Obstacles are meant to be jumped over or dodged.

There is always something out there that can keep me separated from my workouts everyday.  Especially now that I’m seeing so much progress, I’m doing my very best to keep on track.  Sometimes things happen that can’t be denied.  Such as, a wicked cold.

(I’m from New England, so yes, wicked is the word I want.)

Last week I started to get that tickle in the back of my throat that tells me I could be getting sick.  I started taking Zicam and went straight to bed.  My preventative efforts didn’t work as well as I hoped, I ended up getting a full blow cold in a few days.  When this week started, I really wanted to get back to the gym but I still wasn’t feeling great.  I got good advice from my friend Mike, “If you can’t breathe out of your nose, it’s a rest day.”  By Tuesday I was 80% better.  I could almost breathe out of my nose.  Unfortunately my trainer took a look at me, heard me talk and insisted on rescheduling.

I ended up rescheduling for Friday and it was a great, killer workout.  Lots of leg work, some of it very non-traditional.  My trainer likes to use equipment in ways other than the nice little pictures say on the side.  As always I left the gym feeling 10 ft tall and bullet proof.

I think I’ve passed the invisible barrier that separates the period where you are very vulnerable to get off track, to where only something BIG will keep you from workouts.  Even though I gave myself the chance to rest, I knew it wouldn’t end up being a many month absence.  I knew I’d get back to it as soon as I could.  That’s exactly what happened.

That makes me feel so much better because I’m always worried that I’ll get off track and sabotage my efforts.  I think I just have to have confidence in myself.

Tales of my Fitness Past – Part 4

I’m continuing to layout the story of my life, as it pertains to fitness, body issues and happiness.  It’s really helping me process what went on.  You guys out there are actually reading this, which is awesome!  If you know me, I hope you get a kick out of all the old photos.

In my early 20’s, I had graduated college, gotten fit, acquired and left my first big job, and then, shortly after Y2K (remember that whole mess?) moved with my good friend to my state’s largest city to pursue my dreams of becoming a professional floozy.  No, not really.  We moved to the Big City because we wanted more than what our Small City had to offer.

Looking back on this time, I was actually doing pretty okay.  I got a membership at a local gym and had a couple of gym buddies.  We’d hold each other accountable.  As for training, I was pretty much going on my own.  The free personal training they offered was a JOKE, but I knew enough to be dangerous by this point.  Working out was a big part of my social life.  I made casual friends there, spent time talking out the day’s problems with my girlfriends on the elliptical.  I even dated a guy who went to the same gym, we’d have dates there, trying to beat each other on the treadmill.  The evening on September 11 when the world was going to hell?  I was on the cardio deck, watching the closed captioned news.

Yes, these photos are from house parties. But, they really show how happy I was. On one side was a former mortal enemy, on the other, a dear friend from when I was a teen.

My love of Step Aerobics was hit hard though when I took classes there.  I could keep up with classes at the other gyms I had been to, multiple instructors, but at this place, the choreography was too much.  I ended up finding a new group fitness passion.  Yoga!  I took a class at a school that tended toward the Hatha/Iyengar style and it fit me perfectly.  When I practiced yoga I felt amazing.  I was happier, more peaceful, and I called a truce with the war on my body without realizing it.  Plus, one day I went to shave my legs in the shower and felt my calves.  OMG.  Ripped!  Yoga taught me how to breathe my way out of anxiety, which came in handy for my 45 min commute on a neglected stretch of highway in a snow storm.

Professionally, I went from SUPER temp, to landing pretty much my dream job as a scientist, to being a graduate student.  I had a great group of friends.  A core part of my college group was in the Big City with me, I could count on many others to pass through a couple times a year to catch up, and I made a lot of new friends.  We walked the 3 and a half mile loop near where I lived, hiked, and we DANCED.  I was out dancing nearly every weekend.  Drinking was usually included, but everything was more controlled than it had been.  One of my favorite memories was getting ready at my place with my pack of girlfriends, parking the car in the garage across from the bar district, taking off our coats and mittens, running as fast as possible into the bars wearing little thin shirts, and boots with insane heels.

My diet was fairly decent.  When we started out, my roommate and I were the original 2 Broke Girls.  We’d frequent restaurants with “college night” specials, even if when we were out of school.  Good thing our IDs didn’t expire.  We cooked a lot at home.  I don’t think I ever drank soda, and if I ate dessert, it was usually an insanely special occasion.  We just couldn’t afford it.  I got used to cooking for 1 more often, and I learned to like eating lots of fish.  I frequented the public market for produce and even if I wasn’t “by the book” I was still more or less on “The Zone.”  I even stopped drinking entirely from Jan 1 2000-May 5 2000.  Cinco de Mayo broke my will.

