I Have Been Here Before

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Five years ago yesterday I quit smoking; this was a significant life event for me.  I started smoking when I was seventeen; I was forty-eight when I quit.  I had stopped a few other times in my life but always went back to smoking within a year.  Hitting my five-year quit anniversary is exciting!  Quitting is not easy and maintaining it is hard work; it does get easier over time but is still difficult.

Right around the time I quit smoking I also started eating better and exercising; starting this healthier lifestyle, I lost nearly 50-pounds.  It is the first time in my life I lost that much weight without the assistance of weight loss medications or a frozen food plan program.  I simply changed my eating habits and started to exercise.  Like anyone who has been on this journey I was excited and convinced that this was it, I would never gain the weight back.  Looking back on my five-year quit smoking anniversary, I realize that I was very wrong.

I did lose a lot of weight, and I did it the correct way, using food and exercise.  I maintained the weight for maybe a year, and then it slowly started to creep up again.  I am now at the same weight I was before my first journey.  This is disheartening and hard to accept.  I mean I can take it because the scale tells me that I have to accept, but it makes me sad.  Today I was reflecting on being a non-smoker and how happy that makes me.  That is when it clicked, weight loss, like smoking cessation may not be a one-time journey.  I have to try again.  I have to look back on what I did right and where I failed and begin again.

Also, I have to be ready.  I was ready to quit smoking.  I was not just stopping because it was expensive, or because of my health.  I wanted to stop because it was annoying to me, it was getting in the way of what I wanted to do.  I wanted to stop smelling; I wanted to exercise more, I wanted to feel better, I wanted to have more time in my day, and so many other things.

Now, I am ready to lose weight.  Just because I failed once, it does not mean that I will fail this time.  If I do fail this time, it does not mean that I will fail the next.  We have to continue to try; we have to find THAT time, the time that is right for us.   I believe that this time exists and that this is the time for me.

Cheaters never win, and…

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I found out today that someone I have run with in the past has cheated in several races.  It really disturbs me that someone would do this.

My journey to get healthy through running, exercise, and better eating has been pock-marked with successes and failures, I could never imagine cheating myself out of this journey.  I think the thing that bothers me the most is this person, much like me, does not look like your “typical” runner.  When you struggle with your own demons and add in what others think of you it can be hard to keep going sometimes.  To have someone soil that with cheating is distressing.

I know this person does not represent me, yet I cannot stop being angry about it; the cheating was deep too, over at least three races.  Just to get people to think you are running and to get medals!?  If someone puts a medal around my neck you better believe I earned it!  Earned it with every painstaking mile, squat, and push-up.

Do not cheat yourself out of your accomplishments.  The way you live your life is up to you and you should not be ashamed of who you are.  If you do not want to run, don’t; if you want to eat fast food, eat it; if you want to smoke, then smoke.  But do not pretend to be something you are not.

There are too many people in this world who cannot do the things that I am able to do; people who are ill, or depressed, or otherwise unable.  To soil you ability with cheating is just wrong.

I had to get this out here so I can stop thinking about it and move on; thanks for reading my rant.

Give me a break! Or not…

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I have used this little bit of advice in my blog before; but it bears repeating.  Giving up is NOT a good idea, changing your course, changing your method, changing what you are trying to accomplish are OK, but giving up is not.

I took a break from my workout routine for the past couple of weeks, not really giving up, but I had a horrible sinus infection and some tiny bit of drama going on in my life so I “took a break”.  Here are the TOP 5 reasons it is not a good idea to take a break –

5.  You lose ground, all of that hard work to get where you were, and now that you have taken two steps back that is an extra two steps you have to take again.

4.  You know you want to workout, your mind is craving it even if you body is trying to convince you otherwise.

3.  You start to think of other things to do, like eat too much, or spend too much, or watch some awful reality TV.  I will not knock you for wanting to have an extra glass of wine though ;).

2.  People still ask you about your running, boot camp, progress and you either have to lie or tell them about your “break”.

1.  The number one reason not to take a break – your body will hate you for it!  When you get back to it and decide that an hour of leg work at boot camp one day and then a run the next day is a good idea; your thighs will scream at you like a colicky infant!

Understand that I do know there are times when you have to take a break, injury, severe illness, etc. even my sinus infection could have warranted a few days.  But two weeks!?  No way!

