I’m taking an unplanned rest day today. I was scheduled for two pole classes and a chair class, but I am worn out. My computer feels so heavy. So, instead of going and doing a bad job and possibly getting hurt, I’m staying home. I will walk the dogs around the block and I might do some foam rolling, though I’m almost too sore and bruised for that! I got a bit enthusiastic these past four days– three days of running in a row and then four hours of classes yesterday. Today, I have to protect my almost-entirely healed calf and my healed rotator cuff.
I hit a new low on my weight- 133.7. It’s actually happening. Sometimes I can’t believe it. But, yesterday, I found chocolate cat cookies at Trader Joe’s. Since they are unintentionally vegan, I ate half a container. I don’t feel bad about it, but I do take it as the warning it is. I’m not eating enough and I’m not choosing nutritious enough food. when I say I’m not eating enough, it’s not a shortage of calories– it’s a shortage of nutrition. I have to get better about planning my meals. And I need to make sure I eat a bowl of oatmeal every day. When I’m full of nutritious food, I don’t binge on sugary, empty junk.
I’m not worrying too much about my calories today, either. Because of how tired and sore I am, my first priority is fueling my recovery so I can make it to my classes tomorrow and do my best. I also want to run about 9-10 miles this weekend, split over Friday, Sunday, and Monday.
Today is a beautiful day in the Piney woods. It was 66 degrees at around 10am when I set off for my four mile run. I struggled a bit on the hills in the last two miles, but I don’t feel too bad about that. My first mile was 10:18 and wasn’t that difficult! I might actually get fast enough to qualify for Boston! But first things first– preparing for that half in December. I need to fit in two more shorter runs this week and then a 5-mile run next weekend. Gotta get those long runs up! Tomorrow, I think I’ll do an easy two miles. I’m trying to get my half training schedule straightened out– long run, recovery run, fast run, and one more run just for miles. And they’re all hill training, because that’s what I have.
I’m working on a post on starvation mode. Hint– it’s a myth. I hope to have the sources cited and pictures up with it by tomorrow (Sunday) night.
This is an older post by Greta Christina, a body positivity advocate who found herself needing to lose weight because her weight was affecting her mobility. I’ve read this post a few times now and I think it captures a lot of what I want to say about fat acceptance as it is currently being practiced. I am all for fat acceptance and body acceptance. 100%. Love your own body, no matter what size it is! But don’t lie to yourself and other people. And if someone wants to consider herself body positive, that should extend to bodies of all sizes, not just obese. And body positivity shouldn’t mean attacking people who have decided to lose weight.
Unlike Greta Christina, though, I have never identified as a fat woman. I was a chubby kid, but always right at the top of the healthy range. I was a healthy weight adult until we moved to the States and I got fat. So I never did identify as fat. But I am someone who started to experience the health issues related to being obese. And now I am someone who can compare how I felt at 201 pounds with how I feel now at 135 pounds. Life is easier at 135 pounds, but not because of some kind of conspiracy against fat people. It’s because the human body is simply not meant to be above a certain size. Things I struggled with at 201 are effortless at 135. I have an easier time learning some new things in pole class because I’m hauling less mass over my head. My run has gotten much faster even though I’ve run so few miles this year because of my calf. It’s simple gravity and physics.
People often mistake attacking other women with body positivity. I will be so happy when the songs Anaconda and All about that Bass finally reach burn out and disappear. I really hate those songs. People embrace them as body positive anthems when they simply are not. It’s still women attacking other women. And Nicki Minaj, who I normally like, sounds completely unhinged when she’s telling skinny bitches to get off the floor.
As for me and my body, my weight loss has started back up again this week. I also had to take some extra rest days. I hope that will translate to more strength. Tonight is a four mile run, possibly in the rain. I haven’t run in the rain in years.
I survived my first week of Level 4 classes. I had a Level 4 class on Tuesday, Wednesday, AND Thursday, plus two fit classes, a level 3 class, a level 2 class, and some non-pole classes. It was ten hours of classes total over three days. I struggled, as I expected to, but I feel like I did okay. The best part was after attempting rocking diamonds (a strengthening exercise that prepares you to invert) all week, I got them during open pole on Saturday! Plus, I inverted several times and held myself off the pole without my arms! Also, during Saturday’s Level 3 class, we played with handstands. I have a good headstand, but I have struggled with the balance and strength for handstand for months! My instructor had us kick up to the wall and I was finally able to do it! I learned headstand away from the wall, but it’s a lot scarier to learn handstand away from the wall. Since I can pike up to a headstand, and now I can kick up to a handstand, I can work on combining the two elements– the balance and control of the pike and the strength of the handstand. Then I can learn tick-tocks! (I don’t know what they’re really called, but you go from downward dog into a scorpio and then drop into wheel/backbend, and then go back. Of course, I will also have to get more confident dropping back into a backbend. I’m getting closer, but still scared.)
