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Posts Tagged ‘the superhero in me’

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I am really excited that I was asked by FitApproach (@fitapproach) to become one of their Sweat Pink Ambassadors (#sweatpink), because one of the perks is being able to contribute to their site.  One of my first “assignments” was to write about My Fitness AHA Moment, and I really enjoyed reflecting on how I got to where I am today. This post is going to run concurrently with the one on their site

Growing up, I was not what you would consider active.  When my sister and I “played outside” it usually involved setting up a tea party for our dolls where our “crumpets” were Cheerios.  🙂  But I loved to ride my bike, swing on the swing set in our backyard, and I could roller skate like nobody’s business.  I never had a penchant for group sports, we only had gym class once a week (I went to Catholic school and we didn’t have the same PE requirements), and I spent my recess sharing secrets with my best friend, rather than playing dodgeball.  When we did have to run the mile each year, I dreaded it, especially the span that took us right past my house, knowing I would be at the back of the pack, and hoping none of my neighbors would see me struggling.  I remember going way out of my comfort zone and trying out for volleyball in 6th grade, encouraged by my mom’s tales of how much fun she had playing volleyball in school, and hoping that her killer serve was somehow inherited.  I was cut after the first day of tryouts, and that was the end of my sports-playing career.

At my all-girls high school I was only required to take 2 semesters of PE, and I chose aerobics both times (this was the late 80’s, think Jane Fonda in all her leotarded glory).  I loved every minute of it, especially the music: my teacher let us bring in songs from our favorite bands, as long as they met the required beats per minute.  On weekends and in the summer I remember riding my bike all over the place with my friends, because none of us were old enough to drive.  In March of my senior year I knew it was time to get serious and try to lose some weight – I thought I was huge at 172 lbs (oh, how I’d love to weigh that now), and I joined Jenny Craig.  I knew that I had to exercise in addition to restricting my diet, and so I started walking.  One day I set off, and just kept walking and walking and walking.  My mom started to worry about me because I’d been gone so long, and when we drove the route later to see how far I’d gone, I realized that I had walked 5.3 miles.  And it felt easy, because I had my Walkman to keep me company.  Walking helped me work out whatever was on my mind; a little escape from the so-called troubles of my teenage life.

Early in my college days, I joined a local gym, and I remember feeling really proud when the step aerobics teacher told me what natural rhythm I had.  I could grapevine with the best of them!  I never really liked going to the gym for the weights or the treadmill, but I loved taking those step classes. It was so nice to get the recognition in a class full of skinnies.

And now at 40, I’ve come to realize that exercise makes me feel amazing. I can’t help but smile my way through a challenging Zumba class, because the music makes me happy.  I find my center while getting zen in a Bikram yoga class.  I enjoy the weightless calm I achieve when I swim.  I love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I see that I’ve done a 5K on the elliptical machine.  I’m a natural, swaying my hips to the Middle Eastern beats in a belly dancing class.  When I take my dog Sofi for a walk, I get to live in the moment along with her, and soak in all that I have to be thankful for – the great neighborhood I live in, the sun shining on my face, the beautiful houses I’m seeing.  Mostly, I’ve come to realize that despite the fact that I’m considered morbidly obese on any doctor’s report or BMI chart, I am an active person.

I thrive on variety and am constantly looking forward to trying new forms of exercise, like that Saturday Aqua Zumba class I was excited to try a few weeks ago.  I’m willing to give anything a try once, despite my size.  Most of the time the limitations are only in my mind, and those times that I do find a physical limitation only serve as a future “to do” on my Fitness Bucket List.  Exercise is a form of expression, it’s an outlet for stress, it’s a release. Through movement, I can become the person I’ve always known I am inside. 

Fitness is a way of life and I look forward to each new stride I can make, each new height I can reach, each new obstacle I can overcome along my weight loss journey. It’s one of the reasons that I had a graphic designer draw up a superhero cape on my fitness avatar – every time I workout and do something I’ve never done before, I feel like I’ve found a bit more of my superpower that was inside me all along.

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I’ve been struggling for about a week.  Hell, let’s be honest, I’ve been struggling for more than two years.  Well, if we’re really going to be honest, I’ve been struggling for the past 10 years.

But things really went into high gear beginning on Monday.  I was tired exhausted from staying up all night grading essays before the 8am deadline for our 12-week progress reports.  (Don’t feel too sorry for me, though, because if I wouldn’t have let all the essays pile up at the last minute, I wouldn’t have had so much to do over the weekend).  And we all know that good nutrition and healthy food choices seem to go out the window without proper sleep and a feeling of restfulness.  So it comes as no shock to anyone, myself least of all, that I had a major meltdown on Monday evening and literally felt like someone took over control of my mind and body when I found myself at Panda Express ordering not one unhealthy (albeit delicious) 2-item meal, but two.  Yes two.  For just me.  I brought them home and gobbled them down, but stopped 3/4 of the way through my second meal, because I was just too stuffed.  Disgusted with myself, I threw away the remainders and went to bed.

I woke up Tuesday morning, and faced the music on the scale, wrote an email to Scale Warfare telling her what I’d done. As you guys know, she and I exchange daily food journals via email, and even though this Panda Express meltdown hadn’t made it to the food journal, I wanted to make sure I told her about it. Slip-ups are going to happen, but I feel like honesty is the best way to get past them.  As I’ve written before, I haven’t always been as honest with myself (and especially others) when I’ve failed, so this is a new thing for me.

