Friday, June 29, 2012

The Week's End!

I had an amazing weekend last weekend, but I am so glad that the week is over. I am ready to start fresh with my points and get back on track with my 10K training.

I'm getting tired of walking. These hour long treadmill walks just are not very much fun. I could go outside but it is sooo hot this week. If I just walk outside I like to take my dogs and it's a little too hot for them. I think they enjoy the escape to my cool basement too. They love to be around me and generally lay down on the floor while I walk, run, or bike. Sometimes I tell at them while I walk. Anyway as long as the afternoons are hot I'll be on the treadmill. Plus an hour walk outside in my town could be rather boring. Maybe even as boring as the treadmill.

I've definitely worked hard the last few days but I'm sad that I probably won't see much benefit in terms of weight thanks to my splurge-filled weekend. It was fun but I feel as though I've been detoxing all week. The plus side? I've gotten lots of exercise! I'll also end the week with unused activity points do that makes me feel like the work I've put in wasn't totally erased. It also helps to remind me that a crazy weekend is okay now and then but it's definitely not something I want to do all the time.

I may have a meal out or go out for drinks but it is usually in moderation. Last week was too much of both. Although we didn't eat a lot, it wasn't the healthiest. I think I finally have the excess sodium flushed out of my system. I don't feel as puffy.

I called the doctor's office back today and let them know I'd like to keep my appointment because of the hardened bulging areas. The receptionist was totally awesome about it and asked if I was having pain or anything. Luckily I'm not, unless I poke at or press on them. If I had pain I'd have called a couple weeks ago.

I'm glad I'll know what's going on next week. Hopefully it's nothing abnormal and the lumps will go away on their own. If not I guess I'll have to get them tested or something. After reading about possibly having them aspirated I'm a little nervous. I'm not horrible with needles but I definitely don't enjoy having them stuck into me to see what comes out. I'm a big girl though. I'll suck it up. I think my Mom's going too do if need be, I'll have my Mommy there. Of course I would probably do better without her. I'm sure I'm more of a baby when she's around!

I guess that's about it. I'm walking. Iw and will bike a little later. My eating has been good today... In fact it's been so good that I am finally going to be able to have pasta for dinner. I've wanted it all week but other yummy things popped up during the day leaving me without enough points to have it.

I'm making whole grain spaghetti with some turkey sausage, and spaghetti sauce of course. I can even have a little Parmesan - Romano cheese on it. I'll have a salad with fat free Italian dressing in the side. It sounds so good I kinda want to go eat right now! However I have to finish this hour. It should be a little cooler when I'm done so it won't be as hot when I cook... I hope! At least the oven won't be in. That really heats things up!

I'm looking forward to running tomorrow morning. If the weather is decent I'll go outside. Otherwise I will run in the treadmill. At least when I run time passes faster. Then again I don't run as long as I walk, so that's pretty obvious.

Hope you have had an excellent week and that your weekend is off to a gray start! Happy Friday!!!

XOXO

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Random Workout Thought

I find it funny that, given my shape (pear),I like to walk and run so much. As though I really need my butt to be any bigger. My thighs too, for that matter. Better muscle than flab though!!

XOXO

Heat.

I love summer. I will take warm temps over cold anytime. Right this minute I wish it was a little cooler. I hadn't even started my walk and I'm sweating. It has been so hot and humid. The heat I don't mind so much. It's the humidity that bugs me. I have fans. I have room air conditioners but they're not installed and I have no idea how to install them. My Dad does that for me and he's a busy guy. Maybe I can get him to come down on Sunday or something. Not that it will help me right now but that's ok. I'll just sweat a little more than usual. I guess that's not all bad.

I've had lots of water today so I'm going into this workout hydrated. No worries. I'm usually good about that. It's when I start early in the morning that I'm not properly hydrated. I can't drink a ton of water and then run. I feel way too full and pretty gross if I do that.

Tip: Make sure you are hydrated before, during, and after workouts. It is SO important.

I'm still in the undecided zone regarding Disney's Princess half marathon. I want to do it but I am also a little scared to do it. I have time to decide but I'm afraid if I wait too long I won't have time to properly train. Considering this will be my first, I need that time.

I've had lots of encouragement to do it so I know I'll have people to cheer me through my training. That? Will help. Immensely. I will, undoubtedly, have some fears and insecurities but I have a good support system. That should help keep me motivated. I hope!! This is a goal that I certainly want to achieve but I wonder if I'm ready for it that soon.

Hmmm... What else?

Oh! I've definitely decided on the new tattoo. Now I just have to get it. I was going to get it in the city last weekend but didn't have the time. I guess that's okay though... I know someone who owns a shop not far away so I will probably go there. I know it has an awesome reputation... They do great work and it's very clean. Most definitely a good place to go. Now I just have to decide when. I was going to go next week after my follow-up with my surgeon but my Mom wants to ride along. I'm not sure she will want to go with me there! I will find a time though.

I'm ready for my next appointment. I cannot wait until next week. The office left me message (well a person from the office) about possibly changing if all is well with me. I really don't want to.

First, there's the matter of time offer work and all. I already have that arranged. That's minor though. The big reason I don't want to push it back is because of those weird lumps in my thighs. They might be nothing but I want that confirmed. Plus everything I'm reading online says "see your surgeon." I really should've called and gone in earlier... Anyway I feel kind of bad because there are a lot of patients who will need their first follow-ups in that time. But... I don't know what these lumps are and I need to take care of myself. They're more obvious now that a lot of the swelling seems as though it's gone down. There are two obvious lumps that were not as obvious as the were before.

Anyway... I'm thinking I'm not going to be as flexible as I usually would be. I really want these lumps checked out!

I really want to post more but I'm not sure I have much more to say. I was hoping to pass a little more time during this walk. However writing for the sake of making treadmill time pass probably isn't a great idea. I'd just be babbling in... No sense in that!!

I'm off to finish this walk, take a dinner break, and do some biking after that. Great way to spend a hot and humid evening. At least I'm in the basement!!

XOXO


Wednesday, June 27, 2012

By the way....

When I post during a walk I am not going at a slow pace. I just have autocorrect to help me. That and it probably took me at least 30 minutes to write my post earlier! :)

Just Walking

With my training detailed this week, I'm pretty much just walking. I need to run too but for the next couple days my focus is on length of time rather than intensity. I really don't know why but it's nice to change things up a bit.

I will also include biking over the next couple days. Today I'm walking for at least an hour and will bike (a little later this evening) for 30 minutes. I'm still fighting against the weekend and need to make up a few points.

Again do not run yourself ragged trying to exercise away a bad couple days. It really doesn't work. Exercise is highly important for your health but weight loss starts with what you put into your body.

I'm just being obsessive about how mt points look. No one else sees any of that stuff so I'm not trying to make myself look like I was good. I just want to see it where I'd like it. I don't expect exercise to erase the weekend. It's benefitting my body though, and that's good enough for me! I'm bit going to excess or anything. Just getting in some good sweaty time.

My eating has been great the last two days. I still feel the sodium in my system though. I've been drinking my water do hopefully in a couple days my fingers and toes won't feel quite as puffy.

I bought groceries yesterday so that I could restock the house... For a bit anyway. I mostly bought fresh fruits and veggies, and meat for the week.", and that stuff doesn't last long. It's crazy how much I can spend on fresh, healthy foods. I'd rather pay the price to eat healthy foods now rather than paying for the effects of too much junk later!

I was on a cinnamon and sugar toast kick for a while. Not good. Tooooo many bad carbs and such are lurking in sugar. My bread is always whole grain but topped with a little butter (even if it is light) and sugar, it doesn't matter much. The good news is I haven't had that in about a week. I haven't craved it. Talking about it dies t make me want to jump off the treadmill and eat it. So that's good.

Anyway... Exercise...

I get tired of doing the same thing all the time. Usually my thing is running. Even though the training plan includes CT and ST I'm just not feeling like running. I am looking forward to doing it again though.

Saturday begins my new week for WW points and is also the day I've used as my weigh-in day for ages. On Saturday I will get back into my usual workout routine too.

My plan, which hopefully doesn't go awry, is to run and do some ST on Saturday morning. Since it will have been a week and a say without a run, I anticipate some walking. I can't believe how fast my running stamina goes down. Running is definitely something I need to do continuously.

I have to say I like being able to walk and blog at the same time. It's a good time saver and it's a great way to make boring treadmill time go by! I'm writing from my phone so it takes longer which ends up bring a good thing for me... At least while I walk on the treadmill.

I'm hoping my allergies aren't going crazy at the end of the week. I'd the weather wound stay about the same I think that would help. My allergies act up with the changes. Then my sinuses get all irritated and I feel yucky. Running outside doesn't always work out for me. Sometimes running by a certain plant will cause problems.

Some chemicals do it too. I was not feeling great yesterday but I wasn't as bad as I was last night or today. I noticed the change in my head as someone was cleaning an office at work. Whatever that spray is gets me every stinkin' time. When what sounds like too much is used, it's even worse. That was yesterday. My throat still hurts.

Now that I've sounded whiney... Which wasn't my intention or the tone with which I wrote (was just saying), I suppose I'll wrap this up. I'm not done with my walk yet, but I am much closer than I was when I started!!

XOXO

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Training Derailed.

I did not follow my 10k training plan on Saturday or Monday. I had a super busy but extra super fun weekend and didn't find the time. Due to traffic (accident, detour, construction) my drive home took a couple extra hours. And I was pretty much exhausted by last night.

I'm not sure how I did it but somehow I managed to pull a muscle (I think) just above my hip. I probably did it lifting or carrying something this weekend. Or even in my sleep. I've managed to break a few toes on my sleep do I'm sure I'm capable of pulling a muscle.

I'm taking the week off from the actual training and starting fresh. I am not taking it completely off from exercise though. I burned through my WW points over the weekend so I've gotta earn some back.

That being said,never exercise just so you can eat unhealthy foods or to make up for eating unhealthy foods. I am only concerned because of points. Not because I'm trying to erase some damage. That doesn't work. As I've said before weight loss is more about what you eat.

I didn't eat a large quantity of food over the weekend but as far as health is concerned it wasn't good quality. Drinks didn't help either. This was a special occasion (trip to the city with my cousin for two awesome concerts and a little shopping). We did a lot of walking which was good. Walking for hours each day was probably my saving grace. It wasn't fitness walking but I'm not a slow walker either so I earned some points.

Points aside I can feel that I ate out all weekend (Friday night - Monday). I can feel the fluid retention from excess sodium. Yuck!!

