I needed to run so badly this morning that had I not gone I would have ended up in the Whole Foods parking lot bingeing on a dozen of their mini cupcakes while crying and blowing my nose on brown paper napkins. Mad can do this to me.
My mad always makes me run faster and so I wore my Garmin to monitor my pace.
My index finger scrolled the iPhone past Britney and Colbie, landing on Eminem. His aggression mixed with my mood made for even faster running and release of negative energies.
Sweating out the mad made room for the glad.
The glad and the happy started to flow as fresh blood was pushed through my heart. It was released through a toothy smile, flying hands and some serious public rear end shaking.
4.73 miles later and I almost felt totally better.
I went to my afternoon meet up with the pre-school moms I love. Sitting on a sunny playground and sharing our lives with honesty and compassion made my hurt feelings dissipate. Shared experiences will do that.
Though the cause of my mad is currently working in his office around the corner from the dining room, unaware that he still must be careful with his words or I might just bite him, my frown has actually been turned upside down.
I still might bite that big meanie if he can’t grab hold of that wicked tongue fighting from inside his mouth, but thus far I have not done any biting of husbands or real cake.
I’ve succumbed to a bit of writer’s block since Sunday. Everything written has been tossed due to its scattered nature and ineffectiveness. I haven’t been able to get it together, though I’ve tried over and over again.
It’s a shame for a writer when the blockage rears its ugly head. There is nothing more frustrating.
I’ve been busy, too, and the abundance of good stories have led me back to the computer for try after try.
Yesterday I Skyped with my eighty-six year old grandmother whom I only met this past Thanksgiving, but whom I love like I’ve known my whole life. I’m learning to see my physical self a little more clearly through my relationship with my biological family. It was telling when Grandma complained about her medicines making it difficult for her to take off some extra weight she’d been carrying. It seems that our weight stickage is a genetic issue for all of us and I will probably continue my own struggle with the scale until I’m an old lady myself (rocking on a porch petting cats, no doubt).
On Tuesday I visited Target with my big girls who were being rewarded for their own tush wiping (finally) with big girl cups (the baby ones are being phased out). It’s a happy day when mothers finally get their kids potty trained. It’s a whole separate party when the kids no longer need assistance in the wiping department. A new sense of freedom all around.
Last night my husband’s friend Neal came over to install a couple of ceiling fans. I popped up excitedly when he entered the house with his daughters’ new husband, who incidentally is from Nepal. Vinod and Alecia met during her first year of college when she was visiting and volunteering in a Nepali orphanage. They fell deeply in love, these two from opposite sides of the world, and I’ve watched their story grow through uploaded images on facebook.
Neal’s daughter isn’t even out of college and yet he and his lovely wife Marcie have embraced this beautiful boy and the marriage of their eldest daughter. When Vinod called Neal, “Dad,” while handing him the proper screw for fan installation my heart melted a little. I love a good love story; a real one not found in a book. What moved me as much as the love story between the kids was the love involving the family. Baring witness to great parenting and the embracing of children’s dreams cannot be pushed aside or ignored. It’s an extraordinary love that when seen must be acknowledged.
It’s funny how the words can flow when I get a grip on what’s been bothering me causing decent writing to get stuck in the deepest corners of my head.
Christine, from Love, Life, Surf posted a piece that I read this morning about being labeled.
This week, I too was faced with one of the labels that I can’t seem to come to terms with.
This is the crux of my issue; the source of the block.
On Monday I went to visit to my doctor who has been there for me through ultrasounds with absent heartbeats, D&C’s, crazy pills and way too many tears. That much history gives someone enough knowledge about a person to have frank conversation.
Needless to say I was anxious about the visit.
That morning I put on mascara, which I never do because it hurts my eyes, in an attempt to look together. This was dumb, because all the reasons that I’m not together were imprinted in my file; proof of my past heartbreaks and medications and the reasons for them all permanently etched in black ink.
Everything was going fine until she went to check my weight.
“You don’t want to know what you weighed a year ago, Martha. My experience with you is that you eat when you’re sad. What’s going on?”
