Monday, September 30, 2013

31 Days: Introduction

Hi, there! You probably found me through Nester's 31 Days, since I haven't been actively blogging (other than in my head) since the end of last year. So, I thought I'd start with a quick introduction!

I'm Liz, 40-something mom to three girls. I have struggled with my weight for as long as I can remember. The first memory I have of "dieting" was in 7th grade (which consisted of eating rabbit food and not much else, if I recall), but I was aware of my size long before that. Anyone else remember the mortification of shopping in the "husky" department?

I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism in my early teens, and after being put on medication, I lost quite a bit of weight! I have been on and off medication throughout my adult life for various reasons, but in the last few years I have really educated myself about the condition and how I can help myself through diet.

I was never much for exercise until a few years ago, when I tried the Couch to 5k program and fell in love with running. Since then, I've run several 5k's, two half marathons, and my first (and hopefully not last) marathon last year, and am still happily addicted!

These days, my biggest challenge in living the healthy lifestyle I want and losing weight is my diet. I have spent a lot of time researching, learning, and educating myself on what I should do. My problem is follow through! Many times I get as far as making meal plans and shopping lists and even shopping, but most of the time, especially when I am struggling with low energy, the food ends up in the freezer or worse, going to waste!

Discovering Nester's 31 day challenge was literally a God-send, because it is just the push I needed get my diet under control and finally, once and for all, develop the right habits to help me be successful going forward. I also know how important it is to lead by example, and at the moment my kids sure aren't learning anything constructive from me in this area!

My goal for the next 31 days is to move toward a Paleo(ish) diet. I know from past "experiments" that I feel much better when I eat this way, eliminating gluten and eating lower carb. I enjoy dairy products and don't seem to have an intolerance to them, so they will stay in my diet for now. My oldest daughter is a vegetarian, so beans will also be on the menu occasionally - my "taco beans" are one of the very few things all my kids will eat.

I know from experience that if I can discipline myself to plan, shop, and prepare meals, I thrive on this diet and do not feel deprived. Another obstacle I face these days is my budget; I recently left my 9-5 job to pursue my dream of running my own business, so I have to find a way to meet my goal while also adhering to a strict budget!

I'll be adding all the 31 day links here as they are published. I would love for you to follow along as I teach myself to be a budget conscious Paleo meal planner, and I'd love to follow along with your 31 day journey, as well! If you have advice, recipes, or simply encouragement, please share!!! 

Monday, September 23, 2013

Then and Now

So just over a year ago I ran 18 miles. Damn. It seems like lifetimes ago.

After my marathon, I made the decision to put off doing any more long distance races for two reasons. One, I wanted to drop the extra weight I was carrying, and I had been reading that endurance training can make it more difficult to lose fat. Second, I struggled for a lot of last year with foot problems (PF?) and ended my marathon with some killer shin splints, and I didn't want to aggravate anything to the point that I couldn't run at all. And then, of course, there was this.

But then, earlier this year, J suddenly decided she wanted to start running and train for a race with me. What, what? My 17 year old wanted to spend time with me? Doing something I love? I was not about to pass that up, so we looked around and found a trail race at the end of August.

However. Things were not going well for me. I tried to start with C25k, but once I got a few weeks in it just seemed SO DIFFICULT. I got really discouraged, but instead of giving up, we just pushed back our race date. We found the Run for the Hills Half Marathon in West Virginia in mid-October. The entry fee included a free night of camping at the Spruce Knob Mountain Center. It was perfect!

However. Things continued to not go well. I gave up on C25k and started following a beginners 13.1 training schedule, running intervals and increasing my distance. My foot started bothering me. Then my knee started bothering me. Then I turned my left ankle on a 5 mile trail run, and my right foot hurt so bad after the same run that I could barely hobble around. Still, I refused to give up, and the following weekend I ran the 6 miles on my schedule.

And that was when I realized there was just no way I was going to be running a half marathon any time soon.

Luckily, there is also a 5k in the WV series, so I will still get to run a trail race, in the mountains, in October. Yay!

However. Scaling back to a 5k and starting C25k again and struggling even more than I did when I first started running...when I really was a couch potato...well, that was tough to swallow. But, I swallowed it and kept at it, and Friday I ran 20 minutes without stopping and it felt just as awesome as it did the first time I did it three years ago.

This morning I had an great run on one of my favorite local trails. This year, the beginning of fall actually feels like fall and it was a perfect morning for running. I was able to run more than "Nan" (the name I gave the voice from the Get Running app) told me to. When I was done I found a bench by the lake and just hung out for awhile savoring the morning. And suddenly it didn't matter any more what I was doing or was able to do a year ago.

I can't wait to run 3.1 on October 13 and cross the finish line with my daughter! 

Sunday, September 22, 2013

That Time I Started Over...Again

It's hard when you feel like you are starting over...again (again, again). 

It's hard when you know the right things to do, but you stop doing them. 

It's really hard when you are doing them, but they stop working.

I've lost and gained weight so many times over the course of my life, and for the most part I could always count on the same thing less, lose weight. I wasn't ever much for exercise, but counting calories pretty much always worked for me.

Three years ago it seemed I had found the answer - EXERCISE! Who knew?? I started running and was diligent about tracking what I ate, the weight literally melted off. I lost 35 pounds over the course of about 4 months. I had fallen in love with running and exercise. I had become a gym rat. I was never going to be fat again! Life was good!

Three years later and I feel like back where I started. I am 20 pounds heavier than I was when I first started running. I am back to feeling depressed. I feel buried under the weight ~ once again it is coloring everything in my life, but most of all, my self-esteem and sense of self-worth. The worst part is that none of the things that worked for me then are working. I still run! I am active! I am no longer a couch potato, so why, whyWHY is the scale moving the wrong way!!

Well, a small confession. This has been a pretty overwhelming year for me. There have been a lot of changes, good and not so good, and I slipped into my old, bad eating habits. Sometimes it's just so hard to see past the instant good feelings a Twizzler or Hershey bar provide! So yes, I have continued to run and exercise, but I haven't backed that up with a consistently solid diet.

Another thing I've been struggling with is my health. My energy has been up and down, but mostly down, and there have been days I can barely get out of bed. For a long time I attributed it to my old companion depression, but lately I've started questioning that. As a result I've been educating myself, advocating for myself, and working with my doctor to better manage my hypothyroidism. I was recently switched to a natural thyroid supplement from synthetic, and I am feeling much better. I think there is still tweaking to be done, but it's made me realize what a disservice I've done to myself over the years by putting my health last and not questioning treatments or pushing to have my symptoms addressed.

My message for the day: if you are feeling crappy, advocate for yourself and if you don't get answers, find a new doctor! Luckily, my doctor is awesome and once I started talking to her, she listened!

All that said, it is tempting to feel like I am starting over and feel really shitty about that, but I know that I'm not really starting over. I am still running! I have resources for knowing how to eat healthy and finding great recipes to try (hello, Pinterest, I'm looking at you)! I am not giving up! I am moving forward! 

I know it sounds trite, but I need to keep reminding myself that life is a journey, not a destination, and I'm not doing myself any favors by refusing to enjoy it until everything is perfect. 

On the schedule plan, grocery planning, and my favorite part of the day...a trail run!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

I Just Can't Quit You, Blog

I know it's been awhile, blog, but I haven't forgotten you. It's just that this mama is more fat than fit these days and didn't feel up to facing you and admitting it. But I'm ready to dust myself off and get back on the horse. Here we go again. Giddyup!