Wednesday, February 23, 2011

In Training

I am nothing if not goal-oriented.  In the past, this has been both a blessing and a curse.

I can focus quite intently for short periods of time.  When something gets tough or unpleasant I don't give up until the task is complete.  I've often berated and bullied myself when I needed a break (or a nap or a meal) in order to complete a task in a given timeframe, only to lose all self-control once the task was reached.  I can't tell you how many times I've repeated this pattern: when I finished my master's thesis, I totally flaked on doing some final housekeeping and my grade suffered because of it; when I ran my first marathon, I stopped all exercise completely for about 5 years and managed to gain more than 50 pounds; when I starved myself for a month to lose 20 pounds I promptly gained back 30 in a matter of weeks.

The theme seems pretty obvious to me now.  I set very high (sometimes unhealthy) goals, torture myself into reaching them, then regress.  I have been working on setting more realistic goals and it is a real challenge for me because goal-setting is how I've always accomplished things.  I need that rigor.

That's one reason I've been hesitant to mention something I've been working toward for a while.  I signed up for a couple of long runs: one here in Oakland and one in Washington, DC, where I have several close friends.  I love having the goal to work toward but this time I've decided to train over a matter of months, not weeks, and I haven't talked about it here because I wanted to make sure I was being realistic.

Here's the point of this post: I had an amazing breakthrough on Sunday -- one that makes me certain my goals are realistic, attainable and not total ass-kickers that I will need 6 years at Taco Bell to recover from.  Friends, I ran 12 miles Sunday.  By myself.  No coach.  No mean thoughts going through my head.  No organized running group that pressures you to raise a bunch of money.  Just me and the sunshine and the sidewalks and the miracle that is the Nike+ sensor that talks to my iPod and tracks everything.  See?

And my time was pretty decent!  I finished in about 2 hours, which means I was running a little over 10 minutes per mile.  Thanks, Nike+!  

And in the spirit of Bitch Cakes, the blogger who inspired me to begin blogging, I took a photo of myself before and after the run.


... And after.  

The coolest thing is, I don't look like I was about to die in photo 2... and I didn't feel like I was, either.  

Rock. On.

To celebrate, I bought a new running top on sale at Gap Body for $10 and I wore it today to run 5 miles.  Ain't it cute?
So, the running cat is out of the bag.  I have a lot of thoughts about the Oakland run -- and I want to share them all.  This run is really special to me for a lot of reasons and I will tell you all about it later... but for now I gotta run.  But not in the psycho Type-A way.  Just the normal Type-A way.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Didn't See This One Coming...

I guess there's a reason you always hear the same old warnings about extreme weight loss: because they're true.

Last February 1, if you had told me that in one year I would weigh less than my driver's license says, I would have high-fived you.  And I don't high-five.  I leave people hanging all the time.  But I would have made an exception and gone high/down low/too slow/fist bumped you.

Likewise, there would have been a high-five if you had told me that on January 30, 2011, I would walk into the Gap and try on a pair of size 10 trouser jeans that would be almost too big.  Which is sort of what I did over the weekend.

I can't remember the last time I fit comfortably into a size 10.  I think I skipped that size, going from a 6 to a 14 somehow.  So I was pumped when the jeans fit.

Then I freaked out a little bit.  Even though I was all alone in the dressing room, I suddenly felt so exposed.  I felt embarrassed and conspicuous.  I realized that if I were to buy that outfit (I didn't) and wear it out, people would (gasp!) look at me.  

Of course, people looked at me when I was heavier.  My friends and family looked at me.  My co-workers looked at me.  And I was fine with that.  These were people I had a personal or professional relationship with.  I felt comfortable with them on my terms and didn't mind them looking my way.  The problem was strangers.

When I weighed more, most strangers ignored me.  Those who noticed me at all usually just glanced then quickly looked away.  The more sensitive souls would give me a kind, apologetic look (kind of the way you might when you catch yourself staring a little too long at someone with a physical disability). 

This is when I realized what a control freak I am.

I have often heard that people with eating disorders are controlling and I definitely have obsessive, controlling, bossy personality traits.  But, the way I used to eat was utterly out-of-control and reckless.  So how could that be a trait of a controlling personality?  

I never connected that binge eating gave me just the kind of control I needed: it allowed me to be very judicious about whom I let into my life.  I had a way to vet people and make sure they were genuine.  I used my fat as a way to distinguish between the people who were shallow and those who saw beyond my weight to my personality or my mind or my heart or whatever.

Now, that fat filter is gone.  

I am struggling with the realization that I am exposed.  Anyone can see me.  And let me tell you, all that crap you hear about eating disorders and control issues and fat being a way to shield one's self?  It doesn't sound like such crap to me anymore.

Dude.  I am still freaking out.