Saturday, March 31, 2012

One more reason

It's almost time.  Fastball time, that is.  I love this time of year, when I gear up to coach a wonderful group of girls that have been a part of my spring for the past seven years.

Being a coach for this group of U16 girls means a lot to me.  They are a huge reason why I wanted to get healthy and make this transformation. As a girl I played fastball, and it was an important part of my athletic life.  I loved the girls on my team, the crack of a bat, crouching behind home plate as a catcher.  It was my first experience as an athlete, and I loved how I felt when I played.

When my oldest daughter Hannah was 8, we enrolled her in fastball and I agreed to be an assistant coach. Somehow along the way I became "Coach J".  Seven years later, I am still coaching most of the same girls, with a few wonderful additions. Last year, coaching was tough - doing the things I needed to do as a coach were becoming increasingly difficult because of my size, and I realized that if I wanted to be a positive role model for this group of exceptional young women, I needed to make a plan to get healthy.

I want these girls to have fun as they play, make good friends and develop their individual skills as ball players.  I also want them to become good team players, fair minded competitors and to develop the confidence needed to take them forward into their adult lives.  Our team motto:  Have Fun, Do  Your Best, and Play Fair are important values that I want them to embrace.  It's pretty hard to be good role model for health and fitness as a lifetime pursuit when you are overweight and out of shape.

I really love this group of girls - they are fun, amazing and inspire me to do my best to help them grow.  I am excited this year that I can share some of what I am learning about health and fitness with them, and show them that change is possible - even for their rather rotund coach. They are one more reason for me to make these changes in my life - I want to be better for them, as well as for myself.

They should, however, be just a tiny bit afraid - I have learned from the best how to work my butt off, and they better be ready for some of the same!  No more slacking during runs - I may just be able to catch at least a few of them!

I can't wait for the season to begin - this year is sure to be our best ever.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Confessions from the Scale...part two....

I reached a milestone today, and I am so happy about it!  I have officially lost 25 pounds, and I am feeling pretty darn excited about it.  After a month of whining and complaining, the scale finally started to move. About bloody time, I say.

To celebrate this momentous occasion, I opted not to eat a whole pile of crap, which I seriously used to to do.  Kinda crazy - lose some weight but celebrate by eating back the weight you just lost!!  So conditioned to celebrate everything with food.  I also used to use a weigh in as my excuse to spend the day overeating -  you know - weigh in, so then you have a whole week til your next weigh in, so it is totally OK to cheat on weigh in day - right?  Right?  I mean, I am gonna lose it over the week. . .  Or perhaps you have never done that.  I absolutely have, leading to a cycle of starvation and bingeing that is physically creating crazy insulin swings, and basically putting myself on an emotional food roller coaster.  You know the one - where you are up and then down, on your "diet", then off, exercising like mad, and then not at all.   I really hate roller coasters.  They scare me - I always feel too out of control - hmmmmm - out of control - maybe there really is a connection.  So no more roller coasters for me.  They make me barf. 

This time, I am celebrating with a new page on my blog called "My Progress in Photos".  This will serve as a visual journal of my progress ( or not, as the month may be!).  Here you get to check out my glamour shots month by month ( I'm too sexy for this blog, too sexy. . .).  They might not actually be glamorous, but frankly for a camera phobe like myself, its a pretty big deal to let it all hang out ( literally!) in a series of photos that everyone can see.  You can access the link by clicking here or by clicking on the sidebar link under "Pages".  Some months the changers might be big, other months, small - but all are just one step on the road to transformation. 

And that's a ride that is better than a roller coaster any day!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Sometimes, it just ain't pretty. . .

It's so true.  Sometimes it just ain't pretty when I work out.  I just came off 5 days away from the gym and this morning's workout was one of those days when I really, really, really HATE the damn mirrors in the gym. You see, mirrors are awesome for super fit individuals ( you know who you are) to check out their form (which is usually perfect), and see how fit and fabulous they are while working out.  I don't think they  mean to look so ridiculously good - even while working out. It just seems to happen, and when I am in a grumpy mood, well, it kinda pisses me off.  (Envy is such an attractive quality in a chubby gal!)  I know, in my heart of hearts, that they, too, had to work hard for the bodies they have, but it still bugs me. Petty, yes, and dumb, but just tryin' to be real here.
You see, I like to think that I actually look like a shorter ( and ever so slightly! rounder) version of Jillian Michaels when I work out ( except with a much less annoying voice).  It is motivating to see myself as fit, strong and bringing a kick butt attitude to every squat, push up and kettlebell swing.  Most of the time I do an awesome job convincing myself.  Today, however, was not one of those days.

