goals

In my last post, I spoke of something that had changed since I was a child — I feel a little guilty about taking Christmas presents.

Over the last couple of days, I’ve been thinking about that and I realized that something else has changed also.

I can no longer eat holiday food for days on end without a noticable food/sugar/over indulgence hangover.

As a kid and as an overweight adult, I was capable of eating and eating and eating. Sweets, rich food and all of the things that only come around during the holidays stood no chance around me. Despite the obscene amount of sweets that were presented to me as gifts or as items just left around the house or office, I would manage to eat through them all by New Year’s Day.

No joke.

That’s a lot of sugar consumption for 7 days….

Those days, are no more.

I have been feeling like I’ve been dying of a sugar overdose for days. I admit, despite being pretty “holiday’d out”, I still have been having a few cookies or pieces of candy a day. I was feeling pretty lousy about my lack of self-control, until I realized how far I’ve come.

A couple of weeks ago, I made this post, in which I showed half of the batch of Peppermint Mocha Fudge that I bid on during Tina’s bake sale fundraiser. I said that I had plans on freezing my half for later, as there were too many treats hanging about.

If this were 2006, I wouldn’t have frozen that fudge. I might’ve told you I was going to, out of embarrassment at the thought of you all thinking I was a fatty for eating it, but more than likely, I would’ve sat in my room eating it until I was sick.

But it isn’t 2006.

It’s 2010, and my half of the batch of fudge is safely in the freezer. I froze it with a few squares per Ziploc baggie, so that when I am ready to enjoy it again, I can just take out a small portion to enjoy. I did leave a few pieces on the counter to enjoy now. I still haven’t finished them all.

The day before that post I had made another post about all of the sweets that I was surrounded with.

In 2006, all of those TJ’s candy packages would’ve been long emptied and discarded. The Melty Kisses and most of those kit kats would’ve been gone too. The kitkats and Melty Kisses probably wouldn’t have made it to that photo shoot even.

But it isn’t 2006.

In 2010, I did eat a few more pieces of TJ’s candy, but all three of those partially eaten bags of candy are still in my desk drawer at work. There’s been so much food around, I haven’t been the least bit tempted to go back to them since that post. The Melty Kisses that I claimed wouldn’t make it to Christmas are still here. I didn’t eat another one after taking those pictures. I think I may’ve eaten ONE kitkat, but I think it was from the previous batch Maya had brought back in June.

That’s right. In 2006, there wouldn’t have been any kitkats from June to eat in December.

When I ran the Christmas Classic 5K on the 19th (recap is coming…waiting for my official time….it’s still not posted!! Grr!), they gave us Double Rainbow ice cream after the race and there were 4 See’s Truffles in our goodie bags.

If it were 2006, I would’ve eaten the ice cream AND all four truffles on the walk back home from the 5K.

Who am I kidding?  I wouldn’t have been RUNNING a 5K in 2006. Period!

9 days later and I still haven’t eaten the candy.

In addition, my Mom gave me a box of See’s in my Christmas stocking, as she always does. That would’ve easily been half gone by this point if it were 2006.

My See’s box is still in its plastic wrapping. The Swiss Miss and Kashi Cookies are unopened too.

So what does that all mean?

I’ve spent an amazing amount of time this year beating myself up because I put on 15+ pounds. Because there were some moments where I overindulged. A few times where I even ate an entire box of cookies or an entire pint of ice cream in one day. By myself. Are any of those things good? Of course not! But it’s life. Sometimes we do those things that are not good for us.

And after we’ve done them, it’s time to move on and look at the bigger picture.

I have come a long way, and while there still are bumps in the road, I feel good about all of the changes that have stuck.

Another fact:

In 2006, I would’ve been too ashamed to write this post. To tell you all about how I used to binge behind closed doors on chocolate and snacks.

Not in 2010. I’m not willing to waste one ounce of shame this holiday season on what has already been done. I suggest you not waste any either.

What changes have you made that have stuck?

When I started this blog in September, I really had no idea what it was going to turn into. I still don’t. Pretty much going into the project I had two goals. First, I wanted to share with others my experiences in trying to find a lifestyle that is healthy, enjoyable and maintainable, and secondly, I wanted to work at bringing writing back into my life.

The first item is essentially what I’ve struggled with for three years now, and I wanted to present posts that prove to others that there are people just like them in the world. As much as I want to be one of those bad ass women who seem to be able to do everything—cooking amazing food, working out everyday of the week, running marathons, taking professional looking pictures, dressing well, making progress in their careers and all of that jazz…I’m just not there. Frankly, I don’t think most people are. Learning to find that kind of balance takes a lot of time and patience. It also takes a lot of failures in addition to the successes. It doesn’t happen overnight, no matter how much you want it to.

The second item is a biggie for me. I’ve always been a writer. As a little girl I wrote stories, or chronicled what was going on in my life in more than a “Dear Diary” kind of way. I wrote essays that teachers didn’t even assign because I was interested in the subjects. Despite going to an arts high school for music, I found that my greatest moment in school was having my one act play performed at The Magic Theatre as part of the Young California Writers Project. I just knew this was what I wanted to do.

Problems started with my writing when I entered college. I majored in English with a Creative Writing focus, and although the classes were fun and I met some cool people, it wasn’t quite the type of writing I wanted to do. Despite my successful foray in high school, fiction, playwriting and especially poetry are things that I enjoy experiencing, but not creating. I enjoy either reporting on or fictionalizing reality a lot more than I enjoy making things up. Frankly, I think real life is much more interesting.

