Friday, December 31, 2010

Hello 2011

Anyone of my generation remembers George Orwell’s book, “1984” and how it was casually dismissed as the distant future.  Anything beyond 1999 had us in space ships named Hal, with big black unexplained monoliths appearing randomly.  Spooky stuff.
Instead, as I sit here with my laptop on the final day of 2010, I see the neighbor’s kids kicking a ball around on their driveway as their dad unstrings their Christmas lights.  Not that much has changed since the 60s.  
So what does this have to do with running?  We dropped in at Costco yesterday and were greeted at the door by gleaming new treadmills.  The holiday decor is gone and it’s time to get serious about that resolution to shape up.  And the retail world is happy to assist.   At Weight Watchers we’re gearing up for the January onslaught of new members.  I too, have resolved to get those four Christmas-pounds off, just as soon as the chocolate is gone.  (Two more bars left!)  

Running is one of the most efficient ways to burn calories.  You will burn roughly twice as many calories running than doing a brisk walk covering the same distance.   As soon as you burn 3500 more calories than you eat, you will lose a pound.  However, running does not give you license to eat with abandon.  Unless you are like our “With-running-your-weight-just-falls-off” friend Mark ...

...  who has completed several Iron Mans, and unless you are running 30-40+ miles a week, you still need to be careful.  Hence, my four Christmas-pounds.
All in all, if 2011 is anything like 2009 and 2010, then bring it on!  More 10Ks, more running friends, another rip-roaring Hood to Coast, and ..... my first marathon.  

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Remember the Christmas ice/snow storm of '08?

I do.  All our kids and their kids were here, and the house was full.  In addition to all the bodies, we were up to our ears in fudge, toffee, my killer home-made rolls, egg nog, and all the trappings of the Silly Season.

Silly Season?  Yes, Thanksgiving through Christmas.  Not in the sense of their true meanings, but in the sense of all the well-meant attempts to sabotage my weight.  The contraband that my adored friends and fam bring to my door.  And I love them for that!  So keep bringing it!  However, in '08 I had just reached my goal weight and was absolutely TERRIFIED I'd gain it right back as had always happened before.

This is a common phenomenon among the weight loss crowd in my circle.  One woman I met said it took 9 years before she got over that fear.   Another recent at-goal-weight-loser came to me semi-freaked out, "I ate TOO much at the restaurant last night and this morning the scales DIDN'T GO UP!  EXPLAIN THAT TO ME!"  She wasn't pleased that the scales hadn't gone up, rather that this whole thing was behaving illogically and therefore, was totally unpredictable and out of her control!!!  I assured her that she's going through a common WW phase and just needed to stick with her maintenance program and all will be well.

So my own Freak-Out came during Christmas of '08.  Surrounded by calories that I couldn't keep out of my mouth and worst of all, snowed in and UNABLE TO RUN OUTSIDE.

Running is my form of purging.  Not pretty to say, but true. Some people deal with bulimia.  I run.  So Christmas night that year, at midnight, I was doing a frantic sprint on my treadmill.  Purging.  Treadmills = desperation.  I HATE running indoors.  Since this post is getting to be longer than intended, I'll talk about that later.

I've learned WHY I run.  The fun and challenge are all wonderful benefits, but not the reason.  I run because those 23 lbs. literally chase me down the street.  My brain is convinced that the very day I stop running, I will gain weight.  And I think my brain is onto something.  So every week that I run, is a week I will not get fat.  I may get fat next week, but not this week -- because I ran this week.  Running literally helps me feel safe.  If I don't run, I am AT RISK.   Christmas of '08, Risk was everywhere.  I was snowed in with Risk, and couldn't escape.  The fudge, the weather, the season, were engulfing me in Risk.

Fortunately time heals.  Now I know if a few pounds creep on, I can get them off.  If I can't run today or tomorrow, I can run the next day and I'll be safe again.  No more freak-outs.  So keep the cookies coming.  I can handle it ....... unless it snows .....

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Weight Watchers

Don't tune me out yet.

I owe my life-change to this great organization.  It's the granddaddy of all national weight loss programs, which started out in the living room of Jean Nidetch, in 1961.  I've lost weight several times and knew how to do it.  But it returns.  Always.  Friends told me I looked good.  No need to lose.  And technically I was only a few pounds above "healthy".  But I knew better.  And even though I told myself that a 50+ year old grandmother is morally allowed to carry a few extra pounds, I knew what my weight used to be and should be.
(This is me (black shirt) in all my former pear-shaped glory.)

