eat, move, think, feel


October 2010

Nonscale Victory: Running Shirtless

It’s really good and important to take note of NSV (non-scale victories) when the scale is not feeling particularly victorious. I had one today.

I didn’t do it on purpose, I swear. But what happened this morning is that I left the house prepared for super chilly weather. It was like 50 degrees up by our house. Mr McB and I decided to check out a new (to us) route where he could bike and I could run and we could meet up and wave at each other and all that. I was very excited!

So we drove down there and WHOA it was easily 20+degrees warmer at the trail. I was wearing a hot, long sleeved t-shirt (that I usually wear cross- country SKIING or in super cold weather) plus a hoodie sweatshirt. I knew it was going to be awfully uncomfortable. Then I realized my pockets in the sweatshirt (my only pockets) were super shallow and this meant that my keys and phone were going to fall out.

My chivalrous spouse offered to let me have HIS jacket with the nice zippered pockets. He was just wearing a T-shirt so he didn’t need the jacket. But I could not deal with the long-sleeved shirt PLUS the jacket. Right then I decided to strip off the shirt. In the parking lot. I was like, it’s okay! I’m in my sports bra! And then I zipped up the jacket.

My plan was to run 6 miles, or to see if I could get anywhere in that range with a combo of run/walk. It is just now dawning on me (ha ha ha) that this Las Vegas half marathon is like five weeks away! and I better see what’s what. I wasn’t putting a lot of pressure on myself, and keep saying it’s fine if I walk it all, but I don’t WANT to walk it all because it’ll just take too damn long. I’m hoping for maybe a 50-50 ratio, and… getting in around the 3 hour range? I have no idea.

So I take off at a fast walk. After a couple of songs I felt nice and warmed up and started running. By the time I got to 2.5 miles, I felt like I was running with a soggy X-ray vest on my back. It was just sooooooo uncomfortable. And I decided to whip off the jacket and RUN IN MY BRA.

Now, I know people run in sports bras ALL THE TIME. But not me. I mean, I have always been way envious of those sports-bra type runners with the 6 pack abs (no, I have NO pack, or a one pack, or maybe a mini-keg). And I wasn’t actually baring my belly. I wrapped the jacket around my waist, and I pulled my pants up past my navel, quite dorkily, so that there was maybe two inches of skin exposed. But STILL. I was RUNNING IN MY BRA.

La la la! It felt really breezy and free and wonderful. The sun felt awesome on my skin and it was just great. And I felt pretty sure that I was not offending myself or any passersby.

It was an incredibly gorgeous, clear sunny day and I was running by the bay feeling just ecstatic. Until a couple things. 1. I realized I (don’t hit me! I KNOW!) forgot to bring water. AGAIN. FAIL.

2. I really, really, really had to use a restroom. Like really badly.

So my six-mile run got cut to five miles and the last 1/4 mile I was DYING of discomfort. (Shout out to Karen, whose recommendation of John Mellencamp’s “Human Wheels” literally kept me going instead of writhing about on the ground) I luckily did found a public restroom but then I needed to text Mr. McB to come rescue me. I was exhausted. But I was happy. I’d run at least five miles (maybe more? maybe close to six?) and it had really been great up until the bathroom moment.

I took a picture of my sweaty self in the parking lot. Feeling pretty pleased.

Viva Las Vegas!

PS. And just because of this post and the “Exposed” one below, NO it does not mean I’m going to be showing up in a bikini anytime soon. This is the end of taking my clothes off online!



Originally uploaded by Peter-snottycat

I have the tendency, I’ve noticed, to behave like a pendulum. My arc used to be very very long – ie, I’d go a YEAR without exercising at all, and I’d eat with abandon and gain weight like crazy. Then I’d do something like sign up for a marathon, and join Weight Watchers (temporarily) and lose weight. For a little while. Then, I’d swing back again.

I think I’m just not one for super consistency. How then, have I managed to literally stay within a 4-pound range since July of 2009? (I know, I can’t believe it either!)

