Sunday, August 31, 2014

Progress, and Plan Z

Finally some good news!  It was skinfold analysis day-- which is a pretty horrible experience when you aren't where you want to be.  But this time wasn't nearly so horrible as the last time.  Maybe because I had survived it once and knew what to expect. Or maaaaaybe because I lost 7% body fat since the last time!  He-who-trains showed me how to calculate the numbers, and had me do it. When I looked at the number, I thought I had done something wrong. I was expecting 1-2%. I'm beyond thrilled! Especially with this four month plateau nonsense.  But maybe that isn't as bad as I thought it was either, because despite being in a calorie reduced state, I've actually gained four pounds of muscle. (Which is crazy weird... that's only supposed to happen when you eat more calories than your body needs to maintain...confirmed by He-who-trains and the gignormous-book-of-all-things-training. Also weird because I'm not really shrinking in size.)  So even though it feels like nothing has happened, apparently my body hasn't been totally uncooperative.

I've been away from gluten and sugar (seriously... even surviving drinking my coffee black... I'm kinda proud of that one!) for four days now.  I'm not keeping a pure Whole30 because I'm still counting calories and weighing myself, but I'm keeping the food rules.  (Except my protein powder which is made from Whey, but there's are a few good reasons to keeping it in.)  My belly has shrunk, my knees and back are feeling much better (even with the running that's become part of my life), and I'm down four pounds in a few days.  I'm not craving sugar, which is surprising given how few carbs I'm eating and how much exercise I've been doing.  Prior to skin fold analysis day's learnings,  I whined about this plateau to He-who-trains and we both kind of agreed that it seemed like we had tried most everything.  But he came up with a last ditch effort to wake my body up that involves 1200 calories a day, and two workouts a day.  In the mornings, it's run a lap, then walk a lap with burpees and pushups at intervals throughout each lap.  And I do that for an hour.  Then in the afternoon, it'll be my regular weight training routine. I've not had a 1200 calorie day with both workouts, but I've had a day with each one.  I'm sure he's right when he tells me it's going to be brutally hard.  After all, this is pretty much what he did when he was in the cut-a-palooza phase for the final weeks leading up to bodybuilding competitions. He keeps telling me how mean I will be, but that it is the only way he knows to help me break through this sticking point. Right now though, aside from a few minutes of feeling kinda blah, I actually feel pretty good.  After the initial few days, I seem to always feel less hungry when I eat less, so I am hoping that pattern keeps up. In all the times I've dropped calories like this, I've never trained like I am now.  We'll see how chipper I am in a couple of days!

But hey, even if it's pretty horrible, I'm encouraged-- that my body isn't pitching as bad of a temper tantrum as I thought, that my injuries are starting to feel better.  Besides, every day I make it kind of makes me feel like a rockstar in the "Yes, I really, really, really, do want this" department.  I feel like the boss of my body when I don't give into cravings or mental whining.  Oh, I want the rock hard body-- but I won't lie.  Feeling like, at least for right now, I have a rock hard spirit that refuses to quit is kind of awesome too.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Whole 30, Whole me?

I keep hearing expressions like "You can't out train a bad diet" and "abs are made in the kitchen" but for a while, I've wondered exactly what those things meant.  I mean I get the fact that if I go home and eat a meaty, greasy, cheesy, gooey pizza after leaving the gym, and then chase it with a bag of doritos and have ice cream for a night cap, I probably won't see the results I want.  But I am beginning to wonder if a diet can be healthy and still not be what is right for your body.  I watch my calories and my macronutrient ratios and even very particular things like my sodium/potassium and calcium/magnesium ratios. I don't eat a lot of crap.  I eat cheat meals, but they aren't often, and they are usually planned in advance.

But still my body is holding on to weight.  (Yeah, that weight loss I was so excited about a week or so again? Came back.  Which means that I am STILL plateaued.  Uh.  Since April.  Not cool, body, not cool.) And there seems to be a lot of inflammation in my body, which I'm thinking is part of this plaguing low back nonsense that just won't stop.  He-who-trains has mentioned several times that he thinks the Cortisol Effect is sabotaging me, and blames all my life stress.  But I'm under considerably less stress than I have ever been before.  We both expected the weight to just start falling off.

And I am getting more and more impatient.  Yes, I have achieved a lot, and no I'm not discounting that. But my body is just flat out not cooperating. (And it did not help to stand behind my client in the mirror today, and realize that she is in much better shape than I am.  Everyone that was in the gym today has seen me from the beginning, so they get it.  But at some point, I'm going to want to work with people that are new... and I want to look like a trainer!)   I think it was Einstein that said "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." I've varied my exercise routines a number of times, thinking that was what I needed.  But what I've never done, at least not since the very beginning, is completely overhaul my diet. Now that I've gotten the basics figured out, I think it may be time to do some fine tuning.  A while back several folks suggested that I might be gluten sensitive, and I got off it for a while, and dropped some weight.  Of course it came back when I started eating gluten again.  Hellloooooooo.

I've been kicking around the idea of doing a Whole 30 (Dino-chow, basically.  No dairy, no sugar, no alchohol, no soy, no grains.) I've been rereading the book that explains the science behind it It Starts with Food, and it's gotten me thinking about a lot of things. For the record, while I don't agree with everything, it's a really good read.

I have a lot of questions about how it will work for me with the intense workouts, etc but I am thinking it is worth a try. It's probably going to take several days of playing around before I can make it really work for me in its pure form, and while it could be a really hard 30 days, it might be worth it for all the things it could teach me about my body.  And maybe, it might help reset some things.

So, you know, if I'm uh... extra grouchy... throw some Dino-chow at me, and run!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Gotta Start Somewhere...

Tonight was my first night functioning as a trainer.  I've corrected my workout partner's form before, but we were always partners.  But she bravely said she'd let me train her as I learned how to do this. (Which is maybe like letting someone practice drawing blood or wax your eyebrows.  Probably nothing good comes out of that, but everyone has to learn somehow.  All this to say, my "client" rocks!) I designed her workout and instead of training with her, I trained her.  I watched her form and took her through the workout and got feedback from her.  And got a look that said "You have lost your everlovin mind".  I guess that means I was doing something right, because I sure give he-who-trains that look a lot.  And he doesn't even have the decency to hide the fact that he considers that a badge of honor when I walk by, dripping with sweat,  trying not to die, and gasp out something not tremendoulsy friendly.  At least I am not that bad... yet!  I had empathy, because I knew that as soon as she was done, I was doing a version of the same workout-- and I knew I wasn't going to have any more fun than she was.  I'm not sure how she felt about me as a trainer, but I really enjoyed doing it. I'm grateful that she is willing to be my guinea pig and I think practicing on her will help me feel a lot more comfortable as I begin working with people that I don't know.  Of course, it's also a safer place for me to start, because we've been working out together for months-- I had a pretty good idea of what she was capable of doing.  Besides, trying not to die several times a week serves as a pretty good bonding experience!

When I was doing my own workout, He-who-trains (who is now training me to be a trainer) was carefully scrutinizing my form.  I was exhausted, mentally and physically, and I was blowing it on an exercise.  It was my last set, and truth be told, I wasn't watching my form as carefully as I would otherwise do.  And he called me on it, saying "You're a trainer now.  People are watching.  There is no room for error."  He was right-- I'd felt it as people who normally joke around with us were watching me train my workout partner, and then do my own workout.  It was new for all of us, but they were definitely watching me in a different way.  Suddenly there is a new level of accountability to my own working out. I'm gonna have to suck it up, even when I'm fried, and be conscientious about the way I do things. I don't ever want a client to come up to me and be able to rightfully say, "But that's not how you do it."   With a few minor exceptions, being a trainer is definitely not a "Do as I say, not as I do thing."

I know I still have a lot to learn-- and will spend years mastering this craft, but I'm really excited-- and grateful for the people who are helping me get started.  Also pretty glad I didn't make my "client"  do anything awful like pass out.  That might have been a rather ominous start...

Saturday, August 23, 2014

"How bad do you want this?"

