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This school year, you guys. I wouldn’t have wished it on my worst enemy.
I signed into my myfitnesspal account this morning and realized that I have been doing this “get fit, lose weight, improve my physical well-being” for about a year now. I started in earnest right around this time last year; I began tracking my food on May 12, 2012.
That day, I consumed a tall soy hazelnut latte, a chocolate donut, 2 Jack-in-the-Box tacos, 3 Jack-in-the-Box stuffed jalapeños, and some pasta carbonara.
I was still learning how to eat, you see. I look at that now and I think… wow. I didn’t yet understand balance, healthy choices, or how much choosing not to make excuses could affect my well-being. I did exercise that day; I think I tried Jillian Michaels’ 30-Day Shred. I thought I was going to throw up after about 5 minutes of it, so I stopped.
What was the switch, you ask? What was the impetus? I think it was an amalgamation of things. Working at a school where people value their bodies and what they can do played a big part in my changes; having to hike and run and keep up with kids on snowshoes proved to me that I really had gained a lot of weight in the last few years.
This next piece I admit with some shame: part of the push was from my ex. In mid-April of last year, he called me and professed his love. He said he was ready and willing to be with me, and be with me for real. In the same conversation (perhaps the same breath), he said, “But Britt, you’ve gotta lose some weight.” That hurt. It knocked the wind out of me. My alcoholic, semi-employed, stoned ex-boyfriend was telling me how to improve myself. And not only how to, but that I needed to.
We tried meeting again, I went slightly crazy and then decided to tell him to get out of my life, but… but his words stuck with me. Partly out of spite, and partly out of self-awareness and self-love, I decided to start taking care of myself. There are few things as powerful as the desire to prove you can to someone who has hurt you or implied you can’t.
People at school and in life ask me how I’ve done it - what’s my big secret? How have I lost all this weight? In my head, I think, “I’m not sure, but probably mostly out of spite.” But really, it’s not that. It’s because I finally took that step toward really caring about myself. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that I decided to start taking care of myself physically at the same time as I made a very big, icky decision about caring for myself emotionally. I decided not to stay with the boy who had hurt me and ruined my trust, in spite of the fact that I did love him. I chose to honor myself instead.
“But really, how did you do it?” people still ask. I eat less. I make healthier choices more often. I move and exercise and stretch and race and run and love it. I get high off my endorphins. Do I still eat chocolate and cake and have lattes? Sure, sometimes. But not all day, every day. I think of myself. I think of how good it feels when I can finish my run. I think of how happy I am when I eat something tasty, but only until I am full or want to stop. These are skills I didn’t have before. If it was tasty, you had better believe I was going to eat the whole. darn. thing. And maybe seconds.
My radical choice, the secret to my success, was to care about myself. This self-care has extended to other areas as well; I set boundaries for myself between school and home. I don’t answer calls from my family if I think they’re going to stress me out. I am a happier, better person for it, and it shows.
So yes, I’ve lost 55 pounds in the past year. And yes, I’ve increased my endurance and can run (mostly) a 5K. But more than anything, I have proven to myself that I can take care of myself. And wonderful things are coming from that lesson. It’s been a good year.
This time last year, I could not run for 30 seconds at a time.
I just ran 6 mph for 5 full minutes, and 8 mph for 30 seconds at a time on the treadmill.
Guys, we have to remember to be gentle with ourselves. Especially when we’re already stressed and fragile. Because goodness knows we all already are.
So, go me. I went running on a school night, and I did something I couldn’t have done 12 months ago.
Now to eat.
(But really. Be gentle with yourself. You deserve it.)
It is an app that creates workouts for you (you can walk, walk/jog, or run) and pulls from your music library to create a playlist that is in sync with your speed. It analyzes the BPM of songs and puts together a workout + playlist for you.
I tried it for the first time today on the treadmill and am very impressed. It changed my speed & incline for the walk/jog, and I feel like I got a pretty good workout. You can also adapt the levels it creates for you, so if you wanted a harder interval, you can pull the graph bar up to adjust its recommendations. I recommend it, and it’s currently $1.99 in the app store. I’m not sure if it is available for Android users.
Training for what, you ask?
Oh, just training for that 200-mile relay race I’m running slightly less than 1/12 of.
I have had still had a terrible cough this week, and if I exert myself for more than a minute or two, I break down coughing and can’t catch my breath. So I’m not training at the moment.
I need to get on that. I’m excited for this race, but I’m also mostly terrified. I haven’t got a leg yet. Still have to work that one out; there are a few we still need to divvy up.
So. Training. I’ll get on that. I really will.
I never in a million years thought I would say going for a run or being on a treadmill would be my stress relief. My, how times have changed.
Week 4, Day 3 of C25K, plus about 2 minutes of fast running at the end because really that’s my favorite part of a race. 5 days to my next 5K!
I usually find good races on active.com; sometimes friends send me links to races they hear about. Some of the races I do are run by people who’ve organized previous races I’ve run, so I get emails from them.
I love race days! I am really excited about all these upcoming races.
So that’s one a month for 4 months. Plus I ran one in January. And yet I still don’t think of myself as a runner… probably because I don’t really train. I might want to get on that.
I’ll take it!