Monday, January 17, 2011

Late, But Great, New Years Resolution

I've never been big on New Years Resolutions. I think they're kind of hokey, and the vast majority (read: all) of the time I make one, it never fails to fail. I think it's because all my resolutions have always been so specific:

Lose twenty pounds.

Go to the gym five times a week.

Save more money.

Etc, etc, etc.

These resolutions, for me, do not a good year make. I can hold myself to them for a few weeks, but then it just becomes too much. I get bored, I get annoyed, I get distracted.

I went to visit my parents this weekend, and on Saturday my mom and I went to see her best friend, a woman who is like a second mother to me, and she looked at me and said, "You're in a really good place right now". And I am - I'm not sure when it happened, or how it happened, but I am in a better place right now than I have been in over a year. Over New Years weekend something clicked, something in me snapped, and unconsciously I decided to change. I didn't say I need to change, I decided to change. This, I think, is the biggest factor between resolutions that are kept and resolutions that fail.

It wasn't as easy, though, as deciding to change. Change encompasses so, so much. What am I changing? What needs to be changed? How am I going to facilitate these changes that I've decided to make?

I wasn't sure how to navigate these questions, this broad area of newness. But then, something happened. I bought this:

Honestly, I only bought it because I liked the colors, and the graphics on it were pretty cool. It shows an evolutionary progression from an amoeba, through various animals, to a present-day man hauling a briefcase and smoking, to a more evolved present day man riding a bike with wind turbines behind him.

But I've been staring at that big, bold word in the middle of the bottle and it dawned on me: Change was not what I needed to do. I'm a pretty decent human being as I am. What I need to do is EVOLVE. There is an inherent difference, in my mind, between change and personal evolution. It is the difference between saying something within me is not good enough, and I am good as I am but I can be better.

I am good as who I am, but I want to be great. I want to be amazing. I want to be the best person that I can possibly be.

My New Years resolution? It's simple.


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Body-Fat Challenge

Since I moved here in April, I had driven past Mike Duffy's Gym almost every day. And every few months, I saw a sign posted outside for a Body Fat Challenge. Mike Duffy, the gym owner, holds a 6-week contest every season where, for a certain fee, you get 6 personal training sessions, unlimited boot camp classes, nutrition guidance, and unlimited use of the cardio area of his gym.

I had wanted to do this since I moved here, but I always made excuses. I didn't have time, I didn't have money, my arthritis was too bad to work out. But really, the only reason I didn't do it was because at some point over the past year and a half, I had lost myself. I stopped caring about myself, I stopped taking care of myself and putting myself first. I lost myself in an abusive and demeaning relationship, where my single concern was whether my girlfriend was going to get mad at me, and what I needed to do to avoid it.

It was an extremely unhealthy situation for me to be in and I let myself, my confidence, my strength, my voice, the very things that make me who I am, fly out the window. I stopped running, I stopped working out, I stopped exerting myself, all in an effort to put all my strength into keeping my girlfriend happy.

We've since broken up, and it was a very difficult and painful process realizing all of that. Acknowledging that not only had I suppressed my personality so much that people who met me didn't like me, but that I had alienated the people that actually did like me for who I am.

The end of November and all of December was a time of serious introspection for myself, and I've since realized that I don't even know who I am anymore. I look in the mirror and I don't recognize the person staring back at me.

Flash forward to today, and I'm coming out of my depression. I'm working out, losing weight, making friends, and generally living life. This is where Mike Duffy comes into play. I'm using his 6-week body fat blast to help me get my life back, to help me get my body back, to help me get me back.

It's easier now that I'm spending all of my time focusing on me.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

No title. No excuses. Just life.

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I am the most unreliable blogger ever. I'm also the most inconsistent runner ever. I am incapable of sticking to my weight-loss or running resolutions.

I am, essentially, the most fickle runner you will ever meet.

That's changing now. It has to.

In 2007, I ran my first and only marathon with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society's Team in Training. I raised money to go to cancer research and patient support, even though I had no direct connection to cancer - my family had always been lucky in that regard.

That changed on September 22, when I found out that my father has Stage 3 stomach cancer.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. My parents told me over the phone, and I just completely broke down. My girlfriend had moved out temporarily that afternoon, and it was like my entire life, my entire safety net, everything that I believed in and looked to for strength, had up and left.

My lifelong struggle with weight has always upset my father. I ran my first race with Dad, and when I decided to run the Rock & Roll Marathon, I tried to convince him to join me. Dad is a runner, a health nut, an avid gym-rat. Until he got cancer.

