Monday, January 30, 2017

Elephant relativism.

I have always had very good memory.  I remember random things that happened in high school a million years ago, and I'll also remember what everyone was wearing when it happened.  Stored in the deepest recesses of my mind are completely obscure facts about ancient mythology from my years of studying Classics at Concordia University, modern cooking techniques learned by watching far too much Food Network, horticulture for balconies and window boxes via my mother, and strangely almost all of the lyrics to arbitrary songs from the 1990s.  That's how my memory an elephant, I remember things.

So why, oh why, did I forget what it was like to be fat?

Since the crunchy, poppy kneeness of June 2016, I have been eating and drinking myself into my former state of being.  And I seem to have lost all recollection of how difficult it was to be overweight, and dare I admit this, obese.

The last time I was fairly regular with my workouts (other than going to taekwondo class) was in the autumn and winter of 2015.  While visiting family in Montréal, I made arrangements to work out with friends, find a gym, find a yoga studio, and try and counteract the damage I was doing by eating out and drinking daily - and may I add, that I cheated a few times when it came to food on my trip, but I was pretty good about choosing healthy options.  I was something like 170 pounds, and though I was annoyed that my weight had gone up...I remained confident and happy. 

When I got back from Montréal, I started working a lot more regularly, and so I made sure to hit the gym before my shifts.  At that point, I had joined the "5AM Club," and I managed to do at least an hour of cardio before getting gussied up to work the floor as a painter of faces.  After Christmas break, I was off to Hawaii - I had gained a further 10 pounds, but it wasn't the end of the world, and there would be walking, exploring, hiking, swimming etc.  Not to worry.  Still content with life, I was in Hawaii, and there were all kinds of bodies out and about.  Not at all concerned about my "beach body," I was just thrilled to hit the poke bars and body surf at Magic Sands daily.  Good times.

1 definition of relativism

  1. a theory that knowledge is relative to the limited nature of the mind and the conditions of knowing    
So what is elephant relativism?!  The further away I am from a state of being, the less I remember what it was like to live that way.  Which can be blissful or incredibly difficult.  The problem (and elephant part) is, recently my memory has been jogged...the first time I have jogged in 2017, in fact.
Things I forgot about being obese:
  • Always waking up in the wet spot (from night sweats, get your mind out of the gutter)
  • Shaving various parts of your body involves rigorous effort and training in contortion
  • Sometimes towels don't fit
  • Getting yourself into a bra is an intricate mix of origami and optimism (and you still get double boob, side boob, under boob)
  • Dress code is always back, with a generous helping of loose and leggings
  • Being overly effected by anxiety and depression  
  • Low self esteem and a lack of confidence
  • The cycle of binge eating
  • Hopelessness
Wow, that turned pretty serious pretty fast.  But, right now, it's how I feel.  I am a hopeless, binge eating 250 pound woman who is again suffering from anxiety and depression which is leading to a lack of confidence and self esteem.  I have 3 outfits, none of which I like.  I would like to take off an article of clothing without being marked by it, and I would also like to sweat at appropriate times.  Don't worry, I also remember other things... 

Things I remember about being fit:
  • Hitting the gym in the morning before I had a chance to think about it or change my mind, and then sometimes doubling up at night
  • Getting an endorphin rush part way into my workout and really enjoying the process 
  • Constantly being sweaty (whether at the gym or on the dance floor)
  • Drinking insane amounts of water and being satisfied by smaller portions or healthy foods
  • There will always be boob origami (when they are smaller they still need to be folded into shape), it's a process
  • Being able to express myself through my outfits
  • Endless energy to do things
  • Feeling that there are no obstacles that cannot be overcome
  • Realisation of goals
  • Positivity
It's pretty obvious which state of being is my preferred truth.  Though not necessarily mutually exclusive whilst experiencing the in-between, the latter is a much better option for which to strive.  Going forward, I will mindfully go through the process of transforming myself so as not to lose track of where I came from and where I want to go.  Ideally, be more like an elephant in mind, to be less like one in body.

