Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Ten Reasons Why Moms Should Run

On Saturday I went for my first long run since Indy was born. Five miles along the Monterey Bay coastline, I even took on the crazy switchback hill without slowing down. On the drive home I felt amazing, and all kinds reasons why all moms should run kept popping into my head.

So.... Why moms should run:

  1. Even if you work outside the home you need to exist somewhere that is not home, work, or the places between them... and I've been there... I know that's your life. If you stay home you need an escape that is not the bathroom... if that even counts when little arms are reaching under the door. You need to be in the world, outside, in the scenery, a part in a happy moving community along the rec trail.

  2. It's a mini adventure if you do it right. I hate when people list all the things they want to accomplish before they have kids, as if life ends with childbirth. It's a self fulfilling prophecy. Stop that. Once a week I go run someplace different. I don't just step out my front door and weave through the streets I know too well, I get in the car and pick a beach, a trail, or I even just drive 10 minutes to another neighborhood... it's different and it's enough of an adventure for me. Escape a loose dog or aggressive sea lion... bonus adventure!

  3. When was the last time you spent your Saturday morning driving home kinda sweaty and totally spent? Thought those days were done huh? They don't have to be. And no hangover!

  4. Running is a mental challenge, and after singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star 20,000 times last week, you could use a mental challenge. Tons of people say they can't run, they'd die... six miles are you INSANE? That's all in your head. I swear. Have you SEEN me? I have no business lacing up my Brooks and acting like I can do anything more athletic than rolling down a hill. But I got it in my head that I was gonna be a runner. Half a mile in I want to quit... every. single. time. And at a mile, and two and three but the somewhere between those miles you get to be in awe of what you are doing. How often do you get to be in awe of you?

  5. There comes a time when you have to stop seeing your body for what it looks like and see it for what it can do. When I'm taking on a gnarly hill the last thing I'm thinking about is the dermatitis on my arms or the loose skin on my tummy. Really. It all becomes about muscles and breathing and going just a little farther or a little faster and whatever the scale says at home doesn't matter because look at what you just did! You get to obsess over your body in a totally new kind of way.

  6. Food tastes better after a run. True story.

  7. I love to read, but in this home picking up a book is a signal for Ash to suddenly scream like his limbs are being removed from the backyard, or for Milo to climb into my lap and demand Row Row Row Your Boat til I forget what day it is, or for everyone to suddenly be starving. Books don't happen here. So how did I get through all of the Hunger Games or keep caught up on my favorite podcasts? Running.

  8. Moms should have at least one non-motherhood related community to be apart of, and the running community is an amazing one to join. I love my kids and getting them together with other kids, but lets face it, play groups aren't always the best for mom's self esteem... at least not mine. Between the mompeditors and gossip, there's usually a landmine or two ready to be stepped on when you get a group of moms together... and without fail I'll find each and every one of them. But when you join up with a group of runners there's no kids to judge you by and I've personally only found other runners encouraging and welcoming, even if I can't quite keep up! You can join training groups to benefit a cause or ask around about casual group of runners that just love hitting the trail with company.

  9. If running for yourself doesn't appeal to you, run for your kids. This is not a guilt thing, it's just an information thing. Working your cardiovascular system is so important to leading a long and healthy life. No matter how many door slams or "I hate you's" you endure, I guarantee your kids want you there to see them get married and have babies and you want to be there when they figure out you were right all along. You need to work your heart if you want it to stay healthy. Running also benefits your bones,  joints, blood pressure and runners are less likely to get many types of cancers. I like studies and numbers... and the numbers show that runners live longer, and that's more time with my kids.

  10. Because I need someone to run with. So... consider it.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Kill Your Scale

Do you have one of those friends that makes you think too much? Someone who puts a wrench in your perfectly constructed ideas about the world? I do, and her name is Janie. When she posts I always resist clicking because that link is going to probably lead me to a place where I question everything... and I have laundry and dishes to do... I don't have time to question everything.

But if you know me... you know I click.

Janie is a believer in Health At Every Size (HAES) and Intuitive Eating (IE) and I don't get it. It doesn't fit in my brain. Basically you just accept yourself as is, and for some people that will be fat, and they think they are healthy. Because my fat is symptom of my PCOS, to me fat is bad, always. Fat is messing with my hormones, my hormones are making me fatter and it's all going to kill me so I spend a lot of time fighting the cycle. So to have someone posting links to bloggers who are fat, and not trying to lose weight, and claim they are healthy... AND happy... it blows. my. mind.

