Monday, November 24, 2008

Gobbler Grind Half Marathon

Yesterday I ran the Gobbler Grind half marathon. The weather forecast was calling for another chilly morning, so I put on pretty much the same outfit I wore for the previous weekend's race.

Angie and I drove out to the race site and met with Pritha, Ellen, Mandy, and Michelle. We were all looking forward to a light, easy run. I was going to treat it as a fun run, not worrying about setting any personal records.

We started off at a very slow pace to get warmed up. After that, we all went at our own speed. Pritha, who always has a secret goal in mind, cruised ahead. Mandy and I settled into a comfortable pace and spent the entire race together. Ellen and Michelle were close behind us. It was a really pleasant course; most of it was spent on park trails.

After about 8 or 9 miles, we weren't talking much. When the chatter stops, this usually means that we want it to be over. Mandy and I crossed the finish line together, with a time of 2 hours and 30 minutes. We met up with Angie and Pritha (who set a PR), and watched Ellen and Michelle cross the finish line.

I was standing around the finish area, when I was approached by a guy I'd never met before. His name was Jared, and he said he was a fan of the blog and wanted to introduce himself. This was the first time I'd ever been "recognized" because of my blog, and I must admit it felt absolutely wonderful.

Now I just need the paparazzi to follow me around. And a posse. You can't be a celebrity without a posse.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Working out at work

Our offices just moved to a new location, and we now have a gym. Normally, I go home at lunch to let the dog out, but today I didn't have to. So, I decided to try out the gym.

Back in 7th-grade gym class was the first time I remember having to change clothes in public. I hated it, probably because I felt fat and inadequate compared to the other girls. After a few days of humiliation, I opted to change in a bathroom stall for the foreseeable future.

Not much has changed. Today I entered the locker room with my workout clothes. I eyeballed the area; I was alone. Still, I gravitated toward a stall and changed in there. I'm not sure why, exactly. I'm not exactly pleased with my physique, but I'm much more confident than I was at age 13. Perhaps I just didn't want to cross that boundary of letting my co-workers see me naked (or me seeing them naked, for that matter).

Anyway, I jumped on a treadmill and did a 5 mile jog. At one point, I looked out the window and a window washer dude was swaying in the breeze, sitting in his little harness. He smoked a cigarette as he wiped each window down. I wondered where he'd flick the butt when he was done.

Doing my workout in a different setting was a pleasant change. It reminded me that it's good to switch things up when I get bored. It also left me with a Zen-like calm which has carried over into the rest of my work day.

Now, if I can just work up the courage to change clothes in the locker room...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Pilgrim Pacer 10K

When it comes to cold weather running, I'm a total wimp. I'd rather run in 90 degree heat than freezing temperatures any day. So, it came as no surprise that I was feeling less than thrilled about participating in this race. When I woke up Saturday, the temperature was 31 degrees. As Angie and I drove to the race site, a very light snow was falling.

Despite the weather, I was feeling good. The preceding days had been a real success in terms of my eating, and I was down 6 lbs. on the scale from my weigh-in on November 1st. I was also meeting up with Mandy and Pritha for the race, and I'm always happy to run with friends.

We stood around for a few minutes, then it was time to run. I wanted to finish in under an hour, so I tried to keep a fairly aggressive pace (at least for me) from the very start. However, it took very little time before I got really tired. I made the stupid mistake of not eating anything prior to the race. Normally I'd at least have a banana or a slice of bread. I also realized that it had been months since I'd tried to run with speed in mind. During marathon training, I had built up my endurance, but lost quite a bit of speed.

Still, I tried my best to keep up a decent pace. The three of us were together for about the first mile, then Pritha surged ahead. It was difficult for me to keep up much of a conversation, but I tried to chat with Mandy as much as possible. Having a buddy really does make the time go by.

