Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Best Gift

So, Merry Christmas! It was a great day of family, friends and food-- lots and lots of food.  He-who-trains came for dinner, though I had to be clear: he was only allowed as my friend.  Even the Pudgy Parson is not silly enough to invite the trainer for dinner.

Certainly, the day is not about gifts, but... I got an unexpected gift that thrilled me.  I'd told my mom I wanted sweaters-- and told her to buy them a size smaller than normal.  I reasoned that if I couldn't quite wear them now, I probably could soon.  But surprise! They fit really well!  (And one was even too large...)

But maybe fitting in a new size wasn't the best gift.  Maybe the best gift was knowing that I'm a new person.  That tomorrow, after a day of eating what I want and enjoying it, I'll be back to working hard.  That the holidays won't ruin me.  That, this year, when I make a resulotion, it will actually happen.  That being the Pudgeless Parson is much more than a distant dream.

Sunday, December 23, 2012


So after yesterday's whiny blah blah blah... I always mess up this time of year... blah blah blah post, I fessed up to He-who-trains.  (Not that I needed to, because dude is kinda like Santa Claus-- knows when you've been bad or good.)  But he  knows me, and my life as a pastor, so he's backed off on me this week-- knowing that I was struggling.  And while I appreciate his giving me a little breathing room and not being the training nazi this week, I also want more for myself.

I let him convince me to meet him at his gym, after he'd done a fine job convincing me that I was ready for it.  Up until now, he's trained DH and me at home-- in the privacy and comfort of our own little den. (Um, which is blessedly without mirrors.)  But he was right, I was ready.  Things were definitely amped up a notch or two. He swears that my next post will read, "He-who-trains took me to the gym...and DANG!"  But he's wrong.  Because I wasn't whipped.  Because after a minute of feeling crappy in the middle, I was ready to work. He had us doing cardio after burning us out on the weights, but I could've gone a lot longer and harder than I did.  He also swears that I'm not going to be able to lift my arms to do the benediction today, but I aim to prove him wrong on that too. (Now what he doesn't know is that my calves may be too toasted to wear heels.  Moses preached barefoot, right?)

So I didn't hate going to the gym with him as badly as I thought I would.  I hated the mirrors, which he kept insisting I use.  I hated some of the looks I got.  But I liked the new things.  Even though I was freaked out by what he kept calling the "next phase of training", I liked the amped up feeling.  I liked that he didn't stop me when he might've liked to, because he looked in my face and knew that I wasn't lying when I said "I'm fine."

It was a redemption of sorts-- at least a redemption of a week of bad behavior.  It was a chance to see that my body is getting stronger, to be reminded that what I eat matters, and to look to a future when the strange looks turn to looks of awe.  Yeah.

And in other news, it was weigh-day.  After a month of not looking at a scale, the news was decent.  8lbs down. I haven't had a chance to ask He-who-trains about it, but I'm guessing most of that loss was fat.  (And I'm also guessing that there was a gain of some muscle mass too, but since He-who-trains hasn't yet subjected me to fat-pinchy things, then we'll just have to guess about that.  And really, I'm ok with that!) For that loss to happen during the worst time of the year for me...well, that's a win. Imagine what I can do when I can give this a lot more time and enery.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

The same (sane?) struggle

Lord a mercy, it's been a week.  And the Pudgy Parson has been all about the parson part, but not so much about the Pudgy part.  I've been going nonstop since last week, and my commitment discipline has been waning.  I've been watching my calories (sort of) but I haven't even looked at the ratios of food I've been eating. I don't remember how many days its been since I've had a protein shake. I've only worked out with He-who-trains once (but as a recall, my arms were jello by time he left.  It was a holy mess of effort to make my arms work together well enough so that I could put my work clothes on.)   I'm longingly looking at Fudge Covered Oreos when I pass them in the store ( You know, because a sugar sandwich isn't enough-- we should cover it in Fudge too. At least I'm still passing them by...) I'm tired and grouchy.  My heart rate is back to staying way too high.  I've been running on the verge of dehydration for a week. And I'm frustrated because, this is the time when I do this every year.  The time when self-care becomes so low a priority that I sabbotage myself and inevitably get sick. The time that makes me have to repent and start again after Christmas. (Here's what I wrote last year about this same.dang.struggle.)

This season started out so much better-- I had hopes that I wouldn't fall prey to the same patterns.  Maybe I just need to get in a good workout.  Maybe I need to make myself start sending food logs to He-who-trains again (because that look is enough to scare me straight.) Maybe I need to get the "Eat Crap, Feel Like Crap" lecture again.

 Or maybe I just need to let some things go and quit pretending that I'm superwoman.  Maybe it's not too many commitments and worship services and to-dos that ruin me this time of year. Maybe it's thinking that I'm superwoman, who should be able to juggle all these things gracefully.  If I could get myself one gift for Christmas, it would be a reminder to let myself be who I am, not who I want everyone to think I am.  It would be something that would remind me that taking care of myself is more important than setting a pretty Christmas table in a perfectly clean house, next to a tree with delightfully wrapped (and homemade) presents.

On the upside, I'm seeing progress. In just shy of two weeks, I lost 2.5 inches from my waist alone.  Maybe that will be enough to help me hold on to my motivation until the real Pudgy Parson surfaces again. (This tired, apathetic person writing under the Pudgy Parson's name is not the Pudgy Parson.  The Pudgy Parson is a conquering rockstar sort of person.)

Friday, December 14, 2012

What I'm not doing this weekend

I would have been on my way to New Orleans by now, going to see a friend and his sweet family.  And then doing a half marathon on Sunday.  Oh that.

It was decided in March-- before I got sidelined with the shin splints that wouldn't quit, before my world got all unsettled in a move that I didn't expect. I remember running down in the cornfields, feeling free, knowing I could make it happen.

But clearly, it didn't.  I haven't run in so long now that I'm not sure I could even do 1 mile, much less 13.1. (Though I'm getting a lot stronger and my endurance is increasing--so who knows.  Maybe I could do two?) And he-who-trains has grounded me from running.  (On days like yesterday, I was almost willing to do it anyway, and get the look, and deserve his ire.  If only I hadn't given my word...I took a nap instead.)  I guess I'm a little sad. At not seeing my friend whom I miss (but who may come this way around Christmas).  At not taking a fun trip.  At not accomplishing the thing that I wanted to do.

If I were doing the half like I'd so neatly planned, there are some things I wouldn't be doing this weekend. Like inviting my new church family into my home for a Christmas open house.  Like training with my husband, who has joined me in this new life. (Really, really excited about that, but that's a post for another day.)  Like strengthening my body and losing weight well.

I might've been able to do the half.  But there's a good chance I would've hurt myself in the process.  I might've been able to push harder and harder.  I might've cried every time I walked.

I don't want that.  I don't want to limp across the finish line just to check something off a bucket list. When I finally run the half, I want to cross the finish line having given it everything I have, knowing that I worked with my body, seeing that I was strong enough to do it well. I want to cross the line, grinning from ear to ear in a way that says "Booyah, World!"  For me, victory is no longer just crossing the line and having done it.  Victory is putting in the time and effort to transform my body, so that it does all the things my brain wants to do.

So, I'm not running a half this weekend. But that's ok.  Because the girl who would've run it wasn't ready to do it well.  And that girl, the one who would stupidly fight with her body instead of working with it, well she doesn't exist any more.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What Do You Eat?

DH and I went on a trip with all the church folks yesterday. The church folks who know I'm working really hard to change my lifestyle.  The church folks who've been watching what I'm eating at every meal.  The ones who offered to distract He-who-trains at a mexican restaurant so that I could eat chips and salsa.  (They cleary don't know about his ability to know things without seeing them.  He's worse than a parent, with eyes in the back of his head.  He doesn't even need eyes.  He just knows.) The ones who were unimpressed with my lunch of Greek Yogurt and a banana the other day-- and vowed that if that's what it took, then they weren't interested in losing weight.   But I said (and meant), "I don't eat much differently than I did. That's probably what I would've had for lunch anyway. I eat the things I like.  I just make sure that I eat the right amount of things.  And then, there are some things that I don't eat."

I knew it was going to be interesting spending the day with them, and trying to show that I could eat well. We were prepared for the difficulty of eating not one meal out, but two.  We cringed as we stopped a "Southern" restaurant... after all, that is not typically a place where it is easy to eat well. ( Don't misunderstand.  I love Paula Deen, and cried when she found out she had Diabetes.  I'm not opposed to southern cooking that uses a stick of butter per dish.)  But we navigated that well, and each had a smoked pork chop.  I enjoyed it, and didn't feel a bit sad that I wasn't having any of the cornbread or things dripping in butter.

