Tuesday, October 25, 2005

remember

I remember it like it was yesterday. My first day. Late one Monday night, feeling depressed and lethargic and overwhelmed, I sat on my couch, eating peanut butter cups (so chocolate pretzels are actually a considerable improvement), and decided that I would set my alarm 45 mins early the next. Wake up. And go for a walk. No grand plans of gut wrenching change. Just a little earlier. For a walk. I set my walking clothes out that night. Turned off my light. And slept.

Cut to early in the next morning. A blaring alarm. A groggy would-be walker. And rain. Lots of hard, heavy, cold rain. It was that moment that I knew. Either I would go for the walk or I wouldn't. So I did. And I was cold and wet and tired. But I arrived home with a sense of accomplishment and power. Though I had tried for a couple of years to start and maintain regular exercise, it was that walk that got me on this path. This path that took me to this morning. A year later. A hard, heavy, cold rain. And me, heading out before the sun rose for an hour run/walk.

Despite it all. Despite the frustration and backsliding and confusion and struggle with making sensible food choices. I am so glad to be here. I maintain that sense of accomplishment and power. I love this athletic me. The rest will come. Or it won't. I have faith that I will continue to learn and grow and work myself through emotional and stress based binging. I also have faith that I will forever work on this. But most of all? Most of all I'm just happy and thankful for movement, sweat, muscle, and dodging raindrops way early in the morning.

*************

Mich's comment requires further comment because it's just too damn funny:

This calls for drastic action. I think you should set up an anti negative thoughts plan. Here's the idea: every time you say something negative about yourself you have to give a dollar to an organization you don't like. In your case, I suggest the Republican party. :-)

This is at once hilarious, sad, and a great idea. But do I have to start with the Republicans? Can't we go a little more middle of the road? Maybe I'll give up a day of obsessively reading about what I am convinced is a cover-up in the Ohio election? No?

Countering a constant stream of negativity is something I'm working on. It took me four years of therapy to realize that I have a very poor self-image. Imagine how long it's gonna take me to actually do something about it. Taking concrete action like this is a really great idea as it might get me more aware of it. Trouble is, I have trouble identifying negativity because I really do think it's the truth. Hence the four years.

**************

Monday: spinning, lifted upper body. Moderate weight. I haven't lifted lower body in over a week. I might not for a while. I've been doing so much leg-based cardio activity that I don't think I really need or want to further tax them with weights.

Tuesday: run/walk 1 hour. Maybe yoga tonight.

No significant binging episodes in several days.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

nuts

"Why would you do that, you don't need to lose weight."

I kid you not. Spoken to me by another grad student. I was telling a story about calling one of those 800 numbers, "Lose TONS of weight FAST," sings posted on street poles around my city. To clarify, I didn't call because I thought that the sign actually held the key to weight loss. I called because I'm nosy and bored and when I see signs like that I can't wait to get home and call. So I did. The voicemail told me to send 20 bucks and a SASE to a particular address. Totally, I did. Weeks later, I get my SASE back in the mail. Inside, a simple note:

Cut Off Your Head.

Now tell me that fat people do not face discrimination.

So I was recounting this story over beers last night. And the guy next to me said the aforementioned comment.

He didn't know me "before."

Also offers further proof that my body image is screwy.

Or he was drunk and desparate.

****************

Saturday: run, 9 miles. Kicking run. Little walking. In the pouring rain. Most of the other runners out there were women. Which leads me to guess two things: 1) we rock. 2) we're nuts

Sunday: ran 9 miles. By "ran" I mean walked a lot. My legs were pretty dead. But the freaking sun was out for the first time in days. I wanted to be outside. Yoga. Amazing.

Friday, October 21, 2005

whole

VJ tagged me for this meme:

1. Go into your archives.
2. Find your 23rd post.
3. Find the fifth sentence (or the closest one to it)
4. Post the text of your sentence in your blog along with these rules.
5. Tag five other people.

Title of 23rd post: "No Numbers." Sentence:

And we slipped into being friends again like nothing had happened even though everything had happened and I regret it all.

Umm, yeah. Totally not weight loss related. And I'll leave it at that.

Tagging is tough, because most of the blogs I read have already been tagged or don't read me. But I'll put it out there anyway.