She’s efficient, my doctor, I must give her that.
Without missing a beat I put on my biggest smile in an effort to convince her that I had everything under control.
“I’m not sad!” I exclaimed.
“I ran a marathon!”
“I’m not taking Metformin anymore!”
“Brian and I are getting along!”
“Yes, we’re having sex!”
“Yes, I’m getting sleep!”
“No, I’m not depressed!”
“I’m blogging! I write! I’m doing things that make me happy!”
It all came out so fast; a high pitched attempt to convince Dr. Polly that I was totally A-Okay.
Driving home I was shocked by not only my behavior, but that feeling deep inside that pointed to self-loathing.
Am I a fraud? I blog about healthy living, yet I was just faced with all the ways I’m not.
In my anger I began to repeat the mantra, “I am more than a number on the scale!”
She hadn’t come out and labeled me fat, but the silent judgement rang in my ears.
The more I thought about it, the more anxious and angry I became.
I got home and the typical response to those kind of feelings took hold.
A chocolate chip cookie here, a bowl of ice cream there, a handful of marshmallows have no fat, dark chocolate is good for you, have a little more.
Food as comfort. Dammit. There it is.
Jenny C. may not be happy with me at my weigh in this morning, but it will be good to talk to someone about this pattern that I so easily slipped into in the moment my control of life seemed unmanageable. The moment that it wasn’t shiny and happy and not just perfect.
Perfection. None of us fit that description.
Happiness. It isn’t possible to be so all the darned time.
Managing. Living the best we can and recognizing our weaknesses.
Forgiveness. Believing that we deserve it, even when all signs point to the lack of perfection.
I am a work in progress.
I am more than a number on a scale.
I am a writer. I am a mother. I am a daughter and a wife. I am strong. I run. I care about people. I don’t lie. I am fair. I have worth.
With the post finally written I’m going for a run.
I feel best when my body is in motion. Somehow when moving the labels have less ability to grab hold and the fresh blood that surges through my body gives me renewed peace and comfort to be exactly who I am.
I had planned on hitting the road this morning for my first run back, but the pollen that poofed from the pine trees in Raleigh is too thick, covering everything living and dead with a coat of yellow dust.
Instead of pushing it and risking a sinus infection, plus the fact that overall I feel a little “spent,” means it’s a good time to take it easy and do a little cleanse.
Cleansing typically means a hiatus from the gunk that is consumed too often. This equals less empty calories ingested overall as the organs moves to absorb the easily digested juices and nutrients from the whole foods that are being consumed (in my case only at lunch). The body begins to reboot by flushing out the yuck that has been festering inside. It’s a process that takes a little while, which scares some people off. I, having done this once before, have seen the benefits first hand and am excited to give it another go.
With less calories being consumed from sources that are considered to be a problem for some (dairy, red meat, wheat, caffeine and sugar), comes what I describe as the lovely day 1 headache.
Instead of complaining or fixating or reaching for the coffee to make it go away, I have spent my morning at Whole Food collecting the good stuff (more chia, almond milk, flax meal, beautiful greens, etc.) and have an afternoon play date scheduled where I’ll spend my time holding a very small and sweet newborn.
Rome wasn’t built in a day and total health will not happen overnight, but every little step is one closer in the appropriate direction.
After careful consideration I’ve decided there are two things more difficult than completing a marathon.
Marriage and Getting Control Over Emotional Eating
These happen to be the two topics I am loath to write about. I never like my posts when I try to touch on them, because both are hard and can easily read depressing.
When I got married I was thirty-two and in love. Then came infertility and twins and lost jobs and new jobs, then sick babies, separate bedrooms, marriage counselors, almost divorce and now a re-commitment to the cause with a healthy amount of eye rolling.
In other words life.
It’s almost a joke how newly engaged people are nudged by smiling married people while being told, “Marriage is hard!”
I was told this often and while hard is a good description, no one gives the actual low down on how much work it is.
