Reflections and Recollections

So the husband and I went hiking today. If you will remember this is the day we were SUPPOSED to do the Great American Mud Run in the beautiful Hocking Hills region of Ohio. But the douche bag of a race director cancelled the race. (Hey, I am TRYING to move on, I swear!)

Anyway, we saw no reason not to head down there anyway and get a hike on. Either way we were going to get our fit on today. And I got to log more miles towards my 100 mile challenge.

The funny thing about hikes is that they provide you a lot of time to think…Ponder…Reflect…I imagine this is why people have gone on hikes, walks, and runs since the beginning of time. (No, really, imagine Mr. Caveman saying to Mrs. Caveman “I need to clear my head, I am going for a run”. I am sure it happened.

I am a life long Ohioan. And pretty proud of that actually. I love my state. I have tried others but I always come back to her. So I grew up hiking walking and picnicking in the Hocking Hills. Its a true gem in Ohio. (www.hockinghills.com) And I suppose I take it for granted for when I arrived today I was quite shocked to see how packed it was with out of state vehicles. I guess other people realize how beautiful this section of our state is too!

Anyway.

Hiking here always makes me think of my grandparents. Who would take my sister and I here frequently when we were younger. My grandparents were very active well into their 70’s.  They took us to parks, hikes, walks, lakes and picnics often. As a matter of fact, it is a rare memory that actually takes place IN their home because we spent so much time outside of it with them.

Along with missing them something fierce today came the reflection and sadness that my own parents were NOT that active.

Both of my parents are/were overweight. Not obese exactly as I was growing up, but definitely heavy. Neither my mom nor my dad were  “Outdoor” people. I do not remember doing much outdoors with either of them. I seem to have inherited my “Outdoorsy-niss” from my maternal grandparents.  Oh, don’t get me wrong. I can ROCK a PJ/Movie day like nobodies business. But I like being outdoors and active. DOING things. ESPECIALLY in the Fall. In Ohio.

Fall makes me come alive.

So as I hiked up the Rim trail at Conkle’s Hollow, breathing very heavily  but still breathing. (And grateful for it!!!), I reflected on how far I have come.

There was a time about 12 years ago when I attempted this same trail with my ex husband that I just couldn’t. I just couldn’t make it up the elevation. It was a disappointment I will always take with me because it is the one and ONLY time my ex husband EVER said anything about my weight. And it was based only on his concern for my health. We left that day never even getting close to the start, let alone finishing.

Today was the second time I have done this  2 1/2 mile trail since that fateful day. With an elevation of over 200 feet up and then back down again, it certainly was not easy. My lungs hurt on the way up. And my knees hurt on the way down. For I am most assuredly not the child I once was hiking with my grandpa. I am a 41 year old gal STILL carrying too much weight. But I am far from that girl that cried on the stairs 12 years ago because she could not make it up them.

And I realized today that my desire for fitness runs much deeper than I thought  and it’s different than I though.  While I would love to someday be 145 pounds sitting in my size 8 jeans, don’t get me wrong, this journey started out with my desire to be fit. And it will end with me being fit.

There is no way that my parents, now in their late 60’s, could have walked this trail today. My parents are not fit at all. They have been very unhealthy in numerous ways for most of the last 15 years. And it made me sad today to think of all the little things in life they are missing.

There will be no hikes for them with THEIR grandchildren. And that is a very sad thing.

Viewing the world from up here gives you clarity and perspective.

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I. Do. Not. Want. To. Be. Them. Ever.

Listen. I love my parents. I do. But their lifestyle and lack of passion for anything healthy hurts me. It hurts me FOR them.

No. I want to be like my grandparents. Active. Fit. Able to do a 2 1/2 mile hike or a 5 mile hike at ANY age. I want to STILL be doing these things I love to do well into my 70’s.

And no sooner had I finished with this emotional reflection when upon us came another couple on the trail.  They were in their mid to late 60’s I estimate. And they were walking this trail too. Not huffing and puffing. Just hiking. No different than we were.

We exchanged pleasantries and they went on their way.

THAT’S what fitness looks like to me.

