The Final Fifty











The last few weeks have been full of ups and downs and dancing and running and injury, so I’m taking some time right now to let my brain catch up.

The readers digest version of the non-diet/exercise related stuff is that I am now single, but that this is mostly a good thing, because it happened in that sweet moment where both people know it’s not working but it hasn’t gotten to the point where they start to actively dislike one another. In some ways it’s harder when you get along well enough to be legit friends and not just awkward-used-to-date friends, but I’ve always found that road a worthwhile one to traverse.

I took a break from running for a week and a half because of a bad chest cold. From what I read online, running with chest congestion, especially if you are asthmatic, is a bad idea. When I started up running again, my first run was great, and the ankle/calf paid I’d been having did not return. The second time, however, it came back with a vengeance. Purely by accident, I found out that my symptoms match something called Medial Tibial Stress Syndrome (or posteromedial shin splints, though they’re not really in the shins.) Obviously I’m not a doctor, so I can’t properly diagnose myself, but I’ve made an appointment at a sports medicine place across the street from my work for Wednesday, so hopefully that will give me some answers.

I also ordered a pair of the Vibram 5-finger shoes that came from REI outlet, so they were only $23, and I figured it was worth it to give them a shot. Some research seems to indicate that the more supportive running shoes increase the rate of injury, whereas shoes with minimal support decrease the rate of injury. I think the idea is that shoes with a lot of support don’t force you to build good form when you run, and maybe your feet get dependent on the support, so bad habits form and result in injury. I know I’ll have to wear them very minimally at first, starting with walking and working my way up to running and longer durations of wear, but depending on what I find out this week, it might be a worthwhile thing to try.

In the last few weeks I’ve performed twice with my belly dance troupe, which has been a lot of fun. Once my teacher gets her much-closer studio opened, I should be able to attend her classes more regularly. There’s also another class in a different style starting up at the other studio I go to, so I might be taking as many as 3 classes per week, which I’ve done before and really enjoyed, so that might happen. It might be difficult to work in with the running, though, so I’m not sure what will budge in there. I might cut running back to 2 days a week after I finish the 5k training, which might work better both for scheduling and for the injury issues.

Diet-wise, I’ve mostly been doing ok. I had a week where I gained a pound, and then recovered, but I really wasn’t eating huge amounts or food, I just went over a little each day and the cumulative result was gaining weight. I’ve mainly kept it under control since then, though this week I lost 4lbs, and I’m not really sure why. I didn’t eat under my calories any more than usual (I try to stay within 50 calories of my target), and I didn’t work out more than I generally do, so it’s kind of anomolous. I’m going to be careful to eat enough this week and really pay more attention, and hopefully I’ll get back to a more reasonable rate. If I don’t, then I’ll increase my caloric intake accordingly and get back to a place where I’m losing at the right rate. As much as part of my brain likes the number on the scale better, I don’t want to slip into unhealthy habits.

I went shopping this weekend and finally bought some new jeans (the priciest pair was $15, so I figured I’m not losing much even if I shrink out of them.) Two pair are from the junior’s section and a size 11, and the third is from the more adult section and a size 8. It’s so weird to be buying things that small. Especially when I’m finding that medium tshirts are now sometimes too big on me, and I’m wearing size small underpants. What do I do when those get too big? I’m not tiny by any measure, but it would be so surreal to get to a point where I have to worry about finding clothes small enough for me.

There are just so many things I didn’t think about before I started all this. I always thought of myself as a small person in a fat body, and now I recognize how much being fat shaped my identity, and I haven’t adjusted yet to being smaller. When you’re plus sized, it’s so easy to think “if I were thin, I could wear anything I wanted”, or “I’d never walk into a store and not find something that fits me right”, but being smaller doesn’t mean those things at all. You still have bits you don’t like and want to conceal, you still have to hope the size that fits isn’t the size that’s sold out in that store, or that the size that fits fits in all of your places, not just a few of them.

It’s crazy and ridiculous and unexpected to have to confront how much your body has influenced who you are as a person, who you feel like when you think about everything about you that isn’t your body. Especially when you’re single for the first time in two years, and for the first time since you were unobese ever, and you find that the things you did before to thin the herd now only encourage a larger herd. How do you identify the people who are only interested in you for your physical attributes when your physical attributes now fall in a bit closer with what society has deemed attractive? And the sexual commodification that feels enticing and complimentary in the very beginning, but then starts to feel really gross and invasive? Sometimes, when my brain goes to that fantasy land where diabetes and heart disease don’t exist or don’t run in my family, part of me wishes I could go back to how I was before.

