World’s Worst Athlete

Sometimes, I think I am the world’s worst athlete. That is, when I think of myself as an athlete at all, which isn’t often.

I don’t come by athleticism naturally, I spent my childhood and youth figuring out ways to get out of taking PE in school. (I actually found a loophole that allowed me to get through high school without taking even a single semester of PE class).

I’m the slowest runner in the pack. My early-morning 3.2 miles take me a stately 45 minutes. You could probably walk it faster than that if you tried.

Of riding bikes I find that the world falls into two categories: People who don’t ride bikes at all, and people who are better at it than me.

I swim pretty well – my freestyle is almost faster than other people’s breaststroke!

I guess what I’m saying is there’s a reason I’m a solo exerciser. Exercise is one of those things that people like to get competitive about – who can go faster, who can go farther, who can jump higher, lift more, etc.

I’ve always assumed I’d lose any contest of physical prowess, so I’d rather do my own thing over here in the corner. I don’t really need any reminders that I’m no good at physical feats.

Anyway, the reason this has been bubbling around in my head is because I occasionally get prompted to consider taking on an advisory role, be a cheerleader for people who want to lose weight, or put together a running team, become a coach or something like that.

To which my response is that I don’t do team sports because I get tired of losing. But more importantly, most people who walk this weight management path will eventually find that, at the end of the day, either you do the things you need to do – you, just you, only you – or you don’t. And if you don’t have that internal drive to do the things that need to be done, nothing I can say or do will supply it. It’s like the old saying, “Never try to teach a pig to sing; it wastes your time and it annoys the pig.”

If a person is ready to commit to it, nothing I can say will be necessary. If a person is not ready to commit to it, then anything I say is irrelevant.

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Weekend, and Being Flexible with Plans

Today’s weigh in was better than I probably deserved – down 3 pounds. Last week was an unfeasibly large spike, so I expected it to be down significantly. Where it leaves me is about 5 pounds above where I need to be. So I’ll continue my ramped-up efforts with running and generally decreasing inactivity, and watching my intake.

Let’s talk about Saturday. Saturday was a terrible eating day for me. I knew it would be before I even got out of bed. So the first thing I did was go on a 13-mile bike ride with my husband. He’s great like that – always up for some exercise. There are rolling hills up near my house where we rode in the wind and cold for about an hour. Good workout – bicycling uses different leg muscles than running does, and it’s good to hit a variety of forms of exercise to keep the body from getting too comfortable and efficient with one. I have a tendency to flatten tires on my bike almost every time I go for a good workout ride, and this time was no exception – back tire picked up a small sharp rock and was flat by the time we got home. No riding to work until that’s fixed.

Anyway, after our bike ride we went to tea for a friend’s birthday. Tea – meaning, a big carb-laden meal of scones and sandwiches and cakes, and some tea. I don’t think carbs are evil, but I certainly make an effort to avoid baked goods on a regular basis because they fall into the food category of “treat” for me – they have almost nothing that my body needs or wants while packing a large caloric load. After the meal there was wandering and shopping until I had a headache. I headed home and my husband came later. We were both exhausted – bad nutrition will do that to you. So for dinner we actually gave in and ordered a pizza. Thin crispy crust, in an attempt to reduce the card/wheat load, but that was epically lazy. Sometimes you just take the hit.

That’s right, I said it – sometimes you just take the hit to the plan and move on. So I did. Sunday was a rest day, and yesterday I got up and went for a run – 3.2 miles. I didn’t expect much good news on the scale this morning, so last night I set the alarm for early to run again. But when I woke up I realized that I wasn’t in good enough running shape to run every day yet. I still need that rest day between runs  (or I just couldn’t see myself following through tomorrow if I got up early today). So I did a quick re-plan and decided to walk to work today.  That’s a solid 60 minutes of walking. My husband is fixing my bike today, and tomorrow I’ll be up for a 6am run then riding my bike to work.

What I Did Today

I got up at 6am again to go for a run. I plotted a 3.2 mile run, because I’ve always, since I started running, had this thought that I should be able to run a 5k at a drop of the hat, that’s kind of my minimal expectations of my fitness level.

Finding a running route from my new house that will be easily modular and meet my many requirements has been challenging. I like a route that is a loop, not an out and back. I like sidewalks on roads that have some traffic but not too much traffic. A route that has some interesting scenery, can be easily added to by small increments if I find I’m feeling particularly good as I go, and a route that I can run both backwards and forwards just to change things up a bit.

The biggest challenge in my current location is finding a route that I can add distance to by increments. It seems like I can either run 3 miles, or 6. I’d like a middle ground, so more time spent playing with the gmap pedometer tool is definitely in my weekend plans.