One of the benefits to being an "advanced" trainee is that I usually just come in and do my workouts on my own.  My workout partner and I are trusted enough to just handle it.  If I happen to be in the gym with He-who-trains, he is usually either training someone else or doing his own workout--which means that aside from some small form corrections, he leaves me be. But last night, I had the poor timing to come in as he was just finishing up.  And even though I had a lovely "first leg day in weeks"   workout planned due to the fact that I'm still babying a grouchy back, he decided that it was a nice day to make me cry  in just a few short minutes. Well, I didn't actually cry but that was only because all of my energy was going into not dying. He had designed a BRUTAL, but very back friendly, workout for me, and he wanted to see how I did with it.

It was baaaad. It got to the point where I could no longer lift any weight, and then to the point where my own body weight was too much. But there was a point where I was doing ATG (Butt to Ground) squats on legs that felt like cooked spaghetti noodles, and quite certain that I was not physically capable of standing back up. Either he or the angry voice in my head asked a question.  "How bad to you want this?" (Come to think of it... it must've been him.  My voice would've asked how badly I wanted this. Dying is no excuse for poor grammar.) I wish I could say that the question gave me a new burst of energy and that I finished strong.  I did not.  I had to sit down because my legs could no longer support me.  I was lightheaded. I did, however, finish knowing that I held back nothing.

 I've thought about the question a lot. Do you want this enough to give it your everything? Do you want it enough to overcome your whiny voice that gives you a thousand reasons not to?  Do you want it enough to not only do it again (and again and again), but every single time to challenge yourself to be better than the last time?

Maybe that's really a life question, not just a gym question.

Sooo buying this on a shirt...

Friday, August 22, 2014

Walking the Talk

The last few weeks I have been eating badly.  There I admitted it.   There are good reasons excuses: stress, a new medication, a new schedule. Until a few days ago, I had no appetite, and sort of more or less played the "let's see how few calories my body can live on" game.  And of course, I know better. I've been doing this for almost two years.  I get it: bodies need a certain number of calories to do what they are supposed to do. Any more, and the body plumps like a lovely little (well no so much little exactly) marshmellow.  Any less, and basic body systems shut down. I KNOW!

A friend-- who is a fitness rockstar with a body to prove it-- asked me if I did myfitnesspal.  And I told her I was faithful with it until a month or so ago. She challenged me to add her as a friend... and... wait for it... make my food diary public.  It was late, and I was tired, and it seemed like a good idea at the time. Until of course I realized that this fitness rockstar would be seeing what I ate. (The thought did cross my mind that I could lie in my food diary, but the problem is that my belly, and hips, and gluteus maximus always know the truth.)

But the only thing I hate worse than being stupid is someone knowing that I'm being stupid. And apparently that fact alone was enough to help me get back on track.

For a little while now, I've been working to become certified as a personal trainer.  The difference this has made in my life has been so huge, that I want to help other people feel good in their bodies.  Well, that, and I'm just nerdy enough that I'm completely fascinated by the  human body. But mostly, the good health thing. I'm really close to being certified, and I'm starting to think about what I'll as I take on clients of my own. The gargantuan-all-things-training-book, Volume I (seriously, that's how it has felt as I've trudged through the material) made a good point that part of my credibility as a trainer comes from the lifestyle I lead.  He-who-trains has spent a fair amount of vocal energy talking about "walking the talk." (Which comes up in an irritating variety of conversations, including my as yet unbroken terrible posture habit. Seriously, if you know me in real life... please tell me to stand up straight if you see me slouching like a 95 year old woman.)

As a trainer, I will want my clients to believe me when I say that the way they eat is every bit as important as what they do in the gym.  I will help them learn to eat well, but in order for them to trust me, they need to know that I do it too.  Sure, there are cheat meals, and we can talk about that, but that's the exception and not the rule.  Some days, your body needs more, like on the super-duper-nasty Leg Day I just had, but that's a springboard for conversation. So, in effort to model the lifestyle I hope my clients will choose,  my diary is out there for all the world to see.

I'm walking the talk.  Metaphorically, until I regain normal functioning in my legs. Then I'll walk. And talk.  And definitely walk the talk. (But probably not walk and chew gum.)  My... errr... plate is an open book.

Post Awful Leg Day Face...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Movin on... down!

After an ugly 4 month plateau, I'm finally dropping weight again! Just 25 more to my initial goal.  And for the record, can I just say that I'm getting really tired of having to move bags of flour every time I cook?  But I keep reminding myself that that's what its like to carry around more weight than my body needs. 

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Stress and Bubble Wrap

I was sitting on the couch a few days ago, icing three separate injured body parts when I decided to catch up on the lastest issue of Runner's World.  (Despite the fact that I am not a runner, I still have aspirations.  And I feel more like an athlete for reading such magazines.)  The title "Stress Recess" caught my eye, because stress is a concept with which I'm unfortunately on a "curl up and cuddle with" basis.  Despite years of sort of off and on trying, I've never gotten a handle on it, and it's wreaked havoc in my body in a number of fairly serious ways.  (I wrote about it here a while ago.)
I know cortisol plays a huge role in weight loss.  I know that despite the good in can serve in a fight-or-flight time, that it can also have some seriously nasty effects.

I knew that over training can produce cortisol, and I knew that cortisol is catabolic, meaning it can cause the breakdown of protein in muscles.

But even though I knew all of this, what I read in the article caught me off guard:
 "For the most part, running is touted as a mental tonic.  Research has shown that [it] helps keep granule neurons in the brain from firing, making you better able to deal with anger, anxiety or grief, the negative emotions referred to, collectively as stress. But there's a flip side.  Research also indicates taht running during an especially rough life patch can make you more susceptible to stress and even injury...Excess cortisol can have harmful effects on bone density and can make you tense up.  Run stiff and you're more likely to strain a muscle or tweak a joint... Serious stress over a long period of time can distract a person to the point that he doesn't notice or pay enough attention to what is happeing to his body."
A few months ago I had a nasty low-back injury that required massaging and chiropractic help and two weeks away from the gym-- and it was in a period of very high stress. And now all these seemingly unrelated injuries (though I'm learning that things are rarely as unrelated as they appear) that are forcing me to rest when I'd really like to go as hard as I can are also in a crazy-high stress period.  I'm guessing if these things happen to runners under high stress, they happen to wanna-be bodybuilders under high stress too.  And if it can happen to athletes, I'm betting it can happen to anybody in such a stressed-out state.

A few weeks ago, a friend was telling me what things were like for her after her husband died. She knew that I had a lot going on and she gave me a word of parting advice: "Be careful."  When I looked at her oddly, she continued, "Be careful with your body. I would walk down the street and just fall, and I was constantly running into things.  Things are off, and what's going on in your mind will affect your body."

Instead of marketing all sorts of useless things to stressed out people, someone should get really smart-- and offer discounts on mass quantities of Bubble Wrap. It will keep people from hurting themselves when they inadvertently walk into walls or fall on their face.  And double bonus, when it's safe to take off the Bubble Wrap-- think of all the fun to be had! You're welcome.

Friday, August 15, 2014

"Small" Achievements!

I keep reading how much having a positive outlook affects weight loss, but truth be told, the Pudgy Parson is sometimes a lot more pouty than positive.  I've had a tendency to focus on my failures or slow progress rather than celebrating the success.  But I'm trying to do better, so...

In the name of "slow and steady wins the race" (my favorite of the Aesop fables!), I was pretty excited to realize that I am wearing size 8 pants and a small sweater, which is a decided change from the size 20 pants and size XXL tops I used to wear.  I'm pretty sure I was in middle school the last time I wore a size 8 anything!

So, here's to not letting myself quit, no matter how slow I go. Here's to my favorite so far: small achievements!

(And also fun: Every single pair of boots I tried on fit over my calves. That has never happened!)

Thursday, August 14, 2014


You know how you're in a situation and all the sudden a song starts playing on repeat in your head? I was trying not to cry while holding an...uhem... 3lb dumbbell. I guess my brain was trying to distract me, and my mental ipod started playing Amy Winehouse's "Rehab".

"They said I should go to Rehab, and I said No! No! No!  They tried to make me go to rehab and I won't go, go, go!"

