Granny Shuffle

Due to popular demand, the Granny Shuffle has been reintroduced to Portland. The six-week hiatus ended this afternoon when I booted my lazy butt out the door and enjoyed a two and a half mile run. The prospect of using my new ipod shuffle for the first time accounted for 90 percent of my motivation and sunshine was the other 10. Few things thrill me in life as much as picking workout music. My musical concoctions are usually a witches brew of random artists and strange combinations. Rick Springfield, Journey, and the Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs go together like rama lama lama ke ding a de dinga a dong.

There’s a four mile race coming up in July that I’m still dreaming about. Of course the word “race” is merely titular when I speak of it. Nobody bothers competing with the granny shuffle. After today’s run, I feel like I could handle four miles. It will take some training, an excellent running mix, and a new pair of pants. My current running pants–which I already took the time to hem into capris–are now too big in the waist. I will not complain about this fact as I am always pleased when my pants gain weight. But running becomes very distracting when my ass is literally crawling out of my pants.  Nobody wants to see that–not even the creepy homeless guys who tent out around 18th and Upshure.

Since I’m categorizing this as a “confessional” post, I had better come out with it. Another office brought two boxes of VooDoo doughnuts today and I did not even pretend to resist them. They seduced me like a suave cowboy on prom night. I’m not going to feign contrition because I’ll never say no to those goofy cereal-covered pastries. There you have it. Enjoy.

Before I sign off, I’d like to say a few thank yous.

1. Portland Smokers: Thank you for aggravating my asthma while I’m outside trying to exercise. Joggers everywhere praise your contribution. By the way, the hipster thing is over. Ditch the smokes, comb your hair, and get a job that doesn’t involve coffee or records.
2. Faulty clip on my pedometer: Humility is an important quality to learn, and I’m glad you’ve taken it upon yourself to teach it to me by giving out constantly while I’m trying to run. I don’t mind stopping my run so I can fish you out from under a stranger’s car. (To be fair, if I were my pedometer, taking a very bouncy ride on my hip, I’d probably bail too.)
3. Lastly, and most importantly, I’d like to thank Billy Idol for the song Rebel Yell.

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Wedded Bliss

I’m back and I’m married! It’s all been very exciting. I’m glad that I front-loaded all of the wedding stress because our day went perfectly. We enjoyed a day of sheer joy.  I even had dress malfunctions! What happened, you ask? Well, let me back up a bit.

I think I’ve mentioned before that I track my weight loss on the Wii through Wii Fit. It tells you (so kindly) if you are over-weight or obese and makes your little avatar round and tubby if you fall into either of those categories. I’ve only known obese avatar because I haven’t left that category since we bought the thing two years ago. I knew a long time ago that I certainly wasn’t going to be a skinny bride, so I decided that I’d be happy if I could at least NOT be an obese bride. Right before we left for Minnesota, I did my last Wii Fit weigh-in. I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had dropped into the overweight category! Very satisfying.

Below is a screen shot of my progress over the past year, including my weigh-in from last week when I discovered that I hadn’t gained a bunch of weight since the honeymoon and had instead lost a pound.

Back to the wedding. The Tuesday before the big day, I put my dress on one more time before sending it to get steamed. It fit great! It was even loose! Can you imagine my joy after all the stress and nightmares about my dress not fitting? Plus, my lady time was just ending, so I even worried a tiny bit that the dress would be too loose.

Come Saturday, it’s time to put on the dress and it’s snug. REALLY snug. Sweating and panting, the girls barely hooked the top of the dress together. Then I made the amateur mistake of breathing, and the hook goes flying across the room. A word to any future brides out there: some materials may shrink when you steam them. Shockingly, I did not flip out. I felt okay about it. I had the girls take off my bustiere and the dress fit fine. My worst wedding nightmare came true, and I didn’t melt down. Everything was perfect, and the dress malfunction is just a funny story.

In all honesty, I do wish I had been thinner for my wedding. I know that’s the part of me that read too many bridal magazines. Models are not perfect brides. They aren’t even brides and they’re hungry all the time.

Though I’m getting healthier, I know I’ll continue to struggle with my self-perception even as I continue to lose weight.  In fact, I’m preparing for it to become more difficult. Being over-weight has always been easy, in a sense. It’s being thin that’s terrifying because the idea of maintaining it seems impossible. That’s a bridge that I’ll cross when I come to it. I will blog more later about my goals for the second half of 2011. For now, what’s important is this: my wedding was gorgeous and I felt beautiful.

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Bride-zilla Booty

With the wedding creeping up fast, my anxiety levels have been inching as well. March was basically a giant ice cream sundae of stress-eating. I had a dream two nights ago that my dress didn’t fit. Probably my subconscious feeling guilty about eating pizza for dinner that night. I feel like pulling my hair out. Is it too late to push the wedding back a few months?

