Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Goal!!! OMG, OMG, GOAL!!!

Wow. After all this time thinking about what I'd say or how I feel getting to goal weight - well, I can't even express what I'm thinking. WHAT A TRIP, MAN! When I signed on for gastric sleeve surgery at 263 pounds...well, I *knew* I would get to my goal, but I also *knew* I would never get to my goal, if you know what I mean. It was just so far, far away. My spirit was completely broken when it came to weight loss - even at 263 pounds, I couldn't coax myself into losing 5-10 pounds. All I was doing was gaining, and caring less about how much I gained, and being SHOCKED less at how much I gained.

It was time to put a stop to it. I knew the road I was on only had one ending, and it was a bad one.

And now...WOW!! What an incredibly different path my life is on! I am healthy, happy, exercising, in love. The future is so bright, baby! 

I'll probably wax nostalgic over the next several posts as I really reflect on this achievement, but for today, I just want to revel. Here's a couple pictures to celebrate!

Goal, baby!

Home on medical leave after WLS


Goodbye to the 260s250s240s230s220s210s200s190s, 180s170s160s, 150s, 140s!!!!

Monday, July 30, 2012

It's Not Broccoli that Keeps Me from Losing Weight

I'm trying a new strategy this week, instead of the protein shakes. See, in the deepest, darkest recesses of my mind, I have to admit that I am horribly lactose intolerant. I was before WLS, and I am even more so after weight loss surgery. And last week, with only Premier protein shakes (milk-based) and a bunch of non-fat milk in my ever-present hot tea...well, I spent the week like a blown up balloon with a sputtering end.

Yeah, me and Miguel both.
It's time to test it and prove it and live with the results. Even though I love milk in my tea! I don't mind soy milk or rice or almond...though I don't like vanilla-flavored anything (but ice cream!), so switching off milk for my tea is a bit of a pain. And there was the one day that I decided to forego all milk in my tea...and it made me terribly nauseous. One might think that should make me evaluate whether I should even be DRINKING the tea, but I'm not ready to go there. :) Since I don't drink pop after my WLS, and I've never liked coffee...well, if I rule out tea, that just leaves me with...gasp...water. And I'm not ready to go there, yuck. Oh, I do drink a lot of Crystal Light, too. Raspberry iced tea is my favorite. I have a couple other flavors I will tolerate.

Okay, so this week the challenge will be to avoid all dairy and gluten. (Gluten simply because I can see if it affects the bloated feeling, as well as my digestive issues, but mainly because it will keep me from eating crackers and such like a mad-woman. Which was kind of the point of the whole liquid diet, haha.)

For breakfast I had a hard-boiled egg. I need to bring some from home, because I cannot tell you how silly it is to pay $1.00 for a hard-boiled egg. Grr. Lunch was tofu, tuna salad, kidney and garbanzo beans, green beans and broccoli. It was less than $3.00 from my pay-by-the-pound salad bar at work. Pre-op, lunches there cost me $11.25, six weeks post-op: $1.20. So today I was hungrier, but not exponentially so, haha.

On my way to the salad bar, I was feeling a little guilty for not sticking to the protein shakes. But I don't have any dairy-free with me, and I am woman enough to tell you that yesterday I was so stinking constipated I took a laxative. So it was a spur of the moment decision to take advantage of my clean pipes and see how dairy and gluten free living affect me. 

Besides, I thought, it's not too much broccoli that's been keeping me from losing weight these last few months! As my daughter said this morning, when I was on my quitting smoking sugar binge, she gained four pounds. :( Insert very sad mommy face here. I just had so much more sugar and junk around the house, and my baby suffers from the same challenges as her mommy. How awful do you suppose I felt, knowing that my little sugar-bender was fattening her up, too, when she's been working as hard as she is? Anyway, she reported this morning that she's down to her lowest weight in recent history, and to not bring any more sugar into the house. :) Deal!

Hey - I am six weeks smoke-free today. Haven't taken the Chantix for at least a couple weeks now, either, so I'm flying solo. My weight is back down to less than before I quit and things are looking good. All systems go!

Back on Track

Freakout weight (last Monday): 149.9
Today's weight: 141.1
Freakout factor: Not freaked!! This is my lowest weight yet

I'll eat realllllllly good today/tonight, because I am a mere 0.2 pounds off my original goal. (!!!) As you know, in my world, I only count whole numbers on the scale (except to tell you that I am 0.2 pounds off my goal, hahaha, this system of mine is really designed to favor me, not the scale!). So 140.9 is "140," pure and simple. It's the way I've done it all along, so it's not cheating even when I'm done this close to goal! My other non-cheater cheat is that I do not record upticks on my weight tracker, above, or over at obesityhelp.com.

Anyway. I didn't do the liquid diet this weekend. I honestly didn't even really consider it too much. :) I was mindful about my eating...except for these infernal chocolate chip cookie bars that G. had made and I couldn't keep my stinking hands off all weekend! But, generally, I would say I did quite well. Maintenance eating, not weight loss eating.

This week, it's all about getting back on track with the exercise. I really stumbled last week.

(You can TOTALLY tune out these next several paragraphs. Sum it all up with "EXCUSES.")

I have been seeing a massage therapist twice a week specifically for my shoulder injury incurred on New Year's Eve. Oh my, does she ever make it feel so much better! I had an MRI some time ago and there's no rotater cuff tear. I probably have a "SLAP injury," a tear in another part of the cartilage that's not as horrific as a rotater cuff tear. But still terribly painful! Anyway, the massage two evenings a week is really eating into my schedule.

Add in that my ex-MIL is watching my youngest during the day (which is awesome!), but she lives 20 miles away through traffic. So on "my" kid days, I've got to factor in some commuting to pick him up. Ex-MIL has been awesome, though, letting me pick him up late in the evening so I can get Alli up to the Y. That has been a tremendous, tremendous help, because honestly, if I had to go straight down to her place to pick him up... the odds of taking Alli to the Y after all that running around would be quite slim.

My big challenge, though, is that I need to figure out a way to work in exercise at G's house. I spent the bulk of the tail end of the week with him, as it was my kid-free weekend. That is lost time that I *could* but doing something, but am not*. (*Oh, we get plenty of exercise, though, wink, wink) He has a treadmill: it has no TV and its stride is a little weird for me, but it would certainly be do-able if I weren't such a baby! He also lives by a state park with a very cool trail system.

Cool trails by G's house. This is a half-marathon route for 9/8/12.
We do stay busy, too. We put in a very long day on Saturday crabbing and boating, then cooking and shelling our bountiful crab haul, which took a very long time. Saturday was actually pretty exhausting! It was a total blast, though.

We got 13 Dungeoness crab, the smallest was 7" across!

Okay, so a plan for the week. I've talked to my daughter, who suggests we squeeze in a half-hour workout at the Y tonight instead of the hour we've been doing. I think my next post will be about her pure awesomeness and how she's thrown herself into working out. At 7:30 a.m. this morning she texted me that she had already run a mile and walked two around her dad's neighborhood! And she's calling me at work to make sure I'm taking her to the Y tonight! Plus, this weekend was the first time she ran outside and she is super-excited about it, and our upcoming 5K, which she is now feeling very confident about running the whole way.

Monday: massage, 1/2 hour treadmill at the Y
Tuesday: Alli appt in evening, 1/2 hour at the Y
Wednesday: G's house...hmm, maybe walk the trails?
Thursday: massage, kid-free night, long workout - Alli can probably come
Friday: long workout w/ Alli at Y

Sort of lame, but I'll work on shoring it up.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Ya Gotta Want It. Regroup, regroup, regroup.