After all those classes this week, I thought Friday’s run would be awful! Instead, I did my two miles at a 10:30 pace! I haven’t sustained two miles at that kind of pace since I was about 21! I was slightly winded at the end, but it definitely wasn’t all-out effort. Losing weight has been magical for my running. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to grasp the simple concept of Calories In < Calories Out! I spent so much time making excuses and lying to myself! This week has not been a weight loss week. I decided to eat enough to keep up my strength for my new schedule. That means “eating back” most of the calories I burned. I’m probably going to do the same thing next week as well, then start cutting back slightly again the week after that. It makes the weight loss more sustainable if I plan on having some maintenance days, instead of trying to make every day a losing day. It does take longer, but even at this pace, I’ll be at my goal weight in about six months.
Tomorrow is my “long” run. It’ll be four miles, since I’m building up the mileage very slowly this time. I’m trying to find the right level of stress to keep me getting stronger and faster without getting hurt again. I just need to be able to do a pretty comfortable 13 miles by December. At some point, I’ll have to add a morning run so I can get to three runs a week and still have at least one rest day.
Yesterday’s three mile run was terrible. I felt like I was slogging through molasses. Conditions were very similar to my terrific run on Friday, so it was either asthma or I hadn’t eaten enough. I might have overestimated the calories in my rice and tamari soup. I’m temporarily adding back in the tsp of sugar in my morning lattes while I figure this out.
After my run, I came home and had a lackluster stretch session. My right hip still feels “stuck.” There’s something weird about the alignment of my pelvis, but I’m not sure what. I do know when I lie on my stomach with my knees apart and the soles of my feet touching, my right “hip-bone” doesn’t really touch the ground like my left. If I could figure out what’s going on and then fix it, I would probably see lots of improvement. A visit to a chiropractor is definitely on my list of things to do when we have extra money again.
We’re going through some temporary difficult times right now– nothing too bad and nothing we can’t work through– but it means making some small sacrifices. That makes this the perfect time to experiment with my diet! I’ve long been intrigued by the concept of macrobiotics and I tend to like to eat the same thing over and over. I also like food that is simple to prepare and easy to transport. I’ve gotten hooked on Clif Builder’s Bars, which are delicious and accidentally vegan, but which also contain way too much sugar. I’m at that age where I have to pay attention to my skin and I’ve read that too much sugar makes the skin look unhealthy. Because of losing 65 pounds (with about 18 to go), I definitely have loose skin. Some of the remedies are not available to me because they are not vegan, but I can certainly make an effort to cut back on my sugar and make healthier food choices. I need to do this anyway since as I mentioned yesterday I’ve been promoted to Level 4 in pole class and I need to pay attention to my nutrition to have the energy to do three Level 4 classes a week.
I’m going to ease into this change by making a couple of small changes in the first week of September. I won’t add any extra sugar to my morning soy lattes (the vanilla soymilk I use has sugar in it) and I’m going to try one or two macrobiotic-type meals a day. I’m going to continue to limit my caffeine to before 3pm and only two a day. I will try to report my progress here.
In other news, yesterday’s three mile run was fantastic! I ran at an easy 11-ish mile pace and only really felt like I was pushing it at the top of the two nasty hills on my route. I’m eager to run a timed, flat 5K and see if I can finish under 30. I will give it a few weeks, though. Pretty soon, I can add a mile to one of my runs. Gotta get up to 13.1 by December! I feel good about it. It’s amazing what losing weight can do for your running!
This week, I finally got the courage to ask whether I was ready to move up to Level 4 at my pole studio! My teacher asked how I felt about my strength and spins, and I feel pretty good about them! I was waiting for her to suggest that I should move up, but I think they prefer to wait until the student shows readiness in part by asking. I’m very excited, even though this means being a clumsy beginner again, in Level 4. Level 4 is said to be the level that separates the women from the girls. Luckily, the schedule works out so I can keep going to my beloved Level 2 and 3 classes, where I can feel at least a bit competent.
Level 4 is going to be tough, especially since I have three days in a row with Level 4 classes. I will have to be really careful with nutrition and make sure I don’t live on ramen and soy lattes on that day. I should look for some protein bar recipes. I’m addicted to the Clif Builder’s Bars, but they get expensive and I’m sure two or three a day aren’t really the healthiest choices for me.
Tonight is an “easy” three mile run and then splits training. I’m working on splits six days a week, three days in classes, and three days at home. Tomorrow is a rest day from everything. Yay!
My site was down for a while after it was exploited and used for spam attacks. But now I’m back and my site is secure again. I’m thinking about the direction I want to take with this site. For more than ten years, it was a place for me to document my futile attempts to lose weight. Now, I’ve lost the majority of the weight I want to lose, so I think I want to focus on feats of strength and speed and thinking about the implications of weight loss.
I’ve now lost 66 pounds of the 80 I want to lose. I’m about 15 pounds away from my lifetime goal weight of 118 pounds. I’m absolutely thrilled with my progress. It really has been as simple as eating fewer calories than I burn. There are too many people out there who want to tell you that weight loss is complicated. It’s not. It’s insanely simple. But it is not always easy. This past week, I ate more calories than I burned because I was sad. That happens. It’s not the end of the world, it was only a week, and it did not ruin my life. I’m about three pounds up, but because I’ve been a successful loser, I know it will come off when I get back to doing the right things.