Work is good. Family is better. Marriage can be great if both people realize that they are in it together, but it’s a challenge to not want to run for the hills when you realize that you are committed (for the rest of your life) to a person who leaves his socks in the corner of the living room every night after work or whose idea of cleaning is to move all the clutter to another room.
Those little irritations that were kind of cute at the beginning can mean the beginning of the end if things aren’t put into perspective.
One must also remember that men and women truly are from different planets, so rooming with an alien is difficult, for both species. It takes work for both parties to find the respect and gratitude that everyone deserves and is so often the first thing to go as children come along and life gets more complicated. Sometimes the grass seems greener on the other side and for some it is. It’s a very delicate subject; personal and important.
Weight loss is a sore subject for so many Americans because it never quite sticks. In my case I am first to admit that I am an emotional eater. I’m not as quick to admit (but here goes) that I gobbled down and entire box of Cadburry eggs yesterday before driving through Wendy’s for a cheeseburger (the one with all the mayonnaise). I did manage to cut it into fourths when we got home in the hope that one of the girls would take a triangle, but after an hour it never happened and mommy scarfed down the entire thing.
I am the same girl who juices kale and broccoli and likes it. I soak my chia seeds and know the benefits of vitamins and nutrients one gets from their foods. Potion control? I’ve got it memorized. But when you’ve been reaching for cupcakes to soothe as long as I’ve been it’s a tremendous effort to stay on the straight and skinny.
Food makes me feel better. Yucky food makes me feel better quickly. Healthy food makes me feel great, but when the stress hits the ceiling a good handful of chocolate chips or a bag of Haribo gummy bears makes it all better faster.
I have a feeling a lot of people struggle the same way and maybe I can broach the subject and find some lasting answers.
My race ended four days ago and in my quest for “what to do next” and my goal to “live a healthy and happy life,” these two subjects must be addressed.
I’m as nervous about putting this out into the world as I was about the marathon, but it is imperative that I try.
Here is the challenge:
To find the balance and to write about it in a way that is helpful and fun!
More yoga will most definitely be on the agenda, but the next marathon will be the test.
I’m not sure why I ever veer off from this kind of healthy eating (that I know is so good for me), but when time is not managed properly my diet is always the first to go down in flames. Weeks can go by and I start to feel sluggish. My jeans become tighter and I suck in my stomach extra hard and pose sideways as I pass mirrors. Standing face on reveals the lumpy truth. It’s always at that point when I get out the juicer and start again; such a disheartening cycle.
I drank my smoothie after this morning’s run and it felt like a good choice for recovery. On the way to grab the girls I toasted two pieces of Ezekiel bread with a tablespoon of peanut butter and some jelly. I was feeling the need for crunch so I took along an apple and a cup of lower fat tortilla chips and headed out the door. I know it’s bad to eat in the car, but when I’m on the go there is no other way.
The weather today was warm, so the moms met up at the playground to chit and chat. The kids played nicely and I realized how much I love the group of ladies that come to the lower playground under that big old tree.
Most of the pre-school moms meet up at the enclosed playground where they don’t have to watch their kids as closely. There’s always a flutter of activity up there, but my kids like the swirly thingy that they can wind down and the triple slides, so to the smaller lower playground we go. In a way, it feels a little like high school with all the cool girls up in the quad, while I hang out with the smokers and rebels behind the bleachers. None of the moms I hang out with are actual smokers or rebels, but I like that we are a little off from the bigger group. It’s always been how I roll.
To say I had the best time I’d had all week would be an understatement. I left after an hour of really amazing jibber jabber about boogers and baby weight, cancer and gallbladder removal, feeling happy. Really connected and happy. Isn’t that amazing? That booger talk and gall stone removal could inspire such a reaction in a person? I think it’s why mommy groups were created to begin with, though I wouldn’t know because I never joined one. I thought all mommy groups were created by those girls in the quad.
On the way home I talked my little gals into a little trip to Whole Foods. I reminded them that it’s not a super huge deal if the car cart is being used, so if it was gone we needed to act like four-year olds and not crying babies.
We ran through the doors and spotted the red one; the car with both wheels still in tact.
