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Wednesday, June 12, 2013

The liberated woman.

I'm currently reading Woodswoman by Anne LaBastille. This is the true story of a woman who, following a divorce, decided to buy 22 acres of land in the Adirondack wilderness and live off the land, alone in a cabin she built herself. I knew it would be a great read simply because I really enjoy stuff like this, my favorite being Dick Proenneke's Alone in the Wilderness. But I'm feeling more enlightened than I even anticipated so far. I'm feeling like all the usual feelings woman have (myself included), even the feelings we independent women don't like to acknowledge, are being acknowledged and faced. And overcome. Like I've had this shift in my self-understanding, self-belief, in my resolve. That I believe I could totally do whatever I want completely on my own, even live off the land in the Adirondack wilderness if I feel like it.

Thoughts on my elementary school gym teacher.

If only physical education classes in elementary, middle & high school had been enjoyable the way my time at the YMCA now is. I love going to the gym because it is a friendly, healthy, positive environment where no one makes anyone else feel inferior or incompetent and everyone is happy to encourage everyone else along their journey. In elementary school, I learned from the get-go that phys ed was going to be a shitty situation for me. The teacher constantly singled me out for being overweight and made me feel embarrassed that I could not run as fast as the other kids. Not once did she ever try to actually get me excited or enthusiastic about exercise. Quite the opposite. By high school I was a pro at finding ways to get out of gym class. I remember the last day of my freshman year when I realized I would never be forced to go to another gym class again in my life, I felt like dropping to my knees and thanking baby jesus. The YMCA now is such a great experience for me. Who would have ever thought I would actually LOVE being in that gymnasium, sweating my ass off, grinning widely while running back and forth across the gym doing drills...yeah that's me. In your face, stupid elementary school gym teacher, you old hag.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Reflections for My 31st Birthday.

I just finished a book called She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb.  It was written in the early 90s.  I remember seeing it on my mom's bookshelf when I was growing up, but I finally took the time to read it this year.  I think it's an excellent read for just about anyone, but especially females like me who have been overweight most of their lives.  The book is at times emotionally difficult to get through, but there is a lot of hope and learning to be gleaned from those pages.

The book transported me back to my own childhood, the 1980s, when hardly anyone was fat yet but brightly colored snacks wrapped in cellophane packages were becoming the norm in grocery stores across America.  By the end of that decade, Americans everywhere were hoping Walmart would build a new store in their neighborhood next.

I look back on the 80s as a time of ignorance for the American people.  We were so excited about how the world was changing that we never stopped to think about how it was going to affect us all.  Obesity rates have sky-rocketed, and diabetes, too.

I was a lot like the character in She's Come Undone back then.  Although I did not have a fucked up childhood like hers, I did use food to manage all of my emotions.  Anxiety, nervousness, happiness, sadness, anger, you name it.  My favorite were the coconut covered raspberry Zingers.

I know all about stuffing my face with 9 or 10 lemon donuts to erase the pain of being made fun of for being fat, the pain of rejection.  I know what it's like to worry that my four years in college were a total waste of time because no one was ever going to want to hire the fat girl anyway.  I know what it's like to be terrified of sex because it meant showing my naked fat rolls and stretch marks to another human being.

I know what it's like to try and try and try to lose weight and never seem to succeed.  And then stuffing my face until I'm literally sick to deal with the pain of failure.  I know what it's like to run through a drive-thru and eat in the privacy of my car so that others can't see what a nasty fat pig I am.  I know what it's like to take absolutely no pleasure in anything except greasy french fries and chocolate cake.

Fortunately, I've come a long way since those days, although they are never far from my heart and I know I could slip right back if I'm not mindful and precise every single day with my choices.  As a fellow Lose It member discussed recently, it isn't climbing Mount Everest, it's having the self-love and the determination to follow through with our simple routines day in, and day out.  Value myself enough to take the time to pack my lunch.  Take the time to go to the gym after work.  Take the time to drink enough water.  It is in between these moments that miracles bloom.  Not at the top of Mount Everest.  After all, as the old Zen masters know, "The only zen you'll find at the top of the mountain is the zen you bring up there."  I will always be a fat girl inside my childhood heart, but the grown me knows I'm in control these days.

