Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Google as a form of self-validation? You heard it here first

I've gone back and forth over whether to post this story, until I decided it was stupid to waste this much time over it. It is embarrassing to me, but I have always said that I would be honest in my blog and not leave embarrassing stuff out.

I went to the beach on Monday, which, living in a beach town, I have done 10 million times before. What I have not  done before was have to get rescued by a lifeguard. Seriously. Lifelong swimmer here, and that actually happened. I went out past the breakers and was just kind of drifting while treading water and chilling out, when I got caught in a riptide. Now as a person who grew up at the beach, I know very well what to do if that happens, but since I was not trying to actively swim, I wasn't even aware I was in a riptide! I didn't find that out until the lifeguard (with difficulty) swims over to me and tells me that a riptide had pulled me too far out. He asked if I needed help getting back in, and I initially said I would be fine by myself. I mean, I'm training for a freaking triathlon! How strong could a riptide possibly be? Obviously, I had never experienced one before! I started trying to swim and got approximately nowhere. It was really weird! So after a few minutes of that, I accepted the lifeguard's offer to pull me in. On the way back in, I became acutely aware of just how fast and far that riptide had pulled me from shore. Crazy!

Was I scared? No, but only because I didn't know I was in trouble until help had already arrived. So it wasn't like I was brave or anything. I felt fear when I got to shore and knew how far out I had been and realized what could have happened. But mainly what I felt was major embarrassment. All my fat girl insecurities came rushing back. Now in my head, I know that riptides can be a problem for even strong swimmers. Actually, I made sure of that fact by Googling "Can riptides overcome strong swimmers?" when I got home (true story!). I mean, I saw evidence of it when the lifeguard was having some trouble swimming. I've been feeling more and more confident about being in good shape. What's more, I've been swimming laps in the pool regularly. This incident made me doubt myself and it made me afraid other people would doubt me. Like, how good of shape could she possibly have been in if she had to be rescued by a lifeguard?

But then I just got mad at myself. Not mad about what happened, but about how I was allowing it to affect me. I think the word allowing is very important here. I did not have to let what happened affect me in such a negative way. I did not have to let the doubt creep in and try to cripple me. I was allowing that to happen. As in making that choice. Even a passive choice is still a choice. And choices like those were ones the old me would make, not the new me.

Did a lifeguard have to rescue me? Yes, he did. Does that fact take away all my fitness accomplishments these past months? Nope, those are just the same as they always were. I've not suddenly morphed into the person I was this time last year. And looking at what happened objectively, I can see evidence of the new me as well. When the lifeguard asked if I needed help, the old me would have insisted on doing it myself no matter what. Accepting help has never been my strong suit, which has been to my detriment before. The new me tried on my own for a bit, recognized that I did need help, and then asked for it. Sounds simple, but it represents a complete change in thinking for me. After I got back to the beach safely, we had a picnic supper. This could have been very bad. While I did have a whole grain sandwich packed, there were also chips and cookies available. I've said before that I am an emotional eater. I say without hesitation that the old me would have been shoving chips and cookies in my mouth like there was no tomorrow after being embarrassed like that. But the new me stuck with my original plan. I ate a few chips and 2 cookies, like a normal human being.

After supper, I decided to venture out back into the water. This was also a change from the girl I used to be. The old me would have obsessively thought about what happened, what could happen, what might happen to such a degree that the fear would have prevented me from taking a single step into the water for a very long time. I could not allow that to happen. I love the ocean, and I would not allow fear to take that away from me. So I got "back in the saddle" (so to speak) ASAP. I thought, what is the worst thing that could happen in a riptide? You could drown, right?  I needed to deal with that fear. So I wasn't going to be crazy and go find another riptide to get caught in (haha!). I decided to keep diving under big waves and embrace that fear, instead of running from it. I mean, not that I was actually trying to drown (obviously) but diving under a big wave can be quite chaotic and scary. It worked. I love the water as much as I ever did.

I'm not going to pretend that some embarrassment about what happened does not linger. I still have feelings that this incident proves that I am still not good enough. The difference now is that I refuse to allow those feelings to dictate my behaviors. It's okay to have those feelings. It's not okay to let them try to take away all I have worked for and accomplished. The ocean and I will continue our lifelong friendship, despite this little mishap. Next on the to-do list this summer? Surfing!

Also, I saw this picture on Facebook yesterday and I thought it was so appropriate and true.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

I met my downfall in a bag of Baked Cheetos

It's been a little while since my last entry! For that, I have no excuse other than pure laziness and also I couldn't get in the writing zone. This was often the case for me  in college as well when writing papers, and usually resulted in me staying up all night to get them done and then having gigantic blue circles under my eyes. Luckily, I have an odd gift for cranking out papers fast and always made good grades, which just made me do the exact same thing the next time. But my procrastination habit is another entry entirely. For your random enjoyment, here is a picture of my aforementioned under-eye circles during college:

Disturbing, yes? Also, that is indeed a inflatable playground thing for children that I am sitting on. Long story. Anyway, the past couple weeks have been kind of a roller coaster. I've had good things. I've had bad things. I've had everything in between.