Freakout weight: 149.9
Today's weight: 142.8
Freakout factor: SEETHING

Holy Camoly, I am in a MOOD this Morning!! Ugh, did I ever wake up on the wrong side of the bed. I surely should have stayed home, but I took the local bus and now I am stuck here. The people on the bus annoyed the bejeezus out of me. I very nearly got into a fight at the SBUX condiment counter with an old woman who was extremely territorial of the nonfat milk. (I didn't know she was going to use it, and when I said, "Gosh, they usually have two out here," she snarled, "Well, I don't know anything about that." So either she was in a mood, too, or just my reaching for the nonfat conveyed great impatience and hostility. I won't rule out the possibility, haha.)

And WHY, when people found out you did a race, do they ALWAYS ask or assume it was a 26.2 mile freaking marathon?? WHY WOULD YOU EVER MAKE THAT ASSUMPTION? Do you know how far that is?? I am getting so tired of people asking, or saying so. I have an email from a friend this morning, after seeing my picture on facebook, "You look so fantastic.  What did you run?  A full marathon?"

Uh, no. It was just 13.1 tiny little miles. Half whatever accomplishment you assumed I could do. But thanks for asking. I thought a half-marathon was pretty freaking cool, but you're right, it's just half-cool.

A mood, I tell you. I should have never gotten on the scale this morning. I'm truly beginning to think that there is some heavy-duty self-sabotage going on, intentionally keeping me from getting below this ridiculous goal weight. So, the day before, I was what, 142.6? Yes. 

Then came yesterday. It really wasn't a bad day, but it deserves some scrutiny and retrospection. A protein shake in the morning: 160 calories. Then someone brought over a bag of Gu Chomps for me to try on my next long run. They were watermelon, which sounded disgusting. An hour or so later, starving, they sounded not so bad. After I ate one, I realized they're pretty freaking delicious. Except I wasn't running, of course. So I ate the bag, I think it was 180 calories. Oops.

Lunch with a friend. I'm not eating, but I forgot a protein shake. I bought coconut water, which has gobs of potassium, and I *had* woken up in the middle of the previous night with horrific leg cramps (I get this in one particular muscle or tendon sometimes). I think it had 90 calories. Or 190 calories, I can't rightly recollect. Hmm, their website says 110 calories. Whatever. :)

Half a pickle. My friend, who invited me for lunch, also did not have money to buy her own lunch. So I actually paid to have her sit and eat in front of me. :) I recall she and I doing this very same thing when I was on my two-week pre-op liquid diet. :) I told her so, and I told her I am reconsidering our friendship. So I ate her pickle.

It was about 2:30 p.m. that I noticed my hand shaking when I reached to answer my phone. Huh. It was about 2:45 p.m. when my body began near-convulsing. (Okay, near convulsing is a bit of an exaggeration.) I thought, at the time, extreme hunger, but you know what? I am thinking either Gu Chomps or coconut water now! Too much concentrated calories on an empty stomach, maybe?? It is weird to me that I was SO AFFECTED yesterday afternoon. It's honestly not as if I've been starving myself. I ate a good dinner the night before (yum, remember chicken nachos?).

Okay, so I felt really awful and I headed to the salad bar to get some food. A salad, with a piece of tofu. It wasn't a big meal, but it wasn't a small meal. I got kidney beans, garbanzo beans and beets. I did put croutons and crumbled bleu cheese on it.

Later, I figured that would be dinner. I planned to walk my three one-mile pieces, getting in my exercise for the day. But about halfway through my first leg, a coworker actually drove by (in another city!) and offered me a ride. Hilarious! Would you believe he was going to the exact same building as me?? CRAZY!

After my grueling deep tissue massage on my shoulder, I stood up and was d-i-z-z-y. Hmm. Water. More water. I began the walk back to the transit center, but I was really not feeling well. I could have made it, but a connector bus happened by, and I decided to take it. 

At the transit center, I had just missed my bus home, so I had a half hour to kill. I'm a little disconcerted about the shaking and dizziness. I decide to eat again. I get a small combo to go at the Mexican restaurant right at the bus stop. I eat chips and salsa on the patio. I pick at the to-go dinner while I wait for the bus. By the time I get home and go to bed, I have eaten about half the combo (cheese enchilada, rice and beans) and ate enough chips that I am miserably full and thinking I am waaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyyy stooooooooppppiddddd.

I polished off the sugar free popsicles at home. Uh, there were four. I told myself I needed the hydration. :) (Sidebar: I did not need the hydration. If you observe me, you will see that I am the most-hydrated person you know. I challenge you to find me at any given time without a drink in my hand or within reach!)

So I get on the scale this morning and I figure I'm not going to like it. But I also figure that miracles happen. There was no scale miracle this morning, and I am left wondering how much of my current weight is just "what I'm supposed to weigh," and how much is "Julie will do anything to keep from reaching her goals." I have been at this weight for five months now, after all. One pound off my first goal, which is no longer my goal.

Here are my struggles right now:
- SUPPOSING I get below 140, I am *just* into the "normal" BMI range. Does that seem fair?
- Am I self-sabotaging myself?? Why would I have that WLS surgery just to get SO CLOSE to where I want to be (I would love, love, love another ten pounds gone, I really would) and not do it?
- Is ten pounds unrealistic? I know that doctors have told me to stop losing, but really? Not even into the normal BMI?
- Do I make too much of this BMI thing (yes, I do, I know, I know, I know)
- Clearly I have some issues. Being outside "normal" BMI, or "only" doing a half marathon - you can tell I have some real internal competitive/something issues. Oh, this is lifelong, I don't expect it to change. Weird things bother me. A lot.
- Will I always just absolutely refuse to let myself be happy for anything I've done? Be it only running a half marathon, or only losing 122 pounds, or only...when do I just celebrate my accomplishments??

Oh, boy, like I said, I woke up in a freaking MOOD this morning. I shudder at the trouble I may cause myself if I don't sit quietly and keep to myself today. :) But I am feeling better having written this, thank you for reading and thank you, as always, for your support. It means so much to me.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


Goodness, I had to call timeout on the protein shake diet this afternoon. I've *never* had this happen, but at almost 3:00 p.m., my hands started shaking like a leaf. Shortly afterward, I was shaking all over and feeling lightheaded. Oops! I guess it was time for some real food. I had a protein shake in the morning, plus tons of tea with milk (even whole milk at G's this morning). I had a chocolate coconut water (?) today, too. And a half a pickle.

Regardless, I hit the wall and got the shakes, big time. I went over and picked up a late lunch: salad with kidney beans and garbanzo beans, a little bleu cheese, a hunk of tofu. Beets. I'm feeling better now. Still a little lightheaded. I'm planning to do my three one-mile walks this afternoon, but if I am still a little woozy, I may take the bus. It's "hot" here today by Seattle standards. But I am well-hydrated and ready to hit the road. Will update later.

Getting Excited - Snohomish River Run

Now that I've put a little distance between myself and my first half marathon (e.g. my left knee and right ankle seem to have forgiven me), I'm getting excited for my next race! I'll be doing the Snohomish River Run on Saturday, October 27th. (Note to self: find alternate childcare that day, as it is my kid-weekend!) 

The Snohomish River Run will be perfect for me, because it is a flat course. Plus, it's in a scenic area. As a new runner, and a self-conscious runner, I would not be excited about a course through downtown Seattle or such. I don't need the pressure of a bazillion fans asking each other, "Didn't her mom ever tell her she runs funny??"

As you may recall, I went into the See Jane Run half quite unprepared. I planned to run/walk, then once I got there, I got the fever and ended up my-version-of-running-which-is-not-fast-but-is-not-walking. This time, I'm going at it with a bit more preparation. 

