Five Former Fatties

Fat loss info from former fatties

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You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do.

~Jenn

As I mentioned last week, my shoulder is pretty screwed – last week I couldn’t even raise my arms to wash my hair.  This has wreaked havoc on my workouts, and my diet has correspondingly gone to hell. Lesson #463: I can’t eat like I’m working out a lot if I’m not actually working out a lot. Also, cinnamon rolls taste better when I’m inactive. Who knew.

I can’t spin for a while because I can’t hold the handlebars, so I have come to the realization that the time has come once again for me to meet my Nemesis.

Running.

For anyone who missed it, I effing hate running. Hate it. It bores the living crap out of me. I’ll bike for hours. Or rollerskate. Ice skate. Hike. Climb stuff. Throw stuff. Lift stuff. Punch/kick stuff. Running is really about the only physical thing I sincerely hate to do. (Aside from swimming, but that’s a fear of drowning thing, I’ll explain another day.)

Actually that’s not completely true; I used to run track, the 100M and 200M, and I loved it – sprinting has speed and power, my two favorite things. But 200M, that’s as far as I’d run. I couldn’t run 400M because I got bored and unenthused around 300M and didn’t care if I won or not. That’s after about 45 seconds of running. Yep, I get bored REALLY easily.

But I can’t bike right now. I can’t climb, or throw or punch or lift anything. I can’t rollerskate because if I fall (which is HIGHLY likely, me being me) my  injured left arm will be of no help to me, then or for a long time afterward. I’ve held off for as long as I can, but I’m staring bikini season in the eye in three months-ish, and I have no choice.

I have to effing run. And oh, I don’t wanna.

But, if there is one thing I’ve learned through the weight loss thing, it’s to suck it up. Do I want to eat vegetables? Not all the time, no, but I do anyway. Do I want to get up at 7am Saturday morning and spin? Not really, but I often have done it. Do I want to get on an effing treadmill, or go out in the cold to the park trail and effing run? No. No I do not. But I’m going to.

Because the only thing I hate more than running is looking at myself after a month of relative inactivity and being afraid I’m going back to 220. Of losing what I have worked so hard for.

I am actually going to look to see if I can find some sprint interval training or something. I’d rather run super hard and fast for short periods repeatedly than the same pace for half an hour or an hour. I am going to try to make running into something I will hate less. If anyone has some info on interval training with sprints/running and if it can work for me for cardio, I’d love to read it. Because sitting around doing nothing has officially become even more boring than running.

Apparently I HAVE changed.

 

Posted March 15th, 2012.

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Not Limitless

Jenn

When I was overweight, I always kinda thought that losing weight would fix a ton of stuff in my life. That my life would then be the way I wanted it to be.

I have to say, a lot of that happened.  I can wear the clothes I want. I can walk around naked and feel great about it. I can eat crap food sometimes without feeling like a loser and berating myself endlessly.

Amusingly though I have a new set of problems now. Namely injuries. I’m just heading to Physio, again.  My left shoulder is screwed, so is my right hip and knee.  My right shoulder isn’t far behind.  I’m faced with the reality that while I’m in pretty good shape fitness-wise, my body is a fairly unhappy camper and no longer appreciates my ‘Take No Prisoners’ workout style.

I don’t feel fat now. I feel my mortality.

I could circumvent the majority of my pain by adjusting my workouts, and being patient and not jumping so fast into ‘full-blast’ mode after injuries and illnesses (”Weekend Warrior”-ing  myself). Which I’m cool with. What sucks is that my body isn’t doing what I want, as fast as I want. I am realizing that the fast recovery isn’t coming back. Ever.  When I was overweight all I saw was my physical potential, and in my mind it was limitless.

Turns out it isn’t.

Don’t get me wrong, when I was fat I had loads of physical problems. Plantar Fasciitis from running (because I weighed a lot and ran, I hurt my feet), back problems from having a weak core, horrible cardio capacity and endurance…  But it takes so much longer now to recover from injuries, and so much less to injure me than when I was younger.  And I have to say, that freaks me out a bit.  In so many ways I’m physically so much better than I was when I was 20, half my life ago, that it feels unfair that now that I’m maximizing my potential, my body keeps breaking down.  I’m so glad I’m where I am now, and proud that I’ve done what I have. But right now I’m feeling twinges of regret that it took me so long, even though my biggest motivation to lose weight was not to feel any regret later.

Youth was wasted on young Jenn. Sigh.

Posted March 8th, 2012.

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She Shoots…

Jenn

I was thinking about goals and rewards today, and what the very beginning of the life change process was like for me.