The thing is, people will tell lies about weight loss. They’ll lie to themselves about how many calories they eat. I know. I’ve done it. Calories add up, though. I can easily meet my weight loss calorie limit just through little snacks here and there throughout the day. I can eat too much without eating a single meal. When people are unwilling to admit that to themselves, they will not be able to get the body they want.
I have no problem with people who are happy with where they are. Frankly, other people’s bodies aren’t my business and I don’t spend a whole lot of time thinking about them. However, I have actually had the experience of being verbally attacked because I was publicly happy about losing weight. When someone tells me I can’t express happiness about reaching a goal, I have to assume she is not as happy with her body as she claims she is. Someone who is really secure about her own body is not going to attack someone else for being pleased about reaching a physical goal. My weight loss goal is important to me because I am not a gifted runner. I have to give my body every advantage if I ever want to qualify for Boston. That means being very light, perhaps even lighter than 118 pounds. But even if my goal were purely for vanity, it’s all right because this is my body and it is my right to decide how I want it to look.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot since I discovered the dark side of “body acceptance,” which is a lack of acceptance for thin bodies or people who want thin bodies. I have a feeling that this theme will come up a lot on this blog in the future. This is a site where it is okay to want to be thin and it’s good to work hard to achieve goals. And in today’s society of gluttony, this is a site where it is okay to rigorously maintain a specific weight. Yes, I weigh myself every day. I don’t beat myself up over it because it’s just data, but when the trends show I am eating too much, then I need to eat less. That’s all. There’s no moralizing here, no “good” or “bad” or “evil.” Simply, my goal is to weigh 118 and if the scale is not moving in that direction, then I am not doing what I should be doing to reach that goal. Once I am 118, I will continue to weigh myself every day for the rest of my life. It’s not good or bad, it just is what I have to do to look the way I want to look and feel the way I want to feel.
I’ve had asthma for a while, probably since I was stationed in Korea in 1990-1991. For a long time, it was “just” exercise-induced asthma that I could keep under control by taking albuterol before running. While I was in grad school and didn’t have time to exercise (working two jobs, raising two kids, going to grad school full time– I do not recommend that approach), my EI turned into “real” asthma. It was also treatment resistant. I basically have to take a COPD drug (which I hate because it ruins my voice– painful for someone who made a living with my voice for a while.) Recently, I downloaded an app to keep track of my peak flow and discovered that my peak flow is much better on days that I run. I have long suspected that regular exercise kept my asthma under control for nearly 16 years, but now it seems I have proof. I’m going to keep an eye on the numbers and see what happens. I’d really like to have my voice back.
I’m finally reading Daniels’ Running Formula – 2nd Edition. After I finish the Couch to 5K plan and run a couple 5Ks, I’m thinking of planning a schedule built around his concepts. The 5K results will help give me an idea of where to start with my paces. Right now, my fitness is barely high enough for his pace charts! I have a long way to go.
Tonight’s run was week 3 of Couch to 5K, the one that has the 3 minutes of running in a row for the first time. While I can run 3 minutes in a row at a slow pace, I’m trying to get faster. My first 3-minute repeat was at a 9:30 pace, my second at a 10:20 pace. Slower than I want, but I did manage to time my warm-up so that all of my running repeats were uphill. Wednesday, I’ll warm up longer so I have more favorable inclines!
I finally feel well enough to run! I decided to get back into it by doing the Couch to 5K program. I’m running the intervals faster than I normally run– about an 8-minute-mile pace vs. an 11-minute-mile pace. I’m on week two and surprised myself by being able to keep up the faster pace for a minute and a half. Week 3 might be a challenge because there are 3-minute running segments. I’ve never really pushed my speed before in all of my years running. I don’t even understand concepts like “comfortably hard.” For me, there has only been “easy” and “OMG, I’m going to die!”
I also joined Run Your BQ, a site by Jason Fitzgerald and Matt Frazier. I felt strange signing up since I am still so far away from even thinking of running a BQ, but I was happy to see that there are others who are pretty far away as well. It seems to be a good program that includes strength work as well as a variety of running workouts. A key to my joining is that Matt Frazier is plant-based and I really need good resources for getting faster as a vegan. Being vegan is not optional for me, so sites like Spark People, that sneer at vegans, are useless to me. I was so happy to see that this program includes info for us.
I’m very sore right now. I got a great workout Sunday night playing with a four-year-old for hours. I’m fueling now for tonight’s run– Week 2, workout 2. I’m using my Garmin 305 to alert me if I’m running slower than 9:30. I need to get a better feel for pace and I need to work on pushing myself.
There’s a decent-sized 5K in town next month and I think my son and I are going to try to run it.
The Deed of Paksenarrion by Elizabeth Moon