Once we warmed up, the cold was totally unnoticeable. It was really pleasant, actually. The course was very pretty, winding its way through a local nature park. At some point, my empty stomach became a problem and I started to feel pretty weak. I had to stop and walk quite a bit during the last mile. My finish time was somewhere around 1:06, which is less than stellar, but I'll take it. The run was more about getting a workout in and hanging out with my friends.

Rather than the usual bananas and orange segments, they served hot apple cobbler and hot chocolate after this race. I shared mine with Angie while we all stayed warm in the car.

I treated myself with a spaghetti dinner and a slice chocolate cake last night. While it felt strange breaking my abstinence, I didn't feel guilty, nor did it lead to a binge. I'm back to my routine today and still feeling strong and confident. For the first time in a while, I have a sense of hope that I won't always think about food every minute of every day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Small victories

Last night was rough. I left my grandmother's nursing home feeling depressed and hungry...not a good combination. Upon arriving home, I ate my planned dinner, but still wanted more. Of course, I wasn't truly hungry, but my emotional state dictated that I stuff my face with all the foods I'd been avoiding the past 7 days.

I barely even tried to fight it. I just wanted to give in and let myself go. I put on my best puppy dog face and looked at Angie. She knows that look, but I've told her lately to ignore it. No matter what I say or do, don't get me fast food. I could tell she was torn. She wanted to make me happy, but would it really make me happy to eat that stuff? Certainly not. She also wanted to get food for herself, which probably made it twice as hard to resist my pleadings.

After much pressure, she broke down and went to change clothes before hopping in the car and driving to McDonald's. As she walked into the other room, I realized how selfish and sabotaging I was being. I was dragging her into my downward spiral, and it was supremely unfair. I called to her. She came back into the living room and looked at me. I just shook my head. No, don't go.

She sat down on the couch with me and I cried. My tears were the result of all the exhaustion and frustration involved with resisting the urge to binge. Most normal eaters probably don't realize how hard it is to bring yourself back from the brink like that. I can count the times I've been able to do that on one hand. More than will power, it takes energy. By the time I knew I wasn't going to binge after all, I was totally spent. I took a long bath, hoping to get started on a new book. But, I just sat in the tub, staring into space. I couldn't bring myself to force my eyes to move across the page.

I'm proud of myself for eventually resisting. But, I'm still very sorry for all the misery I'm sure I caused Angie. It felt as though I was asking her to go score me drugs or something. It felt very wrong. Screwing up my "sobriety" is one thing; having her assist me is another.

Today marks one week of abstaining from my trigger foods. I'll admit I haven't made totally healthy choices. I ate too much for dinner on Tuesday night, but it wasn't a binge. I also skipped my workouts the past two days. However, I feel that my eating is normalizing and I'm on the right track.

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Fat Matrix has you

I remember the day I told a friend of mine that a glazed donut has around 220 calories. Her face went from smiling to a look of startled disbelief. It shattered her world, the poor thing.

I also remember a time when I, myself, was blissfully ignorant about the foods I was eating. A pint of ice cream is so can't be more than 500 calories. Fried chicken has lots of protein, so it's good for my muscles. Brie has calcium.

Give me a break.

On May 1, 2007, I was reborn into a new world. In the movie The Matrix, Neo is ripped from his lifelong sleep into what seems like hell. The things he once loved to do, eat, see, and smell were all gone. That's kind of how I felt when I started losing weight. That's when I learned a pint of Ben & Jerry's would set me back about 1500 calories. Fried chicken, to my dismay, was really bad for you. Brie was, in fact, glorified butter with a moldy rind. It was a sad, sad time.

As I phased out those old favorites, however, I learned to appreciate and even like some foods I once shunned. Egg substitute had once been a scary, viscous liquid that came in a carton. Now I eat it almost daily. Sugar free fudge pops may not be as numbing as a pint of Haagen Daaz, but they're surprisingly creamy and delicious. Apparently, chicken can be cooked on a device called a grill, rather than a vat of bubbling lard. And, it even tastes good. Who knew?