Right now I'm reading:

Smart Marathon Training


Beginner's Half-marathon Trainer

By "reading," I mean I've picked them up from the library and intend to start reading them. But my 13yo daughter has been reading Smart Marathon Training at home this week. She's called me at work to make a few comments about what she's read. So proud of her! She and I are also doing the Iron Girl 5K on 9/9. We went to Green Lake and walked the course last weekend, although we are planning to run the 5K.

Exciting! Who knew that I'd actually get interested in running? Not me, that's for sure. Now I'm a little on the obsessed side. :)

Liquid Diet: Day Four(ty thousand and twenty-sixteen)

Freakout weight: 149.9
Today's Weight: I don't know!! I refused to step on G's scale, not knowing it's trustworthiness or believability. I'm a loyal girl, I don't fool around on my scale.
Freakout factor: Mildly freaked, a little desperate to know if maybe I dropped to goal?

Oh, I'm actually doing fine. Day Three, as I remembered correctly, was the day that your stomach surrenders. "No food? Whatevs. Starve me, see if I care."

Well, that's not exactly true, because when G made chicken nachos with cubed avocado last night, I went into full inhale mode! Yum. No sour cream, and fortunately there were three of us eating the one plate (it was an appetizer for G and M - G's daughter - who went on to have burgers after the nachos. I abstained.). I was pleased with my reasonable dinner after a hard day of sticking to the protein shakes (two, yesterday). Later, I snuck a handful of oyster crackers, but SERIOUSLY, how bad are oyster crackers?

(Sidebar: Okay, seriously, oyster crackers are like seriously bad for me. Crunchy, crispy light goodness? Oh hells yeah, I could eat a bag of them. Croutons, oyster crackers, grissini breadsticks, there's a wealth of mildly flavored crunchy carbs out there that I would do best to avoid the whole entire rest of my life.)

('Nother sidebar: When Jen and I went to the expo for the See Jane Run half marathon, afterward, I talked her into going to my favorite free grissini breadstick place in the world. And did I eat grissini? Heck, yeah! Did I eat too many? Heck, no! I was very impressed with my self-restraint. There is a first for everything, hahaha.)

Grissini. Food of the gods.

Tonight will require some self-management skills. Self-control. Grown-up behavior. I am not entirely sure I'm up for it. :) After work, I have a massage appointment for my wounded shoulder. Trouble is, I don't have access to my car, which waits patiently for me in my garage at home. I forgot to plan for it when G took me to his place on the motorcycle last night. So now, getting to that appointment (and home) will require a bit of perseverance on my part. Transferring buses, long walks, etc. I will be hungry when I get home, and probably feeling sorry for myself based on my long commute. 

Confession: Last night, when I told G I couldn't come back to his house tonight - my food-addict secret self chimed in to my subconscious thoughts. "No boyfriend, no kids? Home alone? TV and FOOD!!!!"

Uhh, you see I am a real problem child. So. Strategy. I think I only have one, maybe two protein shakes left in the fridge here at work. I will walk down and buy a couple more at lunch. I will drink one before I begin my long commute. I will remind myself that it is a beautiful sunny day and I am lucky to be out taking a long stroll. By the time I make it home, it will probably be too late for me to go to the Y. If I am not weary and whiny, I will get off my bus at the bottom of my hill, which is 1.2 miles from my home. I will have walked probably a mile+ from the first bus to my massage appointment, then back that same distance to the return bus home. Then a mile uphill to my home. I will call this a *very good work out day* and I will allow myself to be pleased. I will not feel badly for not going to the Y.

When I get home, I will have strategized a reasonable dinner. I will go to the grocery store. I will buy a box of sugar free popsicles, and I will allow myself two, maybe three over the course of the evening. They're like, what, fifteen calories? When I go to the grocery store, I will not buy crunchy-crispy-anything!! No breadsticks, crackers, cereal. Nothing. If it's not in the house, I can't eat it.

Hey - even though I'm slowly starving to death (KIDDING!) this week, I have keen observations to make about how much my body likes feeling a little hungry and not having a stomachache from eating too much or eating the wrong foods. It's really quite remarkable. More later.

I took this self-portrait while riding home on the back of G's bike last night. Cool, huh?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

New Plan? We Don't Need No Steenkin New Plan!

Freakout weight: 149.9
Today's weight: 142.6
Freakout factor: Cautiously optimistic

Well, that was just delightful to get on the scale this morning! I was hoping for results like this, since I have been putting in the effort to chug down these protein shakes. Yesterday, it was two protein shakes (I drink Premier Protein from Costco) and a reasonable dinner. Roasted asparagus and bell peppers, sauteed tofu and water chestnuts. Um, a couple small handfuls of tortilla chip crumbs (WHEN WILL THIS BAG BE GONE, ALREADY??). A couple sugar free popsicles before bed. Yum. I forgot how much I loves me some sugar free popsicles! 

Okay, so it's day three of the protein shake diet. As I recall, when I was pre-op, day three was about when my body threw in the towel and stopped crying about starvation. It's worth mentioning that post-op liquid diet and pre-op liquid diet are not in the same realm of suffering or effort! I remember that pre-op diet, ugh. Those first few days, I was drinking probably five shakes a day. :) And spending every waking moment thinking about how hungry I was: until dinner time, when I very much stretched the limits of "small dinner" that I was allowed on my surgeon's plan. But I lost nine pounds in the two weeks before surgery, so it did work. 

Post-op, I truly think it's more the habit of eating that kills you, rather than actual hunger. I am not generally a breakfast eater. But every work day, I stop at SBUX in my building lobby on the way to my desk. And every morning, without fail, I muse about getting a donut or a scone or a muffin. I don't even really like them! Okay, I do love a good maple bar. :) If SBUX sold maple bars, I'd be in serious trouble. So, even though I'm not a sweets eater, and not a breakfast eater, and even though I almost never, ever get food from SBUX...every morning my brain throws out the suggestion, somewhat hopefully.

On a liquid diet, my brain throws out the same suggestion, along with many others. At triple the volume. How about a breakfast sandwich? How about a hard-boiled egg and string cheese? How about some pita chips? How about...

My brain and stomach are in collusion, and it's psychological warfare. I'm holding firm. Imagine if I stick to this liquid diet, as planned? Maybe I'll finally get below goal weight, after oh, seven months or so of hovering within a pound or two. :) I think over the course of this year I've shown that I can maintain my weight pretty well. What if I stick to this diet and get to re-set my maintenance weight to the mid-130s instead of low-140s?

What if I do eat my own arm, as I was plotting yesterday? :)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Am I Really the Dolt Who Said This??

From yesterday's blog:

"For sure, the next ten work days will be protein shakes during the day. This one is actually pretty easy for me, and it has had a big benefit in the past."

Ohmygosh, I'm dying here. Day two of the liquid diet and I am about to eat my own arm.

Send help. It will be challenging to re-learn to type one-handed.

Ta ("Thank you" typed with only my left-hand)

hnk ou ("Thank you" typed with only my right hand. Maybe I should eat my left hand. But I *am* left-handed. Decisions, decisions. Which will taste better with protein-shake sauce?)

Protein Shake: Tastes Like Nestle Quik if You Delude Yourself

Freakout weight: 149.9
Today's weight: 146.3
Freak factor: Still High, but waning

Oooo, oh, yum, how much do I love me a good protein shake? Uh, not much. But I did stick to the liquid diet yesterday. I actually only had one protein shake all day, followed by a reasonable dinner at home. One slider burger and bun, a small salad, a bunch of roasted asparagus and bell pepper. Uhhh, a couple very small handfuls of tortilla chips.

