What is this all about?

I started this blog to keep me accountable in my fitness and clean eating journey. My first post was in March of 2007 and I've been posting ever since. As you will see I've had many highs and lows...but this is all about the journey...not just the destination

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The Valley

There is not clever way to start this post. I just need to come clean. The last week was what I am now calling my valley . Over the last 15 months, I have been consistently working out 4-5 times a day and meal tracking (on most days) in an effort to continue to lose weight and keep it off. My total weight loss over the last 15 months has been lost 58lbs and I've managed to stay within 1-2 lbs of my lowest weight. I have learned so much about weight control and how to use exercise to bring me joy. Well – the last week it was as if I forgot who I was or who I had become. After 4 days of not working out – it became easier to not work out and to be less strict with my diet. I reverted back to my old ways, just like that . It was scary that it was so easy. This blog is like a nagging voice that keeps reminding me to do be accountable. The days I don't blog it is usually because I am exhausted and fall asleep or because I am hiding from something. This week it was definitely the latter. If I didn't have this blog, I would probably have an easier time not being accountable – so I am thankful that I have decided to bare my struggles in such a public way. It keeps me accountable – not to the people that read this – but to myself.

Over the past week, I've had foods that I have not had in over a year – sandwiches, potato chips (not baked), pasta . In the moment- I remember feeling like I should stop but continuing anyway. The part of me that continues anyway is the old me. I remember thinking and feeling the same way when I was overeating. I knew it was wrong but in the moment – the comfort/satisfaction that I was getting outweighed the benefits of not doing it. As stupid as that sounds – it is my reality. Even now – when I know better. When I look back over the individual incidents, i can see a few fatal flaws on my part. 1) I brought these foods into my house. Something I had not done before. We were supposed to have a big cookout on Sunday before Memorial day, so much of the food in question was "for guests". Well it rained, the guest didn't show and we had a house full of chips. 2) I didn't take action to prevent me from overeating. When I am at my strongest – I am good about destroying the food or making it so disgusting that I won't eat it. I remember a time when visiting NJ , when I put catsup over a piece of delicious apple pie, just so that I would not have more than 1 bite. I didn't do that this week.

I still weighed myself every day and I gained 5lbs but quickly loss 4. Yes all over a week. So the net is that I am up 1. Here is what I think is going on….I've managed to change or reset my metabolism by working out so consistently. So a few days of not working out will not create a bunch of damage. I think this might last for about 1 week. I also believe that water and elimination are key . When I eat poorly and don't exercise, I don't eliminate as often (ok oversharing but hey It is my blog) and that weight stays with me (can be 1lb a day). Certain foods are more harmful than others. Overeating an omelet and salmon has a different impact on my weight than if I overeat a sandwich or pasta. The carbs are not metabolized in the same way. I felt my old fat self coming back – when I would look at the scale and expect to see a higher number. I remember distinctly on my way to my most obese self, weighing myself and expecting it to be higher. And instead of feeling grateful and ready to take corrective action, I would feel like I got a pass . I would continue the behavior until I reached the higher number, then I'd take corrective action. That is a totally different mindset than that of the new me. The new me sees the scale and expects it to go down. When it doesn't I take corrective action. My danger weight tells me it is time to take urgent strong corrective action. This week I did not take urgent corrective action when I saw the daily changes.. I watched – expecting the number to be higher…but i didn't stop what I was doing.

Why is this happening?

I don't know… at the heart of it I am feeling more stressed than I have been but not as stressed as I was in NJ . Although I think I may be getting there. I have a ton to figure out at work and a few added responsibilities in my personal life. I am also feeling upset with myself for allowing an incident at the gym to impact my workout . I should be able to not let anything get in my way …but I am . Perhaps the food is replacing my need to talk. I don't' know.

