Friday, November 8, 2013

First Law of Motion

Oh it's been bad. So bad. Junk food, candy, fast food, candy, junk food, fast food...bad. Tuesday evening is a good example. All the Halloween candy was out of the house...or so I thought. Miguel had left a plastic bag on a side table over a week ago and I never bothered to see what it was. I was doing some tidying and looked in the bag. You guessed it, candy. Two bags, one labeled Marek, the other Myra, filled with candy. Had I been smart I would have tossed the candy into the atmosphere the moment I found it, but instead I closed it up and put it in the garage. As if I'm not the food junkie I've always been.

Fast-forward to after the kids were in bed and...

Yep, that bad.
How many is that? 9? 10? Fun-sized didn't feel so fun when all was said and done. And that's only part of the candy. Honestly, I can't even remember all the crap I've eaten in the last week. I've been wrestling with my behavior, as you can imagine. Because of being so busy mistaken priorities I haven't gotten to a WW meetings in at least a few weeks. For next week I put it in bold letters on my calendar, with several exclamation marks to remind me - this is important, go!! I may not have all the answers and I may not have it all figured out but I know what helps, and going to a meeting will help.

And exercise, exercise will help. I went to the doctor yesterday convinced she would tell me my lungs were at least 80% clear and that I'd get the green light to exercise again. She listened to my lungs and I could tell she wasn't happy. Not as clear as she was hoping. She didn't give me a percentage but it sure wasn't 80%, "still quite a bit of inspiratory pops and squeaks". No. Please no. No, no, no. But then, "but you can start running again, in fact, that might even help." What?! Yay!

And then I felt it. The weight of Newton's First Law of Motion, an object at rest stays at rest, and the mental battle to get myself moving began. I thought about posting to my tri club page asking for a run buddy to meet me later, but I didn't. Eventually I felt the late afternoon sleepiness that used to be a daily experience. I hate that feeling. It's one I hardly have to endure in my new lifestyle but between not exercising, eating like crap and having pneumonia/taking antibiotics, it's made a temporary return.

After work I was driving to the gym and a steady thought stream of, "I don't want to go, ugh, I'm so tired" made it that much harder. I challenged that stream with, "Just do it Michelle. Sure you're tired, but it won't kill you. And you'll feel better afterward, I promise. Don't think about it, just do it." I listened to my better self and, not unlike a robot, drove myself to the gym. On the way I was trying to imagine what sounded like the least-painful run plan. It was chilly and a bit windy outside so an outdoor run in my gym's 'hood didn't sound fun. The treadmill sounded worse. I settled on changing my clothes and then driving a couple miles to a local trail for a trail run. That sounded the least painful. Why didn't I reach out for that run partner? Having someone to run with would make it 10x easier.

I'm pulling into the parking lot at the gym when I see Alan, a gym-regular with whom I often chat.

Me: Hey Alan, you all done?
Alan: Nope, just headed out for a run.
Me: How fast do you run?
Alan: Slow, you want to go with me?

It's a miracle, a running miracle! This has never, ever, not even once happened at my gym. And today, on the day I really needed it, a running partner falls into my lap. I didn't even know Alan ran outside around the gym like I do. He goes on to tell me he has this relatively flat loop, maybe 2-3 miles, and again he reminds me he's slow. Per-fect. "Hurry," he tells me, "we're running out of daylight." So before I could have another thought I ran inside to change, the whole time thinking, "yay, yay, yay!!"

We started running and my body let me know right away that it's been at rest. My legs were aching, my lungs felt tight, and running just felt hard. "Just a couple miles Michelle, doesn't it feel good to be moving again? I mean, this is hard, but it's good, right?" Right.

Alan and I didn't chat much, he was busy breathing and I was busy thinking. Over the last couple weeks I'd been noticing all the little ways in which my body was not happy. The headache, the sleepiness, the return of shoulder pain, not being as "regular" as I usually am - ok, maybe you didn't need to know that last bit but it's true. I used to think all sorts of things were just the way my body worked, and I didn't really make the connection between that and my poor diet/lack of exercise/extra weight. I thought I was just prone to constipation. Nope, poor diet. I thought I was just a person that got headaches. Nope, poor diet/stress/lack of exercise. I thought I was just a sleepy/lazy type. Nope, not at all. Now, knowing that those were all consequences of an unhealthy lifestyle adds to my motivation to maintain.

pic from Newton Running
Yet how quickly we forget. The good thing is, my body is here to remind me. Didn't like that headache? Get moving. Don't like feeling sleepy at 4pm? Get moving. Want to be regular again? Stop eating all that crap. Oh, and get moving. An object in motion stays in motion. And I was back in motion. We ran 2.1 miles in just over 21 minutes for an average of 10:03 minute miles. We both felt great about that pace and the distance was perfect. Had I been alone I would have pushed it to three miles, my standard weekday distance, but two was better, I could feel it.