I'm actually doing a lighter walk as I write this (so forgive any typos please). My hip is rather sore, and it seems to be moving to my back as I walk, so I thought running was not the best idea. I'm on the treadmill which is super boring. If it wasn't so loud I'd probably be chatting on my phone instead of blogging. Of course talking is harder than moving my thumb around my screen. For once I'm pleased to have autocorrect to catch most of my typos... As long as it doesn't change things so that they're odd and nonsensical. Anyway, this is definitely helping to pass the time. I'm dad I don't have cable in my basement though. I am missing one of my guilty pleasure TV shoes... Pretty Little Kiats. Pretty sure that's directed toward teens and early twenty somethings. Oh well.

So.. The concerts were great!! Saturday night we saw Sugarland. Lauren Alaina (from American Idol I heard,,, haven't watched that in years) opened for them. She was awesome. And for being 17, what a voice!!

Sunday night we saw Ted Nugent, Styx (who I love) and my favorite band REO Speedwagon. Lots of fun! We met some awesome new people and had a lot of fun.

I love any weekend, or day for that matter, in the city!

The shopping was fun too, of course. I visited my favorite, BCBG, and bought a couple cute things. I was there a few weeks ago do not much was different. I made what was probably my last trip to the Betsey Johnson store. Sadness. I got a few cute things there so I'm glad I was able to find something.

There were lots of other typical stops too.

And then there was Akira. I live that store! I didn't buy anything last time I was there but I'm constantly checking out their website. This weekend I made my first in-store purchases. And ohhhh were they lovely!! A couple neon pieces? Oh yes. And a crazy crop top that my cousin and Dominic (best sales guy ever!) assured me was flattering. I was nervous but my cousin is not one to say something is cute if it isn't. Then there's the amazing new LBD that is sheer and has tulle around the bottom. I got quite a few cute pieces there (everywhere actually). My cousin and I bought some metallic leggings and now I'm not quite sure why.

At first I was annoyed about having to get a couple things in a large instead of a medium (especially since some smalls fit) but I got over it. Everything is cut differently and obviously their stuff must run a little small. What was important was that it was cute and looked good (some very flattering according to my new pal Dominic). The L on the label doesn't matter. The fact that I looked awesome and felt amazing did.

I suppose.... Off to finish this walk am then accomplish something! Hope you all had a great weekend and a week that's even better!

XOXO

Friday, June 22, 2012

Piece of advice? In order to get up early to workout you have to re-set your alarm for an earlier time.

Ooooops.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

It Still Hurts; I Still Cry

It's no secret that I'm a highly emotional person. There are times when someone could look at me wrong and I'll cry. There are other times that someone might misunderstand what I've said, then they get angry with me, and so I get angry with them for being so ridiculous or making assumptions or whatever. Generally when I'm angry I don't do much of anything....Depending on who it is. Some people are lucky (ha!) enough to feel the wrath which usually consists of hurtful words and sometimes some yelling.  Always crying, at some point.

I'm a crier. I cry when I am happy, sad, angry, and sometimes because I'm too sentimental. Yes, I cry at shows like "Say Yes to the Dress." Not always, but sometimes when someone has a really good story, it gets to me. I cry at movies. I will probably always cry (or at least get a little tearful) when "Big" leaves "Carrie" at the alter in the SATC movie, and she gets out and beats him with her flowers....That whole scene just fills me with emotion.

That being said, I cried today. Just a minute ago. In fact, there are still tears in my eyes. I will, most likely, cry again.

I think back to my past, who I was before I made the decision to change my lifestyle and how far I've come. It still hurts. It hurts to know what I put my body through. I started using diet pills in high school. I used different types off and on. There were secret diets; usually crash diets. No matter what I did, something always prevented me from losing weight.

I don't remember it happening when I was younger as much as when I reached college age. That's when I can remember my eating habits were disordered.  When most people think of disordered eating they think of anorexia or bulimia. Not me. Nope, I got the one that can (and for me did) lead to obesity...Morbid obesity. I'm a compulsive eater (or a binge eater, depending on how you want to say it).  I have an unhealthy relationship (enter obsessive/compulsive behaviors) with food. One of the things that people with ED do is engage in emotional eating. Oh yeah...That was me.

 It's not yet in the DSM-IV (google it). If I were to go and be diagnosed, it'd be a diagnosis of Eating Disorder, NOS (not otherwise specified). There's hope that Binge Eating Disorder will be recognized in the DSM-V. They're working on it. I hope it makes it. Honestly if I'm going to have some issue I'd rather it be noted rather than the NOS thing...If something is "wrong" (for lack of a better word), I want it to be specified. I want to KNOW.

Sometimes I think I am a little OCD in my every day life, but not to the point that it consumes me. So, it's not a disorder....Although I do admit I have some traits. This is probably what causes me to be so anxious about certain things, but I'm not always anxious....It's specific.

Anyway, it still hurts to think about opening a refrigerator at night, when my parents were sleeping, and literally start shoveling food into my mouth for no real reason. A bag of chips? Not a problem for me. I'd eat until I was sick. It wouldn't matter what it was.  Naturally my binges were in secret. They were always unhealthy foods. A binge on fruit? Never.

What hurts is thinking about how I didn't care about myself. I didn't have the self-esteem to even love myself like I should. I didn't care about my health. Sure I went to my regular appointments and I'd go to the doctor when I needed to if I was sick.  I didn't really have regard for my health though. I'd do a diet to lose weight because I hated how I looked. I was fat. I was miserable. I'd try anything to just lose weight. It was always "too hard" to stick to. I didn't have my mind made up to change my way of living.

In addition to eating too much, I know I drank too much...Especially my last semester of college. And for a while after. I wasn't an alcoholic. But a binge drinker? Yes. I'd go out on the weekends with friends and we'd proceed to get drunk. Really drunk. I can't tell you how many trash cans I ruined at a friend's house because I'd vomit.  And it wasn't just there. Bathrooms at the bar? Yup. On the sidewalk? Yes. Down the side of someone's car as they drove me home? A time or two. I went out with the intention to get drunk. Now if I go out it's for the socialization, and to have a few drinks sometimes. I'm not found pounding beers, mixed drinks, and shots one after the other. Now if I go out, I spend more time talking than drinking. 

I honestly just didn't care. It's not like I thought "ugh...I hate myself. I should eat. Or get wasted."  I didn't even think about it. I knew I wasn't healthy but I ignored it. I'd try to get on track with losing weight and failed. Over and over again. I lost my first 55 (known) pounds very slowly, over a two year period. Then I managed to maintain it for a while. Finally I reached a point when I turned 29 that I knew I had to change.

In addition to crying over how I felt and how I treated myself; the hurt. I also cry because of the changes that I made.  I often say it wasn't hard to lose weight. And it wasn't. It was changing my way of thinking and my way of living that was hard. Actually...That wasn't that hard either. Changing my lifestyle was easy; I cut out junk, ate healthy, and added exercise. This time I was dedicated and stuck to it.  And here I am... Still healthy.

Changing my thinking was the challenge. Learning to not turn to food to manage my emotions was hard. Now? I cry. I probably cry more now than I used to, but it gets it out in a healthy way. I'm okay with being a crier. I'm letting it out rather than covering it by stuffing my face full of junk.

To this day I cannot keep anything unhealthy in my house. I'll eat it. Probably within a matter of days. It's too dangerous to have it around. I have the strength not to buy it. I don't have the strength to watch my portions when it comes to eating it. I KNOW how, but I sometimes feel that loss of control. For me, it's better to keep it away. It helps me to stay focused and even in those times that I would binge I THINK about it because I can't. I've had things in the house and have stopped myself from binging many times. But it's still there and sometimes it tries to come out.

I still sneak food sometimes. When I'm at my parents' house, where they have food I avoid. It's not often. I generally eat in front of them. But I've been known to eat a few cookies when no one is around, or looking. I don't know if it's because it's there and my brain thinks, "it's here...eat it...you won't get this at home."  It's okay to enjoy things once in a while, but to feel that I sometimes have to hide it remains a problem.

This makes me cry too. The good thing is that now I can control it. I might eat two (or four) cookies and then stop myself. I can eat chips and stop myself before I hit the bottom of the bag. Unless there's only a handful left, I will not empty a bag, box, or container of anything. I really try to think about what I'm doing, what's going into my body, and how much work it would take to burn those calories. Believe it or not, thinking of sweating on the treadmill for an extra hour (although you shouldn't really exercise to eat badly; you should just eat healthy) doesn't appeal to me. I already work hard!  I also know that weight loss and being healthy is more about what you eat. The things we put into our bodies are what really matter. How else did I lose so much weight with so little exercise?!

I'd say that I'm recovering from this ED. I'm not cured. I will probably always have issues with food and body image. It's the being in control part that helps me not to do it. There are times when I'm so emotional that it would be really easy to gorge myself. No amount of telling myself how bad it is helps at those times. It hurts to know that I will probably always carry this with me. I don't know that I will ever fully "recover" from this ED. I try like hell, sometimes it feels like it's every single day of my life. It's not. I'm much more in control, and given the qualifiers of the ED, I would no longer meet criteria. The tendencies and behaviors are still there though. It's become a part of me, but it won't make me or break me. I've learned to manage it; to live with it. I know how to control the behaviors. I know what types of situations to avoid. I know how to be healthy.

Most of all I've learned to love myself. My self-esteem is so much better. I still have my days; my moments and I know I will. I would find it hard to believe that most people don't have moments of feeling down on themselves. Especially if they happen to be a perfectionist, like me...Afraid of messing up; afraid of disappointing anyone.

It's a hard road sometimes, but I'm doing okay. I've found strength and peace. I believe in myself. I know what I can do; what I can achieve. I'm no longer afraid to chase dreams. Sure, I still worry about failing, but I'm starting to realize that sometimes just doing things can bring a great sense of accomplishment.

I believe...In me. I love me.

Speaking of that...I've been considering a wrist tattoo for ages now. I've just never gotten one. I always liked the look of the world "love" so that the script looks like a heart. Honestly though? It seems that most people get those. For me, a tattoo that said "love" would remind me to love myself every time I look at it. It wouldn't be about loving someone else, finding love, or whatever other reason someone may come up with. If I tattoo "love" on my body it will be a reminder, every day for the rest of my life, how important it is to love myself.  The other word I've considered is "believe." Looking at that would remind me to believe in myself, no matter what...To keep fighting, keep pushing, and stop doubting. I think that it would give me a great sense of strength; maybe even more than love would.  I've found love for myself; I know how to do that and I do.  Believing in myself is something that I'm not always so good at. I still need reminders sometimes... I worry too much about failing. Seeing "believe" would remind me of the strength I've found and that I'm never going to let go.  If I get "believe" I would probably get the symbol for ED recovery next to it. I'm really struggling between the two words, but I am leaning more toward "believe."