Also, on a personal note – I just got a promotion at work! It’s my first promotion ever – in the past to move up I’ve always had to jump to a new company. I’ve been two years in my current position and I’ve been working at a higher level since September, managing people and acting as a vocal advocate for my team and the larger business interests. So my big reward today for long hours of blood sweat and tears is a shiny new title, a modest raise and the knowledge that all the hard work on a very challenging project is being noticed and appreciated. That’s a pretty good start to a holiday weekend!

On Hunger

Yesterday was a great on-program day for me. I ran, I stayed within my allotted calories, and didn’t have an extra snack despite some hunger late in the evening.

I don’t normally advocate for hunger-based dieting. I’m a big proponent of filling up on things that won’t break the calorie bank when you’re hungry – foods with a high water content like fruits, vegetables, and water-based soups. Avoiding strong hunger allows me the breathing room to be more conscientious of my choices.  But sometimes…I kinda like feeling hunger. Not often, because usually a strong feeling of hunger for me results quickly in feelings of lethargy, coldness, and a crash in energy levels. But sometimes I let it abide.

Feeling hunger is something I almost never did when I was at my heaviest. I was eating constantly, dysfunctionally,  so allowing hunger to come about naturally now makes me feel alive in a small way. It reminds me that I’m taking charge of my bodily systems, instead of letting them control me as I used to do.

So last night, a few hours after a small dinner and a glass of wine, I noticed the hunger and instead of immediately heading to the kitchen I just let it flourish. I drank some water, I kept my hands busy with a sewing project, and then I went to bed.

Today I have no planned exercise – no run, and I couldn’t ride my bike as I need to take my laptop home tonight and I don’t have the panniers on my bike up and functional yet. I’ll take a lunchtime walk later so I don’t go completely couch-potato (is desk-potato a term?) today.

Resuming My Running Habit

Got up again today and went for a run. This morning I saw goslings on the canal with their parents, SO CUTE! I also saw an opossum swimming and getting chased off by one of the adult geese. I didn’t know opossums could swim!

The bug problem seems to be creeping earlier and earlier in the morning, as the sun rises earlier and earlier. There’s really no possibility I’m going to get up any earlier so I’ve started exploring alternate routes leading away from the canal and its attendant bugs – 2.8 miles this morning. I dig not having to worry about where to fit in exercise for the rest of the day because I got it out of the way early.

Rode my bike to work again, I really like it.  It’s not much of a workout getting here, as there’s a noticeable slope from my home to my office. Getting home is slightly more work, especially when there’s a strong headwind, like yesterday. Still, it’s only a mile and a half so it’s not much of an exertion, but I like not being stuck in a car.

Eating is on track for this week as well. Last night we met some friends for dinner and had Vietnamese pho – water based soup, one of my favorite low-cal restaurant meals.

Don’t Panic

Tuesday weigh-in didn’t go so well today. It’s been 3 weeks since my last weigh-in. Two weeks during which I was traveling and trapped eating catered food for almost every meal. I did my best but against industrial food prep there’s really no match.

I’m up 5-6 pounds. I’m not sure exactly which, because I don’t remember the exact number last time, but I do know today’s number is WAY out of my comfort zone. Immediate action plan in effect: Continue running every other morning. Start journaling food intake every day and keep it below 1700. Continue riding bike to work every day. Add some lunchtime walks.

Grr. It’s annoying, but it’s not the end of the world. I’ve got other things on my mind right now, but I never get to stop paying attention just because I’m distracted or busy. If you think I love this fact, or enjoy it in any way you don’t know me very well. It’s something I have to do whether I care to or not.

One other important thing for me to do is to resist getting on the scale every morning to see if it’s coming down. It will be, but getting all psycho about the scale won’t help my mental health in any way.  *breathe* This is a normal part of the weight management cycle. *breathe*

Strong Start Monday

I got up this morning at 6am to go for a run. That’s the third time now, I’m trying to re-form the habit.  I’ve also learned that 6am is a much better time to go than 7am, on the route I’m doing right now. It runs along a canal, which is great for duckling sightings, however if I get up at 7 to run there are clouds of little flying bugs hovering in swarms at just about head height, whereas at 6am, they are, apparently, still asleep. I found that out on Friday, so it was back to 6am for today.

Extra bonus, when I get up at 6am I have so much time in the morning! In fact, this morning after my run and my stretches and shower and coffee and breakfast, it was still only 8:15, so I rode my bike to work for the first time. 12 minutes, door to door – and only because there are two lengthy traffic lights to wait through. It’s only a mile and a half of flat riding, so I won’t count that as exercise, but it sure is pleasant and doesn’t take any more time than driving.

So, I got my exercise done and a pleasant bike ride and it’s not even 9am. Setting myself up for success – good way to start the week!