Sometimes I feel like I’m at a tipping point before the day has even started, but I’ve been keeping my emotional extremes to myself. I know better than to bottle up like that. Obviously, I haven’t been blogging any of these feelings over the past month. It’s been difficult for me to express how I’m feeling, but here goes.

The planning has been fun, I’m excited about getting married, and I’m really not worried about things going wrong because I know that the little things won’t really matter. Most of my anxiety about this wedding has stemmed from my worries about being the center of attention and my fear that I’ll get the pictures back and hate the way I look in all of them. Really vain, right? I know. Don’t get me started on the guilt that comes when I realize that I’m being vain and the weird emotional cycle that happens then.

On a day-to-day basis, I am happy with myself and the choices that I make. My clothes fit better, I feel better, I’m happier. Then the storm clouds roll in. I start thinking about how I’m going to look in the big white dress. Suddenly I remember being a kid and my brothers singing, “Here comes the bride, all dressed and WIDE.” They weren’t singing to me, it was just kid stuff, but once that anxiety starts to creep over me, I can’t shake the insecurity.

The wedding is less than a month away, and I’m trying to keep it together. The wedding crafts have kept me pre-occupied and for that I’m thankful. Running has helped too. It gives me something positive to focus on and opens up new goals that are health- and fitness-related rather than weight-related. For instance, I ran a 5k. I never thought I’d run any kind of race, but I did it. That’s a big deal for me and I should feel proud of that.

In a month, I’m going to commit my life to a man I love and who loves me just as I am–even when I’m a little nuts. How I look in that big dumb dress should be my last worry and I need to keep telling myself that. Mantras aside, I know that I’ll still feel anxious about how I look, but the best thing I can do for myself right now is focus on the positive and take things one day at a time.

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My fiance decided that his goal for 2011 was to run a 5k before the wedding and a 10k before the end of the year. The only 5k in Portland before our wedding is the Shamrock Run on March 13th. He made this decision early in February, about 5 1/2 weeks before the run. Not being one to stand idly by, I decided to register with him.

A 5k is 3.1 miles. I’m not sure if I’ve ever run that far in my life, so I’m not sure what possessed me to dive head first into the endeavor. In any case, I have, and though I’m terrified of this thing approaching in three weeks, I’m doing rather well. The goal I set for myself was to increase the distance I could run (without walking) by .5 miles per week. I started with a half mile and that went better than I thought. Last week I ran a mile. Today I ran 1.5 miles.

My pace is pretty slow, but speed is not my aim. Considering I haven’t done any serious running in quite a few years, my goal is merely to finish and to have run the majority of the race. The transition from walking to running hasn’t been as tough as I’d imagined. Since all the walking I do is inclined, it’s conditioned my lungs better than I thought. And, despite the pain it sometimes brings, I do enjoy running. I feel so invigorated afterwards, and it just makes me feel healthy.

5k news aside, I realized that it’s been a long time since I’ve done a booty update. Matthew wasn’t around, so the following picture is a “selfie.” Pretty sad trying to take a picture of your own ass. The weight hasn’t been coming off as quickly as I’d like it to, especially since my weekly workouts are more vigorous these days, but I can definitely see the improvement booty-wise.

My work pants are all too saggy these days too. That feels nice especially since one pair was VERY snug when I purchased them. That was a perfect example of my stubbornness in refusing to buy a bigger size despite it being obvious that I needed one.

This running thing is exciting and I feel really good. I’ll try to post more about it as I go along. Three more weeks until the big day, so wish me luck!

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The Prettiest One

For Christmas, Matthew bought me Walt Disney’s Fantasia. Incase you’ve never seen the film, it’s a collection of animated shorts set to classic orchestra music. I loved it as a kid, and it’s probably the reason why I have such a strong appreciation for classical music.

I watched Fantasia almost every time I went to visit my grandma Skippy. I’d curl up in her papasan chair, wrapped in one of her large faux fur blankets, and watch it. Her TV room was always cold and smelled like musty towels, but I was content to sit down there alone and watch Fantasia. Since the shorts don’t have any words, I’d alway day-dream and make up my own stories. My favorite skit was the one with the centaurs because I loved trying to decide which one I would want to be. They were all so elegant, but my pre-occupation was trying to figure out which one was the belle of the ball. I wanted to be the prettiest one.

Young girls are prone to arguing over who gets to be the prettiest whatever (let’s face it, that’s what society teaches girls to do), but my desire to be the prettiest was something I kept to myself. It stemmed from that feeling of inadequacy that I’ve carried around for as long as I can remember. In my games and day dreams, I always wanted to be something else–even a weird half-horse creature–if it meant that I was the prettiest one.