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Forget about hiding the evidence...

I can find it.  Always.

In fact, last night, I ate and drank the evidence.  In my attempt to rid my cupboards and fridge of all things unhealthy, I ended up consuming them.  Luckily, there wasn't that much.  A few chippies, a bit of soda pop, and some veggies that had an unmeasured spray of olive oil on them.  Not the end of the world.  Well, and that bottle of wine that was on the shelf.

What was that my Croatian conscience was saying about not wasting my calories on wine?  Well, I assure you...they were not wasted.  They were delicious. 

And at one point he was looking in my fridge and commenting on how I only had ingredients in in there and no "real" food food.  So there.  I think they cancel each other out.

Monday, January 23, 2017

The sun will come out, tomorrow...

Hey, remember when I had that epiphany on Epiphany?  Well, I put off doing anything about my confessed weight about that?!  

You know, the "I'll do something about that tomorrow," type of thing?  Guys, it's been tomorrow 17 times since I wrote that post, and I still haven't gotten my fat ass to the gym, or revamped my eating habits.  Well, that changes today.  

Why am I so bloody scared?!  I am having anxiety attacks about changing my lifestyle back to what it was 4 years ago, I am scared of giving up what I think is making me happy but is actually contributing to my weight gain and subsequently my depression.

AND to top that off, my Croatian conscience has gone back to hurting my feelings...and not even in Croatian!

"You've put on quite a bit of weight.  We need to turn that around.
I don't mean to hurt your feelings but I'm not going to sugar coat things.  It serves no one.  Neither does enabling you.

So have a good cry and get back to tracking your food, go to the gym, and don't waste your calories on wine." 

*Crosses arms in front of chest and pouts*  I hate it when he's right.

Today I took a step towards my future.  I decided to reset all my various fitness and weight loss goals on all of my many fitness and weight loss apps and websites.  And you know that's a bit deal, because I had to try and go back through all the days that I did track all the shit that I did that was unhealthy and delete the evidence.  Suzie means business.

SIDE NOTE:  Damn you:  Lose It,, and Fitbit for making it impossible for me to reset all my information and make it look like I just recently decided to take control of my health.  There's nothing more infuriating than being unable to wipe the slate clean, to make vanish the past that wasn't so perfect.  But, I guess that's just like real life.  It's hard to say that you are still committed to a healthy lifestyle when you have visibly gained a tonne of weight.  I'm not going to go around and say that I have been really good with my eating, while also having kept on top of my exercising, because it's kind of obvious that that has not been the case.  The jig is up.

Today, I write down my intentions.  Today I prep my meals for the week.  Today I organise my schedule.   AND, Tomorrow I go back to the gym.

Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow...

Friday, January 06, 2017

e·piph·a·ny 2017




noun: Epiphany; noun: epiphany; plural noun: epiphanies

the manifestation of Christ to the Gentiles as represented by the Magi (Matthew 2:1–12).

the festival commemorating the Epiphany on January 6.

a manifestation of a divine or supernatural being.

a moment of sudden revelation or insight.

First of all, I am not religious. Not in the epiphany sense of religion January 6th has always meant "take your Christmas tree down, the party is over." In actuality, a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away it was the day when the 3 wise men arrived to give Jesus his belated birthday gifts. In Shakespeare's era, Twelfth Night was a time of bawdy pursuits, merry-making, hard drinking, and lusty encounters - well, that one sounds much more fun, though presents are good too. For me, and this year, it is going to have to mean a sudden revelation or insight. 

I need to get back to my healthy lifestyle thing. That thing I started 4 years ago. Thanks to Facebook I get updates as to what I was doing on this day in the past. Last year I was hiking in Volcano National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii, 2 years ago it was 6 weeks after my knee surgery and I was able to get myself into a nice cross-legged position after having trained at the gym, 3 years ago I was a puffy-eyed ninja-in-training who went to the gym in the morning despite having put my beloved cat, Cobweb, to sleep in the wee hours of the that day. I was a trooper, a yogini, an explorer...and today, I'm sitting on the couch writing this and wishing that I were anywhere but where I am right now.

