Saturday, 25 February 2012

Why Run?

There have got to be lots of ways to get fit, right? If you're interested in why I chose running, or you're thinking of starting to run, here are my personal reasons to run:

  • Convenience. Running is something I can do on my own, with no equipment required (except for my super cushy springy runny shoes). It is something I can do as much or as little of as I please, or am able to fit in. I am able to make my own schedule, make my own rules, be my own fitness coach. I am able to slip in to my running shoes while my husband distracts our little ones, and be out of the door in 3 minutes before any of them notice. I can be back in 30 minutes, having completed my work out for the day, before my children have the chance to actually miss me.  If I want to run longer, I can go out after bedtime and enjoy the evening air. It's liberating. It's exhilarating. It's freedom. It's MY time. And I own it.
  • Running feels good. Believe it or not, once you get past the first few hard runs, you stop forcing yourself to go out the door and you get to a point where you can barely wait to get out there! Running is addictive. It feels good. This is because of endorphins. These little feel-good chemicals are released in our bodies when we run. Endorphins are well-known to help relieve stress (and even ease the symptoms of depression). When I run, I feel good for hours afterwards. More than, 'good', I feel almost euphoric. I feel positive, excited, in control... elated. You've heard of 'runners' high', right? Well, it actually exists! It is a highly motivating influence in getting me out of the door each day.
  • Self-esteem. Running helps me to feel good about myself. I am actively doing something to help improve my health and my fitness level. I am tackling my weight problem in a healthy and sensible way. I am in control. I am making positive changes, setting myself goals and meeting them. I am achieving. 
  • Me-time. Being a mum of 3 tiddlers, I don't often get much 'me-time'. When I am running, it is my time. It is my time to think about whatever I would like to, or to think of nothing at all. When running I can clear my mind and just enjoy the pounding of my feet upon the pavement. When I am running, my only responsibility is to myself. I do not need to think about what the children are doing, what the house looks like, or anything at all. All I need to do, is complete my run. I love this. This is my time.
  • Getting outside. It sounds corny, and maybe it is, but when I run I feel 'connected' in some way. I am outdoors, with the wind brushing through my hair, I can breath in fresh air while my feet tread over dirt or grass, while I run past trees and flowers and birds... Running outside connects you to nature and brings a new appreciation for the outdoors. Corny, but true. You might not realise how much you can appreciate 'nature' until you get out there and experience it regularly.
  • Improvement. Achievement. When running, I can set myself goals and achieve them. I can aim to run further, or faster. I can achieve. I can aspire. I can better myself. I can see myself improve. I am limitless. I am free. There is nothing that is beyond my capabilities, I can do anything. Running puts me in a position of power, and shows me just how much I can make of myself. Running is 'me' becoming the best version of myself.
That is why I run. When I started running, my only reason was, "to lose weight", but I discovered that there are much more compelling reasons to get out there and get running. Why don't you give it a go yourself, and find out why YOU run?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

My Mini Goals

  1. Update this blog more regularly
  2. Complete my Food Diary on MyFitnessPal every day
  3. Go running at least 4 days out of the week
  4. If there is a safe pedestrian path, walk it.
  5. Start and complete the '30 Day Shred' DVD.
  6. Work on the speed of my running.
  7. Improve on the time taken to walk in to Twin Club and toddler groups.

A Penny Drops...

I have felt very motivated since I last posted. I think it is due to a new perspective that I have adopted. That new perspective is to do with 'this' not being about 'skinny' anymore, but about being healthy. That in mind, I have traded my car in for my legs and I am walking wherever possible. The distance doesn't matter - If there is a safe pedestrian footpath all the way there, the car stays at home.

I suddenly realised I don't need to depend on my husband to babysit so that I can go running, or wait until the children are all in bed (when I may be too tired) to do an exercise DVD: I can get exercise every day just by walking instead of driving! I got my car less than 2 years ago, and since then I have gained about 3.5 stone. I think my body may be trying to tell me something! It's time I pricked up my ears and really listened to what my body is saying.

Just to prove what I am saying is true, here is a photo of me when I was pregnant with my twins, before I started driving:


I wasn't on any special diet to keep my weight in check. I didn't ever think about what I ate - I just used to walk everywhere. I think walking is under-rated as exercise goes, so I'm giving it a real go leaving the car at home at every opportunity.