When starting out, I had a general weight goal, kind of aiming for around 150. (I’ve never hit 150, more on that later)  What I did have firmly in mind though, was my reward, courtesy of my friends Joanne and Ross. Shortly after starting my weight loss, around Christmas 2008, we were all together at a party (I was drinking water and eating veggie lasagna a la Kate omnomnom).  Ross and Joanne said they wanted to go to a music festival in California called Coachella, in late April. I thought that would be approximately when I hit goal, so I decided that that would be my reward.

So I bought a weekend pass for around $250 and a return plane ticket.

Had I reached goal yet? Hell no, I was around 195 pounds at that point. But I’ll tell ya, a rock show in the desert where I’d have to wear minimal clothing, that I had just shelled out a lot of money to attend, was a reinforcing motivator in addition to being an awesome celebration of success.

That should tell you about my mindset going into the lifestyle change. I didn’t set that goal/celebration/reward as a way to force myself to stay compliant.  It just never occurred to me for a second between Hallowe’en and late April that I would not succeed. Not for an instant. I set Coachella as an end date; I set a general weight goal for that point, set weight milestones to hit, and focused on losing 1.5 to 2 pounds a week.

And that’s what I did.

In April 2009 I was 35 pounds lighter, wearing a tie-up top and size 10 regular size shorts with awesome arms, looking better than I possibly ever had before, singing and crying with my best friends while  Leonard Cohen sang ‘Hallelujah’ in the California desert at sunset.  Best. Day. Ever.

For me, a weight goal wasn’t my aim. No one I know ever stopped exactly at a specific weight and had that be the ‘right’ one. People have gone farther because they did better than they thought they could. I stopped before the loose goal weight because it turned out my healthy fitness weight was higher than that after I had muscle on board. I didn’t make a number my goal, and I didn’t make my trip my goal either.

My goal was a feeling.  Feeling like I was fit. Feeling like I was attractive. Feeling confident. Feeling like I was in control of my life in every way. I have lost more weight since then, but I still feel that April 2009 at Coachella was truly when I reached my goal. When I see pictures of me at Coachella, I see me happy with myself for the first time.

This is me at goal.

Posted February 23rd, 2012.

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Do, or Do Not. There Is No Try. -Yoda

Jenn

One of the biggest changes that happened to me over the course of becoming Jenn 2.0 has been how well I know myself.  Before I made the change, I was in excuse-making mode. In my head, I was always doing as well as I could, trying as hard as I could try, but obviously I just wasn’t capable of doing what it takes to change my life and lifestyle the way I needed to. How I came to realize that wasn’t the case might make you laugh.

I realized it from watching an episode of Dr. Phil.

You may commence laughing now.

I know, he’s full of pithy homespun wisdom and y’alls. But it’s funny, what he was saying that time happened to be something that made sense to me.

He said to a woman, “You’re not expecting enough from yourself.”  When he said that, I realized he was absolutely right, and that it applied to me.  I was living my life in cruising gear. I had conditioned myself to accept mediocrity without question.

I thought about being 90 someday.  I thought, if I don’t change anything, when I’m 90 and I look back on my life, what will I think of it? And I realized that I would feel regret.  I would think about 37 year old Jenn, and wonder why I gave up. At 90, looking at Jenn at 37, and 40, and 45, and 50, I would wonder what I could have looked like, what I could have done.  I would wonder why I thought 37 was too late, why I thought I was too old to change (at 37!!), why I figured my best days were behind me, and why I spent my life only half alive.  And at 90, I couldn’t change it.  At 90, I would feel regret.

And then I thought, I’m not 90 years old. I’m 37.

I have time now.

I have time to live my life at 100% effort. I have time to see  how strong I can be.  I have time to see what I look like in a bikini, to dance, to run and bike and  climb and do whatever I want to do. To live my life in a way that I will look back and think “Well done, Jenn. Well done.”

I decided that I won’t live the rest of my life at half-effort, and regret it at the end when it’s too late.

Today, most times I don’t leave the gym until I’m lying on the floor soaked in sweat and barely moving. If I have anything left, I do more.  I give everything.  If I’m sick or injured, I give myself some slack and treat myself with kindness, but won’t use it as an excuse. That’s the difference between Now Me and Before Me.  I give everything I have, and not only at the gym, but in the rest of my life too.

I won’t die someday never knowing what I could have been if I’d only really tried. I won’t live, or die, with regret.  I’m 41 years old. And I’m the most kick-ass 41 year old I can possibly be.  I’m the me I want to be.

Are you?

Posted February 16th, 2012.

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The Shallow End of the Pool

Jenn

This is a weird blog entry, it was hard to write.