It’s not a size.

It’s not a placement in a race.

It’s not a competition.

The kind of fitness I want is LIFELONG.

I now know and understand what my fitness looks like. It looks like my grandparents.

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A giant dose of disappointment…

So in June of this year I registered for my first ever Mud Run/Obstacle Course. Now, I didn’t do this on a whim. I researched races. Found one that sounded LESS competitive than others. Looked at pictures. They had a website. They had a Facebook page. Everything seemed legit.

The entrance fee was higher than I had ever paid for an event. $79!!! But, well, you have to pay if you want to play. So I registered myself and my husband. The months go by. I am nervous. Wondering how I will do. Worried like hell about the 8 foot wall.

I start fund raising through Crowdrise for Wounded Wear. Because The Great American Mud Run “Supports” Wounded Wear. So three months I bug my friends and family. I post repeatedly recruiting runners to join my team.

All to be sent a generic email Monday morning, just 6 days before the race was to be held here in the BEAUTIFUL Hocking Hills area of Southern Ohio, telling me RACE CANCELLED.

That’s it. Sorry about your luck. No refunds either. BYE!

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To say I was upset is an understatement. I really don’t know how to describe my feelings. Anger. Sadness. Disappointment. SHOCK??

I have done over 32 events in my 9 years on this fitness journey. And it NEVER occurred to me to read the fine print. You know, the one that says NO REFUNDS EVEN FOR EVENT CANCELLATION. UGH.

And losing the money sucked. But really, I was MORE disappointed in missing the event. I mean THREE months I have been talking myself into this. I do these events to motivate me. I don’t compete against you. I compete against the fat girl inside me. Each event proves to her that I am STILL stronger than her. That I can do more than she ever could.

I am jaded.

There is a part of me that wants to NEVER do another event again. But that’s really not me. I HAVE to get right back out there and soon. So no obstacle course for me this year. Maybe next. But I found two more events in October and November that I will do.

In the meantime, my bank DID refund our money, which they truly didn’t have to do (Shout out to Wells Fargo!!). I contacted both Crowdrise and Wounded Wear, and they BOTH have let me know my funds raised to help the wounded warriors WAS received.

WHEW.

And this Saturday we will head on down to Hocking Hills anyway to do a full on hike…3-6 miles…Because I am not gonna let some douche bag sitting behind his computer screen rob me of both my money AND my motivation…

Got a dollar? How about giving it to this wonderful organization…

http://woundedwear.org/

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Handling my Biz

“A smooth sea never made a skilled Sailor”

If that’s true, then I am a most excellent boatman!!!

Man. It’s been a rough summer.

It started off sweet then July and August just kinda blew.

I won’t air all my dirty laundry out here for the world to read because that’s just not my style. I prefer to handle my business on my own. Head on. One item a time.

But there were multiple events that just kind of wiped me out. Some of them have resolved. Some of them are starting to resolve. Some of them I fear will never be resolved.

Color this chic EMOTIONALLY DRAINED.

I don’t handle drama well. Yours or mine. I don’t live my life that way. Or I try hard not to. Unfortunately, some drama simply can not be avoided.

Needless to say, my weight loss, workouts and what nots have been NON EXISTENT. And I feel like holy crap.

I feel lost.

I feel adrift.

I feel depressed.

Or I did.

I have.

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My rational brain is still with me. Talking to me. Trying to get me through this. Thank GOD for that very smart, witty, logical part of me. She is trying to pull me through.

The irrational depressed lost me has simply stopped participating in life for a bit.

Today I got on the scale.

That was a shocker.

Or not.

But it NEVER fails to jolt me back to reality and remind me of the work I must continue to do. No matter WHAT chaos is swirling around me. It is NOT acceptable to ignore Miss Rational Brain and simply stop living.

It is the ONLY thing I can honestly say I have been consistent about in the last 9 years.

I have CONSISTENTLY not given up.

So today I had a look at the calendar. I talked to a very dear friend who has been dealing with her own stuff this summer, and I basically just reconnected to my rational self. There are still 4 months left in this year. That is PLENTY of time to get my shit together and end the year on a high note.

