Friday, October 23, 2015

Changes



It's funny how some memories stick with you for forever.  Some of those memories seem so very clear, it's almost like having a movie projector in your head.

I have a teenage memory that stands out incredibly clear for me. It evokes potent emotions each time it comes up.  It is so vivid that when I call it up, I feel very much like I am there again.

I can see the green and black zebra striped wall paper. (Who puts wallpaper in a mobile home?)

I can see the molding strip that comes down ALMOST to the top of the mirror.  It stops about one inch away.  It was that way from the day my parents bought the place, and of all the flaws they found that they had the company fix, this one they missed.  So it stayed.  Yes the molding had the green and black zebra striped wall paper on it too.

I can see the counter top, littered with soaps and lotions and potions all designed to make a teenage girl feel like a socially acceptable person.

In case you were wondering, no.  There was no make up.  Even then, I had no interest in that.

I can see the rugs on the floor.  They were all shades of blue.  Nothing to match the green and black zebra stripes surrounding me.

I can see my image in the mirror.  I was about 16, in the in the first iteration of a relationship that would be on again off again for a couple of years.  I was studying myself, trying to see what he saw in me.

I was disheartened at what I saw.

I began crying, tears streaming non stop down my face.

"How could anyone ever love me if this is the way I look?"  That phrase floated through my brain in a loop.  Sometimes quietly.  Sometimes so very loudly.

I hadn't put my shirt on yet, and only had a bra on.   I remember feeling horrified at what I saw.

I could see my ribs.

All of them.  

It looked so vulgar to me.  So disgusting.  So horrifying.






Now I look in the mirror and feel the same horror and disgust.  I can't see one single rib, but the horrified feeling is the same.

I get ready to ride my bike and feel pretty darn good.  Somehow the bike clothes, despite the over abundance of spandex, make me feel like I am this incredible athlete.   Sometimes as I ride, I look at myself move.  I feel my strength.  I allow myself a moment to feel like I am this incredible athlete, strong enough to accomplish anything.  Except maybe that hill over there.  That hill scares me.  (One day I'll try it though). 

I get home, put the bike away, still rather high on that 'you did it - WOW " feeling.

Then I take off my superhero suit.

And walk by the mirror.

It all fades away with that one reflection. 



I am trying to make changes in my life that will make changes in me.


I'd be lying if I didn't say that I sometimes look back on that day when I was 16 and think - what I wouldn't give to see that image now.






Now for my number.


237.2

I have made it a personal policy to get on the scale once a week and take whatever number is there at face value.

Up or down.

But today I got on the scale and it said 237.2    Which shocked me.  

So I got off.

And got on again.

This time it said 240.2.

So I got off.

And got on again.

240.2

Two more times.  Same 240.2

I think the universe was trying to throw me a bone.  And then got upset when I threw it back.

But there's my number.

240.2

Friday, October 16, 2015

I deserve it.


I am still going.

I started August 1st. 
I have gone 274 miles.
I have ridden almost 26 hours.
I have climbed over 21000 feet.
I am up to nearly 8 miles every day I ride.
I am trying to ride 5 out of 7 days each week.
My current average speed is about 11.5mph

I am now at the point where each ride feels good.  Even the hard starts, and the awkward moments, and the "well crap, blew that" and have to push the bike up the hill a touch are all ending with 'that felt good' and the next morning I want to ride again.

Now the days I don't ride, I have progressed from thinking "whew, glad I didn't ride" to wishing I could have ridden and truly missing riding that day.

I feel stronger.  My legs have more strength in them. I can stand and put my pants on without leaning on something.  My cardiovascular capabilities are noticeably better.  I can actually run after my dog when he gives me an alert - I am truly at the point where I am choosing not to run when running will kill me because I will fall - daylight, terrain, etc as opposed to not being able to run.  I will say, any serious length and I am still in trouble as far as trying to stay with him.  I am proud, however, of what I am seeing and how I am feeling.


I am still struggling.  


I want so much for things to change for me.  What does that mean?  In this context it means to lose weight.  I am putting out all this effort to make a healthier me.  Doesn't that mean I should be losing weight?  Look at those miles!  Look at that time in the saddle!  

Yet not much has changed.  I started at 245.   I have seen 246.

And not much has changed.  

If I am to be totally honest... that is a very true statement.

Yes I ride.  I ride more each week.  More miles, more time, more distance, more often.  And I am guessing that I feel that should be enough.   Enough to make a difference.  I mean, come on!  I am riding and riding and riding!  Why do I have to change anything else?

I love food.  That's not truly accurate.  I love some foods.  A lot.  

I also have a mind set of "I deserve it".

The morning was hard?  I deserve a snack.

The afternoon was hectic and crazy?  I deserve a snack.
(and yes.. I had breakfast and lunch too!)

What a long day!   I deserve dessert too!

I haven't snacked in a while!  I deserve a snack!

