Friday, April 29, 2011

Practical Reasons Why I'm Glad I've Lost Weight

There's the obvious - I look better, I feel better, I have more energy, I can shop for better clothes, life is more pleasant and fun overall.

Here's a few practical reasons to consider -

I fit into spaces more easily now. This includes the middle seat between two people on the subway - but it also includes medical equipment. I needed to have some (non-urgent, don't worry) imaging done recently, which meant going for an MRI.  Not sure how well I would have fit into the equipment 80 pounds ago - it was just barely a comfortable fit at my current size.

I can take my wedding band off if I need to. This came in very handy when I was having that MRI done. Little known fact: I was able to take my wedding band off until shortly after our first anniversary, and then couldn't get it off again until about 18 months ago - which was 14 years later. 

Being sick/injured is easier. After each of my children were born, I really struggled with moving my poor, sore body around. It took an unbelievable amount of effort to get in and out of bed those first few days. The worst was the day that it took me an hour to get out of a chair, because I was so out of shape that I didn't have any other muscles that could take over when part of me was out of commission. And I was so heavy that it was hard for the nurse to help me up. Ack.

I was very mindful of this about a year ago when I had what seemed like an appendicitis attack. Was absolutely horribly painful, and I couldn't use my abs at all to get in and out of the car, in and out of chairs in the waiting room, in and out of gurneys and machines for exams. As unpleasant as all of it was, I was grateful that I had strong arms and legs to help with all of this when my abs were down for the count. I was also unbeliveably grateful that I had given myelf a lighter body to drag around.

For me, this is absolutely the most compelling reason to keep the weight off and stay strong - because you never know what life may throw at you. And wouldn't it be great later on to go into old age as strong and light as possible?

I'm more likely to survive the collapse of society. Ha ha - sort of. You never know when the Machines Will Take Over. Or when the Zombie Apocalypse will rise. Or if something equally unthinkable may happen.

Have you seen the price of gas lately? The internet tells me that for every extra 100 lbs of weight in your car, you lose about 2% of your fuel efficiency. If I've done the math correctly, that means that for every 40L fill-up, about 600mL of gas was getting burned up just hauling my extra fat around. No thanks.

What about you - what are your practical reasons for losing weight?

Gray Saturday morning - but the sky brightened up shortly after.
Farmer's Market is still indoors - April 2011

Here's this week's recap -

Saturday - Played hookey from the gym, but rode my bike to the Farmer's Market and back (6K). Got my favourites - sweet & sour tofu from Ying Ying Soy Foods and pickles (beets this time) from Toorshi Foods. Yum!

Sunday - Easter! Ate a ton of jelly beans (they're fat free, right?), then took the kids to the park for a couple of hours. Rode our bikes around the track, played wiffle ball, bounced on the teeter-totters for a while. Took the long way home by riding through the cemetary. My daughter rides beautifully at the track, but gets very nervous in narrower spaces like sidewalks. I've also realized that she uses the lane markers at the track to help her steer, so our ride home was excellent practice for her to try riding in a straight line, riding on the sidewalk, and riding in the very, very light traffic in the cemetery. She was nervous, but she tried it. She's amazing :-)

My total: 6.8K on the track + 2.6 travel to the track and the long way home = 9.4K.

Monday to Wednesday - Oh my. Work is mental. No time for stairs or walks and I was too tired for the gym.

Thursday - Zumba after dinner. Felt great!

Friday - Another mental day at work. The bright spot in the day was taking my husband to pick up his race kit after work - he's doing a 10K on Sunday with his sister!

What I'm reading this week - Beijing Confidential by Jan Wong;

Friday, April 22, 2011

CN Tower? Check!

Before - (almost) too excited to be nervous
We did it!

Dragged ourselves out of bed before the sun was up.

Had a quick breakfast, then went out in the gale-force winds, lashing rain and freezing cold.

(It's true! The weather was wild!)

Checked in, checked our coats and hit the start line. GO!

This was my second time doing the CN Tower Climb - did it last October too - and my son's first.

I was pretty nervous about this one - after making him audition, I knew that he could do the climb but was worried about how we'd do together. Would he be able to go so fast that I'd struggle to keep up? Would he be able to go so fast that he'd be annoyed with me? Would he start so fast that he'd burn out part way up?

Turns out - we did amazing.

He paced himself really well, climbed strong, took short breaks with me when we needed them - and finished smiling.