I am 100 pounds away from where I want to the last 7 months I have pretty much given up on being healthy and happy. After injuring myself (again) in June, I stopped going to the gym regularly. I was scared to restart taekwondo because of what had happened yet again in class. My willpower dwindled, and I pretty much gave up on myself. Depression followed and I turned to food once more for comfort - I pretty much ate myself silly from September to January. I wish everything were as easy as getting fat!

Today, this is my revelation: I got fat again.

My insight on the situation: At the very least, I know how to undo it.

Time to wise up.

Now someone give me some prezzies and we can call it a day.

Monday, February 01, 2016

Here we go again...

Mine is a tale of perspiration, determination, and inspiration...or at least it used to wait, IT WILL BE AGAIN!  And lemme tell you why...

It made perfect sense each year (2014 and 2015) that a couple of the Times Colonist running groups had invited me to speak to before their group run/walks.  After all, I was the contestant in the 2013 TC Health Challenge group who lost 52 pounds in 3 months, and then used the next 5 to lose another 50+ pounds...eventually losing 156 pounds.  At that point, I weighed less than than what I had lost.  Inspiring, right?!

Once upon a time there was a lady who let herself get to 294 pounds.  She was always a good time girl, who could be swayed into going to the bar, sharing pints with friends, eating pub grub...and even going to Le Banquise (she was a Montréaler after all) at 4 in the morning after the bar for some poutine, a Mae West, and an 'ot dog all dressed.  But that was then...this is now...
Or is it?!  I think I just described my last trip to Montréal.  And, my recent trip to Hawaii.

And possibly just a couple days ago.

Okay, so a lot of things have changed...but some have not.  I started writing about my plight to lose weight, get fit, and healthy in this blog 3 years ago, and it really helped me get through the tough stuff and see the humour in what I was doing.  Luckily, for dramatic effect, I had a lot to lose.  You see, that makes for a good story.  But what about now?!  Do I still have it in me to make fun of myself trying to get fit and healthy after some indiscrepancies in the food department, exercise regime, and the healthy living area in general?!  You betcha.
After all, it's exciting to learn about the 294 pound lady who, with the help of a ninja (Jonathan Carpenter), whittled herself down to a svelte 139 pounds from January 2013 to July of 2014 through a combination of eating right and exercise...because that's pretty amazing...but, I believe that it'll be even more inspiring to find out that lady is a real person.  And, that three years after she started her journey, it continues.  It has its ups and downs and ups (as the case is now)...and dammit, she can't even blame the knee surgery she had in November, because that was over 14 months ago now!

I remember stepping on the scale in front of hunky JCarps, the ninja, when I was 294 pounds and not really caring what it said...not even being embarrassed...because I was never going back there.  Now, when I step on the scale, I'm watching re-runs in reverse and it scares the shite out of me.  Am I slipping back into old patterns?!  Yes.  Am I becoming less active?  Yes.  Am I skipping meals and then binge eating later?  Yes.  Am I eating my emotions?  Yes.  What is happening to me?!  
It took me over a year to "cheat" on my healthy eating plan...on the Super Bowl 2014 weekend, I succumbed to junk food again for the first time...and, you know what!?!  I got away with it.  Lately, it's been a whole lot of junk food eating and not a whole lot of getting away with it.  I just hope the ninja doesn't try and weigh me in at our next session...because I will care and be embarrassed at what I've done. 

Luckily, half my wardrobe is stretchy and I seem to gain weight in all the curvy lady bits...but it's becoming a little more obvious now that its not just 15 pounds that I've gained since my knee surgery, it's more like 30.  And at this point, I cant blame being laid up and limpy...I have to blame myself...AND I can't even do that because my yoga teacher (Taryn Strong) says that you have to let go of blame.  

