Category Archives: Uncategorized

Couch 2 5K: A Return and a Rethinking

Sup, readers?

 

As those of you who have been long-term readers of this blog will remember, my entire life changed when I took up Couch 2 5K. At the time, it was the hardest thing I’d ever done for myself. Now, I look back and can only sort of remember the time before I could run the way I run now — it seems like so long ago. So much has changed.

Continue reading Couch 2 5K: A Return and a Rethinking

Thinking a Latte About Lattes

The pun isn’t even that good, but could I resist?

It should be no secret — and if you didn’t know, it’s time you did — that so much of wellness comes from making conscious choices about how you’ll construct your diet. And by “diet,” I don’t mean, “your calorie savings plan,” I just mean… what you eat, and when, and how. It’s not easy to make smarter or more efficient choices. It’s not convenient a lot of the time. But remembering to order your sandwich without cheese, or to use oil and vinegar on your salad, or to drink water instead of juice… these are all things that make a huge difference. One of my pet causes is trying to find ways to still enjoy sweet stuff and desserts in a healthier life — and one of my favorite indulgences? My caffeine.

 

What I want to write about today, y’all, is the latte.

Continue reading Thinking a Latte About Lattes

I’m Back!

Hello, Points readers!

I’m back!

Where have I been? Oh, all over.

When classes ended in the spring, I really needed some downtime and the opportunity to focus on myself and getting some rest. My always, already (#gradschool) busy schedule has only gotten crazier as the wedding draws ever closer — since late May, I have not had a SINGLE FREE WEEKEND (and by free I mean, I have not spent a full weekend in Upstate New York) and I only have one free weekend (Labor Day weekend) on the horizon until the wedding. Work events, family events, dress fittings — you name it, and I’ve been doing it, and that’s where I’ve been.

 

In other news, I’ve been teaching for the Binghamton University Binghamton Enrichment Program five days a week during the month of July, and it’s been – by far – the most rewarding work I have ever done. It’s exhausting, too, because 5 days a week plus mandatory staff meetings plus mandatory night time office hours from 7-9 2x a week combined with LESSON PREP FOR ALL OF THAT does take its toll. But that being said: I would never want to spend this month another way. I am tired inside and out but this has been the most fun I have had in a classroom and I am so happy to be a part of this program!

 

In OTHER other news: I’m training for a half marathon! My runs are up to 8 miles at their longest! I can do them without ANY WALKING. And I am still losing weight. I’ll make separate, other posts about the specifics of all that, but wanted to give you the rundown of where I’ve been and what I’ve been up to. 

 

Welcome back!

Project Speed Demon Update

YOU. GUYS.

I ran 40.7 miles last week.

What? HOW? I know! I am as surprised as you are.

I ran every day of the week, though, Monday through yesterday, and tried a couple different running patterns.

I ran some very long runs where I gave myself a 10-20 second break after every lap, but logged over seven miles.

I ran some shorter runs (3.6 or 4.3 miles, depending on the day) and did them without stopping.

I learned that I can easily run a ten-minute mile after all — and that was the speed at which I ran every step of my seven mile run and most of my other runs. Only yesterday did I take it a little easy and do one mile at 6.0, one mile at 5.0 and repeat the pattern 2.5 times.

I ran on days I was cranky and on days when I had too many other things to do. I ran when I was happy. I ran when my mind was racing faster than my legs. Off I went on my treadmill, squeaky beast that it is.

40.7 miles later, here I am.

Now, that all being said, I am torn about running today. I don’t have schoolwork to do when I come home — which is AWESOME — but I had espresso too late last night and didn’t fall asleep until, like, 4 AM. So I am really effing tired. Like, tilted head and squinty eyes type tired. So I’m debating taking the day off. But if I take today off, will I run on my birthday (Tuesday)? I am not at all opposed to the idea but maybe on that actual day I’ll feel like resting. Oh, I don’t know. I’ll tell you tomorrow whatever I end up deciding.

