Thursday, July 7, 2011

The Yellow House on the Right

It's so easy to get lost in the (somewhat American) desire for more. I feel so much better when I enjoy what I already have. How many people on this planet would look at my life and think I have it all? I have a practice of conscious gratitude that, I believe, has really allowed me to appreciate all that I have. Because I do have it all. I use it often and I'll do my best to describe it.

Whenever I'm feeling down about what I don't have, or envious, or yearning for something more, I turn my thoughts, consciously, actively, to what I do have. And, like most middle class Americans, what I have is an abundance. I start with something very small and allow my mind to wander...
I wake up in the morning in a warm, safe bed. I have been sleeping without fear, without hunger, for a number of hours. I eventually sit up and put my feet out onto the floor. The floor is carpet. I like carpet in my bedroom. The carpet is a color and fiber that I chose. I remember looking at different carpets in the store, running my hand across them, finding the one that I liked the best. I see the sun shining in through my window. My window that is not only one pane of glass but two. Two because that is quieter and keeps the temperature in my home more stable. I stretch, I slowly head into the bathroom. The bathroom is such an amazing place. I have knobs to turn and when I do fresh, clean water comes out. I tweak the knobs until the water is just the temperature I want. I have a toothbrush that's been charging itself all night and I brush my teeth. The toothbrush moves on its own.
You get the idea. I don't always think about my bedroom and bathroom. Sometimes I think about my clothes - do you get dressed based on how you feel that day? Can you imagine? Or my shoes, so many choices. Or food. The abundance of food in this country is insane. The fact that most of us are overweight, that we have to burn calories doing no real work in an effort to offset all that food - it's unreal. But the heavy stuff, my feeling of safety, my loving husband, my beautiful healthy has to be something big for me to pull those out. When Myra was a few months old we had a little health scare and I was definitely forcing my mind to focus on all that is right in my world.

Some months back I was driving in a nice area of San Rafael and noticed a particularly beautiful house. It was a perfect shade of yellow with white trim and beautiful landscaping - green grass, gorgeous flowers - the colors just popped in contrast to the yellow and white. I thought, "If I could only have that house...".

I stopped myself almost immediately. Time spent yearning is time lost in the moment. I want to shine with gratitude and appreciation for everything, everyone - all things good that are in my life. And it's all good. Right now, today, it really is all good.

So I just wanted to share my gratitude practice. It's the coping tool I whip out anytime I'm feeling like my life, my stuff, isn't enough. How much time do we take to really appreciate all that we have? How much do I have to be grateful for? I don't know exactly how but I believe this has a positive impact on my weight related issues. Maybe something about feeling content, feeling satisfied.

Ok, off the brain stuff and onto the body stuff. Last I posted was Monday, the 4th of July. I didn't get to the gym that day (it was closed!) but I got there on Tuesday. I did c25k Week 2/Day 2. Maybe it was just the day off prior but it felt easier than the first time. I'm still doing the 3.0/5.0 mph for the walk/runs. Last week one day I tried to up it to 3.5 walking. Bad idea. I need those 3.0 walks to recover. After c25k I did legs and shoulder. The lunges are finally starting to become doable. Notice I didn't say they are becoming easier. Nothing easy about them but I'm hanging in there because when it comes to lunges, I Believe. I also did one set of calf raises, mostly because it bothers me that my calves are so weak. For the first time my calves didn't threaten to cramp up before I even finished the one set of 8.

On Wednesday I went to the gym and did a 10 minute warm-up on the treadmill followed by 25 minutes on the upright bike. I did Level 2 on Random again and frick! - that bike was downright mean! It tortured me with series' like, 4, 4, 6, 6. By the end of the last 1.5 minute of level 6 I was practically praying! I can get very determined when it comes to these things though and I stuck in there, keeping my rpm's over 90 and not. giving. up. I usually burn between 385-485 calories during my gym time. I burned 529 calories. I know the mean bike gets credit for that! Then I did my weight training and core work. I held my first plank for 40 seconds and, due to poor math, my second for 45 seconds. Of course now I think I have to hold my second for 45 seconds every time because I know I can do it.

And finally, today. I did Week 2/day 3 of c25k. Can you believe I've already finished Week 2? Weird. I am definitely repeating Week 2. It was good though, I felt quite capable during the 90 second runs. Afterward I did chest and triceps with core work mixed in. And yes, I held the second plank for 45 seconds.

Well, there you have it. I've hit the gym every day this week except Monday. Tomorrow we're headed out to go camping and I'm considering going to the gym very early since I'll be missing out on Saturday and Sunday. I set my alarm but we'll see. I guess if I have any chance I need to hit the sack so I get 7 hours of sleep. I hope you all have wonderful things planned this weekend and that you take a moment to soak in the good things in your life. Next up, camping pictures!

Update: Up .5 pounds to 195. See? This is why I shouldn't complain when I have a loss. Must be more muscle mass :)

Monday, July 4, 2011

Wow, I'm Fat. But I'm having fun anyway!