Do yourself a favor, the next time you think you are too busy or too tired instead of sitting down and resting go for a run or to the gym.  I have never regretted working out, but I have regretted NOT doing it.

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If you are what you eat, I am in deep trouble

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This is easier said than done.  There, I said it, I am having a tough time with healthy eating.  I smoked for more than 30 years, over a year and a half ago I quit and have never looked back.  Don’t get me wrong, I certainly crave a cigarette at times, but I have not smoked and I could not imagine going back to it ever.

Same with physical fitness, I find time and joy in running and exercising like I never thought I would.  I have taken time out from routine on occasion but miss it when I do, and those time happen far less often.  It feels good to be moving and doing what is right for my body.

So that is two, what I would consider major obstacles, overcome; they did not come easy but they also did not feel impossible.  The eating thing right about now, feels impossible.

Here is a little bit more about me, I am hopelessly disorganized, I have report card notes going back to the 3rd grade where my teachers comment on my inability to get my shit together (they said it nicer than that, but it was certainly implied).  Right now I am using this as my excuse to not eat well; my excuse to eat what is handy.

I know that in order to work out each day, because I do it in the morning, I need to get my clothes and gear ready the night before, if I do not, I will likely not go because I am too scattered in the morning to put everything together.  So, my routine the night before my workout days is to lay out my clothes for either running or boot camp.  In the morning, I get up, get dressed and I am out the door.

I always start out like this with eating also, try to cook ahead, plan ahead, etc.  Then it quickly falls apart after a week or two, worst part is that I end up throwing away vegetables, fruits, and other perishables because I do not eat them.  I have heard and tried it all, cook on Sunday, prepare the night before, etc. but for some reason I have been unable to make it stick.

The other part of my problem is that I just like food, and I like sweets, and other things I should not eat.  I equally like healthy food and found that I can make amazing tasting things with basic healthy ingredients; but it takes longer.

Also, I do not like to cook, some people find it therapeutic, I find it time-consuming, boring, and all I think about is all of the cleanup that comes after I am done.

There, that is it all of my excuses, my whining, and my confessing.  It does not make it better and I still do not have a solution, but at least it is out there for everyone to see.  This part of my goal of being Fit and Fabulous at Fifty is really getting me down, I am not losing weight because of it, and it is something that I have not been able to overcome.

Anyone want to be my nutritionist, for free?  Because I have a daughter getting married in less than a year.  Between that and race fees, and bills, and gym memberships a nutritionist is not in the budget :).  Outside of a free nutritionist, I will gladly take free advice or an eating buddy, or something.

I will NOT give up on this, just that right now I have no more ideas or answers, and I do not like not having answers.

The Inevitable Thankful post

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First, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  This is my favorite holiday because I get to be with my family with only the expectation to eat, and laugh, and love.  We have so much fun!  I will miss my extended family this year, but with just my immediate family alone a good comedy writer could come up with a sitcom.

I have not posted a daily “thankful” post online at all but today I do want to say a few of the things I am thankful for, because there are many, and it is important to reconcile them on occasion.

I am thankful for –

1.  My family – they cost me money, they make me think, I feel so much love for them, they make me cry, but most importantly they make me laugh and keep me real.

2.  The women in my life – I have so many amazing women in my life, women that are amazing and women that help me remember that not everyone can be trusted.  But mostly amazing women, women that inspired me to write this post  (and I have a few more to add to this).

3.  My health – a little over a year ago I would not have been able to say this.

4.  My ability to run and workout – After being so unhealthy for so long, to have run two half-marathons, with three more scheduled, to go to boot camp several times a week, feels amazing!  I am certainly thankful to be able to do these things.

5.  The amazing people I have met through running – the encouragement from those far better than me, and the kinship of those pushing through the same odds as me are invaluable in their ability to inspire.  If you do not run, you should start, the people are kind and amazing.

6.  My relationship with my father – my mother passed this past spring, I have learned more about my father in that time than in the past 49 years.  He still gets mad at me, which hasn’t changed since I was a teen.  I will miss my mom as long as I am on this planet.

7.  My job – and the people there that have taught me so much.

8.  The OPP – I will not say any more about this one :).

9.  Old Friends – those who remind me to be kind, those who remind to visit, those who remind that I will be there for them and they for me NO MATTER WHAT.

I wish everyone a happy and healthy Thanksgiving.  Enjoy everything around you and be aware of all of the things you have to be thankful for every day.

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