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{May 28, 2013}   Still Not Dead, Just Busy

I got myself out to Fleet Feet last week to get myself some new shoes. They measured my feet, both standing and sitting, watched me walk barefoot, and watched me run in each pair of shoes I tried on. I learned a few things:

  1. My arches don’t fall nearly as much as I expected they did.
  2. I don’t really pronate much.
  3. I’m definitely a size 9, at least in the majority of brands.
  4. Saucony’s are definitely the right brand for me.
  5. I suck at running on a treadmill, lol.

So I got myself a new pair, in the correct size, with a little bit more arch support in them. I also grabbed a pair of running socks. They were not priced on the package, but I figured it’s only one pair of socks, how expensive can they be? Turns out they can be $11. I was hoping to not like them very much, but of course they’re effing spectacular, and now I wish I could afford to buy a bunch more of them. Stupid fancy expensive socks.

Anyway, I got home, and it was drizzly, but I went running anyway because I didn’t want to miss a day, and it turned out to be kind of nice. I was pretty soggy by the time I got home, but it helped keep me cool and meant I didn’t have to worry about dodging around kids or people out walking dogs or anything. It was just me and  a couple other runners. I ran my whole route, all nearly 50 minutes of it, and only felt very very minor stress in my ankle, which was a marked improvement from my old shoes, so I’d call that a success. I’ve run in them twice now, and I love them.

When I was at the shop, there were a bunch of real runners there, and I got to listen to them talk about the upcoming marathon (which was Sunday.) It reminded me of when I was a kid and my mom dated a guy who was into running, cycling, and rock climbing. He got me into running a bit, I ran a few 1k when he was running longer races. That was before I started to really put on weight, which started when I was diagnosed with Epilepsy and put on medications that drastically increased my appetite.

I think part of what attracts me about running is that runners, with a few exceptions, don’t sign up for a race to win it. They usually don’t compete against the other runners at all. Most people who set out to run a marathon are trying to be their own personal best, not someone else’s. It’s about always being a little better than you were the last time, which is a healthy kind of competition, and always an attainable goal. I’m never going to run faster than Usain Bolt, but I can push myself to run a little faster or a little farther than I did last time.

Not to mention those runners all showed up for the marathon on a rainy morning and ran that damned race anyway. That’s pretty bad ass. I’ve seen baseball games called for less than that.

I’ve been working on my knee strength and flexibility lately, mostly because the choreography in Hair involves a lot of getting down on the floor and then back up again, and very quickly. So I’ve been taking time to stretch, doing a lot of child’s pose, and practicing dropping my knees while keeping myself upright with a little balance help from a chair or the wall. I noticed the first real progress yesterday at rehearsal, so I have hope that it’ll be better by the time we get ready to perform.

Sunday’s weigh in was good, and I think drinking enough water definitely made a huge difference. I’m finally to the “halfway” point, which may not actually be the halfway point in the end, but it’s halfway through the eponymous 50 pounds I set out to lose this year, so I’ll celebrate it anyway. I am 15 lbs away from what the BMI defines as a “healthy weight.” I know the BMI is largely bullshit, but given that I am not a hardcore athlete and the range is pretty big, I think it probably applies in a general sense to my body.

I did a bit of cleaning this long weekend and found a tshirt I bought about a thousand years ago. They didn’t have it in my size, so I had to buy one that was too small for me because I wanted it so bad. Today, for the first time, I’m wearing it. 🙂

Tonight I have an appointment after work, followed by belly dance practice for a performance on Friday, and then I’m going home to run. It’s going to be a long day, but when it’s done I can slide into bed thoroughly exhausted and sleep like a rock.



Today the sun is out and it’s glorious and I just want to go lay outside and soak it up. I got my cortisone shot, so aside from some brace time and being careful for a while, I am on the road to being free of this shit (knock on wood.)

I haven’t resumed working out again yet, but I might today. That’s if I don’t cave in and just go walk around in the sunshine for a while. Which, hey, still exercise, right? Exercise with a side order of vitamin D.

Yesterday I went to the mall to look for some things I needed. I actually ended up finding them at Charlotte Russe, which is one of those skinny teenager stores I never, ever thought I would be able to shop in. I don’t particularly like most of their stuff, but they had great prices on leggings, camisoles and underpants, so woot woot. It was a little strange, though. I still kind of felt like I did in middle school, like someone was going to jump out and go “You! Out! You’re too fat to shop in here!” No one even looked at me funny.

Today I’m wearing one of my new skirts with the new leggings and a Doctor Who t-shirt. I guess my style is best summed up as bohemianerd. I can live with that.

Today I am awesome because I legit feel pretty good about myself. I am optimistic about the summer and the stuff I have coming up. Hair starts soon, and has old friends and hopefully new friends in it.