My brain chose that song certainly because that is how my body was feeling.  I've somehow injured both my back and my shoulder, and yesterday was my first day back at the gym in a week.  He-who-trains was trying to teach me some dynamic stretches that would help, and we kept having that "How bad does it hurt, on a scale of one to ten?" conversation.  Only my version of the pain scale is more like one to "If you don't stop, I might actually kick you in the shins as hard as I can."   He wisely stayed out of kicking range.

He was very clear with me though.  If I wanted to be back to doing things, then first I was going to have to do the hard work of rehabbing the injuries.  I was going to have to do some really deep stretches that hurt like... well a whole slew of very unladylike words.  In other words, I was going to have to put myself in pain in order to bring about healing. And I was going to have to do it over and over.

My first thought was "No, never mind. I'm good.  Really.  I can do a lot without moving either my back or my shoulder.  Like sharpening pencils.  I could be a professional pencil sharpener."  My second thought was maybe "Why on God's green earth would anyone do this to themselves?" But then I realized limping along, paralyzed from pain, is no bargain either. And maybe that's not just a body lesson, but a spirit lesson too.

So today is looking to be an exciting day filled with ice bags and heating pads and foul-word inducing stretches.  It's a day where, even if I can't yet "embrace the pain", then I at least won't run from it. In the words of another great song, "If you're goin' through hell keep on going/ Don't slow down if you're scared don't show it/You might get out before the devil even knows you're there."

Because on the other side of the hellish and painful, is healing and wholeness.

So here's my slightly revised version of the song-- that I'm gonna keep singing (albeit through gritted teeth.)
"Gonna go to rehab, and I said Oh! Oh! Oh!" 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Tearing Down and Building Up

I love words-- especially great sounding words that I can casually slip into conversation so that it sounds like I know something.  Like catabolism for instance.  I feel smarter just for having said it.  The first time I heard this word was a few weeks ago when He-who-trains described my new workout plan that involved running between every. single. exercise.  My workout partner has been running all her life, so she digs it.  Me? Well I've only really dreamt about running, which does not seem to have prepared my body for actually running. The idea behind this super "fun" workout is catabolism, which is, technically speaking, "the breaking down in the body of complex chemical compounds into simpler ones."  In my case, it means breaking down my muscles.  It sounds weird and counterintuitive, but there's a good reason for it. (And for the record, it's working. 1.5 inches lost off each calf muscle-- which is more than I've lost during the entire time I've been training.  Hellooooo, fall boots!)

What I learned as I was researching this death-by-running-the-building plan was that there is another process that does the exact opposite, called anabolism.  It's basically the building up of things.

I like the idea of the latter -bolism a lot more.  Who doesn't?  It seems a lot more useful to build things up than to tear them down.  The problem is that, lately, I'm experiencing what feels like a lot of breaking down of things-- some things more precious than muscles.  The nature of those things is a subject for another day. The wounds are too fresh, the fog still feels too foggy.  But I've been in a hard place.

I've always loved the verse in Ecclesiastes that says "To everything there is a season" (Turn, turn, turn?) A season for building up, and a season for tearing down.  It seems like one thing happens, then the other thing happens.  But what I love more than that idea is how the body deals with those things. Both the tearing down of things and the building up of other things happen at the same time, all the time. Maybe what I love about that is the realization that even as some precious things are in the process of breaking down, in the very same life, something else that is just as precious, just as necessary to vitality, is being built up.

Catabolism, as I learned (am learning) the hard way is physically painful.  And metaphorical catabolism is no less painful.  But the promise of seeing the beautiful thing emerge makes it tolerable.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rock Your Body

Three months ago, I went to He-who-trains and told him that I had three months to be bikini ready, since my motivational cheerleader of a cousin issued the decree that this was the year where I was no longer allowed to hide.  We changed some things around with my workouts and eating.  And I have been busting it.  But just because my spirit has a time table does not mean my body is interested.  I've been stuck for three months, at least pound wise.  (And though the same dress size, I'm starting to see some new definition.)

It's been bumming me out for a while-- and now I'm coming up on my deadline. I'm definitely not where I want to be, or where I realistically thought I'd be by now.  So I had a decision to make: give it another year, or do what the Black Eyed Peas suggest and "Rock That Body."  (Yeah, yeah... I know I'm not exactly talking about the same kind of uhem... rocking.)  I've had some great people that have given me some courage including a gym friend who told me to "Wear the Bikini.  Let's face it, you'll look better than 80% of the people who decided to wear their bikinis that day." And my workout partner is awesome-- she has mad ignoring skills when I'm having my own whiny pity parties, but more than that, she won't let me get discouraged or give up. The people in the gym affectionally whistle and tell me that I look great, because they remember where I started.

It's awesome to have people like that, and they've made all the difference.  But at the end of the day, it's not about them.  It's about me, and how I feel in my skin-- even in this body.  It's been a summer of firsts for me.  I purchased my first pair of not-running-shorts in over a decade.  I've hung out at the pool, and it wasn't a thing. I've worn strappy sundresses and sleeveless shirts. When my picture-loving cousins demand selfies, I'm gonna smile broadly and with pride.  And soon, I'm gonna unapologetically put a bikini on this body.  I'm gonna rock my body.

I know I said it wasn't about anyone else's thoughts about me, but it was pretty much awesome today when the tiny, sweet, nonagenarian of a church matriarch was trying to get me eat at the fellowship luncheon (that was mostly sacrificed long ago), and I said "I'm going to the beach soon and I'm going to wear a bikini" and she got a huge grin on her face and enthusiastically said "Good for you! You go girl!" Yeah, that's a win.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Childishness and a kick in the pants...

I knew today was going to be bad, ever since He-who-trains came to me a few days ago and said it was time.  Time to do the God-forsaken, horrible, no good thing: the fat pinchy thing.  (Err.. skin fold analysis.) That's worse than being weighed in the doctor's office.  For a long time, he insisted that we'd wait until I was lower in weight because it might discourage me.  I told him I was in and that I'd be fine and to quit protecting me from myself. But that was before I was in this body funk.  Funk or no, he was fat pinching a few other people, so it was my lucky day too.

It was horrible, though maybe differently horrible than I imagined.  And I did not love wearing shorts in public-- which I'm not sure I've done since at least my first year in college. (Umm... the fact that I wear spandex to the gym now so I can see my trouble spots notwithstanding. Seeing my legs was more than I could handle!)   After he'd been working with me only a few weeks, my self-confidence experienced a major boost.  But today, for maybe the first time since those first horrible weeks, I felt just like I did then.  Nervous and clammy.  Worse, childish and whiny.  Like I would rather be anywhere but there... like I really just wanted to tell him I'd changed my mind (and that he'd lost his!).  One of the things I most appreciated about He-who-trains the very first time he trained me was that he didn't give me room to whine or make excuses or tell him I wouldn't. He walked in, told me what I was going to do, and helped me learn how to do it, and that was the end of that.  And he didn't give me that space today. Too his credit, he also did not say that I was being a childish brat.

I told him I didn't want to know the results, and I wasn't kidding.  Yup, I was a child about the whole process.  But he knows that I'm in a bad body place.  He knows that I'm struggling.  And he's brilliant enough to let my body give me the lecture he didn't the other day.   I don't like the number he gave me, but it was lower than I thought it would be. (And wow... for the record... I can't imagine how high the percentage must've been all those pounds ago.)

So... my motivation was flagging.  Now I'm having the opposite problem, which has happened before.  I get hit by the stupid branch and want to go drastic and not eat and workout six times a day and run until my knees fall off.  I won't.  Because at least now I realize it's stupid and that it will only hinder my achievements, which is progress I think. So really, I won't  But the thought process is there.   But maybe it is the kick in the pants I need, because the only way I've been able to make today ok is to tell myself that today was the worst it will ever be.  I asked him what percentage of fat he thinks I'll have at my goal weight, and I was about to see what my body role model's is, but I realized I don't care right now.  What I do care about is my number and watching it shrivel.

When the awful part was done, and I was ready to start my workout,  He-who-trains said something I don't remember hearing him say: "Get after it."  Even if I had heard it, it took on a different meaning today. Yeah, I can do that.  I can get after it-- and stay after it.  In other words, Motivation: found.

