Posts filed under ‘about me’
When I was a kid, I didn’t have good self-esteem. Well, I did when it came to school; I was smart and liked school. But, socially, I did not feel good about myself. I was fat and ugly. I was literally the Queen of the Misfits. Those at school that didn’t fit in with any other group hung out with me.
It didn’t help that I was not athletic, or at least I didn’t think I was. I didn’t feel comfortable running around chasing after balls, and because I was fat, I never got picked for anything other than anchor for tug-o-war. Oh… wait… I did make the bowling team.
One of the most exciting things about my transformation is the fact that I am now physically confident. I believe in my body; I recognize and appreciate its strength. I’m now willing to try new things, even if I am likely to fail. In the past, failure was always due to my weight. I was sure people were laughing at me, thinking that I was too big to do anything with my body. Now, if I fail, I don’t indict myself for it; I don’t see it as my fault. Now, if I fail, it’s merely because it’s new to me, or I need to strengthen that body part.
This new-found confidence and attitude has allowed me to try all kinds of wonderful activities: sailing, zip lining, pole dancing, boulder scrambling, free climbing, rope walls, mountain biking, and more. It’s been a joy.
All through this process, I’ve thought that I should share my experience – my story – with others in some way. The transformation shouldn’t go to waste; it should ripple out to others who might need inspiration and encouragement. Up until recently, I hadn’t found the avenue to accomplish that rippling. Now I think I have.
Through my Leadership program, I learned about an amazing non-profit organization called “Girls on the Run“. It’s a program dedicated to developing self confidence and healthy living skills for girls ages 8 through 13.
“The programs combine training for a 3.1 mile running event with self-esteem enhancing, uplifting workouts. The goals of the programs are to encourage positive emotional, social, mental, spiritual and physical development.”
As soon as I heard about this program, I was certain I needed to be part of it. There’s no council here, so I looked into starting one. In the process of doing that research, I discovered that another woman had already assembled a team to bring this exciting program to our neighborhood. I emailed her, and earlier this week, we had a first meeting.
On the way to the meeting, I heard Paula Cole’s “I don’t want to wait”, a song that I haven’t heard in years… and one of my anthems when I splitting up from my first husband. It was incredibly apropos to hear that song on my way to this meeting. At the time it was popular, I was finally admitting to myself that I didn’t want to wait anymore to live life. I didn’t know what was ahead at that point, and I could never have foreseen all the wonders that I’ve experienced in these last couple of years. Specifically, I could never have foreseen joining up with a group of runners to help young girls prepare for a 5K!
We have a great group, filled with knowledge and expertise, and I think we’ll be able to conduct our first training in the fall. I am thrilled that I might be able to help at least one girl avoid being ashamed of her body, that I might help one girl learn to love to move and feel that amazing sense of accomplishment when she achieves something physical that she didn’t think she could do.
Earlier this month, I did something unprecedented: I competed in two athletic events in less than a week. Me! The girl who was only ever picked to be anchor for tug-o-war!!
The first was the Muddy Buddy Race. Teams of two traverse a 6-7 mile off-road course and 5 obstacles. At the start of the race, one team member runs and one rides the bike. At the 1st obstacle, the rider drops the bike, completes the obstacle, and begins running. The runner arrives, completes the obstacle, finds their bike and begin riding. Teams continue leapfrogging each other through the entire course. At the end of the race, racers crawl through the infamous Mud Pit crossing the finish line together as official “Muddy Buddies”!
It was one of the most fun and exhilarating things I’ve ever done, and I’m still in awe of myself for finding out about it, finding a partner, and doing it… all within the space of three weeks. Something brand new and daunting… but I didn’t let that hold me back. I just did it! I’ve become my own Nike commercial!! LOL 🙂
In addition to doing stairs, I also try to do mini workouts during the day on my breaks. This week, I tried two new ones:
1) Pure Barre Workout – http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/isometric-exercises
2) Women’s Health Mag Ab Workout – http://www.womenshealthmag.com/fitness/isometric-exercises
The Pure Barre workout was perfect for the office. Very doable in a cramped space and in work clothes, even a dress or skirt and blouse. That doesn’t mean it was a low-key workout, though. It was surprisingly challenging! The small, concentrated moves quickly grew tiring; I could definitely feel it and was somewhat relieved when I finished up each exericse. This one is going to become part of my regular repertoire.