Feel free to share your thoughts. :)

One thing I know is that I need to stop crying, even if it is with a smile on my face, get up from my chair, and go pack for a fun filled weekend!!

XOXO

These Lumps!

I took a picture of my lumps and posted it on my FB fan page last night.  I've been slightly obsessed with these lumps lately.  They are nearly driving me crazy. I keep poking at and squeezing them. Then last night I had to go and look in the mirror and then take a picture, which I cannot seem to stop looking at.  My thighs seem to bulge out quite a bit where those lumps are (inner side, near my knee). When I squeeze the inner thighs there's definitely still a bit of tenderness. I looked and realized I did have a drainage hole (more like a slit) cut in that area. I thought that they were only behind my knees but these are a bit more to the side. I didn't even realize that they were there.

Naturally my obsession with it lead me to google to see what I could figure out. I believe I mentioned this in a previous blog but maybe not in as much detail.

It's early.  At this point, there still might be some swelling.

Seromas....The build-up of fluid. Swelling is excess fluid, however this is a collection of fluid that lasts, and is most noticeable after the initial swelling starts to go down. Massage should help. It will more than likely just go away on its own as time goes by. It's pretty common (so much so that it is considered "normal" on the inner-thighs).

Necrotic fat. Areas of the melted (now dead) fat cells that collected/were not suctioned out. This happens just because getting very little bit suctioned out is very difficult. There's going to be a little left over. Eventually the dead fat will be reabsorbed by the body; processed through the liver and kidneys like anything else. It won't turn into regular fat cells again; it's been destroyed. This is the second possible option.

They could be hematomas (collections of blood), but that's probably not the case.

The most likely of those is that they are seromas. Nothing to worry about, really. I guess they're just more of a nuisance than anything else. If they're too bad, the doctor can aspirate them with a needled to help shrink them. I also read that sometimes a needle is poked in and aspiration is attempted to see what they really are. If fluid comes out, the doctor will know that they're seromas.  Some doctors may not do this at all to figure it out....An experienced surgeon is well aware of what these things are like and will most likely be able to diagnose without aspiration. From what I read, aspiration is only done if it's difficult to figure out what the bumps are. 

I know that my mind will be eased when I see my surgeon....July 6th....Two more weeks.  I'm zeroing in on this area of my body because it's bothering me. I know they're there, and I'm pretty sure they might be causing my thighs to look a little bigger. I'm not worried about them causing any problems. It's honestly more of a cosmetic thing... I don't like how they are making my thighs look.  I got lipo to make my thighs look smaller and I feel like these lumps are making them look ugly (although they are a bit smaller). I'm still healing so I'm trying not to focus too much on them, but it's hard... Especially when you have surgery to make yourself look better. 

I know it's pre-mature to say that I still do not like my thighs, but I don't. I've pretty much decided that next year I'll be getting a thigh lift and brachioplasty.  I had an idea that lipo on it's own wouldn't correct my thighs to the extent that I'd like. It's too bad that I had to do the lipo first. It would've been much nicer to be able to do the lift right away, but there was quite a bit of fat that had to be removed first, so lipo it was. There's still quite a bit of...Stuff, I guess, on my thighs. Some is skin, which will continue to tighten as I heal. I can lift the excess up, or sort of push it up, to reveal a smaller thigh. I want smaller thighs. Thigh lift? Yes, please. 

This isn't a new notion; I'd been planning on it before.  The surgeon said that I might be satisfied after lipo. If I am, great. If not, then a thigh lift would be done at a later time. So far? I'm not; obviously. I've planned on brachioplasty to get rid of the excess arm skin, so I'll be doing that too. I'm waiting just over a year. I plan on doing this in the fall...When it isn't so hot. This compression garment has made life difficult at times. I do not want to go through even part of another summer having to wear something similar. I think waiting until it's a little cooler (but before nasty weather comes!) is a good idea....That way, I'll have an extra layer for warmth! :)

I'll continue to obsess about these lumps. I'll obsess over them even after my next appointment. unless they're aspirated away; which I'm honestly hoping for...needle included! I'd rather endure a couple pokes of a needle than have the lumps hanging around. I know I'm still healing and even if they are aspirated, it'll take a while before the swelling is completely gone, but they'd be gone. Knowing my luck, I'll just have to wait for them to go away on their own, which I suppose is okay. I'm just a tad impatient sometimes so if given an option for them to go away sooner, I'd take it. It's not just because they're ugly and making my thighs bulge. I know that they're there and can't stop touching those areas. If they're gone, I'm certain I won't be so distracted by my thighs.... Unless of course I look at them in the mirror and am dissatisfied.

Whining aside, I am happy with my results thus far. I have moments when I'm like "ugh...really? I still look like that?" but I know that it will only get better. It's just been six weeks...I've got at least double that before most of the results will show.

Relax....Relax....Relax...

XOXO

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

A major headache means no post tonight. Hopefully there will be one tomorrow.

XOXO

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

I don't know why people pay to do "hot" workouts. It's about 90 (here) today. I could do a hot run outside. Instead I'm doing ST in my basement!!

A Disney Princess Style Vacation

For the last few months I've been thinking about running the Disney's Princess Half Marathon. I came across it online a while back and thought that it would be fun (totally my style!) and it would be a nice time to take a mini-vacation. I don't think I'd take a long vacation, but at least a long weekend! I'm sure that by that time of year I'll be needing it. I can already imagine how a break from the snow, for even a few days, would be much needed around that time.

Race details... Well, that's pretty simple. It's a half marathon (13.1 miles) at Disney World (in Florida, please do not mistake it with Disneyland!). It is at the end of February. The half marathon weekend runs from 2/22-2/24, with the race being on Sunday morning....at 5:45 (I'm guessing since that's when it was this year).

I'm nervous about even THINKING of doing right now. Why? Because my race experience is so limited. I currently have two 5Ks under my belt. That's it. I am definitely doing a 10K this fall. I am registered to do another 5K this summer (the Color Run), but I don't know that I'll put much effort into that. It isn't timed and I'm doing it as a fun thing. At least one of the people I'm going with will be walking. I'm still considering doing another 5K in a couple weeks, which might be a good idea...Just to get another one done. Of course, 3.1 miles is nothing compared to 13.1.  I guess race experience isn't exactly what I need. I need practice running a longer distance.  I think that little races along the way might help me stay motivated.

The rough part will be the fact that this half marathon is in February.  I live in the tundra (okay, that's an exaggeration) but seriously, my home will be covered with snow and ice starting in December, and probably lasting until March or April. I refuse to run outside in the winter. First, it's too cold for me. I can't even stand to be outside for too long, all bundled up, in the winter. How in the world am I going to stand going outside in skimpy running gear? Also...Snow and ice. I do not see myself running on those surfaces very well. When I picture it, I see slipping and falling. I know there are spike things, which I'd invest in, but I still worry.

Also? There will be a huge difference in running outside here and running outside in Florida. How does one train in the winter for a race that will be like spring where she lives? I suppose I could spend the winter on the treadmill, as I usually do. Honestly, treadmill or a northern winter, the surface and overall running experience will be different than it will be in Florida. I can hope for a fairly mild winter....As far as snow and ice are concerned. I can suck it up and deal with the cold if I must. Actually, I'll almost-happily take the cold as long as the roads are clear!

I'm also worried about being last. I don't know why. I was reading a Disney-recommended running plan and the writer (Jeff Galloway), recommends not aiming for a time for a first time half-marathon runner. He encourages walking as needed.  I read part of his plan and I already like this guy! I think reading things in that way help me to stay focused that this isn't about winning; it's not about a time; it's about having fun and just FINISHING a half-marathon.

Naturally in my obsession over times, I checked out times for the half that was held on the same day as my last 5K. Had I ran that, right now, I don't think I'd have come in last place. If I could sustain my (slow) jogging pace for the duration of the race, I'd finish somewhere in the middle. Even with some walking, I'm not sure that I'd have been last.  The last place person took almost four hours to complete her race, and I'm sure she's not the only one in a half to ever take almost 4 hours. I think she is amazing for just doing it!!

I realize that a half is ten miles longer than what I did....I'm completely sure that I will have to walk at least some of this half-marathon. Haha...Maybe even half!  From what I've read, most of us non-competitive runners do that. It's okay to do that. 13.1 miles is kinda far (on foot) when you think about it! I just want to do it for fun, for a vacation, to accomplish a half-marathon! It will give me something to go by when the next one comes around. And lets face it, if my time is horrible, I'd rather have it be horrible surround by thousands of strangers than in my home town (less embarrassing!). 

Registration opens on July 10th. I have time to decide, unless it fills up quickly and I miss out. That's the thing....The price goes up on 8/8 and again on 10/3. It only goes up in increments of ten dollars, so that's not too bad. However, I don't want a bunch of people to register while I keep thinking about it and trying to decide, and then miss my chance. I'm nervous though. Signing up now means a definite commitment. No slacking if I think I'm doing 13.1 miles. This is one of those things that would be a great goal to have, but at the same time I have a bit of fear of being committed to it (or losing 130 dollars). The what-ifs enter my mind (what if I can't do it, no matter how hard I train? What if eight months isn't enough? What if it's too much of a goal for me right now?).... I tend to get a case of the what-ifs regarding pretty much everything.

Maybe it's time to shut the what-ifs up and just go for it. Maybe this particular race needs to be added to my bucket list...I can run. I can walk. What's stopping me?

XOXO

Off-Track; On-Track

Monday's post that I save instead of publishing! Again!

I have noticed that everything seems to go to heck on the weekends. I wasn't one of these people in the past, but now I'm understanding it.  I'm trying to figure out a plan to best handle my lack of exercise (making Saturday my rest day has been a good start) and tracking my eating.

Here are my problems...

It's summer. I'm busy. I like to be active on the weekends, but not always in a workout type of way. For example, I did a bit of walking and was on my feet for quite a while on Saturday. I was active and social, but it wasn't a workout.

