Saturday, March 29, 2014

The harder the challenge, the greater the triumph

So true.  There's something to be said about completing a challenge and that feeling of "I did it."

I will have to keep telling myself this as I train for the 2014 Marine Corps Marathon (26.2 miles)!  Yes.. I decided to take on the challenge of training and running for the MCM in October.  I have decided to raise money through a charity called "Homes for Our Troops."  It's an organization that builds specially adapted homes for our severely injured veterans.  I chose this particular charity because I have been working with a number of homeless (not injured, but homeless) veterans since beginning at OFO.  It deeply saddens me to see anyone homeless, but to see a veteran.. one of our own, young or old, struggling is even more disheartening.  We have conversations about the duty that they have fulfilled for our country and how as a country we fail them.  Therefore, I've wanted to bring awareness around this and raise money for a charity closely related.  I cannot even fathom the struggles of injured, physically injured, veterans.  If you would like to read more about the charity and to support my efforts here is a link to do so:

I thank all of you that have supported and encouraged me thus far.  I know that finances are a struggle for many... oh I know this all too well, but please consider any amount.  A little goes a long way.  I am more than half way to my goal already!

So, with that being said.  I officially started training today.  My goal was to complete my task at hand within an hour and I told the girls to call 911 if 2 hours had passed.  My goal was to run a "country block."  For those of you that know where I live you're probably thinking... okay, "where?"  Yeah, I made a left out of my driveway... with my bonehead of a dog that's never ran with a human before.  Over an hour later we returned.  :-p

It.. Was... Awful...

First of all.. I haven't ran in months, but that's okay.. I was prepared for that!  Secondly, Ruby is a Border Collie/Aussie mix.  A herding dog.  And that's all she did to me the entire 5 miles was herd me.  I take that back.  Around mile 4 she got tired... and then she was absolutely perfect.  But the first four miles were a workout that I did not anticipate.  I knew that she was going to be moronic.  But I did not expect her to jump at my feet each time a car came.  I really think that she was overly excited and just couldn't wait to see what was next!  Going down hill was awful.  Trying to hold her back without wanting to kill her was a workout in itself.  Of course going uphill she wanted to stay behind me at that point... so almost dragging her or at least having a taut rope the entire time.  See:
She's a bright dog... and needs some work.  JW is to run with her from here on out until she gets a hang of it!

So, I did just over 5 miles in just over an hour... This is what a country block looks like:

That orange part in the upper right?  That's a hill.  A muddy, messy hill.  These pictures do not do justice:

So, any time you wanna run a "country block," let me know.  The pace will be significantly faster and there will not be a dog in tow!!!

There's a lot of training to be done.  So, what better motivation than signing up for a few races.  My tenative race schedule is as follows:

April - Cider Mill 5k -- haven't registered
May - Base Race 10k -- haven't registered
June - Spartan Sprint
June - Race the Lake 13.8 ( -- haven't reigstered
July -  Boilermaker 15k
Aug - Camp Chingachgook Challenge 1/2 Marathon ( -- haven't registered
Sept - Ragnar Adirondacks -- haven't registered

Please feel to join me on any of them!  You can even sign up for your own charity bib for the MCM if you wanna take part in that!  Really, you can!!

I thought that this would be the year for me to do so because  I will be turning 30 in July.  My BFF Kimmy will be running the Boilermaker with JW and I.  I cannot wait! :)  I'm so excited for that one.  But I figured, I'm turning 30, I have Saturday mornings free... I can do long runs then and run for about a half hour on my lunch breaks... so, it should be ooookay-ish.  We will see... and I'll be blogging about it along the way!  I really need to get registering for these races though.  It's so costly.. and catching up on 8 months of ... hell?... is going to take awhile.  :)  If only I could have sponsors... or if races could be free.  But, I truly and thoroughly understand the costs of them.  People ask me, "You pay to run in races..." Yeah, I do.  I never take the opportunity to explain why... but many races are raising money for charities, organizations and to bring awareness to a cause.  I guess it's the social worker within me... I dunno!

So, if you ever wanna hit pavement on a Saturday morning, let me know.  I am following a schedule until June and then a different one after that to train for the full marathon.  I'm willing to share that with you if you want to train for the Race the Lake 13.8 with me!!  :)  It's local to my home.  It's a long Cooperstown lake and will be a challenge in itself, but so entirely beautiful.  I am thankful that I heard about it... it's the first annual race and to be able to say "I've raced that one since the first year" will be a great thing to brag about years to come!  So, what do you think?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

One Size Fits All.

noun \ˈka-lə-rē, ˈkal-rē\ : a unit of heat used to indicate the amount of energy that foods will produce in the human body 

Now, I know that this blog may upset some people and feel targeted to a few others, but that is not my intention whatsoever. I just want to raise awareness, spark your own curiosity and for you to ask questions. 

So, in weight loss where does the 1200 calorie number come in? Where did that number come from? As women most of us have heard that we need to eat 1200 calories to either lose weight or to remain skinny. I want to send out a public service announcement that this is soooooo noooooooot truuuuuuuuue for everyone. At all. I really don’t even know where to begin, so I am going to speak from my own experience!! Disclaimer: I am not a nutritionist, just a nerdy social worker that has struggled with her own weight loss and was most recently described as “an info-mercial.” 

Therefore, I just want to speak to what I know, but it may not be true for all. 

With that being said, eating 1200 calories is not true for all. Have you done this sort of calorie restriction?! We pretty much ALL have, to only gain back what we lost and probably some more! Do you know WHY this happens?! Because you are STARVING your body. You may not feel like you’re starving, physically speaking.. but you may be experiencing other physical and mental symptoms… 

So, when you starve, you obviously shed fed… your body needs those calories, to produce energy for the body (calories). When you starve yourself of calories, it needs to be taken from some place. 