Me too :-)

I never felt like I was racing to keep up with him, and he says he didn't feel like I was holding him back, aside from needing a few more breaks than he did. Nice comfortable pace for both of us.

As they say, before you know it, you're at the top. It really is amazing to watch 144 flights of stairs fly by.

We were both thrilled with our times, too.

Me for a few reasons. I finished in 29:59 - which is my personal best! It also means that I met my big hairy scary goal of under 30 minutes - just barely, but I did it! Finally, I'm very, very proud to say that this was 4:38 faster than my time from just 6 months ago.  Seriously - the new Curves and Zumba are doing amazing things for my fitness.

My son finished in 29:37. He's delighted that he did it in under 30 minutes, and also that he beat the times from both of my climbs :-) And as I told him - the first time you do an event, you automatically PB!

He's already wondering about how he'll do in next year's Climb, when he'll be old enough that we won't have to stick together on the way up.

My daughter (7) has also started talking about wanting to try the Climb in a couple of years.

Does this mean that I'm going to have to do this event EVERY year? :-)
Showing off our t-shirts & soaked from the rain - April 2011
The best part?

After crossing the finish line, he told me that he feels like he can do almost anything now.

Giving him the opportunity to feel this way was one of the best experiences I've had as a parent.

Watching someone get a glimpse of their own potential? I don't have the words to describe how awe-inspiring that is, and how grateful I am that I was there to see it.

I know what he means - I felt exactly the same way after getting to the top of the top of the Tower last year. That feeling is what got me to finally sign up for my first 5K, and has led to me signing up for all my other events since.

We're doing a 5K together next month. Wonder where else this will take him?

Here's this week's recap:

Later that day...
Saturday - CN Tower, followed by a trip to the hospital. My Zumba-dancing, bike riding, gymnast of a daughter twisted her walking across the playground (??) after school yesterday. We thought it was just a bit tender and went home for RICE, but it was swollen and very sore this morning when she got up. Nothing broken, happily - she just needs to stay off it for a day or two.

Sunday - Recovery day. Lots and lots and lots of relaxing.

Monday - 1.25K walk in the morning; Curves after dinner.

Tuesday - Rest day. Sort of. Spent the day running around at work and driving kids places after school.

Wednesday & Thursday - Nothin'. Work has been crazy busy. Didn't even make it to Zumba. Not good.

Kite master! At the park - April 2011

Friday - Good Friday holiday - Took the kids to the park to fly kites and play frisbee, then went out to my SIL's for our nephew's birthday. We all the kids for a good hike through the forest near their house. A most excellent way to end the week!

Don't fall in! April 2011

What I'm reading this week - Huh. Nothing. Tried to read Freedom by Jonathan Frantzen but found the characters so unlikeable that I couldn't get into it. Tried to read The Carnivore by Mark Sinnet but couldn't get into it either. Anyone have anything good to recommend?

Friday, April 15, 2011

In Which I Go Shopping for a New Swimsuit

You may remember that I was in a bit of a funk at the end of last week - ate too much food and had uneven amounts of exercise during the week.

I then made the (snort) wise decision to go shopping for a new swim suit on Saturday evening. That one did a number on my self-esteem, let me tell you.

Yes, I KNOW that swim suit shopping is a chore dreaded by many at the best of times. Believe me, I would have put if off if I could, but my old suit has completely worn out and isn't fit to be worn in public any more. It was time.

So - already in a funk, I found myself in a changeroom trying on suits. And found myself really unhappy with what I was seeing in the mirror. At that moment, I didn't see someone who has lost eighty pounds (and fifty-two inches), and who was trying on a suit many sizes smaller than in the recent past.

I certainly didn't see a woman who has shaved 14 minutes off her 5K time in under 18 months, or a woman who has climbed the CN Tower (it's the tallest in the world, folks!) and is about to do it again.

I saw a women with almost forty pounds to lose. A woman with thick legs, flabby thighs, a spare tire and waddly arms.

It made me mad. Mad that I have been making food choices that are making this a long and slow journey. Mad that losing weight is such a full-time job. Mad that I generally get some form of exercise almost every day and yet any muscle definition is still hidden under a layer of fat.

But you know what?

Even though I was upset, I didn't raid the treat displays at the checkout.

Not because I had made any kind of changeroom pledge to make the suit look better before beach season (although yes, I did make just such a pledge). More because at that moment, I wasn't looking for treats to make me feel better. Stress eating has been a constant theme in my life and something I continue to struggle with - so this was one very major victory for me.