Am I sick of being here again. Yep.

Am I going to beat myself up about it? Yep

Do I understand WHY I keep ending up here? Nope.

And I most likely NEVER will. But I have to keep going. I must consistently keep trying.

I have my first ever Mud Run/Obstacle course in just two weeks (The Great American Mud Run). I have NEVER been this ill prepared for an event. But that’s okay. I fully intend on going, tapping into my inner bad ass, and getting shit done. Even if I die trying.

But I found myself today over and over again murmuring this phrase to myself “Handle your business Dawn” a phrase I picked up from the above mentioned dear friend of mine.

So while I am not 100% focused and dedicated at the moment, I am certainly much closer than I have been for two months, and I have no doubt that I will, as always, handle my biz…

From here to Obesity…

  • Childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents in the past 30 years.1, 2
  • The percentage of children aged 6–11 years in the United States who were obese increased from 7% in 1980 to nearly 18% in 2010. Similarly, the percentage of adolescents aged 12–19 years who were obese increased from 5% to 18% over the same period.1, 2
  • In 2010, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese.1~ Centers for Disease Control

So childhood obesity is a HUGE passion of mine. I wish someday I could find a way to make this passion into a job for me. But for now, it is just a passion.

I do not have children of my own. I always think it’s important to put that disclaimer on my writing about children or parenting, etc. I do however have 12 nieces and nephews and 2 step children. I also do not think you have to be a parent to recognize issues and challenges with parenting. But I digress.

I adore my step children. I have been a part of their lives for the last five years. Half of their lives already. But they are seriously some of the worst, most picky eaters, I have ever met. EVERY year when we have our visits with them we have loads of food filled drama.

It’s absolutely exhausting.

We have tried leading by example. We have tried discussion, yelling, pleading. We have talked and tried to rationalize their eating habits. To no avail.

The boy is 11 and has done better in the last year. Why? Because at the age of 10 he was diagnosed with some health issues that no one his age should have. He has since lost about 10 pounds and will try many new foods.

The girl who is 9 has a food diary of about 10 things she will eat. Most of them highly processed carbs and sugars. Very little protein. And absolutely NO fruits and veggies.

To say this frustrates her father and I is an understatement.

The problem is mom is also a picky eater. Mom also does not like drama of any kind so she often gives in to the kids. Mom also does not see any problems with the way her children eat.

So we have had NO support from her in getting the kids to eat better.

For example, my step daughters typical meal day, when she is at home, is this:

Nutella sandwich for Breakfast. Nutella sandwich for lunch. Pasta for dinner.

nutella

Seriously.

She has been raised on this stuff and is completely addicted.

This makes it very difficult in the short amount of time we have with them every year to make any real impact on their eating.

I predict in the next 5 years my step daughter will have some major health issues the least of it will be a weight problem.

Did I mention these children also get little to no exercise? UGH.

All day long tv and video games.

Do I think my step children are the exception?

No.

Sadly, I think they are the norm.

But what I noticed this visit is I have started caving in. Giving up. And I haven’t decided yet how I feel about that.

I never thought I would be one of those parents. But the drama gets to be sooooo draining. I now understand, at least a little, why parents give in.

Also, because they are with us so infrequently, I really don’t want their memories of us and visits to Ohio with their dad, to be filled of bad memories dealing with food.

I mean, there are a TON of tears at our house at dinner time if we DON’T give in.

It is a very hard, thin line, to walk.

I want ALWAYS to be a great role model for my step children. I want them to love us and the lessons we teach them. I know it might not be appreciated now, but maybe some day.

But I also want them to WANT to be with us. To visit us.

This trip has been very disappointing to me on a personal level. I just really thought I could make some sort of impact on them and their eating habits.

Sadly, I don’t think I have…

 

 

Awareness vs. Acceptance

“Let us not look back in anger, nor forward in fear, but around in awareness.” ~James Thurber

How about a shout out for James Thurber, a fellow Ohioan! Woot!

So I think.

A lot.

Like, obsess, really.

Over think. Over analyze.