Mich (who, I think, doesn't like memes)
Beatte (who has already been tagged but hasn't posted so I get to re-tag)
Krista (even though she just announced a blogging break)
Finding Muscles (who doesn't have 23 posts yet...so maybe her 3rd?
YP

****************

Great 45 min run yesterday. I took out one of my usual walking points because I was feeling good and strong. No problems with the shins. No problems with contacts or strange yelling men. Life is good.

Spinning and lifting this morning. Real tired. But done.

I love to sweat. Love it. And I've noticed that the more in shape I get the easier my body releases it. I can feel it coming, almost predict the minute that it will pour. Sweating makes me feel like I am taking care of myself, like I am cleansing out toxins and stress and pain.

I also love yoga. As I was sitting in class yesterday waiting to give my paper (which I am super proud of, by the way) I wished that I could do yoga all the time. Actually, my exact thought was, "I wish the whole world was yoga class." Jeez, I'm a dork. But I do love it. And I'm intrigued by how different my body feels after these couple weeks back at class. My body feels like it is rearranging itself. More spacious, or something.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

simple

What a run.

Tuesday: an hour, with walking. My shins were killing me. I don't know what was causing it. The pain is in my outer shins. It feels like the muscle or whatever runs along the outside of my shin gets incredibly tight. So the first 10 mins of a run is fine and then the shin slowly starts to tense up. This tightening will continue until I can barely walk if I don't stop to stretch and walk it out.

I ran track in high school. (Well, I ran track and played basketball and field hockey). The same thing happened my second year of track. The solution: rest until it went away. The broken running body seems a lot like a computer. Nobody really knows what's going on so the solution for this super complicated machine is simple. Body: rest. Computer: restart. Oddly, it works.

Back to the run. Shins, tight. Sweat, pouring. So I wiped my face. In doing so, I dislodged my hard contact. Which proceeded to painfully float around my eye. My response: continue running. While freaking out on the inside. The contact eventually found it's way back to center.

Shins, tight, Sweat, pouring, contact, floating. Man, yelling, "Take them out, baby!!!" By yelled, I mean stopped his pick-up truck, leaned out the open window, and hollered. I think that he yelled take them out. It could have been, take it out. "Them" makes more sense as he would be referring to my breasts. "It" could also make sense, however. Could be gay bashing, suggesting that because I have a boy-ish haircut and do not wear girly running clothes that I must have a phallus. Either way, it was disturbing. More than anything, I was embarrassed. I know that I shouldn't be, but there were people around. I was on the South St bridge heading from center city to university city (kind of like the distinction between Boston and Cambridge, except not at all). And all the little medical students were hustling across the bridge to make their 7am rounds.

What a run.

This morning. Much shorter, around 30 mins. I went to a killer yoga class and my body is still putting itself back together. The fact that I can move at all is a miracle. So it was slow and steady. I'll lift later this morning. Walk to a friends house in the afternoon. Maybe, maybe hit up a restorative yoga class this evening. Shins: fine. I think it's the yoga.

What a cookie.

3 meals, eaten. Vegan chocolate chip cookies: best damn things I have ever made. Shared with co-op board for our meeting last night. I think that making the cookies is a good sign. After reading Beatte's post, I've been thinking a lot about how I feel about food. I want to work through my problematic relationship with it. I loved everything about these cookies. Baking them, sharing them, enjoying them, not eating the entire batch. It felt healthy, balanced, and, yes, dignified.

Monday, October 17, 2005

over

Beatte said something really interesting in her comment to a previous post regarding motivation, or in our cases, lack thereof:

I wonder what it is? I mean, what will it take?

Yep, nail on head, nail on head. I worry about this too. What will it take, Liz? Crazy heart palpatations at night? Back. Slow decent back into depression? Sliding. Clothes that don't fit anymore? Piled in closet. What's next? What else do I need to curb this night-time feeding frenzy? I need to stop. Slow down. Breathe. Turn on a song. Dance my brain out. Cry. Whatever it is. I need to be there, right then, in that moment. Step outside, binge, we need to have a few words.

Another reason that I like this comment is that it emphasizes action over thought. I can think myself right through a bag of chocolate covered pretzels. See previous post. I find complexity. Suggestions. In other words, I am really damn good at finding loop-holes and excuses. Action, Liz, action.

