Friday, April 26, 2013


And then there are those days when you are hit with even more reality than you want:

As I mentioned before, when I was running the 10-miler on Sunday, I felt like I was gliding, felt like I was finally running.

I felt so good. But in actuality, this is what I looked like:

It's not the image I wanted in my head as I get ready to leave for my last Friday night 5K. I think that when I'm running, I picture someone entirely else out there. I look at this picture and I can't imagine how I picked my feet up for 10 miles.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

2013/2003: Week 14

In my quest to re-lose the weight I took off in 2003-2005, I've decided to document each week, comparing life now (first post) with life 10 years ago (second post). My hope is that I can find the momentum that carried me through those two years by looking at what worked for me then.

WEEK 14: 2013 
Beginning Weight: 264.6
Last week's weight: 246.4
This week's weight: 245.2
Week 14's weight loss: -1.2
Total weight loss: -19.4

This week. It sure has had its ups and downs. Friday's third 5K was touch-and-go because of the weather. Heavy storms, lightning and tornadoes were in the forecast. But I still hopped on Metro and hoped for the best. It was super humid. But I found myself running more than walking and feeling really good. I was on track to beat even last week's time, which had been so much better than the previous week. But with the lightning hitting a little too close to home, the course was shut down and I was only able to complete 2.64. Still, my pace was the best in more than a year (13:56) and I felt really great.

I spent Saturday worried about Sunday. Seriously. 

I awoke Sunday at 4 a.m. and drove to Alexandria, so nervous about every little thing. I was the first one in the parking garage (perhaps I was a little too anxious?) and the first on the bus that would take us to the starting in at Mount Vernon. It was still dark when I exited the bus and tried to get my bearings. I ended up sitting on a porch, looking at my watch every few minutes. 45 minutes till I can eat my banana. An hour and a half till we have to line up. An hour and 45 minutes till the race begins. 

Then a very kind woman who was sitting on the other side of the porch came over to my bench and asked if I was cold. (I sure was .... short-sleeves and a windy 45 degrees don't mix well when you're just sitting around.) She gave me a mylar race blanket she had stashed in her gear bag and we sat and talked and talked about races and running. She put my mind at ease simply by telling me this was one of her favorite races because it's so peaceful out on the parkway. At that point, I told myself that that was all I needed -- a chance to be out there and at peace and to enjoy my surroundings.

They started the slow runners 30 minutes early on the Mount Vernon path (we were to join the others when we converged). I took off very slow and steady but feeling good. The slow runners passed me by, but I told myself that pace was what mattered most today. I had to keep it up for 10 miles. 

Mile 1. Mile 2. Mile 3. I couldn't believe how good I felt. I was maintaining my 2/3 run/walk, and there were moments during the running where I felt light and free and so good. Though I noticed the runners next to me on the parkway, I stayed on the path until I felt more comfortable about the pace they were keeping (no use joining a group of runners who would plow me down as soon as I stepped foot on the course). But by Mile 4, I had to join or else miss another water stop. I was indeed plowed down but I didn't let it get to me. I kept up my pace. Slow and steady.

It was shocking, as the miles ticked off, how good I felt. My training had not been going well. I hadn't been running at all during my long distances and it had been a month since I had done a very painful 9 miles. But on this day, I felt amazing.

I crossed the finish line running -- and beaming, having kept up the run/walk the entire time. I felt wonderful. I didn't ache, I didn't feel sick. 

I smiled all the way home, smiled as I stretched, smiled as I got ready for work, smiled at work despite the complete exhaustion, smiled as I laid my weary head to rest.

The smile didn't last all that long after that. The next day, feeling so good in general, I tried on a pair of pants that haven't fit since October or so. Yeah, they still didn't fit. I was still the same fat girl, the same one who, despite losing some weight, still can't fit into the clothes she wore just six months ago.

I thought about the race results I had peeked at the day before. I had been so excited about my pace (with the extra mileage from the path, I had actually done 10.3 miles, maintaining a 16 minute/mile pace), but of course, the race only had me at 10 miles, and a 16:30 pace. And I was sixth from last. 

On Monday, I stepped on the scale -- proud of the fact that I ate well over the weekend and didn't gorge after the race. The weight was, of course, up.

