Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Today is your lucky day. I was planning to post pictures of my nasty mangled toe, but I decided it was too cruel to do to you kind folks who endure my pointless ramblings and provide me with so much encouragement and support! So thank you, and you're welcome.

You may be wondering what mangled toe I'm talking about. It's my left big toe, and it's the reason I haven't even attempted to run in the past month. The scary thing is that I don't even know when or how it happened!

When you're as klutzy as I am, it's not uncommon to notice suddenly bruises that you don't recall getting. I'm always tripping over, stepping on, or running into something! Most of these incidents don't even register in my brain unless/until an injury later appears. This one is a new low for me, though, because my toe is busted up pretty badly, so I must have banged it hard. It had to have hurt, seriously. But I didn't notice it until I woke up in the middle of the night with a crying baby. As I rocked him, it dawned on me that my toe was throbbing pretty intensely. I thought that was weird, but ignored the pain as best I could until I was asleep again.

The next morning, I took off my sock to identify the problem, and was surprised to see that my toenail was broken more than halfway across the middle, with some discoloration (bleeding?) underneath the bottom half of the nail. Um, ew. As far as busted toes go, it's not that bad (just google "busted toe" and you'll see how nasty this particular ailment can get!), but I'm squeamish enough that this is totally gross to me. I've tried to keep socks on 24/7 (except in the shower) while it heals so I don't have to look at it!

Healing is indeed happening, but it's happening really slowly. I've been afraid to run because I didn't want to increase pressure in the toe or risk the huge broken part of the nail being ripped off. Yes, I know that marathon runners often injure their toes worse than this and lose their nails in the course of their training or races, and it doesn't stop them. Does this make them better than me? Does it mean I'm a wimp? Yep, it sure does. And I'm okay with that. In fact, I might never take on the challenge of running a marathon precisely because I'm not tough enough to endure injuries like this and keep going. When it comes to blood and guts and pain, I'm a big ol' baby. I know this about myself, and I accept it as my cross to bear. Sometimes I have to tough it out through pain and yucky stuff (like c-section recovery! ick!), but the rest of the time I will avoid it whenever possible.

I hope to be able to attempt a slow jog sometime in the next couple of weeks. My current training program starts out with a few walking workouts, and I will just repeat that first week until the toe is ready to run. The first workout is scheduled for tonight! Here's hoping I still have a toenail by the end of it.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Taking Inventory (Weekly Summary)

It's inventory time here at Might As Well Tri! The first step to holding myself accountable for my choices is taking stock of where I am right now. I've taken pride in owning my number before, and even though I'm not proud of my current stats, I can't hide from them either. So here goes!

Weight: 219 lbs.
Weekly Change: N/A
Overall Change: N/A, though I've gained 12 lbs post pregnancy, leaving me only 5 lbs below my highest pregnancy weight. :-(
Next goal weight: 214 (because getting started is so hard, and the first 5 pounds lost should be celebrated!)
BMI: 31.4 (obese) (using this calculator)
Waist Circumference: 39 inches
Disease Risk: Very High (according to this chart)
Jeans Size: 20
Total Workouts: 0
Total Running Time: 0
Total Running Distance: 0
Longest Single Run: N/A
Progress on Training Plan(s): Getting ready to start this Couch to 5K program again. Once I've made some progress, I'll decide whether to stick with this program or change to another one.
Next Event Goal: I'm not going to choose a specific event yet, because I still have a long way to go as far as just making regular exercise part of my routine. When I'm ready to select an event, I'll start with a 5K and figure the rest out from there. I plan to write a whole post about my goals very soon.
Next Week's Goals: Since I'm basically starting from the beginning all over again, my only real goal for this week is to do something, anything more than I've been doing! Just one workout will suffice. I'm aiming for a short treadmill walk on Tuesday or Wednesday night.

By way of comparison, my lowest pre-baby weight this time around was 184 lbs, which made my BMI 26.4 (overweight). My size 16 jeans were baggy and I was thinking about trying to squeeze into the 14's sometime soon. I was running at least 3x per week and completed my first 10K just after finding out I was pregnant. So I undid a lot of hard work, not just during my pregnancy but also in the eight sedentary months since.

