Fit Fat Fit

I’m pretty sure that I fall into that pesky category of fit and fat. While admittedly, I’m on the small side of large, I’m in that annoying grey area where I can sometimes squeeze into the highest number in the Misses category, and the second lowest size of Plus. I’m growing increasingly skeptical that my Mirena IUD is inhibiting my lasting weight loss, either that, or something with the Weight Watchers program (which has changed since I had my resounding success a few years back) has not been helping.

I have been hovering at the same weight for about a year now. What’s different between now and last year is that I go to the gym at least three times a week, and I’m working with a personal trainer. My trusty scale, which calculates my body fat percentage, says that realistically, if I maintain my current muscle mass, I only have to lose 40 lbs of body fat to be just above the minimum body fat percentage for an athlete. (To get to the top of the healthy BMI, I would have to lose 60-65 lbs.)

I realized that I do not do well when I’m not tracking my food intake, and after becoming so frustrated with the newest iteration of Weight Watchers (360), I decided to try My Fitness Pal. It’s free, works with mobile devices, and syncs with my Fitbit Ultra to help calculate what my actual food intake should be with relation to my exercise level. I’m mostly excited about this right now (consider it NRE) because I’ve logged in for two weeks straight, and have tracked reliably, which is more than I can say about WW in the past year. I’ve also realized that along with possible hormonal impacts to my weightloss, I wasn’t eating enough on Weight Watchers. I thought of myself as sedentary, but it turns out that a mother of a toddler in a highly walkable neighborhood/city is HARDLY sedentary.

Fitbit One
Fitbit One
I just upgraded my Fitbit to the Fitbit One , which has the added plus of syncing with my mobile device. I justify that this will come in handy during my vacation.

This has been an educational two weeks. I realized that I’m much more active than I gave myself credit for, and I’ve not felt deprived since I’ve been able to have a daily adjusted food intake based on my actual activity level. I have only lost about two pounds so far, and now it’s about seeing if I can lose more than that, which I have been unable to do with Weight Watchers this past year.

The best part of this experiment? I’m not gaining weight, and I’m not forcing myself to eat a piece of fruit when what I really want is a slice of cheese.

Interlude (When I’m not making delicious food.)

Uncle Bazel said to me, “Why you so fat?” I was eleven years old and at the yearly family reunion in the Appalachian foothills. He was of my grandparents’ generation, and this was the first time I really remember anyone in my family pointing out my size, or so pointedly, my failure. I was teased most of my childhood and adolescence by peers for being overweight. I have never felt comfortable in my own skin for any great length of time. I achieved my great weight loss after years on Weight Watchers, stoked by a personal tragedy, and literally running from my anxiety. I noticed that as I got smaller, the models in magazines got larger. It was bizarre, sitting in the bathtub, actively wondering if I was experiencing body dysmorphia, or if the fashion magazines had finally started hiring slightly larger models.

It’s still bizarre, because though I’m intellectually certain that the fashion industry hasn’t started using models above a size 2 in their magazines, I still remember that moment with a hint of doubt. Maybe they’re a size 6?

I want to print out a picture of one of the Domino Dollhouse models in lingerie for inspiration. I’ve been fighting, trying to lose weight for a year post-pregnancy, and letting myself feel pretty horrible. I realized that what I find beautiful and sexy in other women, regardless of size, is their chutzpah. It’s hard being a woman, regardless of size, but I truly want to high-five every large woman I see working and sweating in a gym, running down the street in athletic gear, or rocking leopard print leggings, short skirt, and sparkly bustier.

My smallest, stable weight of my life was 155 lbs. That was 2010, and I was running regularly, and by the end of the year, completed my first half marathon, running 13.1 miles in roughly 2 hours and 15 minutes. I wanted to lose another 10 lbs, at least. Twenty pounds would get me to the middle of the recommended BMI. You could see the sinews in my neck, my chin was sharp, my collarbones were defined and my ribs could be seen on occasion. I had loose skin from years of being much heavier, and I felt, still, like I was too big. The twist, though that while my internal dialog was still hateful, the outside world was more welcoming. Athletic people chatted with me more, people were more open with me, and attractive people treated me like a peer in a way I had never experienced before. Sometimes I wanted to tell them, “You know, I’ve really been fat most my life, are you sure you want to still talk to me?” I felt like an imposter.

Pregnancy made me have to lose the super-tight control I had over my eating, and daily pain towards the last part of my pregnancy kept me from even walking the usual distances I was accustomed.

I go to the gym three times a week. I don’t run much any more, and I miss it, but I just don’t have the time to do it during day light hours. I’m stronger, and I think I’m more physically stable than I was right after I gave birth, but I’m still 50 lbs from my “goal weight.” If I look at the fat % on my scale, I’m realistically 40 lbs away from what my weight should be at my current fitness level. It still puts me above my BMI (which is bullshit, I know, but some metrics are just burned into my head.

Lovey Tee in Purple - Domino Dollhouse
Lovey Tee in Purple – Domino Dollhouse
I went shopping this past weekend and finally bought some clothing that fit me, and looked good. Some of it was even a bit daring, in that “LOOK AT ME” kind of way. I’ve been waiting and working hard to become that magical person that can be sustained by smaller amounts of food and abstinence from all delicious fats and sugars, meanwhile punishing myself with an ill-fitting wardrobe, hoping I’d fit into my old clothes if I just worked hard enough. I’m hoping, now, that if I stop punishing myself, that maybe everything else will fall into place. I don’t know. I have come to the conclusion that maybe it’s not just me, but my Mirena BC that’s also impacting my weight loss. At any rate, instead of finding thinspiration in an anorexic model, instead I want to look at my beautiful, voluptuous kindred, some of which are larger than me, who have said (at least with their well-fashioned hips), “Today, this is me, this is my size, and I look fantastic.” I can’t wake up and be a size 8 for the day, but I can wake up and feel good about the size I am while trying to figure out how to get to the size I want to be. Right?