Today when I looked in the mirror, I saw a big, sweaty chick who looked like she was about to expire at any moment.  Stringy hair, sweating excessively (that's the polite word), huffing and puffing through every last minute of each movement like I had never worked out before in my life.  My push ups weren't perfect, the kettlebell swings definitely need work, and the lunges were, well, awkward doesn't really cover it. As I said, pretty it ain't.  ( I love using bad grammar - makes me feel like a real bad ass)

At first I was just annoyed - I mean, really, does it have to look so easy for some, and yet feel so ridiculously difficult for me?  I was all set to spiral down into self pity and general miserable-ness.  I can go there quite quickly when I want to, it seems.  But then I realized that nine weeks ago, I couldn't do one push up, and now I can do many - not perfectly - but they do look like push ups! A lunge was something I did to get to the front of the ice cream line, and a kettlebell - well - that was just weird jock equipment that had nothing to do with me.  Now I can squat, lunge, and swing a bell on a daily basis, and actually like it. I AM stronger, healthier, more fit, and most of all, happier.  Most days I am just fine living in my skin, and I am learning that I don't have to see everything as all or nothing.  I make good choices most of the time, and I am learning to see progress in the little changes I make each day.  This is the real transformation, in my book. 

So even when it ain't pretty, it's still pretty darn good.  I don't need to be Jillian Michaels - I am pretty cool with just being me, even if I am not so hot in the mirror.

And my voice really IS much less annoying than Jillian.  Just sayin'.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Report Card Day!

Warning:  If you are sick of my crabby, "this is hard" posts and are looking for something a little happier and funnier - this is perhaps the time to go back to Facebook. . . .

Did you ever have the experience as kid when you were stressing out about a looming Report Card Day? As a kid I was a reallygood student, but I STILL felt nervous bringing home that envelope that would let my mom know how I was doing, and either be a source of pride or a source of frustration and disappointment - for both my mom and I.  I generally was an A student, but high school math was a source of constant misery and failure, and I dreaded report card day because I knew it would shine a light on all of the missed questions, assignments that didn't quite get completed beause I didn't ask for help to complete them, and the ( very occasional -wink wink-) skipped class.  By the time the day came around I was a wreck.  I was so glad when the days of report cards were far behind me.

I now have another report card looming before me.  I have completed 8 weeks of my program at BDHQ.  In some ways I can't believe that 8 weeks has gone by - and at other points the days seem to creep by ( this is mostly when I am at a plateau - which frankly feels like most of the last month!)  Last month I lost almost 9 pounds and about 11 inches.  This month I am actually pretty nervous about pulling out the measuring tape and getting on the scale - I don't feel as confident, and I find myself with the same feelings of anxiety and dread that I thought I had left behind in high school.

Surprisingly, I am not perfect - I know, a shock to all.  Over the past month I have made some poor food choices, missed the odd workout, and felt super frustrated with my slowing progress.  The two month report card will definitely reflect every poor choice I have made over the past month.  This sucks.  A lot.  Nothing like being held accountable - especially when I have made it my goal to make sure everybody knows what I am doing, and has great expectations for me.  This is incredibly supportive and amazing - also intimidating and terrifying - I definitely don't want to fail.

So I stepped on the scale this morning -it wasn't an F but it sure wasn't an A - or a B - or even a C.

 I have lost a big 2 pounds this month - bringing my total since starting at BDHQ to almost 11 pounds and my grand total since starting this journey to 23 pounds.  I have lost a few more inches, but it aint dramatic, let me tell you.  I have to admit - I was super disappointed.  Actually, I had a little mini meltdown - all that hard work, all my sweat, the early mornings, saying no to all those delicious things that passed my way ( well, almost all!).  Feeling discouraged doesn't quite cover it.  Crying, miserable, feeling really pitiful almost does.

Apparently, the 8 week mark is when a lot of people who make it past the 2 week mark quit.  (Does that make sense?)  I get this.  The initial "Wow - I am losing weight" has worn off, and the real work of transformation is beginning.  Sticking with it is really tough, especially when the scale is stuck, or progress seems non existent - and making good food choices and working out hard everyday is getting a little tired.  Some great advice from Michele and Dawn really helped today - and so did the support from my workout partners of the day.  I am really lucky to have such a great place to workout and learn how to live a healthy lifestyle.  And to have supportive people around me.

I will take some photos later, when I feel a little more settled, and post them to keep it real.  In the meantime, I found this, which is now posted in a highly visible spot to remind me that this a JOURNEY, and a long one at that.  One step at a time.

And I am leaving the pity party behind!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

I'm Expecting!

