running on October 22.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Running...with friends

This past Thursday I hit a personal mile stone, albeit a weird one. I ran long enough that I actually felt I was going to be sick afterwards. I turned to two of my best friends and said, "I've heard about people running so much they made themselves sick but I never thought that would happen to me". They laughed and helped me walk to the car so I could SLOWLY sip water. Then we stretched and headed home.

Although its weird, I am extremely proud of this moment. I have tried to become a runner several times in my life. I have failed miserably and had pretty much given up altogether until last week when I discovered my two best friends from college (Dany and Tell) were going to start running together twice a week at a local park. Dany recently got on a running kick and has been completing 5k races for a few months. Tell and I have been doing nothing to get ourselves in shape, unless you count complaining (which personally, I do). Thus, our band of runners was formed.

Two weeks ago was my first week running with them and it was hard. Really hard. I could barely breath, my legs wanted to give up somewhere around the one mile mark, and my head ached. The only reason I was able to finish both runs that week was because I was with two people that I knew loved me and were not judging me for my performance. I have always had an issue running with others for fear of looking weaker and less capable than them. The beauty of this arrangement is that both of these women are amazingly kind and encouraging to me and I never feel this way when I am with them. During our run yesterday words came out of my mouth after finishing the first mile that I never though I would say. I said, "Wow! That was really easy!" If it hadn't been for my friends' love and support I never would have made it long enough to have this be something I ever considered possible for myself.

There is a classic fable from the collection of Aesop's Fables called, "The Tortoise and the Hare". In this story the Hare is taunting the Tortoise so the Tortoise challenges him to a race. The Hare agrees and quickly takes a big lead. The Hare decides to nap and when he wakes up he sees that the Tortoise has won the race. Throughout my life I have tried to be like the Hare and lose weight very quickly over a short period of time and then become lazy after I feel progress has been made. What I have learned is that this kind of weight loss is not sustainable. It's possible to lose but almost impossible (for me anyway) to maintain that weight afterwards. One analysis of the fable stated that  "many people have good natural abilities which are ruined by idleness; on the other hand, sobriety, zeal and perseverance can prevail over indolence". I plan on becoming like the Tortoise this time and losing weight slowly, but steadily. 

I want this blog to be several things for me throughout this journey. I would like it to be a record of how I have progressed, and although a personal journal would suit that purpose, what I also need is accountability from several sources. I have a hard time following through with certain things and exercise has always been one of them. I'm not asking that you read my entries every single time I post, but just knowing it's available to others and that if I slack off there might be some hell to pay, that might be just the motivation I need to accomplish this goal. I also plan on using this blog to record tidbits of good advice I get about running specifically, but eating healthier and exercising in general. I will also be sharing more about how my issues with my weight has caused me to try some pretty strict diets and my honest opinion about some of the things I have tried. I am not a doctor, but I think that by sharing my personal experiences about fad diets I have tried might help someone see a different perspective of something they are considering trying.

To end, I would like to list my short term goals.

1. To run two times a week, for 1 month. (I am two weeks in to this goal)
2. To exercise, for at least 30 minutes, on the days I do not run. (One rest day a week)
3. To lose 5-10 pounds by the end of the year.

Thank you for reading this inaugural post of Slow and Steady!

  <----- This guy might be slow, but he's a winner!