Sometimes I wish I could be ignorant again. I may have been obese, but I didn't worry about calories, fat grams, and trans fats. I just ate. Of course, things got grossly out of hand, and I, like Neo, was reborn. There's no going back now. I may have gained some weight back recently, but this time I know exactly what I'm doing to myself. That's why I knew my behavior had to stop. I'm 5 days clean now, and feeling better every day.

Now I just have to learn how to stop time and bend reality.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Knock on wood

Since my last post, things have been going remarkably well. I think I hit a new bottom that day, and there wasn't anywhere to go but up.

This is my 4th day sober. By sober, of course, I mean "binge free." I already feel much better. My attitude has improved, I feel more slender, and my pants are slightly looser. I'm not going to step on the scale, though, for fear of seeing a number I don't like and getting so depressed that I throw myself into a McDonald's drive-through again.

I've decided, at least for now, to totally abstain from my trigger foods. No cookies, ice cream, fast food... not one bite. Moderation is great for those people who can actually moderate. If I had that ability, I wouldn't have gotten to 264 lbs. in the first place. Come to think of it, as I was losing the weight, I never ate my trigger foods. This would account for part of my success. I can't say I'll never have a cookie again, but for now I'm staying away from them (and everything else that gives me trouble).

Last night, Angie and I attended a banquet for my running group. It was pot-luck, so there was a lot of unhealthy food. Even runners know how to throw down with salt, fat, and sugar. One dude walked in carrying a pizza, and fried chicken even made an appearance. My strategy was to indulge myself, but to have one plate, and also stay away from the desserts. And, by "one plate," that did NOT mean I was allowed to make a mountain of food that would cause the paper plate to buckle under its immense weight. It had to be a reasonable amount. I got some lean barbecue meat, some cheesy baked pasta stuff, some curried fish (which was amazing and I hope to post the recipe soon), and a few other odds and ends. When I saw the desserts, I just kept walking.

The conversation was so good at the table that it took me a long time to eat. Normally, I eat really fast. When I'm talking, it takes longer. It was nice to actually taste my food for once. After dinner, the coach showed some video clips, presented awards, and recognized those of us who finished our first marathons. It was a wonderful way to bring closure to the experience, and also open a different chapter.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Oscar the Grouch

Eating out of the trash can. The only people I know who do this are either poor, compulsive eaters, or Oscar the Grouch. Have you done it?

Last night, things were going really well. I didn't want to cook dinner, so we opted for Subway. Looking back on my choices for the day, I was pretty proud of myself. I'd managed to stay away from a delicious praline pumpkin dessert that was brought into work.

A few minutes after dinner, that familiar urge beckoned me to the nearest convenience store. I played along, and wound up with a 4 pack of ice cream drumsticks, a package of Milano cookies, and some pretzels. Oh, and 100-calorie pack popcorn. WTF? Of course, the drumsticks were gone by the end of the night, and I had several of the cookies.

Needless to say, I'm feeling pretty low this morning. My problem is binge eating after dinner. That's usually the only time of day I do it.

Anyway, when I walked into the kitchen this morning, I saw the package of remaining Milanos staring back at me. At that time of day, the idea of eating one disgusted me, but I knew if I kept them around, they'd be a problem tonight. I started to put them in the trash can, but stopped myself. I am one of the lucky people who can't say I've ever dug anything out of the trash and eaten it. I don't want to start now. So, I put them down the sink and ran the garbage disposal. As I listened to the cookies disintegrate into wet, mealy pieces, I wondered why I continue to sabotage myself. I'm still working on a reason. Let me know if you have any ideas.

Until next time... don't be like Oscar. Stay out of the garbage.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Root canal

I've been in lots of pain for the last 3 days. I got into the dentist this morning and was told I'd need a root canal. It's scheduled for tomorrow at 11:30 a.m.

I've been lucky enough to have fairly good dental health throughout my 30 years. I only have 1 filling. Now, the prospect of having some dude put a needle in my gums and drill a hole in my tooth fills me fear and anxiety. Ugh.

On the upside, perhaps the painkillers they'll give me will make me forget about food.