Friday, April 25, 2014

What kind of weirdo compares their foot to a high-maintenance diva Starbucks drinker?

Oh Reese's eggs, why must you be so delicious?!? In general, I can pass up candy. It's just not one of my things. But something about chocolate and peanut butter together gets me a little cray-cray (yes, I just said cray-cray). While I didn't go insane wolfing down food on Easter, I did eat more than I would have liked. And then I promptly paid for it scale-wise and stomach-wise. Although part of the stomach problems ended up being a stomach virus, which I was actually glad to realize because I am kind of paranoid about having gallbladder issues after losing all this weight.

So after I recovered from my stomach issues, I decided to take my new running shoes out for a spin. Yay for new shoes! I've said before on here that I have high-maintenance feet. Well, really just the one foot that has a big toe that doesn't bend, a shaved-down arch, weak tendons, a keloid from being run over by a treadmill as a child, and burn scars from scalding spaghetti sauce. That's the problem child foot. If that foot were a person, it would be the sorority girl at Starbucks asking for her soy, no whip, double foam, double something else, blah blah blah frappachino (I don't really know coffee terms because I don't drink it). So yeah, it's hard for me to find shoes that don't make me want to cut off my feet after an hour or so. Consequently, when I find a good pair, I keep them forever. They get to looking pretty rough. When my last pair of running shoes got a hole in the inside from wear, I duct taped the inside for a while instead of buying a new pair. That is how much of an ordeal finding new shoes is for me.

 The random cat leg you see in the picture is from my cat, Gary. He was demanding food like he does every single time I come home. Alas, while I have conquered my food addiction, my 2 cats have not.

But the time finally came when the need for new running shoes could not be denied anymore, even by me. Since I'm running so much now, I decided to research the type of shoe I needed. I found out that I am sort of a freak in the running world, as I underpronate my feet, instead of overpronate like the vast majority of runners do. At least I'm special! When I got to the shoe store, I had a long conversation with the salesman there, who was quite helpful after I convinced him that I was not stupid and actually did underpronate. I took a lot of time choosing exactly the right shoe. After all, I spend a crazy amount of time in these shoes. I also got in a mini-workout because every pair I tried on, I ran up and down the aisles a few times to see how they did. This may have looked slightly odd.

I ended up with a pair of New Balance 1550's. I have never worn New Balance before, but these felt the best to me, even over the Asics like I have worn before. It made me a little nervous to try a brand I've never worn before. It always takes me a little bit to break in new shoes to my freakishly formed foot, and then I usually freak out when they don't feel perfect right away. This happened on my first run with these shoes. I was like, "Oh no! I picked the wrong ones!" But a few days later, they're doing fine. We just needed to get to know each other some to feel comfortable, much like dating. I would say my shoes and I are about on our 3rd date by now. It's not as awkward anymore as that first and second date. Okay, enough with the dating metaphor.

I doubt anyone but me knows this unless you're some kind of creeper who counts my blog posts (I think only I get an actual count of the posts) , but the next post will be number 100! What should I write about? Cheese? Shin splints? Lunges? Wow, those are all momentous topics, but I might need something slightly better. After all, you don't write your 100th blog post just every day!

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Since when is condescension and cruelty masquerading as admiration and respect okay?

Okay, I meant to write about this particular topic a few weeks ago, but then I got sidetracked by carbohydrates, or my lack thereof. Anyway, so I recently read this letter someone wrote to "the fatty running on the track this afternoon" that has been all over the internet. Supposedly, it's all heartwarming because the fatty hater that writes the letter eventually admits that they admire the overweight person for working out. You know, after insulting them. I'm sorry, but I have to call bullshit on this one. I have so many problems with this letter that I am going to have to spell them out one by one (in bullet format, so you know I'm serious). In case you have not read this letter, here it is:

Seriously, this whole letter makes my blood boil on behalf of my former self and every other overweight person trying to get healthy. Because I just want to say, "How dare you?" How dare you judge me for trying to improve my life? How dare you disguise your prejudice in the form of some kind of fake admiration? The writer of this letter is every overweight person's worst nightmare, proof that people are actually thinking the kind of cruel thoughts that you already imagined that they were. So here's a few of my specific problems with this letter:
    • What kind of idiot starts off with a whole paragraph insulting someone and then seems to think that all that is erased by saying that the overweight person "rocks?" That doesn't make it okay. Let me tell you, when you are big and trying to work out, you are already hypersensitive about anyone looking at you, about anyone judging you. Like I said, it's your worst nightmare that someone is observing all the ways that you just don't cut it. So writer of this letter, if you really want to compliment someone, don't preface the compliment with all the ways they suck.
    • Don't assume you know who I am and what I do. For example, while I have lost a lot of weight, I am still not thin. People seeing me run may assume that I am "trying to pay off the debt of another midnight snack," as the writer of this letter put it. I am not trying to make up for a midnight binge. In fact, I would bet that I work out more than the writer of this letter. I would also bet that I eat healthier than he or she does. Don't judge people by their looks. Don't assume that because I'm not a twig that I have a major Twinkie addiction. You don't know me and you don't know my story, so don't assume you do just because of how much I weigh. 
    • When I run, it's true that sometimes I do have a mantra in my head. However, my mantras do not include ones such as, "Fuck off, fat," as the writer in this letter so eloquently put it. I'm not saying I never have negative thoughts about my body. Of course I do. But my running time is not time for negative self image. It's not a time to think how my running is burning fat. When I run, I am thinking about how I feel powerful. I am thinking about how strong I am. Sometimes I am thinking about how I can't breathe (like this morning), but that's usually just my asthma interrupting all the positivity. 
    •  You say that I should "look up from my feet?" Well, I, for one, am not looking at my feet when I run, mainly because I don't want to get hit by a bus. But I totally get why some overweight people would keep their heads down. They don't want to see the judgement in people's eyes. They don't want to know for sure that someone else has noticed how "sweat drenches your body after you leave, completing only a single, 20 minute mile." It's easier to pretend no one else noticed.
    • Your "gaze has no condescension in it?" Well, I don't know about your gaze because I never met you, but your letter is about as full of condescension as it gets. It's basically saying, "You're not like us, and I can be mean about it, but it's okay because I said I admired you."
    • You "have nothing but respect" for me? Bullshit. You do not show your respect for someone by systematically observing all the ways they don't measure up before throwing them a bone by saying you admire them for trying. You want to know how you show someone respect in this situation? Treat overweight people like anyone else you see out on your run. I've read a whole lot about overweight people being intimidated by working out with fit people, and basically all they want is to just blend in and be treated like everyone else. I know that's all I wanted. We don't need a parade when we run a a mile. We don't need a blue ribbon when we do 100 situps. We just want the simple consideration of being treated like everyone else. 
    There are some people who may wonder why this letter has me so fired up when in all honesty, it doesn't really apply to me anymore. I don't take 20 minutes to run a mile. I run many miles at a time now. This letter matters to me because of who I used to be. I will always carry that girl with me, so I still identify with the people this letter is written to. So I am outraged and insulted on behalf of the old me and all of them. But because of the empathy I have, I try to show these people true respect. I notice them at the gym. But I make a conscious effort to treat them like everyone else; I make a conscious effort not  to notice them.

    I don't know the person who wrote this letter. I have great hope that it was mostly ignorance that fueled the contents of this letter instead of conscious cruelty. It does not excuse what it said, but it does make it a little easier to swallow. Because the truth is that many people are ignorant about what it feels like to be overweight. I've had people in my own life express surprise over things I have shared about being overweight. It's just impossible to really understand unless you've been there yourself. This letter still makes me sick to my stomach though, because intentional or not, the fact remains that this letter is still cruel. To the writer who says he or she "has nothing but respect" for me; well, I have nothing but disdain for you.

    Wednesday, April 2, 2014

    I'm in a love triangle with a powdered legume and a cruciferous vegetable

    I guess the carb cycling thing is really working...I'm down another 0.8 lbs this week. It may not seem like much, but after months of losing 0.2 lbs in a week or gaining a little, back and forth, back and forth until I felt like screaming, this solid month of continuous loss feels like a major victory. The low carb days are not quite so torturous anymore now due to two things that I am totally and completely in love with:

    1) Chocolate PB2. This stuff is so awesome. For those of you that haven't heard of it, it's basically powdered peanut butter with like 85% of the fat and oil pressed out of it. So instead of a serving of peanut butter that has 190 calories, this only has 45 calories! I mainly eat it in smoothies, but it's pretty good with apples and bananas too.

    2) Cauliflower rice. I think this kind of take care of my psychological carb needs. I've eaten some kind of carb with dinner as a side dish for so long, it just feels wrong without one, like it's incomplete or something. Carbs complete me! Enter cauliflower rice. Simple to make, you just grate cauliflower with a cheese grater, put a little olive oil in a pan, and cook on the stove for around 8 minutes. Then it feels like I'm eating rice without the carbs!

    I'm still having difficulty getting in enough calories on low carb days though. I'm kind of limited in higher calorie foods on those days, with my choices being meat, cheese, and peanut butter. I don't want to eat a large amount of any of those things because they're not great for my cholesterol. If anyone has any low carb suggestions, please let me know!

    I'm also kind of conflicted on how many calories I should be eating period. I've been eating 1200 calories a day, which I know is the absolute minimum I should be eating. I used to eat 1500 calories a day, but that was when I was about 75 lbs heavier, so I figured I should cut back since I am smaller now and my BMR is consequently less. But I'm averaging about 7-8 miles of some kind of cardio activity per day, so I'm trying to figure out if I am eating too few calories for that kind of energy expenditure. I've tried to use different calorie requirement calculators online, but that made me even more confused because I got that I should be eating anywhere from 1300 calories a day to 2800 calories a day...quite a difference! I guess the internet doesn't know everything after all. I think I may go up to about 1400 calories a day and see how it goes.

    In other news, I'm doing better with soccer. The first game I just felt like a total fool because it turned out that even though I signed up for beginner since it had been so long since I played, many of the girls played in college and are really good. A good example of this would be when the opposing team scored a goal by performing a series of 3 headers. It was insane. I don't know why they didn't want to play advanced but whatever. I felt like I needed to constantly apologize for how crappy I felt like I was doing compared to my teammates. But last week I decided to give myself a pep talk. It did not involve me telling myself that I did not suck, because the reality is that compared to these girls, I do. I am not at their skill level. It's just the truth. What I did tell myself was that I needed to go out there and do the best that I could do, and not compare myself to anyone else. I signed up for this team to have fun, not win the World Cup. I did feel pretty good last week because we had no subs and everyone had to play the whole game with no breaks, and I held my own with those girls. If anything, I was probably one of the less winded players. I knew running would pay off someday!