We'll start with the bad and get it over with (it makes me unhappy that I ended the previous sentence with a preposition, but it's the only way I can think of to get my point across right now; I've fallen in the grammar pit!). My eating has been a struggle lately. If you look at my calorie intake, it would seem like everything was okay. It's just mainly that when I say it has been a struggle, I really mean it! I have been seriously struggling to make good decisions lately. Usually, I can honestly say that I've gotten to the point where good decisions come easily. I don't agonize over forgoing higher calorie foods anymore. But lately, temptations seem to be all around me. I am proud to have resisted most of them, but I hate that it seems so much more difficult  to resist them as of late. Case in point: I bought a bag of Baked Cheetos on Saturday. Calories weren't bad, they seemed innocuous enough. But the thing is that I knew Baked Cheetos were hard for me to stop eating. There are not many foods that I say I can never have, but things like Baked Cheetos are one of them because I cannot seem to be reasonable about them. But I bought them anyway, and sure enough, by Monday 3/4 of the bag was gone! And seriously, who wants to say they met their downfall in a bag of Baked Cheetos? Your downfall should at least be something completely awesome like key lime pie or a filet mignon. Not unnaturally orange pieces of processed crap. However, I believe my lesson is now learned. This week is going much better than last week.

Onto the good things! I, Kristen Kinney, am now regularly consuming a breakfast smoothie with SPINACH in it! To be completely honest, it looks absolutely disgusting, but you really cannot taste the spinach. The smoothie is my go-to low carb breakfast. I love it because you just throw in vanilla Greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, spinach, and a little water in the blender and you're in business! Oh yeah, I also put in some flaxseed partly because of the health benefits, and partly because it makes me feel like a hardcore health nut. The spinach does that too.

I also started doing high intensity interval training (HIIT) at the beginning of this week. Now I am slapping myself (mentally) for not starting this earlier. I had heard that you burn way more calories doing HIIT than moderate cardio, but I kind of regarded it as something that probably wouldn't be very pleasant, but that I should do for the health benefits. Pretty much comparable to spinach in my breakfast smoothie. Anyway, I tried it for the first time on Monday and I think I am now addicted! I LOVE IT! For those of you that don't know what it involves, you basically start out at a moderate pace on the elliptical or treadmill (in my case for 2 minutes, but this can be adjusted for your fitness level), then for a minute afterwards you go, pardon my expression, balls to the walls! You go as fast as humanly possible for 60 full seconds. Then I repeated that sequence 19 more times, for a total time of 60 minutes. I think it satisfies my need for extremes. I'm not extreme in my weight loss methods anymore, but that part of me is not just erased. This provides a safe and healthy outlet for me to indulge this part of myself. There is just something exhilarating to me about going full-out like that.

And finally, we come to my recent pants purchase. I bought, brace yourself for this one, size 10 white pants!  I have never, ever worn a size 10 before (well okay, I suppose I have to have worn them as a child at some point, but never in my memory). And actually, I cannot remember the last time I bought white pants (besides baggy scrubs) because it's just usually a poor fashion choice for heavy people. But I love how white pants look in the summer. However, that was just another thing that I saw as forbidden to me because of my weight. Happily, not anymore! I've had requests for pictures of me in the pants, but I really want to save those pictures for my 1 year anniversary at the end of next month. So stay tuned for that!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Atlanta...the awesome, the excruciatingly painful, and the sweaty

I went to Atlanta this past weekend like I said in my last post. For those of you that don't know, Atlanta is a VERY LONG car ride from Wilmington, NC. Luckily, I had my sister with me to split the driving. We made it down there in one piece, and then I went right to the gym for my first workout with former Biggest Loser contestant Lauren Lee and another girl from my group, Malinda (who Lauren normally trains). I was informed that we would be taking a spin class before our real workout because I had made the supremely idiotic mistake (weeks before) of casually saying that I would like to try a spin class. Let me tell you, that class was no joke. I had sweat dripping from every single part of my body. Plus that seat creates some extreme discomfort in unmentionable places. Of course, my stupid foot decided to misbehave. It turns out that feet that have metal plates and screws in them like my left foot does do not enjoy having a metal cage pressed on top on them by someone's entire body weight. I tried to press on through the pain, but I ended up having to keep shaking that foot out to help with the pain and weirdly, simultaneous numbness.