One more fun fact. Or is it the first fun fact? I’ve not really dropped any fact bombs on you this post. Whatever. In any case, a fun little tidbit: Before I ever started running, I did what we all do with various things like playing on my phone or watching TV — I was the queen of “five more minutes.” And five would become ten or fifteen, etc. You know how it goes. And as I would do things like that — begging myself for just a few more minutes of whatever activity — I know I was just trying to hold onto that feeling of rest, and of belonging to myself outside of my responsibilities, for just a few more moments.

These days, I do that with running. “I’m going for a shorter run!” I yell to Chelsea as I trot down the basement steps. But 35 minutes leads inevitably to 40. At 40, why not go for 45? And then 45 is so close to 5 miles. Come on. Stay on for five miles. Then 5 miles hits, near 50-minutes, and if you’ve been on for 50 why wouldn’t you just stay the hour? But oh, 60 minutes is just shy of 6 miles — stay for 6! And on and on it goes. Unless I force myself, and end up leaving annoyed, I never run for less than 50 minutes anymore. The absolute shortest I’ve ran in the past month has been 39 minutes. I’m finding that my daily run is a place for me to exist both with myself and beyond myself, enjoying some space where I can decompress from the rest of the day and offer myself up to the task.

I never knew I could be that person.

Or maybe I was always that person, and it’s just that I know it, now.

A Sweet Little Thing

Chelsea, as always and ever, is my biggest supporter and biggest fan. When I saw online that some fellow WW-ers had made visual representations of their success so far, I got it in my head that I wanted to try and make my own. It’s a simple task, really: I just required two small mason jars and some colored rocks. Yesterday, Chelsea said she’d like to take me to the store so I could pick up these few items and begin to assemble my jars! She’s the best.

I don’t have pictures yet — the signs I painted for each jar are not yet dry — but here’s what I did.

I broke each pound into quarters, so that 1.0 lbs would be represented by 4 pebbles. That seemed to be more “exact” to me than doing whole lbs. (What if I lose 2.4 lbs in one week or something, you know? Then I’m trying to remember from the week before what I need to add, blah blah blah.) I filled one jar with “17.5 lbs worth” of pebbles, and the other with the remaining 35 lbs to go.

At Michael’s (the craft store), Chelsea found these super cute little wooden tags. We bought two, and I used puffy paint from home to label the tags “Lbs Lost” and “Lbs to Go” — they’re still drying, but soon they’ll adorn my jars.

The point of this craft is twofold. The visual of how much success I’ve had so far makes me proud; the visual of how far I still have to go makes me humble. Overall, I love the idea of these little jars. It’s a way to show, outside my body, the work I’m putting in and the success that results.

A great, big THANK YOU to Chelsea for encouraging the project and for procuring the materials! I’m so excited to show the finished product. And, for the record, I would never have gotten this far without her love and support. She practically moved those 17.5 lbs worth of pebbles herself!

Chia Seeds

Way, way back in the day when Chelsea and I first started eating flax seed, we had heard somehow/somewhere that chia seeds were comparable. I think we ran across flax seeds first at the store, and bought them, and remained deeply in love with them as time went by. Like healthy little graham cracker crumbles, they are.

But this weekend, my Aunt Maryjane was telling me about her love of chia seeds. She said they are a great energy boost, that they can congeal, that they are fibrous, that they are tasty. She told me that runners often love them as an energy boost — and ya’ll KNOW I’m ’bout that life. I investigated further and found that TWO TABLESPOONS is only 1PP!

And so, we shall soon be trying chia seeds. I’ll let you know what we do with them first! Probably we’ll pick some up some time this week; depends on when we get to Wegman’s. Although I guess I could make a trip to Down to Earth on my way home today… Hmm!

The more I read about chia, the more intrigued I am. Can’t wait to give it a whirl!

Evolution AND Creationism: A Wellness Tale

Alright, yeah, I kind of faked you out. I have no interest in formatting this as though it were a story.

But I guess I’ll begin with an anecdote.

When I was a kid, I loved (and STILL love) Saul Bellow’s book, Henderson The Rain King. If you’re a Counting Crows fan, take note: they wrote that song about that book! In the book, the protagonist — Henderson — feels frustrated at all the things he has not yet become or accomplished in his life. “Time to burst the spirit’s sleep!” he shouts. “I am tired of becoming! I want to BE!” He then rants awhile about how the world is made up of two types of people — be-ers and become-ers. He wants to be the former, but fears he’s wasted too much time “becoming.”

