When my name was called at the pediatric dentist I walked through the mystery door to find my girls in a tiki hut being watched over by a bevy of beauties in bright pink scrubs. To my right with his hand extended was Doctor Kevin.
This was not your ordinary dentist.
Dr. Kevin was actually Adorable Doctor Kevin. His friendly smile was the invitation to stare at his dark tousled hair and almond skin. Young. Enthusiastic. A dreamy kind of guy who had visited the girls pre-school a week before.
My little stinkers knew exactly who was waiting for them, which explains the skip hop that happened as they were ushered to the back. While I was silently praying for a visit sans tantrum, they were on the other side playing and being cute under the watchful eyes of their first doctor crush.
When we left they had (not only) new toothbrushes, but enough stickers to cover the front and back of a shirt and three-inch plastic fairies, the kind you find at the Target checkout.
My own visit to the doctor yesterday was not nearly as splendid. I wasn’t sent home with toys or stickers. Just a good arm prick from the blood suckers and advice that I already knew before being told.
“Isn’t there something you can give me for my weight?” I asked.
“Well actually, Miss Martha, there is a new drug that suppresses appetite. The FDA pulled it back, though. And besides. It’s not safe.”
His wry smile told me he wouldn’t prescribe it even if it was on the market.
After a good long discussion about my running and the fact that I’ve gained a whopping twenty pounds since the last time I saw him three months ago (a teensy bit of it muscle), we decided that I must figure out how to handle the eating while running factor in a way that keeps me strong and healthy, lighter and with more energy for day-to-day tasks.
The good news is that since I’m continuing to run as much as I do the need for Metformin has been quelled. Fewer drugs are good. I know this, despite the fact that I’d pop a pill to make me less hungry in half a second.
He wasn’t sure about my training plan, but suggested that I run four miles per day (five, ugh, days a week) with a long run on the weekend. My good doctor will check with a marathoning endocrinologist friend of his to see what he thinks of this plan. The goal is to keep my blood sugars balanced, while also addressing the hunger that comes with running much higher mileage.
It’s tricky, but it is imperative if I am going to meet the goal of overall health and hapiness (one cannot be happy without health I don’t think).
Being healthy and happy encompasses a lot.
Not only does the athlete in me make me want to run faster, the mother in me knows that my food choices (good and bad) are being passed down to my children. The patient in me thinks she’s happy that the doctor didn’t throw meds at the situation and the fighter in me is determined to make long-lasting changes to my diet that will keep gall stones and adrenal failure at bay (finding ones birth family also means finding ones genetic history).
My journey toward total overall health has left me with this one last obstacle. Without much fore-thought, I hopped in the Sequoia and found myself in the parking lot in front of Jenny Craig.
I had done Jenny Craig in 1989. I was a 150 pound eighteen year old whose boyfriend told her she’d be so much prettier if she lost a little weight. I did, as a matter of fact lose the weight and thankfully the boyfriend, too, though the pain of that loss stuck around much longer than the ugly twenty five pounds that eventually crept back on.
This time I’d be doing it for me.
I left the Jenny office with three bags of food and a plan for every meal to be eaten over the next week.
Not being required to make food choices for a while is a relief. My friend Joanna at Poppy’s Style wrote an amazing post about her own struggle with weight and her experience with Jenny Craig. It was her piece that gives me the courage to write about this today (thanks Joanna!).
She replied to an email I sent her yesterday telling her about my day.
“It’s like hitting the reset button!” she said.
“Utter brilliance,” I say. This is exactly how it should be viewed.
Surely over the next few weeks the numbers on the scale will go down and the clothes in my closet will button and zip more easily.
Strangely enough, though, despite better fitting clothes and blood sugars that stay put, the best part for me may be the PR that I see in my future.
Some girls put pictures of skinny models on their refrigerators as motivation for weight loss.
I’m creating an imaginary splits list. My times will go lower as each mile is marked (negative splits) and I will finish my half marathon in under 2 hours and fifteen minutes (ten minutes faster than my fastest half yet).
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!