I think the penny has finally dropped, that could make all the difference for me now. It's not about getting thin anymore, it's about getting healthy - and I've really surprised myself in realising that I want that much more than I care about what my body looks like! Losing weight will be a bonus. A big bonus, but it's not the focal point. Getting fit is. And being healthy.

When I was in college, I used to get up at 6 every day to jog the 16 miles there. Then I'd get the bus home, have dinner, and get on my bike to cycle 16 miles to my boyfriend's house - and cycle back again afterwards, too. I loved exercise and being active, and I want to get back to that. When I started college and started walking and cycling everywhere, I dropped 5 dress sizes (went from an 18 to an 8) without even trying OR noticing. I just noticed the fitness aspect and how much I was enjoying myself and loving the exercise and the 'runners high' that I used to get.

As I'm becoming more active now, it's all flooding back. The post-run-euphoria, the enjoyment of walking for miles in the evening sunshine, the sense of satisfaction upon arriving after working hard to get somewhere. I've found that I don't care quite so much about 'skinny' anymore. I want to be fit and healthy. That's what I really care about.

And I think that's what's kept me on track since I last posted as well. I don't think 'skinny' is a realistic, healthy or sustainable goal or motivator, because it's long-term, it's too far off in the future. I think I would grow bored or frustrated if skinny was my only goal, and would be at risk of giving up long before my goal was within grasp. Because I'm the type of person who has to see results to keep myself in the game. Fitness and Health are long-term goals but they are ongoing goals as well. I can see results each time it easier to walk that distance, each time I walk a little further, run a little faster, get less out of breath... I can see my improvement in bite sizes and can set mini-goals along the way as well that will keep me motivated and on-course.

So, with these mini-motivating-goals in mind, I have decided to enter this: It gives me something to think and work and train towards. It's not until October, so I have plenty of time to train, prepare and make sure that I am capable. I'll only go for the 6.55km as it's the first event like this that I'll have entered. Next year I can go for 13km or 26 depending on how fit I am by then. I feel very excited thinking about all that is to come - my growing fitness, entering events, being fit enough to run these long distances. Any weight lost will be a bonus in my eyes. But it's not what it's about. Not anymore.

It really helps to have a goal, which is ongoing. It's no good having a goal like, "Skinny". Skinny is not my friend. So, I get skinny.... then what? I stop trying and put weight on again? Skinny is not my goal. Healthy is. And in my goal being to be healthy, it means I am not on a diet. I am not running to get skinny. I am running to be healthy and eating healthy foods that will nourish my body and give me energy. It is a lifestyle change and it is a lifeLONG change.

This thought used to fill me with dread. I used to sit and think, "I can never eat like I want to again - Even once I am skinny, I'll have to stay on a diet for the rest of my life, or I'll just get fat again!". Now I think about my healthy future, being a fit and keen running person... and I am excited! I want to be that person! As Winston Churchill said, "Success is not final, failure is not fatal; It is the courage to continue that counts". This is ongoing. I am turning my life around. I may well have some days where I don't get out there and run like I should, or where I take the car down the road into town rather than walking it, or where I eat gluten or sit on the couch all day - But failure is not fatal, because I can pick it up where I left off. I have the courage to continue. My goal (success - skinny?) is not final - My goal is ongoing. My goal is continuance.

I can't wait to enjoy the rest of my life as a fit, active and healthy person. Right now, I put on my running clothes and I'm aware I look ridicules at a size 16 with a bulging belly and wobbly thighs, but it's all for a purpose, and when I hit the street eventually in size 10 running clothes to go for a 10k run, people who sniggered at me now will not be sniggering then.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Tracking my progress.

Weight at Start of Blogging:


Weigh in at Two Weeks in:




It may be taking time, but I'm getting there :-)

My journey to hell and back again. That little devil on my shoulder sure is persistent!

I've been AWOL for a little while. I found myself in a bit of a depressive rut last week... I realised just HOW fat I am, and how far I had to go, and how long it is going to take me, and felt a bit overwhelmed by it all. I missed junk food and felt sorry for myself, but when I indulged in the desire to eat bad foods I felt even WORSE about myself and really wanted some comfort from it all.