The book reminded me of just how far I have come in my life and how proud I am to be where I am today.  I'm about to turn 31 years old in four days, and I've never been healthier or more confident as an adult as I am right now, this very moment.  It sure is good to be alive, fat rolls and all.


Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Hooper girl!

Thought I would take the time to write a quick update.  This weekend was Memorial Day weekend, meaning an extra day off from work!  I am very proud of how well I did in terms of my diet and exercise for those three days, especially considering the gym was closed on Monday AND people brought lots of junk food to my house.  I spent several hours on Saturday hula hooping with my friend Katie who is apparently an amazing hooper.  She can just stand there and not even think about the hoop and it will stay up and twirling steadily around her waist.  Me, I still have to give it my full focus to keep it up, but at least now I can keep it going for probably longer than 60 seconds.  I think I need to start timing myself, to see how long I can actually keep the hoop going.  Losing weight is going to help a lot, because my not-flat belly sometimes throws the hoop out of whack.  A flat middle would make the hoop go around much easier and smoother.  Good thing I'm well on my way already! ;)

So after I hooped for many hours on Saturday, I honestly felt like I had improved quite a bit with my hooping  by the end of it.  Then yesterday, my cousins who are in an amazing bluegrass band came over and played their awesome music, and I had to bust out my hoop again and hoop while they were playing.  I was really pleased with my progress and I want to keep trying to improve my hooping every day.

I just had a random thought.  I should start practicing my hooping while I am watching TV or movies sometimes.  That's extra time in my day I could be using to not only catch up on True Blood or Game of Thrones but also practice my hoop!

Also I took a short bike ride yesterday on my new bicycle.  I got a new seat for it because the other one was severely hurting my ass bones lol.  So the new seat is much more comfortable, and I rode over to my Papaw's house and back.  I was seriously sweating by the time I got home!

I did eat fried chicken, macaroni salad, brownies, and 3 beers yesterday.  All in all I went over my budget by 1,000 calories for the day.  But I'm very proud of myself for logging everything instead of saying 'meh, I'll start again tomorrow' like I usually would.   Also proud of myself for trying to burn some of it off through hooping and bike riding.

Tonight I'm back at the gym for another five days in a row.  Power yoga tonight.  Can't wait.  I seriously need some planks and downward dogs in my life :)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Progress pics so far.

So here are my progress pics so far.  I'm bummed that the progress from April to May is not nearly as obvious as the progress from March to April, but I guess that might be because I had just started the gym in February, and the initial progress happened faster.  I have started taking my measurements, too.  From March to April, I lost overall about 15", but from April to May I only lost about 6".  However, I'll take it.  Progress is progress.  And I'm still working hard, going to the gym 5 days a week, and carefully calculating my calorie intake.  So I just have to stay consistent.  

Anyway, here's the pic:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Hula Hooping & Enlightenment.

As I age, I'm getting this feeling that everything is connected.  Not just the whole hippie dippie "we are one" philosophy (although I, being a long-haired flower-wearing San-Francisco-loving kind of chick, do subscribe to that), but also that every action I take affects all aspects of my life.  And that I might learn valuable lessons while learning to hula hoop that could help me in my love life, or my career, or my relationship with my mom.

So I decided a few weeks ago that I would take up hula hooping.  There are several reasons why, the main one being that it's one hell of a workout.  It requires you to hold your core in tight and move your torso forward and backwards at a pretty quick pace.  I get out of breath pretty quickly, but I try to practice at least for a few minutes every day (usually when I get home from the gym while I'm still all revved up).  Other reasons why I'm drawn to the hoop: it's a very inexpensive new hobby, it can be very creative since I make my own hoops (learned how to do that from a DIY video on Youtube), and it's something I can do practically anywhere!  I plan to take my hoop with me to parties, festivals, concerts, etc.  You can get hula hoop tape online in a wide array of colors and designs.  My favorites are the glittery ones, the tye-dyed ones (of course lol) and the glow-in-the-dark stuff.