I still act like a pendulum. But I am realizing now, the arc of my swing is really small, compared to what it used to be years ago.

I’ll have a really monster workout day. Then I’ll have a zero-exercise day. Then I’ll work out again. I’m realizing that it’s been easier, psychically, for me to recognize and accept this pendulum. And for me, a do-able arc for going in either direction is about 3 or 4 days. There are days when I eat barely more than tomatoes and plums. And I’ll burn lots and lots of calories. But these periods don’t last even a full week. Some “special occasion” or eating out or whatEVER will come along, and, well, it will even out.

Same thing in the other way. This week I had one big restaurant meal, and then I did a ton of baking in preparation for my Weight Watchers chocolate event, (including lots of BLTs – bites, licks and tastes!) and then I decided to follow my cravings around for a few days. These cravings included Mexican food, a pumpkin cupcake from the cupcake truck, and a big honkin’ bowl of hummus.

This morning I woke up and said, “I don’t feel like doing that anymore.” (um, for right now) I got up and did a beastly workout. It was fantastic. I felt like a furnace. Then I came home and I really, really wanted vegetables. I roasted a beautiful pan of vegetables and ate them for lunch.

I don’t have a regular workout program that I follow every day. Or a meal plan (other than trying to stay in my WW points). I follow my cravings, and my body around and ask it what it wants to do.

I think if I were to swing too far for a whole week, it would be worrisome. But so far, in 15 months of maintenance, that has not happened. I weigh myself every day (I know, I KNOW, you don’t all go for that) and I am fascinated by the graph on LoseIt. It’s a jagged up and down mountain range, and it goes up and down, up and down. I don’t think I’ve gained more than 3 days in a row, nor have I lost. But it never stays the same. It’s always fluctuating: one up, one more up, four-tenths down. Two up. Half up. Like that. And there is a 5-pound spread that I have not broken in a year.

I don’t really have a brilliant conclusion to all this musing. It’s just something I noticed, big time, this week. I think it works for me. But it’s also interesting to see it’s the same exact pattern I followed in my heavier days, just scrunched down.

One of the key “Helpful Habits” in Weight Watchers is “Learn from experience.” I think this is so true. I learned something about myself this week.

What patterns have you noticed in your own journey?

Exposed: A Half Century, Plus One

I’ve been eyeing Miche’s “Exposed” movement at Eating Journey for over a year now, with not a little bit of awe and trepidation. And I kept thinking, well, that’s nice for THEM to do, but *I* would never…

And then the one-year anniversary rolled around. And all manner of people were hopping on and Exposing themselves. And I thought, well, if not now, WHEN?

I don’t think I’m really going to be getting much better. I’m 51 years old and I don’t think things are going to be getting a whole heck of a lot prettier ten or fifteen years from now. I think I look better , and I know I FEEL better, now than I did when I was 48. And it’s not about looking perfect (Um, I mean that’s the POINT). It’s about loving our bodies for what they are, and what they have done for us.

I took these pictures with my iPhone. I’m not happy with the quality of the angles.  The camera and the mirror combo made  my legs look like weird misshapen pegs. But here I go. I’m exposed. I did it. And I was gonna do it in my undiepants, but I’m in dire need of some bikini wax and I really didn’t want to go and expose THAT. So.

Thanks, body. Thanks for waiting for me to get my act together so belatedly. Thanks for shocking me with your resiliency, after all I put you through. oxoxo.

The “Hunger Diaries” Kerfuffle

I know I am chiming in VERY late to this conversation, but this is the first chance I’ve had to get my thoughts in order since the huge outburst following Marie Claire’s article was published last week: “The Hunger Diaries: Are Health Writers Putting You At Risk?”

Where do I even begin? Well, lots and lots of people have commented on this issue. Including the “Big Six” themselves: Carrots & Cake,  Healthy Tipping Point, (who started the amazing Operation Beautiful project), Meals and Miles, Cheeseburger in Paradise, I don’t want to be redundant.  And yet there are several things I feel I need to respond to.