I constantly worried that nobody would ever fall in love with me. I thought that I’d be the ugly duckling forever. It’s hard to revisit those memories and feel so small and insignificant again. When Matthew proposed to me, I tearfully admitted to him that I used to think that nobody would ever want to marry me. Sometimes unexpected things bring those feelings rushing back, and I feel that heavy loneliness as though I were still a young child marrying Barbie to Ken for the 100th time.

I need to remind myself that I’m combatting years of low self-esteem. It’s unfair to think that I should be healing faster. Those impressions from childhood linger a lot longer than it seem they should. I don’t want to forget those feelings because it’s important to look back and see where you came from. My hope for myself is to remember those emotions without feeling them afresh. I think when that day comes, I will know that I am fully free of those demons.

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Welcome to 2011! Wait, it’s almost February?

I feel like I’ve been asleep for two months. Things have been really hectic with wedding planning, and I’ve sorely neglected my poor blog. I feel a bit neglected myself. When life picks up and each day runs into the next, it’s hard to take the time to care for yourself and be mindful of your needs.

Fortunately, I’ve still enjoyed a few small victories. First, the dark chocolate thing is really working for me. I’ve cut back a lot on other sweets because of my secret stash, and I still feel very satisfied by it. Second, I haven’t gained any weight this winter. The jury’s still out on whether or not I’ve lost any–my scale weighed me down about 6 pounds this morning, but it’s not the most reliable. Winters are really difficult for me and I always gain weight. I usually greet spring with a surly attitude and snug pants–but not this year! I honestly can’t remember the last time I didn’t gain weight during the winter, so I feel like I have accomplished something. Lastly, when I started pondering my New Years resolutions, weight loss wasn’t the first thing to come to mind–like it usually is. I first started thinking about reading more and writing more and getting ready to apply for grad school. It struck me that my preoccupation with my weight has decreased significantly, and I feel much happier with myself.

That said, I do still have stressful times regarding my weight. I’m feeling a lot of pressure right now with my dress fittings and the approaching wedding. But, as always, it’s just one day at a time–one choice at a time. One of my resolutions is to write more, including blog entries. Writing on this blog makes me feel less anxious about the things I’m going through with my body. I’m not sure how much I’ll be able to adhere to this goal before the wedding stuff is finished, but we’ll see.

I’ll probably be blogging soon about yoga. I purchased a groupon for a month of yoga for $10. Smoking deal! I still need to call them and find out how to redeem it and how the whole thing works, but I’m feeling very excited about it. I haven’t practiced yoga in a long time, so I’m a little worried about my abilities. Whatever I’m able to do will be better than doing nothing, so I’m going all in. Namaste.

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Dark Days = Dark Chocolate

I haven’t been inspired to blog in a while, but I feel compelled to update as it helps me feel more accountable for what’s happening in my journey. Day light savings threw me for a loop and I’ve really been missing those evening hours. Most days I don’t start work until 8:30, so that extra time in the morning doesn’t do me any good. My workouts usually get pushed to the weekend, but that somehow feels like cheating. I’m still working out three times a week–they’re just all in a row. Doesn’t feel quite as beneficial. I’ve been using my “happy lamp” which I found at Costco and that seems to be helping. I guess by “seems to be helping” I mean I feel crankier when I don’t use it.

The influx of holiday goodies at my work is, for lack of a better word, preposterous. Right now there are two huge boxes filled with chocolate covered cookies, ginger bread men, and other various tea cookies; two smaller boxes of holiday sugar-coated and chocolate dipped cookies; two bags of caramel corn; fudge; and cashew brittle. This is a terrible work environment for somebody who has a food addiction. It’s like sending a meth addict to work at a pharmacy. But I’ve decided to leave all that business alone because I know that if I eat even just ONE TINY INNOCENT cookie…then I will eat everything on the table. And I’ve been okay. Each day it gets easier because I look at those goodies and I remind myself that they will make me feel bad and they will upset my stomach. So that’s that.

I have been eating a fair amount of dark chocolate; I’ve found that 82% is my favorite. I did my research and dark chocolate–when consumed in moderation–is actually very good for you. The information that I found was based on studies where participants ate one four ounce bar per day. They founds that it lowers blood pressure, lowers cholesterol, contains anti-oxidants and flavonoids to help reduce free-radicals in the body, and it stimulates endorphin production. It also acts as an anti-depressant. For me it’s a good option because it isn’t overly sweet and I don’t crave large amounts of it like I would with other goodies (like all the crap at work.)

In summary, I’ve been combatting a lot of bad feelings with the lack of sunshine, the abundance of rain, and the various holiday temptations. However, today is a warm and sunny day and this bar of chocolate is satisfying my aching need to munch. I’ll take that over nothing.

(Green & Black’s is the best…incase you were wondering)

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Cheese tests positive for deadly E.coli

…reads the Oregonian last Friday.