The first hula hoop I got was from Wal-mart.  I was there for another reason and happened to walk by a display of hula hoops in the toy section.  They were blue and sparkly and only 5 bucks; what's a girl to do?  I couldn't resist.  So I took it back to work with me (I'd been on my lunch hour) and a couple of my co-workers gave it a few spins around their hips.  They were each able to hold it up for three or four go-arounds before it descended to the floor.  When I got home and showed the hoop to my boyfriend Cecil, he exclaimed, "Give me that!" and proceeded to start hooping like a boss! LOL.  It was awesome.  He practiced martial arts for many years in addition to lifting weights and various other work outs, so he has a lot of control over his core muscles and was able to keep that hoop up pretty much indefinitely.  I was impressed, and inspired!

So on my first try it was the same as ever other time I'd ever tried in my 31 years, even as a child: I couldn't do it.  Not even one little spin around.  I'd throw that hoop as hard as I could around my waist and momentum would send it about halfway around and then it was drop lifelessly to the floor.  But I refused to be discouraged.  So I got on the internet and read some advice for beginners and tried again.  The trick is not to move your hips in circles but forward and backward to the rhythm of the hoop.

The rhythm of the hoop--that's where the word 'enlightenment' comes in.  At the very moment when I first felt that hoop spin around my waist, the moment when I knew I'd finally done it, I felt a huge door open up in the universe, inviting me in, as if a whole new world was now mine for the taking.  It may be a similar feeling to when a surfer catches their first wave.  Or when you finally understand what Robert Frost meant in a line of poetry that's kept you stumped for years.  It was a moment of pure zen, and I won't forget it.

It is those moments that drive me, and it is why I am so passionate about always trying new things and learning as much as I can.  Because with every new insight, I climb higher, and the view is more spectacular.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Self-Awareness.

It is Monday at 4:40pm, and I have about five minutes to tap out a blog post before I need to change into my gym clothes and get my butt over to the gym!  Let me just say first of all that I am so grateful to have this gym membership, and I am so glad that I have five solid gym sessions ahead of me right now because I really need them.  I wanted to talk in this post about my observations about how my feelings and behavior change very predictably as my food choices change.  It goes something like this.

I might eat something "bad", which seems harmless in and of itself, and probably is, but each bite makes me more and more likely to eat something else bad, and if I succumb to any of that temptation, then before long, I start feeling bad about myself, and the formerly crisp, clear, strong image of a healthy, fit Linz begins blurring, and I can feel that dream drifting further and further away until reality starts to feel like all I'll ever be is a fat slob, a slave to the food addiction. HOWEVER, I also know that with each GOOD decision, the strong healthy image of myself becomes clearer again, and so I know that I am able to reel myself back to reality just so long as I don't let the bad choices go on for so long that I have completely lost all vision and hope for a better me. So this weekend I slipped up a bit, but I'm moving on, getting right back into the gym and healthy food choices today, and I know that in the long run, this will not affect my progress. 

I'm just trying to take note of my feelings and behaviors and how they affect each other.

So I am NOT going to let the horrible feelings of guilt and hopelessness take hold of me today.  Instead I will bask in how grateful I am to be a gym member, to have an awesome gym partner, to have the health and youth I need to go kick that gym's ass today and every day, and keep moving forward on my path.  

I only have about five pounds to go until I hit the goal I set for my 31st birthday, which will put me at a total of 70 pounds lost since I started this blog a couple of years ago.  I'm pleased! After I get to that goal, I will set a new goal for 20 more pounds, which will put me at a weight I have not seen since my early twenties, the last time I lost a substantial amount of weight, before I ever moved out of West Virginia.  (Around when I graduated college.)  Once I get to THAT weight, I will be feeling incredibly elated and proud of myself!  And I'll set yet another new goal, quite possibly my last weight loss goal, of 50 more pounds, which will put me in the range I've been thinking I want to stop at.  If I get there and still feel I need to drop a few more, I'll do it, but right now, it feels GREAT to know that I'm halfway to my true long-term goal.  