Today was my first weight in in two weeks, since I missed it last week. Amazingly, though I haven’t done much in the way of actual working out, it’s all good news. I’ve lost four more pounds in that time, and shrunk a little bit in virtually every part of my body (including my wrist and forearm… I guess inevitable, but still strange.)

I still haven’t had the energy to properly dance or do weights, but I’ve been trying to get out of the house and moving at least. Yesterday I went out and walked on Church Street for a while, then met my eye doctor at his office because I apparently have bacterial conjunctivitis. He went into his office on a Saturday just to see me and get me sorted with a prescription. I walked back up to the pharmacy to get my eye drops. All told, I probably walked for at least an hour.

Today I went and caught the bus down to the mall, putzed around Kohl’s for a bit browsing, then went to the grocery store to stock up on some things. I probably got  at least thirty minutes of walking in, all together, and I got some practical things accomplished. I’m finally figuring out how to get around effectively on the bus.

Trying on clothes only confirmed that the various brands cannot fucking agree on anything. There were 12s that fit me, there were 8s that fit me. I think I’m sort of around a 10 maybe? Who the hell knows anymore. I know I’ve got a ways to go still, that’s the only take home message I could draw from the whole thing.

Today I was awesome because I didn’t stay at home just because I don’t have a car. I figured out how to get more places, and I got some walking in at the same time. I was brave about trying on smaller sizes of things than I thought I could possibly wear. I bought more fruit and more tea to support healthy habits.

Also, an update: The goal skirt arrives and fits already, though I’m going to wait to wear it until I shrink some more so I don’t stretch it as much. I got one wrap skirt already and have two more coming, and I love them already. I also went to a thrift store and got another skirt (size 8) that will fit pretty soon, so I’m excited about that one two. The dress I ordered doesn’t fit yet, and I might save it longer than necessary for the same reason: the top is stretchy and I don’t want it to stretch to it’s max so that I can wear it longer. I need to get a slip or something for that one, it’s sheer in places.



Yesterday, Easter Sunday, we had rehearsal in the big theater for the second time. It’s a glorious place, but it is, unfortunately, the driest place ever to exist on Earth. I can’t be in there for more than an hour without getting a headache, at least the first few times before each show. I don’t know what changes, maybe it finally sinks in that I have to drink gallons of water BEFORE I get there, not just during, but hopefully it’ll get better this time like it did for Rent.

Yesterday, one of the other cast members brought a basket of candy-filled Easter eggs in for everyone, and I noticed that some of them contain my kryptonite, the Cadbury mini eggs. I didn’t take any, but I did feel a pang and start to think “well, one wouldn’t be a great tragedy.” And maybe I could eat only one of them, it wouldn’t be the most shocking thing ever. But maybe I wouldn’t stop at one, and I didn’t want to take the risk. Part of me wonders if they would even taste good to me now, but again, it’s a box I’m not ready to open just yet. If I can make it to a year sans sugar, it might be a different story, but at the beginning of 2 weeks of craziness, it’s just not a safe experiment to have.

It helped to see that most of the adults didn’t take any, and also that I had a banana with me. It tasted nice and sweet without the side order of guilt I probably would have felt afterward. Not guilt because of anything external at all, but guilt at letting myself down, because I’ve worked so hard to make myself healthier, and now is not a good time to test myself.

I’m pretty much at the “oh shit, my free time is GONE” moment, which is bad, because I haven’t stocked up enough food. I need to make curry soup this week some time so that I can have a bunch of meals frozen, and I also need to pack up some cottage cheese cups and grab some other things to take to the theater with me for when attacks of the munchies happen. I’m trying to shift my thinking so that I learn to view this as an opportunity to learn new snacking habits. I need to walk up to the co op at some point this week and look at the snack food there, because I know there are healthy things I can choose, things I haven’t tried before, and that will help.

Friday I got to try edamame, which I loved, so that would be a good option. My mom also said she tried something with freeze-dried corn that tasted like candy, so I can check and see if there’s something like that there. Plus they have stuff in the bulk section, like dried banana slices and other dehydrated fruit, plus nuts and other stuff. There are also kale chips, which I’ve been wanting to try anyway. Even just typing this stuff out is helping, so I know it’s just a mental game I have to keep playing with myself. The co op is 2 blocks from the theater, and they also have a prepared food section with cooked stuff, so I can even go there if I want something hot, and I know they’ll have stuff I’ve never tried before. I can totally do this.