Tuesday night a new friend (ANF) and I were meeting for a few glasses of wine at a local wine bar.  She and I haven’t known each other very long – about a year – and while we have quite a few things in common, I’m not sure how close I want to get to her.  She’s a very negative person, in general, and she seems to be very concerned with how others view her.  And don’t get me started with the fact that she seems to take her brand-new (married less than two months) husband for granted.  Anyway, without going into a long, drawn out story, I will say that ANF recently recommended her friend’s husband for a service that my alumnae wine club needed.  At the end of the service, when he asked me to write a glowing review on a website for him, I told him that there were some concerns that the group brought up that I wanted to share with him.  (Mind you, these weren’t necessarily MY concerns, but as the leader of the group, I felt like it was my responsibility to bring them to his attention).  These weren’t major things; more like constructive criticism for future events.  His reaction was awful, not the least of which was when he threatened to sue me for lack of payment (we paid what was asked AND tipped him generously).  And just when I’d put it behind me, ANF brings it up and reads me an email from him which said that he wanted her to make sure that “that morbidly obese piece of garbage doesn’t write anything negative on any websites.”  Now first of all, why did ANF feel the need to bring this up to me?  I’d moved on, and there was no real reason to tell me he said this.  I know she didn’t mean to intentionally hurt me (at least, I hope not), but what good could come of it?  I told her that he was a douchebag, as evidenced by the personal attack when dealing with a business complaint.  I told her I wasn’t going to let him bother me, and it just showed what a small-minded dickhead he was.  I told her his business was destined to fail if he had that sort of attitude.  And I didn’t let it get to me.

Ya, right.  It’s eaten away at me for days.  “Morbidly obese piece of garbage” kept playing again and again and again in my head. And instead of turning my anger on the person who said it, I got angry at myself.  Because the only reason those words hurt as much as they did was because they were partially true.  And they were true because of my own actions.  Then I got upset that I am nowhere near losing the 30 pounds I need to for the lap band surgery.  And because I know that it’s my fault – if I’d really been eating the way I should be I would have lost 20 pounds since August, easily.  Yes, I’ve also stopped smoking so the cravings for food have increased, but when did I completely lose all my willpower?  When did I  become that weak?

So I wrote to SRG asking her more about her HCG protocol.  I’m not looking to use it, as she has, as the main way I drop all my weight, but more as a “quick fix” to lose these 30 pounds.  There are a lot of websites touting the homeopathic drops at a fraction of the cost of the injections.  SRG told me, as I thought she would, that the drops really don’t do anything and that the reason the people were losing weight on those drops was merely because they were eating 500 calories a day.  She recommends the injections, but only after careful research and medical supervision.  So I looked into it, and the only place HCG injections are available in my area (that I could find doing a Google search) was at a medspa near my work.  But the prices were exorbitant, especially for something that I wasn’t going to use as a long-term solution, but more of a means to and end.

Lots of weight loss ideas were dancing in my head when I went to my personal training appointment yesterday.  I’d called and canceled the one I had scheduled for Wednesday, simply because I didn’t feel like it.  I wanted to wallow in my self-pity and sabotage for another day.  So yesterday I was completely off my game with the training.  Everything he asked me to do seemed twice as hard, and I was really getting into my own head.  Thoughts of Panda Express-Morbidly Obese Piece of Garbage-No Willpower-Eating Too Much-Giving in Too Easily prevented me from doing my best.  I felt awful, physically and mentally, and at the end of the session, I apologized.  And when the trainer said that I’d done well, that he could see a major improvement, that I was doing more reps at higher weight, and that my recovery time was so much shorter, I just lost it.  I started crying, and then apologizing for crying, and when he asked me what was going on, I just told him that someone had said something mean about my weight, and as much as I’d tried putting it out of my head, it was with me throughout the workout, and it zapped my energy.  I said that I felt so stupid for letting someone so small affect me this way, but he said, “Listen, you always try to be so tough, but you don’t always have to be.  It’s ok to be upset by something someone said that hurt you – you’re human.  Sometimes people’s words hurt us.”  And then he said that he was here for me if I needed to talk, and I thanked him.

And as I drove home, the tears kept streaming down my face.  Less because of what the asshole said, and more because of all the times I’ve let myself down.  For all the frustration I’ve brought upon myself because I’ve continued to overindulge/overeat when all it gets me is back to my starting point.  Only now my starting point is higher than it’s ever been.  It’s in the scary number range that I never wanted to see.  And it’s farther from my goal than every before.

But my mom didn’t raise a whiner.  And the only thing to do is to get back up, once again, and just do this thing.  Enough with the excuses, enough with the reasons why, enough with the feeling sorry.  Enough.  Just get these 34 pounds off so I can get the damn surgery scheduled and move on with my life.  Finally achieve my weight loss goals so that I can appreciate the life I’m living.

In this fight of Bella vs. Fat Girl (or Mind over Matter), there is only one option of who’s going to come out on top.

With that said, I decided to do my best through the holidays and to really get on with it in January.  Now “doing my best” means continuing to journal my calories, eating 1200 calories during the week/1600 on weekends, and working out 4 times a week.  Allowing for a few “extra weekend days” when holiday gatherings and parties come up, but making up for those indulgences with time at the gym.  And in January, I’m going hardcore.  Slimfasts for breakfast and lunch, fruit for snacks, and a salad with Lean Cuisines for dinner.  Along with working out, but since I won’t have the money to buy any more training sessions (which are so pricey at $50 a pop), I’m going to have to motivate myself and take plenty of classes to make sure I get the caloric burn I need. I’ll give it one month and see where I am.

I’m slowly feeling like I’m finding the superhero in me.

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