In response to both Mich and Beatte's comment about the quantity of food I had for breakfast: I agree. This is a problem. The problem being that I am usually not hungry in the morning after I binge the night before. Seeing as I've binged almost every night these past couple of weeks, breakfasts have been weak. I'm with you on the slow cooked oatmeal, it's good stuff and it usually powers me through a long morning. So far tonight, no binge, though I did have a large dinner. So maybe tomorrow I can start off with a good breakfast (even if I'm not hungry) and not set myself up for ravenous hunger later in the day? The other dietary issue that sets me up for eating too much at night: I often don't eat lunch. Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, eating three meals a day this week would be a great challenge. I'm facing lots of time alone in the library or at my desk, and I normally would not eat until the day was done.

So it's official, my challenge for the week is to eat three meals a day.

***********

Sunday: laced up to go for a run. But couldn't. My shins were really sore, my knees hurt, and I had a lot of food bumping around in my stomach. I did walk about 2 miles.

Monday: spinning. Everybody left class early, so it was just me and the instructor grinding it out at the end. I should say, it was just the instructor grinding it out at the end. I was huffing and puffing my way through the whole class. Lifted arms. My legs need a break so I won't work them till Friday.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

stupid

You Should Get a PhD in Liberal Arts (like political science, literature, or philosophy)

You're a great thinker and a true philosopher.
You'd make a talented professor or writer.
What Advanced Degree Should You Get?


***********

If this is true, then why can't I write this paper? Why can't I? What's the problem?

Ran yesterday.

Didn't run today. Course, I'm still in my pjs, trying to write this stupid paper, so whatever.

Friday, October 14, 2005

but

I'm home tonight "working." And working I am. But I can't help it that I found a little poem I wrote in the back of a book a couple of years ago. I'm posting it here because I like it and I don't want to forget it, and I'm sure I will once this book is swallowed back up on my bookshelf. When this paper is done. And it doesn't really have anything to do with exercise or diets, but vegetables make an appearance, so it's not a total stretch....

**********

3 April, 2003

sitting in a target somewhere
in Maryland little eyes squeal
all around me, as
I pick at vegetables,
I dream of little eyes to love
A child. No stars. A child.
No free free life where
I sit and rock myself to sleep.
I turned 26 a few days ago but I
feel older than that sounds
I wonder if they look at me and
wish for the way my life sounds.
I read fancy books and write
urgent poetry but I cry
alone each night,

alone each night,
I swallow a diamond pen, whole.
I am a psychic you.
Call me when you are
alone but only when you are alone
and the weight of others bears
on your eyes, kill
this ache that can never
be held. Hold me tight,
but sleep alone for
years to come. I sleep
alone and dream of solitary
ghosts. I wait for your
loneliness.

Target will never sell this
poem and you will never
read this poem. Regardless.
I can't hear my mother's regrets. My
mother's regrets circle
my fingers like engagement rings
chosen.

structures

I just finished my healthy, and completely unsatisfying, breakfast of (soy) yogurt, an apple, and coffee, after lifting and arc-training at the gym this morning. What I want now: muffins, bread, rolls, scones, good goddess, a refined carb, please! I am craving the bread like mad. Which is unusual because I'm not usually a carb person, more of a fat and sugar girl. I'm not sure what is contributing to my craving and I'm not sure how to handle it. Should I accept that I now want bread regularly and start making my own for breakfast (as homemade bread is probably healthier because I control the ingredients)? Or do I continue to fight it, only to eventually succumb and wind up surrounding myself with muffins and scones? Making my own would also save me money. But it does mean that I have an entire nummy loaf around, just waiting for me to eat it.

Exercise has been great:

Wednesday: run/walk 1 hour, yoga practiced in the evening. I did a full wheel for the first time in months!

Thursday: ran 9 miles. Sllloooowwwlllyyyy. My body was all out of whack from yoga. It took me 3 miles just to feel warmed up and flowing. My back especially was really tight from Wheel. But it was the first run in a while that ended better than it started (I'm a classic burn-out runner, seemingly unable to keep pace).