(And I suspect He-who-trains knew that would happen, which is exactly why now, right in the midst of my pity party, is why it was really time.  Seriously, the stuff just got real...)

Friday, June 13, 2014

On Pudginess and Perseverance

The Pudgy Parson has been quiet lately.  Not due to busyness.  Not due to lack of desire.  But something much worse, lack of noticeable progress.  Which is making me the perfectly pouty Pudgy Parson.

Two months ago, I went to He-who-trains and explained that I was three months away from a beach trip and that I expected to be in a bikini.  He amped up my workout routine.  He changed my meal plan.  He gave me what I wanted, but more importantly, what I needed to achieve my goal.  Only my body and my fat have become really good friends after such a long time together, and they are having a really tough time parting ways.  There's been some two year old worthy temper tantrum throwing on the part of my body, which is ardently refusing to come on board with the bikini or bust plan. 

I've been busting it.  I've been eating well.  And I weigh exactly what I did two months ago.  My body is the same size and shape it was two months ago.  I'm seem to be throwing myself a pity party. There's a mean, but right convincing, voice in my head that says "It doesn't matter what you eat, so you might as well have fun."  I've shut her up so far, but for the first time in months, it's a struggle.  I'm just plain discouraged.  I'm angry that I am nowhere near where I thought I'd be, and that once again, I'm gonna want to hide my body at the beach. (But there is a cousin and a workout partner and others who keep telling me to wear the bikini proudly.  We'll see.) I wasn't expecting perfection, but I was expecting progress. 

I whined to He-who-trains about my flagging motivation.  I was almost hoping for a lecture because maybe that would wake me up.  And when this has happened before,  I've gotten an ear full about how he can't make me want this and how that has to come from me. His certification says "Master Trainer", but it doesn't mention that he is also a master lecturer.   But this time was different.  We both know how badly I want this, and how hard I'm willing to work to get there.  He came up with a new attack plan to see if my body will respond better, and he did gently remind me that I'll never be a body builder if I can't stay on myself even in the plateaus.  (As a side note, I give He-who-trains a lot of grief, both in person and on this blog because he is always challenging me and making me challenge myself.  But the truth is that I really have no idea how people do this without a He-who-trains. When something isn't working, I'm lucky enough to have someone who can figure out the problem and keep changing things until a solution is found.  If you've ever wondered, yeah, it's worth it. Having a trainer is the best investment I could make in myself.) But he said something that I really needed to hear: Remember how far you've come and focus on that right now.

I was digging around on my computer, and I found some pictures of me at my heaviest that I didn't remember existed.  (As a rule, I pretty much avoided the camera.) So beside the picture of fitness supermodel Jamie Eason that is on my refrigerator, I'm putting these:

Apparently, losing 80lbs makes a difference.  I'm not where I want to be.  But I am definitely not where I was. 

Friday, May 9, 2014

What Would Jamie Do?

I admit it.  I was whining.  And I ought to know by now that that never goes as well as I think it will. He-who-trains decided I wasn't having enough fun throughout the week, so he added in another workout: 3 minutes flat-out cardio then Ab exercise.  Repeat til you puke... or something like that.  I told him I would start it today, but then woke up this morning crazy tired-- like can't peel myself off the couch, like taking a shower seemed like a monumental effort.  (Uh, not too much effort mind you.)  So I sent him a text telling him I'd do this fun thing next week.  His response: "wimp".   He KNOWS that that is not a name I appreciate being called.  Then he sent another one asking "WWJD?"  Sacrilege aside, the question was intended to ask what Jamie Eason-- fitness model and bodybuilder (whose picture lives on my desktop wallpaper, phone wallpaper, refrigerator and bathroom mirror, to remind me of my goal) would do.  It was a guilt trip extraordinare, no doubt.

The problem is that that stuff works on me.  I spent a while trying to eat and nap and psych myself up and make myself go.  But the more I thought I about it, I realized the answer to "What Would Jamie Do?" isn't what I would've thought it was.  You look at a body like hers, and you think "of course she would go and push herself."  Wrong.  If she has a body like that, by now she has learned to listen to it.  Of course, she goes hard.  But when her body says, and means, "Sit yo behind down today before you have to sit yo behind down for several days" that is surely what she does.

So that's what I'm doing.  I'm day offing-- and only a little embarrased to admit that it's 2:30 in the afternoon and I am in my pjs.  And I might just stay that way for the rest of the day.

Besides, tomorrow is death-by-leg-day, which He-who-trains has been making a big deal about for now over a week.  If I bail on that, I will. never. hear. the. end. of. it.   I might have to crawl out, but I'd better at least show up.  And I'd like to make it more than three minutes.  So yeah, I can park it today, and make sure I've had enough to drink and actually rest.  Because tomorrow when the question "What Would Jamie Do?" comes to my mind, the answer will be "Wear it out.  Give it more than you have. Go home proud."

Oh and just for fun: for anyone who loves leg day as much as I do.  I'm just saying...

Monday, May 5, 2014

I don't do mediocre

Looking at pictures of the past is an act of bravery I think.  I was looking through some things the other day, and found a boatload of them-- mostly from when I was in high school.  Truth be told, they were my "Maybe One Day" inspiration as far as my body goes.  But I did observe some other things.
1) I've had really bad posture for a really long time.  All the pictures from the side view show me slouching in the most attrocious sorts of ways. I will not be pointing this out to He-who-trains, who stays on me about slouching.
2) I saw where it was that I really began getting heavy-- clearly, for me it was not the freshman fifteen-- it had to have been at least the freshman twenty five (or more.)  I don't remember that-- I guess I didn't have access to a scale, but I don't remember having to buy new clothes.  But the pictures between my senior prom and the end of my freshman year in college are pretty revealing.

And the best observation (which makes the picture looking totally worth it)
I've surpassed all but one of my "maybe one day" inspiration pics.  I always looked at those pictures, and thought how skinny I looked.  And I did, compared to the beluga whale person I let myself become.

When He-who-trains asked me about my fitness goals and my ideal body weight when I first started training with him, I gave him the weight I was in high school.  (I'm 5-10 lbs away from that, depending on how grouchy the scale is on a particular day, but I'm smaller.  So yeah, about that "Muscle takes up less space than fat"...) I considered myself ok in high school...  I wasn't the skinny girl that's for sure.  But I thought I was maybe on the heavy end of normal.

And now that I am where I am, I realize I was willing to settle for mediocre when I set my goals. I'm still thirty-ish pounds away from even being a healthy weight, much less being a competitive bodybuilder.  There was a time when I would've been happy here.

I guess this is on my mind because I see this attitude happening in so many places around me-- where average is good enough, so long as it doesn't require the extra work of being excellent. Settling is so much easier than being serious.  If there's anything I've learned in this process, it's that change takes a lot of busting it.  Overcoming habits and comfort zones and self limiting, or worse, self destructive behavior is a brutal business.

I made a decision a few weeks ago that I struggle with every time I go to the gym.  I've started wearing spandex and sleeveless shirts to the gym-- even though I'm pretty certain that just because something will physically go on a body doesn't mean it should be worn by every body.  I'm fairly certain I'm not in a body that should be out in spandex. But I make the intentional choice not to hide my body, so that I have to deal with what I see.  And well... bless anyone who happens to be in there.  But frankly, I don't much care what they think... I'm not there for them. I can see what has improved. (And apparently others notice too-- and they're awesome with comments.  I even got a left-handed compliment from He-who-trains who said as I was doing incline pushups "I can see a tricep there for the first time ever." So there's that.)  But more importantly, I have to deal with all the places that still have a long way to go.  I have to take stock every time I'm in there.  It'd be a lot easier to hide, but I see every lump and jiggle, and notice every time my under arm fat keeps waving long after I've stopped.   I keep reminding myself that I don't do mediocre.

Life lesson, methinks.
Sophomore prom...pretty close to this size and shape now, but I think I'm currently still a little bit chunkier.  Also, clearly, not terribly excited by my prom date!  