But, later, when DH and I were shopping alone, we stopped at Chick-fil-a.  I was a tracking super-star so I knew exactly how many calories I had left.  I knew that despite He-who-trains advice to take a splurge meal, that I hadn't. I knew that I could reasonably eat a small thing of nuggets without splurging, and did.  But the thing that seemed splurge-worthy was a peppermint chocolate chip shake.  After all, that's been a Christmas tradition for a few years.  (And um, not just one during Decemeber--but you know, after I'd been shopping strenuously.  After I'd put up Christmas decorations.  After I'd gotten a haircut. After I got out of bed. You know, only when it was really deserved.) But this time, I wanted to know exactly how bad the splurge was.  So I looked it up on my handy app and was completely appalled by what I found. 850 calories?? I knew it was bad... but bad in my mind was more like 400 calories.  I had no idea...

I sent a picture to He-who-trains, and even though he advocates a splurge once a week, I think he might have actually stapled my lips closed if I had eaten it.  I could feel the look through the phone.  Apparently, spending 850 calories to get 16 grams of protein is not justifiable.

So, what do I eat? Well, I ate just like I did.  Except that I don't eat (er...drink) milkshakes from Chick-fil-a.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Put me in, Coach!

He-who-trains has two looks that I hate getting.  The first is his "I-don't-yell-ever-but-seriously?" look.  It's the one that says "you're kidding with this, right?".  (It's kinda like my dad's raised eyebrow look.   Wow, I must've been an easy kid.  Just a look stikes terror in my heart.)  The second is the look of concern after I've fessed up to something-- like my knee hurting or being a little dizzy.  It's the look that means he's gonna stop me from doing whatever it is that caused the problem.

I'm getting the first look a lot less often than I was.  Maybe that's progress.  But I'm getting the second look a lot more often than I'd like.  If it weren't for fear of getting the first look, I might just not acknowledge that anything is wrong. Except that he knows.  He always knows. (Um, he can have his back turned and know that I'm holding my breath. He's that good.)

My body (my spirit of ferocity?) has changed enough that I am beginning to actually get annoyed when he stops me.  I just want to go.  I just want to do this.  I don't want to give it less than I have.  I want to be all in. Just a few weeks ago, I was praying that he'd stop me-- you know, just so I could take care of the basics, like breathing. So I could franctically suck down water in hopes that I didn't just die right there.  But now, something is different.

I have never been this person, but I feel like the kid that the whole team is counting on-- the one who has worked so hard.  The one who it seems like always has the rotten luck of getting sidelined by an injury. The one who says "Put me in, Coach-- it doesn't matter if my leg is dangling at some unnatural angle-- I can play.  I want to play.  I need to play." But of course, no good coach would do that. No good coach would let stupidity ruin an athlete.  No, the coach takes him off the field until his body can heal and restregthen, so he doesn't hurt himself.

The problem is that I have a good coach--one who values the long term goal much more than these five minutes.  Not, of course, that that stops me from narrowing my eyes and saying (praying?) "please don't stop me. Put me in, Coach.  I'm fine really."

Monday, December 10, 2012

Use It or Lose It

He-who-trains is very clever.  I must've made a big enough stink about not being allowed to run that he knew he would have a battle on his hands if he didn't get me something else that I loved almost as much.  So he brings martial arts back into my life, and makes me wonder why I ever quit.  (No seriously.  Why didn't I keep on going and keep on training?  I could've done that through college and seminary instead of hustling pool. What? Every girl needs a vice or two.)  He-who-trains has done martial arts forever and ever, amen-- and he's crazy fast.  Occasionally, he will demonstrate things for me--kicks and punches so near to my head that it takes an act of God for me to stand still.  Oh, he's tremendously accurate and I have no worry at all that he'd ever miss, but I'm pretty sure he's gonna make me wet my britches one day.

I miss doing Tae Kwon Do.  I wasn't ever very good at it, but I really enjoyed it. That was what I always wanted to do as a kid, but never did.  When I finally did it as an adult, it was every bit as fabulous as I thought it would be.  I would spar with my judo-loving friend who made me work really hard not to let the fight go to the ground, because I was toast. I sparred-- somewhat disastrously (though neither one of us will admit it to the other) with my 6'8" lawyer friend.  I would've sworn that I never got a shot in on him because of those long arms and legs, but he later told me I left him with some good bruises.

But all that was a lifetime ago.  My whole world (and body...blrrrgh) has changed since then.  And I've forgotten so much that I'm beginning to wonder if I made up taking TKD for as long as I did.  I've forgotten even the basics.  He-who-trains is having to take me through everything so slowly that it's like the first time I've seen it done. It's taking a phenomenal amount of mental energy to follow what he's doing and make my body even begin to think about replicating his movements.  I wasn't ever stellar at TKD, but I don't remember it being that hard for me to follow the instructors. I wasn't usually the first person to get something, but I caught on a lot faster than a good bit of the class.  Is this what it's like to get old? Or is my brain just a lot more full than it used to be?

After he left, I led myself through the movements again and again, slowly, until it made some sense.  Things started coming back to me--memories of doing touch and go crescents to warm up my hips. How to rotate my feet and body to get them in position for kicks. They're vague, useless memories right now, but at least they're in there.  Maybe muscle memory will eventually take over, until my old, cluttered, distracted brain can pick up the slack.

He-who-trains is stirring up something.  Because of my knees, I may never be able to be the runner I want to be.  But maybe the running, at least for me, is partly about conquering the seemingly unconquerable. I sure haven't conquered martial arts.  Maybe that's something I could pour my energy into again.  I think getting at least a black belt is back on my bucket list.  Only when I go back, I'm not gonna let it fall from my memory.  Maybe one day when I'm the age  He-who-trains is now,  I'll want to show off for some young person and make them hypervenilate from my sheer speed and martial arts prowress.  I can only do that if I make it a point to use it.

On a side note, it was indeed the good workout I'd hoped for and needed. My heartrate was comfortably high.  My muscles were getting fatigued to the point where I was getting sloppy--er, sloppier--in my kicks. But I felt like I could've kept going for a while.  I felt like I had more to offer than was being asked. My body is getting stronger.  I don't feel like I owned the workout, but for once, I don't feel like the workout owned me.  I'll take it.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Overcoming mental hurdles

I woke up this morning with a 1000 things running through my head-- not that that's unusal for me.  The house is a holy mess (and nowhere near ready for the aforementioned open house), I didn't get nearly enough done yesterday, and on top of that, we had a sick dog last night so we didn't get much sleep. Oh, yeah and it's Advent.  The time when the rest of the world waits in Holy Expectation-- the time when pastors are a frenzied lot.

But my brain quickly shifted, and I realized that today was Saturday. It's a training day. Several weeks ago, my brain would've reminded me of all the things I should be doing.  It would've told me it was ok to bail on He-who-trains, to let everything else become more important than this. Which, of course, is how I've done things before.

Today, though, my brain knows that training might just be the most important thing on my calendar.  And strangely, body and brain are looking forward to it. He-who-trains told me the body is like a machine--it gets pumped when it gets on a schedule.  The mere act of putting on workout clothes or drinking the afternoon protein shake is enough to trigger the body's memory-- to make it ready to go harder. I'm not sure that my body is a machine yet, but this is definite progress.

Funny, the way it is.  How things change.  How the body adapts and grows.  Where only a few weeks ago, I kind of dreaded working out (especially with a trainer), today I'm all in and making sure that nothing stands in my way.  I'm looking forward to a workout that is hard enough to wipe me out and leave me drained.  I'm hoping my shoulder muscles ache a little bit tomorrow when I do the benediction. Today, I hope will be a "Go Hard or Go Home" sort of day.  No aching knees.  No racing heart. No mental wishy-washyness.  Just a day to make my body stronger.

The Pudgy Parson is comin' out to play, y'all.  I knew she was in there somewhere.  She just got buried under a to-do list the size of Montana.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Open House, Not Open Heart Surgery

I've been a ponderin' and a plannin'.  Most people are smart enough not to start a new lifestyle during the Holidays, because there is just too much fun to be had. The pudgy parson, on the other hand, dived right in and started all of this during the week before Thanksgiving.  Which has actually been fine, and I don't feel like I've missed any of the fun. (I actually feel better this year than I ever have.  Read about it here)

But the problem comes with the open house that I've been planning since I took this church in September. Entertaining is serious business to me, and normally, I would've already been cooking for a week or so by now. I would have been making lots of sweet things, and things wrapped in bacon.  I probably would've gone through at least six blocks of cream cheese, a bag of chocolate chips, half a bag of flour, half a bag of sugar, a bag of confectioner's sugar, and at least a pound of butter by now. The thought alone makes my stomach do flips.  And I could do it this year, without worrying about sabbotaging myself. I would be fine to make all those things and not eat any of them.