OMG, this is proof I used to have a waist. We wore leis because every February I’d throw a tropical themed party to distract us from how freaking cold and miserable we were.

As for my mood?  There were ups and downs.  The breakup from my treadmill opponent boyfriend hit me pretty hard, but I threw myself in to my social life to make up for it, and started seeing a professional to work through it the right way.

Looking back, maybe I wasn’t in as ass kicking shape as I was after college, but I was in a smaller size.  Fitness and friends were the biggest part of my life.  I was professionally happy and didn’t really care about adding anything else to the equation.  And do you know what happened then?

I met my future husband.

(This isn’t the end by a long-shot.  I have a lot more to say!)

Friend Makin’ Monday: Quick and Random

First of all, thanks for all the feedback on the “Tales of my Fitness Past” series of posts. I’m not done yet, but it’s been a great experience for me to write about it, get the photos together and process stuff from the other side.

For my own fitness – this week hasn’t been great. I’ve picked up the mythical Southern California Common Cold. Ugh. I’ve been taking it easy to get rid of it, but I’m looking forward to hitting it hard when I can breathe out of my nose again. Hopefully that is tomorrow.

My Fitbit went for another joy ride in the washing machine last week. Luckily, 2 days in a plastic bag full of rice and we’re back in business. My sleeping has been crap lately, so hopefully with the Fitbit I can get some data on when I’m waking up.

I’m very excited for another round of Friend Makin’ Mondays!

If you’ve taken part in FMM then you know the rules. If you’re new, please take a moment to answer this week’s question on your own blog then add your link in the comments section here at: http://www.alltheweigh.com so we can all see your FMM questions and answers. Please invite your blog readers to add their links here too so everyone has to opportunity to be seen. The idea is to connect with other awesome bloggers so take a moment to post your own FMM post and comment on a couple of other posts. Now it’s time for this week’s topic!

1. Choose three songs that would be on the soundtrack of your life. “Goody Two Shoes” – Adam Ant, because I really am a rule follower.  “Center of Attention” – Guster, is pretty much the story of my life.  I’m the stereotypical only child.  “Last Train to Trancentral ” – the KLF, because that energy is what I try to bring to whatever I do.  I’m always striving for that.
2. Share the details of one project that you’re currently working on.  I’m working on getting our office under control.  We down-sized our office space with every place we’ve moved and even though we’ve gotten rid of things long the way, there’s just not enough room to have the stuff and be able to work.  The space is small, and we have the sleeper sofa in here so it can double as a guest room.  Guess what, the sofa gets covered in my crap.  I think I’m going to set up a modular shelving unit in the hallway outside for the stuff that just won’t work in here but we have to be able to access easily.
3. If you could learn to do one thing overnight what would it be?  I’d love to be able to sing.  I’m pretty bad.  My cat bites me when I sing, no joke.
4. If you could be a fictional character which one would you be? I really can’t think of a good answer to this.  There’s been so much drama in my life, that it makes fiction look boring sometimes!
5. What’s your favorite thing about the month of October? When I lived in Maine, I’d say, it was the changing color of the leaves.  Now that I’m in California – probably Pink for October.  Breast cancer research and awareness is an issue that I really care about, and I’m glad that the word gets spread, even if the proceeds don’t always get back to where they should go.  Anything that reminds women to get themselves checked and to do self exams is a good thing.
6. Share one TV show that you’re embarrassed to admit you watch.  I love Keeping Up with the Kardashians and all of the spin-offs.  I think Khloe is one of the funniest people ever.  Despite the fact that they are wealthy people leading a fabulous life on TV, I think they do work hard and they do give back to the community.
7. Name one friend that you’re thankful to have in your life today.  I am always thankful for everyone in my life, but I just got back from brunch with Michele.  She’s been a dear friend since we were 14.  We’ve been through a lot in our lives, together and apart.  She moved out here to SoCal this summer and it’s a gift to be able to see her most every day.  She understands me in a way many people don’t, and we have the same sense of humor.  It’s nice to have someone laugh at my jokes all the time!
8. What was the most relaxing part of your weekend?  I got to do some “gardening” yesterday.  I’ve been in the process of repotting the plants that have survived me and  my brown thumb.  I hope I can keep them alive for awhile.  I’m kind of guilty because one was sent to me (in the mail!) by my mom (it was one of her own) when I first moved here 4 and a half years ago and it isn’t looking so great.
9. Do you like to dance?  I love to dance.  I probably look ridiculous, but it’s very fun.  I got to dance the night away with a friend at a wedding this summer.  It was awesome.
10. Share one thing that you’re looking forward to before the end of the year.  I’m looking forward to stepping up my training.  If I’m going to do the triathlon next year, I’d better make sure I can handle the bike and road portion!  I’m not worried about the swim at all.  Well, I haven’t tried the swim in open water or in a wet suit, so maybe that’s not true.