Yeah, pretty sure that was the last time I wore shorts.  I told myself that if my legs ever got that skinny again, I'd wear them.  Think I set that bar too low.

Death by Leg Day

Thou shalt not call thy trainer "old", lest you shall surely die.

I think my exact words were "you do alright for an old guy".  Only he didn't seem to take it as a complement.  Odd.

But to be fair, I was already on his list.  I'm the trouble stirrer-upper who invited another client of his and my workout partner out for girls night.  He did make some comment about "as long as I'm your trainer, that ain't happening."  When I innocently asked to what he was referring, he said me drinking margaritas.   The truth is-- drinking has pretty much lost its appeal to me since He-who-trains retold me a very well timed story about letting things get in my way.  And I didn't drink.  Nor did I eat anything that wasn't on my meal plan.  But apparently I'm guilty by association.  Actually, the Margarita Amigas are apparently all guilty.  (Though what happens at Girls Night Out stays at Girls Night Out, all of us were well behaved.)

We've however all been instructed to attend death by leg day.  I've been told that he expects me to last 17 minutes. (Last time I was invited to such a fun event, I made it 22 minutes.  And couldn't walk for a very long time.)

Praying the addage is true: what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.  Oy! To my congregation who will have to see me on Sunday, I apologize in advance for any whining, wincing, or awkward walking.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Saying No... So I can say Yes.

My friend posted this (heavenly, delightful, inappropriate noise inducing) picture on Facebook.  I was being playful when I made my comment "When in doubt, say 'yes.'  And because I know that he takes good care of himself, I know he was also playing when he made his response.

But it got me thinking.  I say no a lot more than I used to.  I say no a lot more than I say yes.

Here are my no's:
No to gluten
No to mindless eating
No to sugary things (unless its a preworkout snack or I'm in desperate need of quick carbs)
No to social eating
No to drinking (except very rarely)
No to outside forces dictating my schedule
No to not giving my best
No to fried things
No to "trigger foods"
No to unplanned food
No to playing games

Don't misunderstand.  I don't feel cheated or deprived.  And I joked with my friend without even drooling...or sniffing the screen.  (And for the record, I cheat occasionally.)

But I've realized I say no because it enables me to say bigger yeses:
Yes to feeling better
Yes to feeling better in my skin
Yes to new confidence
Yes to very huge, but very doable goals.

Besides, when He-who trains isn't oinking at me, he has given me a very helpful motto:  Fat lasts a lot longer than flavor.

Sunday, April 27, 2014


The comments I've been getting lately rock.  I'll be honest.  I kind of love them.  When I was shopping the other day, I ran into two people who haven't seen me in many years.  One didn't recognize me.  One's jaw literally dropped.  When I walked into the gym the other day, one of the other trainers said to his wife "I don't know about you, but I barely recognize Kim because she's getting so skinny."  And today, when I tried to put on the goofy glasses with a mustache for Holy Humor Sunday (yeah, that's a thing.  And yeah, we did it.  It was pretty awesome.), one of my congregants came up to me and said "They wouldn't stay on because you've lost so much weight." (To which I did not reply-- though I was thinking it-- that's not the only thing that won't stay on... or up. Uhem.)

But I'm also getting to the point where people ask me why I'm so intense, and if what I'm doing is healthy.  They gawk when I say that I still have thirty pounds left to go.   I'm not yet brave enough to tell them that that's only my initial goal-- the one that will get me to a healthy body weight for my height.  I don't say that I'm actually shooting for 20lbs less than that.  I've only said this to a very few people (and sort of hinted at it here), because it sounds crazy. I've come a long way, but to hear someone my size say "I want to be a bodybuilder, and yes, I'm going to compete" doesn't sound rational.  Or believable.   Or smart.   After all, aren't people like that genetically gifted or something? Maybe the people with unbelievable bodies sort of came out of the womb like that, and only had to do a little minor tweaking? Whatever.  So there.  I've said it.  I want to be a body builder.

Over my vacation, I sat in the sun and read Robert Andrew Powell's Running Away.  Kindle advertised it, and I took a chance and bought it.  And it gave me the courage to name my silly, laughable, not sane goal.  Outloud.  He's never been a runner, but he hits rock bottom.  He's overweight and in bad health. He loses his job and his wife, and he's pretty much aimless. He decides he's going to train for the Boston Marathon, and in fact moves to Bolder, CO to do it.  Because that's where serious runners are.  People laugh at him, including the kind people in his running club. One of the big questions of the book is "why?" He answers it over and over: because his dad qualified for Boston a year after he started running, in his very first marathon.  And more than anything, he wants his dad to be proud of him, and that's the only way he knows how to do it.  To follow in his dad's shoes.  It's enough to push him through crazy runs and flagging motivations and a host of other things that serious athletes face.

As I was reading, I was thinking about my own ridiculous goals.  Only they don't feel ridiculous to me.  They feel like something I have to do. People will ask me why, as my body begins to shift more, and I become to them too intense. As I give up nights out because tomorrow is leg day. As I don't drink or eat according to social pressures because of the annoying toll it takes on my mind and dedication.  As I ask He-who-trains for more intense workouts.  As I don't take normal vacations because I can't find a gym that meets my needs in driving distance.

So here's my why.  And it's enough to push me through motivation sucking plateaus and challenges my body has given me and people who laugh.

It's a weird goal. It's probably not one many pastors have. I know, I know.  I could take up something normal like running.  Something less outlandish.  But being a body builder is my goal, and I won't stop until I get there. Why? Because I've been the fat girl who believed she was doomed to being trapped in a body she hated.  Because I've known what it is to be so overweight that I regularly cried because my knees hurt so badly.  And cried at how I felt in my body.  Because I've known what it is to to want to hide, and to settle for being a wallflower because that was somehow easier than having to meet people's gaze.  Because I've known what it to hate having pictures taken.  And because I now know that it doesn't have to be that way.  Because I now know what it is to have a goal bigger than my excuses.

There will be scoffers and laughers and well-intentioned worriers.  And when the question comes up as to why I'm doing this, I will smile and say, simply "Because I want to be proof that change is possible."

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Healthier Holy Week

Holy Week is always an exercise in madness for preachers I think.  Bulletins and services and stuff, oh my! I've been ordained for six years now, and every year it was the same story... I'd get so busy that I'd forget to take care of myself.  And then the inevitable too-tired-to-move-the-entire-week-after-Easter bit. And usually post Easter sickness. But for the first year ever, I handled my stuff, instead of being handled by it. I ate well.  I went to the gym and busted it as planned.  I slept.  I didn't stress.  And I had fun.  (And I realized yesterday that I've consumed nary a peep... and I love peeps!  I kept thinking I would buy one package but I just never got around to it.) When He-who-trains used to give me the schpiel about this being a lifestyle, not a diet, I thought I got it.   But maybe I'm just now understanding:  Health isn't only about body weight or what you put in your mouth-- it's about the whole proverbial enchilada.  When I started The Pudgy Parson, this is what I envisioned for myself.  All the pieces coming together in a way that works for me, that leaves my body as a faciliator for all the things my brain and heart dream up.

During Holy Week, there was a day of remembrance for me.  April 15 would've been my best friend's birthday.  We were friends since we were children, but she was killed in a skiing accident in 2001.  Every year since her death, I've marked the day by having a private birthday party for her, including eating a rich dessert in her honor.  Even last year, I celebrated with cheesecake.  But this year, I just couldn't bring myself to do it, at least not like I had.  She was athletic (a gymnast) and health mattered to her.  And she always wanted me to take care of myself too.   Her family had a pool, so we spent hours in it, but even as a kid I was heavy-- and she always knew how much that bothered me. So this year, I still wanted to mark the day... I had a few bites of mexican flan (seriously, maybe an 1/8 of the dessert) and said a prayer of Thanksgiving for who she was and all she meant to me, and it was enough.  Some part of me believes she'd be thrilled, with the celebration, with who I've finally found the courage to become.