Like gold had been struck, we ran to it. They hopped in and we roamed around collecting more stuff for juicing and some fishies for dinner.
My kids have eaten fish since they were little. As a Mainer, it is my responsibility to feed them the gifts from the sea and generally they like what they’ve had.
When they saw a bunch of fish still attached to their heads and tails, they got out of the cart for a good look. They examined the fish and asked questions about how they ended up dead under glass. Were they real? Why were they different colors? It was like a spur of the moment Science lesson, right there in the fish department.
I felt proud when Sophie pointed to a crustacean tail and shouted out,” Look mom, lobster!”
Mainers know lobster.
I ended the day with a dinner of quinoa and a salmon burger with fresh avocado. Brian’s bean and veggie salad from last night was the perfect addition and I appreciated his thoughtful preparation. Sometimes we work pretty well as a team, though often it isn’t so obvious.
A piece of dark chocolate and I’m perfectly good and satisfied.
I made it throughWonderful Wednesday. Maybe I should have called it Wicked Wednesday in honor of that Maine lobster under the glass?
I wish I could say I was a completely clean eater on a daily basis. Unfortunately, in the past few days I’ve found my hand in the Oreo bag more than I care to admit.
During my morning taper run I thought about the next thirteen days and what I must do to ensure that I give myself the best chance for race day success.
The easiest task is to clean up the diet. I say it’s the easiest because I know the rules.
Sticktoitiveness is a different story.
I went to Whole Foods yesterday to get back on track. Believe it or not, once I (or you) get going with this kind of venture, the non-processed foods begin to whisper sweet nothings much the same way that Oreos do at 3:30 in the afternoon, the witching hour in my house. Juices and smoothies require serious pre-planning, though, which can be difficult if a spinach and kale run didn’t happen the day before. Mommyland can be very unpredictable.
I have whipped up three lovely glasses of green juice and two nice sized smoothie servings that should keep me going until the end of the day tomorrow. I have planned steamed salmon and kale for dinner. Lunch will be light, but with plenty of carbs since they are still necessary to ensure proper racing energy.
My nineteen miler was the most successful run of them all, because I adhered to the rules of clean eating and restricted (most) carb consumption to earlier in the day.
Let’s hope for Wonderful Wednesday and Thriving Thursday!
In order to avert overzealousness, I’ll be taking baby steps to Fabulous Friday.
The UPS man usually comes to the door around three o’clock with his deliveries. When our door bell rang I was busy cutting up vegetables for the pasta sauce I was going to cook for the girls, so I figured I’d get it off the stoop once I’d finished my work.
As the ding donged, I said out loud, “It’s the man with a package for me,” which deterred the girls from a screeching run to see who it was.
It wasn’t the UPS guy, though. It was sweet Katie from down the street with her mom Lisa and I felt a little guilty for not getting to the door more quickly.
I scanned them to see if I could figure out the reason for their visit. Folded beneath Lisa’s arm was the Girl Scout cookie order list; the Girl Scout seal proudly emblazoned in green and the colorful scribble marks of eager customers’ names and addresses.
I was happy to see them as I do love a Girl Scout. I remember being one myself until I tired of the meetings and the camping. I much preferred being a Brownie; much less pressure for me to become wilderness savvy.
Lisa and Katie were not taking orders, but had a bag of leftovers that didn’t sell and they wanted them off their hands.
The irony that my last Mommyland post was in regard to healthy eating and semi-cleansing was not lost on me. With a big smile and a high-pitched “I’m so happy to see you” voice bought three boxes without question.
Thankfully they weren’t all of my favorites (Thin Mints and those coconut Somoas were missing), but that one box of Peanut Butter Patties could mean trouble and I realized I was tempting fate. The other two boxes were shortbread(ish), not as enticing, but easily scarfed down in one sitting if I’d had an especially long hard day with a couple crazy kids.
Just when I make the commitment to healthier eating, something happens (ding dong) and the idea of tossing that healthier lifestyle out the front door (in this case to writhe on the curb behind my Girl Scout) becomes incredibly appealing.
