MS Walk

For the second year I’m going to be walking in the Walk MS: Long Island. My sister-in-laws mother is an amazing, interesting, strong woman who also happens to have MS. Most of the time I don’t even notice that Tamar is in a wheelchair, but I’m sure she does, every time she is confronted with steps, high shelves, narrow doorways, or any other thing that seems inconsequential to me.

I walked last year and look forward to walking again this year.

Walking and running is such an important part of my life now, that I can’t imagine being confined to a wheelchair, yet Tamar does it with such grace and style that it is easy to forget her struggle. An millions of people worldwide who struggle too.

Here’s the thing. There is no cure for MS yet, but many advancements have been made over the last few years. Many of these are directly due to contributions by people in fundraisers like this one. So please consider giving something… Even $5 helps. It adds up.

Click here to donate.

My New (Definitely Improved) Avatar

Did you notice that Twitter is changing its look and layout? Maybe it happened weeks ago, but I just noticed it today. So I was updating my pictures and I realized I’ve been using the same avatar since I first set up my Twitter account in 2008. And when I started this blog in 2010, I just carried it over. The problem is, the feet looking at the scale doesn’t really reflect who I am today. Yes, I track my weight, but that is such a small part of the whole picture.

So I asked my artist-in-residence, @nuchtchas, to make some recommendations of what she thought I should switch it to, and she came up with this totally awesome pic, which I have already uploaded everywhere after making some Woo Hoo noises.

My New (Definitely Improved) Avatar

Check it out!

Be jealous!

Robert Frost Can Suck It!

I have this uncanny aptitude for getting myself into situations. I don’t know how it happens… it just does. So here is a little story of what happened on my run Wednesday night. It took me a few days to have the time to write about it, but  that is probably a good thing. If I had written this recount right away I probably would have filled the whole post with four letter words.

This is my usual path. It's a great place to run, walk, bike, ride, etc.

This is my usual path. It’s a great place to run, walk, bike, ride, etc.

So here is the deal. I went to a park I really like for my daily run. (I use the hashtag: #runenvy when I just have to share the beauty or fun of a run). I’ve been running at this park off and on for as long as I’ve been running. I like it because it is pretty, the scenery changes frequently, and the paths are wide and not too rocky. I also like that there is a long path so I can run as far out as I want without having to circle back through the same part. Sometimes the can be a bit buggy, as there are swamp-like conditions off to the side, but this was a windy day so I wasn’t expecting too many bugs. I hadn’t been to the park too much recently. In fact, this would be my second time this year, so I was really looking forward to it.

My plan was a 3 mile run. I wasn’t going to go too fast, because I really wanted to hit 3 miles, and I’d been struggling around 2.5 for a while. I had just enough time before dark to pull of 3 miles and a nice cool down 1-mile walk, I thought.

Everything started out well. It was windy, which meant that early parts of the run were a real struggle as I ran straight into the wind, but I figured that I would benefit by running downwind on the way back.  As I was hitting about the 1.25 mile mark I noticed a small path off to my left that I hadn’t noticed before.  It was much narrower than the path I was running on and parts of the path had wood slats, presumably to deal with the soggy earth.  Sometimes the path would wander out of my sight, but then it would come back. I wondered to myself why I had never taken that path before?

This does not look like the path to nowhere. False advertising!

This does not look like the path to nowhere. False advertising!

This thought kept coming back to my mind as I ran, and when I turned around to head back, I decided that I would try the little path… the road less traveled, if you will. If it didn’t work out, I reasoned, I could always come back to the main path at any point. These, it turned out, were famous last words.

The place I switched over to the little path required me to scoot up a small hill, and I reasoned that it was a good thing I wasn’t working on time, because as I started the little trail it was much thinner and rougher than what I was used to, so I was going to have to slow it down a bit. It was a lot of fun, at first, being on a new path that I didn’t know by heart. I enjoyed ducking under the tree branches that popped up and jumping over rocks and other barriers.  Exciting.  At first.

The first time I realized there might be a problem was when a part of the path was completely covered in water. It was one of the parts of the path that had wooden slats, so I reasoned this is a part that usually gets a bit soggy, and today was a little soggier than usual. I debated turning back, but decided a little mud wouldn’t kill me.  I edged around the sides and managed to get past the water challenge.  (My siblings all do these “Mud Runs” and I never would, but I thought how funny they would think to see me now!)

This pic doesn't accurately show how dirty my shoes were. I took this when I still thought I was on  a cute adventure!

This pic doesn’t accurately show how dirty my shoes were. I took this when I still thought I was on a cute adventure!

I was fine after that for a little bit, but the ground was damper than I expected and my sneakers were getting a little muddier than I would have liked. And then I hit another submerged section. I again debated turning back, but I could see the boardwalk on the other side so I again, gingerly picked my way around and continued on. My time, at this point, was completely screwed up, so I figured as soon as I saw the main path again, I would switch over right away to finish out my run. But I never saw the main path. Ever.

