Slow and Steady Wins the Race

Feed me Seymour!

on August 6, 2010

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I have been reading a lot of blog posts and articles recently about runners, hunger and weight loss (or lack thereof).  This got me thinking about my own stalled weight loss recently and my weight loss journey up to this point.

Before we look at today, we have to look back <cue the harp and think ripple effect like you see on a TV screen for a flashback>.

I have been battling the bulge for what seems like an eternity now.  In reality it has been since about 1997.  I was always rail thin as a kid.  Kids would tease me by calling me bean pole, stick or twig.  I am also a little over 5’10”.

Me at about 17 years old

I didn’t realize I was gaining weight when I started to put on some extra pounds.  I never wore tight fitting clothes back then and was more into the baggy/grunge (lumberjack) look.  You remember Nirvana, right?  I lived in the mountains of NC at the time and my early 90’s grunge clothes carried me through my relocation to the mountains from the coast.  No one cares about fashion when you play in the woods and sit around bonfires for entertainment.

Anyway, I found out I wasn’t as thin as I used to be when I received this book from my Dad for Christmas:

It hurt my feelings at the time.  My Dad wasn’t trying to be mean and it isn’t in his nature to say “have you put on weight?”  He has just always been a fit and active person and wants his kids to be healthy too.  I get it now that I have a kid.  To be honest I don’t know of a better way to tell your semi-adult (I don’t consider myself an adult until I was supporting myself financially) child that they need to be careful about what they are eating.  I am thankful now that he did create an opportunity for us to discuss weight and health.

I have no idea what I weighed then since I didn’t own a scale and never had to worry about my weight before.

I went through many years of ups and downs with weight.  There came a point where I had my – IT’S TIME TO DIET WEIGHT!  When the scale said 188 pounds, my brain would flip a switch and say – TOO HIGH!  YOU MUST DO SOMETHING BEFORE WE HIT THE 190’s!  Then, I would join Weight Watchers Online and lose some weight and we would go back to our regularly scheduled programming.  At some point the weight would always come back.  Rinse, wash, repeat.

My most successful weight loss was before I got married.  Like most brides, I had to slim down for the BIG day.  I did Weight Watchers again and got down to 168.  It was my lowest weight in years and years.  Then, we decided to have a baby and I got pregnant with my son 4 months after the wedding.  I gained about 30 pounds during my pregnancy.  I subscribed to the 9 months on/9 months off rule.  9 months postpartum came and went.  I wasn’t back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  Not even close.  However, I wasn’t working too hard at it either.  I would watch what I ate for a while, but ultimately I never really saw big or lasting results.

Fast Forward to Spring 2008.  Ah, Spring.  The time when everyone takes off the bulky winter clothes and tries fit into the cute little Spring/Summer outfits.  Then, the realization washes over them that those outfits don’t fit anymore.  Or when shopping the sizes you fit into last year suddenly don’t fit anymore.  Personally, I like to blame the clothing stores.  They can never seem to keep their sizing consistent.

Back to Weight Watchers I went.  Only this time I had done it so much that I could essentially follow the rules without actually having to join.  Again, mild success.  In the back of my mind I knew that to see the results I wanted I was going to have to exercise.  Ugh.  I hated exercise.

November 2008.  Enter Holly.  This is the person that coerced me into training for a 5K.

Running.

You can’t be serious.  I don’t run unless I am being chased.

I caved.  You don’t know how persuasive this girl can be.

We started training using Couch to 5K.  I thought I was going to die for several weeks when doing the running intervals.

At first I saw ZERO results on the scale.  I even gained a bit of weight.  I think when I started running I was at 177 pounds.  Seeing the scale go up instead of down is frustrating.  I had to find a way to put those feelings aside and focus on running for fitness, not running for weight loss.  I decided I wanted to be an example for my son.  I wanted him to see that being active is fun and hopefully one day do races together if he likes running.

The shift in focus worked.

Slowly, the weight started to come off.  I was focusing on my eating habits AND my fitness level.  I saw a change in how my clothes fit before I saw a change on the scale.  My weight started dropping at a rate of a couple pounds a month at most.  A month, not a week.  In March of 2009 I was at 171.  Right now I fluctuate between 158 and 161.  I know what my weight was at most points during my training because I tracked it on Mapmyrun.com.  I am glad I did because I can see that my body lets go of it very s-l-o-w-l-y compared to most people.  I think of that as a good thing in hopes that it won’t come back as long as I keep my calories in/calories out under control.

Cary Road Race - April 2009 - Around 170 pounds

Now, let’s talk about that.  Calories in/Calories out.  Apparently, I suck at math.  My calories in are exceeding the calories out most of the time.  When you start training for a high mileage race, you get HUNGRY.  The kind of hungry where you can eat your hand if a snack isn’t within reach.  There is also the, I run therefore I can eat, mentality.  I have gotten sucked into this in a big way.

I just ran 14 miles and burned roughly 1,400 calories.  That means I can eat this bowl of ice cream, this whole plate of fried food, this bag of chips, this….you name it.

HELP!  I have fallen into a bag of ruffles potato chips and a bowl of french onion dip!  I can’t get out!

I have excuses aplenty.  We are a two income household now and cooking dinner is just. so. hard. after a long day of work.  I can dial the phone!  SEE this IS so much easier.  Ooooh, PIZZA and CHEESESTEAKS and FRIES, oh my!

<steps on scale> WHERE did these 5 pounds come from?!  I run!  A lot!

Oh, right.  Pizza and Cheesesteaks and Fries.  Oh shit.

The point of all this is to say that I am recommitting myself to eating properly to fuel my body.  I must cut down on the junk food intake.  I don’t believe in eliminating anything from my diet if I love it.  All things in moderation.  I will NOT gain weight while training for this marathon.  I am holding steady at 161 right now.  I WILL get to my goal weight of 150.

161 pounds - August 2010 (still sweaty from my run)

In order to make myself accountable, I think I will try to add in some notes about how my eating habits have been when I do training updates.  I always found with Weight Watchers that when I had to WRITE my food down I was much more conscious of what I was eating.

Feel free to call me out on it when I tell you I ate 5 bowls of ice cream in one week.  It will happen.  I am an ice cream addict.

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2 responses to “Feed me Seymour!

  1. Laurie says:

    Ice cream is my big weakness too! It sounds like you’ve been through quite the journey. I have to say that you look great, even if you do think you need to lose a bit more weight. Great job with the marathon training, good luck with 17 this weekend! Thanks for stopping by my blog. 🙂

  2. Jenna says:

    Ann… I am so proud of you for taking this on and sticking with it. I feel like my life is filled with things I started and never finished. I know I have the motivation in there somwhere but I let the excuse of 3 kids and all bring me down. I have the time just not the energy blah, blah, blah. I’m also glad that you have turned it around to be about you and your health and not about what others think you should be. That’s one of the great things about being in your 30’s… it’s about me not you! I will be thinking about you and your upcoming marathon. Know that I am always with you, I love you! YOU GO GIRL!!!!
    p.s.- I think I might have a tear or two in my eye! miss you xoxo

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