Therefore, yes.. you will drop weight and probably rather quickly if you restrict calories to this extreme. BUT, as sooooon as you feed your face your body is going to store that food. And it’s going to store that food as fat. Don’t believe me? Google it. 

So, my experience. I was informed by a professional that I needed to be at a 1200 calorie diet. Okay. I didn’t question it, but looking back I want to know where this number comes from. So, being the nerdy social worker, non-nutritionist that I am… I googled it. 

And there’s no real answer; other than it’s the number between keeping our body energized and being in starvation mode. Simple. 

Back to my experience… I stuck to this 1200 calorie diet and did well, weight loss speaking. I was tired, unmotivated, cranky, had headaches, etc. Who doesn’t have those symptoms with two young children?  I lost weight and I lost it quickly. At the same time as starving myself I was doing an abundance of cardio… burning MORE calories. Burning more energy. It caught up with me, quickly.. and I gained it back, not all, but some. Enough. Enough for me to say “enough is enough” and start over. I didn’t restrict my diet though. I did research, surprise! I started lifting and doing less “cardio-only” work; with my weight training was a portion of cardio with it. 

Today, I couldn’t tell you how many calories I eat. But I can tell you that I am officially down 38.3 lbs from when I first started entering my weight into MyFitnessPal (March 2012). I LOVED that app and I swore by it, because it worked at first. I only use it now to track my weight and I will never ever count calories again. 

Since this summer I have collected every fitness magazine there is for women. But I only use them for the workouts (ideas) and recipes (ideas). And in each of them are articles on how to burn calories the fastest; it’s what we are looking for and CONDITIONED to look for. Think about it, how did you originally learn that 1200 was the number? Even myfitnesspal encourages that number. I would much rather you speak to a number of professionals, they all have their opinions, as to the number that’s most appropriate for you. And it’s interesting, because myfitnesspal vs. fitbit, vs. whateverotherappgadget will all tell you differing numbers. Look it up. 

But in my boyfriend’s magazines or in lifting books it doesn’t mention calorie restriction or burning calories. 

Therefore, like with most of the media, I am soooo annoyed with the misinformation fed to us by the media about how to be fit, what weight loss is, what fitness is, what works., etc. All of these quick fad-diets, pills, energy drinks, drops, shakes, etc…. It’s soooo frustrating to me. When people ask me my “secret,” what I do, what I did…. I say, eat a lot. And I do. I eat every 2 hours. Literally. 

Nothing like warming up chicken breast in your office at 10 am in the morning and being asked how much chicken I can possibly eat in one day. I guarantee you it’s more than 1200 calories worth (well, not all chicken, but brown rice and bell peppers with it!).

I just want women to see that we do not need to skip meals, restrict our diets, be miserable…etc. Look into eating unprocessed foods, natural, organic, lean meats..etc… That’s not to say I don’t eat “junk.” Panera has my name all of it. Every morning. With it’s caramel latte. 

We NEED calories. We need energy for our body. Our body is a machine and we need to fuel it. If we don’t, it stops working, it gets ill, we’re more receptive to getting illnesses (physical and mental) when we are starving. 

The best advice I can give to anyone.. and for those that have asked me already know the answer that I give… don’t starve yourself. You want to lose inches, eat more and lift heavy, do cardio.. but don’t starve yourself. 

I’m not saying I eat a HIGH calorie diet, I don’t even know.. what so ever. I portion control. I eat lean meats. I eat lots of veggies… and I also did my research around a different scientific method of weight loss/muscle gain called “If It Fits Your Macros.” For some, it’s too much.. but I took the underlying message and went with it. We need high protein and we still need fat and carbs. I’m not going to go there, unless you want me to.. in that case, hire me as a life coach, lol. Seriously. I won’t mind doing the work for you to show you what you need to be eating, even creating a meal plan for you. I can give you an idea of what I eat on a daily basis and what’s worked for me. 

The bottom line is the fact that our bodies are machines and they need to be fueled appropriately. We wouldn’t put kerosene in our gas running cars, so don’t put shit into your body that doesn’t belong and will only make it spit and sputter….

    and most importantly, don’t restrict it. We wouldn’t expect to get to a destination in our car across the country on a quarter tank of gas…. 

Just a tid bit of info that I found in my research, that makes most sense to ME:
    Find your activity level below (“And Your Number Is...”). Multiply your weight by the number indicated. (You may fall between two categories. If that's the case, adjust the number by adding a point or so.) The result is the number of calories you need to maintain your weight. Let's say you weigh 135 pounds and do light exercise one to three days a week. Multiply 135 by 13.5 to get, approximately, 1,800 calories. If you want to drop some pounds, try cutting out 250 calories a day. In a year, if you make no other changes, you could be 26 pounds lighter. Exercise more and you could lose more, too. 

And Your Number Is… 

You exercise: Almost never 
Multiply your current weight by: 12 

You exercise: Lightly, one to three days a week 
Multiply your current weight by: 13.5 

You exercise: Moderately, three to five days a week 
Multiply your current weight by: 15.5 

You exercise: Vigorously, six to seven days a week 
Multiply your current weight by: 17 

You exercise: Vigorously, daily, and you have a physical job 
Multiply your current weight by: 19 

Our mindsets need to change… really. When you getting ideas to “lose weight” you really should be looking up FAT LOSS…there’s a difference. I keep trying to inform people how bad the scale is.. I hate the scale for defining success. Our scales may not budge because we are gaining muscle pounds, but losing fat pounds. We need to pay mooooooore attention to the non-scale victories… Have any questions about that, refer to my blog post entitled “Numbers.” We let numbers define us too much, to the point of using a number to define our eating habits.