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The Dangerous Unmarked Path

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

I just finished reading JUST_TRI_IT's Momentum blog and it's got me thinking.

Unlike my friend there, who feels a rush of momentum from completing a challenge, I have the opposite feeling. It's the same feeling I had this weekend when I walked over the timing strips and past the finish line and realized that there was nobody but my son and I to realize what we had just done. It's a big sigh once I realize I've finished something I set out to do. It's boredom. It's frustration, only it's worse. It's a feeling of being lost.

All along the way, the way was marked for me. In training, I had my Smart Coach app that told me what walks to do when and how many miles. I wrote it all down on my calendar. I carried it with me everywhere I went and if I lost my way at any time, I could simply pull out my little chart and check to see where I was supposed to be. During the race, the road was marked with spray paint on the ground. Go left, right, straight, up, down it told me. And I followed. Paths not meant to be taken were roped off and arrows clearly painted on the ground before me. The way was marked. My path was set. All I had to do was follow.

But once you cross that finish line, there is no one there to tell you which way to go. You are ushered off the track and thanked for your participation and then you have to find your own way. You have to start making the decisions again - do I want pizza? soda? to go back to the car and just go home? I hate to say it, but the feeling of "it's over" is almost always followed with that feeling of "which way now?"

Yesterday I was still lost (hence the "What Now?" blog). I couldn't figure out what my next move should be. And while I started my day the same way I do every day, when the chips and dip were pulled out by my son around lunchtime, I found myself slipping back to pre-Spark patterns. Not once in the past 4+ months have I regressed this far. I spent the entire day in my nightgown watching TV, movies, Gilmore Girls episodes. I made excuses like "my hip still hurts" and let those keep me from even leaving the house. I told myself I was ugly and didn't want anyone to see me. And I actually repeated those words, aloud, to my husband. (Points to him for telling me that was a silly thought and reminding me how beautiful I am, but I just couldn't believe him yesterday.)

It's not that I wanted my "old life" back. Not at all. I was bored and cranky and fed up with everything. And as far as food went, it went a little something like this:

Egg Beaters Omelet with cheese and mushrooms
2 cups of coffee, light cream
Chips and Dip - a lot, too much
A cup of Ice Cream with hot fudge
A cheeseburger with lettuce, pickles, light mayo, ketchup, on white bun
2 Light hot dogs, on white buns with ketchup
2 pieces of leftover Pizza Hut pizza (pepperoni, mushrooms, and sausage)
More ice cream with hot fudge in a waffle bowl

And I felt sick and tired and horrified, and then unfeeling and uncaring and depressed. And I realized that I felt like the old me again. And then I realized something else...I didn't like it. I wanted the me from the day before back. The one who is addicted to sweat and sun. The one that can't let a day pass without taking a short walk or doing some sort of activity that gets the blood pumping. The one who feels confident and strong and amazing and beautiful. Let's face it -- I was lost...again.

Around 8pm I considered just going to sleep and throwing in the towel for the day, and then I realized that I needed something emotionally. I was stunting and silencing myself and I needed to write, to organize, to get it out and see it on paper. A blog just wouldn't work, because I wasn't ready to face SP yet. I wasn't ready to admit my failures to all my friends. It had to start with me. I looked down and found a journal on the floor in front of my dresser. Perfect! I'll go old school and just write it out. I tracked down a pencil and then opened it to the first page. It was then that I realized that this was my journal from my "new life" journey attempt years ago, when I was coming down from 466.6. I hadn't seen it in years. I stopped writing in it right after our move to WV. The last weight recorded in it was 377.

KITHKINCAID made a suggestion on my What Now? blog yesterday that really had me thinking. She said, "I would just set it as your goal to just "exist" for a while at your new weight." But when I found that journal, I knew I wasn't ready for that yet. See, when I moved to WV, when I stopped writing in that journal, that's exactly what I was doing. I was exisiting at my new weight. But something else started to happen to, I stopped focusing on what the right things to do where. Exercise came to a halt. Eating right slowly became less and less important. And I spiraled into a world of living at 377 pounds. I lost another 11 pounds to get to 366 and hit that century mark, but I quickly got myself back to 380 or so, and stayed there for a long time. I'm not willing or ready to do that yet.

Thankfully, KITHKINCAID also made another suggestion - fast walking the jogging sprints in C25k is the actual program is still too difficult. And that thought sounds much better to me, because it gives me a clear path to follow. I'll have directions, goals, things laid out for me to accomplish along the way. And, for now, that's really important.