I was excited about the Ab workout because many of the exercises use a stability ball, and I sit on one as my office chair. I didn’t have a medicine ball in the office, so I had to improvise with a door stop (that a friend had made for me) as my hand-held weight. Yowsa! This workout was SUPER tough! I couldn’t get through half the moves. Plus, it was hard to do them in the narrow confines of my business crib while wearing a dress and pantyhose. In fact, I was pretty discouraged after doing the workout yesterday, and I’d basically decided that I could only do this one at home. Interestingly enough, today, some of my ab muscles are sore; I can feel that the exercises – that I did manage to do – worked. That made me smile. 🙂 I think with a little tweaking, I’ll be able to do this routine here at work, too.
Breaks at work are so important, particularly breaks for movement if you are in a sedentary job. If you can make the most of those breaks by getting in a workout, you’re way ahead of the game. Try every possible workout you can and be open to customizing them for your ability and surroundings.
I was feeling glum, distinctly ho-hum. I did NOT want to do my stairs. My stairs are only one component of my workout regimen, so I can get away with not doing them. However, my Scale the Strat is coming up on March 13th, so it’s critical that I keep up my “training” for that event.
All of a sudden, the motto “Do it and then feel it” popped into my head. I got off my stability ball, changed out of my suit jacket, and proceeded to do 20 sets of stairs: 1520 up and 1520 down, for a lovely grand total of 3,040 stairs.
The endorphins are flowing, and I do, indeed, feel it now. Yay!
‘Mindful Eating’ is another one of those diet buzzwords that sometimes frustrates me. I alternately want to eat mindfully and don’t want to. Sometimes, I just want to eat without having to think about it.
I think about eating and exercise all day long already:
- am I eating too much?
- am I eating enough veggies and, to a lesser extent, fruit?
- will I be able to control myself today?
- will today be a “good” eating day or a “bad” one?
- will I get enough cardio in?
- does the cardio make a difference?
- is weight-lifting twice a week good enough?
- is it really bad that I’m not doing yoga?
These are some of the thoughts that run through my head nearly every day, and there are times when I want a break from the constant noise. I long to be one of “those people” who just do it right without consciously focusing on it. Well, bottom line for me: no such luck.
So, when I recently found out that a local surgical weight loss center that was offering a series of Mindful Eating classes, I was a bit torn. I was excited; maybe this would be the key to help me break through my current struggles. I was also apprehensive. Did I truly want to invest more time and money in this? In the end, I decided to sign up. And, I’m very glad I did.
I’ve only been able to make two of the 12 classes so far, but they’ve been great classes. The first one discussed resetting our neural pathways, essentially reprogramming our brain’s reponse to food. It is a variation on the “change your thoughts, change your life” philosophy, which works, but is much easier said than done. I’ve been doing it… with some success.
It was last week’s class, though, that really resonated with me. At first glance, there seemed to be nothing for me to learn from a mood-food connection class. I was wrong about that.
- There are approximately 3,000 to describe human emotions. Nearly 2,000 of them are for negative emotions while only 1,000 are for positive emotions. No wonder we are skewed toward negativity!
- I always wondered why replacing eating with something else never worked… until our instructor informed us that it takes 3-5 replacement activities to equal the mood-altering effect of food. Wow! THREE to FIVE activities to replace ONE food experience. First of all, that’s how powerful food can be. And, secondly, now I understand why this ostensibly logical technique never worked for me. I thought it was me; it wasn’t. Good to know on a lot of levels.
- I’ve always been additionally irritated by admonishments to replace eating with another activity – like reading a self-help book or taking a bath or getting a pedicure – because they are almost never practical . When I’m at work, wanting to chow down, I can’t simply run a bath. Or, when the compulsion to eat hits me at 11:30 at night, the spa isn’t going to be open for a pedicure. And, eating is about zoning out; reading a self-help book isn’t gonna do it because it’s the opposite of what I’m trying to achieve. So… I raised the issue in my class, and voila… our instructor had the answer. Deep breathing! There’s always time to stop and breathe deeply, no matter where you are or what you’re doing. And, it works.
I’ll miss this week’s class, and I’m a bit bummed about it. Thank goodness for next week.
My Honey and I had a fabulous homecoming from his disappointing and scary motorcycle race, and my mum’s husband is out of the hospital and doing well.