I hear that, Henderson.

There’s something to be said for creating yourself. Also, for just being whoever you are. Also, for the process that creation requires.

Recently, I remarked to Chelsea than in another twenty lbs or so (down 17 since January, looking to be down a total of 30 more) I’ll “look the part” of a runner more. Right now, my saying I go on 5 mile runs and the body that does those runs doesn’t really match — to me. I know it’s not a really factual experience of the world. But I feel like I am “becoming,” instead of just being.

It occurred to me this morning that by running at all, I am BE-ing a runner. Already, I have fashioned myself into a runner. I might not be as thin or as fast as I want, but if running five days a week doesn’t make you a runner, what does?

And so, there’s a little corner of my life where I AM.

Of course, it was a process to get here, wasn’t it? There were 9 full weeks of Couch to 5K. Lots of time agonizing over the scale. New workout clothes. Better-fitting-old-workout-clothes.

The bottom line, though — the “who I AM” part of it all — wasn’t an evolution, really, when it comes down to it.

The day I committed to running 5 days a week with no excuses, I stopped “becoming” and started to “be” someone who runs.

OKAY OKAY. This is starting to get very “meta” ( #someta, as one of my best friends, Susanna, might say).

I don’t mean for it to be. I do have a point!

Weight loss is certainly a process. It’s a process that can sometimes feel like an ENDLESS cycle of becoming, becoming, becoming — never small enough, ten more lbs, messed up today, setting deadlines, new clothes, old clothes, people’s reactions — a never-ending evolutionary process where we are always in flux.

That “becoming” sometimes becomes a pair of blinders on our eyes. We remain so focused on what we might be soon that we forget what we are right now.

The minute you make one right choice, you are healthier. The minute you track your meals without exception AND WITHOUT MERCY ON YOURSELF, you are healthier. The minute you decide you are not going to throw it all away at this holiday or that, you are healthier. 

Try this: Instead of saying “I am trying to become healthier,” say to yourself, “I am someone who does makes healthy choices.” And then when you make those good choices, instead of telling yourself those good choices are novel, just see them as a part of who you are.

You are evolving, sure. You’re learning new things about yourself and your body, probably. I mean, I certainly am. But there’s something in you that has already decided to BE — it’s your spirit’s sleep bursting. Your Henderson moment.

Pretend, if you will, that you are a book. Pretend this week is a chapter. Pretend it’s being taken and put in an anthology or is the only preview available on Google Books. Envisioning it? Ok. What would someone know or see about you, if this week was all they’d be working with? Would they see you twenty pounds ago, or twenty pounds from now? Nope, they’d see you this week. Would they see the yo-yo-ing that came before, with your weight bouncing around for years? Nope, they’d see you this week. Would they see you feel embarrassed about eating a cookie? Nope, they’d see you this week eating an apple.

We are a summation of our histories, our stories, our memories — they’ve shaped us; they’ve made us. I know. Obviously, right? But we are also RIGHT NOW. Who you are, RIGHT NOW, is who you are.Not who you were or will become.

And so from now on when I get discouraged about the 35 extra lbs that I WANT GONE, I will tell myself: “Self, I know where you want to go. But look at yourself right now and enjoy the ride. You weigh 166.3 lbs, not 190 anymore. You’re a runner. You make good choices. You’re not adrift in the ocean; you’re steering the ship. You’re someone who steers the ship.”

I will work hard on having that notion feel true, and be enough.

Something tells me it will count for more than I can imagine.

Important Update

Hi, WordPress followers & WordPress friends!

Recently, I’ve made a Facebook page for this blog/my WW journey, so that those who aren’t my FB friends or who haven’t found me on here would be able to find updates about Points.

I hate to self-promote; truly, I do. But if any of you are on FB and would consider “liking” the page, the page will eventually garner a larger readership and a greater sense of community. Your support and encouragement so far have been invaluable and mean so much to me; if you’d be willing to extend that support to the next “step” for me & for The Points of It All, I’d appreciate it more than words.

