Current BMI: 25.36
Oct. 17, 2012 BMI: 24.99
Weight change: +2.8 lbs
Change from SW: -34.8 lbs
Change from HW: -42.3 lbs
Too much eating out. Crazy work hours over the last four months. Should die down. Glad the damage isn’t worse. And very happy to be able to run again. Goal: one “splurge” meal per week.
Colleague Alison and I after the Lager Lauf in New Ulm.
Yesterday, I ran the Schell’s Brewery Lager Lauf 12k race - 7.45ish miles, average pace 10:11, something like a 1:13 time. Not gonna lie - it was tough. The course had several major hills - and I’m talking Ragnar-esque hills. No joke. The race didn’t even start until 10:30a, and the temps were already around 73*, plus high humidity. The course itself was rather unshaded and the sun was out for most of it. Plus, I’m still recovering from a knee-ish injury and I’m just out of shape, period.
On the plus side, though, I’d say the race organizers did a great job - plenty of water for runners, lots of aid stations, beer if you wanted it at water stations (ugh, not me), and a free beer at the end! I have to say, the cold orange wedges at the end never tasted so good. Lots of participants, but not overcrowded. I registered early enough to get a technical shirt, but medals only went to folks who placed (got to admit, I was a bit bummed by that - I want a Schell’s beer opener medal!!) Tons of fun - the brewery was decked out in ribbons, and I couldn’t believe it was only the second annual race, the logistics ran so smoothly.
The race was preceded by lively commentary from the brewery president (quite hilarious, actually) and started with a cannon shot (!??!!). The race course went through the streets of New Ulm, MN population 13,000.
This bus was parked near the parking area - we passed it walking to the starting line:
Schell’s is a family brewery based in New Ulm. Schell’s focuses on traditional German-style beers, including many lagers. It seems like a lot of the macrobrews are based on crappy lagers, and I assumed I just didn’t like the style. But I think it’s just the quality of the product, because I generally enjoy bocks (though apparently weizenbocks are ales??), and I am finding I like pilsners, for example. We were able to meet up with members of Barley’s Angels, a women’s craft beer appreciation group, before and after the race. Running and beer - my two favorite things!
The grounds were absolutely beautiful. There’s a lovely garden:
And the Schell’s mansion, available for the current president to live in (he currently doesn’t.)
Peacocks roam freely on the property. Apparently some time ago a relative (aunt? sister?) of the family died and had peacocks. Nobody knew what to do with them, so they just brought them to the brewery, and successive generations are around today. The birds are outside full time; on the coldest winter nights, they roost in the trees. They were remarkably tame and tolerant of people taking pictures.
We took the brewery tour afterwards. Fascinating history - the brewery almost went under three times. The first was during the Dakota uprising around 1862, but apparently the family had a history of good relations with the Dakota and the family returned to find the brewery almost entirely intact. The second, of course, was prohibition, when the brewery sold candy, 1919 Rootbeer, and bootlegged (shocker.) Finally, in 1969, the introduction of light beer by macrobrewers nearly drove Schell’s (and did drive many other brewers) out of business. Schell’s developed a light beer recipe itself to survive, and the legend is that to make payroll in the early 1970s, the brewery resorted to selling lumber from giant black walnut trees on its grounds.
A lovely experience, overall, and one I plan to repeat!
Guys… thanks for being you. I feel the need to reach out to someone who understands how incredibly personal today’s events feel, and I go to my Tumblr dash, and… you all are already there. Way ahead of me. You all rock.
Reminded of “The West Wing” - people ran toward the blast to help the injured.
Ack. Sixty to seventy-hour workweeks the last month. I wish I was exaggerating. To say it’s been busy is a dramatic understatement. Anyway, that has obviously been a barrier to posting. (Somehow it seems that laundry and dishes are a higher priority than blogging - sorry guys!)
I’m growing a lot at work and personally, and all of that growth/uncertainty (they’re kind of the same thing, right?) is creating a lot of anxiety for me. It’s not a place I am entirely comfortable in, though it’s a good experience for me. However, I find I’m drawn more than ever to eat not to satiate hunger but just to feel good (isn’t that an irony.) Old, old habits.
Anyone read “The Power of Habit”? The author talks about how habits are essentially broken down into three components: cue, behavior, reward. And once a habit has been ingrained (we all know this) it can be very difficult to rewire. It’s more than just identifying alternative behavior pathways (though that’s an important first step.) The book recounts a situation with a football team whose coach sought to ingrain new habits. For awhile, the team was responding to those new habits, but when they got to an important game, the old habits would return. The players didn’t believe the new habits would allow them to win the game.