I started an intense and highly selective leadership program, and we just returned from a very fun camping trip with friends… our first camping experience as a married couple and in the rain. Nothin’ like snugglin’ up with your man while the thunder booms overhead and lightning flashes through the mesh windows.
I enjoyed the healthy stuff I brought for the trip, but I also indulged in some goodies brought by others: Oreos, Doritos and homemade s’mores, which we managed to cook over a damp fire in between rain showers. I talked to my girlfriend a little about my weight gain and how I’ve been struggling for several months being 7 or so pounds up. She said she couldn’t tell, which was nice… made even nicer by the fact that she’s extremely direct and would tell me straight up if she felt otherwise. It was nice, along with being away from the computer and cell phone access, not to have a scale around and not to keep track of every morsel. I felt free to just be me and do what I wanted to do with some moderating.
Returning to the real world this afternoon, I picked up the mail and found the latest issue of “More” magazine. Candace Bushnell’s column really resonated. Titled “Why I’m a beauty scrooge”, it details why she is against cosmetic surgery. She relates a story in which, earlier in life, she’s offered a half-price boob job. Even with a huge discount, she couldn’t afford it, and she realized she was “…just going to have to soldier on” with her “…grossly imperfect body”.
That is EXACTLY how I feel on most days: that I am soldiering on with a grossly imperfect body. It was wonderful to read that Candace Bushnell, an extremely successful writer and a “cougar” with a much younger boyfriend, has felt this way for years. As she says, the message is “change your looks, and you can change your life”.
Here’s the funny thing, though. I have done that! I have drastically changed my looks, and I have drastically changed my life. It’s actually pretty darned amazing. The life I’m living now is one I never even dreamed of. It’s miraculous to me. I am doing things personally and professionally that are exciting and challenging and notable. I am making a difference in my community, and going on adventures, big and small, with my new husband. My life has a surreal quality.
Yet, I am still “soldiering on” when it comes to my looks. There are days – after I see myself on TV or after I see a Facebook picture of a friend in a bikini who never let herself get fat and then had to fix it – that I am utterly devastated by what I see in the mirror… so much so that the urge to hide in the closet is nearly irresistible. But, I soldier on, knowing that I cannot discount the love of my man by dissing what he sees as beautiful… knowing that my contribution to work is based on my skills and attitude, not my face or body shape… knowing that my support and appreciation of my friends and family has nothing to do with the size of my jeans.
I hope to get past the soldiering. It’s admirable but tiresome, and in my case, it’s wasteful of valuable energy. It helps me live life fully, bringing me a kind of stubborn resolve to try that new thing “in spite of”, but it takes a toll at the same time, leeching joy and peace.
Instead, I hope to be able to truly embrace my transformation and appreciate its significance now… and what it will lead to in the future that I can’t yet see. I guess I’ll keep soldiering on toward that goal.
The wedding came and went a couple of weeks ago. It was a great night… a fun, funky and relaxed event, just like we wanted it to be. We also had tons of time with family in what could be a one-of-a-kind opportunity.
Now, though, I have to admit that I am missing not going on a honeymoon right away. We didn’t get any time to celebrate our union, and I spent a lot of time taking care of other people for two weeks straight. Then, my Honey had to leave town for work and then again for his motorcycle race team.
His racing event has not gone well, with some serious injuries and other less grievous mishaps, and I’ve been very supportive of him. I’ve responded to every text, offered my sympathy and love, etc. He, unfortunately, has not been able to return the favor when I tonight found out that my mum’s husband is in the hospital. Granted, he’s got a ton on his plate with this situation, but I have consistently been there as much I can while not being on site.
I’ve spent the last month making time for everyone else’s needs, actually spending very little time or attention on myself. I did not have my hair done, or a massage, or my makeup or anything else. I spent all my money and time on other people. And then I’ve had to be flexible and understanding of my Honey’s time away. These were all the right things to do, but tonight, I deserved some consideration in return, and I didn’t get it. I’m very hurt, and I’m angry.
I tried to explain to him gently and appropriately, but he still didn’t get it. I hope he comes to understand because our relationship has to be built on mutual support… not one person’s troubles always taking priority over another’s.
Naturally, when things like this come up, it makes me want to eat like crazy. Considering that my weight is already up quite a bit from all the wedding antics and how hard I’ve been working to bring it down, this doesn’t help, and I resent that. It’s not a great night.