Tales of my Fitness Past – Part 3

Continuing on my journey to write about my fitness past to have a better fitness future.

Oh college.  I loved college.  I was a serious kid who got to college and became an immature adult.  I didn’t gain the Freshman 15.  I lost about 30 lb.  How?  Being pretty stressed about the transition and having to eat at the dining commons.  Ugh.

This is Fall of Freshman year. I cut out the guy I used to play tennis with. I’m bending at the waist very oddly.

However, the weight loss stopped and reversed itself quickly when I started underage drinking.  Fitness in college was sporadic.  I did like to dance at parties and later the one dance club in the area.  My former roommate got me to go to the university’s gym with her a few times for some weight lifting.  I played intramural mixed doubles tennis with a guy I wanted to date.  We actually did really well and it was nice to be able to show off what I could do on the court.

Sophomore year, my job in a call center definitely wasn’t enough activity over the summer.

Although this blog and these posts are about fitness, it wouldn’t be right to not address the stuff that was going on in my head.  I continued to struggle on and off with depression.  Fitness was part of the cure, but getting out there and starting was the hard part.  I kept working in the spring and summer at my mom’s greenhouse off and on.  I even took an additional summer job in conservation biology because the field component would be physical. It wasn’t enough.  But my emotional issues were big.  To compensate, I ate out a lot, drank, and paid for eating out and drinking with my credit card.  I was circling downward.

Junior Year. I always say I look better front on that from the side, but here’s the side view.

Before my senior year, I began the most significant relationship with a guy that I had up until that point.  It was wonderful for me, and terrible at the same time.  He appreciated my body and for the first time that I can remember, from his influence, I gave up a little of the loathing that I let seethe within me about how I looked.  Unfortunately I hung too much of my own perceived worth on to what he thought of me.  The relationship was not going to end up in the direction I wanted it to.  I was looking for things he either couldn’t or didn’t want to give.  But, I hung on, despite the fact that I knew all this down deep.  I held out hope that things would change, and if I was better, if I was prettier, if I was thinner, I would get the happy ending I wanted.  I didn’t.  Things between us went from combustible to nuclear, and I was alone, left feeling like I wasn’t good enough.  I obviously wasn’t good enough for him.  I wasn’t pretty enough, I was too fat, and everything about me was just wrong.  And it was all my fault.  If I could be different, I could be happy.  These thoughts were just too much to deal with.

Not surprisingly, I ended that year at my heaviest.  My self hatred was deep, and I took it out on myself in so many unhealthy ways.  While I never feel that I had bulimia, I did force myself to vomit.  Somehow I felt better by purging.  In general, I was taking my self loathing to as much of a physical materialization as I could stand.  I know it could have been much worse, but it was bad enough for me.

Senior Year, right before graduation. I told you I had a drinking problem. Why was I drinking such crap?

After graduation I started working with my mom by day, and then spending my evenings being a professional drinker.  And I mean, every evening.  It was really ridiculous.  It is not good to be that much of a regular at a bar that the staff and other patrons save you bar stools.  (Some good came from this – my friend and drinking companion met her husband from our season as floozies. And they have 2 awesome boys that I am a proud Auntie to.)

Sometime in the late summer, another friend and I decided to get serious about fitness.  We joined a gym and got a trainer to show us around.  We held each other accountable, and we tried everything we could.  Weight training, spin class, lap swimming, cardio, we signed up.  Amazingly, we were even able to go separately.  The gym had a cool little community.  If I went alone during the morning, I’d sit on a stationary bike near some older men who watched the stock market on the television and tried to teach me about finance.  They front desk workers knew us and made sure that they told us they were glad we were there every time.  Still, I had some rough spots. I managed to fall off a stationary bike once (the seat pin wasn’t in all the way) get a death glare from another patron, but I still worked out beside him anyway.  Too much strain weight lifting sent me to the ER once.  In essence I made the equivalent of cracking my knuckles, but in my cervical vertebrae.