Friday: lifting and cardio at gym

Food has been....intense. A lot. All the time. I know I sound like a broken record. The jeans. Are too tight. And last night as I was getting ready for a blind date I got so angry with myself for eating and eating and eating and not absorbing the reality of the situation: I will eat myself right out of my success, my pants, if I don't change. The catch? I don't want to change. My frustration is great: on the one hand, I'm getting pissed over my weight gain and my lazy attitude toward it. On the other hand, I'm not willing to change and don't care. I wish I could pick one side and stick to it: if I don't want to change then I should stop complaining and buy bigger pants. Or fucking do something about it.

I don't get it. I can figure out the problem of the Other in Being and Nothingness. But I can't figure out what's going on with me and overeating.

Speaking of philosophy, the ways that people find this blog crack me up. It is rarely, rarely, through some kind of weight loss/exercise related search. Instead, I'm found through random philosophy search phrases like "the I and me in one." No matter where I go, structures of subjectivity find me.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

overthrow

I'm struck by diet ads. To be precise, I'm struck by some new television diet ads for two companies: weight w@tchers and slim f@st.

First, slim f@st. The ad is for a new protein meal replacement bar. Same old stuff. Predictable: decapitated bodies, dancing around seeming happy and active. Except. Except for the bodies pictured. They aren't super skinny or athletic. These bodies are rounded with actual stomachs. The kind of body that I had 10 lbs ago. Not overweight. But not the "after" diet image to which I am accustomed.

Next: weight w@tchers. This commercial seems like a take-off of the Curve$ commericals that I like. In the WW commercial, a voice over talks about how (I butcher these "quotes" due way too much partying in high school and college--aka memory loss) "there a is place where you are not the only one who knows what it's like to be the fattest woman in a room, who has tried to change and failed.....come to this place and watch yourself change." The images at the beginning of the voice over are of a not too fat woman walking around alone in a black (sleeveless!) dress, a woman trying, but giving up on exercise (and so forth, I forget the rest). As the women embrace the WW lifestyle, we see a happy woman playing with her children, another one swimming along in her bathing suit, and so on. The commercial ends with a group of women, all in white suits, stepping out of what looks like a party, laughing and talking. The catch: again, no real before and after shots. That is, the "happy" women at the end of the commercial do not look any different than they do at the beginning of the commercial. Similar to the slim f@st commercial, these models are hardly fat, but they aren't your typical "after" images.

What's going on here? Do these two commerical signify a radical feminist overthrowing of the diet and exercise industry? (of which I buy into, I know, I know). Why aren't we being sold thin images of success? Are these commericals implying that we have to redefine what it means to succeed on a diet? Or am I projecting because I finally admitted to myself today that I don't want to get back on my diet program and proceeded to berate myself for "quitting"? (More on this in a future post.) The WW commercial suggests that the real change that occurs is internal, not external, in that the weight of the models doesn't change. What changes is the way in which the characters understand, or see, themselves. They aren't the fattest woman at a party anymore because they know that there are lots of other fat women at the party. OK, I think that the message is supposed to be more uplifting than that--more like, they don't care or love themselves anyway or are working on changing that behavior or something.

******************

Monday: 30 mins on the arc-trainer. A lifetime shopping with friends. No vegetables. No binges either.

Tuesday: 45 mins run/walk. Real, real tired. Lift: at home. Upper/lower. 3 heavy sets. Walk in afternoon. Significant PMS. I'll let you fill in the blanks.

I fear that I will have to buy new pants soon. But I'm too much of a coward to get on the scale and face the recent weight gain. Honestly, I really don't want to change. I don't want to limit what I can eat. So I'm not going to.

Monday, October 10, 2005

don't

Purple! Shiny! running shoes are now brown. and muddy. Because I ran today. No, I did not run yesterday. I did not take Friday for what it was, a day of rest, before moving on. I did wallow in laziness and depression Saturday, seemingly unable to move. The pouring rain outside my door might have contributed to my hibernation. But, seriously, this needs to stop. I hate when I get like that. I feel miserable. No surprise, because I treat myself miserably. Staying in bed all day does not make me feel better, it makes me feel awful. Why, then, do I do it? Why does it feel impossible to even brush my teeth? More importantly, how do I get out of it? This is not the blog for such concerns, I know, but I write about it here because I think that my exercise and eating habits are directly connected to my mental health. I will say, however, that it's been a hell of a week.