As much as I've always said it's easy to find workout time, I'm seeing how sometimes it isn't as easy. When I would travel a lot on the weekends, I didn't worry as much about it. Now that I've had other things going on and I've been home more, I seem to be more focused on it. Weird? I'm not sure why that is.  It's like when I was gone I allowed myself to miss my traditional workouts. Now that I'm around home (although I'm busy and usually gone most of the time; just not as far away), I am worrying more. I don't know what that's about.... Maybe I just feel like I need to be more active. Who knows.

Eating. Ohhhh that has not been good. The same applies here. When I was gone a lot and didn't track as well, it didn't bother me. Now that I'm around home more (although still technically "gone") I'm more annoyed with myself about it. I don't think I'm doing anything that's much worse than I had been doing, but now the being "home" notion seems to make me more annoyed with myself. 

Maybe it's because I allowed myself a good reason for missing it before, but I should feel the same now. Sometimes spending time with the special people in your life makes it okay (in my opinion) to miss a workout. Or even two. Eating out two days in a row? That's okay at those times too. Yet when I do it here (or even eat differently at my parents' house; i.e. foods I don't normally have), I feel guilty.

I think a lot of it is because I had surgery. Now I'm super focused on making sure I behave myself and keep myself healthy. After putting myself through surgery, I'm not all too eager to gain any weight. I haven't gained. I've slowly lost, but I am not where I think I should be or really want to be.

In regard to my exercise and eating I seem to let myself lose control (not out of control; just not as controlled as during the week) on the weekends.  I have an app to track food right there on my phone. Do I do it? Nope. Well, some but not all and not consistently. Part of that is because it's a pain to do because not everything comes up when I search on the app, but it does on the computer (WHAT is that about!?).

I started this running plan with the intention of following it (10K training). One week in and I missed two days. That annoys me. I don't like getting off-track like that. But at the same time, I don't like missing out on events with family and friends. Now that I've started week two, I'm doing my best to stick to it.  I know that if I get enough sleep I can get up in the morning to do what I need to do. It's just a matter of getting enough (and good quality) sleep....I definitely need to work on that!!

As of now I'm viewing my day off as Sunday instead of Saturday. It'll just work better for me that way. I'm thinking that I can get up early Saturday and do my Sunday workout. Then Sunday will be my rest day. Monday evening I should be able to start week 3 without difficulty. Hmmm...Looks good written down, but Friday night will determine how well that works out. It seems that something always comes up. Oh! And Friday...I'll probably have to get up and get moving early Friday morning for a workout, which means super early because of work. Do I see this happening? Honestly; no. Hopefully I'll find the time Friday evening, if I don't get up early.

So....That's where I'm at. I'm not really off-track but I'm not on-track in the way that I'd like to be. Or like I used to be. I was so strict at one point. Then again, at that time I didn't do much of anything. I always said "no" when I was invited out with friends. I was too afraid to eat dinner out. Or have a drink. I was probably too strict.  I know that at that time I was very in control, and that's when I lost weight. I knew that eventually I'd have to start living in the real world again, meaning eating out and socializing. 

Am I happy with my current weight? Yes and no.  I'm far from where I once was, but I'd like to be a little smaller. Not a lot, but some. I'll never be a 100 pound stick figure (nor do I want to - no offense to anyone but YUCK). 

Last week was kind of a hard week for me. I was just really emotional and felt kind of blah; a little depressed, probably. I'm feeling better today so hopefully I can get back to where I want to be. The weekend will be hard with the fun events I have going on, but I'm going to try my absolute hardest. At worst I'll blow through all of my extra WW points over the weekend (sad, but seriously it could happen). I guess I might as well use them when I need them!!

I was feeling kind of "blah" yesterday too...I was in one of those "I don't care" modes. Had the wrong foods been around, I'd have binged like a crazy woman. It's a good thing I don't buy those things. After a good run I felt a lot better and I think the run is just what I needed to get myself back on-track for the week. Now? I feel like it'll be a good week, with an exciting weekend reward!!!

Have a great week!!

XOXO

Friday, June 15, 2012

Not the Best Day

When my mind wasn't occupied with work today (which was most of the day), it was focused on my body. Almost obsessively. I'm not sure what my problem is today but I look at myself and want to burst into tears. Even just THINKING about it makes my eyes well-up a little.

AHHH!!! WHAT is wrong with me today?

It's nothing else that's bothering me either...It's all my body. 

I was five weeks post-op on Wednesday. I KNOW that it can really take a while to see the effect of a tummy tuck (and probably the lipo too), but I'm starting to get frustrated. My upper abdomen is puffed out. I swear it looks like a pregnant belly when I stand; all rounded out (and smooth thanks to my compression garment). While the entire lower skin fold is gone, this upper fold seems larger. It's horrible when I sit or bend. I feel like it's not getting any better. 

I didn't expect perfection but I don't want to look like I have a big ol' belly roll either! Part of it hangs when I bend, kind of like excess skin would. The sitting part is the worst. When I touch it, it feels....Weird. I feel something but it's a different sensation. If I touch any other body part, it's no big deal. When I touch this it's kind of bouncy yet full feeling. I'm guessing that this is still swelling. I'll probably have my Mom, who is a nurse, take a look at it and see what she thinks. I know that as a nurse she can certainly assess for swelling.  I hope it's swelling because I feel like a bloated cow.

After a while my focus switched to my thighs. I feel like they don't look much different either despite having between 2000 and 300- ccs (2-3 liters) removed. I read some stuff online tonight about people having had surgery who went down in pant sizes quickly. I have some of mine that I'm struggling to get into. It makes me feel like maybe I'll never wear smaller clothes (which despite the contours and how my body looks was my mine focus, was what I thought would be a perk). I get slightly annoyed and think, "my entire lower abdominal fold is gone and my pants fit better in front, but I can't get some of my pre-op pants over my thighs!" I feel like at this point, I should be seeing more of a difference.

I researched a bit online and a lot of change should be seen right around now... Yes, full results take as much as a year, but I feel like I should be seeing more than I am right now. I thought reading the experiences of others would help, but I think it's made me feel worse....Almost in a "what's wrong with my body!?" type of way. I know that all bodies are different and will react differently but I really wish I'd be seeing more changes right now.  I'm frustrated.

Then of course I read about fluid and such online and wonder if it's more than just the regular swelling. Could it be a build-up that will have to be aspirated (because I SO want a needle stuck in me several times). Then I have those lumps under my skin toward the bottom of my thighs.... They're definitely not the same as the belly. These are hard lumps. After researching, I think they're necrotic (dead) fat that will eventually liquefy and be processed out of my body - according to what I found. 

My next appointment isn't for three weeks. It's too soon to go in again, but if I don't find a way to ease my mind I'll be anxious for three weeks. Maybe I'll just call next week and have my mind put at ease. I'm sure it's nothing serious....Probably dead fat and swelling; nothing more.  But I can't help but feel annoyed. I'm not really worried that anything is "wrong." I'm worried that I"m not going to look any better than I do right now and today, I'm feeling like a hideous beast.

I must just be emotional and sensitive today. Great. I feel like, regarding my body, I could cry in a second. Hopefully that's just about my body, but knowing me anything else could trigger the tears. UGH!! This foul mood needs to go away....I'm the only one who can make it happen, so off I go...To find some way to make myself quit being so negative and start feeling better.

It IS Friday evening, so the thrill of the weekend does make me feel a little better!

XOXO

Thursday, June 14, 2012

It Never Gets Old...

....Hearing that someone doesn't recognize me. 

I saw someone at work today who I hadn't seen in quite a while.  At first he didn't recognize me.  He's seen me since I lost weight but it's been a long enough period of time that I've lost a little more since I saw him last.  I like getting that reaction from others.  Correction. I LOVE getting that reaction from others.  It's always nice to receive a compliment!

In our conversation we talked about weight and he mentioned that it's hard to keep off.  Now, I've struggled and put on a few pounds from my lowest weight (which I reached in what was likely a bit of an unhealthy manner).  Anyway, so I gained a tiny bit back and am back to losing, but it's a few pounds.  It's not like I gained 100, or even 50 back. I'm still healthy. I exercise. 

He talked about how both he and his wife had lost weight and gained some back. His wife had bariatric surgery in the past.  She also had a double tummy tuck after her surgery.  She's gained quite a bit back.  I realize that it's probably very easy to do.  However, I don't see myself being one of those people.  I'm sure no one does when they start out. 

For me....Well, I just can't see myself going back to that lifestyle.  I continue to watch my weight and if it were to start creeping up, I'd know to revamp my habits.  I'm not perfect. I still have times when it is very easy to get off-track.  Sometimes that's okay.  If it's a day or a meal or whatever, it's okay.  The problem comes in when people let those habits creep back up for more than a short time. The problem is when one day or one meal because every meal, every day.

I'm a different person now. My thought processes regarding food and exercise are different. These have become a part of who I am.  I've worked hard to change myself mentally as well as physically.  This is a new way of thinking and living.  I can't imagine not running. I can't imagine never doing another BR workout. I can't imagine not feeling muscle soreness. My abs have been sore today and I love it! I sometimes contract them a little more just to feel that tightness. I can't imagine eating fast food like I did in the past. I just can't imagine living that way.

Recently I have had less than healthy days....Not full days, actually. I've had less than healthy meals or evenings. However, the healthy outnumbers the unhealthy. By far. I ccontinue to exercise. I know that eating is the majority of weight loss. I think I'm at what is a fairly comfortable weight for me. I don't know that it's my "happy weight" but I'm okay with it. Do I still want to lose weight? Yes. Do I still work for that? Yes.  But I'm also okay with maintaing where I am. I feel strong. I feel healthy. Most days I feel happy.  I think that most of us have things about our bodies that we're not thrilled with and that we'd change. 

Sometimes I fear that I'm clinging to the notion of "I still have post-op swelling" as an excuse for slowly losing weight recently. I think I fear that I'll get complacent because of that and have at times, thought "oh well, I'm swollen so it's okay." I quickly snap myself back to reality and realize that it is not, in fact, okay. I DO have post-op swelling.  I can tell when I touch my stomach. A few pounds of water isn't a lot though. I KNOW where I need to be and what I need to watch out for.

The fact is that for someone like me, I'll always have to be aware of my eating habits. I'll always have to make sure I'm being healthy. If not, I'll likely gain weight. It is, apparently, easy for me to gain weight. I'm sure it's a mixture of my habits and other factors like genetics. I know how to live healthy and I do. The moment I let myself slip, I will gain weight. 