Anyway, after an hour of that kind of intense cardio, I would normally maybe do a bit of strength training and call it a day. Not that day. There were still 2 more hours of fun in my future! I don't even know the names of some of the stuff we did, so bear with me. Some of the exercises were oddly deceptive in that they seemed pretty easy at first, and then after a few reps transformed into something very different indeed. For example, one of the things I had to do was hold a very light wand-like thing out in front of me with both hands and shake it. Sounds super easy, but after a minute or so, your arms start getting very tired. Plus, with that exercise there is the added bonus of seeing your upper arms jiggle with each shake of the wand! There were burpees, there were suicides, there were crunches galore, chair dips, and throw-downs, and sled pushes, oh my! I actually had to go on the treadmill at a 15.0 incline! At the end, I somehow ended up on the floor on my back and did not know if I could physically get up again.

After that, some of the other girls had arrived at the hotel and we went out to dinner. Then we ended up talking until late at the hotel. It was so awesome how, even though I had never met any of them in person before, it was just like I had known them forever. After that, we went to bed. You would think that after an exhausting day consisting of a 7 hour car ride and that crazy workout, I would sleep like a baby, right? You would be wrong. My body hurt so much that I only slept in fits and starts (where does that weird phrase come from anyway?). The next morning, it was back to the gym. There were 8 of us girls that day, plus Lauren. In the morning, there were bear crawls (not the most flattering exercise) and mountain climbers, plus step-ups, lunges, a weird exercise where you look like a Mexican jumping bean, and some balance exercises. I was really surprised how good I was at the balance stuff. My balance has never been fantastic, but I've really been focusing on core-strengthening exercises lately, and I think that has greatly improved my balance. We went to the treadmills for a little while then, where I believe Lauren took great sadistic pleasure in continually increasing all of our speeds and inclines. Then we broke for lunch (Subway, of course, like all true Biggest Loser devotees) and got to talk with Lauren about any questions we had.

After lunch, we did a bunch of circuits. It was some of the same stuff I did the day before, but with some new things. I especially liked the one where you put a gigantic rubber band around you and a pole behind you, and then run as fast as you can to touch a cone placed 10 feet or so in front of you. Then the rubber band would spring you back to the pole. There was also a cool machine that was kind of like surfing. And then there was the step stool. It probably has some other more technical name I'm not aware of, but it looks like a step stool. It looked so benign sitting there, when it was in actuality, the devil incarnate. This was really more of a mental exercise. All you had to do was jump on the stool. I mean, how hard could that be? It wasn't that high. I've seen them freaking out about this on Biggest Loser, and I remember wondering what the big deal was. The first time I steeled myself to jump and then chickened out at the last moment, I learned just what the big deal was. It is scary! Brace yourself, I'm about to get deep here. I think that stool is a good metaphor for the way I am going about changing my life. I have always been a hesitant person. I'm a worrier. I like to be overly prepared for any possible event. I dip one toe in the water at a time, so to speak. But this past year, I have been trying to overcome my fears and worries. I've been trying to just jump right in and do things, instead of hesitating and planning all the time. And jumping on this stool, you can't hesitate. You can't plan. You just have to go for it, full out, without overthinking it.

So it was important to me that I conquer that stool. I was proud when I managed to jump on that stool. But I was still scared, so I kept trying it. I ended up jumping on it 3 times in the end, and now I am planning on buying one of my own. Masochistic or smart of me, you decide.

Some of the pictures of our workout are quite unflattering, as most pictures that show people extremely red and sweating in awkward positions usually are. So I will not be sharing pictures of the other girls that may not put them in the best light. That is because 1) I am not a mean person and 2) they may actually kill me if I did share them. But I will share some of my pictures, unflattering though they may be, as well as some group pictures.
I love the fact that I look like I'm constipated. Odd how extreme pain and constipation result in the same facial expression.

 Master of the stool

Gotta give Lauren credit...she is an awesome photobomber!

I'm impressed we managed smiles after that workout. From left: Me, Katie, Liza, Michelle, Lauren, Malinda, Jeanette, Abbie, and Nicole

This is me after the workout. No, I had not taken a shower yet. My wet hair is all from sweat. Disturbing, yet awesome.

After the workout, everyone else went home. I went back to the hotel to see my sister. My body was already hurting even before I left the gym, which I took as an ominous sign. Normally, I don't start hurting till the next day. It was pouring outside, as it had been all day. Not really a good night to go out in a large city that I was totally unfamiliar with. But I couldn't waste what time I had left in Atlanta. So we ventured out to a burger boutique for dinner. They had the most unusual selection of burgers I have ever seen. I was using this as my cheat meal, so I was pretty excited. But then, the power went out. I wondered if it was a sign from up above that I had no business eating a burger. But then we found out that our meals were the last to be cooked before the power outage, so I decided God must have actually wanted me to eat that burger...hahaha. I showed restraint after dinner when my sister ordered a Krispy Kreme milkshake and I just had a sip. It was actually magic in my mouth, but I was remained strong. Then we went downtown to see an improv show, which was awesome. What was most definitely not awesome was the drive back in crazy Atlanta highway traffic at night, pouring down rain, and foggy. I think my knuckles were white gripping the steering wheel. Let it be said that both highways and navigation are really not my thing. Thank goodness for GPS.
See, the burger had veggies so that means it's a health food!