It wasn't my intention to only have one protein shake. I'm not trying to starve myself to death. :) And I did have many cups of Earl Grey tea with non-fat milk, so I'm feeling comfortable with yesterday's eating. Believe me, I've overindulged enough lately that a day of starvation-lite isn't going to kill me. So although I didn't intend to only have one shake, I also didn't plan well for the day. I brought plenty of shakes to work with me, but then forgot to grab one when I left for the day. That would have been the time to slip in another shake!

Now, if I wasn't at freakout factor "MAX FREAK" yesterday, I would have allowed myself that I had done well all day and could stop for something to eat (I had an appointment after work, so I wasn't going straight home to make dinner). But I resisted. Tough it out, I said to myself. In a very. firm. voice.

Yesterday, I busied myself with rationalizations and a tiny bit of self-forgiveness. Perhaps my weight gain isn't as high as I first panicked. After all, I've only hit 141 twice, on two separate days. Generally, I am hanging out at 142-144 from day to day. And when I first wrote yesterday's blog, I called out a nine pound gain in five weeks since quitting smoking. I only count whole numbers on the scale (c'mon, gimme that much, wouldya?), so 149-141 = 8 pounds. Although 149.9 is about as close to 150 as you can get, haha.

Regardless - I'm not rationalizing myself out of the liquid diet. Whether it's eight or nine pounds, or five or six off my "typical" weight: I feel the difference. I see the difference. My clothes were becoming uncomfortable. My discomfort was affecting what I chose to wear in the morning. I was "glamming down," and wearing t-shirts and hoodies more...comfort clothes. Self-pity clothes.

Now, I didn't get up to the Y to work out yesterday. Greg came up at dinner time, and it was a rushed evening getting to that point. My workouts last week were lackluster, as well:

7/15: Half-marathon! 13.1 miles in 2:49. You go, girl!
7/16: Kickboard several laps in the pool, lounged in the hot tub
7/18: 2 miles on treadmill in 32 minutes, plus lots of ab workouts
7/21 AM: 1.73 miles on treadmill at 15% incline (steep!!) in 35 minutes.
7/21 PM: Took daughter to scope out route of our 5K on 9/9. 3.1 mile leisurely walk

Oh dear, are you looking for more? That was it, I'm afraid. The lack of training for the half marathon impacted me, and my left knee and right ankle protested whenever I tried to move too quickly. They were also sore when I went too long. At this point, they're not sore, and I'm hoping to put in a good workout at the Y tonight.

Hey, I've picked up a few new followers on the blog! Welcome, welcome! It is so nice to have you here, thank you for reading. My blog is a bit scattered and split-personality (not unlike me in real life, ha!) as I write about my weight loss surgery and weight loss journey, now this new foray into running (supposing I haven't killed that off early with my knee and ankle, haha) and general life and love stuff. Single parenting, sexy new boyfriend who would die if he found out I was blogging about him (I'm working on developing a "private life," haha, it is challenging for me). I love reading blogs and will come find yours, too, if I haven't already!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Freakout Weight...O.M.G.

My girl-crush, Amy over at Once Upon a Time... posted recently about needing a freakout weight, a weight at which you get scared to the point of reasoning, and you will diet your way back to your goal weight.

Hello, freakout weight. I saw you on the scale this morning and almost passed out.


I've been nudging up toward you, freakout weight, and I've been telling myself it's okay, that I will eat just this last ice cream bar, or just this last handful of chips, or just this last...and THEN I will get serious about my eating again.

Because, you know, I'm exercising all the time. So it will all even out. And, because, you know, I quit smoking, so it's understandable, even okay, that I would indulge my sweet tooth. Just for awhile. Because I'll get back on the program after I've beat that habit. Never mind the fact that when I quit smoking some fourteen years ago, now, I gained over a hundred pounds. Yeah, sure, I'll slay that demon no problem this time. No need to be vigilant about it, right? 

Hello, eight pounds in 35 days. How quickly you've managed to find me, after I worked so hard to lose you. I couldn't even outrun you in a half-marathon! But I sure did use that half-marathon as an excuse to eat, didn't I? 

Fuck. (Pardon my french. But, sometimes there's just no other way to say it.)

You would have thought I'd hit that freakout point last week, when I acknowledged, getting dressed, that if I gained one more ounce and I wouldn't be able to button my jeans. Didn't I tell you you'd be able to steal my credit card number if I carried it in my back pocket? Or later, when I conveniently avoided those jeans and switched to another pair, where I thought, "hmm, these were the jeans I was looking for in a smaller size at Costco...no smaller size needed right now."

But I didn't hit the freakout point. Instead, I hit my old standby: feeling sorry for myself. Throwing in the towel.

You don't get to 263 pounds without some self-pity, you know.
  • It's harder for me to lose weight;
  • I have bad metabolism;
  • Obesity runs in my family;
  • I learned bad eating habits as a child;
  • I am stressed;
  • My job is hard;
  • I am a single parent;
  • My children drive me insane;
  • I quit smoking, didn't I? Smoking is worse for you than eating;
  • I'm nervous about my new relationship;
  • Confronting the fact that my loose skin may just really be part of me for the rest of my life threw me into a tailspin;
  • I also learned that a root-canal tooth broke and I have to have it pulled, which makes me feel like a very sad old woman;
  • No grudge, but the discussion with the plastic surgeon left me feeling badly about things I hadn't felt badly about before, and that kind of sucks;
  • Oh, I've got 1,001 reasons I can fire off to you about why my life is so much harder than yours. Why you will never understand how I can struggle with my weight, and how it's *different* than why you struggle with weight. :)
Buck up, Buttercup. You're the one sporting eight extra pounds, and it didn't find you because of your bad obesity genes, it found you because you bought, and ate, both a York Peppermint Patty and a Reese's PB cup at the gas station last week. 

If there's any question about whether or not I can blow the success of the VSG surgery and re-gain the weight, uhhh, question answered, yes?

So, here's the plan. I'm back on the liquid diet. Oh, yummm, protein shakes, I've missed you sooooooo much. Not really. :) But you're going to help me re-calibrate that sweet tooth and the endless hunger (that is not really hunger). My plan is to re-create the two-week liquid diet that I endured before my weight loss surgery. Shakes during the day and a small dinner in the evening.

For sure, the next ten work days will be protein shakes during the day. This one is actually pretty easy for me, and it has had a big benefit in the past. I'm not sure how I'll address weekends, I'm working on a plan. See, my problem isn't meals. My problem is peppermint patties and peanut butter cups. My problem is the cheese quesadilla I microwaved myself at midnight last night when I went down to make sure the front door was locked. My problem is the box of Cinnamon Life Cereal that I bought on Thursday and finished by Saturday, just munching while I read my book. Munching, along with chewing off my fingernails down to the freaking NUB, to the point where it hurt to bend them. 

Re-group. Re-calibrate. Get this damn sugar and carbs out of my system and go at it fresh. I can knock this weight back off quickly, I know it. I've hit a bad patch, and I fell into a big self-pity party, but the party's over and now it's time to clean up the freaking mess.

I was going to use a picture of a messy party clean-up scene,
but this kid is adorable and she's covered in sugar, like me.