I do know that my spiritual connection is off and that is having an impact . When I start getting stressed and worried – it means that I've lost focus on who is in control. God knows everything that is going on in my life and I need to trust Him to work it out. When I start worrying and getting stressed I am not trusting him. I've been so busy lately that it has been hard to fit in my daily quiet times. Let me restate that in a more accountable way… I've allowed myself to become distracted and I've not been connected to God in a way that I need .

From here …where

So I am about to leave for a European business trip and I will be exposed to good rich food as well as be physically exhausted from the jet lag. My plan is to workout as much as possible and to apply restraint – but enjoy the food. I am not planning on drinking . I also will not do the Issaquah Triathlon because I will be arriving on the same day. I am going to focus on getting ready for the Seafair tri . My goal is to get back in gear and prepare myself mentally, physically and spiritually.

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About Me

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West Coast, United States
I am a christian woman, wife, mom to 2 great kids, a member of Delta Sigma Theta, A Jack and Jill mom, sister, daughter . I am also incredibly fit but wasn't always. I am a recovering fat girl - who takes it one day at a time.

Alonda the Triathlete!

Alonda the Triathlete!

The backstory-----How did I become a triathlete...

In February 2006, I went on a ski trip with my new colleagues from work. On the way back, I sat next to a girl named Wendy - a really friendly woman who talked about her experience as a newcomer to Seattle. She told me how her main source of making friends was through her workout buddies. She also mentioned that many of her friends participate in triathlons and that (get this) I should consider doing one too. I thought she might have been delirious from all of the skiing. I assured her that I was not the one. She obviously had mistaken me for someone else. Perhap my heavy coat prevented her from seeing what was underneath (50 lbs of extra weight and lots of evidence of no exercise). She continued with this crazy talk, speaking of how fun it is and how supportive the Danskin Triathlon is. I wanted to be sure that she and I were thinking of the same thing... Triathlon (swim bike run -some huge number of miles -all on the same day right after each other). Yup this was it. I chuckled and told her to have fun.
A few weeks later at the office, she mentioned it again. Now at this time, I had been contemplating joining my company sponsored health club (PROCLUB) and in particular the weight loss program called 20/20. After all, I had really packed on the pounds. I arrived in WA 50lbs overweight and pretty unhappy with myself. I actually started to think that completing triathlon would be a good goal...impossible but a good goal. I decided to go for it. At the same time I also decided to join the weight loss program. My first meeting with my trainer ..Anthony Parker was on 3/14/06. I told him ..in all of my fatness, that I wanted to do a triathlon. He looked at me and said hmmm, ok.
I began this really intense workout and nutrition program and began building my endurance. My first meetings with Anthony consisted of walking on the treadmill for 20 minutes and then doing stairclimber or eliptical for 15 minutes. Followed by a bit of strength training. I did this 3x a week (between 6am and 7:30) and then worked out on my own 2 other days. I had absolutely no endurance and could not run for more than 1 minute. Over the months, my endurance grew ..slowly at first then more rapidly. I also figured that I needed to improve my swimming skills if I was going to swim for 1/2 a mile. I took a Total Immersion Class.. which teaches swimming efficiency. Let's set the record straight here... I could swim well enough to save myself if I was thrown off of a boat. I was a decent (not great) swimmer. At the start of the class, I could do 1 (that's right ONE) lap and then I started breathing heavy. At that point I new the triathlon was totally out of reach. After all 1/2 mile was equal to 20 laps. I left the 1st day of class feeling scared and dismayed that I was too aggressive. Maybe I should have set my goal for 2007.
The next week's class, I asked the teacher what I needed to do to build my endurance. He said just keep at it, it will come. You know what, it did. Each week I got better and better. 4 weeks later I was able to swim 9 laps. I then started swimming before my workouts with my trainer (a little crazy but hey). My trainer was pretty impressed. I also started biking on the weekends. In fact in May I did a 30 mile bike ride as a part of the Tour De Cure for Diabetes. I really love biking...:)