I feel happy knowing that I've only gained back a few pounds from my lowest weight. Some people gain back a lot and basically have to start again. I don't want to do that. I think I'm the "me" I was meant to be. Going back to my hold habits would make me feel like I wasn't being true to myself....I can't imagine not being athletic. I love my exercise far too much to let that go. Eating would be the hardest for me, but I know to keep it in check.

We all struggle sometimes. We all have times when we may not be as healthy as possible. It's okay to make poor choices now and then. It's not okay to make poor choices all the time.

It never gets old to hear that someone doesn't recognize me.  It never gets old to realize that I'm a changed woman....For the better; for good.

XOXO

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Body Image and Clothing

This post is a bit different than what I typically post about.  I have seen a lot (especially in social media!) of posting of girls in seriously revealing outfits lately, including lingerie.  My first thought was, "seriously, why would you plaster pictures of yourself in lingerie all over the Internet?"  I post my fair share of pictures on facebook but certainly not of myself in lingerie.

I also recently saw two girls wearing lingerie out in public. My impression of them? That they were looking for attention and wearing their bedroom clothes in public was the best way to go about that.

Okay, here's where I'll stop and get off-track for a minute...

I realize I sound judgemental again.  Please note that I am sharing what has gone through my mind. I'm not saying anyone who dresses in that way or posts such pictures is a.... (insert derogatory term here).

I am not saying this is true of ALL girls who dress this way.

I also do not want anyone to take what I'm saying out of context. Dressing in this manner does not give others the right to mistreat women simply because of how they're dressed. While women may want attention, they may not want it from everyone they see and they may not want what someone else thinks they do. I hate that whole  notion of "she was asking for it."

Alright, back to my topic... The way we (women) dress. This is an age-old topic. A lot of what I'm thinking has already been discussed, researched, shown to the world....I'm sharing my personal thoughts on the topic and how I feel it relates to me.

First, I can't help but wonder how much a woman's body image plays a role in what she wears. 

At times this might be because she thinks she's so sexy she should flaunt everything she has.  Maybe she's lost weight and can wear things she couldn't before.  That's wonderful! I can do the same thing and I LOVE it! However, I do not go around wearing my underwear as tops.  Corset tops DO exist and can be very cute as part of an outfit. A girl shouldn't mistake a corset that's made for "intimate" use and a corset top. Corset tops are designed to be worn as a top....Lingerie is not.

I understand wanting to show off your hard work (even if you've always been thin but you workout a lot or you have the luck of having a naturally wonderful figure). I understand wanting to feel beautiful or sexy or whatever adjective fits your idea of looking good. What I don't understand is why you want to go around nearly naked or in your underwear. This especially seems true when girls are out at a bar or a club. If they want to attract a man, that somehow translates to "wear the shortest skirt or tightest jeans you have, and don't forget that your boobs should be hanging out."

I often wonder if they're honestly that confident in how they look or if they experience delusions of grandeur regarding their appearance. Or maybe they have a trick mirror? Sometimes I think that's inside just as much as the opposite. How we see ourselves is sometimes different than the way that others see us.

Now my thought process has shifted and if I think this is inappropriate...Why do I feel that a bikini is perfectly acceptable?

To answer my own question, I think it has a lot to do with the setting. Most people I know do not wear their bikinis (and only their bikinis) to dinner. If I saw a girl wearing her bikini at the bar, I'd think that it was inappropriate. It's okay if you're on a beach, a boat, laying in the sun, whatever... It's the setting.

I don't think a bikini is appropriate for an evening out anymore than I think that it's appropriate to wear holey jeans and a t-shirt to work (unless you work somewhere that it's expected). 

Have I mentioned that I love Clinton and Stacey? Fans of "What not to Wear" will likely understand.

On the flip side to girls who may be a bit too confident in their bodies that they dress in this manner, there are the girls who might be lacking some confidence. 

I can't help but observe people. It's in my nature. I've always been very observant and I love human behavior. That being said, I have watched girls who, to me, seem to have a need for attention and they want it met by random strangers (generally male, assuming they're "straight") at the bar. They may dress in a manner that's super revealing. They sometimes wear clothing that is just inappropriate for their body and makes them look the opposite of what they intend.

I watch these girls and notice that sometimes they appear as though they feel a bit awkward; fidgety, distracted. Sometimes they're drinking so fast I can't count (not that I pay that much attention) how many drinks they had in a thirty minute period. Sometimes they are loud. Honestly, that's probably the most direct way to get attention. Just go stand in the middle of the room and yell "hey look at me!!!" I'd rather see you do that than see more of your body than I'd like. 

I used to be one of these girls.  I used to wear clothes that revealed my cleavage...Likely too much. I was a big girl and sometimes this was accidental because my girls just couldn't be contained well enough. I also may have taken that advice; "play up your assets" or "draw attention to your top half if you're smaller on top, bigger on bottom" in a manner different than it was intended.  When I went out, which in those days was often, I wore a lot of cleavage revealing shirts. I thought this might give me confidence, I guess. My hope was that it would make me feel better about myself, which would then attract the attention of a guy. Generally, it would, but those guys were after one thing and would blow me off as soon as they knew they weren't getting it. What didn't change in those situations was how I truly felt about myself. I still felt awkward. I still felt like a big ol' cow. I still had low self-esteem.

Showing off my cleavage didn't make me shine through....They couldn't see my personality (although my thought was that I could show that after I lured them in). They couldn't see my intelligence. All they could see was the physical; the same as those people who looked down at me for being obese. I probably would've had more success if I dressed more appropriately and didn't go looking to meet people in bars. I had boyfriends and not one of them was met on an evening out. They were met when I was sober. And fat. And myself. And? They liked me for who I was.

Maybe some girls are just looking for attention and the fun (?) of a one-night stand. If that's who you are, then okay...Do what you've gotta do. I'm not writing about those girls.

Inspired by either positive self-thoughts or negative, I believe that our body image (good or bad!) plays a huge role in how we dress. 

I dress differently now than I did before, but not that much different. I can wear outfits that are more fitted, which definitely wouldn't have worn then. I was still as stylish as possible. I dressed well and liked to look nice. I have always loved fashion and shopping. I didn't wear horrible things that made me look even bigger than I was. I followed the rules of plus size dressing as much as I could, and the rules for my body type. The mistakes I made were sometimes wearing things that were a little too tight simply because I refused to buy another size larger and I showed too much cleavage.

Now I can wear things from different stores; things that are cut a little differently. I may be smaller but my body type is still the same; smaller on top and larger on bottom. I feel like I dress, overall, in a classy manner even if I through something edgy into the mix. Sure every now and then I may show some cleavage over the top of a tank top. This is unintentional.  Now that I'm smaller, I can probably wear things without a bra, but I wouldn't do that unless there was absolutely no other way to wear something. I'd feel uncomfortable the whole time.  I do not wear super short skirts because I'm sure that these just draw attention to my thighs, which is where I most certainly do not want the eye to wander.

I realize that part of dressing in a certain manner is comfort. Maybe some people are honestly more comfortable without a bra and their big, nasty boobs hanging out.

Side note: Sometimes I think I want to buy boobs in the future. Then I realize I'd be happy with just a lift, and they do insert a small implant.  This would be for me though because of how I see myself. NOT so I can run around with them in the faces of everyone I encounter. Gross!

Anyway, dressing ultimately comes down to our own style and how we feel.  Sometimes I think that we are not true to the way we feel about ourselves. Sometimes we wear inappropriate things for the sake of gaining attention. We forget that often it is negative attention.

I am not saying people shouldn't dress how they want. I'm not Miss Conservative trying to convert everyone.  I just like to think about why people do the things that they do, and this is one of them.

If you are a girl who dresses this way for attention...Why do you need attention like that? What is missing in your life that makes you feel that strangers hitting on you only because they want to "take you home" is going to make you feel better? Who do you really want to meet your need for acceptance that isn't? Is it your own thoughts on your body holding you back? Is it your self-esteem? Take a minute to examine your body image; even your public behavior. 

I would also looooove to hear (or read) a man's thoughts on how women dress. Does an ass hanging out and boobs in your face make you want to genuinely get to know a girl? Sure, there's the element of sexual attractiveness, but is that what draws you to someone you may like for dating purposes? When you see a trashy (just a word, for illustrative purposes) dressed girl, what do you think?  Do you guys realize that when a girl wants your attention, it's generally not because she wants to have sex with you and that's it? A lot of times a girl wants you to be drawn to her, to get to know her, and hopefully get her number (and use it!! That's another topic, but don't get numbers if you're never gonna call). What type of girl are you attracted to when you're out (bar, party, barbecue at a friend's...whatever the social situation)? To you, does dressing sexy automatically mean a girl is confident?

I'm just interested in the male perspective is different than my own. For that matter, I'd love to hear what other females think about this topic. 

To continue with my personal experience....

I no longer dress in a manner that draws too much attention to my chest, or anything else really.... Except my butt sometimes, and I honestly cannot control what that thing does...but it's not like I'm wearing jeans with studs on the back pockets to draw the eye to it. I dress in a way that makes me feel good. If I feel like I look good, I'm happy. This might also be the case with the girl across the bar who is dressed in a different manner.  I'm typically covered up (and I'm referring to going to any place, really...not just bars). I like to dress nice and usually I tend to be a little more "dressed up."  That's my style and how I feel my best. I can rock a t-shirt and jeans, when I feel it's appropriate, but I don't feel my best when I wear them out and about, and I like to present my best self to the world. It's how I'm most confident.

I have been places wearing tops that have completely covered my chest.  As an example....I was out for dinner, wearing a tank top that has a  higher neckline, it's long, sheer-ish tank (but not like see-through mesh or something).  I wore with with leggings and some black heels. My arms were all that was exposed and I attracted male attention.  That was not my intention. My reason for wearing that outfit? Because it was cute and fashionable, and I like to look like I'm at least attending a fashion show. I like to show my style to the world, not my body parts. 

On numerous occasions I have proven that you can dress classy, fashionable, and still be attractive to others. You do not have to dress like an adult actress to attract attention. Does that attract attention? Of course....But what kind of attention is it?

I feel much differently about my body now than I did before I lost weight and I think that shows. My self-esteem is higher. I think my confidence is able to shine through. I wear clothing that I feel is classy, generally with a bit of a twist, and flattering. I know what I should and should not be wearing. I know what looks good and what does not.  For example, I have recently shopped for bikinis. I cannot wear a standard bottom. It cuts right through the middle of my hip, where I still have extra skin, and gives me a muffin top situation.  I can wear a bottom that ties low or a higher waisted bottom that covers the netire hop area, and it's much more flattering. 