Dad was also overweight as a child. He worked to get it off, and he's worked ever since to keep it off. Dad has always been one of the healthiest people I know.

He's staying strong, he's not letting the chemo get him down, and he's actually gained back some of the weight he lost when he was really sick and unable to eat. But if there was one thing Dad has always wanted for me, it was to end this struggle with my weight.

I'm running the NYC Half Marathon with LIVESTRONG, and am raising money to help the fight against cancer. I have a personal connection now...I have someone to fight for.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

So There's This Shirt...

This past Halloween I was already well on my way to being the largest I have ever been. Some people see this as ironic: "Didn't you just run a marathon relay? 7.1 miles? Aren't you running a 5-mile race in a few weeks?". Yes, yes, and yes. I was still gaining weight like there was no tomorrow.

This is a picture of a bunch of people who went out on Halloween. We were in Provincetown, MA, and the lady and I were dressed as Bad 80's Prom. She's in the awesome fuscia dress with mullet, and I'm in the blue polo with craptastic plastic sunglasses.


Maybe you can't really see it here, but my belly is overflowing my pants, and you can actually see my belly-button through the shirt.

I'm wearing that same outfit right now (when you unpop the collar and remove the craptastic sunglasses and sweater around the shoulders, it's actually a decent work outfit. Promise). And...It actually fits. Better than it did then.

So far, I'm down 7 pounds and have begun working out in earnest. I'm going to post some pictures from Christmas below (right after my surgery, and when I think I actually weighed more than I did when I started Weight Watchers). After that, I'm putting pictures up from this past weekend. Let me know what you think.

Christmas (that's me and my two brothers - one human, one dog):

And this is last weekend. I was one happy kid, don't you think?

Anyway. I'm pretty pleased with myself so far :-) Here's hoping that I hit my 5% goal tomorrow when I weigh in.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Weekends are disasters for me

Yeah. I've been slacking with the blogging. Partially because I'm embarrassed of my complete lack of willpower on the weekends. Partially because I gained .6 pounds last Friday at my weigh-in (pretty much expected, which I'll get into later). Partially because I can't figure out how to eat healthy while maintaining the lifestyle I had before. It's really difficult, to be honest.

So, last Friday, as I mentioned, I gained .6 pounds. I expected this. I had lost 5.6 pounds the week before, and anyone who watches The Biggest Loser knows that there is a Week 2 curse. This essentially states that if you lost a lot of weight in the first week, you'll probably stay the same or gain the next week. I also had been really, really slacking with my water consumption. Really, though, I was just glad that I only gained .6. It could have been A LOT worse.

Weekends are tough. I don't have the structure of a workday to base myself on. I have a fridge full of food that I can munch on at any given time. If I'm away for the weekend (like I was this past weekend), I always end up going out to dinner.

But I'm trying to make better decisions at restaurants, too. Let's review last weekend, shall we? The lady and I were going to West Long Branch to spend the entire day looking at apartment complexes. We stopped at Starbucks to get some coffee and breakfast, where I had a tall one-pump skinny vanilla latte. Points? 2. Breakfast was the Perfect Oatmeal with brown sugar and dried fruit. Points? 5. A 7-point breakfast, but not bad for 10AM. Later in the day, while walking down the boardwalk, we stopped for a cappuchino. I got both made with skim milk and no sugar. Again, not bad. And then....

And then...

There was gelato. And it looked delicious. We both wanted some. Normal me would have bought two smalls, one for each of us. I looked at her and said, "we can get it, but we have to share the kiddie size.". It was PERFECT.

She had surprised me earlier in the day with a night away from life at a local hotel. It was great. We really needed some time to ourselves, with no family or roommates or friends to bother us. We needed to recharge our relationship batteries. But of course...That meant that we would have to go out to eat for dinner.

We shared an order of wings, because we're both addicted to wings.
She got a crock of french onion soup, of which I had a spoonful.
For dinner, she had crabcakes and I had a grilled chicken sandwich. Grilled chicken, mozzarella, roasted red peppers, onions, an a balsamic vinagrette. Delicious. I cut it in half, took half the chicken off of one half, and ate only one half. I was pretty proud of myself! I also had two Michelob Ultras with dinner, but at only 2 points apiece I treated myself.

It's not about limiting yourself, I'm realizing. It's about allowing yourself to have what you want, but being conscious of how much you're having. Past-me would have eaten the entire sandwich and not thought about it. Healthy-me knows better.