Then I made the mistake of looking at the race pictures that were finally posted from the first Friday 5K. I'll own up to my horrible appearance by posting them:

So in a matter of hours, I went from feeling wonderful about myself, to feeling rotten. 

It is true that I have not been an angel with my eating. Once a week, I eat out during Trivia Night: a veggie and cheese sandwich with a side of fries. And I've been having frozen yogurt (fat-free but not a small portion) and plain popcorn once or twice a week. But that's about it. And to run, and run faster, and still see so little progress (especially in my appearance) is so frustrating.

But I feel like I should reiterate: I do not run to lose weight. I run because I love it. I try to lose weight SO I can run. There have been so many times recently when I've wanted to unzip from this horrible body, step out of it and just run like the wind. 

It's hard to put into words what I've learned from this week. I know I need to be happy with the progress I'm making, to live in the moment and appreciate the good (those races really did rock!). I was looking at old pictures last night and remembered how I complained in the first blog post (circa 2009) about how I looked bigger than an elephant in one of them. I was 50 pounds lighter than I am now. And looking at those pictures now, I think I looked pretty darn good. Then I think, will I look back at this time in my life one day and wish I looked this way? I hope not -- I hope I don't get bigger and remember this time fondly. But the point is, it's not all bad. And if I don't appreciate what I have right now, it, too, could be taken away.

Week 14: 2003
Beginning Weight: 317
Last week's weight: 282
This week's weight: 279.2
Week 14's weight loss: -2.8
Total weight loss: -37.8

Published: 05/13/2003
I’ve had a lot of “wake-up” moments this week.

I bought two skirts on Sunday right off the rack without trying them on, thinking they would definitely fit, perhaps even be too big.

Wake up, Diana.

Planning to wear the one outfit Monday, I stepped into the skirt and nearly suffocated from how tight it was. No where near ready to fit. What was I thinking?

And that new outfit I bought for Easter? I swear, when I looked in the mirror, I saw a slimmer Diana. But when Mom shared the newly developed photographs with me this weekend, I was devastated at how I looked. The same. The same as I’ve always looked.

Wake up, Diana.

I am proud at what I’ve accomplished these past few months. And I haven’t been fooling myself regarding how long this process was going to take. I suppose I just thought I had come further than I really had. A bit depressing. But don’t worry – I won’t let it stop me.

The gym is going well. They’re working me hard, thankfully, and really helping me get this part of my life under control. I actually look forward to each visit, something I never imagined would happen.

I’ve just got to be more realistic about my journey.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

2013/2003: Week 13

In my quest to re-lose the weight I took off in 2003-2005, I've decided to document each week, comparing life now (first post) with life 10 years ago (second post). My hope is that I can find the momentum that carried me through those two years by looking at what worked for me then.

WEEK 13: 2013 
Beginning Weight: 264.6
Last week's weight: 248.2
This week's weight: 246.4
Week 13's weight loss: 1.8
Total weight loss: 18.2

I'm glad I was able to take off the weight I put on last week -- this truly is one slow weight-loss attempt and I look no different from how I looked 18 pounds ago (I swear). But I'm just trying to plug away, have many more good days than bad and not let the depression overwhelm me. Boston overwhelmed me, as I know it did many people. 

I haven't run since Sunday (which was really a 7-mile hill walk). Every morning, I get up and just want to go back under the covers. Even on this bright sunny day. 

This week brings 5K No. 3 (the second one was better -- I knocked 2 minutes off my time and had my best three-mile time in months) and Sunday's 10-miler. I am extremely nervous about how that one will turn out, though I was happy to see that the race has a 30-minute early start for slow runners. Hopefully, that will ease my anxiety. Because I haven't been able to run much of my "long runs." And the farthest I've gone in this training (9 miles) was a month ago.

Sorry to end on a random note -- but I've got to get to work. That's another thing about not running in the morning -- I oversleep and run late and am all out of sorts. You'd think that would be reason enough to get me out there! Ahh, me.

Week 13: 2003
Beginning Weight: 317
Last week's weight: 283.2
This week's weight: 282
Week 13's weight loss: 1.2
Total weight loss: 33.8

Published: 05/06/2003
The scale finally got to me.