Rest easy friends, not a single one passed my lips.
Though tempting, I remained steadfast and feel better for it now, as I lace up my Muzinos for an easy six mile prep run. Feeling lighter as I tackle Saturday’s nineteen will be better than any cookie could possibly taste.
Still, there was an internal struggle that I thought should be recognized and noted.
The struggle between good and evil; between flax seeds and Tagalongs.
The stuff of ancient tragedies, made current thanks to the Girl Scouts.
Exactly one year ago, upon my return from the ING Miami half marathon, I tried a cleanse. I didn’t do it (primarily) because I was searching for better health. I did it because my running partner Sandra had just finished week three when we met at Loews Miami and she looked so darned good in her tiny bikini (lounging by that beautiful pool), I wanted a little of the zex appeal that the cleanse might provide for me.
As soon as I got home I bought a juicer. I read the book CLEAN, a cleanse by Dr. Junger, and cut out the “elimination” foods like dairy, coffee, wheat, strawberries and peanut butter (apparently bad for the gut).
I ate garlic sandwiched between apple slices, a ton of kale, and chia seeds for a snack. My one real meal of the day was at the lunch hour, usually salmon and a steamed green, but Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop Detox had a delicious chicken recipe that I cooked a lot, too.
Overall I felt great, but there was a weakness I didn’t enjoy. I fully expected to complete the three weeks that the plan called for, but on the last day of week two came down with the most horrendous flu like illness, complete with fever and shakes and all, and the cleanse had to be forfeited. I threw up the white flag and begged for some macaroni and cheese.
I had lost seventeen pounds and as you might imagine, it crept back onto my bones with a quickness.
It wasn’t a complete loss however, because it gave me the opportunity to analyze my diet. The ways in which I thought I had been eating healthily were (in truth) more about deprivation.
For me, food is like alcohol and drugs to those who abuse those things. Once you get off the stuff and climb aboard the wagon, you have to put in the effort to stay there.
I’m a busy girl. I’m a girl whose physiology makes too much sugar in the blood a very bad thing. Running has been used in place of metformin and has allowed me to stop pricking my poor little finger tips. I am addicted to sugar and once I start to ingest it (after a period of near constant analysis of life without it), it’s really hard to stay focused; much easier to grab a donut and plummet back down into Candy Land.
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I’m back on the healthy eating wagon, but not entirely for health related reasons. I’m vain and I like skinny jeans. I’m going to try really hard to stay glued to my seat instead of swinging off the back end like some rodeo rider looking for a quick fix.
Unlike the full cleanse, I’m choosing to continue to drink coffee and dairy. I like peanut butter and strawberries, so those will stay too. Instead of reaching for a bowl of cereal the moment I crawl out of bed, I’m going to follow Gwyneth’s lead and have a glass of room temperature water with lemon to jump start the system. I wasn’t a huge fan of the almond milk that was a staple of Dr. Junger’s plan, but I will have an afternoon snack of chia seeds and chocolate milk, because the enrgy it provides is what I need at 3:00 p.m., otherwise known as the witching hour.
Since the day I joined Jenny Craig at the impressionable age of seventeen and throughout the next twenty three years, I’ve learned a lot about a good diet. Much of what I learned has been tossed away, some has remained, and new things that work for me have been added.
Learning to manage one’s health when it comes to food (and happiness with race photos) is a cumulative effort. A personal and lifelong cumulative effort.
The running I’ve been doing has made my legs strong, lean and muscley. I realized this last week when my closet, in need of a good straightening, prompted me to tidy up and try on things that I hadn’t worn in ages. I was surprised that my Genetic Denim Shanes, the most perfect skinny jean on the planet, were tight on the thighs.
This compelled me to try on my litmus pants, a pair of Joe’s; trouser jeans with very little stretch. If I fit into those I’d know where I stood in the weight department without ever getting on the scale.
Horrified, I couldn’t get close to buttoning them up. But they fit in the legs so I guessed that they shrunk or maybe the running has completely changed my body shape.