On Saturday, He-who-trains had my workout partner and me in the martial arts room doing kicks for cardio.  I've not spent any time in there since I first started at the gym, which was well over a year ago. I remember it being horrible-- not having to do the kicks, but having to look at my body in motion in all those !@%* mirrors.  I couldn't even focus on the kicks because I was so distracted by what I saw. I wanted to cry at what I had let myself become.  But when I was in there on Saturday, it was a completely different experience.  I didn't love it, but I could at least accept it.  I could see my belly jiggle and squish up, but that wasn't all I saw. I saw how different my legs looked.  I saw my collar bones.  And I saw a face that stared back at me fiercely that told me there is a fighter inside, and she will not back down until she wins this one. There is no obstacle too big.  There is no food I want to eat badly enough to sabotage myself.  There is no room for excuses.  I know what I want, and I will get there.

In effort to practice self care, I'm doing a staycation this week, where I'll work a little bit-- long range planning and things that I can't ever seem to find time to do, but I'm actually energized. I'm gonna do some artsy things like paint and draw and take pictures.  I'm going to read books for fun.  I'm going to sit in the sunshine.  And I'm going to breathe deeply, because this, I think, is what it means to be alive... and well.

Monday, April 7, 2014


I keep hearing that I'm obsessed.  People think me strange that I don't eat just because I'm in a social situation that expects it. (Though it did make me smile to hear a church member say to a kindly, food sharing visitor who offered me some sort of fabulous dessert, "Oh she won't eat that".)  They find it odd that the gym is the first thing I schedule in my day, even if it means going at weird hours. Even my family, who is obligated to love me, thinks me kind of crazy because I plan my day around eating well.  And I'm fine with all that.  I've told myself that this sign is true.

Except that I am beginning to wonder if there is some truth behind it. I'm on a mandated three day a week workout plan, because it's intense enough that I need four days of rest.  Whining did not seem to change the mind of He-who-trains on the matter.  It never does.  But my whole day has felt off knowing that there was no gym time scheduled into my day.  I feel antsy and grouchy.  I don't quite know what to do with myself or my time.  I'm not in the mood to do house work (though the house is in decent shape except my piled up laundry that I really should fold) and I can't settle down to read. I might actually get killed if I went out for a run (or at least if I got caught), but even knowing that, I still want to  am having to fight myself not to do it anyway.  Even though my knee is puffy, which I know means that I should plant my butt on the couch and ice and advil.  (If any trainer, especially mine, happens to be reading this... that's what I wound up doing. Promise!)

I know I'm doing all of this for my health (and to show myself that I can... and to have a body I've always wanted...and to wear the cute clothes I see), but some times I think I lose sight of the health aspect.  I know that health means getting enough rest. I know that overtraining is stupid and could sideline me for way longer than I have the patience to take. It no longer feels right to not be at the gym when I feel perfectly fine.  I feel weak and silly and lethargic and whiny and grouchy. If you'd asked me this a year and a half ago, I never would've imagined it. But I'm pretty sure that gym going has become part of who I am--it's a piece of my identity now.  The people are my people.  The world makes sense in the gym.  I feel like I've achieved something, which is pretty remarkable considering my job rarely has quantifiable results.

I just swore to myself that if He-who-trains asked me one more time what I thought about this workout plan, that I'd tell him the truth.  That I actually love it, except that I can only do it three days a week, which is far crappier than the fact that it nearly makes me puke every time.  But then, this:

And I'm only a little bit embarrased that that lifted my mood considerably. (This post was cut short upon receiving it... I actually had more whining to do! Clearly, it's in the best interest of the world that I go burn off some of that energy.  Other wise I'd be (more) intolerable.)

Obsessed? Who? Me?  Nope, no way, nuhuh. And I'm definitely not about to stick this quote on my refrigerator, beside my pic of my body goal.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Visuals and Notes from the Peanut Gallery

I have thirty five pounds of flour sitting on my kitchen counter.  It's annoying.  It will be in the way.   It will make me angry. And I'm not moving it.   Because it represents the 35 annoying, in the way, anger provoking pounds I'm carrying around that is too much for my body. It also reminds me that there was an ugly day when I would've had 20 bags of flour instead of 7. I'm all about visuals.

 Or at least when I'm sitting here, post workout, sore and tired, and wondering why I thought it was a good idea to give He-who-trains carte blanche to help me meet my goal.   Of course, he's pretty helpful--especially in the texting department. (Hmmm...clearly I wasn't super functional when I sent that text though.)

My bikini motivational squad of a cousin is also pretty helpful, though I didn't seem to get any sympathy from her either.  But on the upside, she is mailing me one of her bikinis to put up at my house. (My goal weight  for beach week is close to her weight, and we're built a lot alike.) I'll be like that Yoplait commercial, where fittingly, the song "Teeny Weeny Yellow Polka Dot Bikini" plays and the woman dilligently eats her yogurt while staring at the bathing suit.  And then of course, the yogurt is so awesome, that the shoulder strap falls right off when the girl finally wears it.  Yeah, that. 

Today's workout wasn't quite as awful as Thursday's.  Maybe my brain decided today that it is entirely too nice outside to die right now. Or maybe, having lived through it once, I at least knew what to expect. And my lying, motivational workout partner was even more rockstar--ish and kept telling me that I had this. She even volunteered to do the post-workout run with me.  I was busy trying not to fall on my face during the awful plyometrics, but I'm pretty sure He-who-trains even said that I was doing great work.  He (unfortunately) does not feel inclined to blow sunshine my way so I'll consider that a pretty big compliment.  Of course, he at some point followed that with "Just wait until you do that with weights in your hands... and then heavy weights."  And "In, two weeks, your rest periods will decrease by a third."

I will never admit this for fear that he will take it as an invitation to figure out new ways to torture me, but I kind of like this way of training.  I'd take going as hard as I can and (safely) pushing my limits over a pansy workout any day.  I love that feeling of proving myself wrong when my first thought is "There is no way I can do that." I love having to dig deep to make it happen.  I even kind of love the soreness (I say that until I wobble around in heels trying to lead worship tomorrow) because it tells me I did something, it reminds me that I'm alive and well, and that I've got things I want to achieve.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Bikini or Bust, 2014

I blame my cousin, who of course got good genes and has a lovely athletic body, and has probably not owned a one-piece bathing suit since she was six.  She threw down a decree that after years of me hiding in frumpy hide-it-all and suck-it-in bathing suits, that this should be the year I finally wore a two piece.  Actually, I'm pretty sure she used the "B" word... and I don't think she meant a particular group of islands. So I looked her in the eyes and said I'd think about it, while I silently resolved that I'd make it happen.  It's after all not about the bathing suit.  It's about being a really new person, and finally being free from an old image of myself.  But that was like 6 months ago, and I thought I'd have made more progress than this. Now, family beach week is just a little bit over three months away.

So I stupidly sat down with He-who-trains, and told him about this problem... and tried to ignore the grin that spread across his face as I told him that I wanted to go all in for the next three months.  I asked him to make a meal plan for me, which explains why there is stinky fish cooking away in my oven as we speak.  I also told him that, in essence, he could do whatever he wanted to train me.  He could get in my face, and push me harder than I wanted to go.  He said (and I quote) "You won't like it." To which I replied with utmost sincerity, and even believed that I meant it: "What I like is irrelevant." Note to self: Uh, seriously... you said that? Out loud?

He-who-trains thinks he's funny.  Post
workout instructions: "Hobble Home...Cuss me.."
Because he grabs a pen and smiles away to himself while he designed a workout to increase my endurance.  Or you know... my vocabulary of things that I shouldn't say outloud.  He told me to "eat the biggest Snickers bar I could find" (long story but I needed more carbs in my body) and to bring a puke bag.  I'm pretty sure I should've run away screaming... but wait, I also begged him to let me run again, so in effort to give me every. single. thing. I. wanted. he decided that I could run AFTER the fun workout he'd designed for me.

I'm pretty glad to have had a workout partner for this one, because we were both dripping with sweat, and this was definitely a misery loves company sort of event.  But she rocks, and she's a great cheerleader. She'll gently correct my form which is a far superior thing to having He-who-trains do the form correcting.  She'll lie to me and tell me I'm doing great and that I've got it.  And I'll turn around and lie to her and tell her the same thing.  This is a spectacular time to have a lying friend.  I highly recommend it.  It wasn't pretty, but we survived.  And when He-who-trains came in to check on us and said "Planned assassinations of the gym nazi will not be tolerated" (and again, with that big stupid grin) we managed not to admit that we were too tired to think about killing him, or you know, think about anything.  And nobody needed the aforementioned puke bag.  That's a win, right?