The other night, I went out for karaoke with the lady, her best friend, his husband, and two of their friends. Apparently karaoke also includes dinner now. I had a chipotle ranch chicken salad, and got grilled chicken instead of chicket cutlet, and kept the dressing on the side instead of pouring it all over the salad. I ended up using only half the dressing they gave.

It's the small changes that can really make or break a meal. I probably saved a few hundred calories on that chicken salad by switching out for grilled chicken, and dipping the salad into the dressing.

So what did all those small changes add up to this week?

A 2-pound weight loss :-D I'm down 7 pounds in three weeks. My goal is to lose 3 lbs next week, so that I can hit an even 10 in one month.

Coming up this weekend - a behind the scenes tour of Yankee Stadium, lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe in the Stadium, and a St. Paddy's Day pub crawl. Let's see what small changes I can make to my antics to save some calories.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Snowpocolypse: Redux

The snow was supposed to stop THIS MORNING. I'm very disappointed with you, National Weather Service Alert System. Last night, you told me the "Winter Storm Warning" was in effect until 6AM TODAY. Now, it's in effect until 6AM TOMORROW. This morning, my neighborhood was a winter wonderland, and while the majority of the time that's awesome, today it was most definitely NOT.

See, today was my first weigh-in. And I'm still scared shitless of walking on slippery, snow- and ice-covered sidewalks, because if I slip and fall my shoulder is gonna go all tear-y on me again. And honestly? Do.Not.Want. So I was faced with this decision today: Stay home from work and miss my weigh-in, or make the Walk of Slushy Doom and take my chances.

I opted for choice B. Because I've worked damn hard this week, and I deserved to see if my work paid off.

It did. To the tune of 5.6 pounds!

Damn straight. I hit the five pound goal in one week.

Total weight lost: 5.6 lbs.
Current weight: 193.6.


Thursday, February 25, 2010

Birthday Celebration Dinner

The first time I joined Weight Watchers, you only had your allotted X points for the day, and that was it. You could earn extra points by working out, but you had to use them that day. As far as I can remember, you weren't allowed to bring over unused points from one day to the next. Use'em or lose'em.

Now, they have these things called Weekly Points. It's X number of extra points that you get to use however you want to during the week. Also, any points to accrue by working out can be used at any time during the week.

At my current weight, I have 35 weekly points to do with as I please. I also earned 5 extra points on Monday for cycling at >12mph for 30 minutes. So, that's 40 points for me to use and abuse. Or just use.

Yesterday was the lady's mothers birthday. Her mom passed away five years ago from cancer, and every year on her mom's birthday and anniversary of her passing, she goes out for a cosmo to celebrate her mom's life. Cosmo's were Margie's drink, the lady says, and she could drink three of them and still walk in stiletto's without spilling a drop. I have three beers and sometimes spill out of a pint glass while walking in sneakers, so that is a feat to be very much admired.

So, yesterday I took the lady out for a cosmo and dinner. Date night! She had a cosmo, I had a vodka and club soda. 3 points! Then, I splurged. I had a grass-fed cheeseburger (the burger was grass-fed, not the cheese) with a side-salad instead of fries. And, before I count the points in that, can I just say that it was the best burger to ever have graced my mouth? I can? Awesome, thanks.

It was the best burger to ever have graced my mouth. By far, one of the best meals I've had out in recent (and not-so-recent) memory. And something I can actually, truly, appreciate because I've stopped eating crap. Perhaps that's why it tasted so good - I'm looking back over my food journal, and all of the refined and processed crap has pretty much been cut out of my diet so now there is a greater appreciation for food that is actually good.

The salad was damn good, too.

It gave me a pretty big hit on the points, though. The burger itself ended up being 8.5 points, plus another 3 for the bun and two for the cheese, and 3 for the dressing used on the salad (a basic balsamic vinaigrette, it tasted like, but I'm adding a point or two just in case - I'd rather overestimate than underestimate). So 16.5 points for dinner.

It put me at 33 for the day, which is using 6 of the Weekly Points and leaving me with 29 Weekly Points left, and 5 Activity Points.

I learned, though, that I CAN go out to dinner. That I shouldn't avoid eating at restaurants if it's a special occasion. I'm able to go out, enjoy myself, and NOT FEEL GUILTY AFTERWARDS. I think that was the biggest step for me last night - I didn't feel guilty after eating, because I knew that I had allotted for it and I didn't go overboard.

I weigh in tomorrow. I'm nervous. The lady said that she can already see in my face that I'm not as 'puffy' as I was. We normally spend every night together, but she went out to Jersey early Monday morning and didn't come back till after work last night, so she hadn't seen me for over two days. She said she can definitely tell a difference already. That was exciting :-)