Of course, I realize the hypocrisy of doing that.  Here I am trying to create a healthy lifestyle, and at least mentally, walking around with a "please don't feed the pastor" attitude.  How can I do that while simultaneously feeding my guests things that aren't good for any one?  Especially when I'm getting ready to start a program at the church that focused on creating a healthy community?  Yeah, I can't.  At least not in good conscience.

So, this year's open house guests will be treated to a variety of healthy things.  I've gotten the new Hungry Girl cookbook (which I LOVE).  Her whole thing is that everything is under 300 calories, and each recipe has the nutritional breakdown. She gets creative about using non-traditional ingredients to add nutrients and texture (like pumpkin mix into brownie batter-- instead of all the other stuff.)

I've been wrestling over how to handle the open house for a while. But I'm pleased with my decision.  I really don't think people will notice that I'm feeding them "healthy" things (or at least they wouldn't if I hadn't talked to so many of them about the lifestyle I'm creating.) Even if they did notice, I don't think they would miss the other things.  And besides, this gives me a chance to bear witness to the fact that choosing to be healthy isn't the burden that many people think it is.

Now that this is settled, the only other thing I have to figure out is how many calories polishing the silver burns.  And if my pearls go with a cute suzie-homemaker sort of apron.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

I get by with a little help from my friends

"... I'm gonna try with a little help from my friends." So say the Beatles anyway.

If you'd asked me to describe myself in a few words, one of the words I can guarantee that I would've used is "independent." As in, for the most part, I'm capable of doing what I want to do.  That was a source of pride--kinda like how I feel about never having owned a car that wasn't a stick shift. You know, just some small feather in my cap. (I didn't say, mind you, that these things made any sense. I have no idea why driving a stick shift causes any sort of pride, but a girl has to get her kicks where she can.)

I'm beginning to think that my independence isn't always productive or helpful. There was a scene on Grey's Anatomy (not that the Pudgy Parson would watch that less than wholesome show...) a few weeks ago that painted a pointed picture of me.   Arizona was a new amputee.  She didn't know how to operate her new prosthetic leg, but she didn't really want help to learn, either.   She made the therapist mad and he left her alone.  So she fought on and tried to do it herself, and fell flat on her face.

I've realized that I'm getting close to the point where I've fallen before.  If I were doing this alone, I think I would've gotten so frustrated at my grouchy knee that instead of taking time to strengthen it, I would've tried to push through. I've never like the expression "might makes right" but I know I've been guilty of using that tactic with my body. I know that if I were on my own, I'd be forcing myself to run, never mind that my knees are sometimes screaming when I just walk. I know that I've done daft things with how I eat (not like cabbage-soup-for-a-week dumb, but probably only because it sounded too gross to even think about.)

I'm in a place where I'm dying to power through-- to just go all in.  To do this, quickly, fiercely, and with no regrets.  But of course, my body is less excited than my brain is.  After all, it's my body that's having to do all the work.  It's my body that's having to overcome my past mistakses.  It's my body that's having to create new habits.  My body is throwing temper tantrums.  One day it's a knee.  Another day it's a random skyrocketing heartrate.  Another day it's feeling like my feet are tied to concrete blocks.

But He-who-trains is a rockstar. He's watching and making notes and adjusting. He's making sure I'm honest, both with him and with myself, about where my body actually is. He's forcing me to work with my body, so that I don't hurt it.  So that I don't repeat the cycle of pushing too hard, doing things incorrectly, and then winding up sidelined for weeks and months.

Whatever doubts I had about working with a trainer are gone. Even if it means making promises that are hard, but are for my health.  Even if it means having to report back to some one, honestly.   Even if it means having to sacrifice a little independence.  Because He-who-trains and I both want the same thing-- for me to live in a body that's strong and healthy and capable of all the things my brain wants to do.  But, it turns out, that only of us really knows how to get me there.

Oh, I get by with a little help from my friends...

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Maybe not this year...

For perhaps the first time ever, I don't think I'm worried about the inevitable weight gain that seems to come with the holidays. First of all, He-Who-Trains has forbidden me from getting anywhere near a scale for a month.  Even if I gained, I wouldn't know it.   But more than that, I don't really think that's a possibility-- unless of course, I'm gaining muscle. (This, of course, is where He-Who-Trains would jump in and tell me that I should let him body-fat calliper me. This Pudgy Parson is getting braver, but not that brave yet.  No fat-pinchy things near me. No way.  Nuhuh.) The things that have been tempations for me are not this year.  I've had nary a glass of eggnog (or even just what makes eggnog fun).  I think I could probably make a whole batch of my favorite Christmas cookies and not even have a bite of the dough. I may not have any idea what the scales say (and that's a blessing, because at least they aren't saying "One at a time, please."), but I'd call that progress. I've fought it every year.  Every year, I've felt out of control of my body. Every year, I was certain that I was just doomed.  Every year, I let myself believe that gaining weight is just what people do at the holidays. Every year, I've felt gross well into January, and then proceeded to make the same stale resolutions.

Maybe not this year. Because this year, I'm in charge. This year, there are things I want more than Christmas cookies.

Sins of Omission

Apparently, it's my mouth that gets me into trouble: promising things that I later have to fight to mean, agreeing to things that I wish I hadn't agreed to.   He-who-trains wants me to keep a log of everything I eat.  Well, that's fine.  I'm already doing that.  I've been using my iphone and the Livestrong app to keep track of my food intake for several weeks now.  I've been proud of myself, getting pretty close each day to the number of calories He-who-trains wants me to eat and the ratio of carbs, proteins, and fats he wants me to maintain.  It was a struggle, but the Pudgy Parson is a conquerer. I was all about the food log.

But then I realized that he wants to actually see my food log.  And while my brain was saying "No way, bozo", my mouth was happily saying, "Oh, ok.  I can do that.  I think I can export directly from my app.  How often would you like that emailed to you?"

See.  It's the brain-mouth connection that's a problem.

But a bigger problem is that I don't particularly want to send him my food log.  I've been really honest in it, having gotten pretty skilled at tracking during the Weight Watchers years. I think a food log is a great tool.  Yet, now I think about what happens if I want to cheat.  Oh, He-who-trains is ok with a splurge meal.  (Oops I almost wrote "splurge day"--- Freudian slip? Wishful thinking?) I could tell him that I ate pizza or burgers one night. Though I'm betting I'd get the look if I said I ate pizza and burgers one night.

So what do I do if in a stress-induced eating fit, I gobble up a chocolate cake? Do I accidentally forget that I ate it? Or do I write "slice of chocolate cake"? Granted, I haven't even been tempted by these things lately.  I haven't wanted sugar.  I haven't wanted to cheat. In fact, I've wanted to be brutally honest.  I want to finally be healthy.

But now that I'm supposed to be sending him my food logs, all of the sudden I'm starting to think about these things.  Like more accountability makes me want to be less accountable. Like I need the freedom to be off the radar.

I just have to keep telling myself that sins of omission are just as serious as sins of commission. So maybe if I eat the entire chocolate cake, I have to admit to both myself and He-who-trains that I ate the entire chocolate cake.

Or maybe, it would be easier to just keep doing the things I have been doing, and eating well.  Sans Chocolate Cake.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


Yesterday was my low intensity day... and my trainer agreed to let me take my dog for a walk instead of putting my pudgy parson's rearend in the seat of a recumbant bike...or worse in a bathing suit.  I had a marvelous time-- I hadn't been on just a walk in so long.  Lately, all of my exercise has been structured and carefully planned... and thought inducing.  Gone are the days of mindless walking and running.  But he gave me permission.  It was a clear, cool night.  There were Christmas lights to look at, and a small-town charm to absorb.  Bella was beyond happy...she's missed it too.   It was one of those night that if I hadn't made a promise to my trainer that I wouldn't run, I would've.  Wowee, was it tempting. But I think he would've known, and I'm not eager to incur the wrath of He-Who-Trains. Besides, a promise is a promise--even if it's hard to keep. So I set out, with only two guidelines.  1) That I would keep my heartrate in the 130's. 2) that I wouldn't hurt my knee.  "I won't.  I promise." (I started to add, "Daaaad"-- because I've gotten that same lecture from my dad a number or times in my life. It seemed only natural, in the way that a rebellious teenager would eye-rollingly say that to someone whom she was certain was being completely over-protective.)

But the marvelousness of the walk was short lived. Because 37 minutes in, my knee started hurting.  The decree of He-Who-Trains was that I'd stop if my knee started hurting. I promised that I would.  And I promised (Clearly, I need to stop making promises.) that I would give him a report on how it went.