The excuses turned into sad truths (yesterday afternoon) as I turned around to check the straps on an adorable bra, while locked in a very small dressing room. My opinion of dressing rooms is that they are infamous for bad lighting and mirrors too close to the body, which don’t give a person enough space to properly visualize the yay or nay. Nordstrom and Saks come close (generally bigger in size), but the lighting kills it. I’ve yet to come across a single dressing room where the image of my reflection matches exactly how I feel inside.
What I saw yesterday was the truth as only a bad dressing room mirror can hand to you. A good friend or sales girl wouldn’t dare. Even my mother would resist.
It didn’t come out and say, “You are fat!” It was worse.
It was the image of back rolls separated by the cuteness of a good bra, and then more fat rolls beneath, that didn’t smooth out as I stretched to make them go away.
Without words it said this, “Wake up Sister! All the running in the world will not make you slim if you continue to eat entire grocery store cakes (on the platters from whence they came) with a fork and no plate!”
My race is six weeks away.
It’s crazy sounding, but as I stood in that mirror all I could think about were race day pictures; not my time, not my exhaustion from carrying too much weight, not the thrill of victory as I kick 26.2 to the ground and stomp it hard.
This has been the cycle that food has played in my life. Every once in a while I get a glimpse of the truth and decide to take control of my fork to mouth response.
It’s a nuisance and I hate it. I like food and want to be able to eat what I want when I want it.
Today I have no choice but reboot the cycle and take some accountability.
I’m going to take it slow and be thoughtful about what I stick in my mouth. I am going to try to log my food into the calorie count app on my phone and am going to follow the “diet” that was given to me last Spring when my blood work came back pre-diabetic.
There was no chocolate cake on that food plan; no handfuls of goldfish, huge bowls of night-time ice cream, uneaten leftovers of my children’s pink sprinkled donuts, extra bowls of cereal to fend off the weakness of starvation. There’s no mention of “eating what I want” because I ran so far.
Just boring old food accountability.
Weight loss will most certainly be attained but it’s not going to taste great.
Good race day pictures, however, will be delicious!
What’s crazier than actually running seventeen miles, is that I’m not all that worried about it. I know that I’ll be able to do it and I have a plan.
My goal for tomorrow is to run slowly and easily for the first ten miles. Instead of focusing on the time below the beveled face of the Garmin, I’m going to watch my blinking heart rate, so that I can accurately monitor my exertion.
This has been a plan a few times before, but as endorphins begin to fool me into believing I am stronger and faster than I am, I speed up too early making my remaining miles feel endless.
No, I am sticking to the plan. Ten easy miles.
At ten point one I will Gu, and then speed up a bit.
I’ve been pretty consistent when it comes to hitting hills, but tomorrow I’m gifting myself with a flatter course; throwing myself a little bone.
Around North Raleigh I will go, literally, since the hills are in the center. I will probably finish my audiobook, so the last miles will be motivated by music and the long hot epsom salt bath I will soak my aching bones in soon after I return.
I must be certain to eat properly first, before schlepping my legs up the stairs to get clean.
Last week’s fifteen made me so endorphin high (happy and eager to share) that I immediately sat down to write. I was coated in sweat, as if I’d been dipped in the Red Sea, and completely dry by the time I was finished. I neglected to feed my body, instead choosing to feed my mind, and believe that I suffered from the choice later when recovery had begun. My legs felt detached from my torso, like I was hauling around a pair of tree trunks out of proportion with the rest of me. The exhaustion of the task was incomparable to any tired feeling I’ve known before.
Speaking of fuel, I’m going to make an extra effort to eat mindfully today. I have enough kale and beets left for an afternoon juicing. Last night’s spaghetti and sauce (cooked with carrots and shallots, celery and garlic) will be a great choice for tonight’s dinner. At the grocery store this afternoon, I will steer clear of the cookie bin, but buy more garlic and apples and ginger. I need to use more ginger.
Stay tuned. Send good vibes. Pray for an easy time and pleasant weather. I’ll be surely thinking of you all, whose precious time spent reading this is so appreciated and who have added a priceless aspect to my motivation and training.