To be more accurate... back in my running shoes. I had a very successful exercise week! From Sunday - Saturday last week, I ran 5 times. It is a rare occassion that I am really looking forward to running, but 9 times out of 10, when I get out there I am really happy I did. I also tend to run more than I planned when I have low expectations for myself. For example, I'll get out the door and tell myself I'll just run for a few minutes and then walk... all of a sudden I've run 30 minutes. I must say that I'm pleased with how quickly it seems to come back when I'm consistent and push myself a little.
It's sad, really, how far I've regressed - the picture above was at my second half marathon, in September 2009 (18 months ago) with Richard in Chicago. Only 14 months ago I ran a stinkin' full marathon. We were in such great cardiovascular shape! A little time off after the marathon was followed up by house shopping, contract signing, getting engaged, house closing, wedding planning, settling into marriage... the running (and exercise in general) fell to the wayside. I am always aware that I should be exercising... I love how I feel when I am and hate how sluggish I feel when I'm not... so I've still exercised intermittently but often half-heartedly.
I had a Lifetime Fitness membership from September 2010 through February of this year which I ended up utilizing only for the treadmill. That is a really expensive membership if that's all I'm going to do, thus prompting my cancellation. The plan is to join the new 24 Hour Fitness that opens April 23rd really close to our house and significantly less expensive... plus its supposed to be really nice. I do like the option of a treadmill when the weather is not pleasant (6+ months a year in Houston!) and I like certain classes when they work with my schedule.
Not only do I want to undo some of the weight gain (I completely blame it on being so happy and content with Richard, so I guess my life could be worse!), I really want to re-establish the good, consistent exercise habits I've had in the past and just be healthier overall. I know my life will only get more hectic as our family grows (one day) and my responsibilities increase so I really need to get this under control and manage all my "excuses". Historically, my weight has fluctuated in a 15-20# range. That is a BIG fluctuation! Friends and family would never comment on my weight, but work is another story. For whatever reason, the staff (nurses, nurses aides, dietary aides) think they have free reign to comment on my weight! A friend of mine at work is in a similar situation... they do the same thing to her. I think it's cultural, they don't realize its hurtful - I don't hesitate to tell them "you don't say that to a white girl!" but it doesn't help. It is especially annoying when your profession should make you an expert on weight loss and of course automatically thin! Or at least I feel like that's the expectation - it is not a requirement for my license, however. I've always said that I think people go into the nutrition profession more often than not because they have at least a history of a food issue, either under or over eating or a body image issue/obsession. I do think that my view of eating is much healthier than it has been in the past, and for the most part I eat well. Unfortunately, I apparently have been eating more calories than my body needs, leading to weight gain. I am not one of those girls who eats a few bites of a meal and then puts down the fork! I'm trying, I'm trying, but I hate wasting good food! Also, I think, I'm just going to be hungry later if I don't eat this now! At home its not so bad because I'm pretty good at portioning and am aware of everything in the food I cook... eating out is something else. When I am exercising regularly, this balances out and I can even be successful in losing weight over time. I have never been successful in calorie cutting only (without exercise) to lose weight. Another thing that has contributed to gaining weight has been more frequent alcohol intake - I don't abuse it, but it slows down your metabolism and provides extra calories. Something else I frequently say is I'd rather eat my calories than drink them - so I rarely drink juices or sodas with sugar... but I've yet to find a calorie-free wine. Did you know that alcohol "provides" 7 calories/gram? It does. Carbohydrates provide 4 calories/gm, fat provides 9 calories/gm and protein 4 cal/gm but all three of those provide nutritients as well. I was also getting in a habit of having a glass of wine at the end of a stressful day instead of going for a run, so that was really counterproductive for managing my weight. I'm hoping the scaling back on alcohol for Lent will also help in re-establishing healthy habits. I have no intention of stopping alcohol all together, but think for me it is better in a special occassion setting.
On the exercise front, I have been very inspired by a few friends! My beautiful friend Courtney, mom of 3 who are aged 3 and under - has recently been really successful in getting down to her goal weight through eating better and exercising very faithfully (she is one of the few people who appreciate a good step aerobcis class like I do). She looks amazing! If anyone could say they didn't have time to exercise, it would be her - in additon to being mom and wife, she works a "part-time" job that is probably more full-time since she's in church ministry. Then there is Amanda J, who is the master of routine and exercises I believe 6 times a week - every morning except Sunday! She gets up in the 5s to make sure she gets it in. Amazing. I can't even get up in the 6s to accomplish that. Finally, my sweet friend Janet, who probably could be classified as addicted to exercise. She's always been an athlete, but even now she will go to classes on her lunch break and is often on multiple intramural sports leagues at a time in addition to running and biking. She is going to go into withdrawal from the adrenaline high of getting her heart rate elevated now that she is going to have a baby! I know it will be worth it, but expect she won't waste much time after the baby is born to start running again.
I've rambled enough for now... cooking this week was pretty mundane, so I'll spare you the details... or save it for another day :)
Is it really already the end of the weekend????