No, don't get all crazy on me!  I am definitely not expecting a wee bundle of joy and sleep deprivation!

I am, however, expecting results, and soon:

Seriously - this is me.  Anyone who knows me well, or even not all that well, knows that patience is definitely not my groove.  I don't even like waiting for a bus, so the whole "you didn't gain it in a day, so don't expect to lose it in a day" thing isn't really working for me!  And the last few weeks of living in plateau land are, to be less than delicate, really pissing me off.

This is the part of the "weight loss journey" where  I typically:
  • get really frustrated (check)
  • feel like I am a failure (check)
  • start cheating here and there to completely sabotage myself  (halfcheck - oh, alright - check)
  • bitch about how impossible it is for me to lose weight ( that would be a double check friends)
  • give up entirely, gaining back anything I have lost plus an extra 10 pounds just for fun
You will notice I have not yet checked off the last one.  And I am not planning on it.

I read somewhere recently that weight loss is 80% what you eat, and 20% how you work out.  I think that is crap, actually.  I am learning that weight loss is really 100% mental - how you make your choices and follow through and stick with the program even when you GAINED a frigging half pound last week ( that was me I was talking about, in case you missed the emphasis!)

And it`s about being patient.  I really hate being patient.  I admit it - I want the Biggest Loser result - 5 or 6 pounds a week would be perfectly satisfactory to me, 10 would be ideal. ( And yes, I am obsessed with the Biggest Loser, but that is between me and my therapist)  It is amazing how quickly I can get discouraged, even when I really am seeing results, if I look at the big picture.  It is just hard. Blah.  Hard again.  There is a life lesson in here somewhere - I know it.  I just am not quite ready to embrace it.  But I am working on it.  And really, that is all I can ask of myself.

Oh yeah, and the not cheating thing would be really good, too.  Chicken and salad - I love you - no, really I do.  Really.  Mmmmm.  Can`t wait.  Sigh. 

Here is to a more patient (and accepting) tomorrow.     Filled with chicken and salad.   

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

It's Clean Up Time!

No, not THAT kind of clean up time - with 4 kids I personally have had enough of Barney to last a lifetime!  But I have been working on cleaning up my diet - eating clean, to be exact.  To be honest, I have been on a bit of a plateau over the past few weeks, which completely sucks, and I have been looking much more closely at my diet to try and figure out where I can tweak things to get losing again.  The exercise part of my program has been going pretty well - give or take a few workouts that almost killed me.  But I really struggle with eating well.  You know, making healthy choices every day, avoiding fast food, eating breakfast.  Sigh.  I LOVE food, and changing my orientation to eating is really a struggle.

I have been focusing on eating "clean", which is not a diet, but rather a way of eating that will be sustainable even after I lose weight.  Which I figure is a good plan, or I am just going to be back in the same place six months after my year is up.  Clean eating is really about  a lifestyle that focuses on eating healthy whole foods and avoiding crap.  Sadly, I love eating crap, so making the transition has been tough!

In a nutshell, eating clean is the practice of eating whole, natural foods such as fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates. It also means staying away from the junk that typically makes up the diet of Canadians and our neighbours to the south. ( And forget telling yourself that Americans are much worse - I have seen a lot of overfat people rolling around with me in the Great White North!)  These types of food include human-made sugar, bad fats (hydrogenated, trans-fat), preservatives, white bread, and any other ingredients that are unnecessary. An easy way to remember if a food is clean is: "if a human made it, don't eat it."

A person that eats clean generally practices the following:
  • Eliminates refined sugar
  • Cooks healthy meals
  • Packs healthy meals
  • Makes healthy choices when dining out
  • Drinks a lot of water
  • Eats 5-6 small meals per day
  • Eliminates alcoholic beverages (or significantly limits it)
  • Always eats breakfast
Sounds deceptively simple, but it is actually tough to break the addiction to processed foods and sugar, unhealthy fats and sodium.  Let's face it people - crap tastes really good.

I am finding it is pretty easy to eat well for a while, but frankly I am easily bored and have a short attention span, so the thought of another breast of chicken and salad makes me want to run screaming from the table.  Not to mention the fact that I HATE cooking and am not very good at it.

So I was chatting with my trainer Wendy today and she had some very helpful advice.  I was complaining about the boredom of eating clean, and she very nicely pointed out that maybe it was time to find excitement and variety in something other than food.  That maybe other things in my life could provide the entertainment that food often has provided.  Hmmmm.  You mean I might be using food as something other than the fuel it is intended to be?  ME???  Really???