Here’s the link: https://www.facebook.com/ThePointsOfItAll?notif_t=page_new_likes

Rest Days: A Reckoning

I am both pleased and unsurprised to say I finally need rest days on occasion.

WHAT?

Hah, no, really.

This isn’t a “You told me so” moment — in fact, the opposite in some ways.  Plenty of negative Nancy’s were like OH MY GAWSSSHHH THREE MILES A DAYYYY YOU WILL NEED KNEE REPLACEMENTS YOU WILL RUIN YOUR LIFE PLEASE RESTTTTTTT AND BY THE WAY DEFINITELY EAT TWICE YOUR BODY WEIGHT IN PROTEIN IN CASE YOU NEED IT CAUSE YOU WORKED OUT A LITTLE.

Can you tell by my tone how very much I disagree with those offers of advice?

I’ve always maintained I would eat what I felt I “needed” to eat, and would take a rest day if/when one was needed.

When I was averaging 3 miles a day on the treadmill, I never needed a rest day. I was never sore. I just kept on with my life. Same went for my eating habits; I ate bananas and extra protein near running time, but never felt the need to eat more. In fact, for the purposes of weight loss (and within reason/proportion) it makes no sense to eat back all the calories you just burned. That only really works as a strategy if you’re seeking to maintain.

Now, that being said, things are changing. I run about 4 or 5 days a week now instead of 7. I also tend to run 4-5 miles (usually 5.2) instead of 3. I find myself much more full-body-tired after I run (not immediately after, but in the evening and next day). I am still never sore (no achey legs!) except for in my shoulders and upper back — largely because I have shoulder problems.

FINALLY, the day I knew would come, has come: I can tell when I “need” a rest day or two. Logging 20 miles in four days usually requires a full weekend of rest, depending. I can also tell when I need a little more food. Yesterday evening, I had two “peanut butter spoons” (slightly heaped tablespoons) of Better ‘n Peanutbutter that ate up 2 of my activity points. I felt like I needed it.

It’s not that I didn’t think I’d need rest days. It’s that I got frustrated that everyone else thought they knew what was best for my body. Anyone who knows me should know that I am smart; I research EVERYTHING; I do nothing without thinking it through over and over and over. And so constant reprimands to rest more when I am trying to explain that my body doesn’t need it (or didn’t, at the level I was at, then) and demanding I eat more/suggesting I’m eating too little when I’m trying to explain that I had been feeling GOOD eating the way I was eating — well, those things were pushy, rude, and unhelpful. I know there’s plenty of people who want to support me on this journey, but I’ve done my research and if I’m not soliciting advice, perhaps I don’t want it.

In the end, yes, I now take rest days. But that’s because I’m running 5+ miles, not 2 or 3. And I eat a couple activity points (though never ALL of them — what fool would!?) when I feel it’s needed. And I can tell when it’s needed, because I’ve learned to listen to my body.

That, I think, is something I’m more proud of than anything else specific about my journey: I’m doing what I do without fat-burning pills, without supplements, without fad diets or bad habits. As a result, I’m really learning to listen when my body speaks. Knowing its ebbs and flows, the things it needs, the things it doesn’t. Knowing the ways and limits to which I can push it, and the ways to back away or be gentle. A huge part of Weight Watchers (and wellness) is coming to learn yourself — if you’re doing WW right, you too will be becoming friends with your body, and understanding its intricacies.

My advice to you, dear readers, is to work hard on doing the same. Know when others are being helpful, too, and when (conversely) they might just be contradicting your vote of confidence in your body. THIS IS NOT ME SAYING TO DEVELOP BAD HABITS OR UNSAFE HABITS OR TO STARVE OR TO OVER-EXERT YOURSELF. Moreso, this is me saying: “If I wouldn’t accept someone’s unsolicited advice about my very personal, intimate and private emotional relationship with Chelsea because, well, ‘how would anybody else know better than Chelsea or me?’ then why would I accept what someone else tells me about the relationship I have with my body?”

My body and I.

My body and me.

Me and mah bod.

Awhile ago, we didn’t need rest days or peanut butter spoons.

Now, we do.

I know it, because she told me.

And I listened.