Which, of course, is why I didn't particularly want to see him this morning.  Because I knew what he'd say. That I was grounded.  No more walks, not even the hills that made me want to curse just a few weeks ago. No more carefree time to be hit on by 10 year old boys (who whistled at me, and then promptly wanted to play with Bella.)  No daydreaming times.

At least until my muscles are stronger.  At least until He-Who-Trains thinks my knee is capable of better behavior.

My knee and I are grounded. (I guess I'm guilty by association?) At least He-Who-Trains didn't make my knee write a letter of apology.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Going Rogue

Going Rogue: To go "rogue" means to make a large deviation from one's strict training. For example, in the United States agents like FBI, Secret Service etc. get special training and are indoctrinated to follow the rules of their profession. If an individual agent starts to behave contrary to the rules he or she has gone rogue.

I've spent my life believing that one's personal health and fitness are only that person's business. But maybe that's because it's always been a struggle for me. Maybe it's because I'm not comfortable broadcasting my weakness.  Maybe it's because I just wanted have a fabulous "after" picture, and pretend like there was no "before". 

On January 1, I'll be inviting my congregation into my journey to become the person that I am in my head-- the person that God intended me to be.  I'll be sharing this blog with them, and creating another one as we seek to become a healthy church together. I'm going to ask for my congregation's support as I begin creating a healthy way of living my life. (I'm going to be embracing a "please don't feed the pastor" campaign. 

I've always written this blog annonymously.  There are lots of people that I'm really close to that don't know anything about it.  I wanted it that way. I wanted the security of keeping it a secret.  But I've realized that keeping it a secret gives me an out.  If I've not said anything about my plans, then no one will hold me accountable when my motivation starts to flag. No one would be in my business. 

I've never been successful before, either. 

I took a step and have started working with a trainer-- which was new for me.  That's one other person that I've let be in my business.  That's one other person that I have to be honest with. He's helped me realize that being accountable only to myself isn't really being all that accountable. 

So today, I'm going rogue.  I'm deviating from what I strictly adhered to.  I'm going to be linking this blog to my facebook page-- so that my friends and loved ones will actually see it.  I'm going to be owning my identity as "The Pudgy Parson" and admit that I've spent years neglecting my health.

Deep breath. Push "publish".  Be better than before.  Go rogue. 

Thursday, November 29, 2012

When your body won't...

My trainer sent me a text saying "Are we training 2nite?" And it started a whole inner conversation with me.  "Oh, for the love of Pete, I've not slept and my brain is running in a 1000 different directions, and I feel like I'm about to pass out in the floor, and I feel like I have concrete blocks on my feet." But then the part of me who doesn't want to be the pudgy parson forever piped up and said "Choose better. Choose to fight.  Give it what you have to give.  Don't let yourself be derailed."

So I answered his text with "yeah.  I'll give it what I have to give, but I'm zapped." I wanted to warn him, in case I didn't have much to give.  I didn't want him to think I was just slacking. I was hoping that my body would wake up and ramp up.  It didn't. And it wasn't a matter of my body saying "I can't" because I have done these things before.  It was a tempter tantrum.  My body shouted something worse than "I can't."  It stomped its feet and said, "I won't do it.  I won't. I won't I won't."  Even though we'd done pretty much the same workout last week, everything felt new.  My brain couldn't remember one thing to the next-- even though the trainer had just shown me. My heartrate kept skyrocketing, even though he had me doing things at a lower intensity.  And body parts were really hurting.  Not in a "wow you're getting a good workout" sort of way, but in an "if you don't stop it right now, you're going to injure yourself."  My ever-watching trainer picked up on the small things I was doing, and quickly had me stop.  Some part of me wanted to squint my eyes at him and muster an inner ferocity and say "Don't you dare stop me. I need to do this." But there was no ferocity to muster, and instead of fighting back, I think I was grateful.  I wonder what I would've done had he not been there.  I know my stress level is high, and I was hoping for the sort of physical exhaustion that would leave me spent.  Had he not be there to watch my body (even picking up on things I wasn't saying), I wonder if I would've kept on pushing.

It was a crappy workout.  And instead of feeling the rush of endorphins when we finished, I felt deflated and defeated. I didn't feel like I had achieved anything. I'm still grouchy about it-- and am itching to head out the door and run, to show my body that it is not the boss-- that it answers to my heart and soul. But clearly my body is saying something.  It's trying to tell me that it's not getting something.  Part of the wisdom I expect I will receive from my trainer is learning how to listen to my body.  That's important.  Because while I want a nice, strong body-- I also want wholeness and shalom and balance.  I want to work with my body.  I don't ever want to be so shortsighted that I'm stupid.

I think I fell asleep at 7:30 last night-- while I was icing my knee, no less.  (Sorry, Trainer J...I'm icing it this morning.  Twice.)  I didn't drag myself out of bed until well after 7 this morning.  Maybe that's what I needed. And maybe having answered the need, my body and I can come to an agreement:  that "won't" is a dumb word and is not to be used very often.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Just Say No!

I guess that's what they told us in elementary school when we had manitory anti-drug programs. We were told to expect peer pressure.  Fortunately for me, the people I ran around with weren't the sort of people that were interested in pressuring me to do drugs.  So I never needed the "Just Say No!" tactic.

But no one was able to tell me that I'd need that tactic in other areas of my life.  First it was a meeting, where folks were passing around fudge and pretzels and gingersnaps and all sorts of things. They offered and I politely refused.  But then it was, "Are you sure?" Of course, the question wasn't really if I was sure, it was "What's that about? It's just a few snacks-- what's wrong with that?" Then I came home and found that my husband had made dinner...and dessert.  Granted it was sugar free pudding, and he'd been all cute and put it in wine glasses and tried to make it special.  And he was really sad, and at least a little offended, that I wouldn't eat it. (At least I didn't say what I was thinking-- that my body more closely resembled pudding--soft and jiggly-- than I wanted it to.)

I guess I never bothered to consider how much of food consumption in general and specifically my food consumption was based around social needs.  Being a people pleaser who hates disappointing people in any way, I wonder how many times I've even food that I didn't really want or need just because it's what people were doing-- or because I didn't want to let them down.

I have made two observations: 1) Me saying no to food has lead to lots of opportunities for conversation about what I'm doing.  Come January, I'm going to be inviting my congregation into this journey with me, and these conversations are building a foundation for that.  As much as I would sometimes like to blend in, people are watching what I'm doing.  2) When my body is getting what it needs, I feel very little need to eat junk-- other than the aforementioned guilt of not falling into the "but everyone is doing it" trap.  Maybe that's been part of my struggle-- for years, I've not been giving my body what it needs.  I've given it plenty of what my brain said it wanted my body to have (uh hence my identity as the Pudgy Parson) but I have to admit to myself that I haven't been really listening to my body's needs.

One of the tactics they taught us in elementary school was to come up with a list of reasons why we couldn't or wouldn't do drugs.  Like having a list ready would make the "just say no" part easier.  So here is my list. (And if these don't work, I'm not sure I'm above putting a sign on my office door that says "Please don't feed the pastor.")
 10) Yes, round is a shape-- just not the one I want to be in.
 9) My health matters.  No really.
 8) I don't have extra time to work off all the calories in that dish.
7) You're killing me.  Seriously.
 6.) Bathing Suit Season.  Or boot season.  Either way.
5) I'm not a quitter.
4.) I'm too smart to set myself up to fail.
3). I value the time and relationships more than I've ever valued the food.
2) I want to be a runner-- and I can't do it with all this extra weight.

Ok, so maybe I wouldn't actually say any of those to any one but myself.  Or maybe I would.  But that's fine, because I would say the number one thing on my list-- the thing that matters most.

  1) I don't want to be the pudgy parson forever.

And that makes the NO! part that much easier.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

It takes three weeks...

Fitness magazines say that "on average, it takes three weeks for a person to notice a difference in her body after starting a workout plan."  It takes six weeks for family and friends to notice.  And it takes ten to twelve weeks for the rest of the world to notice.  I guess that's a way of reminding well intentioned but anxious people that results don't come immediately.

I've been striving (not entirely successfully, but that's a post for another day) to eat according to my trainer's guidelines for two weeks, and have been working out with him for only a week, but my clothes are definitely looser.  Two weeks ago, the pants I had on today were a little snug.  Today, there was plenty of wiggle room.  I happened to be wearing the same Tshirt this time last week as I have on now, and there is a definite difference in how it fits.   Since my trainer has banned me from checking the scale for a month (uh...Merry Christmas to me? All I want for Christmas is to weigh myself?),  I won't know how many pounds I'm losing. But I can see the small changes that are beginning to take place--slightly looser clothes being only one of them.  Because I am also sleeping better.  I am coping better with stress.  I'm not craving sugar any more.  I am giving thought to my meals and making arrangements for them. I'm getting braver and more willing to try new things. I feel more in control of my life and my body.  These things are progress-- and right now they matter more to me than a number on the scale anyway.