I am not denying the pleasure of gathering around a table and enjoying a meal.  But the enjoyment is really in the gathering, and eating clean and healthy never gets in the way of that.  Good food can be healthy food - it just means being a little more creative and a lot less dependent on fat, salt and sugar to make me happy.  Wow.  Who knew that eating your veggies could be so profound?

So I am tweaking my diet - getting rid of some things and increasing some others, and looking for ways to make eating healthy all the time part of my life, rather than a chore to do because I want to lose weight.  Sigh.  To be honest it wounds like a lot of work, like most things worth doing, I guess.

So I might just have to start trading recipes and practicing my clean cooking skills.  Anyone want to get together to share healthy cooking ideas?

BAHAHAHAHHAHAHA - did you really fall for that?? I would rather do Christina's Filthy Fifty!!!

Friday, March 2, 2012

A Biggest Loser moment. . .

Have you ever watched The Biggest Loser?  I watch it ( I can't help myself, and I love/lust after the trainers Bob and Dovett) and pretty much every episode there is some dramatic breakthrough/deep confession/tearful workout meltdown.  I call it a "Biggest Loser Moment" - as in - "oh oh - here comes a Biggest Loser moment - time to get the laundry".  I really hate all that drama - it is just a workout, people, chill for God's sake.

Well, I am eating humble pie today ( but don't worry - it's calorie free!).  I had my own little "Biggest Loser Moment" this morning at the gym.  And yes - it was a big, fat, tearful workout meltdown.

Last week a little list appeared at BDHQ, along with a challenge.  Called Christina's Filthy Fifty ( and that doesn't quite cover it - more like Christina`s Are You Freaking Kidding Me I Will Die Doing That Fifty) it is basically a series of activities that you complete fifty of in the fastest possible time.  I truly LMAO when I saw the challenge - knowing I could NEVER do this, and was very grateful that I didn't have to.

Check it out:

And just in case you cannot read the chalk - this is the list:

50 Box Jumps (Looky here)
50 Kettlebell Swings ( check out how to do them here)
50 Lunges with weight (here )
50 Wall Balls (video here - similar but with a smaller weighted ball)
50 Burpees  (here)
50 Kettlebell Pushpress (here)
50 Hanging Knee Raises (here)  Disclaimer - Mine in no way resembled these!)
50 Pushups ( I am lady - so I did "ladies" - from the knee!)

Christina did this in under 12 minutes - seriously.  When I walked into the gym this morning to find out that this was my workout - I wanted to run the other direction.  I actually felt sick, thinking about all the parts of that that I couldn't do, that were way beyond me - and that I was going to completely embarrass myself.  It was the first time I really wanted to just quit - walk out the door and never come back to the humiliation of trying to get this body to do all the things that it hasn't done in forever, or has never attempted at all.

But Christina was having none of it. A little tough love, and I was starting my filthy fifty.  And filthy it was.  I am not going to lie and say my form was amazing, or that I did every challenge as it was meant to be done.  The Box Jumps were box step ups, I used the lightest (8kg) kettlebell, and my Wall Balls and burpees left a little to be desired in terms of perfect form.  But I did do them - all 50 of them.  And although I was exhausted and stretched to the max, I was actually doing it.  Until it came to the hanging knee raises.  Enter the Biggest Loser Moment.

I hit the wall.  I was so tired, and so sure I couldn't do the damn things.  And I was scared.  Scared of  hanging there, scared of falling, scared of failing.  Once again Christina told me to just do it.  To try.
So I tried.  And oh my gosh it was hard.  The tears fell - I was so frustrated that I couldn't do it, and so afraid of failing that I didn't want to continue to try.  Christina came over and told me to step down.  But I couldn't do it.  I couldn't just finish with tears - not knowing if I could even sort of do it.  So I kept doing it - all 50, with Christina cheering me every minute, every knee raise, every tear.

It was so freaking hard.  And those hanging knee raises? They were nowhere near perfect, or pretty. But I don't care, because today that wasn't really what it was about.  Today was about something actually much bigger for me.

I didn't quit.  I wanted to, more than anything, but when it came down to it, I didn't . I couldn't. 

Today I am a ninja - a Filthy Fifty Ninja - I did the whole damn thing in 21 min and 55 seconds.  And I am really impressed with myself - event though it wasn't perfect and I had to make some modifications.
And I had my Biggest Loser Moment - some tears and a lot of self doubt.  And I don't care - I am sure there will  be a few more before the year is out. And I am ok with that.

The only real downside of today was that that when I had my meltdown I didn't get the requisite "cheer up, you can do this" hug from Bob or Dovett.  Damn.  I think I feel the tears welling up as I write - where are you two when I need you?