No, not the one I step on at my Weight Watchers meetings. That scale registered a 1.2-pound loss this week. But the scale in my bathroom at home – that one kept taunting me. I’d see it in the mornings and want desperately to step on it to see if my weight went down.

Then, when I’d see the same blasted number – or a higher one - I’d fall into a depression.

So I finally did something about it. Not wanting to be ruled by the daily taunting of the scale (and everyone knows you shouldn’t weigh yourself every day), I put the scale in my closet.

No more daily weigh-ins.

On another positive note, I finally joined a gym.

It was a big step for me. I kept telling myself I didn’t need a gym to exercise – I had the outdoors to walk, I had an exercise room at my apartment complex.

But I knew I was kidding myself. I knew I needed consistency. I knew I needed a trainer to guide me, to keep me on track, to move me in the right direction.

So I did it.

It wasn’t easy – especially the moment when I had my body fat measured. I knew it would be bad, but I still was surprised – and embarrassed – to see the number (49 percent – and believe me, it pains me to share that with you).

“A person your age should be at 18 percent,” the gym employee smirked.

OK, thanks. I’ll remember that.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

2013/2003: Week 12

In my quest to re-lose the weight I took off in 2003-2005, I've decided to document each week, comparing life now (first post) with life 10 years ago (second post). My hope is that I can find the momentum that carried me through those two years by looking at what worked for me then.

WEEK 12: 2013 
Beginning Weight: 264.6
Last week's weight: 246.4
This week's weight: 248.2
Week 12's weight loss: +1.8
Total weight loss: 16.4

I love spring. I love feeling the sun. I love the warmer weather.

But with spring comes something that terrifies me: fewer ways to hide.

As the weather warms, it's harder for me to the leave the house to go running. I can't throw on that big fleece jacket. So I leave the house in my awkwardly fitting running clothes that make my big body look even bigger, and I keep my eyes on the ground so I can't see how others react to my grossness.

On Friday, I hurried home to change my clothes and head out the door for the 5K.  I had little time to pause, but, still, as I got ready to leave, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. My arm fat crept out from the short-sleeved running shirt. My calves looked swollen. The shape of my belly was visible through the tech tee. And for half a second, I considered staying home so no one would have to see "this."

But I went. And as I gathered with all the runners, my eyes on the ground, I felt out of place. "One of these things is not like the other."

I'm trying to fight these feelings of inadequacy, but they tend to take over and suffocate me. Like on Sunday. My goal was 10 miles. I could barely pick up my feet and, defeated, only walked 6. On the way home, train after train was filled with runners in their Cherry Blossom 10-miler bibs. All I could see when I looked at them was what I wasn't.

But instead of using all of this as incentive, I caved into self-sabotage -- again. I ate two big cookies on Friday and two on Monday. I ate bread. A half a soft pretzel. And more candy. Thankfully, I didn't completely throw my hands up in the air and order a pizza like I was tempted to do. But the damage was still great.

It probably explains why Sunday's "run" was so bad. Because I felt so guilty about eating crap, I didn't eat much else. So no protein. No healthy carbs. Of course I didn't have the proper fuel to run.

This new weight-loss journey is not going as well as I'd hoped, but I still take a little pride in the fact that I'm still here. Still writing. Still trying. Still hoping that, one day, I can get it right.

Week 12: 2003
Beginning Weight: 317
Last week's weight: 283.6
This week's weight: 283.2
Week 12's weight loss: 0.4
Total weight loss: 33.8

Published: 04/29/2003
I woke up before my alarm went off Monday morning – so I was ready, and waiting, when the beep-beep-beep marked 6:30 a.m.

I was slow, though, getting my walking shoes on. I sat on the edge of the bed and looked around the room, searching for something to delay my morning walk.

My eyes fell on a stack of photos on my desk – set aside for their eventual filing into a photo album. I grabbed the stack and started flipping through it.

A few of the photos were from a trip I took last March to see my sister in New York. There we were, posing with my favorite Broadway actor, Brian Stokes Mitchell. My eyes settled on his handsome face and wide smile – and then they sharply landed on my wide face, double chin and matted-down hair (from having been profusely sweating in the theater).

