Pulling myself together

My father died on Wednesday, March 12th. I spent Thursday traveling to Texas, then joining up with my siblings to handle his affairs. There was drama involved – not among the four of us, but related to our father’s friends. Daddy was an alcoholic with a soft heart and a lot (not all) of his “friends” were leeches. The drama was not fun, but thanks to two wonderful sisters and one wonderful brother, we made the whole as pleasant as possible. We were unified – tired and stressed, but unified. The other good part was that I got to go home to Fort Worth and, in spite of the circumstances, enjoy it. I love my hometown and it felt good to be there.

My older sister and I, both getting back into running, optimistically agreed to bring running clothes, thinking we’d run along the Trinity River Trail in the mornings. HA! We were drained and tired and not sleeping well. Running didn’t happen. Except once. We’d kept up our step count throughout the days of activity (we both wear the Fitbit One), but on Saturday, we were falling short. Older sister said she was going to go run a little. I could hardly let her best me, so I sighed and flopped up to the loft area where I was staying to change, too. I’d like to add that we’d both had at least one glass of white wine and we’re both lightweights.  And it was raining. No matter. We slogged outside, hopping puddles to get to the paved trail and did some walk/running until we felt surely we’d not only made our step goal, but our active minutes goal. NOT. We got back to the room, synced our devices and saw that we were still short. This time I clutched my Fitbit in my hand, set the stopwatch and we took off. Rain or not, we had a good time. My Dear Sister was cold, which I found hilarious since it was in the 60’s and I’d come from 33 degree weather with a nasty wind chill. She was a sport, though, considering she lives in Austin and a rainy 60-something IS relatively cold. I didn’t use RunKeeper or anything to track my distance, so no idea how much we ran and we walked a good deal, too. She has a lot of discomfort running on cement, so I felt like a rock star since I hadn’t run in four days, she weighs a lot less than I do and I was able to run much more than she was. I didn’t like leaving her behind, though, so I’d run a bit and then wait.

That was the last time I ran. It’s been six days now.

I’ve also eaten a ton of crap since then. First it was just getting through the grief and giving myself a pass for a few days. Then this past weekend my sweet boyfriend and I took a road trip we’d had planned and I don’t care if the Amish do bike up and down those hills, I wasn’t gonna.

Today, however, after feeling low yesterday and feeling stiff for days now, I got my poop in a group and packed healthy meals and snacks. I also packed my gym bag. I’m tired of feeling so run down and sad. I need an endorphin boost. Don’t get me wrong, I in no way feel like going to the gym and getting on the treadmill sounds like fun. Going to bed sounds like fun. But gaining back all the weight I lost, getting more stiff, feeling worse…that sounds like hell to me. So it’s off to the gym I go this evening.

My plan is to start week 3 of my couch to 5K over again since week 4 was hard enough when I was running regularly. I hope I haven’t lost too much of my fitness, but if I have, it just means I need to keep at it to get it back. It’s time to pull myself together and let my father lead by example of how NOT to live. I love him. I will continue to mourn and miss him. I do not want to hide my head in the sand the way he did. It’s time to start showing myself I care again.

Run on, y’all.

Love,
Cassia

Coworkers, friends, family and other things that go bump in the night

In my last post I talked about having patience with myself and my fear that I’ll lose that patience and revert back to my old, self-sabotaging ways.  In this post I’m going to talk about something that’s at least as scary to me, if not more – sabotage by people I care about.

The truth is that there are a lot of people in my life who are either overweight and don’t want to do the work to change it (and who does? I’d rather it just fall off and evaporate in my sleep, but ain’t gonna happen, y’all) or who don’t have a problem with weight and can’t understand why I’m so worried about it because, as they say, “You look FINE!” (Oh, good. FINE is exactly what I was going for!) Both of these categories of people are very good at being food “pushers” and I have yet to find a way to get them to shut the F#@% up without losing my cool or giving in. I actually have anxiety about visiting certain people in my immediate circle because of this.

Well, I got this article in my inbox recently and it helped…some. It helped me with people like coworkers because even though I like them very much, I am not as invested in their reactions. I still, however, feel some anxiety about loved ones. Here is a short list of the sorts of conversations I dread:

  1. Would you like something to eat/some cake/ some chips, some more? (Sometimes a simple, “no, thank you,” will do, but sometimes they push and it goes into the next on the list)
  2. Are you dieting? (Oh dear Lord I hate that question.) This goes back to, “Why? You look FINE!” *eye roll*
  3. You deserve a treat now and then. (This comment says that they either don’t know about the slippery slope an unplanned treat can be or they do and it’s all part of their diabolical plan to feel better by sabotaging me.)