I fell in love.  With Step Class.  I made a good friend in the instructor and went to her class faithfully.  Step just was something I embraced entirely.  I came home feeling exhausted and accomplished.  By Fall I was really on my way.  I saw numbers sliding off the scale, and I saw changes in my self.  I got a new trainer, who was really frenetic, and someone convinced me that a 3 hour cardio and weight training session was a good idea.  As December approached, I was feeling awesome.  My workouts were on point, I was a devotee of the Zone diet, and I was fearless.  I booked a trip to San Francisco to job hunt.

An after-college photo.

The job hunt didn’t work out as well as I had hoped, but I did have a full-time job offer wait for me when I got home.  I struggled on whether or not to take it because I knew it would probably lead me back in to my depression and  bad habits.  I accepted the position.  It was 1 and 1/2 hours from home, at a world renowned lab that happened to be on a island that was a tourist destination.  I moved at the start of Winter when nearly the whole town was boarded up closed.  For a girl who thrived on being in the middle of things, this was not the best choice in starting my career.

I joined a gym that was off-island.  It was a 30 min drive to get there.  But I made a great effort to do it.  I tried embracing island life.  I trained, I took classes, and in the summer, I hiked.  I’m not the most outdoorsy person, so this was a pretty big deal.  The job, the island, were just not a good fit for me.  After nearly one year, I was back at home, back to my old gym, trying to get back to the fit,  fearless girl I had been the year before.

Another post-college shot. I went to a formal as an alum, but was in the smallest size dress I have ever worn as an adult.

A friend and I moved on to the largest city in our state. My career was not skyrocketing, in fact I was long term temping, but I joined a gym there. I made a couple of new friends to go to the gym with. My eating patterns were much better since I live with my good friend and didn’t always have to cook and eat alone.

Tales of my Fitness Past – Part 2

Last time, on Tales of my Fitness Past, I told you about the first part of my childhood.  I was a skinny but sick kid who got better around the same time as having emotionally charged year at school, and a bad diet.

This is me, the 6th grade un-power forward. I loved those shoes, too.

I first realized that I was getting bigger (not in height) than the other kids around 5th grade.  We shopped in the “Pretty Plus” section of Sears for my school clothes.  My pediatrician told my mom we had to do something about my “spare tire.”  But it wasn’t all that bad.  I played recreational softball and was just about as good as any of the other girls on the team.  We never won a game!  In 6th grade I failed to make the soccer team, but I did barely make the last seat on the basketball team.  I really liked basketball because my friends all played.  I was a good shot, and good at defense.  My left side lay ups would make you weep with joy and I was pretty good at find opportunistic ways to steal the ball.  I was NOT good at running up and down the court.  My stamina and endurance were not good.  Cheerleading never entered my brain as an option despite the fact that by watching them I learned every cheer and used to practice the half time routine at home with my friends.

My weight started going up as my activity started to slow down.  I became the basketball score keeper instead of playing, mostly because my coach had told my mom that this wasn’t the sport for me.  This way I got to be a part of it – I was good at it, I knew the game, and I still got to travel with the team and my friends.  My parents got a satellite dish and I started watching a lot more TV as well as remaining an enthusiastic reader.  Basically, I was just getting more sedentary.

Tennis wasn’t quite cool enough to get their own photos professionally taken.

High School prompted me to get a little bit more serious about my weight, especially since I had my first boyfriend.  I definitely equated attractiveness with size. I started exercising at home to Richard Simmons’ tapes.  But, I took it too far.  I was really over exercising and not eating enough.  Every time I wanted to eat I’d just drink water until the feeling went away.  It caused me to throw up water a few times.  At the end of freshman year I started playing tennis.  Tennis is my sport.  I played it for the rest of high school, year round.  I’d play outside in the summer and Fall, go to the indoor courts in the Winter, help shovel the courts in the Spring just in time for the season.  But tennis wasn’t a sport that was given a lot of attention where I lived and other than the playing season  in HS, I pretty much played once or twice a week.  It wasn’t enough.

I can’t really remember how much I weighed in HS, but I do remember being 17 years old and finding out I had PCOS.  It explained a lot of the weight gain and difficulty taking it off, but it didn’t help my mood.  It was tough to be a kid and finding out something serious that could impact the rest of your life.  I’m positive I was depressed.  I couldn’t wait to get to college.  I was going to start my real life.