The question I really want answered is why people post pictures of themselves in lingerie online, on sites like facebook? If you're on some other site that this is the intention, that's fine...I don't want to know about that, actually.  If you've lost weight and want to show it off, that's wonderful but does it have to be in the "I'm so sexy check me out in my lingerie" manner? If you have always been the sexy beast that you are, fantastic! I just don't understand why people feel they need to present themselves in a sexual manner to achieve showing others how attractive they are.

This is on the same topic but is a request for advice for the ladies...

I recently bought a bodysuit (yes, they ARE back!! Check out American Apparel) to go with a neon skirt. I saw a similar look online and liked it. The skirt I saw was dressed with a short-sleeve top (lace, I believe). I went with a basic black knit bodysuit instead. This particular bodysuit has a low back. There's no way I can wear a normal bra with it. The back is too low for even one of those convertible style bras that go low. I am lucky to be small enough in the bust that I COULD go without, but I'd prefer to have something on. I found some suggestions on lines, one of which included bandaids so that it wouldn't be obvious that I was braless. I've seen sticky half-bras, or those gel insert things.  Does anyone have experience with these? What did you find to be the best?

I suppose I've written enough for now...I probably wrote in a circle or two, as I often do (I do this in conversation too...I just have SO much to say!). Please feel free to share your thoughts and opinions. As always, I love to know what other people think!!

XOXO

Five to Ten

As I noted in an earlier post, after my 5K I felt like I could've ran farther. I am sure that I would have been able to do the 10K. I took it slow, but did better than I thought I would with little training and being a month post-op!! My mission was to just do this race for fun... I had no time goal. I was okay with walking if I had to.  I decided to try a slower pace and see how I did and I was able to jog the entire race. I may have been slow, but I'm happy to be able to say that I ran the entire 3.1 miles. It may not seem like much to an experienced runner, but I was pleased. That's the longest distance I've ran at one time in quite a while!

A friend told me about another upcoming 5K and I've been thinking of doing it.  She recently heard that there would also be a 10K race that day too.  Since I felt so good with having jogged the 3.1 without much difficulty I thought that maybe I should start training for a 10K.  This is double the distance, so naturally I won't just go into it like I did the 5K...With only two weeks of training and not having focused on running for a while even before surgery.

I'm going to follow Hal Higdon's running plan. It doesn't have any set times like a previous plan that I did, and is definitely an "at your own pace" type of thing.  This will be good for me because I just have to run a certain distance. There's no time to watch and I won't feel like I have to run the entire distance within that set time (which I have never done with the other program).  I've contemplated a different program before but decided I liked the time constraint....I think maybe that was because I knew I'd never make it in the allotted time and I used it more for a calorie burning activity.  I've finally accepted that I'm slow and as far as I can tell I won't be winning any races. Ever. Just getting out and doing them makes me feel good. The new goal is to run a 10K....6.2 miles at once. I'm not going to push myself too hard and if I have to walk, I will walk as necessary, but I'm really going to strive for running the whole thing; slow or not!

As much as I love BR and am excited to get back into them, I'm not going to do BR every day...Unless of course I start doing two-a-days again. I doubt it though. Even though BR is only 12 minutes (in general) I don't see myself getting up early enough to do it daily. I stay up too late, and need my sleep!! I'm going to use BR for my strength days; and maybe add in an extra one on cross training days.

So, that's the new workout plan of action. 5K training was my plan and after that, I didn't really have a plan other than jogging/walking/bodyrock as I wanted to.  I think it'll be good to have a new guide to follow, especially with a goal in mind!

My eating has NOT been good lately. I'm doing WW again and I'm having trouble sticking to my daily points. I know that using the extra points and activity points is "allowed" but I really want to improve my eating. Last weekend I had fast food and ate out. The fast food that I ate left me feeling a bit sick...Sluggish, blah, and bloated. YUCK! This is why I do not eat fast food. I'm not happy that I had to remind myself of that...I should have just avoided it in the first place. Oh well...It's life!

Anyway, I really want to eat JUST my daily points for WW through the week. It's pretty much a given that I'll use the extra points on the weekend...Maybe even all of them. I definitely do not want to tap into my activity points. I work hard to get those and don't want to waste them on food!!

I've been doing okay on WW; slowly losing weight and getting back to where I was. I think I gained more than I realized when I was off because it's been a month and I'm not down nearly as far as I thought I'd be after surgery! I only weighed myself once and wasn't up that high, but I don't think it was all swelling. I also realize I still have swelling, but it seems that I should be losing more weight than I am.  Maybe I just have no idea how to judge that.  For having ten pounds taken off of me, I'm definitely not down very much...And not as much as I would expect.  I'm going to try my hardest to stay healthy and within these WW points. I'm trying to fill up on fruits and veggies because, not only are those free, they're good for me and I haven't been eating enough of them lately. 

Here's to clean eating and a new training plan!!

XOXO


Saturday, June 9, 2012

5K Recap

Today I ran my second official 5K.  I came in a little faster than last year (a little meaning under 30 seconds). However, this year a few things were different....

I ran the entire thing. I did not walk once.  Last year I had to walk quite a bit.  I think that's because I was trying to run too fast or too hard maybe. It seems as though it would have to be that since I walked so much last year.  Obviously if I wasn't a whole lot faster this year and walked last year I had to make it up somewhere.  I'm thinking I ran faster than I should've last year. 

I was also exhausted after the race - last year.  This year I wasn't. Honestly I probably could've run longer. I'm sure I could've done the 10K this year....I may have had to walk a little of it, but who knows.  All I know is I haven't ran that far in a while without walking.  I must be in a little better shape...even after just having surgery a month ago and only running for two weeks...AND before that I was focused more on BR than running.

So...I'm proud of myself for that. Maybe even slightly impressed. Even though this is my second 5K, this is the first time I can say I ran the whole thing.

I had a good time; lots of fun and it was nice to run with friends off and on, and talk with others after.  It was a good morning; great way to start my Saturday!!

I might not be fast but at least I run!!!

XOXO

Friday, June 8, 2012

Fatty Thoughts

I wrote a post a while ago in which I said that I was being judgemental regarding someone who was overweight. I received mixed responses to what I wrote. I think that some took it as me being one of those people who just judge someone fat without thinking of their situation. Others understood, and one pointed out that maybe I was seeing myself in the woman I wrote about (thank you!).

I decided that I would post a little more on that topic.

Here's the thing...I don't always judge fat people. Do I think judgemental things sometimes? Of course. Don't you? Maybe not about being fat, but we all judge. The example I used in the previous post wasn't the greatest in showing my judgement because there may have been an unseen reason for what may also have been laziness... I owned up to the fact that I didn't know the story of this woman. I did consider other reasons for her being young and using an electric shopping cart. I did not disregard the fact that she may have had something going on that I couldn't see.

I think that where I live is part of why I made that judgement. I know a lot of people in this small area who are just plain lazy. Some of them are quite dramatic and sometimes make things worse for themselves. You know, that whole thing about thinking something so much you will start to believe it and convince others of it..?  I think that some of this comes from the field I work in. I run across people often who honestly believe they have it much worse than they really do. Whatever the reason, I see things happen a lot. I have an educational background and a pretty good "sixth sense" about people. I guess my "BS" meter is quite strong. I can sniff out a manipulator a mile away. It's a gift.  Or a curse.

I'm not saying that this woman was like that! I didn't get that sense from her. I didn't think "suck it up and quit asking for the drama."  I simply thought that she MIGHT have a laziness problem and that she probably is not teaching her children the best eating habits, based on the junk in her cart. 

I realize it's cheaper to eat unhealthy foods and a lot of people have to live on budgets.  They buy cheap things to make their groceries last. However, eating those unhealthy foods will actually cost more in the end...In terms of finances and health. 

I don't think there's enough education regarding that kind of stuff.  With the economy as it is, healthy programs like that are probably not in the budget of my state, maybe not yours, and maybe not within the federal budget.  I don't always see the logic in this. Why not spend a little more to appropriately teach, and help, people about healthy eating? It might cut down on costs later. Of course, this would depend no people actually taking that advice and following through.  We can't forget that the lure of a processed, cheese covered tortilla chip or a shiny package of cookies with bright candy bits in them will most likely defeat the appeal of a gorgeous green head of lettuce. The box of cereal with the cartoon character on the front and the fabulous prize in the box is going to win every time. What kid wants to eat some kind of bran cereal?

I couldn't work in advertising. I absolutely detest the idea of trying to get someone to buy a product by making it all pretty and fun. I could never, in good conscience, promote a new junk food product knowing what's lurking inside the box. I could make a whole lot of money as an ad-exec but I couldn't work for Company A. that will promote just anything to make a profit. I'm also not a salesperson and don't have a high tolerance for salespeople. I find them highly obnoxious. Let me shop in peace; I'll let you know if I need something.  Sometimes I want to tell them it's a waste of time to go over the fabulous features of a product. I can read. 

Maybe this is why I like shopping for clothing so much.... Usually those salespeople are a little less pushy.  Sometimes I'll encounter one who will say "oh we have x, y, and z that go great with that top to make the perfect look."  My style might not be the same as yours. Also, I have exposure to the latest trends, which I may not want to follow. Or maybe I want to mix something trendy with something casual. Ten trends at once is overkill. If I see something I like, I'll think of what I can wear it with. Sometimes I'll buy a couple new pieces to re-create a look I've seen somewhere. Also, I do not have a job where I can run around in cute little outfits like the ones most salesgirls wear to work. I have to dress more professional (yet a bit casual), which means cleavage, an exposed midriff, and open-toed stilettos are out.

Oops. I got a bit off-track. Surprise, surprise!!

Back to my fatty thoughts...

Sometimes I judge others because I DO see myself in them (thank you, Amanda for your comment!). Sometimes I see them and I get sad.  I remember being 23 and fat. I remember how I felt. Maybe the girl I'm seeing doesn't feel that may. Maybe she's happy as she is; and that's great. She's not me....I just HOPE that she REALLY is that happy.  I used to put on a happy face. I acted like I loved who I was, fat or not. Inside though? I didn't. I think that as a woman, I will always have insecurities about my body. I could be a model and still have insecurities. Images of  "perfect" women are thrown in our faces all the time. I'm happy like I am now. I am thrilled that I lost weight. There are still moments though when I look at my thighs and thing "ugh...they'll always be ugly."  And? They probably will!! A month after lipo and I can see small differences in the size/shape but not like I'd like to see. I'm still healing but I don't expect to see huge changes....Which is why I'm contemplating a thigh lift next year.