Obviously, I’ve put together some new habits to help mediate the old ones. Rare is the meal that doesn’t involve a sh*tton (technical term) of vegetables at dinner, even with rich meals that can easily get carried away. And it must be said that I actually miss meals where I don’t get a lot of vegetables - they just feel heavy. I generally watch calories, even when I’m not actually journaling them. But I need to trust this new system of eating and being active will help me cope with the issues that overeating, in my head, was designed to accomplish - a feeling of self-care, indulgence and a sensation of self-medication. That’s some reframing that no amount of calorie budgeting, active living or meal planning can accomplish (dammit.)
Here’s a revelation (by which I mean this is pretty obvious to anyone who follows fitblr blogs): when I blog I become more aware of where I am in this process and more committed to my goals. Gosh, wonder what that means I should be doing more of…? ; )
Recently, this TED video by Brene Brown about shame was recommended to me, and it immediately resonated - deeply - with my own experience.
Here’s a question: have you ever achieved a goal - like a promotion, admission to a prestigious school, etc - and yet somehow feel like you don’t deserve to be there? That it’s only a matter of time before you’re “found out”? Or like you’re not good enough to deserve positive changes in your life? As in, “who do you think you are?” That’s shame. (OK, that was like five questions.)
Anyway. Stick with me here - the video goes like this:
1. Human beings are wired for connection - that is, love and belonging. We crave it. Connection allows us to flourish and thrive as people. Connection is life.
2. Shame unravels that connection by instilling the fear of disconnection. Shame says that we risk disconnection because we are somehow unworthy of connection and are always in danger of being found out. Shame does not stop at simply criticizing what we do (that’s guilt) - it’s an indictment of who we are at our very core.
3. Connection, it turns out, requires being vulnerable to other people, to allowing ourselves to be truly seen, warts and all. And when being vulnerable is made excruciatingly painful by shame, we try to numb those feelings. Since feelings can’t be numbed individually, we just numb them all - through food, drugs, addiction. <—- LIGHT BULB!
Shame thrives on secrecy, silence and judgment. It cannot survive with empathy. So here’s my attempt at empathy - or perhaps just vulnerability: shame has been a big, heretofore unnamed power in my life, particularly as I started this journey with an obese BMI. However, what I’m learning now is that just changing my weight, or even changing my life, doesn’t itself change my self-perception.
I could be wrong, but for me, it seems this is an important part of why so many people backslide after they’ve lost weight. (I think it is for me.) There’s a cohort of fitblrs - myself included - who are just kicking and slugging it out every day to eat right and move more. Many of us (me too) have gained back at least some of what we lost. And for me, at least, it’s more than just “can’t find the time anymore” or “need to find motivation.” Really, how many of us can relate to backsliding (overeating, skipping a training session) and not feeling that we did something bad (guilt), but in fact did so because we ARE something bad (shame)?
Now, of course, it’s tempting to overuse this new understanding of shame to explain a lot of things (“when all you have is a hammer…”). I would never claim to understand this dynamic entirely, but as I’ve said in other posts, I instinctively recognize it to be part of piecing together how I got to be the way I was in the first place. Some of it was being active, some of it was eating right, but it’s so much easier to fix those things than to understand why they became so out of whack to begin with.
The video is twenty minutes long, but worth every minute.
I think it’s safe to say I’m in a rut. I’ve been gaining and losing and gaining the same five pounds for well over a year now. Hrmph.
There are a lot of contributing factors, but I believe they can be largely boiled down to two issues. First, I think I’ve lost perspective. And I don’t mean that as in “I’ve lost motivation.” Actually, I’ve been more motivated than I’ve ever been. But I think I’ve forgotten that, motivation, for me, has never been a good predictor of success in weight loss.
When I started to really lose weight a couple of years ago, all bets were off. I didn’t have an “I CAN DO THIS!” mindset of steely conviction or stubborn resolve. I worked very hard, actually, to have no expectations, except that 1) this would be hard; 2) to remember that it would be hard, and it would be ok to experience difficulty and to struggle with it, and 3) to give myself permission to try, to fail, to learn, and to try again. I didn’t have an expectation, really, of losing a set amount of weight (though I know what I wanted to weigh.) My goal was basically to eat within my calorie budget and meet my running goals, use the scale to figure out if I was heading in the right direction, and tweak as necessary. I am not the person who can set a goal to lose 2 lbs - I focus on it, I lose the weight, usually by some cycle of reward/deprive, and then I lose motivation and hey look! There’re those two pounds again!