Back in the gym and I did a full body workout just to wake up all my muscles. Pushups, squats, lunges, arnolds, russian twists, and a few PT exercises. I'd been worried I wouldn't be able to do my exercises - that irrational part of my brain that thinks I'm going to be starting from scratch despite evidence to the contrary - but it went fine. It was a challenge, I could feel my muscles straining to lift the weight, but I did it. And I know that if I keep doing it, in 3 weeks or so it will be easy again.

The eating thing is slow going. I'd decided to view all this food debauchery as if I were on vacation. You know how you go on vacation and eat way different than you normally do? So these past couple-few weeks are like a vacation and I'd decided my vacation would end when I started exercising again. I left the gym with a plan to eat a healthy dinner, no snacks, no crap. I had an ok dinner healthwise, nothing too junky, but ended up eating the last few pieces of the candy (no, I hadn't gotten rid of it) and later dove into the kids' bag of veggie chips. These poor kids, I'm eating all their crap. I suppose I'm sparing them from it, which practically makes it an act of humanitarianism.

So my evening food intake didn't exactly go as planned but I'm moving in the right direction. And history has taught me that as I get back into my exercise routine, the eating will fall into place. That, coupled with a WW meeting next week, building up a series of recent-memory healthy behaviors, and I should be back in the groove before too long. The only other complicating factors - my painful shoulder (that I'm essentially pretending doesn't exist), my clustermess of a personal life (that I can't ignore), and all the other stresses of a working suburban mom's life - remain. If I chose to add a full blown weight gain/food relapse to that I'd surely be begging for a padded cell before too long. With life in flux, I need my healthy habits now more than ever. Today my body is sore, my muscles hurt a bit. But I'm still hitting the gym after work to do something. Maybe a short spin on the upright bike and a bit more weight lifting. It's what I do. It's who I am. I am an object in motion.

Ok, last thing...remember that exciting blog-related news I hinted at? Well, I still can't tell you what's afoot but I can tell you I'm flying to the entertainment capital of the world soon to get knee deep in the fun. I'm not sure when I can tell you what's happening but I'll be taking pictures and journaling all along the way so that when I can tell you all the details will be at the ready. Oh, it's so exciting, and so hard to keep under wraps but I'm sworn to secrecy.

Happy weekend everyone! Get busy living!!


  1. Yay for being able to run again that's great. I'm glad that a running partner fell in your lap.
    I know you're saying this to yourself, but it's just a rough week and I have every faith in your ability to get back in the groove of things with your eating and excercising. You've got this, Michelle!

    1. Thank you Meg! It helps to hear it and be reminded.

  2. I love how you are so honest about your eating on your blog! Candy is my weakness too, and I too am planning to shove it in the storage shelves somewhere where I can't reach.

    1. Thanks, it's not always easy to be honest, I am humbled and even embarrassed by my behavior but I think I have to write about it to keep me on track. Don't hide it, put it in the garbage :) Thank you for the support.

  3. Great honesty and a great blog. Keep going Michelle :D

  4. hey^^
    when i tried to lose weight i learned a lot that surprised me. actually it´s quite easy when you avoid addictive foods and of course i felt the need to write about it ;) would mean a lot when you would read it, you will not be disappointed! thanks! :D

  5. I purposely bought candy that wasn't too exciting this year to hand out (big Tootsie Rolls and Smarties) and got rid of the rest of it as fast as I could, but I still had one or two more Tootsie Rolls than I should have. It's hard when you normally don't have access to this junk and then it's right in front of you. I don't have kids to bring more back in, so it was easier for me.

    I hope that the rest of the pneumonia is gone soon so you can feel like your old self. Take it easy, though, until you get the all-clear. Can't wait to hear your news!


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