Letting go doesn't mean we don't care.  Letting go doesn't mean we shut down.  Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave.  It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment.  It means we stop trying to do the impossible - controlling that which we cannot - and instead, focus on what is possible - which usually means taking care of ourselves.  And we do this in gentleness, kindness, and love, as much as possible.  - Melody Beattie

She's right...Melody Beattie and Taryn Strong.  Rather than getting all upset with myself and eating an entire bag of Doritos, which will only make the entire situation worse...I am going to let it go, and be grateful that I know how to do this, that I still have a ninja to help me, and that Illoana called to book me for a talk before her Henderson 10K Run Clinic...because that was just the kick in my significantly more voluptuous arse that I needed to get back at it!

And I should probably sign up and run that TC 10K.

Here we go again.

Are you with me?!

Monday, June 15, 2015

“We ought to get out more...”

A few weeks ago, I was asked to write an article for the Times Colonist's Healthy Living Magazine...exciting...and the only parameter was that the magazine was centred on outdoor living.  With all the sunshine we'd been having, and the fact that I'm stuck in a gym for workouts around 8 times a week, I thought I'd explore the subject of being active in nature.  You don't have to be a ninja-in-training to do it, you don't need specialised shoes or clothing, and you don't even need any money, all you need is a sense of adventure and a fabulous cityscape to get the job done.  Here are my thoughts on getting out more.

Exercise in the morning before your brain figures out what your body is doing - that has pretty much been my mantra for the last couple of years. As much as I love Crystal Pool & Fitness Centring, there's something to be said for playing outdoors. It keeps things interesting, it's great for mind and body, it's free, it's fun, and it's nearly impossible to find an excuse as to why you can't fit a little bit of nature into your day. So, when's the last time you tried swinging on the monkey bars in Central Park or wandered through the rose garden at Beacon Hill? When did you last take the scenic route in something other than a car?

Walking or running around town gives you an entirely new perspective on where you live. Go on, really listen to the music being pumped through the Gates of Harmonious Interest, search out the sculpted bronze Hands of Time - first a filigree fan, then the last spike, binoculars - can you find all 12? Take advantage of pedestrian-only pathways, sneak by Fisherman's Wharf on your way to taste the sea salty air as it whips around you on the breakwater, wave at cruise ship tourists then visit Emily Carr and other residents of Ross Bay Cemetery. Who says exercise has to be a chore - hours of gym time logged under fluorescent lights? I say, get out, and increase feelings of well-being, activate your brain, stimulate your senses, raise your serotonin levels, fill you lungs with oxygen, and get some vitamin D.

Hop on a bike and take a spin around the Inner Harbour, Dallas Road, really see where you live, follow the coastline, climb up that hill by the old observatory, catch your breath and then lose it again at the viewpoint as you look out over the Strait of Juan de Fuca towards the Olympic Mountains. Pedal your way through Victoria Golf Course, keep going until Oak Bay Marina, buy some bait, feed a seal, don't stop until you've immersed your feet in the frigid waters off of white, sandy Willows Beach, then take a different route back, explore. Healthy living is loving what you do in life, don't you dare get bored.

All this spring weather and unbelievable sunrises have got me thinking that I should venture outside with my yoga mat to salute the sun as it illuminates this amazing city. It may be that I need to lay off Googling fitspiration pictures of fancy asanas in fabulous places or it may be that I need a bit more fitness freedom. Time to think outside the gym, get active, and smell the roses simultaneously. There are no rules, you don't have to get up super early or even come home when the street lights turn on, just take your time, enjoy, and play in gratitude. There's no place like OM.

The article came out this past Saturday in the Times Colonist's Healthy Living Magazine's supplement. 

Thursday, February 05, 2015

"Find your awesome."

I always wanted to be an actress growing, when Shaw TV storyteller Paul Beilstein got my name from Esquimalt Recreation Centre and was interested on taping a story on me, I was obviously very excited...and at the same time, absolutely terrified.  Hello, stage fright!  Also, I had to let him know that taping a segment would have to be ASAP as I was scheduled for surgery on my popped ACL in four days.  That was a little over 10 weeks ago.  And the segment just came out this week on Channel 4.