I'm definitely frustrated with myself for letting all this happen. Once upon a time, I was incredibly motivated to get right back into running as soon as I could, and I'm disappointed that I didn't make it happen. And I also did the main thing I did NOT want to do, which was gain weight back again after the baby was born. But I'm sticking to my New Year's Resolution and I'm not going to beat myself up over it. I'm just going to make it right, starting NOW!

Thursday, February 23, 2012


Lots of talk and very little action -- that would describe accurately my efforts in the fitness department ever since my baby was born. I'd like to change that, but I think I need to start holding myself accountable for my choices if I'm going to have any success.

In the past I have shunned paying too much attention to numbers and quantifiable measures of progress. As I've told you before, I'm a person who goes to extremes, so if I start looking too closely at numbers, the danger is that I will soon begin to OBSESS over those numbers. I don't want to become that myopic about my health and lose sight of the big picture. But with my personality, trying not to obsess over numbers leads to the opposite extreme of ignoring them completely. I make a zillion excuses for why my weight is so high and my pants are so large and I exercise approximately zero times per week.

When I'm not being way too hard on myself, I'm being WAY TOO EASY on myself instead.

Until I get my bad habits under control and re-introduce self-discipline to my life, I'm going to have to monitor my progress in quantifiable ways. I enjoyed doing weekly updates during and just after pregnancy, so I'm going to try that again. On Sunday nights or Monday mornings, I will post a quick summary of my stats, including my weight and any loss/gain, my jeans size (the horror!), number of workouts, total running time/distance, longest run, and progress on whatever training program I'm using. Can you think of anything else I should monitor? Maybe my waist measurement, since that number can be a good indicator of risk for Type 2 Diabetes? I could also include how much sleep I get, since I need to work on consistently getting a healthy amount. All feedback is welcome!

My promise to myself is that I will use all of this information to motivate me to stop making excuses and make progress instead. I will NOT use it to berate myself over every little shortcoming and failure. I'm determined to find a happy medium here, and hold myself accountable without going to extremes!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

The Lent Diet

Have you ever noticed how many people, women especially, give up some sort of junk food for Lent? I suspect for many of us our goal is physical as much as it is spiritual. We're supposed to give something up, so why not choose something we know we need to cut back on anyway, and then hope to shed a few pounds in the process? It's win-win, right?

Except, in my experience, the "Lent Diet" is often lose-lose instead, and what is lost is not always weight. The (many) times that I have tried this approach to Lent, the healthier eating was never established as a permanent habit. I'd either replace one sort of junk food with another (I gave up french fries, so I'll just eat TWO cheeseburgers instead! I can't eat chocolate, so I'll just switch to vanilla ice cream or cake instead!), or go on a rampage of overindulgence again as soon as the period of deprivation was over.

So I usually failed at Lent all around, losing zero weight and gaining zero spiritual fulfillment. A sacrifice that is selfish in nature is no sacrifice at all. As long as I was thinking mostly about how the "Lent Diet" would benefit ME, I wasn't giving any part of myself to God, or connecting my experience to the suffering and death of Jesus. I had it all wrong, and once I realized that, I stopped doing the "Lent Diet" completely. In recent years, though I've continued to give up food items some years, I've tried to stay focused on the meaning behind my sacrifice, that it's about HIM and not me.

PLEASE NOTE: I'm not saying this makes me a better person or a better Catholic than anyone else. Faith is not a competition. Only God is keeping score, and it's possible for everyone to win. :)

What I'm saying here is that once upon a time, I used Lent as a way to jump-start the diet that I already wanted to do. Then I reached a point in life where I wanted Lent to be a truly spiritual experience, and stopped using it for personal gain. And I'm bringing it all up today because this year I've decided to reinvent the Lent Diet!

See, I've realized that the desire to lose weight and get fit and healthy is not necessarily selfish. It certainly can be, if all we really want is to be cute and have people tell us how awesome and attractive we are. But there many unselfish reasons for wanting to be healthy, including being able to take care of our families, and also simply appreciating the gift of life and respecting the bodies that God has given us!