Last time I wrote I was in a major funk. Still not sure exactly what that was about but the good news is I'm over it. On Saturday I took the kids to playgroup and had a nice time at the park. Afterward I put them down for a nap and went to the gym. I started Week 2 of c25k and it was definitely harder. Six intervals of 90 seconds jogging and 2 minutes walking. By the last interval I was happy to be wrapping up. Due up for weight training were back and biceps and I generally enjoyed that. Back extensions have gotten noticeably better since I started. I added one set of calf raises because my calfs are weak and my legs were too fried to do them on Thursday. I left the gym feeling spiffy!

On Sunday Miguel went to play soccer and I had a good time with the kids at home. When Miguel got home we loaded up the kids and headed for Limantour Beach. We got a bit lost but made it there eventually. We had a ton of stuff, trekked it all to the beach and found our spot. It was so fun! Marek was having a blast playing in the water and Myra even got to play a bit for her first taste of the ocean. Here are some pictures of Miguel, the kids, and I, having fun in the sun!

My angel Myra showing mom some love :)

Miguel and Marek playing in the ocean. At one point Marek fell face first in the water and he jumped up and yelled, "Run, daddy, run!" So cute!!

And finally, my two angels and I.

As much as I love my little pumpkins looking at these pictures was not my idea of fun. I wrote once about not putting up Fat Pictures of yourself for motivation. My point at the time was to focus on where you are going, not what you are afraid of. But these pictures made a strong argument for some fear based motivation! I think I might have done too good a job of internalizing the fit, thin Michelle because these photos were an eye opener. I am fat! At 194.5 pounds that probably should be no surprise to me but I guess I've just been feeling the fitness mojo so intensely lately that I got to thinking I was in good shape. Ha! Ok, maybe I'm in decent shape but there's no arguing with me being fat.

On one level it bothers me because, well, I don't like looking so tubby. But on another level I'm ok with it, mostly because I'm doing something about it and I know it will change in time. I just wish in time meant, like, tomorrow. Or I'd settle for next month even. But losing 40+ pounds isn't going to happen overnight so I'd better just move on. I am tempted to put one of these pictures (or one of the worse ones I'm not even sharing!) up on the fridge to motivate myself but I still generally agree with what I said back then (which, incidentally, was exactly two years ago today - weird). I believe positive motivation is the way to go, focus on what I want, where I am going. I guess looks aren't a big part of that really but a good by-product in any case.

The good thing is I'm not letting being overweight right now stop me from getting out there and living life. When summer was approaching, and before I got back on the wagon, I briefly thought about avoiding water (and, hence, swimsuits) altogether. But I quickly realized that wasn't fair to the kids. Why should they miss out because mom ate too many cupcakes? But I am looking forward to next summer when I know I'll feel much better about the summer clothes.

Onwards! When we got home from the beach I showered and changed into my gym clothes. Miguel 'bout fell out of his chair in disbelief. It was a mix of not believing I was going to the gym after a day at the beach and his not wanting to fix the kids dinner by himself. But no, I had to go. He was about as supportive as he could be given the circumstances. So at the gym I did a 5 minute warm-up on the treadmill and then the upright bike for 25 minutes, still on level 2. I think I'll go up to level 3 when my heart rate stays under 150 the whole time. We'll see. I had a great chat with Glenn, the guy that works at the gym, about some of the mental stuff related to food, compulsive behavior, etc. And he was telling me about some of his recent rides. I love that sort of talk, so inspiring. Then I did chest and triceps with core work. I upped my plank to 40 seconds! It was hard. It's going to be a while before I add more time. I finished up and arrived home feeling fantastic! More than ever in my life I am feeling the mental boost that comes from exercise.

So today is 4th of July and we did our annual walk in the parade with my mother's club. Why not another picture? Myra is sort of hidden in the baby carrier (and looking the other way) but she's there.

I'll only half-refrain from more fat comments. It was a nice day and thankfully I didn't feel like the heat was killing me. I sound like a broken record but again, I was happy I started working out because I think if I'd done this a month ago the heat and all the walking would not have been fun. But today I really enjoyed myself. If you've got little ones I highly recommend checking out your local mother's club (if you're lucky enough to have one). I have met some incredible women and the club keeps us busy and having fun. Besides, I'd probably be nuts right now if I didn't have these moms to tell me they are crazy too. Not sure that made a lot of sense but let's just go with it.

After the gym we got together with some friends. Our neighbor rented a giant blow up water slide and they had a bunch of kiddie pools - we all had so much fun. The few glasses of wine helped. My life is so different now, so full and enjoyable. I sometimes look at my children and think about how different their lives are than mine was at this age. Raising my children in a loving household is incredibly healing. I know it's not my childhood but watching theirs goes a long way in helping me forget my own. But that kind of talk is for another blog.

So no gym today, which is a bummer. I thought about taking an evening walk and then using free weights to do my weight training. Today would be legs and shoulders so really that would have been easy since I don't use any machines for those. But, ultimately I decided my body could probably use the rest after such an active weekend (and wine!) and not to push it.

Well, there you have it. Thank you to all my peeps who congratulated me on the pound loss. It really is a good showing. I was thinking about when I used to go to WW and how a loss of a full pound (or more) was so rewarding (as opposed to .4, etc). I am happy. Don't know what was going on in my head on Friday but I'm over it. I'll take a pound any day of the week and be happy with it! Happy Independence Day everyone, hope you enjoyed it!!