Matters have been made worse by the fact that I've had to take a break from the couch to 5k programme that I've been following. For over a week now it has been bitterly freezing cold outside and on Sunday 5th January snow fell and settled at a depth of about 2ft. I have been literally unable to go out running, and taking a break after I was progressing so well has been devastating. I feel like I will have to start again and all my hard work has been undone. The snow is only just starting to melt now, that and the very low temperatures mean that for now I am still unable to get back out there.

On the 10th of February, I posted this to a forum where there are a few of us trying to get fit and healthy:

"I'm really struggling! With the cold and snow meaning I've not been able to go for a run I feel a bit down and I've been turning to food for comfort! I've been stuffing myself with gluten-heavy foods that cause my tummy to swell and I feel so fat. I keep drinking caffeine, too. I've managed to stay off the Pepsi, but drinking way too much coffee. I need to get back on track but, much as I hate my body at the moment, I just feel too miserable to do something about it. I feel like all my motivation and energy is draining away! I need to get running again. I miss my regular shot of endorphins!"
And then yesterday I dug out the old Wii Fit. I'd not used it for a good few months and, when I stepped on to do the 'body test', it told me that I had gained 2stone and 7lbs. I felt devastated and like I never wanted to look at food again. I felt utterly fed up at this point and like I knew what I had to do, but it felt like it was just too much hard work. I don't want to be obese for the rest of my life, but for a moment there I seriously considered giving up and just accepting that this was the way I was going to be. It felt easier than trying to change.

I think that my failure of the 'Exante' diet may have had something to do with the rapid weight gain I've experienced since the summer. I tried this very low calorie soup and shake (and no food!) diet. It worked for a time, but I very quickly gained all the weight back and more. Rebound weight. What a bitch, eh? I realised again that I need to learn to eat properly, or else I'll just keep swinging between starvation and mass over eating. This is a cycle that needs to be broken.

So yesterday I decided to suck it up and try to focus on my calorie counting again. I managed to keep myself motivated throughout the day and easily stuck below my 1200 calorie goal. I also 'worked out' for a lot of the day on Wii Fit, playing it in multiplayer mode with my children.

And today I am back in the game! After a week of misery and despair, I finally feel like I'm back in control. My motivation and positivity are returning in full force - hopefully they'll stick around this time! Thankfully I don't think that I did any damage last week to the work that I had already done. I weighed in today at 13st 8.4lbs! So I've lost another lb since I last weighed in. As I was expecting to have gained, it was a lovely surprise!

I am happy to report that I am back on track, I've not lost anything by taking a week to feel sorry for myself, and I'm going for my goals. Fingers crossed I don't slip off the waggon again!

Friday, 3 February 2012

Runner's High, Endorphins and Eliza Dusku

I came across this picture when searching for Eliza Dushku pictures for some inspiration. I loved her as Faith in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer', and Missy in 'Bring It On'. I think her body is to die for. She's not crazy-skinny, and shes always looked so athletic and, above all, healthy. I would be a very happy bunny if I looked anything like the above picture - toned and slim.

But it's the caption I love the most.

"I'm addicted to endorphines: good, clean, healthy and free!"

I have experienced "runner's high" myself and can vouch for how good it feels. Why not feel like that every day? It's good, it's clean, it's healthy, it's free - AND it will help me achieve my weight loss / body goals. I think I'll go out for a run tonight. I don't care how cold it is. 


I feel a lil' slimmer again this week. Perhaps I'll take some more progress photos after the weekend. I'm going to work even harder at my weight loss for a couple of weeks, though as a good friend of mine has asked me to take my children swimming with her on 15th February. If I'm going to be seen in public, wearing anything less than a baggy jumper and trousers, I'll want to look as UNfat as possible! So I'll be cutting out fruit squash and tea and only drinking water, and when it's too cold to go running I'm going to have to work out inside instead to keep burning the calories!

It's quite nice having a near, mini-motivator, though rather than looking ahead at the full 51lbs that I have to lose! I think after I reach the 15th, I'll set fortnightly mini goals to keep me motivated...