I haven't been weighing myself very often lately, because the constant fluctuations make me completely fucking INSANE.  So I will probably not weigh until next Saturday morning, since I'm going to be having my monthly visitor soon (which means water weight!). 


Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Honing in on weaknesses!




Here's another Kaizen post, I just wanted to post it here to keep my blog updated.

This morning I feel inspired to write about what I'm doing different now as compared to weight loss efforts in the past. I have gone deeper than merely counting calories and working out---those things are extremely important for me, of course, but there is more to it than that. I have carefully examined my habits, tried to look at my behavior as objectively as possible, and I have managed to identify a couple of weak areas that I have honed in on and am attempting to strengthen. That should close the gaps and help ensure my lifestyle change is permanent.

The main weakness I see in my efforts has always been my struggle to get my motivation back after a hiatus. For example, I just went on vacation. I got back on a Sunday night, took Monday off work to recuperate, and normally I'd feel incredibly frazzled, tired, and unorganized, so I'd end up eating fast food/takeout for the remainder of that week, and tell myself I'd just wing it until the weekend when I could get myself re-organized. Then the weekend would come, and by then I'd have been off my diet/exercise plan for not only the four days I was on vacation but an additional four days afterward because I simply did not feel "prepared" to resume my healthy lifestyle. Problem is, by the time the weekend would arrive, I'd be 8 days out from the last time I exercised or cooked a healthy meal, and that for me is very dangerous territory. That's a long enough time for my motivation to damn near completely disintegrate. Meaning there would be a very good chance I may not get back on the wagon that weekend, or the following week, or even anytime that month. It could be months before I try again. All sorts of psychological stuff plays into it...guilt, regret, hopelessness, exhaustion. And those feelings just make me want to, guess what? Eat more junk. Sleep more. Get less exercise.

Soooooooooooooo, what I did differently this time was force myself to immediately get back on the wagon as soon as I returned to work yesterday. Right back to logging my food. Right back into the gym. I made myself do it and of course it did require some sheer will because believe me, I would have much rather ate pizza for lunch and skipped the gym. But what I decided to do instead was use my will power while I still CAN, while I'm still only four days out from the last time I lived my healthy lifestyle, before all those feelings of regret and hopelessness take hold of me and make it even harder to resume. I consider this a weak muscle that I am strengthening. I figure each time I go on a vacation or have some reason to skip the gym and eat off my diet for a few days, it will get easier to hop right back on track.

You have to use your will power when you have enough of it to make a difference, and not wait until it has dwindled down to nothing. A body in motion stays in motion, and a body at rest stays at rest. So I'm done making it harder on myself than it has to be.

Sorry this was so long!! I will write more about other weaknesses I'm honing in on later, because I already wrote y'all a damn novel. Much love and happy Hump Day! I'll be going to the gym tonight to do the resistance machines for 30 minutes followed by 50 minutes of ZUMBA! (My first time, I'm nervous but I'll get through it!)

Monday, March 18, 2013

Goal oriented mama!


This is a post I just made to my fitness group on Facebook, Kaizen.  I felt it was a good summary of my recent work toward my goals, so I figured I would paste it here too, just to keep a good record of my progress on this blog.  It starts below.

What up Kaizeners, time for my Monday morning post...last week I worked on portion control. I made conscious decisions at every meal to eat a reasonable portion and at times to just flat-out not eat certain things (like when we ate lunch at Bob Evan's on Saturday, I didn't eat any bread and asked them to hold the gravy on my meal). I am proud of how well I did, because I stayed on task all weekend and did not fall off the wagon at all. This week I will still be working on portion control, because at the end of the week I still came out about 793 calories above my budget for the week. However, I never subtract any exercise calories from that, so I feel OK about how I did, considering the week previous to that I ended at 1605 over budget. So my goal this week will be to meet my budget and not go over by the end of the week.