I also dislike it when someone fills my plate for me at a family dinner or just says, “It’s really just about portion control.”  Um, no it’s not, but thanks for playing. A small portion of calorie-laden food on a plate with four other “portions” of calorie-laden food = weight gain. Calories in/calories out is what it boils down to and if EVERYTHING on the plate has butter, fat or cream in it, I’m eating at least half of my daily goal in one sitting.

*ahem*

I have some strong feelings about this, apparently. I think I’m just going to have to practice saying, “No, thank you,” and then lying with things like, “I ate a big breakfast/lunch,” or, “I’m full from the meal,” or, “I’m just not in the mood for that.” The last one will come closest to being the truth, so I may go with that one. Oh, and I think I’ll have to plan ahead when I know we’ll be visiting family that is prone to this sort of “food pushing” so that I won’t be tempted by the tasty treats they have to offer. I can either keep a light, but filling snack in my purse or make sure I’ve run and banked some calories in advance.

While I would love to lay all the blame on others, I do know that a large portion of that blame is mine. I’m a “pleaser” – I like to keep the peace and make others happy. Actually, that’s changing or I wouldn’t be trying to come up with tactics to avoid caving in to make others more comfortable at my expense. I guess I can be thankful for that and know that with practice, it will become easier to politely decline whenever someone tries to sabotage my efforts at self care – whether they’re aware of what they’re doing or not.

On that note, I bid you good-night.

Run on, y’all!

Patience

I’ve been told repeatedly that I’m incredibly patient, and in some respects I can be. I get calls at work from people who clearly have done zero research about our program and want me to hold their hand while they navigate our website. Sometimes they ask the same question multiple times because they weren’t really listening the first two times I told them or their grasp of English isn’t great. In the sense that I take my time with these folks and help them get the information they need, I guess I am patient. Does it mean I don’t want to scream into the receiver or just hang up sometimes (a LOT of times)? No. I frequently want to do both of those things, I just don’t. It’s important to my livelihood and, quite honestly, my self esteem that I handle these people gently. Hatefulness has two victims – the hated and the hater.

Fitness/weight loss is an area that I would say I am distinctly lacking in patience, which has resulted in a lot of time wasted being hateful to myself. I want results, oh…yesterday. I have metaphorically hung up on myself many times. The difference that I’ve noticed this time is a new level of attentiveness to the more subtle changes that are taking place. I am taking my time to be aware of how much better I feel right now. In doing so I feel better about myself, about my food choices and strong in my workouts. I’m also able to reason with myself rather than make excuses. For example, this morning as I was lying in bed feeling extremely tired I thought, “but I’m not any more tired now than I used to be on mornings when I wasn’t working out.” The fact is, I have a two-hour commute and driving makes me tense. Going from the office to the car to get my gym bag and then right back to the rec center is easy. I’ve made it as easy as I possibly can. Getting on the treadmill to run – or lift weights on alternate days – gives me that strong feeling, eases any tension from the day and puts me in a better frame of mind for the drive home.

In this way I am handling myself gently. I don’t go home, plop on the couch and eat to ease stress anymore. Why? Because feeling bad about myself and berating myself feels bad and increases that stress. I also don’t deny myself all of my favorite foods – I just don’t consume them in mass quantities or even consume them every day. I get that Starbucks beverage now and then. I have an actual measured single serving size of potato chips (and I really have a deep love relationship with potato chips). And if I’m pushing my calorie limit, I put in a little more time in the gym to defray the caloric costs and keep me from wanting to throw in the towel and pig out.

Even with all of this, I still fear that I will fall back into my old habits. That at some point my weaker side will revolt and declare that it DESERVES to sit on the couch and pig out. Manipulative inner voices will tell me that results aren’t happening fast enough, so I should just quit and learn to love myself as I am.

*BLINKS*

Wow. For the first time I have looked at that thought pattern and I can see that I am telling myself that I deserve to treat myself like crap. Ouch.

*Breathes deeply*

I’ve been at this for almost four weeks so far. As of March 3rd, I’m down about 5 pounds. Part of me is whining that this isn’t enough, but the other part is thinking that about a pound a week is a good, sustainable pace. That same “other part” is reminding myself that I feel better about myself now than I have in ages, that I’m running again and that I have races planned. I was even mentioned on my favorite podcast! So while today I am especially tired (traffic last night was awful) and feeling like I’d like to nap, I still don’t feel like drowning my sorrows in chips. I feel like hopping on the treadmill (it’s very cold outside) and working up a good sweat. THIS is a triumph and one for which I am deeply grateful.

Run on, y’all!