Got another mile run/walk in today. I've been doing it with a couple of friends and their kids, and these people make me feel no pressure whatsoever. Which is what I need. Yesterday, I was a little sore after Thursday's run. We'll see how it goes tomorrow.
Ryan Adams & the Cardinals' Cardinology gets more amazing with each listen.
In a world of singles, this is a great album -- but with a bunch of great songs. Check out: "Go Easy," "Fix It," "Magick," "Cobwebs" and "Let Us Down Easy." I'm sure other songs will start growing on me as well.
Halloween on plan is amazing, particularly in comparison to Halloweens of the past.
My kids' candy is safe! And I feel so happy. There's so much energy and fun, which I can enjoy instead of thinking about candy I want but shouldn't have and then struggling (and usually failing) to resist it.
Candy is something I just don't eat. I don't mourn not eating candy. It doesn't bother me to see other people eating it. I can talk about candy, including my favorites and that they are my favorites. I'll have a ton of it in my house for the next month or so, and it's OK -- I won't want it or be tortured by it.
That's what makes this whole last year feel like such a miracle.
I ran/walked a mile today, in addition to walking about a mile there and back. The more I do this the less self-conscious I am about it. I kept to my pace, though, which makes it so much easier to feel good about things. It was about a 12-minute mile. But maybe more; it was hard to tell with just my cellphone, which doesn't have a good timer. My next investment in this whole kick will be a better watch, a runner's one where I can keep track of my times more accurately.
One of my main goals when I started this eating plan was to Not Get Diabetes, which runs in our family and I'm at risk for. There's also the Not Get Cancer goal. Cancer runs in our family, too. I've dropped my risk for both those illnesses dramatically, since obesity is a big risk factor, although I haven't eliminated the possibility, of course.
Now, I have a new goal, which is to Weigh Less Than My Husband. We weighed about the same when we got married, and then he lost some weight after having major surgery 11 years ago. He hasn't regained it. I, of course, put on more than 100 pounds since we first got together, although 30 of that was before we got married and he was fattening me up with restaurant meals. Having four kids in eight years doesn't exactly help, either -- not that that's a good excuse.
Until elementalyou, I wasn't the kind of woman who practiced a lot of self-denial -- at least not when it came to food. I thought it was much more life-affirming to embrace food and drink and fun. I still do that, although in different ways.
Too much affirmation of life wasn't altogether a good thing when it got me too heavy to fully enjoy it, though.
That new goal is in my sights now, as I weigh only about 10 pounds more than Paul does. I'm where we both were when we got married, but he's 10 pounds lighter. I'm shorter, but he's naturally rather thin. Plus, I carry weight well. One of my brothers estimated that I weigh 25 pounds less than I do.
Paul also wants to pick me up, which he did early in our marriage, and he is confident he could do it now. It scares the heck out of me, though. Maybe 25 pounds from now, I'll relent.
Got about six of those today, which always happen when I see a bunch of people I haven't seen in a while. It is sort of an L.A. thing, but it's also related to the diet. Sometimes, people try to play it off like, "Of course, you looked good before, too."
I'm like, "Uh, no, I was pretty darn fat!"
Paul, the smart husband, tells me at least once a day as well.
Was super-lame. Part of it was a course problem, as there wasn't an obvious course at this park -- and we had lots of little kids. It was led by someone else, who is in much better shape than I am. It was more evidence in the Why I Shouldn't Run With Other Adults idea. I tried to encourage her to go ahead, but I wasn't about to break out of my slow-and-steady philosophy. It was frustrating for both of us, I think. I'm so inexperienced that I'm sure I wasn't doing something properly etiquette-wise.
I'm going to have to go out again myself, as I don't think I got any more than six minutes in. The leader was definitely more focused on the distance run when I'm all about simply the time that I'm out there. The problem is I like to keep at least 48 hours between my "runs," so running again tonight would be messing that up.
Thanks to a gift from an old friend, I have two new bands to love.
First -- The Hold Steady. Check out "Your Little Hoodrat Friend" and "Hot Soft Light" on YouTube. I might have to talk Paul into taking me to see these guys at the end of November, as he liked them, too, and it's only a $25 ticket. Heck, worst-case scenario is that one of the older kids could come. Plus, the Drive-By Truckers are with them. I'm sure I'll be into them by the time that show comes around. The kids and I have been dancing all morning (P.E. class!).
Ryan Adams is also coming, but he's with Oasis. Oasis is undeniably talented, but the band just annoys me. Plus, the tickets cost twice as much. Adams also has been overusing his voice and canceling shows recently as well. Wilco is the one I'd really like to see, but there are no dates scheduled near me anytime soon.
Then, The Coup -- Socialist rappers from the Bay Area. "Me and Jesus the Pimp in a '79 Granada Last Night" is amazing and intelligent, but my favorites are "Heven Tonight" and "Laugh, Love, F***" because I'm not really into anything that's too serious right now. Although these are both heavy on Marxist rhetoric, they're at least happy, unlike "Me and Jesus." There's too much that's too serious going on in the world, and I just want escape. I can't listen to these guys with the kids, though, as their bad words are too recognizable. "5 Million Ways to Kill a CEO" is also great and bouncy, with incredibly and intentionally awful words.
A note on my music: I have favorites in every genre -- something to offend everyone, whether it's my rap or my uber-twangy country.
In some ways, it's easier to list my least favorites: Coldplay (sorry!), Kenny Chesney, the Cheetah Girls and undoubtedly others, but those first three will get me groaning and changing the station the fastest.
Running for Mortals is another book by John "The Penguin" Bingham, and it's a little more serious. Mortals is more my speed, as some of his works assume a completely out-of-shape reader. I'm not a good runner, but I can walk fast and uphill for a very long time, so I don't need to start at quite the lowest levels.