I kept on the little path, but it was getting more and more impassable. At this point turning back seemed foolish. I was too far in and it had to get back to the main path sooner or later, didn’t it? A few times I considered braving off path to go through the sticker bushes to find the main path. I checked my GPS to see if  I was anywhere close, but somehow I had gotten myself deep into an uncharted part of the park and the path seemed really far away. And the thorns seemed really really thick. And, I began to notice, it was starting to get dark.

And every time the path submerged under water, I considered just turning around. I hate turning around, but this path didn’t seem to be getting me anywhere. But I had come so far and the main path had to be close, so I kept pushing ahead. Until I couldn’t anymore. At this point I had turned off my running app. I wasn’t even trying to run. I also gave up on keeping my feet out of the mud. My sneakers were covered in mud up to the laces! And then I got to an impasse.

One of many water obstacles. I'm a slow learner, I guess.

One of many water obstacles. I’m a slow learner, I guess.

It wasn’t just that the path was submerged. This time there was an honest-to-goodness stream running through it. Yes, the lovely little side path I was taking led straight into a running body of water. Um, really?

There was no going around this one. There was no way to go around. And there was no way to push through the forest without a machete. So I did what I should have done way way way before. I turned around and headed back. This time, I needed to move quickly. I didn’t want to be anywhere on this non-path when the sun set, so I rushed back much faster than I had come. I worried a lot less about avoiding mud and even water, so I got even dirtier and wetter than I had been before, but finally I made it back to the main path.

My shoes were squishing, and my toes were getting cold, and I was a good 2 miles from my car, wet, discouraged, and in the dark. Boo hoo me. I walked at first, but I calculated how long it would take me to get back walking, and I was starting to shiver, so I decided to run back. Not a fast run… it was dark and I didn’t want to trip, but a nice, easy jog to keep my body warm and get me back a little bit faster.

So, yes, I lived through my ordeal. When I got back to my car I took off my sneakers right away and drove home barefoot. I don’t have a washing machine, so I stopped off at my mom’s house to beg her to wash my shoes (Which she did! They came out great!) and recount my tale of woe. She also runs at this same park and has never had any experiences like this. No, it is only me who gets sucked into these adventures. (sigh)

So, my instinct is to try the road less traveled, but this time it just didn’t work out for me. Will that mean I won’t be so adventurous next time? Probably not. I will run the straight and familiar path for a while, and then I want to try something new. And when you try something unknown, sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn’t, but that is what makes life interesting.

Why Fat Acceptance is Important To Me

 

You can be attracted to anyone you like. I recommend you start with yourself.

Why Fat Acceptance is Important To Me

You may think that since I’m exercising and changing my eating habits (please don’t call it a diet) and weighing myself and losing weight, that I must not be part of the fat acceptance movement. You would be wrong.

The Militant Baker, a wonderful writer and activist, has written many of the reasons why in her post: 6 Things That I Understand About The Fat Acceptance Movement. For me, the most important step of this journey I’m on is that I had to stop shaming myself. I had to be able to expand my definition of beauty. I had to look at my scars and see survival. I had to learn to value strength and power. In essence, I had to learn to love myself. I’m still struggling and there are days I beat myself up, but I wouldn’t have gotten here without the Body Positive movement.

50 Followers

50 Followers

Are all these people really reading my blog? It seems hard to believe. Yet somehow, there are 50 individuals (only some of whom I know in real life) who clicked the “follow” link for my blog. That is so touching!

 

(hee hee, I just noticed…. 50 lbs, 50 followers)

50 Pound Milestone

I just want to run faster than a bear...

I just want to run faster than a bear…

It is a weight watcher trick, to lift something that weighs the same number of pounds as you lost. 50 lbs is like a ten-year old kid, right? 50 pounds is the maximum my luggage can weigh when I fly. That’s a lot of pounds!

Let me start by saying my goal isn’t to get thin and weight is only one of the many markers I’m using for success. Still, I can’t help feeling good about the loss of over 50 pounds.

For one thing, I’m stronger now. I can run farther and faster, and my tragically weak ankles can hold me up better with less weight to drag around.  For another thing, the pounds I lost were fat, but I’m building up muscles. I can feel them, especially in my legs, which are stronger every week. I’m not as strong as I’d like to be, but I’m getting there.

Another thing is that I don’t feel like I’m fighting every minute about food. Talk about feeling stronger!! For most of my life I have fought with food. Most of the time food wins, or eventually wins. When I have dieted (what a nasty word) I would fight with myself about food cravings and eating foods I don’t like. I could hold out sometimes for days, or weeks, or even months, but it would get harder and harder and eventually I would cave.

This time is different. I have cleansed my body of the foods that hurt me, and nourish myself with enough foods to run and work and play and live. It is a whole new experience.

I have always thought that my natural state of being was fat, which is why whenever I stopped dieting I quickly returned to the weight I was before. That I had to struggle for anything less than obesity. I’m starting to rethink this now. I now think the foods I ate were making me sick and obesity might be the symptom of the disease.  I’m slowly figuring out which foods are the culprits, through trial and error.

I don’t know what my natural weight will be.  I’m not going to starve myself or do anything rash to get thin. I’m committed to eating the foods that nourish me and forsake any foods that damage me as long as I feel healthy and strong and not hungry and weak. If I lose weight in the process, that can only be a positive. If at some point my weight levels out, I’m still going to keep to this program because for the first time in my life I feel that I am in control of what I’m eating, rather than the food controlling me.