The next few photos were from a family vacation last summer in Pittsburgh where, on one day, we visited Kennywood amusement park. The camera had captured pictures of my sister and mom riding the Ferris wheel, roller coasters, anything that moved fast.

There were no pictures of me during that day in the park. I knew – from having learned the hard way – that I wouldn’t fit on those rides. My body had reached a point where it was too big for the belts or bars or straps. And forget about even riding on the merry-go-round – I wasn’t about to be seen climbing up (and climbing off) those horses.

Mixed in the stack of recent photographs was one from my sister’s wedding in 1995. It was a family portrait, and I was on the end, dressed in a blue bridesmaid’s gown. I was only a junior in college, but I was twice the size of the others.

I’m not one to shy away from cameras. I hate when people say “Don’t take my picture – I’m too fat” or “I’m not getting in that photo – I look awful,” because I know photos are important for history, for family, for memories.

So I bear with the camera – and hold my breath when the photos come back from the developer.

It was frustrating to see, as I sat on the edge of my bed Monday looking through those photos, what years of unhealthful living had done – what I had done to myself.

It was enough of a kick in the pants to get me outside, walking, walking toward a new (and more photogenic) life.

Have I got a recipe for you – a most wonderful, light summer dessert, compliments of my last Weight Watchers meeting. A big disclaimer, though: Make sure you portion the dish into little one-cup containers. You don’t want to sit down with a big bowl of fluff and find the whole thing gone by the first commercial break.

1 can crushed pineapple (with juice)
1 cup mandarin oranges (with juice)
1 (8-ounce) fat-free vanilla yogurt
1 (8-ounce) fat-free Cool Whip
1 box instant fat-free sugar-free white chocolate OR vanilla pudding
Dump all of it in a bowl. Mix. Refrigerate.
One cup equals one point.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

2013/2003: Week 11

In my quest to re-lose the weight I took off in 2003-2005, I've decided to document each week, comparing life now (first post) with life 10 years ago (second post). My hope is that I can find the momentum that carried me through those two years by looking at what worked for me then.

WEEK 11: 2013 
Beginning Weight: 264.6
Last week's weight: 247.4
This week's weight: 246.4
Week 11's weight loss: 1
Total weight loss: 18.2

I can't tell you how good it felt yesterday to go outside and do 3 miles. I'm still doing my 3 minute walk/2 minute run combo, but I was able to go faster than I have since I began this new journey. I'm about to go out and attempt 4 miles this morning -- here's hoping my little legs will move.

But because I do believe I need to own up to my stumbles, I will admit here that I did cave this past week and ate Easter candy. I was wrapping up a book  and was feeling rather depressed that I was spending yet another holiday working. It's not an excuse -- I do not condone my behavior!

I am pleased about one thing, though. I signed up for a 5K series -- every Friday night in April. I hope it will do two things for me: keep me running the smaller distances, which I need to do more consistently, and get me out of the house on a Friday night. I tend to become a hermit on my first day off of the weekend and sleep all day (or, as was the case last weekend, work all day and night). Having somewhere to go will be good for me, I think.

Well, I better go hit the pavement. Praying I can stay healthy and focused.

Week 11: 2003
Beginning Weight: 317
Last week's weight: 286
This week's weight: 283.6
Week 11's weight loss: 2.4
Total weight loss: 33.4

Published: 04/22/2003
As my co-workers passed around the chocolate, hollow Easter bunny last week, I so wanted to grab an ear – or even just a nose or toe. I was craving pure milk chocolate, so much that I even dreamed that I ate a bag of Hershey’s Kisses.

Of course, the end of that dream was me in tears, cursing myself for blowing my diet.

So I steered clear of the bunny.

I’ve been feeling good, as that scale continues to go down. But my conscience (and, really, my co-worker) has been nagging me for my biggest shortfall – I haven’t exercised for, like, um, two weeks. I’ve blamed it on the rain, the pollen, my workload. And my eyes have avoided the wall in my home where I’ve posted letters from supportive readers urging me to get outside and exercise.

Are you ashamed? Yeah, me too.

So I got out on Monday and took my two-mile walk. I’m going to get back into this regime. No more excuses.