I also got The Courage to Start by him. I really like the philosophy of taking it very slowly and listening to one's body. My total running time this week will be 10 minutes three times a week. Of course, the 10 minutes of running will be interspersed with about 30 minutes of walking.
It's good I'm so confident about the wisdom of Bingham's strategy because when I was younger I would've felt the need to go too far, too fast. I'm making sure to be careful about increasing my activity. I don't feel bad or get inspired to push myself any harder by hearing of better runners. Races and all that business aren't in my plans. I won't say never -- but I'm well aware that I don't like group running. And I'm just happy to get out the door. Maybe I'll consider fun runs when I can run for a decent length of time and distance, but I'm not holding my breath. I'm taking baby steps with this one.
I just know myself too well. Even during childbirth, where a lot of women say they do better with their doula and their husband and their mother-in-law all there to cheer them on, I did the best and my labor went the fastest when I was alone the most. It's easier for me to be focused without the distractions of others. And I need to be focused -- without any worry about the convenience of other people -- when I'm doing the hard work of giving birth or sticking to my jogging plan. If I ran with others, I'd be thinking too much about how I was messing up their workout and I'd push myself harder than I should. Then I'd feel it later, and I'd be that much more hesitant to keep up the activity. For me, running represents pure selfishness. I don't want it to be any sort of social activity. Oh, I'll run with kids, but I don't need the judgment of adults as I shuffle along.
I wrote the piece below specifically for the L.A. Times "My Turn" section a few months ago, but they didn't want it. It has a nastily short word count, and it'd be hard to sell elsewhere without a pretty major reworking. So I'm publishing it here, even though it doesn't fully reflect my current mental place, which is more peaceful. It's more where I was in July or August.
No fat women live in the Marina, the shuttle bus driver told me.
"They all take care of themselves," he said, and then he casually added this shocker:
Yes, he was handing me a line, but despite the driver’s stated stereotype, I know that there are fat women who live near the coast. Not long ago I was one of them.
Until recently, I carried more than 200 pounds -- oftentimes well over 200 pounds -- on my 5'7" frame. After losing 75 pounds and dropping from a size 20 to a size 12 over the last year, my world has taken a surreal turn: I'm now masquerading as a woman who takes care of herself, and I catch the eyes of strangers.
Life is different for my thinner body. It wasn’t bad for my fat body, but now that I’m simply chubby instead of morbidly obese, I’ve noticed a lot of differences, just in going about my daily life.
I get more genuine smiles from clerks in stores or the local baristas.
I see grey-templed heads turning as I pass.
I get chatted up at the grocery store or on the shuttle bus. All kinds of men, but particularly the middle-aged ones, start telling me – not-so-subtly, at first meeting -- about their workout routines.
I’m much more fascinating to talk to at parties.
And, I’m learning to be careful not to smile too much or be too attentive to men who aren't my husband.
That last one was the biggest shock. I didn’t realize that I had gotten away with being a bit of a flirt when I was fat and no one looked twice at me; now, I definitely have to tone things down a bit. I’m married and happy to be that way. It hadn't crossed my mind that talking with and smiling at men would give them the wrong idea as to my intentions – it certainly didn’t 75 pounds ago.
One theory, though, is that it’s not totally my weight but my level of confidence that has been the major change. I’m not anywhere near gorgeous, particularly in a city with as many pretty women as L.A. Plus, at 41, I’m not young, and I’m not medically enhanced in any way. But, after losing the weight and exercising regularly, I feel as though I’m 25. My husband says, “You have your strut back.”
It could very well be that strut – as well as improved grooming that comes from feeling so good – that is drawing the looks and the lines. As I was gaining weight, I wasn’t happy about it, and I wasn’t focusing any attention on my appearance. Now I dress a lot better, and I’m figuring out how to wear clothes that flatter my changing shape even more.
For me, the biggest block to slimming down hasn’t been the effort of hours with the weights and the treadmill or the longing for a dessert deferred, it’s been the removal of the shield of invisibility that carrying too many extra pounds brings.
When I first became aware that I was being looked at, my weight loss stalled; now that I am learning to accept the eyes newly drawn me and am figuring out how to behave again, I’m confident the last 30 pounds will disappear as well.
One thing that losing weight reminds me of is breastfeeding. Stay with me here.
When you're breastfeeding, if you're doing it "right," you're doing it a lot. That leads to many conversations when you're out and about. People want to know if the baby always eats so much. Women also invariably want to tell you the details of their own breastfeeding experiences -- and for every woman who had a great experience, there is one who had such difficulties that even though she really wanted to breastfeed, she wasn't able to do it very long or at all.
Once people know about my diet, they tell me of their struggles. Just like a breastfeeding mother reminds others of their own breastfeeding experiences, I remind people of their own food demons. So I reassure people a lot that they're fine and look lovely. I really believe in the importance of people being at the right place to accept something like my eating plan -- and not everyone has my issues with food. Oftentimes, these are people who are smaller than I am right now. They're eating more than they want to be eating right now, though. Also, usually, they are people who remember when I was bigger. A lot bigger.
I've lost 90 pounds since October 2007. And I still have more to go. There are lots of great things about having lost the weight; there are other things that have been difficult. I also write about my running and activity -- primarily so I have a record of it.
Now, though, I will be gaining some weight again -- as I'm due with my fifth child in early December. People (quite rudely) ask if I were planning to get pregnant. I'm 44; I always say we were "shocked but happy." I'm still following my diet plan; exercise has tapered off a bit, but not completely.
See the link to the plan I'm following below. Per FTC disclosure laws, I will mention that I received the elementalyou services for free. Additional services I have received free from Tiffany include her being the doula at my third child's birth as well as her providing child care and educational instruction to my children and her making me countless meals and margaritas (before I went on plan).