Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Back in the Game

I'm trying to get myself back on track diet and fitness wise here and it's not going as smoothly as I'd like. I feel old...that's not a good feeling. I had trouble breathing a couple weeks back during my morning runs and I tired before I could made it through my whole route. Plus lately it's seemed I would always end up with the worst headaches after a long run, so I tried to cut back a little on my distance to see if that would help curb the pain. Then I slipped and broke my toe the other week and I hadn't been able to get a shoe on my foot, forget trying to run. So I had a couple lazy weeks and it started to show. It doesn't take much. It's not all bad. My fat jeans are still loose but my happy skinny jeans are a little more snug than I'd like, and there's more roll overflowing the waist than I want to see.

So what's an old fat bat like me supposed to do? Zumba! Only in the confines of my basement where skinnier, younger eyes can't see what happens when you turn forty and are trying to get back in shape after gaining as many pounds as years...I ate my way through losing my dad to cancer a few years back, my only comfort response that kept me from going back to smoking myself--which no one wants to do while watching a loved one battle lung cancer. Food saw me through the year he fought. Sadly, we both lost. Dad passed away ten days after his birthday that year, October 28th. We buried him on Halloween. And I wonder why I can't enjoy the holiday so much any more...October used to be my favorite month, now I spend the second half of the month moping, heart aching, still seeking comfort and solace in food.

I gained a good forty pounds that year. But I didn't smoke!! Small favors. I got tired of trying to suck in my gut enough to zip my size fourteen jeans. Fourteen, too close to sixteen. The only time I was heavier than that was when I was pregnant with Michael and it took me a good year to lose that weight, aided mostly by not having much time to sit still or eat while comforting a screaming colicky baby then morphed into non-stop toddler...I had no such help this time around--I was completely on my own to lose the unwanted extra pounds.

I joined Spark People, a free online weight loss program--the best weight loss program in my book! I followed their nutrition plans to a T, disciplined myself to drinking only water, and jumped on the fitness program, alternating strength training with cardio every other day. I started out with a step aerobic video, which didn't seem to burn enough fat so I convinced hubby to buy me an elliptical. I sweat my way through episode after episode of America's Next Top Model every morning (I dvr'd the weekly marathons), and the pounds slowly came off. Then a friend from Spark People had started training for a 5k turkey trot and would post her daily runs online. I began to think about trying running myself. Why not? I even found a race to sign up for at the end of that summer, better motivation to stick to the program and see if I could actually run the whole race.

I completed the training program and absolutely fell in love with running. The weight had really come off and I had even made it to a size smaller than what I wore in high school! The morning of the race came, Bill and Michael tagged along to be my cheer section, and off we went. It was a much steeper course than I had been used to, but I was determined not to walk, I wanted to finish the entire course running. And I did. I had never been so proud of myself in my entire life...I still wear that race shirt with such a feeling of happiness and self-satisfaction. I never thought in a million years I'd be a runner, let alone finish a race. It's really a great feeling.

Maybe that's part of what's contributing to my October gloomies. I'm not running as well as I used to. I'm far from giving up, though. I ran a couple miles on the treadmill yesterday morning and plan to take Tucker out for a few good runs before the weather turns too bitter to bear. But I'm also giving this Zumba a good shake. The music and moves are a lot of fun, it doesn't feel at all like exercise and you don't want to stop when the routines are done. I find myself moving to the music in my head throughout the day (more calories burning!!) There's even a little nutrition plan that comes with the DVD set--and I'm a sucker for new recipes! So, if I can keep my head out of the pantry, I may just find my way back to looser jeans once again. And maybe fit for further runs come spring...

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