I have suffered with bouts of anxiety most of my life and tend to spend a great deal of time in my own head. I am AWARE of it and work on it constantly. I have been told more than once in my life (Okay, more like HUNDREDS of times) “Dawn, you are way over thinking this!”

Really?

Thanks for the newsflash.

A positive byproduct of being a thinker is this: I am incredibly self aware

What I mean by that is I have thought myself inside and out. I know all my flaws intimately. And I know all my wonderful points too. I know exactly what I can bring to the table, and I know what I am not yet capable of. I know the things I will work on the rest of my life. And I know the things that I have ACCEPTED as parts of me that I am truly not going to fix for someone else comfort level.

It is a rare occasion these days that someone will say something that hurts my feelings. Truly. Because no matter what you say to me, chances are more than high, that I have already said it to myself.

So it’s no surprise that I have carried this trait into my weight loss journey. As a matter of fact, this little tidbit is probably the biggest weight I carry and it has weighed me down FOR YEARS. I can not shed it.

At my most successful I was down 65 pounds. And I have successfully KEPT OFF 30 of those for the entire journey. But the other 35? Yeah. Those come, and go, and come, and go, and, well, you get the picture.

And I truly don’t know why. And I should. Because I have spent the better part of my 30’s and now my early 40’s dwelling on it.

I look back. CONSTANTLY. And replay EVERY SINGLE THING that I did back in those successful years. And then I look forward.  And the thing is. It only leads to a big fat giant question mark!

Question-MarkIt’s an exhausting experience. Because there are no answers. My life, my lifestyle, my eating habits, EVERYTHING is so much better in my life now. I am more educated food wise, more determined, more active, happier, etc. And yet, I can not seem to permanently shake those 35 pounds.

About once per year I reach my limit where I want to scream.

I am that girl! I swear it! That girl that does EVERYTHING you are supposed to do. Well, MOST things. I am incredibly aware of what I eat. Where my food comes from. I watch my portions. I eat mostly high protein, low carb, I watch my sugars due to a family history of diabetes. I am aware of my calories and I am a fairly active person. I avoid eating out and fast food. I know what makes my body function at its best.

Are there things I could do better? Of course.Am I 100% on every day? No. But I bet I run about an 80/20 ratio of good habits vs. bad. These changes alone compared to the girl I was back in 2003 shoving McDonald’s down my throat 5-6 times per week,  should equal a much thinner girl than I currently am.

I swear I hear at least once per week “Man, you eat healthy” or “You don’t eat that much”.

Um. Yeah. Can someone tell that to my metabolism, please?

Some days I just want to give up because I am sooooo tired of thinking about it all.

Sometimes I truly think the only permanent solution for me will be the bariatric surgery route.

Sometimes I truly think that will be  my final step on this journey.

Sometimes I just want to eat and be fat and simply stop thinking.

Losing weight and being aware can be draining. Reading every label. Calculating every calorie. UGH!!!

Then last week I read an article in Fitness magazine. It struck such a chord with me!

http://www.fitnessmagazine.com/health/body/head-to-toe/fat-but-fit/

THIS WAS ME! (Thank you Peg Rosen for writing it!)

I am one of those people at the gym that you skinny people are probably looking at wondering why in the hell I am still fat? That is me. I read that article and for the first time in a long time I felt validated.

Listen. You can be FAT and healthy. I am proof of that.

You can NOT look at me and assume I am shoving my face full of hot dogs and potato chips. Because I am not.

I am that girl. Right there. Right beside you on the elliptical or the treadmill doing my best to stay fit and healthy. I may not look it to you. But I am.

That fat girl beside you running a 5k? Yeah, that’s me too. And you will be tempted to think it’s my first race, but it won’t be.

You can not judge my fitness or my health level based off what you see. It runs deeper than that.

I don’t need to question what I did wrong or what I need to do better.

I AM doing what I need to do MOST of the time.

I started this journey to be FIT and HEALTHY. And I am. I am a fit and healthy FAT girl. And I am AWARE that I might always be. I may NEVER be skinny. And while I am quite AWARE of it. Under no circumstances have I ACCEPTED that fate. Not yet anyway.