Because 356 is not good enough. It's great, don't get me wrong, but it's not enough for me right now. The last time I did this, I was happy to sit at 380 for a while and try it on for size. It was a new me completely from the 466 nearly bed-ridden woman I had created. And it was fun to see what new things I could do and try at this weight. But 356 isn't quite different enough. I still feel like just a little smaller version of myself. Yes, I know I can do a LOT more, I realize that every day, but I feel in my heart and soul a desire to do even MORE. I can't let that fire die down...not yet.

(BTW - NOTHING against KITHKINCAID, and I will consider this idea of just learning to be a new me when I think I'm ready to handle it...because I believe it's important to settle into your new life....I just don't trust myself with that yet without worrying I'll ruin it.)

So, no resting for me yet. Hubs helped me last night diagnose the wear on the soles of my shoes and my feet to try to determine my gait from these cues. (I know it's ideal to get fitted at a running store, but the closest one I know of is 2.5 hours away...though I MAY have found one in Parkersburg...which I will be looking into.) I already know I have high arches, and from the wear on my shoes it seems I likely have a more natural gait, which leads me to cushioning shoes. While I'd love to verify and be sure, I may not be able to wait for that. I may have to just order my best guess perfect running shoe and see how it fits when it gets here.

The goal is to attempt C25k with the appropriate equipment. And then, if it is still too difficult, to dial it back again and complete C2F5K first (Couch to Faster 5k *lol*). I'll walk my regular 20 minute pace or so during the walking segments, but then really push to speed walk as close to a 15-minute pace as possible during the jogging segments. If I can make it through and improve my walk pace, I'll be just that much closer to really running! (A dream I can't seem to abandon...and why should I? My doctor has never told me not to try, just to be careful and take stock and interest in what my body is telling me it can or can't yet do.)

After my experience yesterday, the scale has me up 1 pound, back to 357. If I hop right back on the wagon I may hope to see 355 this week and be done with Battle 2. All is not lost.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    I heard somewhere (on a running site I think) that jogging training should wait until you can comfortably walk a 15-minute mile regularly. Then your joints and muscles are somewhat adjusted and ready for jogging.

    I didn't take this advice and ended up injuring myself and developing a heel spur. Take it from me, slow and steady wins this race.

    I love reading your blogs! Most of the time it feels like you're writing straight out of my head :-)!
    3889 days ago
    I'm so proud of you for working through the emotions of it all! I know that is the hardest part.

    I am legit sick right now but HOPE to be back to burning mega calories w/ you soon :)

    (hugs) to my fave calorie killa :)

    (ps I fully support your new wtf signature. I added mine months ago, since I literally catch myself thinking that EVERY day in Korea, but now it has a NEW double meaning!!!)
    3893 days ago
    There are tons of internet resources to help you determine the shoe for you and your particular needs according to gait (runnersworld.com is a great source) but once you find the TYPE of shoe you need, I strongly suggest buying from Zappos, free returns no hassle as long as the soles aren't worn (so "jog" around the house on carpet until you make your decision) I ordered four pairs to try on and just sent the three that didn't work back.

    Also, do you do yoga? I started doing yoga when I was at my heaviest from a book called mega yoga, designed with modified poses for people of size and it helped so much with flexibility, confidence and peace of mind, plus would offer great stretches after your hard workouts and a good full workout for your recovery days.
    3893 days ago
  • no profile photo CD7009225
    You really seem to have worked it out for yourself here! I think a C25K is a wonderful idea, and even a C25FK is good! I know what you mean about not knowing where to go and not knowing where to go. This is an activity issue first. I love the feeling I get when I walk 3-4 miles or swim laps. But what do you do to keep motivated? Walk further? Well that takes more time. I already walk a mile in the morning. And swimming burns so many more calories. But I think this is part of the appeal of mixing things up. If we mix things up (or for me) then the variety is adding new things to my fitness plan, but keeping the other things "new" and not getting too old. At least, that is what I feel this week.

    And there is that letdown after you accomplish something that you had as a dream/goal. So finishing the 10K was logically followed by a little let down. But don't let it bring you down! You still accomplished it! You are still amazing! And, you even got to do it with your son! How awesome is that! A memory you both will share forever!

    Have a great week, and remember to pat yourself on the back a couple of times this week for all that you have accomplished!
    3893 days ago
    I know that feeling of accomplishment followed by "what now...?" It really is a lost feeling. Where do I go from here type thing, but what you have to realize is that there is ALWAYS something else to accomplish. There are always other goals to be set and met. There are always longer races and triathlons, and half marathons and bike races and swimming, and etc! You have accomplished soooooo very much, and while I think that being happy with who you are is essential, I think we can always grow (hopefully NOT in the waist! hahaha) and learn new things. I've learned that the smallest goals met tend to be the most rewarding because you are accomplishing things, and you are getting somewhere, even if it is slowly, you see results.