Anyway, it rained Saturday. Then poured. Then rained some more. When I woke up Sunday morning, the river had flooded its banks. But I rain anyway. Hence the shoes. I ran 9 miles, again. Even though my legs really can't take it. Plus, I let my pride get the better of me when I forced myself to catch and pass some guy. Because I'm just competitive and annoying like that.

I ran 9 miles. Then I lifted weight, just arms, at home. But tough nonetheless.

I ran 9 miles. I lifted weights. Then I went to yoga. It's wasn't that amazing this week. But good to quiet my thoughts. And I am developing a crush on my teacher.

I ate dinner. Then dessert. Then post-dinner snack. Then anything that wasn't nailed down. My appetite or hunger or want or whatever this is feels unfillable.

So great, right? So much exercise and running! But, not great. Because my goal is to move and eat with dignity. And this isn't dignified. It's not dignified to push myself to run so much more than I should. I am going to hurt myself. I'm doing it because I'm stressed out. And I'm stressed out because I don't respect myself enough to say no, to put myself first (as Krista so very well pointed out to me). All this running isn't good for me because I'm not respecting my limits. And it will backfire. Don't even get me started on my food choices.

Friday, October 07, 2005

shake

Friday, I rest.

Midterms: turned in. Presentation: Um, presented. Running: And then some. Lifting: Next? Shit: Here, there, everywhere. Grief: healing

I haven't been completely honest about my running habits of late. I was easing back into things. Slowly, like I knew that I should. But the stress, especially this week. The stress hit me like so many friends in trouble, tears I held back, papers I procrastinated. The release: running. Like 9 miles. A day. Three days in a row. After 9 on Sunday, too. It got bad, to the point where I was wincing when walking down stairs. I can't explain it, but I needed the release. Even after pushing through 9, I would run sprints up and down my block. Please, don't start with the metaphors. Trying to out run myself? Giving myself a run for the money? Whatever. It felt good. I needed it. Now my legs need a serious break. I walked 'round town today to do errands. Nothing strenuous. It felt good to shake the legs out a little. And I bought new running shoes. They are purple! And shiny!

Another confession: I haven't been lifting. This might cause Mich to roll over in her squat rack, but I really don't like it. Don't get me wrong, I like the results of lifting. Weights have certainly changed my body more profoundly than my running ever could. But the actual act of lifting? Not too much, not for me. And this week, it was all about the shit. And how emerge with the fewest bleeding ulcers possible. True, I only skipped Wednesday and Friday. But I won't try to make those session up over the weekend. What I will do is enjoy the rest of this day of rest (physically and academically) before hitting the road and books again tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

defy

The deck is stacked. Death in my family-of-choice. Midterms. Friends going through their shit, needing support. My own shit, aka depression. The deck is stacked to high holy hell, actually.

Yesterday I ran. Monday I hit the gym for an hour of cardio and lifting.

Chocolate pretzels were consumed. So were salads.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

look

Why am I writing this evening? I just got back from an incredible yoga class. Sweat. Flow. Open. Oiled. Calm. Damn, I love this stuff. We did a wide leg seated forward bend (forgive me for not knowing the names of these poses) and held the pose for. A. Long. Time. And now there is a space in my hips that was not there but a few hours ago.

And the inside. We practiced facing the mirror. I usually hate looking at myself practicing yoga in a mirror. First, I have trouble with mirrors in general. Second, yoga accentuates the fat. It rolls. But today was different. Today I stared myself down. I stared down the critical part of myself that will never be happy with how I look. And I appreciated the way that I look. I am the biggest person in that class by a good 30 pounds. But I saw myself and smiled. I looked good. Strong. Curvy. Working it.

I came home and approached the mirror again. My face seems changed after this last round with depression. I look tired, and I found my first grey hair. But I liked the eyes looking back at me. Because they aren't afraid to look where it hurts. I don't hesitate to sink into pain. Hip openers in yoga class. Resistance to moving my body regularly. Honestly about emotional eating.

This weekend has not been perfect. I binged Friday and Saturday night. I see that. I know that. Well. But I don't look away. Indeed, I stare myself. Down.