And that made me happy.

And then I remembered that I can see my collarbones these days. And my shinbones. And the slight cleft in my chin. And the metacarpals in the back of my hands. All of which I had forgotten about for years until they reappeared, one by one, over the last year. And so I went to bed feeling even more happy.

I woke up the next morning feeling like it was any other day - and realized that I'd gotten a ton of exercise the day before but wasn't feeling sore. I was feeling strong.

And that made me REALLY happy.

My head's on straight again now. Hope yours is too.

Here's this week's recap -  

Saturday - Absolutely stunningly beautiful day! Rode my bike to Curves and back (6K round trip), worked out + 40 pushups. Later in the day - swept the patio, set up the patio furniture and CLEANED THE GARAGE. Properly, too! Followed by the above soul-crushing shopping trip.

Check out my bike riding daughter!

Sunday - Cleaned the basement family room - organized toys, pulled out furniture, vacuumed everything. Went to the park with my family after dinner (1.2K round trip) and did an easy 8K on the track on my bike. Realized that 25K is pretty far, so I'd better get cracking on training for the June ride. Also realized that 6 months ago, I struggled to ride 5K on this track. Another "non-scale" victory!

Bonus: My son rode 10K, and my daughter - a very new rider - did over 2K. WAY TO GO FAMILY!!!

Monday - Stairs to 12 + 7 at lunch, wiffle ball with the kids after school, Curves after dinner.

Tuesday - Stairs to 12 + 7 at lunch.

Wednesday - Rest day.

Another mom/daughter moment: cooling down after Zumba!
Thanks to Denni for taking our pic!
Thursday - Went Zumba after dinner and brought my daughter along. I've said it before: I love this workout! Also did 40 pushups.


What I'm reading this week: Mockingjay, the last in the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins. These were recommended by my son - they're young adult/teen fiction but every engaging for adults too. Hard to put them down, and my husband is equally hooked.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Fine Example of an Uneven Week

Ever have one of those weeks that's wildly uneven? Days where you are pleased with the exercise you got and/or food you choose, alternating with days that couldn't be further off the mark if you tried? I had one of those this week. Check it out:

Saturday - the week started off well, even if I do look rather intense here!

Saturday - Rode my bike to Curves and back (6K round trip); worked out + 58 pushups. Spent the afternoon and the rest of the day sitting around - sitting in the car to go to London, sitting at friends' houses. Also at a lot of cheese.

Sunday - More sitting around with friends and eating cheese. Got in the car to come home and ran into terrible weather. Freezing rain and sleet turned what should have been a 2-hour trip home into a stressful 4-hour ordeal. Multiple roll-overs, multiple cars in the ditch and countless fenderbenders. None of which involved us, thank God. Got home wayyyy late.

Monday - Very tired. Skipped the stairs and the gym. Saw the chiropractor after work - I've got some crazy neck and shoulder issues going on after spending so much time in the dentist's chair last week.

Tuesday - I love this sculpture in Commerce Court! Something awesome - it's right outside the Running Room.

Tuesday - Lunchtime walk, 2.1K. Skipped the stairs. Not an ideal decision considering that the Tower climb is in less than 2 weeks. Spent the evening driving kids to and from their activities, then ended up at Emerg in the late evening with my son, who was complaining of stomach cramps. Fortunately, it turned out to be nothing serious. Took a while to get seen  - we didn't get home from the hospital until 5:30am the next morning.

Later on Tuesday - MUCH later. It's 3AM and we've still got 2 hours of waiting to go.
Wednesday - Absolutely shattered. 'Nuff said.

Thursday - Zumba + Curves after dinner. Sweated so much that my eyes were stinging. Great workout!

Friday - Nope, not an emergency. It's a film shoot. One of the official signs of spring in Toronto.

Friday - Went for a gentle stroll at lunchtime. Maybe 1K. Back to the chiro after work.

CN Tower is in one week, folks. Yikes!

What I learned this week - If I don't bring my lunch to work, I don't exercise mid-day. I'm too hungry to exercise before I pick something up, and too full + pressed for time to go out again after I eat. Better to bring a salad + something, eat the salad while I work, go for a walk, then eat the rest while I work after I get back. Next week = back on track, right?

What I'm reading this week - Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins, the second book in the Hunger Games trilogy.