Drinking Game? Maybe not…

I’ve been slowly not-adjusting to the new Weight Watchers. It’s still the same basic system, where you count points (PointsPlus) and it’s deducted from your daily/weekly allotment, but it’s all calculated differently. Most of the real-foods I eat haven’t changed in cost (proteins and fats mostly the same, whole grains just a little more), and fruits and a good number of vegetables are free! This, plus I get more to deduct from per day. What’s the killer, though, is that now my 12 oz beer costs twice as much as eating a banana! A glass of wine? Three times! And the banana is now free! It’s almost like they want me to stop drinking and just eat healthy!

So last night an out of town friend told me of a drinking game that she and her friend were planning on playing. It included large quantities of alcohol and – gasp – cheap, tasteless, light beer was the only way to survive the game.

I realized then something that my Weight Watchers leader, Phil, has said that he made the choice years ago in favor of food over alcohol. Last night, I realized I’ve made the same choice. No matter how much I like to feel tipsy, if I’m not drinking something that tastes good, that I enjoy, I’ll save those calories for something I *will* enjoy – something that looks like the glass cupcake necklace I have around my neck.

Plus side – I find that I can easily cure a sugar hangover with a brisk run!

Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon

I’m just two days back from the Las Vegas Rock-n-Roll Half Marathon. This was my first race of this distance, and was a belated birthday gift to myself. I’m still rather beat up from it, but I’m so glad to have done it. It was a great event.

I feel like I’m still short of time and energy to share all that went on with this event. It wasn’t just a race, because I see this as an amazing step on a long journey. I’ve fought, kicking and screaming and at times, just quiet determination, to get to where I am today. The race was a rite of passage. Even though I’ve now run a distance greater than the distance between my home town (suburb) and the nearest urban area, I feel like I now should be striving to run farther. It may be a type of insanity – or liberation (or both?)

Last year, medical issues and profound loss seriously thrashed me. This year, I picked up the pieces, got back on track with weight loss (I have lost about 130 lbs in the past 3 years), and started training for distance. This race was my celebration of accomplishments in a tangible way. For the first time in my life, I’ve reached a point where I can do something I’ve never been able to do before.

My race time was 2:15:21, which was my conservative guess time. I wanted to do faster, but at 2000 ft above sea level (Las Vegas’ elevation), I think I was having trouble getting the oxygen I needed to do so.

Other than the race, I really enjoyed the weekend in Vegas, and really enjoyed our stay at the Wynn. I indulged in a post-run spa experience, which I can only believe has made my body feel SO much better than it would have otherwise.

I’m taking the week off of exercise (maybe stretching/yoga), and plan to get back into a regular fitness routine. I, however, am done with racing til spring (I think!) I’ll keep this blog posted (for my 2 readers!)

Training Progress and Bikila’s in Sight

First, I have to say how proud I am of myself for my run on Sunday. It started out as my long, slow run, with no real hills planned. It ended up with me doing a half mile with an elevation gain of over 350 feet! I ran through three different neighborhoods, and 6.26 miles at a pace of just under 11:30. I was a little sore on Monday and Tuesday, but I can’t help but be pleased by the experience over all. My knees and hips really didn’t like it – and this I partially blame on my conventional running shoes. You see, I’m still running in my conventional shoes as that the Vibram Five Finger Bikila‘s have been out of stock and backordered for the past month, and I sold my Sprints in expectation of getting the Bikilas. Oops.

This morning I’m a bit worn out after not sleeping well, and then doing a morning run. I’ve tried to switch to mornings during the week as that it allows me to get more done with my evenings. Also, I can run half-awake if I have to – which I definitely did this morning. It was a misty humid morning, and I did my short fast run at under 10min/mi for 27 minutes. I’m making sure to make hills a part of my routine – something I expect will be a sharp contrast next week when I take lazy runs along the Chicago lakefront.

Speaking of Chicago – I’m really excited that I was able to find Bikila’s available at the second store I called. They have them on hold for me to be picked up next Tuesday! There is only ONE official retailer of Vibram FiveFingers in the Seattle area – and that’s REI, and they aren’t even available for backorder in my size on their website. Chicago, on the other hand, has tons of stores offering FiveFingers – and if I have the misfortune of someone selling the Bikilas before I get to them, I will have at least a half dozen places nearby to check out to see if they have them in stock.

I’m not sure how I’ll adjust back to minimalist running after wearing the bone-jarring conventional running shoes. I’ll be bringing them with me just in case the Bikila’s don’t pan out – or end up not working like the FiveFinger Treks.

I’m loving running right now – it’s sort of like my co-drug of choice, with my other drug of choice being delicious food. I’m a foodie now, more than ever – I think because my interests have turned to quality over quantity. A running store I had hoped to get my Bikila’s from (See Jane Run, whose customer service seems to be ignoring me) sells shirts that say “I run for chocolate.” It’s true. I run because it feels great to run. I also do it because I can eat more delicious food (with reason) as a reward.

And for a weight update – I’m now below 150 lbs, and my body fat percentage is down to around 29%. I still have 12 lbs to go before I get to where I want to be (20-22% bodyfat) I don’t know if I’ll get there before my next challenge, but I just thought I’d put this down here for now.