To that end, I'm going to use Lent this year to start ridding myself once again of some of my unhealthy habits. I'm starting with late night desserts, a bad habit I've been indulging in for over a year now. I eat dinner around 6pm with my family, and then stay up until midnight or later, so I'm usually hungry for a snack around 9 or 10pm. From now on, if I have to eat something after 9pm, it will be a small portion of something healthy. I don't expect this one small change to cause the pounds to start dropping off or anything like that. What I hope to gain from this sacrifice is a gradual change in my attitude toward food. I want to stop using sweets as a way of coping with stress or tiredness, and start being more mindful of my diet overall. If I start by working on just one of my bad habits, hopefully soon I'll be back on track mentally to really work on improving my health.

I do plan to pray when I am tempted, and remind myself of the greater purpose behind this and every act of self-sacrifice. I also plan to take on one or two other Lenten commitments that are even more spiritual in nature -- I just haven't quite finished figuring them out yet...

Think of me tonight around 10pm as I lick the last bit of buttercream frosting from my fork...then let the Lent Diet begin!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Fog Has Lifted

Oops! I sure didn't intend to be MIA for more than a month, but I'm bursting back into your lives on a ray of sunshine! I'm thrilled to tell you that the dark clouds of sadness are behind me, and I'm feeling about a million times better than I did in the fall!

The truth is I've been feeling better for a while now, but I didn't want to say anything about it lest I jinx myself. Fear of relapse hung over my head like an aura of impending doom. When I was first coming to grips with what was going on inside my head, I was dreading the holiday season. It's common knowledge that the holidays can be difficult if you're dealing with stress or sadness. I've struggled through the holidays with grief before, and was not looking forward to a similar season of sadness.

Then an amazing thing began to happen -- as I lowered my expectations of holiday joy, and embraced the truest causes for celebration (my faith and my family), I started to feel okay. I didn't feel GREAT...but I felt okay. And I felt a teensy bit more okay each day. As much as I'd wanted to hide from the world when I was at my lowest point, I decided to take a "fake it till you make it" approach, and force myself to go through the motions of everyday life. Surprise! This approach actually worked, and the more I thrust myself into holiday preparations, the more I felt the season's cheer. I had a very merry and blessed Christmas, and I thank God for granting me that grace.

Unfortunately, the fear of relapse still lingered. Even though I embraced the new year with optimism and a very positive resolution, I worried that once the holidays were over, the bleak, dark winter would seep into my psyche and bring me back down. Maybe the mild weather worked in my favor (though I have been longing for a good snow!), because somehow I never did slip back into the darkness! Instead I have continued to gain strength and return to what I would consider a "normal" state of mind.

I still have bad days, and stress, and feel overwhelmed at times, but it all has a very different feel to it than it did last fall. I realize fully how "off" things were then, compared to how much more clear my head is now. There are days when I'm feeling down or grumpy, and all of a sudden I have this moment of clarity where I realize that my thoughts are not completely irrational and I don't feel CRAZY! Then I get so happy about not feeling crazy that I just have to smile, before resuming my perfectly normal bad mood.

Life is good, and I am thankful.

So now it's time to get back on track in all the ways in which I had come undone. This year, in addition to focusing on my highest priorities of faith and family, I will be working on making my finances more stable, my home cleaner, and my life more organized. What I'm doing differently now is tying all of these facets of my life in with my health (instead of making health/fitness its own, lower-priority category). I want to take a more integrated approach to my health, because it's so important, and so interrelated with everything else. When you feel good physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, socially, etc., you are better equipped to handle any curveballs that life throws your way. Meanwhile, it's easier to make your health a priority when you feel confident that other aspects of your life are not spiralling out of control.

From here forward, this blog is going to cover more topics than just exercise or weight loss. I'm still going to talk about those things, but I'm also going to include my thoughts on an array of other subjects. I still want the focus to be health, so I'm not going to start posting a bunch of random junk. Well, it might be junk, but it won't be completely random. ;-) Just don't be surprised to see posts on such topics as teaching kids good nutrition, healthy ways to deal with stress, or how I incorporate prayer into my fitness routine, just to name a few examples off the top of my head. I hope to write much more often, and I'll try to include more pictures and graphics to make the blog more visually interesting. As always, I will welcome your comments and feedback.

Oh yeah....and I'm still aiming for a triathlon, so don't think I've given up my dream! I'll post again soon about my event goals for 2012. I hope to "tri" sometime this year! I might as well, right? :)