For I may never lose another pound. And on some level that pisses me off. And on another level I know I might have to accept that some day.

But that day is not today. I will continue to do what I know I need to do to stay healthy. I will exercise. I will eat right. I will be AWARE.

But I am not yet ready to ACCEPT that this is who I will always be.

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The Sweet N Low of it all…

We don’t need sugar to live, and we don’t need it as a society.

Mehmet Oz

 
Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know that Sugar has been a long time nemesis of mine.
 
 
 
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I grew up using Sweet N Low. I mean, I didn’t consume it by the gallons, but we used it in our ice tea a lot. Neither I nor my sister have six eyes, three ears, or four arms. So, you know. I feel it was relatively harmless.
 
 
Then came adult hood. Before I started this journey in 2004 I drank pop. (Yes, I am from Ohio, and we call it pop!) I would have one or two cans per day depending. In addition to that I had a daily cup of coffee with four to five tablespoons of sugar in it. Yes. Tablespoons. My ex husband would often joke “Would you like some coffee with your cream and sugar?”
 
 
Hmmm. And I wonder how I got fat? Well, genius, probably a little bit due in part to the fact you were consuming about 500 empty calories per day!!!
 
 
So when I joined Weight Watchers that fateful January, I started hoarding my points. Treating them like money. I COULD spend my points on empty calories and STILL call myself successful. But the further I got into the plan, the more I did not want to.
 
  
The first to go was the pop. I simply stopped drinking it. I swore I would NEVER drink diet pop. I HATED HATED HATED diet pop. So I just stuck with water and tea.
 
 
My morning coffee switched too. I tried many artificial sweeteners and finally settled on Equal. It wasn’t an immediate success. It took me a few weeks to adjust. It was hard. But hard is good.
 
 
About a year into my journey I started experimenting with flavored waters and sugar-free Kool-Aid, etc…That went well.
 
 
And about two years into the journey I FINALLY attempted diet pop again. And was a success. But for some reason ONLY light pop. Like Mt. Dew, 7 Up, etc.
 
 
So for the last 5 or 6 years my artificial sweetener intake has risen. Being an extremely aware food consumer I KNOW this is not good. I have known for some time. I have read about the negative affects of sweeteners vs. the negative effect of sugar.
 
 
I have a very good friend who did an entire paper on it for her schooling. I have read countless articles and books about it. So I KNOW eliminating it was an eventuality of mine.
 
 
I had attempted in the past. And failed.
 
 
But this time, so far, it’s going okay.
 
 
I am on week three. I have gone from one diet pop per day down to one diet pop per week.
 
 
I switched from 4 packets of equal per day in my coffee back over to 4 teaspoons of sugar in my coffee. WHAT??? SUGAR??
 
 
Yes. At this point in my life I am not willing or ready to drink black coffee. I will get there some day but today is not the day. My daily cup of coffee is a true treat for me and I am not willing to give it up. I have switched to the healthiest REAL sugar I could find.
 
 
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And I have switched from TABLEspoons to TEAspoons.
 
 
This has taken my morning cup of coffee from about 34 calories to about 100 calories per day.
 
 
And I am okay with that. Yes. They are empty calories. But, it is my daily treat and I am being very stubborn about giving it up.
 
 
So, after three weeks do I notice any reduced cravings? Or any other significant changes that the anti artificial articles I read suggest?
 
 
No. No I have not. Not yet anyway.
 
 
But that doesn’t mean I don’t believe them. I do believe that putting overly processed anything in your body is bad. It is not a natural way to eat. So I do try to eat as naturally as possible when I can. And since I can’t really go around munching on a piece of sugar cane, I do feel this is probably the next best thing.
 
 
And as far as noticing any big changes? Who knows. I haven’t noticed any yet, but maybe some day they will come.
 
 
What has amazed me the most is I have not missed my daily pop at all. It was super easy to give up.
 
 
Which makes me ponder what other things I am desperately and stubbornly holding on to that may not really be all that important to me?????
 
 
Hmmmm…..