I've been asked how committed I am to all of this-- this exercising and very specific meal plan and the whole works. And I don't know how to answer.  Because I'm on fire right now.  But I also know that I've quit before which makes me doubt myself.  I've gotten busy.  I've not seen results as quickly as I wanted.  I've pledged 100% commitment to my trainer for three months.  And I guess both he and I are wondering what will happen after that three months.  Am I strong enough to make this a lifestyle change? I told him that I was 90% certain that I was and that's the most honest answer I know how to give.  I know that there is something different this time.  I know that I am in a better place mentally and otherwise to really do this.  I know that I will have more support and accountability than I ever have before.  I know that I'm really over my body telling me what my limits are.  I know that I'm too young to feel as old as I sometimes do.

But maybe the thing is that I'm also now really aware of the hardest thing.  When I'm finally the pudgeless parson, I don't think I'm going to look back and think that losing the weight was the hardest thing I've ever done.  I think I'm going to look back and realize that the hardest thing I've ever done was live in a tired body that neither looked good nor felt good. I don't think I'm going to think that pushing myself was some monstrous beast to slay-- I think I'm going to remember the allowing myself to settle was the monstrous beast.

So am I in, really in? I believe so.  Because if I'm not, then I'll never know what it was like to completely exceed my own expectations and push past my previous failures.  And that is a result that I won't see in three weeks.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Slow and Steady wins the race...?

If I had written this yesterday, I think I might've called this post "Yeah, so...my trainer is nuts." (And I could say that to him, because he's also a friend... but I would've gotten that look.) Last week, on my "low" intensity day, he asked me to walk the distance up this huge hill (read: mountain) and let him know how long it took.  I'd walked it before, and it was definitely a challenge-- since my body got awfully used to being a flatlander. So I sent him a text telling him that it took me six minutes to go the requested distance.  I was not prepared for his response.  "K.  Now do it another five times." I remember staring at my phone incredulously, like "He's kidding, right? I'm gonna die!" Only he wasn't kidding.  Being both fierce and dedicated, I walked up the mountain six times.  (We did however compromise, and he let me jog down the hill each time.)  I was about to lose my religion, but I thought to myself "Wow--by next boot season, I might actually be able to find a pair of boots that fit my calves."

Yesterday was another "low" intensity day. I was prepared for him this time, and had already steeled myself to hike up the mountain another six times.  Oh, if only...

Because he's all about keeping the body from adapting too much. So here was his decree:  Walk up the "hill" and jog down.  Walk backwards up the "hill". (yes, I'm that crazy lady you see walking backwards, like "Oh, don't mind me, this is a perfectly normal thing to be doing." Remind me to remind the trainer that this is a small town, and that I actually know some of the people who are giving me weird looks as they pass by.) Jog down.  Right over left up the hill, and jog down. "Oh, and don't let your  heels touch the ground."  Left over right up the hill and jog down.  And he wasn't kidding.

I just had to keep thinking about the fabulous boots that I was gonna wear soon. This pudgy parson's calves were on fire.  And not only that, but the whole process was so slow.  Painfully slow. I rocked out to some Tom Petty and the Boss and some terrible music on my running list that I'm embarrassed to admit I love.  And I went as slow as it took to both do it well, and to keep my heart rate as slow as he wanted. I didn't realize yesterday, but sometimes slow is a gift.  Lately, I feel like I'm always in a flurry of activity, and never have enough time.  But when you're forced to slow down, there's room to think idle thoughts.  There's time to put yourself back together when the world has been too much in your face. Maybe in this frenzied time of year, I need to be made to go slowly and deliberately sometimes.

I was surprised at all the muscles that felt like they were getting a workout yesterday: my calves and quads were a given, but I didn't expect my low back and my side obliques and whatever muscle is under my saddlebags to feel it so much.  That's a pretty good return on my investment.  If it takes going slowly to work those rarely used muscles, then maybe I can embrace the slow... at least for a few minutes.

Turns out, my trainer is not, in fact, nuts. Maybe next time it's a do-funny-moves-up-the-mountain day, I'll wear a ski mask.  He might not be nuts, but folks will think I am.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

A Safety Net

Despite my initial reluctance, I think I'm really going to like working out with a trainer.  I'm one of those people who believed that you couldn't get much of a workout at home, but wow, was I wrong.  I'm also one of those people who didn't really think the 5 lb dumbbells I had would do a whole lot of good.  Wrong again.

My trainer is all about the idea that people can get in shape with a minimum amount of equipment--and I'm starting to believe him. (And had I known earlier, maybe I would've began working harder sooner.) I wonder how many times I've chosen to do nothing, because I didn't have time to go to the gym. Blrrgh.

One of the things I think I love about working with a trainer is the fact that I will let him push me harder than I would push myself.  And not just in a "Go! Faster! Harder! Higher!" sort of way. But in a way that I will trust myself into his hands.  I have full confidence in him and his knowledge, and I know he is paying more attention to what my body is saying than I know how to do yet.  It kind of sets me free to go really hard without worrying that I'm going to injure myself or go harder than I can go.  I guess it's like how trapeze artists feel knowing that they are working with a safety net under them-- like they are free to fly and flip and soar without having to worry.

Did I particularly enjoy working out with my heart rate hovering in the 190's? No.  But I loved the feeling of being able to push and challenge myself without having to worry about my body.  When I couldn't quite do something (ummm... hello ab exercises) he was quick to adapt the plan to what I could do.  When I worked myself to the point of muscle exhaustion, he was keeping a careful eye on me, making sure that my body could handle it. If I were working out on my own, I wouldn't have gone nearly as hard.  I would have treated my body more gingerly than I should.  I would've cheated myself out of the feeling of giving it everything I had.  What a freedom to not have to play it safe, because you know someone has your back.

During this taxing season when I seem to be really bad at taking care of myself, I'm glad to have the freedom to go harder than I would on my own. I need the outlet.  Exercising at such a high intensity has a marvelous way of clearing my mind.  (Uh-- but next time I've got to finish the sermon before I train with him-- my brain, and my shaky arms, were both pretty much done last night-- and the sermon wasn't. It was an early morning for this pudgy parson.) And wowee, am I sleeping soundly! Like almost hibernating soundly.

So maybe this is what I've been needing during the High and Holy (i.e. manic and frenzied) seasons of the church: a person to push me, a person to stay on me about taking care of myself, a person to act as my safety net until I learn to fly.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Survivor: Day 1

“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think." Christopher Robin to Pooh

So... I survived day 1 with a trainer, and was pleasantly surprised. Gasp-- I actually enjoyed the time.  (Uh. Minus looking like a beet, having my body parts jiggle all over the place, and breathing like... well, I don't know what to compare it to, but it wasn't pretty.)  I enjoyed the challenge and I could definitely feel exactly which muscles are never getting used. (Apparently people are supposed to work their abs.  Huh.) I won't lie-- I was surprised by how quickly the time went.  It was high intensity (umm...yeah) but there was enough variety that my mind didn't have a chance to wander-- or do anything except making sure my lungs were getting enough air so that I didn't fall over in the floor.  I love that he gave me a flashback to my Tae Kwon Do days and had me doing cresent kicks and the like.  Granted, last night's kicks weren't pretty, but my body seemed to remember how to do them.  I'm excited to watch as some of that begins to come back to me. 

The deal I made with the trainer is that he would train me so that I could be a runner. (Even if it involved me making a deal where I wouldn't run for several weeks, so I could build up my muscles.  Apparently he didn't think it normal that I was spending hours with frozen peas on my shins so I could walk the next day.) I think that even with several weeks of little to no running, I'm going to be way ahead of where I was if I was just slogging away at getting in miles.  I can tell that my legs and back will be much stronger, and that my endurance will increase rapidly. 

Everyone on facebook is listing something they are thankful for each day in November. I haven't been doing that (at least not on facebook.) But today, the trainer (also my friend) gets my gratitude.  For calling me on my stuff, for caring enough to tangle with me and not giving me the time to give him much lip, for challenging me to set a standard of strength for myself.  But most of all, for shattering my long held belief that being in any shape other than round was an impossibility. 

I'm in kind of a fierce mood today. Like "Move, world.  I've got things to do and I don't have time for you to stand in my way." And maybe that's the start of something...

