Sunday, October 16, 2011

Running, Running, Running As Fast As I Can...But Not Getting There Fast Enough...

Here's a few fun pictures from marathon day last week that I just felt like sharing...

Fueling at 5:45 AM with a banana and Gatorade! Yep, Rosie definitely lived to regret drinking that much before running 26.2 miles...for obvious reasons!!

And this is Ditka being Ditka. When it's that early in the morning, he just wants to sleep...kind of like the rest of us!

Eeeeeek! At the hotel room after the race, just about to hit the shower after taking out my French braids! Check out the double chin action...oh so attractive :)

A whole week has gone by since the Chicago Marathon! Really?!?! I thought about it all day today, recalling the exact times I was running last Sunday, when it started to get really painful, when my sister and I finally crossed the finish line, etc... Last night, while my mom and I were sitting and talking, she said to me, "Do you ever find it hard to believe that you actually ran 26 miles? Doesn't that just seem crazy to you?" In a way, yes, it does, but after three years of leading a completely different lifestyle health-wise, it's hard to imagine a time when I didn't aspire to run a marathon. It's difficult to recall ever being so horribly overweight, eating whatever I wanted whenever I felt like it, and not caring about my body the way people should. Right now, I am finding that maintaining weight loss is truly a long and time-consuming journey, and if we want to be successful at it, we can't be constantly looking for that "off switch". It's a lifestyle, not a destination, and I struggle with that fact every single day.

Seven days after a marathon, many runners are taking time to recover and transition to more "cross training" activities, but I can't seem to stay away from the treadmill. I did five miles today, which felt pretty good (aside from a few cramps toward the end). When people ask why I'm not taking a break from this, I like to say it's because I am too passionate about it to stay away for long...which is true...but only partially so. To be perfectly honest, one of the main reasons I am still trying to run vigorously post-marathon is because I am only three pounds away from reaching goal at Weight Watchers. Well, actually, that's how much weight I had left to go at my last weigh-in, and I have gone up a little more than I would have liked over the past few weeks, but we'll just leave it at that. My next weigh-in is in three days, and I have a chance at being where I want to be by then, but it's been extremely tough recently.

After finishing the marathon, it would have been ideal to just relax for a while and not have to worry about these things, but unfortunately, right now, I am still very focused on that number on the scale. With any luck, I will hit goal on Wednesday (153 pounds total lost), begin the 6-week maintenance program with Weight Watchers, and become an official Lifetime Member the week after Thanksgiving. What that means is that I will never have to pay the weekly fee for Weight Watchers again, as long as I weigh in at least once a month and never end up more than two pounds above my goal weight. I remember a time in life when I had over 150 pounds to get rid of before I could achieve that, and it wasn't until I lost at least 100 of those pounds before I really got the sense that it could actually happen. Now that it's so close, it's just amazing...and at the same time, these last few pounds have been some of the hardest to drop.

At 7:30 on this Sunday evening, I am watching the Bears game with my grandma and trying desperately to keep my mind off food. I had a bowl of chili for dinner and a Weight Watchers ice cream cup for dessert (actually, make that two ice cream cups...) and now it's time to stop for the night. Hopefully, I won't be sneaking over to the fridge later in the evening, but it represents something we all have to deal with. In some ways, it gets easier, but in other ways, it almost seems to get harder over time. I guess I could sum it up best by a text message conversation I had with my mom about five minutes ago (she's at the game with my dad and sister). I was whining about being hungry (and my poor mom often bears the brunt of my complaining), and her response was...

"There is a 400 pound girl here who can barely will never be that girl. You are a strong and healthy girl. My girl."

To that I said...

 "I just wish it wasn't something we had to obsess about every day, you know? When I treat myself, I either feel guilty about it or spend the next several days trying to make up for it. But that's good, I guess, because if I'm constantly thinking about it, then I know I won't revert back."

So there you have it. The bottom line, I think, is that when we are worrying about our exercise and calorie intake, we should take that as a good sign, because when we stop caring, that's how we know we're in trouble. I can remember the summer after graduating from high school. I had just spent the year losing 50 pounds and felt pretty good about myself, to the point where I was getting lazy about a lot of things. I would order steak and eggs for breakfast at a restaurant, even though I knew that probably wasn't a good idea, and went back to regular pop because I felt I "deserved it". If I had caught myself in time and worked harder to stay on track, then maybe I wouldn't have had to deal with the fallout of gaining 100 pounds over the next few years. The good news is that I learned from those mistakes and am determined not to lose control again. It's too easy to let ourselves get out of hand--a bad day is one thing, but if it starts leading to a bad week, or a bad couple of weeks, the consequences really present themselves.

The point I'm trying to make is that so often, we tend to beat ourselves up, specifically when it comes to weight and physical appearance. Life was never meant to be miserable, and we shouldn't be worry every second of the day, but to an extent, I think it's healthy to fear about this stuff. Okay, maybe "fear" isn't the best word, but it's all I've got right now. Basically, we are all accountable to our own selves, and we can draw help and inspiration from the people around us, but ultimately, it's a matter of listening to ourselves...and actually paying attention. It's good to be a little hard on ourselves sometimes, especially when people around us are saying things like "Oh, you look so awesome!" and "Now you can just relax and enjoy accomplishing your goal!" Those people mean well, and part of what they're saying is correct, but we can't get too cocky about our successes. We all enjoy the occasional pizza, ice cream, or popcorn at the movies, and that's okay...crucial, even. Taking time to enjoy life and indulge in our favorite things keeps us sane. On the flip side, we need to listen to our bodies, know when to stop, balance it out with healthy foods, and exercise as much as possible. Sounds so easy when it's written out in simple terms like that...and yet it's still so hard sometimes. Trust me, I know. I am not a pro at this by any means--as I type this sentence, I am continuing to wrestle with it, same as everyone else in the world. But we can do it. You can do it, I can do it, and we can help each other along the way. We may not want to, but really, what other choice is there?

Question of the Day: What's something healthy you try to accomplish every day that is a constant battle, but in the end, it makes you feel good knowing that you continue motivating yourself to do it?

Have a great night, everyone! I am off now to check the score of the game. Will Chicago go to bed happy tonight?? Here's hoping!

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