I had an interesting conversation with a guy a while back. He didn’t know that I had ever been overweight. He randomly started talking about how he’d never date a fat chick, that some other poor fucker could deal with those, and they can have a bunch of ugly kids. He’d rather stick with the hot chicks like me.

The rest of the brief conversation did not go well. For him.

It did bring up an issue I’ve thought a lot about though.  When I was 220, I always hoped that someone would see me and like me for who I was inside, and also who I was on the outside.  The thing is though, that now that I’m normal weight, I can’t usually date overweight men.  It’s not necessarily because I find all of them physically unattractive either.  It’s that, odds have it, if a man is fairly overweight he has a different lifestyle than I do, and probably a different outlook on health and life.

Realistically, I can’t date someone who would be sitting across from me every night eating pizza or McDonalds.  I can’t.  I can’t have that stuff in my house.  And I can’t date someone who sits on the couch all the time, because I don’t do that anymore myself.  If a guy is really overweight and out of shape, he can’t do a lot of the things I like to do, and that’s not good for any relationship. I need someone who thinks and likes similar things to me.

Looking back to when I was big, I wouldn’t expect an in-shape guy to have dated me.  I wouldn’t have if I were them.  Not because I wasn’t worthy of love, or because I was ugly, but because realistically we would probably have been different people with different lifestyles, and that’s a hard thing for a couple to pull off.

So, after hearing dickhead go on about his dislike of the fat chicks, I told him I used to weigh 220, and that I was one of the women he’d never date.  There was an awkward pause, followed by “ummmm you’re kidding”. I then told him I’d never date him. Because while he doesn’t date ‘fat chicks’, which I can understand and respect if that’s a body type he’s not physically attracted to, I don’t date douchebags that make fun of and denigrate other people because of their appearance. And that ironically his attitude combined with his lifestyle, which includes never exercising, smoking, and eating huge piles of junk that only his 30 year old metabolism is saving him from (for now), makes him someone I would never remotely consider going out with.

Frankly I’d go out with a slightly overweight guy who is trying to get it together way before a normal-weight dink like this tool. Yuck.

Posted February 9th, 2012.

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I’m Already Sweet Enough.

Jenn

I was reading an article in Time magazine today, about a study published in ‘Nature’ that sugar is a toxic substance and should be regulated.

A lot of my weight gain came from sugar in various forms, particularly drinks.  When I first started eating healthy, I went cold-turkey from sugar and refined carbs like pasta. I was sick for well over a week – sick as in violent headaches, depression and vomiting.  That’s actually minor though when compared to the affect sugar was having on me when I was eating it frequently, and still does when I eat or drink more sugar than I can handle (which isn’t much), like lately .

Aside from the obvious weight gain, physiologically, sugar gives me huge anxiety – I get all twitchy and my body goes into fight-or-flight.  If I don’t make it to the gym, odds are I had sugar within four hours previous, because I just want to sleep. The biggest physical reaction to sugar I have though, is night sweats. When I eat even a moderate amount of sugar I wake in the middle of the night boiling hot and perspiring like I’m running a marathon.  I went three years without waking in the night boiling hot (virtually no sugar for three years, yay me!), then ate a bunch of sugar and it started back up. When I stopped again, it stopped.  Now it’s back.  I’ve read accounts from other people who experienced that as well. That’s not a scientific study, but it’s good enough for me.

Is sugar a drug? No. But I have to say, personally I have had a much harder time (both physically and mentally) stopping sugar than anything else, alcohol included (and at one point when I was younger I REALLY loved alcohol).  As my friends all know, I’m a big fan of personal responsibility and Just Say No, that food doesn’t own anyone, but holy crap, sugar is a sneaky one. I wonder if it might be doing more physiologically to us than we as a society think it is. Frankly the night sweats and the fact that I get violently ill for a week when I stop eating and drinking it are pretty convincing for me personally. My motto is, if I have to painfully detox off something, that’s probably not good.

I think I’m just going to have to stop eating/drinking sugar altogether.  Which will actually grieve me a bit, given my long-term daily mocha habit. But given the fact that the prospect of giving up mochas and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Dark Chocolate fills me with dread, that pretty much tells me it’s a good idea; I’m not chocolate’s bitch. So farewell, my morning mocha. Saying goodbye to you is bittersweet, but I’m trading you in for a mid-morning walk and a real snack.  I’m probably in for a world of hurt for a week or so, but as I learned through the weight loss thing, sometimes in life I just have to suck it up.

PS: This is the end of day 1. I have a raging headache already. I had some caffeine earlier to avoid THAT headache, but ate cleanly otherwise. Let the games begin. You won’t win this one, sugar – you’re going down.

Posted February 2nd, 2012.

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