Of course, because I shot off my mouth about wanting to run and how well my knees were doing, I wasn't done. I headed down the road for a jalk, which was spectacularly fun for a couple of reasons.  1) I hadn't run in 6 months.  2) My legs were jelly from all the plyometrics that I'd done. And oh yeah, 3) I had already used all my energy trying not to die.  Of course, He-who-trains is also a sadist, so he ensured that I ran the road around the gym where I couldn't hide from all the gawking people driving by.  At least I didn't yell "What?! Beet red looks good on me!" or "No, really, I swear I haven't been drinking and the fact that I don't have control of my muscles is perfectly normal." I had to spend a couple seconds walking here and there because of a side stitch, but it wasn't as bad as I guessed it would be.  But then again, I was pretty much just pleased that I was still capable of being in an upright position and moving at all.

So I got what I said I wanted.  On the upside, except a small twinge, my knees held up fine. And at the end, when he snarkily asked how I was, I could say... and mean... "I'm good."  Being spent, having given more than I thought I had, leaving it all at the gym.  Yeah, that's good.

New mantra until July: Bikini or Bust.

Oh, and this is my wallpaper these days, in case I'm tempted to cheat.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

A (wo)man with a plan...

So, one week down of being on it meal plans.  I wasn't perfect, but I learned some things:  If I'm gonna join a local civic club, I'm gonna have to pack my lunch.  (The fare at the fete I attended: sandwiches with deli meat, mayo based potato salad, potato chips and cookies. Pretty much nothing I normally eat.  But I'll just remind myself what I've learned to say in the past year and a half-- that I don't go for the food.) I also figured out that I don't have to eat exactly what I had planned on any given day, as long as over the week, I eat the daily plans.  So... I have a menu of fairly standard lunches... all I have to do is pick the dinner that goes with the lunch.  (Breakfast and snacks stay pretty much the same.) That's easy.  I also realized that I feel about meal plans a little bit like I felt about standardized dress in high school: that contrary to popular belief or what would seem to make sense, it actually makes things a lot easier.  I chop vegetables once or twice a week, and cook staples like chicken breasts and pork chops.  From there, my "blrrgh...dinner again?" delimma is solved. And using myfitnesspal, I can duplicate meals (and it does the math for me!) so the planning part isn't even as complicated as I thought it would be.

I'm still losing weight, and I was cleared by He-who-adjusts to resume lifting again.  I've felt pretty good, and my energy level is starting to go up. My cravings for sugary foods have almost disappeared. (Which must mean I've finally gotten my protein levels back up to where they need to be.) I'm optimistic that getting away from gluten is doing good things for my body. I'm eating good food that I love, and getting farther and farther away from processed food. This feels like a win.

Cool moment of the week: When I walked back into the gym for the first time in two weeks, one of the other trainers saw me and immediately said "Wow! You look like you've dropped ten pounds!" And I smiled and said, "well... pretty close." Not cool moment of the week: spending all of Sunday morning (while I was trying to preach) hoping my pants didn't fall right off. Time to go shopping!

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Hard? Not Hard!

So after 15 months of fighting for every. single. pound. suddenly I've dropped seven in a week.  Granted there are a couple of things that probably helped, including the fact that I was sick and haven't been lifting weights in two weeks.  (I always drop when I stop lifting for a bit.) But... I'm thinking it's more than that.  He-who-trains thinks it's water weight, and maybe some of it is, but I'm wondering if it isn't something else. Because I've lost an inch from my waist since Wednesday, and a half inch from various other places. I showered at the gym this morning, and thoughtfully packed some jeans that were only a little big a few weeks ago.  Now I'm trying not to give everyone in the coffee shop a show. The bathing suit which was snug two weeks ago hangs off my belly. He-who-adjusts swears that my body was inflamed from the gluten, and that I actually wasn't as big as I thought I was. That didn't line  up with anything of which I had knowledge, so I didn't get my hopes up.  I'm wondering now if my body is freeing itself from some things (after my weirdo breakdown last week.)  It'll be interesting to see what the next week or so holds, but this feels awfully good for right now.

He-who-trains threw down a gauntlet.  Even though I said I was going six months without a major case of wagon falling off (which starts today, by the way), that was apparently not enough of a challenge.  He correctly pointed out that I've never really done meal plans-- which involves planning out every single thing that goes in my mouth for a week, and making sure my calories and ratios are correct. He ascertains that a food log (recording what I have eaten) is not nearly as effective as planning my meals out in advance, and then making sure I stick to it no matter what.  He maintains that I'm not disciplined enough to do this, but he is mistaken.  I sent him a week's worth of meal plans last night, which will take me Monday through Sunday. And it figures in lunch out with some town officials.  It figures in a shopping day with my folks.  It meets the guidelines he set out for me almost exactly, except I've eliminated anything that contains gluten, and gotten my carbs through other sources.  He-who-trains thinks this is going to be hard for me, because of stress and a sometimes hard to predict schedule.  But eating well is not  hard.  Not feeling well is hard.   Not being in the body I want is hard.

Eating chicken and porkchops and apples and watermelons and other delicious things? So not hard.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

More body fun...

My body is up to no good.  I'd blame the chiropractor if I didn't like him so much. (Since he's apparently going to be a character in my story for a while, I guess he deserves a name like He-who-trains received.  Henceforth, I shall call him "He-who-adjusts".)   At least he warned me about the crazies...only he called it "re-tracing." Apparently, the muscles of the human body hold memories. And after beginning chiropractic treatment, old physical or emotional injuries can come back to the surface. He told me that if I had repressed any feelings, they could come to the surface in powerful and unexpected ways. He warned me that I might get angry or suddenly start crying.  I don't really understand it, but this article helped a lot. I'll be honest.  When he warned me, I couldn't quite picture it.  Or maybe I thought it was such a weird sounding thing that I didn't listen all that closely. It didn't sound like something that would happen to me. Which of course means that it did. I felt pretty rotten all day yesterday... green to be exact.  I thought I was low on carbs or somehow dehydrated.  I felt hungover and had no fun to show for it.  But there's a lot going on, and stress is high.  I made another scheduled trip to He-who-adjusts and I was apparently tense.  Imagine that.   He had to do a lot of adjusting to get me to stop hurting so badly. I went to bed early. I didn't sleep well, but around 1, I woke up sobbing--you know that ugly, animal choking sound type of cry-- for no apparent reason. I wrote a friend an angry and completely irrational letter (which I had the good sense not to send.) But this morning, at least emotionally, I felt fine.

Physically, however, it's been a pretty rough day. I almost feel like I have the flu. I'm supposed to be at church, but that is way outside the realm of possibility. My stomach is ten shades of mean, and I have a ridiculous headache. I can't concentrate on anything.  (Ask me how long this post has taken to write. Forget anything that I was supposed to be working on... of which there is much.  Fear inspiring writing deadline looms in just a few days.  This is NOT the time. I'm hoping by plowing through this post, that will settle my brain down a little so I can write something serious.)  I feel clammy and weird. My skin feels sunburned though I've not been outside for more than thirty seconds in several days. I thought it was stress or maybe I'm coming down with something, but I'm beginning to have another suspicion. He-who-adjusts recommended I try two things (he works holistically--viewing the body as a system.  He is trained in this sort of healing that goes beyond standard chiropractic work.) The first suggestion was that I get on some probiotics.  I will not describe for you my feeling on these things, or how much fun they've made me to be around, but maybe that's part of the process.  The other suggestion was that I go gluten-free.  He-who-adjusts suspects that I have an allergy to something, and the most common thing that produces this level of toxicity is gluten. (If this winds up being true, it could explain why I've had so much inflamation and have plateaued so much.  He-who-trains disagrees with the latter... citing my lack of consistent perfect eating.  But I'm already on that one as you can see here. He's going down.) Since Friday, I've not had any gluten of which I am aware. I've read labels and done some beginning research.  And now having felt awful for two days, I did some checking.  Sure enough. Lots of other people have had these exact same symptoms as they've gone gluten-free.  My body is apparently detoxing from gluten... which is weird, because I was having so little of it anyway.  How is this a thing? I get detoxing from alcohol or drugs or whatever... but wheat? Seriously? This article helped some, and so did this one.  I thought I'd go gluten-free for thirty days just to see what happened, but I'm beginning to wonder if there is something to this.