Thirty three people were sickened by the tainted Gouda and fifteen were hospitalized. What the heck, cheese? Why are you putting people in the hospital?

For my own part, I’d like to think that I’m a little safer because I don’t eat meat and I’ve cut back on dairy products; but what about the tomatoes? The spinach? The peanut butter? Food-related illnesses are on the rise and it seems like nothing is safe any more.

Americans have stopped demanding that their food come from quality sources and that it be safe. As a result, we’re eating worse than ever, and people are getting sick and dying as a result. The FDA isn’t protecting us and the giant conglomerate corporations with giant bottom lines won’t make changes unless it profits them.

Tainted food is scary, and articles like this make me think twice about everything I purchase. I try to buy in-season fruits and vegetables, local and organic products, but even so I recognize just how disconnected I am from my food.  It’s nearly impossible to tell where it’s been and who’s in charge of keeping it safe to eat. I guess all you can do is try to make good choices and hope that somebody’s bad choice doesn’t turn your grilled cheese sandwich into a hospital visit.

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La Resistance!

I just made two dozen chocolate chip cookies and I didn’t so much as lick an errant chunk of batter off my finger. This is what’s sitting on my counter right now:

When you get close enough to the cooling rack, you can actually hear a choir of angels singing. And it smells amazing in here. Honestly though, I’m having a pretty easy time resisting these delights. I plugged into my ipod and listened to one of my usual workout mixes while baking them. If I know one thing about myself, its my strange ability to form extremely strong associations. For instance, every time we make tacos I want to watch Family Guy because we ate tacos like two or three times while watching that show. Same thing with meatball subs and 30 Rock. These food/entertainment associations are not great, but my association of music and working out can be very powerful. When I listen to my workout mix, even when I’m not working out, I feel really empowered and energized. It’s kind of cool, and extremely helpful when I need a boost or help resisting delicious baked goods.

On another note, I finally went shopping and bought two new pairs of jeans. I was down to one pair and they had huge holes in the crotch from my thighs slowly wearing them down. Not attractive. Anyway, I usually dread jean shopping because it’s such a pain in the ass–pun intended. I can never find jeans that fit me well, and during previous shopping visits I haven’t been able to find jeans in “my” size. That is to say of course to say that size 16 jeans wouldn’t fit me and I refused to put on a larger size. So I roll up to the Gap, feeling rather skeptical. What do I see? A sale! Forty percent off all jeans! It was fate. I must have brought 12 pairs of pants into the dressing room, hoping to find one pair that I didn’t hate. Guess what? I had a hard time deciding which pairs to choose. Almost all of them fit and they were all size 16. Some where even a little too big. It felt really good.

As the days grow ever shorter, and my mood grows ever hungrier, I’m trying to cling to that feeling. Staying motivated for my workouts is difficult when it’s completely dark by the time I get home from work. As much as I loathe getting up earlier than I need to, I’m going to try to drag my sorry butt out of bed a few mornings next week so I can take my walk in the sunlight. Other wise we have Dance Dance Revolution to fall back on. It’s a great workout, but I cringe at every stomp just thinking about my poor neighbor down stairs. We may need to consider a gym membership. More on that later.

Speaking of considerations, I’m thinking starting a food log on here to help keep me accountable for all the winter goodies I’m bound to consume. I haven’t decided if it will help me or make me feel guilty. We’ll see about that one.

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From Blue Skys to Blue Moods

It’s November now, and winter is fast approaching. Today the rain never stopped and I swear the sun didn’t even bother getting out of bed. I’m shocked that I could. We went on our amazing Hawaiian vacation and got spoiled on all the sunshine. I had planned on buying a new swim suit for the trip, but I still haven’t reached a weight that I’m totally comfortable with. I did wear shorts almost every day of our trip–which was a big deal for me because I haven’t worn shorts in public since before I hit puberty. I also wore a swim suit every day because we spent most of our time on beaches.

This picture was hard for me to swallow–especially because when it was being taken, I thought it was just of my face–so naturally, I need to post it on here so I can get over myself and realize that it’s a cute picture from a fun day.

I must confess that I haven’t been showing as much care to my diet as I should. The weather is getting bad and I’m feeling the effects of the season. I’m stress eating and eating because I feel blue. Even though I recognize that I’m doing it, I can’t seem to stop my hand out of my mouth. Some switch flips in my head when the sun goes away and my mood goes in the dumpster. Now I’m also worried about how I’m going to get my workouts in when the sun is going down before I even get home from work. So far, I still haven’t missed a week. This week is going to be the first real challenge because day light savings was on Sunday.

I need to try not to worry, make some plans for exercise, and start finding another outlet for my stress. Today was not so good as I wolfed down every sweet and cheesy thing in my path today. Tomorrow can be a better day.

One day at a time.

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