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Awake Again

Good Morning, World-- It's me, The Pudgy Parson-- who has apparently been hibernating like a bear for the last several months. I've been busy.  You know, with getting set up at a new church and making my house a home and turning twenty five (again).  But I've also been playing games with myself, telling myself that once life settled down, I'd start up again.  Pushing myself to be a runner, even if my muscles were hurting so badly that I cried when I had to walk.

But I'm awake again, really awake.  And I've made a new commitment. I'm starting work with a trainer tonight--which I'll admit makes this pudgy parson more than a little nervous.  I'm one of those people who likes to pretend (at least for myself) that I've got it all together.  I know that when I begin work tonight, I'm going to have to admit to myself (and at least one other person) that I've let myself take the easy route, that I've gotten kinda lazy, that the foods I eat matter, and that I'm not any longer the athletic person that I am in my brain. I'm nervous because this trainer is also a friend of mine but at the same time, I guess I'm excited.  So, I guess this pudgy parson is going to let down her guard and let a friend help me do one of the things I've never been able to do on my own.  (But I'm not above praying that I don't jiggle too much in the process.)

So I'm being brave and taking a step-- and I'm going to recommit myself to documenting the journey in writing. I love the church where I serve, and I'm soon going to be inviting my congregation into this journey, not only to support me, but to partner with me so that we can all make some changes together. I keep reminding myself that part of my job as a pastor is not only to care for myself, but to raise the bar on how we are as a community.

I found one of my old Tae Kwon Do shirts this morning, and was reminded of what used to be my favorite quote.
It is not the critic who counts, nor the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in a worthy cause; Who, at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement; and who, at the worst, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat. (Teddy Roosevelt)
I've been the critic. Today I choose to get in the arena.  Today, I remind myself that I am worth fighting for.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Back in the Saddle

It's been a long, unhealthy summer, as evidenced by this pudgy parson's poorly fitting clothes.  But, at least there's been a good reason for it! (Hey, I can rationalize with the best of them!)  We've been in flux since June, when we realized that we would be moving!

But, we're here now (at least our bodies.  Our stuff, well...that's in process). And it's time to start undoing all the damage, and hopefully quit popping buttons off my ill-fitting britches.  But we've made the decision that we're going to do better things in this new place.

And to our credit, the very first day we joined the gym here.  I've gone on really long walks (read: hikes. These here mountains ain't no joke!) with my doggy almost every day. We've made better choices food wise. (Read: we quit stocking Little Debbies in the cabinet.) We've made plans of ways to fit exercise into our lives.  (Read: well, you gotta start somewhere and a plan is as good a place as any)

Last night, though, I surprised myself.  I went to a spin class. I only thought I was going to die a few times.  It wasn't pretty, but at least I had a bike in the back. (Anyone who would've been behind me would've gotten a very jiggly view.  Spin class is apparently not so great for hiding your backside.) I have avoided spin classes in the past as they've kind of intimidated me.  But I went, and it wasn't as bad as I would've guessed.

While I was spinning there, getting nowhere exactly, Bon Jovi's "It's my life" came on.  That used to be a ramp up, play on repeat over and over, song for me. Hearing it again reminded me of my promise to myself-. In it, though the words never said it, I was able to hear me telling myself that I want better for myself and that I'm willing to work for it.  So these are my new words:

It's my life.
It's now or never.
I ain't gonna live forever.
I just wanna live while I'm alive.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

A few more reasons to run...

I would choose this view over staring at the tv any day of the week...
The Cornfields by Dawn's Early Light
Who doesn't smile to see a hugemongous sunflower?
Sunflowers...as far as the eye can see

It's in the budget

DH and I listened to Dave Ramsey's "Total Money Makeover" as we were driving home from vacation-- as we've not been nearly as dedicated as we once were. We needed our motivational fires lit...again. (Huh-- this seems to be a recurring theme in my life these days!) DH and I decided together that we want to thrive, and it seems like all we have done the last few months is survive.

Dave Ramsey's whole thing is making a budget, and he loves to say that most people feel like they've gotten a raise when they get on a budget-- when every dollar has a job. He also says that the first step in controlling your money is learning to control the person that you see in the mirror.  "I want it now!" is what the red faced toddler says-- and the grownup who should know better, but who isn't willing to deny gratification for a little while.

It's dawned on me that financial responsibility has a lot of similarities to physical responsibility. (Hmmm... physical and fiscal-- those sound an awful lot alike.) If I want to thrive (which is really what the Pudgy Parson is about), then I need to learn to deal with that person in mirror.  And if budgeting helps my wallet, then I have to believe that budgeting is going to help my waist too-- which is exactly the idea behind weight watchers.  I can budget my points each day, so that I know what my limits are.  I get extra points for exercise, and splurging on treats quickly dwindles my surplus.  It's all about budgeting.  Thinking of it this way makes it seem managable.  I know exactly where my money and my calories are going-- and it helps me be in control of my environment.  Feeling out of control also makes the Pudgy Parson feel a little mean-- which is definitely not a good thing!

Look out, wallet! Look out, waist (and hips and thighs and sticky-outy girl parts), the Pudgy Parson is on a budget!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Starting from scratch

Well, I do exaggerate a little...but not much, because that's exactly what it felt like.  I went running today...and by that, I mean, jalking-- at best.  It wasn't pretty.  Oh, I knew my endurance would flag some, but nothing like what it did.

Several months ago, I was awfully proud of myself for graduating out of the couch-to-5k program (otherwise referred to as "The Lovely British Lady that Lives in my Iphone").  She took me to where I was comfortably running 30+ mins.  But having done that, it was time to take the next step and work with "Ease into 10k".  So I deleted the nice lady from my iphone as I pursued bigger dreams.  But now that I have spent the last several weeks sitting on my ever expanding behind, I need her back.  I apologized to the nice lady (and to my body), and put her back on my iphone.   And without snarking at me, the lovely lady helped me start again.

On the upside, I felt better after finishing the jalk.  And my doggie was pretty happy too. (It's been too hot to leave them outside, but she is an energetic dog-- so the jalk gave her an outlet too.)

There's a half marathon I want to run on Nov 3 called "Conquer the Mountain."  Well, let's be honest here.  If the Pudgy Parson makes it that far, there will already have been a considerable amount of conquering.  But, a gal always needs a goal.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Calling the Pudgy Parson

The Pudgy Parson has left the building!   And hasn't been sighted for some six weeks...it's like she's vamooshed, and definitely not because she has shrunk so much as to be a mere sliver of her old self.

The Pudgy Parson is about healthy living, about making good choices, about making time for what is important.  And that person hasn't been anywhere to be seen lately.   Oh, there's been something living in her body, but it's a grouchy, tired, road-worn, bad choice making, non-exercising person.  Clearly, the heart and soul of the Pudgy Parson has been displaced.

But she's coming back.  Because today I stepped on the scale, and just how badly I've been behaving. After a week at the beach, which was preceeded by six weeks of more or less living out of a suitcase (i.e. not exercising and grabbing fast food), the scale read a number that I couldn't believe. I really thought the ten pound cat had snuck up on the scale with me (as she does sometimes).  I thought the scale was lying.  There is no way that huge number was accurate.

Except that it probably was.  I've not only gained what I'd worked so hard to lose, but a few pounds besides.

Today starts the second half of a year.  It's like New Years, 2.0.  And my life is settling down a little.  And there are new things on my horizon. And I'm tired of feeling so... blah.  I can do better than this, and I want better for me than what I'm doing.   I preached from 2 Corinthians 2 this morning and The Message translation phrases Paul's words this way:  Don't let your good intentions grow stale.

Um, hello! Pudgy Parson... are you out there? I'm ready for a do-over!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Paula Deen's Words of Wisdom

I love Paula Deen-- I love her big personality and the way she could work butter into almost any recipe (at least prior to her diabetes diagnosis, which broke my heart a little, y'all!) But I've appreciated the ways she's been public about her struggle to lead a healthier lifestyle.  This was posted on her blog, but I loved it so much that I wanted you to be able to read it in case you don't follow her (but you should!)