I truly do say that to myself.  A version of it anyway - I have earned it, I deserve it... anything like that.  So I go get my reward.

Now, I am not saying I am eating two dinners, 3 desserts and a whole pizza.   

But I have another soda. (Soda is a sincere addiction for me - but I think that's another topic for another day.  Maybe.)

And take another bite.

And have chips with the Red Bull.

And it adds up. Obviously.

Or at least, it doesn't subtract.      

So when not much has changed, I shouldn't be disappointed.

Yet I am.  I am disappointed in me.


I am not sharing this because I am looking for weight loss advice.  I am not looking for ways to change my mindset. 


I am sharing this for a couple of reasons.

One - I can't be alone in this.  I am certain I am not the only one who feels this way or struggles with this.  So I share to let them know THEY are not alone.

And two... sometimes, sharing the struggle takes the power away from the struggle. Verbalizing it somehow makes it real, but then makes it conquerable.  So I am hoping that by sharing it, it will become less of an issue and something I can overcome.



I will keep going.

I will get back on that bike and ride more.
I will likely have another soda too.

But I will keep going.

My number today is 239.8.

"You have to fully, completely, unapologetically approve of yourself."

I deserve that too.






Monday, October 5, 2015

Stranger Inspiration




I was going to talk about lessons after a rain.  Slippery places and puddles. My headlight playing tricks on me.  Riding in the dark.   But something happened.

It was a rough start this morning.  Shortly into the ride, my bike shorts' elastic waist band folded over and rolled down.  This happens because, quite frankly, there's a bit too much fat in the middle of me and it pushes on the elastic until the elastic cries uncle and backs off.  That made me quite sad.  That had happened to me all the time in the beginning.  Every single ride.    Only recently had I noticed that it hadn't been happening at all.  In fact, on Thursday, after a particularly good ride in a week of particularly good rides, I allowed myself to think that perhaps changes were indeed happening with my body, even though the scale was reticent to share the same good news with me.

When it happened again this morning, I was more than crestfallen.  However, as I rode, I tried to push myself and find the good feeling I had been having of late.  Regardless of the missteps with shifting gears that I seem to be doomed to repeat, each ride has felt better and better.  As I make it into my driveway, I am relishing the feeling of the ride before I look at the numbers.  Then the numbers only make the ride feel that much better.

Reaching for that good feeling, I got on with the ride despite the now fallen waistband.  I chose a tad bit of a different route.  It was a whim and I decided to just go with it.  In the end it still encompassed 99% of the normal ride, just a bit in a different sequence.  

As I turned down a street, I saw one of my now familiar, if only on sight, neighbors walking her dog.  She appears to be a quite fit woman and I suspect walking the dog is not her sole source of exercise as the dog appears older and not a good jogging candidate.  Intent on her cell phone,as she nearly always is when I see her on the street, she paid me no mind as I passed her going down the cul de sac, and then again as I came back up the street.  I turned and zoomed down the hill and hit my turn around spot.  I intended on pushing myself back up the hill.  I wasn't going to stair step it as I always did by turning onto the street mid rise to ease the length and steepness of the hill. 

I was going to conquer it in it's entirety. 

And then I saw her.  Fit, cell phone concentrating, dog walking woman.  She was crossing where I would be heading up the hill and I saw her hesitate, unsure of my path.  In an instant  a dozen thoughts came through my mind.

I don't think I can make the hill.

If I can't make the hill, she'll see it.

She'll see me have to stop and get off my bike.

She'll see me walk the bike up this insignificant hill.

She'll think I have no business riding this bike.

I will be embarrassed by my inability to ride up a truly simple hill.

I can't let her see that.  

Turn.  Must. Turn.


So I signaled to her that I was turning out of her path.  She nodded her thanks and continued boldly walking.  

As I passed her, I heard her say it.

Words that for then next 1/2 mile would bring tears to my eyes.  

"You're doing great!"

I simultaneously froze and continued riding.  Time stopped.    I processed what I had heard.

Fortunately, my politeness didn't wait.  I gave her a sincere, heartfelt  Thank You.


No, I didn't change course and challenge the hill, pushed on by the stranger's words.  

I continued on my path down my stair step street because I needed to mindlessly ride for a minute.  I needed to process what this stranger had said to me.

I needed to process that it meant so much to me. 

In just those three words, she told me that she had noticed.  She had noticed me riding diligently.   She noticed my effort.    She acknowledged that effort and the reasons behind it.

That I am fat, but I am trying not to be.  And that I was doing great. 

This woman's words were heard by my very core.  The core that the negativity emanates from.   I heard what she said, but moreover, I felt what she said.



Never underestimate the power your words have to change a stranger's day.  To maybe make them change their course, make them reevaluate the steps that they are taking, or to confirm that the path they are on is the right one and that one phrase will keep them going. 




I have gone 212 miles since August 1st, with an elevation gain of over 16,000 feet.  My average speed is 11.4 mph.



My number is 240.8