I used to pretend I didn't care what other people thought of how I looked. Lie. I did. I'd act like I didn't and that I was happy, but I cared. Why else would I spend time doing my hair and make-up and trying to find the most flattering outfit possible?  It was to look my best. If I didn't care what others thought, I wouldn't care as much about my appearance. Some of it is how I see myself too though. I like to look good, not all raggedy.

I still care what people think. I might care more now than I did in the past.  Now I have more pressure to look good because people keep telling me how good I look. I also love, love, love clothes. I love mixing things together. I love fabrics. I love fun outfits.  I really should be working in the fashion industry...Not as a designer (blah; not my thing) but as a stylist. However, to be a personal stylist and have a highly successful career, one needs to be able to work with celebs, on TV or movie sets....I certainly cannot make a career of being a personal stylist where I live now.  Anyway....

Hmmm...anyway what? I'm all kinds of off-track today! Lots of thoughts, lots of distractions among those thoughts.  One thought inspires another; one topic easily transitions into another...

I'll just go back to my fatty thoughts.  One time when I know I judge and generally do not think of any other possibilities is when I see someone who is obese stuffing their face with fast food.  I don't like fast food now. I did when I was obese. It was fast, easy, fairly cheap, and it tasted good. I swear there's some secret addictive additive that's put in unhealthy foods.  I didn't care about what the food might do to my body.  I just cared about the taste and feeling full.  I look at people now and thing "ohhhh do you even know what's in that? Do you care?"  Probably not. I know I didn't. It honestly pains me a little to watch people (even thin people who scarf down the fast food; this is a healthy thing not a fat thing!) put so many horrible things into their bodies.

Go watch "Super Size Me."  It made an impact on me when I first watched it. I was totally grossed out.  Eventually it was forgotten and I went back to fast food. I think if I watched it now, I'd have a different perspective. I'd still be grossed out but I'd understand the health component more.  Just thinking about it makes me wonder why someone would knowingly put their body through that stress just to prove a point. Money maybe?

My problem was never really overeating. I didn't go to the buffet and eat six plates of food.  If I went to a buffet (yuck, by the way....all those hands touching spoons; hands that you don't know where they've been!) I'd eat a plate of salads...Usually a lettuce salad and maybe some other pasta or broccoli salad.  Then I'd get a plate of the hot stuff... Chicken, mac and cheese, mashed potatoes, tacos...whatever it was that looked good, maybe three items; what would fit on my plate. Sometimes I'd go for the ice cream dessert (with caramel and sprinkles, of course) but other times I was too full.  Now, that does sound like a lot of food  and it is. However, if I took a lot, I took small amounts...Maybe half a spoon of something; it really just depended on what I'd find on the buffet. My plate wasn't heaping. I'm kind of weird about my food and don't like it to touch, so there's generally a little space on my plate.  In terms of calories this was too much; definitely over-eating. However, if this plate was filled with fruits and veggies, it wouldn't be as bad.

I think that my problem with food was the quality. I've been one to fall victim to the junk...Mostly the salty stuff. I'm not a huge sweets eater, but I could eat salty snacks like crazy.  Chips and popcorn were definitely my favorites. Most fast food (most restaurant food in general!) is packed with sodium. Too much sodium and not enough water is sure to keep you puffy.  Combine that with too many calories and you have a recipe for fat.  You can make it even worse by not exercising (guilty!). Oh! And don't forget alcohol....More empty calories, more bloating. I'm starting to pictures a big round ball of a person bouncing down the street (she has my former face...well, it's still my face but it's filled with the fat that I no longer have).

There were times that I would over-eat. I think many of us do. I still do.  My over-eating just isn't what it once was.  My over-eating is a much smaller quantity of better quality foods than it was in the past. I would never sit and eat an entire box of crackers or a bag of chips (a bag of popcorn, with melted margarine and salt, yes!). I'd just eat it too frequently.  I ate poor quality, unhealthy foods all the time.  I even ate foods tagged as "healthy" too much. What I didn't realize is that even those healthy microwave meals were processed beyond belief and full of sodium.

Every now and then I still eat something unhealthy. I do not do it on a regular, or even an occasional basis though. Now it's rare. But it happens.  I still cannot purchase certain food items or I will eat them. I will likely over-eat them (more than before) because I don't buy them often.  A bag of chips could disappear within three or four days.  I avoid them.  I will always have to avoid them because they're the unhealthy foods that I like.  I prefer healthy now, which is why I don't buy the junk. But if the junk is there, I will still eat it. Now I have the ability to control it. I can have ONE serving of chips and be fine...Sometimes half a serving or even two or three chips will satisfy me. 

Genetics. I'm sure genetics play a role in weight.  I'm just not sure how much.  I think that it's easy to blame genetics when we see a family of people who are obese. How much is genetics though, and how much is bad habits that are being passed on. Children learn from their parents.

My parents never really instilled awful habits in me. My Dad was pretty thin til he got a little older and then gained some weight, and has since lost that weight. The same was true of my Mom...Of course she's pretty short so she doesn't have to weigh a lot to look...chubby-ish.  She's also been losing weight. Yay for healthy families!  They allowed me to eat snacks; typical snack foods that all of my friends were eating. But I was chubby.  I don't remember them doing or saying anything that made me feel shamed, but I still would "sneak" things sometimes. I think a lot of kids do that...Just like they might sneak a inappropriate music; or sneak out of the house! I'm not sure how much is genetic. I was adopted and don't have a lot of info. From what I remember neither of my biological parents were huge. I think my Mother was 5'6" and in the 140s; my Father 6'0 or just over and maybe in the 220s (not small but not huge). I do remember something about diabetes in my history....Not sure which type, but an unhealthy diet and weight could have contributed.

I also think about the psychological component and how it's possible that I was "stuck" for a very long time (maybe due to being adopted and feeling "rejected," or because I missed out on the bonding for the first couple months of my life). It's possible that I developed an oral fixation and I met my needs with food.  As I aged, it turned into an addiction. Some say you can't be addicted to food, but I say you can. Food has chemicals in it, especially processed foods. People often fall into addictive behaviors because of a way to cope; or based on personality (genetics too). I was an emotional eater. I binged when I was sad. I ate to celebrate.  I completely believe I was addicted to eating unhealthy foods.  Addictions can be treated; people can change...Your lifestyle can be changed; life-long habits broken. It's hard.  Ask anyone with any addiction that they're trying to overcome....It's not easy. I think we're all effected by something psychological in some way. I'm not saying we all have major personality disorders or we're all suicidal. I'm saying that there are things in our psychological functioning that make us do the things we do; make us who we are. People don't just wake up and say "I think I'll start beating my wife today."  They don't say "I don't even want these kids. I think I'll lock them in a closet and quit feeding them." I believe that these things come from somewhere within combined with their own life situations....And there's my education and professional background coming out!

The good news? If you're strong enough to acknowledge your issues, and work through them then you can change. This really isn't as easy as it sounds. It took me years of yo-yo dieting, different methods of weight loss, and a complete change of mind to make me change.  You have to be determined to do it and to make it last. No one else can change your life for you. You need to accept responsibility for why you are the way you are. Maybe some childhood trauma is impacting you. Figure it out. Get therapy (honestly there is no shame in this...I wish people would see that it is a GOOD thing because you're helping yourself!). Do what you need to in order to figure out how to change your life for the better.  It honestly depends on you.

I'm not sure this post took the exact direction it was meant to...I think I was going to hit on points about obesity in general but I got wrapped up in the personal stuff.  Oh well....I suppose that's another post for another time!!

Have a fabulous weekend!! Stay healthy!

XOXO

Thursday's Run

In my heart rate discussion yesterday I didn't discuss my run...At least I don't think I did!

Last night I ran a little longer and a little faster than I have all week. I think that's probably been my best despite being tired and running later in the evening; a couple hours after having eaten dinner (that always slows me down). Hopefully that means that tomorrow morning I'll be even better!! I really tried to focus on staying slow and watching my heart rate. I do well running when I keep it in the high 160s to low 170s.  When it gets over 170 I can start to feel my breathing is a little more labored and I get a little more tired.  Anything over 172 and I can't sustain it for long. I feel like I walked a lot less; ran a lot farther last night.  I will definitely be wearing my HRM tomorrow so that I can keep an eye on my heart rate. I'd like to run as much of this 5K as possible, so it will be important to glance at the HRM and keep a steady pace. 

I think that the hardest thing for me will be keeping to a steady pace while others around me are running fast. I often notice that when running near others I pick up my pace a little and almost try to match theirs. This can happen for short periods, but unlike my more experienced counterparts, I cannot sustain it. Tomorrow I'll focus on staying in my zone.  I'll try to act like I'm the only one running...Like when I go running on my own. If it takes me 36-38 minutes to finish, I'm going to have to be okay with that. I know I'll have a couple spots of walking, especially after one of the hills that I'll run up.  I've ran up it a few times this week and will walk up it again this evening...Maybe I'll run it just to get that extra little bit of practice...Of course, I should be able to fly up it since I'll be walking before I reach it! Tomorrow will be a different situation.

My legs were pretty sore after my run, as they have been all week. They're not as bad today....Not sore at all actually. I suppose that's a good thing. My thighs and the outsides of my glutes were sore most of the week. I'm glad that they're not! A walk tonight shouldn't really cause them to be too sore, so I should be in good shape for tomorrow morning.

I'm a bit nervous and I'm not sure why. Maybe it's more of a feeling of excitement than actual nervousness. I've done this race before and I've been doing my best (and improving every day!).  I went from doing weeks 1 and 2 of C25K; squished into about a week and a half to running outside for as long as possible. I'd say that's pretty good since I haven't done much running in quite a while. I'm trying to focus on the fun, social aspect of this and getting exercise. I'm trying not to be competitive, so I'm not sure why I'm nervous. This should be like any other run for exercise, right? I'm not fast so placing isn't causing any nervousness. I think I'm just excited and ready for the weekend in general...I'm happy that I'm doing as well as I am, which is much better than I anticipated before surgery. I didn't think I'd be able to participate in this 5K at all...Then I thought I could, but I'd have to walk it...NOW I'm at a point where I am going to run as much of it as I can.  That's a pretty big difference from not planning to run at all!

I was pretty pleased with my run on Thursday night. I did a bit over a 5K in less time than it took me to run a little shorter distance on Wednesday. I think I'll be okay tomorrow!!!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Target Heart Rate.