I wish I'd done a little more research-- this was not the time for this. But then again, maybe there's never a good time to feel crappy... and never a bad time to start being well.   Blrrrgh.

Anyone been through this? Would love to know what you've found helpful.  I'm on new ground here.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Game On

There's nothing I love more than a good challenge...except maybe really lovely, dark, decadent chocolate. Onward.

But I also love to be right. (Thereby humiliating the naysayer.  Of course, I would never say "I told you so.") The problem with being trained by He-who-trains is that I am almost never the right one.  He reads people and situations really well, and he knows it.  He predicts things with infuriating accuracy.

For the last few months I've been plateaued, and I've sworn to him (certainly not at him...that would be a rude thing to do outloud) that I was doing what he said.  I've been busting it at the gym.  I've been eating 1500 calories with 40% protein, 40% carbs, and 20% healthy fat.  And I have.  Except when I haven't.  He has been very helpful to point out to me that I do really well for a few weeks or even a month or two, and then I completely sit on and obliterate the wagon.  That's probably worse than just falling off of it?  I played loosey goosey with my eating when I got sick. I went all willey nilley with it when I went on the cruise.  He pointed out that I've never made it more than three months without taking matters into my own hands.  He also felt inclined to mention the fact that I'd set a thirty year precedent, and that a body wasn't going to realize my lifestyle was the new norm in just a few months of good behavior.

I'm tired of getting that lecture. I'm tired of proving him right.  So I opened my big mouth and told him I would make it six months with no major mess ups.  I'm allowed a cheat meal a week, and he really understands that life gets nuts-o sometimes, so a day or two of bending the eating commandments won't mess up my streak. But I'm not going to do things where I go crazy for a week. (uhem. for weeks.) I'm going to eat consistently well, using his guidelines.  I'm going to survive lent and beach week without blowing it. I've already started sending him food logs again (blessed, blessed food logs.  Gosh, I love doing those.  Really.) I'm tracking everything that goes in my mouth.

And from March 1- August 30... I'm gonna be St Kim: Patron Saint of People who are On It.

Come September 1st, He-who-trains is gonna shut his pie hole.  (And after 6 months of saintly eating, I might put pie in my pie hole :-P).  He is only going to open his mouth to say "I was wrong. You were right."

Game on.


Friday, February 21, 2014

There's this.

After after fifteen months, I'm finally half way to my body weight goal of 135lbs.  I figure that deserves some celebratory blog love...

So, in a few days (or whenever I get a chance), I'll unroll a spiffy new blog design using this new header.

In the words of Bon Jovi
"Whooah, we're half way there
Livin on a prayer
Take my hand and we'll make it - I swear
Livin on a prayer!"

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Rest. Ice. Repeat.

I seem to be accumulating a staff of people who take care of my body.  I have a masseuse to regularly rub my piriformus (which isn't as much fun as you'd imagine. Google it. #awkward) I have a chiropractor who zaps me with these little things so I don't feel (or walk) like I'm a thirty-two year old trapped in a ninety-five year old body.  (Also, just really not as much fun as it sounds.) And I have a trainer, whose functions right now are limited to telling me what to eat and acting as a bouncer if I get near any thing heavier than five pounds. Oh and you know, to tell me... "Ummm...yeah.  There's no nice way to say this.  You're a train wreck."

So clearly things are going well in the body department. I'm pretty sure it shouldn't require a team of people to make sure I can walk.

I guess I haven't been doing a stellar job on my own. I have an injury in my back, and I've got some really tight hip flexors, but my team of people all agree on one thing (and only one, mind you. I don't want to get bored):  I have too much stress, and its affecting my body adversely. I'm working on it.  I am. My church folks are kindly lecturing me about it. But what I'm learning right now is that sometimes you can't handle it all on your own.  Sometimes, you need outside people to hold you up and put you back together and to help you quit making the same mistakes.

I'm having to take it easy... and that's not easy.  I'm having to practice what I preach, literally.  Grrrr.  I preach grace, and now I'm having to practice it with my body. I believe, in theory, anyway, in sabbath keeping.  But my body is going to make sure that's more than a theoretical belief.  I love the Jewish notion of Shalom, which is a big term encompassing things like wholeness, balance, and wellness. So now, I have the opportunity to focus on bringing my body and spirit back into shalom.  I'm writing.  And letting people help my body free itself of toxins, and bring itself back to health. I'm focusing on nutrition, and eating whole, real foods that have the nutrients I need. I'm stretching gently, and reminding myself to breathe well. I'm reviving creative energy.

Rest. Ice. Repeat.
Breathe. Heal. Repeat.
Grow. Repair.  Repeat.

I'm gonna try really hard to believe that I won't feel like this after taking some time off ;-) (Totally worth the watch...even for the fifteen sec advertisement at the beginning.)

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

The BIG Event

Last week, I was on a cruise with 40 clergy women--the Big Event, as it's known. (More on what I learned later...still doing some pondering.)

Because I've worked so hard at making this a lifestyle, I went with a plan.  I think my exact words to He-who-trains were "I want to have fun, but I won't be stupid." He had the courtesy to stay quiet,  though there might have been an "cough, cough... yeah, i bet...cough, cough". Oh well, at least I believed my words.  We agreed that a goal of 1800 calories a day was reasonable.  I mean, hey. That's considerably more than I usually eat.

My first night in New Orleans, I hung out with my friend who is lucky enough to live in that fabulous city.  He forced me to eat fried pickles.   The next morning, the clergy gals were meeting at NoLa landmark Cafe Du Monde for beignets and Cafe Au Lait.  I didn't want to be rude, you know, so I had to eat those too.  (And it would've been an insult to tradition to leave the piles of powdered sugar.)  It went downhill from there, as I remembered the five words that make cruising so, so wonderful: All-you-can-eat buffet.  Great food, and lots of it.  Then dinner at night (every night) was a three course study in gluttony.  Seriously, my ankles actually disappeared for most of the week. I blame the salt and long periods of sitting. To make matters worse, I didn't exercise all week.  This was a planned thing-- an ordered rest week, but it didn't help the feeling that my clothes shrunk three sizes.

I've always hated the expression "like a fat kid in a candy store" but that's exactly what I was.  I've taken owernship of the fact that unhealthy attitudes were a big part of the reason I gained so much weight: eating because it was there or because of social niceties, eating without regard to calories or nutritional content or time of day, equating food with fun.  Check, check annd check!  It surprised me how quickly those habits came back, even after fourteen months of not living that way.

I'm not beating myself up.  I had fun and it was nice to have the break.  I knew going that even if I gained a pound or two, I wouldn't care... and truth be told, I neither weighed before I left nor when I returned.  Now that the water weight is coming off, I don't feel like I really gained much.  And when I looked in the mirror this morning, I noticed that my shoulders and traps looked more defined than they did before I left. Maybe my body needed some rest and extra calories for a few days. But I came home sick and sluggish, and I remember that that's how I used to feel all the time.

So what I learned:

  • the thought patterns are still there, so I need to remain dilligent in practicing better behaviors
  • a week of rest and excess isn't the end of the world, but that it must be the exception rather than the rule.
  • I would've had plenty of fun without the food, but I'm glad to have enjoyed site specific treats (like crazy good guacamole.)
  • Maybe being so strict with myself all the time isn't entirely a win either.  Maybe I need to do what He-who-trains says and eat a cheat meal every now and then.
  • It's pretty crappy to be sick, and maybe how I treat my body actually has something to do with being well. 
It was the Big Event.  Big on fun, and friendship and fellowship (Well, technically galship). Big on food and drink and sloth.  Big enough that it's a good thing it's only once a year.