Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stepping It Up

Lily has a bladder infection and is prone to more frequent urination right now so I have stepped up her twice-daily walks to three.  I have a brain infection and am dreaming about eating cake and fudge so I need to run more.  Seriously, last night I had a dream that I could not stop eating a huge peanut butter sandwich cookie filled with peanut butter cream frosting which had been given to me by Michael Jackson's mother.  After that, I was stranded on a ledge of a high building trying not to commit suicide while being sent up (and consuming) chocolate cake and fudge from the concerned group of citizens gathered on the street below.  I am not a sweet-eating person so I have no idea where these dreams came from, except they might speak to my fear of regaining my weight.  It's a bit daunting not knowing where my next paycheque is coming from so I've been feeling a bit insecure.  I think I've let my fears eat away at my confidence.  I know one thing that restores me and gets my brain in order.  Time to lace up the running shoes.  When I come back from a 30 minute run I will have figured out a plan - at least for today.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Stronger, Faster, Better

Interval training on Monday at boot camp was a remarkable experience.  By adding one more run per week when not training with Bruce I am getting faster and tire less quickly - and all I did was add one more 30 minute session!  What this does for my mental health and self esteem is indescribable.  I feel optimistic and believe there is a path out there for me and I will find it.  So much better than wallowing in regret and 'what might have beens'.

We're training with a couple of other people who are not happy with their current state of fitness.  They are both quite depressed about it and I find myself acting as cheerleader, remembering all too well how self-conscious and embarrassed about my own lack of fitness I once felt.  I keep reminding one woman that she just had a baby and needs to cut herself some slack but she hates the size she has become and pushes herself very hard.  She's an inspiration.

I still believe finding Bruce as a trainer and doing boot camp are two of the best things that have ever happened to me, though I should probably fit meeting Higgie and getting Lily in there somewhere too.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Walking With Lily

My 17 week old French Bulldog, Lily got the rest of her vaccines yesterday which means I am finally able to walk her.  Last night I took her for a walk in the neighbouring schoolyard and park.  I was delighted with the beauty of the evening and the wonderful young families I met.  I shake my head in horror and wonderment to think that previously on a Saturday evening I might have sat watching TV instead.  Lily has changed my life.

This morning kicked off the inaugural walk of my walking group - and marked Lily's first walk on the boardwalk!  A group of six women and one husband, as well as Higgie, met at the eastern end of the Toronto Beaches boardwalk and we walked together at a very good clip the full 3 kilometres to the end where we did five minutes of strength training and stretching before we walked 3 K back the other way.

Enroute we encountered my dear friend and former Weight Watchers leader Mo, together with her husband and her new dog Pico.  Here is a picture of Mo introducing Pico to Lily:

We hope that Mo and Pico will join us in the weeks to come when we continue to walk and exercise together.  I had a great time walking and talking with the group and really look forward to doing it again.  Like walking with Lily last night, it's something I really wish I had started sooner.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Saying Goodbye

It is with some sadness that  I have said goodbye to my job as a Weight Watchers leader.  I had a remarkable two years and enjoyed it very much but it is time for me to go.  I realise I have moved in another direction and to that end my talents are best served elsewhere.  

Weight loss is difficult and I believe it requires a particular mindset.  Without sufficient discipline and determination it can be nearly impossible for some people and while I have seen many successes there were too many people falling by the wayside that I couldn't reach.  I can only say, 'Let those who have ears hear'.  Perhaps there will be someone else there for them. 

While I see my journey as being far from over, I was having difficulty accessing the same amount of enthusiasm as I once had for the program and it was beginning to show. I will continue to pursue fitness goals as I believe that ultimately they are more important for me at my stage of this journey.  I need to do what's best for me.  To that end, I will blog more here about boot camp and my other types of physical training. 

Nothing has ever  empowered me as much as learning during my first boot camp four years ago that I could actually DO this!  Going from a sedentary lifestyle to a fit and active one at my time in life was the most exciting thing that has ever happened to me.  I often tell my trainer, Bruce that next to Higgie he is the best thing that has ever happened to me.

I often find myself thinking about the film "Chariots of Fire".  Higgie hated it and I thought it was over-long, but I will always remember the line the young Scottish runner spoke when he described how it felt to run.  He said he could 'feel God's pleasure'.  I feel the same.  To feel my body moving rhythmically and steadily is a form of meditation for me.  It clears my head of any of the evil that tends to lurk there; my lack of patience, anger, jealousy and other damaging thoughts all seem to fade.  I need to go to that place more often and concentrate on moving more all the time.  It's what will keep me thin - and sane.