Heart rate is something that most people pay no attention to. However, there are a lot of us who do. People who want to lose weight might pay attention, some at first and some not until later. Athletes, particularly those in training for events might pay attention to this too. Then there are people who like to monitor their progress and use it to help determine new goals or to push themselves a little more.

I wear a Heart Rate Monitor. I love my HRM. I can plug in my data and it calculates my heart rate as I workout. Mine determines at which rate I'm in the "fitness" zone and which I'm in the "fat burning" zone. The fat burning zone calculates a THR of 60-70% of my maximum heart rate.  This is said to be the zone at which people burn more calories; lower intensity and usually for a longer period of time than what you'd do at a higher intensity. This can be misleading to those who want to lose weight. A higher percentage of fat is burned at those lower intensities. However, weight loss is basically a calorie game and in order to burn calories you have to get that heart rate up! Your body will burn more fat calories at a higher intensity. The word "percentage" might be misinterpreted or left out and people think "to burn more I have to work in this zone." Percentage-wise, that's correct, but if you want to really burn calories, work higher.

There are many formulas online to determine your resting heart rate, training/target heart rate, and all things heart rate.  The most basic formula for finding your training heart rate is this:

220-your age.  This determines your maximum heart rate.  You then multiply that by the percentage of  your maximum heart rate in the range where you want to work.

Often 70% is used as a figure for training heart rate. The heart rate should be between 60 and 80% depending on your fitness level. It's said that a beginner should stick to the 60% figure, and increase gradually.  Interestingly, 60-70% is generally the fat burning zone.  Someone who has been working out longer should aim for a THR in the 70-90% range. This makes sense, as you need to increase exercise in order to continue to lose weight. By increasing your exercise intensity, you'll be increasing your heart rate.

Here's an example of the formula using the 70% figure and my age.

220-31 = 189.  189 * 0.7 = 132.

So, my heart rate should be at 132 to exercise at 70%. This? Is low for me. In just walking fast I can get higher than that! Of course, that's on the treadmill, and I generally walk with my heart rate in the 140s. Walking outside, especially with someone else, might result in a lower heart rate. Luckily I monitor and sometimes find myself saying "oh my gosh we need to walk faster, my heart rate is low!" Well, it's not REALLY low, it's usually in the fat burning zone (113-132 of me) but I'd like to walk faster than that!

I generally use the 130s or high 120s (depending on the number my HRM suggests for fat burning range to start) as my cool down point. I generally walk to cool down until I hit the fat burning zone, and then I stop. That's just my preference but it works for me.  I've not really studied the info on what your cool down range should be, but I'd guess that it's probably lower than that.... In cooling down, you should be getting back to your resting heart rate.  Obviously I get to that point, but when I get to fat burning zone is when I stop actively cooling down. At that point I stop watching it and let my body recover.

I generally work at an intensity above 80%.  This generally helps me to burn the amount of calories that I'd like.  For me, 80% is 151.2.  I like to keep my HR above that when I am doing cardio. If I'm at at least 80% I'm happy. If I'm running I often go into the 85% zone, which for me is about 161 (160.something). If I'm running I like to work in the 160s. At times, I go into the 90% range which for me is 170. I feel like I am really working when I hit the 170 mark. I cannot sustain this level for long, which makes sense.  Occasionally I end up working out above 95% of my THR.  179.55 (I round to 180 just because) is the rate at which I hit the 95% mark.  My heart rate, when I'm running for an extending period of time, at a higher intensity (faster, different surface) has been known to go into the 180s.  This doesn't happen every time I run because I often get too tired to go that fast for long.  If I hit the 180s I usually try to walk for a couple minutes or make myself slow down. The highest I recall seeing is 183, but it's possible it's been higher.

Why am I discussing heart rate?  I thought I'd give you some background so that when I start rambling about my heart rate and running (in less than a minute), you'll know what I'm talking about. Or you'll at least have a basic idea, provided my explanation was clear!

When I use the treadmill, I walk at a brisk pace and get my heart rate into the 140s. I refuse to walk in a lower zone than that, unless I am cooling down. I expect to sustain my rate no lower than that when I walk. When I run I refuse to allow my heart rate to drop below 152. if I hit 150, I know I need to pick it up. Lately I've noticed that when I run, I generally stay higher than this without effort. Perhaps this has something to do with me being completely inactive for just over two weeks. It takes me a while to get back "in shape" after I've been off. Usually, my treadmill running pace is the high 150s into the 160s. Not bad considering that puts be above 80% of my max heart rate.

What I've noticed is that when I run outside, my heart rate goes higher, faster. I've read things online and it often seems that people work harder on the treadmill rather than outside.  I am the opposite.  This leads me to believe that I do not work as hard as I could when I use the treadmill. I guess I just don't give myself the credit for being able to do what I can when I'm on it. Although, I do notice that I can run longer on the treadmill than outside; probably because I am going a bit slower. I have seen my heart rate reach the 170s several times on the treadmill, and even the 180s but it's more frequent when I'm outside.

When I'm outside though, my running pace usually puts me in the 160-170 range. Usually if I see 170 I start to get tired and back off a bit. I know that one of my problems is that I think I start out too fast. Those first few strides are awesome. I love the feeling of running. I feel free and ready to tackle the run....For a little while anyway. Eventually I get tired and slow down, and have to walk.

I don't mind this. I know I can run at least one mile without walking, which to a runner is probably laughable. to a couch potato, it might be admirable. To me, it's just because I like to run and it's a good form of exercise. I know that I have never been "a runner." I don't have the typical runner's body type, which probably contributes to my abilities. Typically athletic runners are long and lean. Those of us who do it for enjoyment may not be. 

I have a booty, hips, and thighs. It wouldn't matter how thin I was, I'd still have this shape... This shape that is not the typical shape of a runner.  My legs have a bit of weight to carry, most of which is in my lower body. I know that weight is weight and the legs will have to carry it no matter what, but I think that my shape does make a difference in my ability. Hmmm...My top half is much smaller. I wonder if that would make me a bit more aerodynamic. Maybe I should start running slightly bent over? Haha..Kidding, of course.

However, in my eyes I am a runner. I can run; and do. I do it because I like it. I do it because it feels good. I do it because it's good for me. Can I run miles and miles on end? No. I run for a while and then need a short walking break. The thing with running is that you can do it at your own pace. You can do it as fast or slow as you want. Will I ever win a race? Nope. I'm slow and I'm okay with that... At least I get out and do it!

For me, running is my me-time. I shut myself off from the rest of the world (well, other than the cars, people, and animals I need to watch out for when I run). It's a time when I don't have to talk to anyone. I can get lost in my own thoughts (as long as I pay attention and don't get lost on my route!). I focus on my breathing; my sweating (which can be a distraction when it gets in my eye). For me running is stress relief. It's something I enjoy. 

I think I got off-track. Slightly. Or a little more than slightly.

My point with heart rate and running is that when I run outside my heart rate is much higher than when I run inside. I must run faster outside... I mean, I'd have to in order for my rate to be higher. Right? The thing is that I don't know how to go slower. I think I did okay with this yesterday when I ran. I tried to keep it at a lighter pace and keep my heart rate a little lower, which worked. At first. Then I sped up. Then I'd take a walk break. When I'd run again? I forgot to watch my heart rate and would see it's higher than I wanted.

Knowing this information, I know that I am not at the point where I can run fast and maintain it. I'm just not in that shape. I'm healthy, but I'm not in shape for being a runner. For the 5K that I'm doing this weekend, I'll likely end up walking. I haven't trained myself to run at a slower pace that I can sustain outside. This is where the treadmill is of benefit for me. The belt doesn't move unless I move it, so I can maintain a comfortable working pace. I'll really have to watch my heart rate so that I can kind of monitor where I need to be. If I can maintain a slower, more comfortable pace, I probably can run most (if not all) of it. The chances of that happening? Not so great. I definitely need more training on speed maintenance.  I think that I try to go fast to reach a certain time to compete with myself and sometimes others. Even though I know that there are many people who can, and will, run faster than I can, I still find myself pushing too hard. Pushing too hard is what makes me have to walk and in the end, I'm still slower. If I'd stay at a slower running pace, I could run longer, which in the end might mean a better time than I'd get with so much walking.

Slow and steady wins the race? Well...Kind of.  It may not make me win the race against everyone else. It will help me win the race with myself though. I won't get so tired. I'll walk less. I'll finish with a better time. I'm not in shape like a runner and shouldn't push myself to try to be like that when I'm not.....Especially considering that before surgery I was focusing mostly on BR workouts so I wasn't running as much. Then I was out of the game completely for a little over two weeks. I'm just getting back into the swing of things. By focusing on BR for so long, my running ability obviously decreased a bit. Considering my workouts for the last few months and my lack of training, I should be satisfied that I'm doing it.

I think I'm going to take tomorrow off. I wasn't going to because I didn't think that running would make me tired for the 5K. I'm re-thinking that. I've noticed that my muscles are starting to get back into action after not having to do much for a while. I feel the soreness in my thighs and in my glutes (the sides anyway). I don't want to run and make myself sore for Saturday. I may not take the entire day off. I love my physical activity too much. But I might just do a light walk, if my cousin is up for it. If I were to go solo, I know I wouldn't be able to resist the urge to run....Being with someone who wants to walk will help me to not run. Perhaps it will be a complete day off if she's not up for a walk. Or maybe I'll do some biking, just to get some exercise....Even if it's light.

I'm excited for this 5K. My friends are at similar levels and have trained about the same as me (not much!). It's nice to know that we will all be in this together. We're doing it for fun. We're not out to win....We don't have to "beat" anyone. I do have that slight competition with myself to beat last year's time, but I trained last year. At the same time I feel like I should be better than where I was last year, which I guess is true, but I haven't been training or running much so in that sense it's not a true, or fair statement. I'm going to try to just have fun and go with it rather than worrying about beating my previous time.  Last year I trained. I didn't do mostly BR for months. I didn't have surgery. I wasn't off for two weeks before getting back into the swing of things.  Last year was a different time; a different race. I need to focus on finishing strong and getting a good workout.

One more thing to remember for the race....

Push the start button on the HRM. Last year I forgot to hit start when the race began and didn't notice until I was about a mile in.  This gave me an inaccurate calorie burn. This year, I'd like to monitor my calories accurately. I'd also like to use the HRM to monitor my progress and know when to kick it up a notch (even if that means running slowly rather than walking!).

I never in my life thought I'd be writing a post about my running performance, or my target heart rate! Oh how life can change -- and for the better!

XOXO