Sunday morning came, and with it came excruciating pain with every movement. We went to the Georgia Aquarium even though walking was somewhat of a hard task for me at the moment, and I literally could not walk down the stairs. It hurt too much. We had to take the elevator, with my sister laughing at me the whole way down. After that we headed home. You may think that an extended period of rest in a car seat was what my body needed, but it turned out that that was exactly the opposite of what it needed. Every time we stopped to switch drivers, I was more and more stiff. It was awful. It is now 4 days after that workout, and while my aches are drastically better, they are still there. I did force myself to go to the gym the past few days though because I knew it would help.

 At the aquarium, before the torturous car ride home

So there you have it in a nutshell. My trip to Atlanta, the good, the bad, and the ugly. Or as I so aptly put it in the title, the awesome, the excruciatingly painful, and the sweaty.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Milestones, Michaels, and Masochism

It's been a pretty awesome week! That week was capped off by me stepping on the scale this morning and seeing that I have now lost a grand total of 150 pounds since the end of last crazy is that?!? Most of the time the number of pounds I have lost is just that, a number. It's not like I'm constantly excited by it. But the reality of losing 150 lbs did hit me this morning. I mean, that is a really big number to lose in 10 months! So while I do not generally go around being impressed with myself (that could become annoying for others, plus irritating for me when my big head would no longer fit through doors), I will make an exception for today. I am very proud of myself for how far I have come in 10 months, not just for losing that weight, but for changing my entire way of life.

I was excited because this past week has been the ever elusive "perfect" week for me. I always aim to do as good a job as I can working out and eating right, but usually there are slip-ups. That's fine, but it is satisfying to do everything perfectly once in a while (it satiates the small remaining "all or nothing" part of me). This past week, I didn't slip up on my carb cycling at all, specifically on the low carb days. I had my cheat day, but didn't go crazy. I worked out for at least 2 hours every single day, except for my rest day. I did strength training every day, and even increased my weights (my arms are still killing me).  I got in enough water every single day (and consequently peed a million times a day). I kept my sodium levels down every single day. So when I weighed in today, I felt good! It was an added reward to hit 150 lbs lost this week too!

Also, I got to see Jillian Michaels in person this past week! Here is a crappy picture of her that I was a rebel and took even though there was not supposed to be flash photography (hey, everyone else was doing it too in the beginning):

Anyway, so I first saw that Jillian was going to be in Raleigh months ago but the tickets were listed as being $175! Now I love Jillian, but that just seemed ridiculous. But then last week I saw that there had been some kind of error where they only listed the VIP prices, so normal tickets were only $27. I couldn't pass that up. But it was kind of last minute, so I couldn't find any other Jillian fans to make the trip with me. So I went solo! This is something I would not have done last year. I was so concerned with what other people would think, if they would think it was weird I came alone, blah, blah, blah. That girl is no more. I don't have to have other people with me to give me confidence in myself. I mean, it's fun to go places with friends, but it's kind of cool to go places alone sometimes too.

So off I went to Raleigh last Thursday. Luckily, the place was not hard to find since I am kind of directionally challenged. The first half of the show was about diet and exercise. I felt pretty good about myself then, because a lot of what she was saying were exactly the same things I do already. The part about organic stuff was pretty eye-opening though. I was also kind of surprised to see that she was really funny! Like laugh out loud, kind of sarcastic (that part wasn't surprising) hilarious! Then the second part of the show was about maximizing your life (I didn't make that was the title of the show). This part was full of stuff that really hit home for me. Not letting fear rule your life. Pursuing what you love with "reckless abandon." To stop waiting to do things until you are  "good enough". To recognize that the heavy person I used to be had value, that she was the one who had the courage and dedication to start this weight loss journey. It was pretty awesome. I did have an urge to stand up and scream, "Please come train me! I need you to scream and yell and beat me until I puke!" Apparently I have a masochistic side.

Next week, I hope that I am alive to write a blog entry. I say that because I am traveling to Atlanta this weekend to train with former Biggest Loser contestant Lauren Lee and some of the people in my FB weight loss support group. I am super excited about it, but also pretty nervous. From what I have heard, Lauren's work-outs are no joke! Like so hard that people are literally lying on the floor half-dead at the end. The fact that I am excited about this is even more evidence of my masochistic side.