Monday, June 13, 2011

The Walk-It Challenge

Anyone who reads here will know by know that fitness is a primary goal and pursuit in my life.  So, yesterday when I participated in the Weight Watchers 5K Walk-It Challenge with my fellow Weight Watchers members I felt like there was a door opening from one world to another and I could share some of what I have learned and discovered about myself through fitness.  I also finally came to an understanding how little some people actually do move.  I've always, even at my heaviest, been a walker and a hiker.  I didn't realise how fortunate I was.

From the beginning I could see that some people were struggling to keep up so I kept running back to the end of the line to catch people up and get them to step up their pace.  It's a trick I learned from Bruce.  He runs with me, forcing me to keep up to his pace.  I therefore walked at a faster pace then some of the members and they changed their pace accordingly.  I did this two or three times.

I met a lot of new people and saw others I haven't seen for a long time; members who had transferred to other meetings, members from now-defunct At Work meetings who were now going to traditional meetings, and some who remembered me from fill-ins I have done.  It really brought home to me what a family we are and how staying close and only better our cause.

In the end I had quite a few people thank me for making them keep pace and helping them realise they can walk this distance; that by talking and sharing the time and distance meant nothing.  To this end, I have decided to form a walking club.  Stay tuned for further details about walking with my Weight Watchers members.

More Pictures:

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Believing in Myself

Had an amazing meal last night with my friend and former-but-always-will-be Weight Watchers leader.  I scarfed more sashimi than I've had for awhile.  Must have needed my lean protein fix.  We talked about how I need to stick to my convictions about what motivates people to get healthy.  I believe in appealing to their intellect.  I believe we all have that.  I don't buy this 'lowest common denominator' crap and I won't stoop to cheap tricks.  I frequently quote Robert Browning on how "a man's reach should exceed his grasp, or what's a heaven for."  We need to stretch a bit to get things working, and this can mean the mind as well as the body.  I don't think Browning is too high brow, nor is any other literary source.  It's the message that works for me. 

Everything in my life relates to weight loss and vice versa.  I see my life and my interests as one big metaphor that relates to how I view my lifestyle choices.  For example, I've been thinking a lot this week about the great novels of our time which I studied here and at UCLA and have begun to re-read them.  What does Robertson Davies have to say to me at this time?  Does Margaret Drabble still resonate?  Will Iris Murdoch have a different message nowadays?  I want to re-visit the me that read those books back in the 80's and understand where she's coming from these days and what has changed.  If I can use my response to literature as a gauge it may help me to understand how I've grown as a person and how well I've managed to re-wire my attitudes towards food and life in general.

So far, I've learned that great books are still great but my level of concentration is not as good as it once was.  Still, the message is there and I am learning that who I was when I first read these books has only been made stronger by going through the fire that has been my life.  Just like steel, as referenced in 'David Copperfield'.  I reflected on that concept this week as I remembered the 38th anniversary of the death of my father.  It was an incomprehensible loss to a 19 year old girl just starting her adult life.  I doubt my father would even recognise me today if it weren't for the fact that my nose is still frequently stuck in a book.  He sure wouldn't recognise the boot camp me, even though he instilled the seeds of that discipline in me as he did my brother with his deep, abiding respect of the military.  I miss you, Dad.  Rest well.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Boot Camp: Agony of Da Feet

Running has created more foot problems than I have ever previously had, and I've had a few.  My bunions, which were formerly sleeping giants, have come to life with full force and they ache, sometimes all night.  I also continue to get a blister on the inside edge of my right foot.  I had hoped orthotics would fix all these problems but maybe it's too soon to tell.  All I know is, after doing interval training at boot camp this morning I am sitting here now longing to soak my feet in ice water but I have no basin to soak them in and Lily thinks bare feet are highly edible so the socks and  shoes stay on.

Yesterday at a Weight Watchers staff meeting I commented to another leader that having lost weight had given me tremendous energy and helped me feel half my age but the feet tell the tale.  I wore my 'grandma' sandals' - clompy, unfashionable Mephisto walking sandals to and from the meeting and my pretty high-heeled sandals at the meeting.  I can't wear high heels at all anymore for any distance of time and forget all about walking in them.

Still, a small price to pay, perhaps, for the chance to get fit and thin.  Though I still long for pretty shoes.  Can't have everything, I suppose.