    Keep up the good work, and don't worry about slipping up a little bit. It could have been a LOT worse, and at least you look back and learn from that day. You can do anything you put your mind to, even if it takes you awhile to find WHAT to put your mind to. :)
    3893 days ago
    go online to Nike...they ask questions and then point you in the proper footwear direction, this will give you a good sounding board for other brands...
    The higher the arch the more neutral the gait I do believe...Asics has a great one and for heavier weight people which helps a lot..I like it :)
    3893 days ago
    I love your honesty. You motivate me to be honest here on SP, too. And sometimes it's hard to face, but journalling in private is a good step when you still want to think about it and figure it out. I did the same thing about the cupcakes this weekend - wrote in my private paper journal first before I made myself finally come back.

    Is Couch to 5K a program on here?? What is it? I wonder if I could do it.. or if I even want to.. I wonder if my dog would be able to keep up.. She's a Maltese and I have trouble making myself walk just for ME.. if she isn't along to join me.

    Kudos to you for rededicating yourself after eating over and above.. and getting into negative mind-space. Good luck!!
    3893 days ago
    All is definitely not lost. We ALL have those set-backs days. The important thing is that you recognized that you didn't like it! HURRAH! Breakthrough moment. That's so awesome. And good for you for knowing that you're not content to "just be" yet - that's totally cool. Personally, I'm trying to slow myself down a bit (not in weight loss, by any means, but just in my "what's next?" nature because I'm like you in that I always have to have something on the go). I used to get mad at my therapist for not "prescribing" things for me to do. I wanted her to give me the steps, set up the rules and then I would just do them. It took me a long time to realize that she wasn't doing that for me for a reason. I needed to be the one to set my OWN way. And that way if something went right or something went wrong, it was all on me, because it was my idea in the first place. I started achieving my successes for myself and was able to own them because I wasn't doing things because people told me too. Works the same way with failures though - I don't have anyone to blame anymore - but that's ok too. Failures make us human! And I'm enjoying them just as much as the successes at this point. I hope you are too! It just means you're making progress.
    3893 days ago
    Everyday is different for sure! I've been here too many times and its not like it goes away, these days haunt me until I fight back and say NO! It is easier to fall into pre-spark habits and forget what we have learned and loved but it's true the sick feeling makes us realize that we are healthy and our bodies don't want the junk anymore. Everyday is a constant struggle for me and I know what you are going through and while that might not make it easier - just know that you are on your path and you have the strength to determine your next move and I know it's going to be incredible!!
    3893 days ago
    Everyday is different for sure! I've been here too many times and its not like it goes away, these days haunt me until I fight back and say NO! It is easier to fall into pre-spark habits and forget what we have learned and loved but it's true the sick feeling makes us realize that we are healthy and our bodies don't want the junk anymore. Everyday is a constant struggle for me and I know what you are going through and while that might not make it easier - just know that you are on your path and you have the strength to determine your next move and I know it's going to be incredible!!
    3893 days ago
    I love how honest you are during your blogs. You've overcome much and you've made all the right moves to get you to your happy person. And I understand that lost feeling, sometimes goals are just what we need and I've learned for the first time that I need goals too...I always used to just cruise along and I now know that that was the reason I failed so many times. Now I'm working towards a big goal and I'm hoping I don't feel that lost feeling. Thanks for making me aware of it, I'll be sure to have a back-up plan in place.

    Well done on yur progress so far, I'm truly humbled by how much you've accomplished.
    3893 days ago
  • ERIN4771
    sounds like you and i had about the same type of day.....it's so easy to fall back into old patterns, and frustrating as well, since we have come so far and learned so much!! all we can do is accept that there will be days like that, like it or not, but how we move on from those days is what really defines how much we have grown...my husband is always so positive when it comes to the "dark days" as i call them, and has hard as it is to believe what he says, at least it puts a smile on my face :).....thank you for posting the good, the bad and the ugly, it's refreshing to see nothing get sugar coated, and i for one really appreciate it.....keep staying positive, you are a great motivator chica!!!!!
    erin emoticon
    3893 days ago
    It is hard work to lose weight and stay on this journey we are on. However, it is a very worthwhile journey. It may not be going to well for you right now but if you get back up, dust yourself off, and get moving again it will get easier. You can do it and we are here to support you along the way.
    3893 days ago
    It is so very important to remember that this journey is as much (if not more so) mental than it is physical. You're going through a lot of changes physically and losing weight affects everything from a molecular state--everything from your hormones to your metabolism to your self image and perception... it's no small undertaking! But, knowing that, just know that you're still going to be you when you lose the weight. You're still going to be powerful and strong and beautiful and lovable. You're still going to be good to cuddle with and your husband is going to cherish you even more--because you'll be around to cherish a lot longer.