  • Healthy-living bloggers (which I consider myself to be) are role models, and as such, bear a certain responsibility to their readers. Well, first of all, I have no idea who many of my readers are. Only a tiny percentage of my actual readers ever leave comments and so I don’t know who they are. I am not anywhere near the readership of “The Big Six,” some of whom have over 15,000 readers per day. (I wish! right?) I believe that my only responsibility is in telling what is true for me. That’s all I can do, really. I’m not here as an expert. I’m just living my life in the best way I can, with all its struggles and challenges, and whatever anybody else takes from it, I really cannot control.
  • One person’s healthy tool is another person’s trigger. We all have our methods. It’s a highly personal, unique and often charged journey, isn’t it? When I began photographing my food, several people commented that it pushed their buttons. It was too much. But for me, it was a comfort. A daily practice, almost a meditative act. I noticed that it made me much more mindful. (I’ve slacked off the pictures lately, and really want to get back to it because I do think it was immensely helpful. For ME.) I was amazed that in some of the responses to the Marie Claire article, MANY people made comments that keeping a food journal was a “dangerous practice” that teetered on disordered eating. That really made my eyes pop because this is one of the main tools of Weight Watchers. Studies have shown that people who journal their food lose more weight. I suppose if you are anorexic and should not BE losing weight, this can be a dangerous thing. Which leads me to…
  • There are eating disorders and then there are eating disorders. They run a huge spectrum, from anorexia/bulimia to compulsive and binge eating. What might be triggering and “dangerous” for anorexics might be just what a compulsive overeater NEEDS in order to be healthy.  Take the practice of “food destroying,” which I was startled to see, ranks as a possible sign of “disordered eating” in some arenas. Wow. Because this is something that I sometimes do, most often in restaurants, when I am given a portion that is way too big for me, and I know that is going to tempt me if I’m sitting there looking at it. I’m satisfied, and I don’t want to eat any more. I might put a napkin over it (I reallllllllllly don’t see anything wrong with that) or sometimes will oversalt it or put something else on it that will make it unappetizing. Case in point: the other night I was out at a restaurant. Server brought us an extra dish of amazing mashed potatoes with butter gravy. How I do love mashed potatoes! I was already full. I had a bite. It was delicious. I could feel the inner Gollum revving up inside me (“My precious… potatoes! Buttttttterrrrrr!”) How easy it would have been for me to just inhale the ENTIRE giant mound, even though I was already done eating. Because I WANTED it. But another voice inside me DIDN’T want it. I dumped some icky sweet sauce from my fish onto the potatoes, and that put an end to it. Now. Was that “disordered eating?” Or was it a tactic that saved me from overeating?   For my particular eating disorder, I think it was a healthy move. Others might disagree.
  • If people with eating disorders wanted to find unhealthy advice out there, it certainly is there for the seeking. People who are prone to anorexia will find instruction manuals in how to do that. People who want to kill themselves, ditto. And people who want to eat themselves into oblivion will find plenty of support as well. Whatever you want to find out there, it’s there.
  • Slanted journalism. I just think it was sensationalistic and wrong. That is all.
  • Back to the Triggers thing. Personally, I am sometimes triggered by reading raw food/vegan blogs because that’s not a choice I want to make, and the sheer idea of it makes me want to go eat a giant bacon cheeseburger. It’s a trigger for me, because of who I am. But if I HAPPEN to read one of those blogs, and then HAPPEN to go on an eating binge, I am going to put on my big-girl panties and not BLAME IT on the bloggers themselves. I mean, come on, people.

I think that’s it for now. But I was amazed at so many things I read this week. Maybe it’s because I’m such a small-potatoes blogger. I am not in any Big Six. Maybe I’m in the Big Six Million. Just one voice in the blogosphere. I write for me because it helps keep me on a path I want to stay on. If it’s at all helpful to others, fantastic. If anything I do or say triggers or is unhelpful to anyone, please avert your eyes. It seems like it should be that simple.

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