Let’s just see how it goes, okay?

Short Birthday Post

I was going to use an image of a cake, but then it felt a little like a trigger, so I switched to balloons.

I was going to use an image of a cake, but then it felt a little like a trigger, so I switched to balloons.

So what I’ve been wondering is how much longer can I be “fatnforty”?

I could have sworn I started the blog before twitter, but the Internet doesn’t support my memory.  When I go back in my blog, the earliest incarnation seems to be 2010. Even when I check with the Way-Back Machine (super cool site, btw) nothing before that shows up. Maybe I had a different blog back then? Or it had a different name? Or my memory sucks and I don’t know what I’m talking about…. One of those.

I clearly started my twitter account in 2008, since you can go back in twitter and read every post. I came up with the name when I still had most of my 40’s ahead of me. Who could have predicted that twitter would be a thing 6 years later? Don’t get me wrong, I still have two solid years of being “forty-something” but as I get closer to 50 I start thinking, will I have to change my twitter name? I don’t want to change my blog…  I mean, I’ve only just begun to really get it going.

It was kind of sad reading back over some of my old twitter posts, from the early years.
Some of my posts were funny, but in a sad, desperate way:

twitter20081009
twitter20100707
Many of my posts were about my inability to deal with or control food:
twitter20081011
And surprisingly a large number of them were about alcohol, which is weird because I don’t remember drinking that much.
(I don’t drink at all anymore, but can’t tell you when I officially stopped):
twitter20080919
I don’t even recognize that person anymore. Without realizing it happened, I have changed so much.

The thing that I find saddest about these old posts is how obsessed I was with getting thin, as if my very happiness depended on it. I make almost no mention of getting healthy and don’t seem to have the slightest concept of self-love, that I now feel is imperative. I also can’t believe how many times I wrote about how hungry I was. All the time…. hungry. How can you be fulfilled if you are always hungry? How could you ever stick to something long-term when you are always hungry.

What is surprising to me isn’t that I failed in all these diets, but that I was able to maintain them for so long, often for months and months, despite setbacks, hunger, self-doubt, and no self-esteem. I want to take that person I was and tell her things she ought to know, like:

  • It is more important to be strong than to be thin.
  • Healthy comes at every size.
  • Real food nourishes the body; diet food diminishes it.
  • Running is empowering.
  • Your ability to stick to a diet or weight loss scheme doesn’t make you good; it doesn’t change your value as a human at all.
  • Someday you will come out the other side and see a bigger world for yourself.

I don’t think she can hear me, thought. She is probably too hungry.

In like a really sick lion…

No, I haven’t forgotten about my step challenge. I just haven’t had a chance to post yet. I write a lot of my blog posts on the go (in the airport, on the train, etc) but the step one requires a little more thought, because I have numbers to crunch.  So I’ve been trying to squeeze in the time and….

I'm not even fooling myself.

I’m not even fooling myself.

Look, that’s really bs. I didn’t write the post because I didn’t want to look at the numbers. When I set this goal, I thought that 3,000,000 steps was doable: enough of a challenge to motivate me, but not too much that I wouldn’t be successful. Now, three months down, and each month I’m falling further behind. I’m really not sure I’m going to make it.

March was supposed to be my bounce-back month. I had a new job, and I was breaking free of my old routines. But I started the month very, very, very (very) sick with this icky flu that kept me pretty much in bed, except when I was working, because how can you call in sick your first week at a new job??? Once I was feeling better, I thought I would jump back into my routine, but it didn’t really happen.

My current job is a lot more sedentary than my old job. In my old job, I could easily do 6,000-8,000 steps a day before I even got to exercise. So if I only ran two or three days a week, I was still good, most of the time. My new job is a lot more of sitting on the phone, working at a desk, for days at a time. I have to learn new habits. Like I really want to get up and move in the middle of the day. But so far, something always interferes and I end up working 12-13 hours straight.

OK, enough dilly-dallying. Here are the (pathetic) stats:

142,777 steps, or 64.32 miles

142,777 steps, or 64.32 miles

I walked 142,777 steps. That is just over 64 miles. I only ran 8 miles the whole month. The rest was walking, but to be fair, most of it was fast walking. As I was getting better, running wasn’t an option. I mean, my lungs were filled with fluid, so running would have been foolish.

March 19 was my best day, with 11,665 steps.  I met my 8,000 step goal 8 days and 3 days I had over 10,000 steps.

So lets look at the quarter. Here is a quick chart that shows my declining progression:

Month Goal Jan Feb Mar
Steps: 250,000 234,863 192,816 142,777
Miles: 115 107 87 64

In three months, I should have gone a total of 750,000 steps. I’m almost 180,000 steps behind. It seems like a very big deal. So now I have to decide what I’m going to do about it. Do I give up? Do I adjust my goal to something more reasonable. To I fight harder to make up the difference? I’m not sure what I’m going to do, other than try harder in April and see how it goes. I don’t know if I do have it in me, but I’m not ready to throw in the towel yet.