I don't find IE shocking. Diets whose purpose is to help you drop weight fast are barely on my radar... like South Beach, Atkins, crazy stuff like the Cabbage Soup Diet (that soup is totally good though)... when I meet someone doing The Zone or anything like that I'm like "OMG... you guys still exist? Please... let me show you to the museum where you belong." We know that crap does not work long term... it'll make you  miserable and sick. But I do believe in finding what kind of diet, lifestyle... whatever... works for you and going with it. Listen to your body. Don't choose a pattern of eating because so and so got skinny doing it... do it because it's what appeals to you and makes you feel good.

But this HAES business... I really don't understand being fat and comfortable or fat and healthy. I want to believe those people (some of the blogs I've read are Dances With FatBody Love Wellness, and Shapely Prose, maybe half a dozen posts from each) are liars trying to fool themselves into feeling good about giving up. That's how much this doesn't fit in my head, that that's the best way I can justify their perspective. And what... I'm healthier for what I'm doing right?

So what am I doing?

I'm eating what I love, lots of roasted veggies, fresh fruit, sweet potatoes, yogurt, beans and quinoa until I feel satisfied.

Working out 6 days a week. Running, yoga, and lifting... heavy. I'm not going to be afraid of muscles. I want to be strong.

I want to lose 40 pounds. I'm weighing myself every morning... and then after I work out... and sometimes after I pee... and then again before bed... and a visualize what I want the scale to be the next day.

yeah... wait for it... I'll get there...

I read this post today and it was a definite tap... tap... face punch moment. Body Love Wellness blogger Golda Poretsky interviewed Biggest Loser season 3 finalist Kai Hibbard on what it's really like on the ranch. It hit me kinda hard because there are times when I step on the scale and think "I'm working so hard, why can't I pull those numbers, or ever half that," referring to the ridiculous losses the Biggest Loser contestants experience. I know it's a show, but I want to believe it's real the way I know my husband want's to believe WWE wrestling is real. But just as my husband argues you can't fake some things those wrestlers do, the contestants can't be faking those results right?

I didn't expect this though:
I didn’t learn how to dehydrate until I got on the ranch. It was every week.  Every single week, this is what a weigh-in would look like: the real weigh-ins were at 10 o’clock in the morning and they were on a cattle scale at the ranch and they weren’t filmed... Most, if not everybody, had cut their water about 24 hours beforehand, if not 24 hours then at least by 5 o’clock the afternoon before.  And then, you would drink coffee if you had anything the night before, because (a) it would clean your system out and (b) it would dehydrate you. 
So after you did the 2 hours of working out in full sweat, sweating off as much as you can, you would go back to the house, shower, blow dry your hair, and strip down to the lightest clothing you could find, which was usually spandex shorts and a sports bra.  Then you’d go downstairs and you’d weigh yourself in and the second you got off that scale you would chug water because you were so dehydrated.
... it was [trainer] Kim [Lyons]‘s first season, and I remember Kim having a conversation with [trainer] Bob [Harper] where she said, and she said it to her team, ‘You know, look, let’s do this the right way this season — no dehydrating, let’s just do it the healthy way.’  And Bob completely agreed to it.  Then, right before our very first weigh in, Kim came over to us and she said, ‘Guys, I’m really, really, really sorry.  I know that Bob and I agreed not to dehydrate our teams, but I’m watching Bob, and if you look right now, he’s dehydrating his team.  And if you guys don’t dehydrate, you don’t stand a chance.  You’re going to get picked off one by one and have to leave.  And that’s when it started.
There's a lot more like this too, I highly recommend you read the posts: part 1part 2, and part 3.

My Biggest Loser envy stopped cold. Bob... reeaaaaally? Bob?!? But all I had to do was remember my trainers that I worked with (as a client then a colleague) years ago. They were really, really nice people, but they admitted to following and recommending starvation diets (less than 1000 calories) and suggested I look into liposuction when I was concerned about my weight jeopardizing my future as a fitness professional. They weren't evil, they just believed the means always justified the ends. Anything was healthier than being fat.
So what... did I become a HAES convert today? No, not yet... because I'm still not convinced that excess weight does not lead to more health issues. And I don't think I'll ever stop pursuing "my healthy weight." I'm listening though.

Kai's closed with this:
"Kill your scale.  It’s ridiculous to measure your worth based on a number in a little box that you get on in the morning.  It’s absolutely ridiculous. "
While I don't measure my self worth with a scale, I do measure my success. I know it's wrong, I know you gain muscle... etc etc... but you aren't going to stay at 200lbs and really change your body composition that much. So I weigh myself to see that I'm doing things right. Compulsively. If I get a high number, I get sad. Food doesn't make me sad, a missed work out doesn't make me sad... but that number does. So I'm not going to weigh myself for a month. The world is probably going to end, and I'll probably have some kind of anxiety over it... but maybe I'll reach some kind of enlightenment... without starving under a tree...