    I'm glad that you know that it's not time for you to "rest" yet. Taking a day off is one thing, but putting yourself on a plateau when you're not ready for it is dangerously close to quitting. I've done that, and it was one of the most miserable 6 months I've been through.

    I like this blog from you :) It means you're still here, you still care, and you're still trying. We can do this!
    3893 days ago
  • MAGPIE17
    I've gotten stuck lately too. Once I reached my goal, I didn't know where to go from there, and I gained 5 lbs. I've had trouble getting back to the gym, I'm not eating as well...I'm scared to face the scale after the weekend I just had! I think that fast-walking the jogging parts of C25K is a great idea right now, and I think completing the C25K program that way is a great goal to have! Let's work towards our new goals, Esther!
    3893 days ago
    1. I am ALWAYS here to cheer you on and celebrate ALL your successes, whether it be crossing the finish line for a race; losing a pound; choosing veggies over chips...whatever. I am here and I love you.

    2. You are the one who is figuring out what you want your life to be like and you are struggling to break decade-long habits. Give yourself some credit for breaking them all those other days you did well rather than focus on the one day you didn't do exactly what you know you want to.

    3. Your awareness is different now. Taking a break doesn't mean staying put at the same weight for months or gaining. It means listening to your body and mind and giving it rest for a day or two or a week or two...but being mindful always. You got this babe, because you love it and you love you, not because you have to or because you "should".

    I have missed you and I'm so happy to hear that you are here, working this out. Succeeding through challenges stirs things up for us emotionally and mentally. Be proud that you are doing exactly what you need to do right now!
    3893 days ago
    it is so hard to get out of the mental "rut". if you don't mind me sharing, i had a similar experience this past weekend where i was eating like i did pre-spark. unfortunately, i was up in the middle of the night on saturday because my stomach and body were very angry with me - it was not fun or pretty. i never realized how much of a difference there was with my body and mood from just the few changes i've made in what i'm eating. i noticed i felt more depressed when i was eating crappy foods.

    sometimes i believe we fall back into our past habits and ways because it is comfortable and easy. it is much easier to prepare packaged foods or open a bag of chips versus cleaning and cutting up veggies or cooking a homemade meal. eating pre-spark is what we have done for years and years. this was our way of life.

    now that we have spark (we meaning everyone here on SP who shares a similar background), we know better. we have seen results. we know how good it feels to try something new and like it (either new food or new exercise). but sometimes we just fall back into our old habits because it is easy or maybe we give in to past feelings of insecurity and feel that our body should look like how we feel on the inside (or maybe that's just how i feel sometimes).

    but it happens and most likely will happen again in the future. but, we don't have to give in to our past ways, we can and will overcome. because life is different now, we have the support of SP (at least that's what i have to keep telling myself :-)

    you are doing great. i appreciate your honesty when you post your blogs, thank you!
    3893 days ago
    Hey, Moms even get where they just want to settle but I also feel I need to continue. Your column was just plain awesome and nothing short of an encouragement for all. I am so proud of you and look forward to seeing you reach your next 100 pound weight loss. Don't give up. It will definitely be worth it all. I even broke down last night and bought a kids size ice cream cone at Dairy Queen, ate a few bites, was mad because they gave me a vanilla cone instead of a twist cone, then tossed the rest of the cone. This morning, I got up, saw Justin off to school and headed out to walk. Can't wait to register for our 5K together at the end of this week. Love you much daughter! Your Mom.
    3893 days ago
    I tend to go on autopilot. I eat the foods I know fit into my plan and don't try anything new for a few days. I've got some tried and true favorites that are great fall-backs when all else fails.
    3893 days ago
  • no profile photo NEWYORKORCHIDS
    All is not lost is correct. If you knew what I've been putting in my body these last three days - it'd be enough to keep us both full/sick for at least a week.

    I need a hard restart, so, it's back to basics for me. Weigh/measure all food, track all exercise...blah blah blah. Until I can get my head on straight again, that's what I have to do.

    What works for you?
    3893 days ago
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