A very long time ago, when I was part of the WeightWatchers online program, I read an article that said that the most successful gardeners were not the ones who simply planted seeds and watched them grow, but those who took joy in the process of weeding, watering, fertilizing, etc. etc. In my experience, anyway, gaining a healthy lifestyle seems to be pretty similar. The goals of losing weight and becoming more fit are long-term. They defy instant gratification, so you have to find another reason to keep going that’s embedded in the process itself. I fell in love with running, for instance, not because it’s a great cardio workout, or because a three-mile run tomorrow will shave off 30 seconds of my 5k time (it won’t), or if I run five times a week it helps me lose weight (it actually doesn’t do as much of that as you’d think.) I run because I love being out in the fresh air and sunshine with my dog out in the world. I love the feeling of taking myself to places I’d usually get with my car under the power of my own two feet. I love exploring and expanding my sense of place. I have to find that same kind of satisfaction in eating well, now, too.
Secondly, and relatedly, I’ve neglected why I gravitated toward this relationship with food in the first place, and it shows. I feel like I should be a pro at weight loss and managing my relationship to food by now. But that’s silliness, at best, and at worst, it reflects a lack of respect for the sheer magnitude of the challenge at hand. In running terms, it strikes me as a bit like deciding I can run a marathon tomorrow without any training because I ran one two years ago. I’m in a new body. I’ve taken a very ambitious new role at work that’s rewarding but also requiring more time and energy than ever before, putting new demands on my family, friends, social life and my ability to prepare nutritious food for the week. Those old habits, ingrained behaviors - eating for comfort, not for hunger; eating for satisfaction rather than for satiety - serve a purpose, albeit not the purpose I’d like, and pop up at exactly the times when I’m most stressed and tired.and pressed for time. I will probably always live with that, for the rest of my life, so I need to hone my strategy for dealing with it.
It may well be that my relationship with food is a challenge so formidable that it really requires breaking it down into two strategies: one, learning to enjoy eating well and in moderation again, and two, learning to enjoy figuring out what makes my emotional eating patterns tick. I think of this as my journey (I KNOW it’s a hackneyed term but I can’t think of another), phase II. A grandiose, profound, inspiring journey it will not be. It will be hard, that it will be defined by far more trial and error than success, and that I will struggle with it. But I will learn even more about myself, and I will become a wiser, stronger, more adaptable person than when I started. And maybe that’s the satisfaction in the process that I need to keep going.
You can skip this if you’d like. I’d understand.
Last year was challenging in a lot of ways, but also had some new, fun experiences.
- My first Ragnar relay (a BLAST!)
- My first duathlon relay (first run portion and bike)
- My first bike classic
- And of course my annual half marathon.
I plateaued hard within about 3-6 pounds of my weight loss goal. But here’s the exciting news: after many years of an unhealthy relationship with food, and despite an injury that forced me to drop my first marathon in four years, I maintained my loss within 6 pounds. When it got at the high end of that range, I was able to bring it down again. That’s over 40 pounds I managed to keep off for over a year. I’ve never been able to do that before. The last time I lost twenty pounds I gained about 15 of it back after a year. I always wondered if I’d be able to maintain my weight loss. This is a huge deal and though I’m not done losing weight, I’m pretty proud of it.
I’m reading “The Happiness Project” (thanks to @LindsayDoesLife for the suggestion) and one of the things the author talks about are learning new skills as part of being happy. Personally, I LOVE learning new things, and have a few ideas for what I’d like to learn in the near future:
- Food photography. I spend a lot of time cooking and I’m sure yall would like to see actual pictures of what I prepare, instead of just my blathering about it. Anyone know of some good iPhone food photography tips…?
- Cross country skiing. I wasn’t able to attend my class yesterday due to a family medical emergency, but there are several more introductory classes offered by REI soon that I will be at.
- I’d really like to learn how to ice skate. Even as an adult. How can I have grown up in a state where there are hotels with signs like this without learning how to skate??
Other things I’d like to do more this year:
- Host more dinner parties with friends.
- Keep a one-sentence-a-day journal.
- Take more pictures of happy moments.
Will it ALL happen? Probably not. I’m not a fan of resolutions. I actually find resolutions discouraging, and I didn’t lose weight by making a resolution. But this list is fun and doesn’t look too hard to integrate.
Happy new year fitblrs! May all of your resolutions be successful!
That sounds SO good. I’ve been on an oatmeal kick the last few days & have been thinking of overnight recipes to try for a speedier morning. Thanks!
Hey, I’m glad it’s useful! The “melted banana” thing is freaking genius. It’s sooo good.