Heading in the Right Direction

By Paula Deen
How come I’m always trying to “get” into shape but I never seem to arrive at my destination? Like most women I know, I’ve tried all sorts of crazy diets and fads over the years, even ones involving legwarmers and a trampoline. Those efforts never really paid off—probably because I lost interest well before the cool down. I know I need to make some changes in my lifestyle, but I also know that this time it’s got to stick like glue. So instead of going hog wild, I’ve decided to embrace the process of “getting there”—one little step at a time.
I’ve been trying to take small steps every day. I’ve been eatin’ more fruits and veggies, and I’ve cut down on fried foods and given up Sweet Tea, which means pigs must be flyin’ somewhere! I even started using my treadmill.
Now that the weather’s improved, I’m enjoying morning strolls outside. I say “hello” to the ducks on the pond and the hens in the chicken coop, and they look at me like I have three heads—guess they aren’t used to my new routine just yet. But the best is when I have someone to chat with so I can get my mind off the walking. I especially love when my dear friend Donna joins me. We end up gossiping like schoolgirls and before we know it, we’ve been moving our feet and running our mouths for 30 minutes!
Recently, I started following up my walk with a delicious breakfast smoothie, which tastes even better after you earn it. Recently, I was introduced to by a dear friend what I now call my Good Morning Green Smoothie. Now, don’t let the color fool you—it’s not like gnawin’ on grass or anything. It’s sweet, refreshing, and surprisingly filling. Donna was a little skeptical at first, but she came around after she saw me suck mine back. I just love, love, love that smoothie!
I was surprised to see these little steps add up. I’m even able to fit into a pair of “wishful” jeans that I’ve been holding onto for years (ladies, y’all know what I’m talkin’ about). Of course, that makes me feel real good about myself, but the best is when someone says to me, “I can tell you’re taking better care of yourself.”
I may not be “there” just yet, but at least I’m gettin’ somewhere.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Stop the Insanity!

I have no idea what that phrase was referring to, but I have some vague memory of a bald Susan Powter (sp?) shouting that through TV screens in the the early 90's.   And it seems like a good phrase for me as I seem to be eating my way through Atlanta right now.  But to be fair, I spent four years here-- and we developed a lot of "favorite" places.   Of course, now that we're back for a conference, it only makes sense to go back.  I guess I am just now realizing why this was such a dangerous place-- or probably the true birthplace of the pudgy parson.  (As I write, DH has come out of the shower--wearing a towel cape, no less-- wondering what I was doing.  "Blogging about all the horrible eating I'm doing while we're here. I feel like we're eating our way through Atlanta!"  He considered this for a moment and said, "I'm the Patrick Henry of eating!  I have not yet begun to eat my way through Atlanta."  Clearly, that's his towel cape talking.  This is surely not my weight-watcher's-doing, gym-going, rockstar of a husband.)  But what I was telling you before towel-cape man showed up was that Atlanta was dangerous...but sadly, the police could do nothing about this sort of dangerous.  After all, they cannot arrest folks for stuffing their faces.  (Probably best that way.  That'd be a terrible thing to get a reputation for.   If I'm going to make headlines, I want it to be for something better than "Presbyterian Pastor Arrested for Gluttony.")

My body is getting down right grouchy again-- as it does when I fall prey to this bad behavior.  It's like my body thinks it gets a vote.  It's like my stomach is shouting "Stop the Insanity!!".  Gosh, I hope the people next to me can't hear it.  That would make for an interesting conversation...

So...who wants Thai food for lunch? Anyone? Anyone?

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Slowly, slowly...

I've started jalking again--and my body is trying to cooperate (or at least not to curse at me).  I got in four miles yesterday and almost four on Sunday.  They weren't pretty, but I'm not hurting as badly as I thought.  And bonus: my frozen peas have stayed in my freezer for several days now.  What? You eat the peas you freeze? I put them on my shins.  

Maybe the shins are finally recovered, and if I take it slow (uh... slower than I was, if that is possible) then maybe I won't hurt myself this time.  I'm still pretty sure there's a runner trapped inside me somewhere-- I just have to convince her to come out of hiding.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

In the meantime...

Grrr... I've been thwarted!  When I went to run with the super-athletes at the running club, I heard the words I didn't want to hear:  "You need to stay off those shin splints for a while."  I'd been battling them for weeks, and probably knew that, but when the physical therapists said it, I finally took it to heart.  So for two weeks, I've not run.  I've rested, and I've iced, and I've stretched.  But I've also cycled and swam and ellipticaled. (Sure, that must be a word...)  But I've missed the running a little bit.  I've missed making progress on a goal.

But, wonder of wonders! All this cross training reminded my body of a time when I was swimming and biking and jalking-- a time when those things were the goal.  I thought I was working on doing a half marathon in December, and maybe I still am, but I've got tr-fever again.  I found one in Wilmington in July, and though the training time is a little shorter than I'd like, I think it's doable.  (Because I'm a rockstar? Or, at least because I'm crazy...) Now if only I could tri without doing the spandex.

A girl always needs a goal...

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Taking the Plunge

Whoa look at me, getting all brave! I did it.  I took the plunge.  I joined not one, but two, running clubs.  True confession:  I have never run with anyone else (except mandatory PE days... I cringe at those memories!) I have never run with other people because I was too intimidated, too afraid that I would look like a joke, too afraid that I couldn't keep up.  And maybe, too afraid to admit that I really want to be a runner.

But after looking and looking for clubs to join (I figured I could, you know, silently look at their message boards or something)  I finally found some near me.  Thanks RRCA!  And one of them looks like it might be a great starting place, maybe even filled with average people, not those superathletes that could run from here to the moon.  It says "Let's Run: We're running a 5k.  Can't run that far? No worries, walk it out. That's what we're here for!"

And the plan is that I might actually run with them.  I RSVP'ed to Thursday's event.  I'm excited. And nervous.  And definitely not wearing spandex.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Falling off the wagon

"Old habits die hard" is what I've heard.  Or "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."

There's some truth to those sayings-- I guess that's why they're cliches! My husband and I were doing pretty well...until we went Spring Breaking.  We made resolutions that we would continue with Weight Watchers and exercising, even while away.

I walked the first two days.  But then we got busy.  Then we remembered what good food there was to be had as we journeyed to some of our favorite places.  Then we went to the movies-- where popcorn became a certain necessity.  Then we cooked some really great meals, and portion control was a sad afterthought.

Long story short: spring break was an adventure in falling off the wagon.   And I'm not gonna lie-- it felt kinda good.  Except that I was nasueated a good part of the time because my blood sugar levels seemed to have the heebeyjeebies.  Except that I didn't have as much energy and never had a "good" run. Except that all I wanted to do was eat.  Except that my previously loose pants seemed to have shrunk overnight.  Hmm...maybe it wasn't as good as I thought it was.

On our last day away, we saw an old friend.  She's lost 40lbs through diet and exercise.  She looked great.   And while I'm immensely happy for her, I'm also jealous...or at least motivated again!  Sometimes the idea of losing as much weight as I need to lose is daunting.  It's helpful to see people who have actually made it happen for them-- even if I wanted to call her names.

Look out, wagon. The Pudgy Parson rides again!

Losing and Finding

Sorry for the blogging hiatus! Lent makes pastors lose their minds with crazyness-- and this pudgy parson was no exception!  But here I am-- mentally back intact, slightly less pudgy (umm 1.5 inches lost in my thighs, nearly 3 lost in my hips...thank you, Weight Watchers--and running my...butt...off!) and ready, once again, to do this thing.

On March 17-- I lost. I had been training for a 5k with the hopes of finally running the whole thing.  I was ready, mentally and physically.  I had my faithful cheering squad positioned at the finish line, where I was going to be seen smiling from ear to ear as my face said, "Yeah. I did that.  Now what?"  Only it didn't go that way.  I'd been nursing a nasty case of shin splints for several weeks, and on the day of the race, they decided to be particularly mean. A mile into the race, I sent my husband the text "1 mile down, and I'm about to cry from pain." I tried to jog really gently, but my legs were done.  To have continued would have meant sure injury.  So I walked.  I managed to sprint the last quarter mile, but my spirit was crushed and angry.   And just because my body was really spiteful, crawling into bed that night, I seem to have pulled an overly tight hamstring.  I limped through church--and had to explain to my well meaning but curious parishioners that I hurt myself running. I had to stomach the not so well hidden "Running? Really? With how big you are?"looks.   I lost that day. I lost a notion that races have to go as planned to be successful.  I lost a need to prove something to myself, even at the cost of injury.  I lost the belief that I could make my body my slave (that's scriptural!).  But I didn't just lose that day.  I found.

I found a desire to try again, a deep seated belief that I needed to work with and listen to my body.  I found truth in the idea that every step counts, and that to have finished the race at all made it successful.  As soon as the hamstring healed, I walked a few days.  I began slowly running.  I started training for a 10k.  And I've picked out another 5k (and a half marathon...in december...but that's another story.  A girl always needs a dream!)

The pudgy parson might have "lost" the race.  Or maybe the pudgy parson found what it is to be a real athlete.   Either way, she's happy that she's a little less pudgy-- because that was the goal to begin with!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

"Run, run, run...fast as you can!"

