Writing my Reality Checks (And Praying They Don’t Bounce)

I’ve now completed two weeks of the Couch-to-5K program. Wait, let me explain something. I have gotten off the couch and been outside moving along the sidewalk (or beach) three times a week, thirty minutes each time, for the past two weeks.

The Couch-to-5K program is a training program designed to take a person from non-runner to a 5K by gradually building endurance over the course of 12 weeks.

Reality Check #1: I believe this is intended for somewhat active, somewhat fit, somewhat “normal” people who happen to have never considered themselves runners. I have come to realize that this may be a bit ambitious for a chronic couch potato who has been essentially inactive for the better part of 15 years AND who is clinically obese. The first week of the training says to do a 5 minute warm-up, then alternate a 60 second run with a 90 second recovery for a total of 8 running intervals, followed by a 5 minute cool down. My reality is that after two weeks I can finally maintain a consistent walking pace for the full 30 minutes without feeling like I’m going to drop dead on the sidewalk at any moment.

On Wednesday this week, I went outside my comfort zone and left my neighborhood route. I took my iPod to a local beach and did my training for the day on the beach. The scenery, the weather… everything was perfect! Except sand is very different from sidewalk. By the time I made it back to my starting point after 30 minutes, I climbed into my car and sat there and cried. I wept for the girl that I used to be. I wept for the fat girl that I’ve allowed myself to become. And I let go of the notion that I had to be perfect.

I read somewhere that if I felt the need to repeat a week, it was fine. The point was to keep a regular practice of “running” to train my body to endure a 5K without dying. I can’t quote the source of that statement, but it doesn’t matter to me if I just made it up. My personal bottom line is that I am going to do this if I have to repeat every week of the 12 weeks to the point that this becomes a 24 week or 36 week or even a 52 week journey to a 5K.

I have also been tracking my food intake using www.livestrong.com/myplate as my tracking resource.

Reality Check #2: I need to take more into consideration than just maintaining a fixed calorie ceiling. After tracking my food intake religiously since August 27 and staying within my calorie cap nearly every day, my weight is not coming off the way I’d hoped. Some re-evaluation is necessary at this point to determine how to better manage my food intake.

The truth is I still have quite a few bad habits in need of breaking. I drink diet soda like some people drink coffee or pop pills. I’m an emotional eater and the quality of my calorie intake is often impacted by emotional choices rather than quality considerations. Here’s a real shocker, though. Sometimes I forget to eat.

What? How can someone that is remarkably obese FORGET to eat? I have learned over the last two weeks that if I don’t eat breakfast before I go out for my morning “run”, then I won’t eat breakfast. Thirty minutes of “wogging” seems to curb my appetite. Now I know I have to eat SOMETHING before I set foot out the door or it won’t happen. I have also been diagnosed with ADD, so it’s not difficult for me to lose myself in something and lose all track of time. I guess I’m going to have to set a timer or a series of alarms on my phone to remind me to stop what I’m doing and eat.

This seems contrary to what I’ve always been taught. I have heard from many sources, “Don’t eat if you’re not hungry.”

Reality Check #3: If you wait until you’re hungry to eat, then you’re far more likely to overeat. I am a recovering bulimic/binge eater. I battled with bulimia when I was a dance major in college. I finally gave up purging when I changed my major, but I didn’t give up binging. In fact, I still battle the urge to binge on a regular basis. Food has been my drug of choice for many years and I can’t just go to the nearest “rehab” facility and get clean. Oh, if only it were possible to do just that!

That was the reason I attempted to attract the attention of the casting agents of the Biggest Loser. That was going to be my “clinic”, my intervention.

Reality Check #4: I can manage my own intervention. I have a wonderful circle of friends and family that are supportive and encouraging. I have a therapist. I don’t need some warped sense of reality TV. I can make my own reality with support that makes more sense for me. 

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