I feel like I did great about making sure I ate enough fruit and vegetables, in part thanks to the new juicer, but also I'm starting to naturally crave fruits/veggies as snacks now and my cravings for "junk food" have mostly ceased.

This week aside from my calorie budget goal I also want to work on getting up early, which is something I've wanted to do for awhile but have had trouble getting the habit to stick. So I try, try again...this morning, Cecil got up at 6 and got me up at 6:30 and it worked out nicely. An extra half an hour to get myself organized and ready for my day. I had time to get some beans in the crock pot for dinner tonight. Woot!

Sorry this was so long... gonna be a busy day and may not have much time to post. Plan for the day: work til 5, go to the gym and do cardio machines & weight machines for an hour (BTW, had a badass workout of the same kind on Friday). I'm not starting Zumba yet, my gym buddy & I want to get a few more weeks in of the following schedule before we change anything: MWF cardio/weight machines; T/Th power yoga.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

I joined a gym!

I feel compelled to write an entry just to update the world out there on my journey.  It has been a long journey, and it's not even halfway over yet.  But the good news is, I'm on the right path and I'm proud of myself for never straying too far over these past couple of years since this whole thing started.  Well, it started long before that, but I'm really proud of how things changed when this blog started.  That was when I started to figure out that my weight issues are tied into absolutely every aspect of my life, and that my issues with food needed to be addressed on a very deep and even spiritual level.  Since then I have still battled the constant temptation to just eat terrible food with reckless abandon.  I may fight that battle my entire life, I don't know.  But I have most definitely honed the practice of not letting my appetite control me, not letting the cravings control me, and I have the strength to rise above and be a healthy, confident, strong, happy, fulfilled woman.

Recently, I have made a change that is more significant than anything else I have ever done in terms of my health.  I joined a gym.  It actually came about like this.  My co-worker invited me to try yoga with her.  I was terrified, nervous, intimidated, all of that.  Just entering a gym was scary enough for me, but the idea of going to a class really freaked me out.  But she assured me I would enjoy it, so I decided to be brave.  Because if I've learned nothing else in my 30 years of life, I've learned that you can't let fear stop you from evolving.  So I went.

And as it turned out, I freaking LOVED it!  So I started going to that regularly, and within a few weeks my boss decided to pay for my gym membership as an employee benefit.  Now I'm able to use the entire gym and take any class I want.  This is truly a blessing and a valuable resource.  I cannot express how thankful I am.

I love being at the gym.  It's an empowering place to be.  Everyone there has the same goal: fitness.  It feels good to be in that sort of environment.  Trying to exercise at home is fine, but it just doesn't motivate me the way the gym does.  I feel turbocharged now! Lol.

I have been going to the gym religiously for a few weeks now.  I need to take my measurements this weekend so I will be able to track my progress as my body changes.

That's all for now. :)

Monday, January 14, 2013

FACE & ACCEPT & JFDI

So, a couple of things I need to face and accept.  Number one is, to get myself back into the zone I need to be in to get healthier and lose weight, I NEED TO LOG MY FOOD.  That is the ONLY successful way I know of to be mindful of what I am eating and not mindlessly stuff my face with god knows how many empty calories.

Number two is, I am going to just have to deal with being hungry at times.  I saw the Anti-Jared write about this recently in his status and he's right.  When you are first starting out, as I feel like I am right now after being off the wagon for so long, you WILL be hungry a lot, and I just need to learn to make myself face it.  Because being a fat spoiled American I honestly don't even know the true meaning of hunger anyway.  And my body is such a brat, wanting to be fed delicious meals every time I get the notion I might be hungry.  Time to teach this body that it answers to ME, and I am not a slave to its whims.  I will get my appetite under control by being mindful.