The initial appeal of WW for me was the maintenance support.  As I said, I KNEW how to lose.  But I didn't know how to maintain.  WW gives you lifetime maintenance support for no cost, providing you attend and weigh-in at least once a month and don't gain more than 2 pounds above your goal weight.  You just have to think of eating as a lifetime addiction of which you are never cured.  WW meetings are kind of like AA.  You must keep going.

I was a dutiful member and reached my goal on my birthday in 2008.  23 lbs lost in 4 months.  Wow, what an exhilarating experience.   Shopping took on a whole new light.  Had to revamp my whole wardrobe.  I owe much thanks to Ross Dress for Less for helping me not to break the bank.

After successfully losing weight, I was recruited to become a WW employee.   Sure, why not?  It would help me stay at goal because as an employee, if I gain weight, I lose the job.   So far so good.  That was two years ago, and I love my little job.  My co-workers, all former members, have become my friends.  And I get to see other people going through the same life-change that I did.  I cheer their successes and encourage them through the rough times.  I know exactly how they feel.  I know the joy when the scale drops a pound or two.  I see them start to exercise.  I hear about the medications they no longer need.  I see the slim life-timers coming in for their monthly weigh-in, and marvel.  You'd never guess they were ever fat.

So there it is.  I did it with WW.  No gimmicks.  Just relearning how to eat in the real world.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

My purpose in starting a blog ....

I'm brand-new at blogging.  Several months ago I sat down to start one, and couldn't even come up with a title, and there it ended.  Well I have a title now.  Let's see if I can figure out Step 2 .....  

I am a runner.  It started at the end of July 2008.  I was motivated to join Weight Watchers because I witnessed my sister-in-law lose weight and actually keep it off a year later.  She told me about Weight Watchers and within the week I was a new member.  About a month into this program, I decided to give running a try. For years, I've been a regular walker with diligent friends Sue and Barb.  We walked fiercely, up steep hills and long stairways.  But the weight still crept on.
I knew I needed to step it up to help with the weight loss.  But I hated running.  REALLY hated it.  When you run, everything bounces.  It's just not flattering.  And talk about boring!  Nevertheless, I went to the local track and did several miserable laps.  I went again with Bryce and he encouraged me into doing "just one more lap".  I actually managed to run three miles.  THREE miles!  The next day at church, I bragged to everyone who made eye contact.  I ran three miles!
Next I purchased my beloved iPod.  I listened to talks by people whose words inspire me, while I continued to run.  One day "Rosanna" by Toto, came on the car radio.   A truly great piece of music IMHO.  I went home and purchased it on iTunes and my music playlist began.  Music became extremely important when I run, and I pass that helpful hint on to all potential runners.
My miles continued to build.  I remember the day I hit 6 miles.  I texted Bryce, "Eat my dust.  6 miles."  I don't remember what he texted back, but he's always been my biggest fan.  That's a 10K!  Bryce had been running some too, but I was now ahead of him.
Several months later we signed up to run a 10K at Champoeg Park.  It was humbling.  I'd always run alone and THOUGHT I was doing fairly well.  But when I realized the only people I could beat were the very young and very old, I was abruptly yanked down to reality.   No more organized runs with other people, I thought.  I'll just run alone so I don't feel like such a loser.
My next event was a 5K in Richfield, UT on the 4th of July.   I got to run with Bryce, my brother Larry, and sis-in-law Marcia.   Here's the best part.  I beat Bryce.  And I got my 2nd best 5K time to date: 28:19.

In August we both ran in a Hood to Coast team, and had more fun than should be allowed.  I'll write more about this ridiculously heady event later.
That was my first year and  I was hooked up to my eyeballs.  The weight had come off in the first few months, and it was staying off due to running.  I was logging 24 miles a week.   I had a new identity.  I am a Runner.  More about that later.

So that's a not-so-brief glimpse of the basis of this blog.  I want to encourage others to take this .... journey (Bleh! I hate that phrase!) but there it is.  Running has changed my life and I'm convinced it can do the same for others, regardless of age.

Plus I cannot guarantee that a few other topics might not creep in here.  We'll see where this goes ....