I will be holding myself accountable here on the blog. Bear with me, I may get a little cranky.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Ghosts of Summers Past - An Anniversary of Sorts

You will get so tired of this image.
And I bought it, so I own the rights to it.
Coming to a coffee mug under your Christmas tree soon!
I love this picture. I look like such a dork, and I just love it. To me, it sums up the whole tagline of my blog, "The story of my rebirth!" You could fairly say that in July 2009 (almost to the day!), life as I knew it ended and "Free Julie" was born. I got off to a hugely stumbling and tumultuous start, but damn, look at me now. That silly picture just sort of sums up this whole rebirth, weight loss and fitness journey for me. I could end the blog here with that picture: I am trim, I am exercising, I'm happy (okay, I'm ridiculously giddy) and kind of foolish looking. I am reveling. (Oh heck, I'm in love, too, but you know, I'm still struggling with that whole "keeping my big mouth shut" thing.)

My friend Barb saw this picture on facebook and said, "Julie, you should take this picture and compare it to the pre-surgery one. And then give yourself a great big hug. You look great." Barb and I have been friends for twenty years: we have lived through some shit together. Sometimes we talk about the bad place I was at emotionally over the last few years: broke, alone, exhausted. When I look at these pictures from previous summers, I see a woman who was at the absolute end of her rope, but still trying to hang on. Desperate and hopeless, but tenacious, too. I am very proud of her me.

July 2009

July 2010. Hey, I'm on the roof of my 62-story building in this picture.
You do not know how close I came to "falling" off the roof that day.

July 2011. On the skyscraper roof again. Five months post-op.
Do you like me better as a brunette or  a redhead?

(Or a blonde? This picture is from 2002.
 I'm only showing you because it was my blonde phase.)

July 2012. Don't say I didn't warn you - you're gonna get tired of this picture.
That may all sound melancholy, but my spirits are anything but! Okay, I'm still stinging a bit from yesterday's plastic surgery consult, but, as promised, I've regrouped. Going to see some doctor(s) who take my insurance. Gonna figure out a way to make this happen.

And as we kick off Year Four of Free Julie (the person, not the blog), it's full steam ahead, baby! We're gonna do some exercisin', some runnin', some real life-enhancement stuff. Magic. You just wait and see.

Happy anniversary to me. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tell Me What You Don't Like About Yourself: Plastic Surgery Consult

Ugh. What a great/horrible appointment that was. More later. But first, half-marathon pics! I have been cracking up looking at these. WHAT AM I LAUGHING ABOUT?? Mostly, I think those photographers just cracked me up. Here you are, running along, trying not to DIE, and then you've got a photographer crouching in front of you. So you have to try to look athletic, remember to suck in your gut, take a good picture, and oh yes, don't DIE ON FILM.

This picture is my favorite. :) It absolutely makes me laugh. I want you to use it at my funeral, should the need arise. Or at my mental-institution commitment hearing: I think I look very happy and completely insane. What mental illness is it an indication of when you laugh and smile in inappropriate situations??

People should be FORBIDDEN to walk in your action shots.
I was running like the wind, I promise. Darn tourists.
The start of the race was WAY CROWDED, and we were at the back of the pack. I will have to work on my race etiquette, though, because you can tell from this picture, I was jacking my jaws and taking my time. Looks like the girl in purple, behind me, was looking for a way around. That's Jen at Runner...Maybe? in the blue sparkle skirt in the foreground!

I'm in the hoodie and hat, not acknowledging the race had started, haha.
It's really fun to see these pictures. I think this one was toward the end. Here, I had ditched my sweatshirt at the start of a mile-long switchback, and I hadn't picked it back up yet. So that's mile 11-ish or so.

And here's one crossing the finish line. I was so happy. Finish lines are a beautiful thing. :)

Okay, now it's time for the good, the bad, and the fugly. I had my first plastic surgery consult today. It went about as I expected. What I did not expect, however, was the feeling of being emotionally shredded and elated at the same time. Well, I expected it...I just wasn't prepared for it. 

Plastic Surgery Consult De-Brief
Meh. We may have to do this one in a couple parts. It was kind of a downer appointment. And you know, I *expected* it to be. I used to watch Nip/Tuck, after all. But you can expect something and still not be prepared for it. :)

On the good side, this was the third doctor to tell me to stop losing weight. Yay! He's the one I choose to believe. I needed to hear from someone who is experienced with loose skin that I am "done." I told him I wasn't sure how much was still fat and how much was just skin. He said he's the first person to tell people when they have more work to do, because it affects the success of the procedure. He said lots of people will lose a significant amount of weight and think they are done, when, in fact, they have a ways to go. But I'm not one of those people. So I guess I'm at goal. *weak fanfare.* (It really was a rather distressing appointment, haha. I'll regroup shortly, I promise!)

He did not, however, tell me to eat a SBUX blueberry muffin for breakfast after the appointment. I did that part all by myself. :)

He recommends three procedures, all involving considerable time, pain and expense. I went in for a lower body lift and a breast lift. He recommended, in this order: a lower face lift, a tummy tuck and a breast lift. Sigh. I'd been thinking about a face lift, too. It's this darn turkey wattle. He says a lower face lift is your biggest wow factor following dramatic weight loss. Gets rid of the turkey neck, the jowly cheeks, the downturn at my mouth. Starts my aging clock all over again. Plus, my facial skin is a lot better than my abdominal skin. He said the lower face lift will knock years off my appearance, and I believe him. Price? $17K. Plus, with some of that removed fat, he can inject it into my super heavy-duty scowl lines between my eyes. Sigh. You know, it's not as if I don't know about my turkey neck, jowly cheeks, scowl lines, etc. but spending the morning talking about them? Not fun.

He doesn't do lower body lifts. Another time, I'll go into the reasons, which made sense. Basically it was a risk versus payoff thing. But my tummy tuck would be a big deal. I've got so much loose skin, I'd need a vertical incision from stem to stern (pubic bone to just below my xyphoid) so the skin can be taken horizontally and vertically. I had suspected this to be the case, so it wasn't a surprise. Price? $12K. No insurance accepted.

Breasts. Ah, my poor boobs. They served me well, breast feeding those babies. But now they are empty skin sacks. He recommended I buy some great bras. He said I'd get my least payoff here, because the skin is stretched and thin, and there's just lots of it. We sort of tabled the boob job discussion for now, because he can't do it at the same time as the tummy tuck, and I'm more interested in the tummy tuck. Price? $8800.

I'll have to go for some more consults. I need a doctor who can work with my insurance, so hopefully they'll pay for part of the tummy tuck. I really liked this doctor a lot, though. I wish that money and time were no object. :) Honestly, I would love a lower face lift - love it - but I think I have more emotional baggage tied to my loose belly skin and that would be my first surgery of choice. I dunno. 

But if I could, I'd have all three procedures done yesterday. :) I'm a little emotionally reeling today, but I'll get over it. There's some pain associated with undoing the damage you've done to yourself, and facing the realities that I just probably won't be able to address some things I'd like to change. I expect I'll find a way to  do the tummy tuck, anyway. 

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Natural. Or, I Can Use the Stairs and Potty Without Assistance

A friend at work is a longtime runner, and she was very nervous for me about my rather spur of the moment decision to enter the See Jane Run half marathon. She admonished me not to hurt myself, and I bamboozled her, as I did myself, with my intention to walk the whole way. But I *was* careful. I remember when I got divorced and my ex ran a half marathon that summer, he really hurt himself. Like *really* hurt himself. Side note: did you know when you get divorced, it is almost REQUIRED that you go on the Divorce Diet and run a half marathon?? I have heard of sooooooo many people doing this. I am, uhh, proud (?) to say I resisted the trend for quite awhile, haha.