I did something kind of silly this afternoon, and I ordered this skirt. In a size medium. I’m shrinking into a size 12 now (I might be there, but I haven’t had a chance to test the theory just yet.) The medium says it’s for size 8-10, so I know it probably won’t fit when it gets here. My thinking is that by the time it really gets to be summer, it will fit. At $10, itt’s not an expensive gamble or anything, but this hearkens back so many memories of times when my grandmother would buy me clothes that were too small because “they would fit me when I lost weight.” It was a near constant thing with her, and she was the most persistent and obnoxious of the people who always told me I wasn’t good enough because I was fat (no matter how nicely they said it.)

Screen shot 2013-04-01 at 2.44.26 PM

I haven’t often bought “goal clothes” myself, and now that I reflect on it, it’s only been twice so far: the pair of jeans that is now languishing on the floor because they are too big and keep falling off, and the little black dress I got at a thrift store that now fits ok and which I’ve started wearing again. So this might not be the big doomed-to-failure purchase I’m making it out to be in my head, but as long as I’m airing my damage, I’ll include the irrational with the rational. And just to make sure I’m airing it all out and really exorcising it, I’m going to post about it when it gets here, and then post picture of me wearing it once it finally fits.

My veggie list is getting longer, and the ones I will actively seek out is getting more extensive as I learn to cook them in more appealing ways:

photo-22

Really, asparagus should be starred, too, because I go back to that one a lot. I might try pan-frying it to see how it turns out. I’m sure I can find better things to do with carrots, too, they’re just a challenge because DBF doesn’t like them cooked, and I don’t like big carrots raw (though I’ll totally snarf down baby carrots when they’re offered.) I saw a documentary the other day that suggested people should just start adding healthy things in, and eventually the healthy things would crowd out the unhealthy things? That is totally happening for me, and I couldn’t be happier about it. It’s kind of amazing how much easier it is to be satisfied with real food than with the stuff that was slowly killing me.



In my continuing efforts to not spend myself into utter financial ruin, last night I dug through my shoes to see if there were any fun ones that I could now wear again in order to satisfy my need for stompy, tall shoes. Fortunately, there are a couple pairs that I think will do for at least a little bit. Unfortunately, after trying on a bunch of shoes, I find there are some that are just too big on me now, and I have to say goodbye to them.

This is happening, wardrobe wide, unsurprisingly. It would all be so much more fun if I could afford to go out and replace things with decent clothes, but right now, that’s not an option for me. It’s not like the stuff I have to let go of was expensive, designer stuff or anything, but I really don’t want to go buy a bunch of clothes that I am going to shrink out of again in a few months. I don’t know that I’ll be able to really make it to my goal without buying anything, but I might have to make due with a lot less until I get there. The first thing I need to get, though, is a belt, or I’m going to end up going all wardrobe malfunction at some point.

As part of my ongoing efforts to be mentally and emotionally invested in all points regarding my health and my body image, I’ve been looking at clothes online, trying to edit the way I think about clothing. My “fashion sense”, if you can call it that, has basically been informed by questions like: a) will it make me look pregnant? b) will it make me look heavier? c) will it cling in any of my “problem areas”? I’m realizing now how far down the list I have to go before I get to “do I like this?” I don’t anticipate my body will ever been such that I don’t have to consider whether or not it will look good on me, but maybe there will come a day when I don’t automatically dismiss such a wide range of things as “things that I can’t wear.”

I’m sure I will always be a t-shirt and jeans sort of girl, because I honestly don’t tend to have the time or inclination to tart myself up all the time. I can get really enthusiastic about it for maybe a week or so, but inevitably I end up going back to what is easy and comfortable. But there are still a lot of cute clothes out there that are easy and comfortable, and I’ve managed to work a few dresses and skirts in over the last couple of years, so maybe I’ll branch out even more once buying clothes isn’t the soul-crushing experience it has so often been for me in the past.

I’m going to give Brussels sprouts another go today with this recipe. I liked them ok last time, so it’s not that this is their last chance or anything, but we happen to have some cheese left from when I made the cauliflower-crust pizza, so I thought I’d give it a go in the cast iron pan and see if I like it even better. I don’t know if DBF will try them or not, but I need to use them up either way, and cheese never made a food worse.

I have tonight off from rehearsal, which feels really damned luxurious at this point. We have plans to watch a movie with friends, but I am hoping to dance and maybe do some weights before we leave for their place. Maybe a bit ambitious, but I don’t know if I’m going to make it to dance tomorrow or not, so I don’t want to get caught up in the down time and get lazy. If nothing else, their place is about 1.5 miles away, so I’ll get a good walk in at least.

Also, Jen Larsen’s book, Stranger Here, has arrived! I haven’t finished the other books I’m reading, but that’s never stopped me before.



et cetera