"...can't catch me-- I'm the stinky cheese man" (a slightly grumpier version of the Gingerbread Man)

I'm not the stinky cheese man--though I think my DH might argue that I'm fairly ripe by time I wander home-- but I feel like I'm running as fast as I can, not to be caught.  (uhh... terrifically slow time notwithstanding...I don't think I'm actually running much faster than a good speed walk, but that's beside the point.)  I'm on fire, having now convinced myself to run just shy of four miles yesterday.  I wake up thinking about running, I get grouchy if I can't.  It's becoming a beast inside of me.  I am running a 5k next Saturday, and for the first time, I think I might run the whole thing.   It's a small accomplishment, but huge to my mind--because for most of my life, that seemed like the obstacle I could never overcome.  And being as big as I've gotten, the fact that I'm able to do this now is nothing short of amazing to me.

I'm getting ready to switch from the 5k app to the 10k app, and already have the date of a half marathon on my calendar.  Uh...on my anniversary. DH won't mind, right?

Better Together

He was my best friend in the fourth grade.  Then four years ago, he became my husband.  And now he's become my weight-loss partner.

I've been begging him to join Weight Watcher for me for quite some time, but it was never something that he wanted to do.  But then he started going to the gym when a friend begged him, and while he suddenly became a weight-lifting superstar, he wasn't seeing the results he wanted.  So DH joined with me, and for the first time ever, conquering this 60-lb bulge seems doable.  We've instituted a new rule, which he calls "If I bite it, I write it".  We plan our meals, do the dishes, and then get out our respective I-devices and track our meals. We cheer each other on, instead of accidentally sabotaging each other.

And God love him, he's even coming with me to Hot Yoga--which in prior times, might have been his vision of hell. (The room itself feels like hell--as it's heated to around 95 degrees...)  But he goes, and contrary to my original thought, he's not even going because my spandex-clad body parts are in strange positions in front of him.

Certainly, all this "together" is good for our health-- it's a whole lot easier this way.  And it sheds new light on "Two are better than one... for if one falls, who will help him up?"  But the best part is that it gives us a common interest-- and for two people as different as we are, that's kind of nice.  We are, after all, better together.

Saturday, February 25, 2012


That's my new favorite pose.  Because I feel like a warrior when I'm busy making my body all bendy at yoga--my fitness trend du jour.

I used to yoga-- I used to be ten shades of bendy, and my body parts never got in the way of whatever pose I wanted to do. But that was in high school, before my body parts decided on their grownup, albeit round, shape.  Of course, I would've called myself athletic then.

It was a shock to finally see myself in the mirror when I signed up for a yoga class at the Y.  Thankfully, they kept the lights pretty dim, so I couldn't really see my body parts sticking out.  (And also because that was the only way I would have ever considered the necessary yoga evil-- spandex.) But I knew.  I felt flabby, not sleek, like I used to feel.

But there was something else--something that reminded me why I ever loved  yoga.  There was power.  There was a connectedness to this body, flabby and round though it may be.  There was a chance to put a stressful world behind me for a bit, and to just breathe.   And there was the after effect, which wasn't exactly like the ephemeral bliss that it looks like on TV, but was a genuine sense that I had given my body what it needed, if only for an hour.   It was different than the running, which by its nature forces you to push harder than you can go.  But that's too much like real life.  Yoga, though, is about listening, and being gentle, and believing that your body--the one you already have, not the one you so restlessly wish for-- is where you do your living.

And that's warrior worthy.  Not warrior like ready to conquer the world warrior, but like warrior who can calmly manage the chaos around her.  I'll take it.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Battle of the Bulge

I love how this goes for me-- I'm a weightloss rockstar for a little bit and then life gets in the way, and I'm back to eating donuts for breakfast, not because I craved donuts, but because they were leftover from a church thing and they're in my house.  It's been a crazy few weeks, with no end in sight.  I don't think I've either been to the grocery store or cooked in at least three weeks.  I've managed to jalk exactly once since my last post (and it wasn't pretty!) And it's highly questionable whether any of my suits will fit by time an expected funeral happens later this week.  My stomach is starting to rebel as it always does when I get this way--and I know it's my own fault, but can't seem to figure out anything better, because as I look at the calendar, I realize I probably won't be home a single night this week. On the upside, as least my scale seems to have spazzed out, and is telling me that I've lost somewhere between 10 and 15lbs.  We'll go with that, and not ponder the fact that it is lying...big time.

Funerals around here always involve lots of food-- thanks to the parade of casserole bearing well-wishers.  And despite my "please don't feed the pastor" campaign, I know that I will probably be expected to eat fried chicken and other southern health nightmares.

I need to exercise, not even because I'm trying to be the pudgeless parson, but because it helps me focus and get my brain wrapped around all that must happen in the next few intense days and weeks.  I may have to cave and zumba in my living room--even while my husband is here.  (Ummm yeah--I try to do that on my lunch break when he is out of the house.  Nobody, not even the love of my life,  needs to see that!) But the Pudgy Parson is about more than just losing weight.  It's about my committment to living well and healthfully.  It's about me learning to take care of my body and soul, so that I have something with which to  care for my flock.  So maybe it's time to get creative.  Maybe it's a time to practice grace with myself, put the looming 5k on the back burner for a week or two, and make space for exercise wherever I can.  Maybe this is time for yoga and resistance bands--the things I can sneak in for a few minutes before the demanding aspects of ministry demand my day away.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Rocky Rockstar

That's me! Because I just had the most amazing thing happen:  today I became a runner (as opposed to a lovely, sweating, pudgy person huffing and puffing pitifully away.)  The nice british lady that lives in my iphone (Get Running App) informed me that I would be running for twenty straight mintues today, which I'll admit doesn't sound like much.  However, considering that my last run was eight mintues, then five minutes of walking, then eight more minutes of running-- that's a pretty big jump.  And I've gotten to this point before when I've attempted a couch to 5k, but I've always given up right here or life has gotten in the way--and I've never conquered it. That's right, I haven't successfully run twenty mintues straight since the earlier mentioned triathlon six years ago.  And I didn't plan to be able to today. I set off running, and tried very hard not to glare at the nice british lady that lives in my iphone.  I thought, "well, I'll do my best and go as far as I can, but if I have to hit pause in the middle, then thats what I have to do."  Only I never even thought about needing to. The nice british lady that lives in my iphone alerted me every five minutes how I was doing, and I was surprised how quickly the minutes were going by. My breathing was nice and steady, my legs weren't screaming, and (this is the best part), I was having fun.  And when the twenty minutes was up, I knew that I could have gone on.  Maybe another ten or twenty or however many minutes. (I didn't because I don't want to be one of those people that does too much too fast and gets knocked out of the race--which I mentioned yesterday.  But knowing I could've gone on makes me feel like a rockstar.)

And in a fabulous serendipitous moment, just as the lovely british lady that lives in my iphone announced that I had "just sixty more seconds of running to go", the theme from "Rocky" started playing.  No one was around but my doggy, so I totally did "Rocky hands".  And I'm not even embarrased.  Because today, I'm a rockstar.  And not only that, but today I became a runner.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Day of Rest

I'm a pastor (i.e. nerd) so I pay attention when the Bible uses the same word over and over-- and I'm surprised by just how many times the word "rest" shows up.  Apparently, God knew that people get tired out, body and soul.  Gosh, we're even commanded to take a sabbath.  (The other nine don't seem nearly as hard for me as this one.)  And I realize that I'm one of those people God was worried about because I just go and go and go, and once I'm on something I'm on it.  I want to give something my all until there is nothing left to give.

So I was torn today as my lovely british lady that lives in my iphone (GetRunning App) told me that it was a rest day.  That is, a day off.  At first I was tempted to run anyway, because I had by then done it three or four days in a row, and I was in a good groove.  I didn't want to relapse. I didn't want to break my streak of serious dedication.  And besides, I told myself, I feel better when I get some exercise.   But I realized that my ankles have been hurting and my knees making a grinding noise like my brakes, so I talked myself out of it.  I thought about going to the gym and doing the elliptical or something, but as I gettting ready to go, I read an article in Runner's World that talked about how important it was to rest, and about how most injuries are caused by an overzealous person who goes too hard too fast.  The article said "It's better to have two quality days and two days of total rest than four days of mediocrity from lingering fatigue."  Hmmmph.  So I took the hint, and I didn't do anything.

And I was surprisingly productive anyway. My body still felt ramped up instead of sluggish.  And I know I'll be more ready to go tomorrow, even though a small part of me thinks this is counterintuitive.

But I'm seeing some results.  It's been less than a week since I got serious about actually tracking with weight watchers (apparently it only works if you actually count the points...hmmmph), and I'm down over two pounds.  And I'm learning that I don't have to give into every "want" I have, that cravings usually pass,  and that I'm not actually going to starve to death.