This morning as I was bragging to my friend that on Post-Race Day Three I can now use the stairs and the potty without assistance of banisters and handrails, she said I am "a natural." Pardon me while I preen for a moment. :) She said my relative lack of training, respectable finish time and foolishness willingness to jump into the race on short notice shows I'm a natural runner. Believe me when I say this is not a phrase that has ever been applied to me in the past, haha. She was also impressed that I didn't get winded on the race. Cardio-wise, I was fine the whole time (uhh, we don't brag in the real world about how I just quit smoking, because that is a nasty habit I tried to keep to myself). I always knew I had "gas in the tank," which is how I was keeping myself in check for not overdoing it too much. No, cardio was fine, it was my legs that were screaming, "WHY ARE YOU DOING THIS? STOP, STOP!!"

Anyway, she called it before the race, probably because she has insight into my neurotic, addictive personality. She said she'd bet money this would just be the first of many half marathons I'd do.

So with great flourish, I say, "Yep!" I've just found my next race! Kim had signed me up for a facebook group, Women Runners of King County. Someone posted a link over there to the Snohomish River Run which is on 10/27/12. I was immediately interested, because the tagline is "Fast, Flat and Beautiful." I have already been mulling over how relatively flat the See Jane Run course is, and wondering how I'd feel about one of these awful, hilly courses. (Answer: I'd feel badly about them.) The Snohomish River Run will be perfect for me - it's local and I have plenty of time to train properly. Plus, this is the first year of the race, so it will be another nice indoctrination into half marathons for me. You know I've been intimidated by them, and while big events like the Rock N Roll marathon sound fun - they also sound overwhelming. I liked that the See Jane Run race was not huge, it was a great starter for me.

Speaking of See Jane Run, can I tell you how HARD I'm stalking the photo website, looking for them to post race photos? I am hopeful that there is one with me looking powerful. Strong. Preferably thin. No photos have been posted, but you can bet I'll spam you with them when they are.

On the weight loss front, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and bagels may be great pre- and post-race food, but they are not great diet food. On Monday after the race, I was hoping to get on the scale and see that I had been rewarded with my goal weight. I was not. Instead, I believe the scale cruelly pointed out that gummi bears *during* the race were great, but that I didn't need to eat nearly the whole bag of Swedish fish the night before. There have been many other carb crimes committed recently, as well, as I continue to battle the sweet tooth that plagues me as a non-smoker.

I stopped taking the Chantix, though. Goodbye, crazy fun vivid dreams. :) I guess I stopped taking that Sunday night, when my weary bones were already in bed and I realized I'd forgotten. Taking it would mean getting up, finding the pills, cutting one in half...whew, you know that sounded like too much work. So far, no additional pain and suffering from quitting.

So, I was at 146 this morning. And once again, I have made myself wear my jeans that are so tight, you could steal my credit card number if I were carrying it in my back pocket. Hopefully, brain-mouth-stomach get the message that constricted belly is receiving loud and clear!

Look forward to me yammering on lots about running. I'm sooooo excited! Later, I'll blog about me and Alli, who is also tearing it up on the new-runner front. We're registering for the Iron Girl 5K at the beginning of September! She's starting the Couch to 5K training program tonight. I'm a proud, proud mama.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

First Half-Marathon Recap: Wahoooo!!! and Owwwww!!!

Wow. Just, wow. I did it!
Oh, boy! Where to begin? In a perfect world, I would have written this recap the day of the race, when I was positively drowning in endorphins and super-successful feelings. Today, two days out, I am still super-pumped, but I am also sore and tired and back to work, and "what will I make the kids for dinner tonight" and all that other reality-type stuff.

Nonetheless!! I did it!!! I successfully completed the See Jane Run Half-Marathon. And happily, my definition of "completed," e.g. "drag my butt across the finish line at any point during the 24-hour period following the start of the race" morphed into a respectable finish of 2:49:54! I'm not going to argue semantics of a "respectable time" with all those speedy runners out there, like the first place finisher who completed it in 1:23 or so. :) Armed with all my own pre-race insecurities, like being embarrassed if it "took too long" to finish and such, I had a happy epiphany along the way: if you freaking finish, you are a rock star. That is hard! 13.1 miles is long!!

I could have written you an essay about how long 13.1 miles is at about mile 8. By then, I was too invested to quit: I was "almost done," after all. But I was too far from the end to be close: with five miles left, the finish line was as good as a million miles away. I didn't hit the wall, exactly. I never had a moment where I thought I wouldn't finish, or that I wanted to quit. I had lots of moments, especially around mile 8, where I thought I was quite possibly the stupidest woman on the planet for even trying.

Not all the mile markers were visible, at least to me. So I had some confusing moments, and some moments filled with outright terror and dread. Coming up on the Mile 5 marker, I could only see the top of the "5" as I approached, and you do not know my bitter disappointment when I expected it to say "7." And there were other times of fear, too, when I hadn't seen a mile marker in a long time, and I became filled with dread: WHAT IF I HADN'T PASSED IT YET?

There were fun surprises, too, of being surprised by the number that showed up on the next marker, when I must have missed a previous one. Clearly, I have no sense of distance or time. And someone remarked about the half-way point marker: uh, did they have a halfway point marker? I didn't see it.

At some point, I stuck my headphones on and ran, ran, ran, oblivious to the world. I played a few songs over and over and over. "Pump it Up" by Elvis Costello. "Brown Eyed Girl" by Van Morrison. Not exactly power songs, but heck, they worked for me! Next time I'll have to make a playlist of songs to keep my ass in gear while I'm running.

Yep, I said next time. I'm going to do this again! Several reasons:
- I am ridiculously "gold star motivated." A medal? I want medals!
- Total zone out mindless running. I am really good at getting lost in my thoughts. :) That passed a whole lot of time. It can be soooo interesting living in my head! :)
- Oops, it brought out a competitive/aggressiveness in me that is not completely unlike why I have to make myself be nice on the freeway. I like passing people. I do not like being passed. This became quite the game for me, picking out someone up ahead and seeing if I could pass. Then once you pass, you have to keep going so you don't get passed again! Laugh - do not get the impression that I was a speed demon, tearing it up out there. I was passing walkers, in most cases. :) Hey - some people walk really fast!
- I tried to do what I really wanted to do, which was find someone to pace off of. I wasn't good at that, because I'd pick someone who I thought had a nice pace, then they'd start walking and I would be flummoxed. Refer back to having no understanding of time or distance, haha. I'll get better at picking pace people.
- I had never run outside, not since I was a little kid, and even then it was extremely limited. Hey! I *like* running outside! I did have a few moments of "You better not be looking at me, and if you are, you better not say anything to me" when we were running by cars, but that passed quickly. Mostly, I was just keeping my eyes peeled for mile marker signs, haha.
- Really fun. I had a blast, God only knows why.

I think I did really well, all things considered. My cardio/breathing never felt especially taxed. I always knew I had more steam left in me, but I intentionally kept to a consistent pace, not knowing if that steam was going to completely evaporate. It was my legs that battled going any faster, not my lungs. And not knowing if I was going to be paralyzed in pain the next day.  I think I kept a fairly consistent pace for the whole race, after a slow start at the beginning. That will be a learning experience, too! Jen at Runner Maybe helped coach me with the etiquette, as I was a bit lost as to where to go and how to do it when the race started. The pathway was really narrow, and there were lots of people going lots of speeds. I was pretty oblivious!

Oh, I'll probably blog later about the logistics and technical stuff of the race, like how Nuun energy drink tastes like crap when you try it for the first time at the expo, but tastes like juice from heaven when you are really tired and thirsty. And how at the first couple water stops, you think that runners are being rude, littering their cups all over the ground instead of hitting the garbage can that is right. there. for. you. to. use. But later, you're like, arrrghh, must not stop...must keep going (because my legs really hated starting again after a stop)! I littered with the best of them, except for the stop right on the water, because I didn't want my cup going into the water.