Ok so I still had not tackled the most difficult part, the running. Not only could I not run but I absolutely hated it. I started adding running to my treadmill work. Anthony suggested intervals. We started with 2min run 2 min walk . I did this for weeks extending the time and the speed. I was up to running at 5.5 and walking at 4.0. Then Anthony said ..let's see if you can run a mile. I thought he was kidding. I did not think I was ready for that. This was May 5th (a day after my birthday). Guess what I did it. And I didn't feel like I was going to die. I was on top of the world. All day I had a little extra spring in my step. I just kept replaying in my head the "goal attained" message on the treadmill. I just could not believe it.
I kept it up, continued working out 5x a week. I took another swim class "Triathlon Swim Training" to help even more. This class was filled with drills and specific swim workouts. I really saw progress. By the end of the class, I was able to swim 28 laps. Now the challenge was to swim in Open Water. That's right. The triathlon was going to be in Lake Washington.
I finally felt like I could really do it. I didn't have a specific time goal , my goal was to finish. The week before the race I was sooo nervous. I was doing mini triathlons with a few really good girls. I kept up with them during the swim but one bike ride was particularly hilly and....they left me in the dust. I felt so bad and really began to rethink whether or not I should do the race. I spoke to one of the girsl about my bike performance , and she said that my bike was holding me back. That day, I decided to retire my 35lb mountain bike for a 19 lb feather light road bike. Boy what a differnce. This was a risky thing to do so close to the race but it worked for me.
The other thing to mention is that I met up with a wonderful group of women called the Soul Sistas. They are a group of African American Women of all ages who participate in triathlons and bike races. They are so awesome.We (the soul sistas) took pictures the day before the race... I'll post when available.
So the day of the race..... Everybody in the house is excited and up. My kids and my nieces - who were visiting from NJ are all up and ready to root me on. I left early so that I could get ready.The goal was to meet me by the swim finish. This was alll pretty tricky because there were 40 waves of swimmers starting every 3 minutes. All I can say about the swim is that it felt much longer than 1/2 a mile. I kept focused and didn't get nervous. I focused on keeping my breathing relaxed. It worked ...and by the way I wasn't the last swimmer in my group YEAHHH. I don't know how it all worked out but as soon as I finished my swim, I saw them. Byron , Tyler, Paris, Ahlia and Ivy were all waiting there for me with the most beautiful handmade signs saying GO MOMMY, Go AUNTIE, I love you. It was so terrific. Once I saw them I was energized.... Now on to the bike.
The bike was the best part of the entire race. I love my bike and I love to fly down the road. The entire 14 miles of the race was closed to traffic. Our longest stretch was on the express lane of one of the largest highways. Imagine flying down a highway with nothing in your way (but other riders on your right). It was so amazing. I was going pretty fast but could have gone faster - but wanted to save my legs for the run.
Now the run... I hate running and I am really bad at it. I am slow and not terribly efficient. After biking hard for 40 minutes, your legs are really worked up. During the after bike run, your legs turn into "bricks". They are heavy and hard to move. If you push through , you can get over the feeling and get into a stride. Well I also felt pains in my knee. So instead of running the entire 3.2 miles I decided to walk run. In the end it was actually fine - but while doing it I was a little disappointed. Danskin is great because there are so many supporters on the way. Cheerleaders who are yelling "go for it" from their back porch. It was just what I needed. In fact I heard Destiny's Child Im a survivor , on my way and that was what I used in my head to keep me going.
So when I realize I am about 1/2 mile from the end, I start getting super excited and very emotional. It is all coming together now -- all the training, the visualization of actually crossing the finish line and my waiting family. I got on my cell phone to cal my husband, just to make sure he was at the finisth line. He cracked up that I called:)
When you come close to the finsih line, there are all these spectators lined up waiting for you. It is so great! I ran through a narrow entry to the wide finish line area. And there they were.. my family (My hubby, kids and neices) - with signs and smiles. When I crossed the finish line, my name was announced and the official put a medal around my neck. Well I just lost it and started crying. I could not believe that I had just completed a triathlon. I was officially a triathlete.