I called him up expecting him to pass on the opportunity, because who wants to do a story on the girl who lost a lot of weight and took her life back through healthy living, but was in traction because of a sports injury?  Okay, maybe not traction...but I didn't know that in November.  The Ninja, internet, and my surgeon had warned of a long recovery and weight gain, and I was understandably apprehensive.  But, I had a few things on my side.  1.  I was fit.  2.  I knew how to eat (even if I didn't follow my own rules ALL of the time).  3.  My doctor was rumoured to be one of the best in Victoria.  And, 4.  I was steadfast in the belief that I wouldn't have sustained the injury if the universe had ordained it to be something I couldn't get through and/or learn from.  Well, I learned this:  a sports injury is a setback, but not something you can't get through.  And for the record, do the exercises that are posted on the orthopaedic surgeon's website, they aren't there just for filler AND stay positive!

Well, he didn't look me over, he was surprisingly optimistic that we could tape something in the new year while I was in recovery from my surgery.  Not only did this motivate me, but gave me something to look forward to in my rehabilitation.  I had obviously been in the spotlight somewhat by being in the TC Health Challenge in 2013, and then featured again in the paper as the previous "biggest loser" and workout buddy to Troy Wilson, the Crystal Pool's 2014 challenger, but this definitely kept me motivated after surgery.  Propped up on the couch waiting for the pain to subside, is not exactly my idea of a good time.  I had pain killers, of course, but I didn't want to take them for too long.  I longed to get back into the gym before my muscle tone disappeared.  The impending TV appearance was helpful in keeping my eating in check, though I hadn't realised that inactivity would largely affect my appetite.  My body didn't crave what it craved before my forced rest period - well done body!  I ended up losing 9 pounds after surgery, and went from 156lbs to 147lbs in 2 weeks.

I wanted to get back down to my lowest weight of 138 before the taping of Paul's healthy living piece, but let's be realistic here, I wasn't half the athlete as I was before the surgery.  Heck, I didn't even have full extension in my leg...but eventually, I could walk, I could ride a stationary bike, and I could work my upper body.  So two weeks after surgery, I went to my first yoga class.  It was ridiculous, I couldn't do most of it...but I went, and it gave my mind some sort of peace just knowing I was doing some sort of exercise.  Shortly after that, I started going to the Crystal, and managed a bunch of workouts that took my disability into consideration.  I even worked out with the ninja once or twice before Christmas.  I gave it my all, and then accidentally gave in to cheddar, holiday baking, champagne, and lobster (because the Spitfyre's celebrate with crustateans not turkey).  I, like everyone else, indulged over I lost, but then gained.  Not the end of the world.  Maybe I'll just blame muscle gain?  Ha!

A couple weeks ago I taped the segment, at 156 pounds, and though I felt awesome...I was also worried that I would be giving people the wrong impression.  Eat clean and train dirty, that's what I always say...and here I was doing that but I was still 18 pounds up from my lowest weight.  What kind of an example is that?  Was I being too hard on myself?  Perhaps.  I biked to Esquimalt Rec Centre in the rain the day of filming, then promptly ran to the bathroom and attempted to fix my fringe.  Yes, I have curly hair that likes to misbehave in humidity...and I was going to be on TV!  When I met up with Paul, the ninja, and the camera guy, I was so nervous...even my hands were a bit shakey.  Of course they wanted to tape the workout segment before the boys not know what happens to girls when they sweat?!  Especially if they have curly hair?!  No, no they don't...but it didn't matter...I had much bigger things to deal with, like a lens in my face, mounted on a barbell, and following my every move.

Camera shy.  That's my, I guess.  Who would have thunk it!?  Perfect bangs and 138 pound frame gone...I resigned myself to do what I had originally set out to do 2 years ago when I started this journey and blog, motivate others to get healthy and get active.  If two years ago I had worried what I looked like and how much I weighed, I would never be where I am suck it up, what the Ninja tells you, answer Paul's questions honestly, have fun, and tell your story.  And that's exactly what I did.