I bought a cool stuff-sack belt thingie. It carried everything, unobtrusively. I'll need to work on organizing it better. And now I get why those runners have "throw away" sweatshirts, because I was cold at the beginning, then my lightweight sweatshirt tied around my waist drove me *INSANE.* But I love that sweatshirt! But I did decide to leave it behind at the last switchback, hoping it would be waiting for me when I returned. Happily, it was.

Crossing the finish line was super, super cool. I was one happy camper, let me tell you. I was loopy, and I was afraid to sit down because I'd never get up again. But I was happy! I called Kim immediately - she had been texting me supportive messages along the way, as had my daughter and Greg, too. I was happy, and a little surprised, that except for that first mile or so at the beginning when we walked, and one steep hill (the only steep hill, I think), I ran the whole time. Running is a subjective term, but here I will claim it proudly, haha. It is fair to say, though, that the couple times I thought, "Oh, I'll just walk for a minute," when I tried to start running again, it felt like I was a zombie lurching along for awhile. I decided it was easier to keep running. :)

After I crossed the finish line, I staggered over to take this picture of myself. :)

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Thirty-plus Years Ago I Did the MS Walkathon, So I've Got This Handled (Plus Workout Update 7/2 - 7/8)

7/2 - 65 min and 5.25 miles on treadmill, weightlifting
7/3 - nada, pre-gaming for holiday, haha (actually took kids to fireworks show)
7/4 - nada, holiday
7/5 - 65 min and 5.25 miles on treadmill, 100 crunches (60 at 40 pounds, yay!)
7/6 - 30 min and 3.04 miles on treadmill - this was A MAJOR ACCOMPLISHMENT! That's 10 minute miles! Plural!
7/7 - rest
7/8 - 3-ish mile local trail hike with the kiddos, this was a great way to spend the afternoon together. :)

When I started running in earnest, Kim challenged me to set a long-term goal of three miles in thirty minutes. I am delighted to say that on Friday, I did it! Wow, was I ever tired - that was REAL running. Monday and Thursdays workouts were exceptional because I ran almost the whole time! On Monday, I walked for probably the first ten minutes, then ran mostly at 12:00, but with intervals of higher speeds, and I did the last ten minutes at 10:30. On Thursday, I walked for five minutes and then ran the entire rest of the time at 12:00. I am so impressed with myself! It wasn't long ago that running for two minutes was killing me!  And last year on the track, I was so super impressed with myself for running around the track with Blake one time. Big progress!

This is what I look like after running 3 miles in 30 minutes.  Exhausted, but happy!
Plus now I understand the term "Runner's Trots."

Besides a great workout week, I have other big news! Drumroll, please...

I am doing my first half marathon on Sunday. Wow!! But let's dissect that sentence for clarification:

I am doing my first half marathon on Sunday. "I am doing," in this case, shall mean "I am completing," not "I am running." My feet will carry me 13.1 miles on Sunday - no speed commitment is expressed or implied. I am thinking of it as a long walk with friends on a sunny day. :)

I am doing my first half marathon on Sunday. "my first half marathon," in this case, does not imply that there will be future half marathons, nor shall the reader make any such inference. "My first half marathon" means simply that I will participate in a new experience for the first time. Future half marathons may or may not be "done," "completed," or "ran" at a later date.

I am doing my first half marathon on Sunday. The reader may correctly infer, in this case, that "on Sunday" means this Sunday, July 15, 2012.

How exciting!! Big, big thanks to Jen at Runner Maybe for letting me force an invitation on her blog to join her and a Pensive Pumpkin that day! I have been sooo nervous to participate in any organized running event, and Jen has been very sweet offering me encouragement and a buddy to take the big plunge with. (Argh, I hate ending sentences with a preposition.) I haven't met the Pensive Pumpkin yet, but from Jen's blog (and soon from reading her own blog, myself, as I just became a stalker follower this morning), she sounds great and I am looking forward to it!

The timing on this works really well. I've got all this running-in-public anxiety. Did you know that when I was a kid, my mom told me I ran "kinda funny looking?" This wasn't out of meanness - and I've since figured out that my mom has her own running issues, when she recently told me that my son Blake has a "funny looking run."  ("For God's sake, don't tell him that," I growled, without explaining why. I don't think she knows she gave me a running complex when I was a child, and at forty-two years old, it seems rather late to bring it up. But of course I'm bringing it up here, now, haha.)

The movie Fargo knows what I mean when I say "Kinda funny looking"

Back to my childhood scar of looking funny when I run. I was a biggish kid. Not obese, but big enough that of course I was made fun of - the standard for that is quite low, as you know. I was probably eight, nine years old. My mom signed me up for a week-long summer track program to get me out of the house, plus also made the comment about my funny looking run. (She wasn't a mean mom, by the way. Who knows why moms say the things they do??)

Fast forward to the first day of the track camp. We're in a circle, introducing ourselves. Two tasks: tell the group why you're here and match the first letter of your name with an animal (e.g. Cougar Charlie). Okay, do you know that "J" is the most common letter used to start first names? (Actually, a quick web search says it's "A," but that is contrary to my story here, so I'll stick with "J" being first, instead of second.) And there aren't all that many "J" animals. In fact, I can still only think of "Jaguar."

But that day, somebody took "Jaguar." So it's my turn to introduce myself, and I tell the group that I am here to have fun, plus I want to learn how to run right. The phrase "run right" openly perplexes the camp leader and opens the door to mockery from the peanut gallery. I'm flustered by my gaffe, and I can't think of another "J" animal, so in the silence, some bratty little boy offered up "How about Jumbo Julie?" to much hilarity in the group.

Okay - so I didn't have a great introduction to running. I actually had a great time at that camp, though! I've always loved doing new stuff, and that may be the only time in my life I threw a javelin, a shot put and jumped hurdles. I fancied myself quite the athlete by the end of the week!

None of this relates to Sunday's half marathon, except for that back around that same time when I was eight or nine, I did the MS Walk-a-Thon, which consisted of walking twenty miles in a day.

So it isn't as if I haven't been training for this day all my life. Sheesh! Updates (and pictures) to follow! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

This Page Has Insecure Content

The above error message popped up when I tried to access a blog, and it just struck me as HILARIOUS! My own blog is filled with insecure content, too! Oh boy, the insecure content...

It's been awhile since I posted a picture of myself (hasn't it? Hmm, maybe not.). Lucky you, you get a picture of my butt! These are my new work out clothes. I have compression capris from Target, and running shirts and bras from Target, too. They are all dri-wick. Much better! Best of all are those capris. I was having a heck of a time running in sweats that ended up being too big to run in, as they were always falling down when I started running. I tried some other pants I had at home, but they didn't work either. I'm going to thank Jen at Runner Maybe for the Target running pants idea/reco, even though as I write this...I am not positive I read it on her blog? But I think I did, and she gets credit, anyway. She gives me lots of good ideas and advice. ;)  

I had Alli take a picture for two selfish reasons: to make sure my back fat wasn't too bulgy under the running bras, and to see a picture of my butt, which was looking pretty good to me in the mirror. ;) I have to focus on my backside because sometimes my front side can be very discouraging! I should have had Alli take a picture of my front side, then it would actually have some merit as a before/after picture. But nope, you just get my butt today. :)

HA!! OMG - Here's a picture from my "After" files of my butt, almost exactly one year ago!! Before/after, eat your heart out!! That is hilarious, I name my files starting with date, and I found this one from July 11 called "backside" which is what I just named this month's file. Before opening it, I thought I had put the wrong year in the file name. FUNNY!

7/1/12 (hey, I did actually use the wrong year in the file name)
When I was thinking about insecure content earlier, I wanted to circle back on my reluctance/unwillingness to talk to Greg about my weight loss and weight loss surgery. Do you remember back on 5/22/12 when I said in this blog entry:
"Because let me tell you, if I'm busting my butt and making progress toward my goals again...well, I just defy anyone to try to make me feel badly about myself. Because I've got some choice words for you that will roll off my tongue pretty easily, buster."
Well, how prophetic was that statement? Poor Greg probably wishes I would SHUT UP about weight loss and weight loss surgery. :) I told him about my bum support group meeting, I prattle on excitedly about my upcoming plastic surgery consult (on 7/19! Soon!) for a lower body lift and boob job. I've told him that I do not ever want to again see the cookies that I lived on this weekend at his house. Quitting smoking wakes up a sweet tooth in me that usually is blissfully dormant. The sweet tooth will go back to sleep, but I need to fight it all the way.

Hey - I weighed in at 142 this morning (I was 146 yesterday). I am used to the scale bouncing around between 142 and 145 every day. Yes, I weigh myself every day, except when I feel really crappy about my eating. Like I did yesterday - the ONLY reason I got on the scale was because of Run with Jess' Lose a Half Marathon challenge. It was weigh in day. I'm glad I made myself do it. And I have been tracking my eating yesterday and today on myfitnesspal.com. My body responds very quickly to both good and bad eating, so today was a nice thing to see on the scale. 

The point of all this (good writers should not have to end a post with a statement identifying the point, haha) is to say that I am happy that I found within myself the confidence to accept myself for where I'm at in my journey: where I've come from, where I'm going. Accepting the fact that there will be a lasting price to pay for going from super morbidly obese to a little hottie patottie making my daughter taking a picture of my butt just so I can see it. :) Loose skin, stretch marks, surgeries, etc. It is a tough road. But I'm glad that with Greg, I got over that initial paralysis. I am still very guarded about my naked body, but I haven't decided if that's out of shyness or courtesy, haha. 

Monday, July 2, 2012

Addiction, Bad Eating and Workout Update 6/25 - 7/1

It was a tough one to squeeze in workouts last week. I was sick (read: on the toilet) on Monday. Spent a lot of time with Greg this week, and went out in the boat crabbing all day Sunday.

6/25 - sick day
6/26 - 65 min and 6.01 miles on treadmill, weightlifting
6/27 - Oops, rest day, went to Greg's
6/28 - 2 hours 10 min and 8.69 miles on treadmill! No weightlifting
6/29 - rest day
6/30 - 30 min and 2.0 miles on treadmill at Greg's
7/1 - rest day, crabbing in Puget Sound

Anyway, we'll call that 16.7 miles last week. Good workouts, but too many rest days. Notice on Thursday that I did over two hours on the treadmill! Ha - I doubt I'll be doing *that* again soon - B-O-R-I-N-G. But I had some time to kill and thought I'd just see what I could do for distance. I walked the whole time, I think.

It's time to tough love myself. I weighed in at 146 this morning, up from my low of 141. For my Monday "Run with Jess/Lose a Half Marathon" weigh-in, that means I'm UP two consecutive weeks. Uhh, the first two weeks of the challenge. We're not off to a stellar start. My sweets eating has been out of control, thank-you-very-much-hazard-of-quitting-smoking. This weekend at Greg's, I think I lived on cookies. I am feeling it in my jeans this morning - jeans that at 141, I was wishing Costco carried in a size four, since the sixes felt baggy. Um, they don't feel baggy at 146.

So. The good news is that I'm two weeks smoke-free today. Yay, me! And with this Chantix, it has been the "easiest" time I've quit. I genuinely have not wanted a cigarette since I started. However, the pills give me nausea, especially if I don't take them on a full stomach. Last Friday, my heartbeat felt weird...my heart rate had slowed way down. This is actually a side effect listed on their website. All along, I've only taken a half dose of the prescription, and now I'm going to go to a quarter dose (e.g. one half pill at night). Time to get off that - even though I do love how relatively painless it has made quitting. But I sincerely hope, with all my strength, that I am smart and strong enough to know THIS TIME that smoking is just pure and utter shit for me. It is such a miserable habit. It it so miserable to quit. Sooo miserable. Please, self, please, please don't ever start this again, what an awful cycle to keep repeating.

Ha! That's a morose little ending to that paragraph, which makes the other side effects of Chantix worth mentioning. This is why I'm getting off the medication - I haven't started down this path too far, but I think it's begun. Depression. I had a wonderful weekend - but yesterday afternoon, it was just "blah." Well, I was exhausted, anyway. Greg and I got up at 4:30 a.m. and took Blake crabbing on the boat. Fun day with very little payoff in terms of crab. :) Anyway, on the way home, I was not so excited about my relationship with Greg. No reason. Felt that way all evening, too. This morning, I didn't want to get up to go to work. In fact, I thought I would rather kill myself than go to work. I was thinking fun thoughts like, "All I'm trying to do is raise these kids, then I off myself if I want to. Just need to get these kids raised."

Umm...okay. So as I was brushing my teeth this morning, I was making plans to kill myself in eleven+ years. I remembered a text message I sent my friend Traci last week: "I have promised myself not to end any relationships or friendships, nor quit my job, nor make any rash decisions while taking Chantix." Good for me for remembering this morning!! It is highly unlike me to correlate side effects with medications, food/eating with effects on my body, or generally any cause/effect relationship.Not my forte, haha.  :) 

Okay, so perhaps I will not kill myself or break up with my boyfriend right now. Perhaps I should just wean myself off this medication, which has these same very known side effects, almost certainly exacerbated by my own tendency to fall victim to depression (TEN MONTHS A YEAR OF RAINY GRAY SEATTLE SKIES, ANYONE??) and melancholy.

No rash decisions. Taper off the medication and know that this time, I really, really, really gotta quit. I am done playing this game. Smoking interferes with my running, don't you know? ;) 

In what is perhaps too much tough love to dole out all at once, I'm quitting smoking and today I told myself I'm back on a liquid diet. I DO NOT WANT TO REGAIN WEIGHT. Plus, I've got to kill this carb-monster. Oh my. Can I tell you that as I was eating cookies at Greg's yesterday, I was thinking of taking a piece of carrot cake home from his freezer, AND stopping at DQ to get a Blizzard with Blake? And that we *did* stop for Blizzards? (Although I did not take cake, haha.) Note to self: Blizzards make me puke. My sleeved tummy hates them, more than they hate regular ice cream. My tastebuds may love them, but the few post-op times I've tried them, I have puked every time, within minutes of eating a few bites. Is it the candy? Is it the proprietary DQ ice milk stuff? I do not know. Hopefully I will also be smart enough to avoid those in the future.

So. Rough night. Last week I bought protein shakes at Costco, and this morning I had one. Oh, ew. Yuck. You forget how nasty those are, haha. Made worse by the fact that within an hour of arriving at work, I was trapped in the bathroom with horrible diarrea. Didn't take a Chantix this morning, so I can't blame that. No, I'm afraid it was merely my body, my sensitive sleeved tummy, sending a message loud and clear. "Seriously, if you eat like shit, I will make you pay. And pay dearly. Next time you won't make it to the bathroom, sister.

Message received.

Oh, hey! How about a positive ending to this glum post? On Saturday morning, I *did* work out at Greg's. Sure, it was only a half hour on the treadmill, but I did it. There was no TV to watch while I used it, I had a hard time reading while using it (no little shelf for my book like at the Y). The room was hot and stuffy. But the treadmill works great, and by gosh, it was important to me to squeeze it in. And I did. So, yay me!