After spending 2-3 years writing several pieces a week on subjects that I wasn’t all that passionate about, I graduated from college feeling out of touch with my inner author. So I stopped writing. No blogging, journaling, fictionalizing or reporting. As time went on, I knew that I wanted to write for a living, but I just didn’t know how to get back into it. When 2010 rolled around and I realized I had been out of college for a full five years, I felt like it was the right time to get my voice back. I decided to start a blog where I talk about life and things that are happening around me in the moment, and hopefully, through the exercise, I would find my path.

Why am I telling you all of this?

Just because I wanted you to understand what I’m doing here, perhaps in a little more depth than what I’ve included in my About section.

And just because it was on my mind!

I’ve been thinking about the writing I’m producing here, and I like it. It’s not quite fully realized yet and it’s a little bit gritty…but so am I! I also like sharing the process with all of you. I’ve received some great feedback and have been making some new friends, so thanks for taking the time out to stop by and read. I really appreciate it.

NOW…

….it’s time for my bi-weekly Greenhearts CSA post!

IMG_2729[1] Romaine Lettuce IMG_2738 Assorted Summer Squash
IMG_2737 Red Russian Kale IMG_2741 Apple

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Nantes Carrots

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Broccoli

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Loose Baby Spinach

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Brussels Sprouts

IMG_2739 Persimmons, Sweet Dumpling Winter Squash and Pippin/Fuji Apples IMG_2735

Parsnips

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Fuyu Persimmons
IMG_2742 Sweet Dumpling Winter Squash

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Exactly what I was thinking!

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Man, I love me some Brussels Sprouts…

I’m pretty jazzed about my box this go around. It has some of my favorite things in there, such as apples, broccoli and brussels sprouts AND it has things that I’m really excited to try, such as the persimmons, kale and parsnips. It’s going to be a fun cooking week!

If you are a blogger, what made you decide to start up your blog? Also, what should I do with my squash?

I’ve been postponing making a first entry in this blog, as the decision of what to say first was weighing heavily on my brain. I went through tons of ideas and just couldn’t pick out where to begin. Luckily for me (and hopefully you!), something happened yesterday that ended all of the useless planning.

I ran my first race!

Now in the blogging world, that may not seem like such a big accomplishment. But it is. Let me explain.

I used to be overweight. I’m about 5’6″ and at my heaviest, I weighed about 232 lbs (though my doctor told me after I had already accepted this as my start weight that I had actually weighed closer to 240 lbs at a previous visit…). As you can imagine, I was really unhappy. All of my pictures looked a lot like this:

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Now as you can see, this girl to the left is smiling. Heck, she even is giving the thumbs up sign. But she isn’t happy and it shows. I literally felt trapped in this body. I always felt tired and sick, though at the time, I had no idea why. You see, I had always been this way. My whole family is this way. Overweight, unhappy and lost.

I won’t get into the weight loss story here, as that is a post in itself. The fact of the matter is that this girl to my left had a saying: “Alexa doesn’t run.” I really used to say that. My co-worker is a very serious, competitive runner. He does crazy things like run the Boston Marathon. He was always encouraging me to give it a try and I would just say with a very serious face, “Alexa doesn’t run.”

You see, running and I have had it out for each other for as long as I can remember. In elementary school, I wasn’t capable of running in the relay races because I would have coughing attacks. They may have even been psychosomatic, as I got teased relentlessly for being slow. I was always the last picked for teams in gym and in middle school, the thing I despised about P.E. the most was the dreaded mile run. I think I only passed it ONCE. In 6th grade. With a D- time. Eventually I gave up even trying to run the thing and I would simply walk the 2.5 times around the block that the mile comprised. Most of the time, the gym teacher would say something like, “Oh jeez. We don’t have time to wait for you if you’re not going to even bother to try. Just sit down.”

Hey, works for me. Now instead of having to run around the block, I only had to walk around it once! Score for the fat kid!

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Anyway, since those youthful days of shame and teasing, I have changed. About 3 years ago I started on the path of cleaning up my lifestyle and I lost somewhere in the ballpark of 90lbs. I’ve put maybe 15lbs back on over the last year, but I’ve maintained most of the loss and I certainly didn’t give up on the healthy lifestyle. Though I have had lapses, I’ve still tried to keep myself active. I walk 3+ miles to work when I can. Last year, I learned how to swim (yes, you read correctly, at 27 years old, I didn’t know how to swim…and I live in a coastal area…). I have a gym membership. I hike. But running? Eh….no.

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I tried to like running. I went back to my old middle school and made myself run around the block. Sort of battling old demons, you know? Nope. Still hated it. I tried to get into it on the treadmill several times, but I just couldn’t make myself finish C25K. I hated the treadmill. How boring. A couple of months ago, however, I decided to try something. I had a theory. Maybe I didn’t need to face old demons or run in place for 30 minutes. Maybe I needed a whole new experience. So I put on my running shoes and took off for “The Panhandle”, a stretch of park in San Francisco that, well, looks like the handle of a pan. I tried to jog it. It was painful. I had to stop a lot….but you know, I didn’t hate it. Over the next few weeks, I kept trying and I got better.

Hey, maybe this running thing isn’t so bad.

I’ve been doing this run for a while now and I’ve gotten myself up to a 2.5-3 mile course. Only problem is that I still have to take walking breaks. These breaks really slow my pace down and they sort of made me think that I was no where near ready to run a race. But all around me, people in the blog would run races. My co-worker runs races. Maybe I could run a race. I ended up picking a really small 5K to try — The Marina Green 5K. It is put on by a local running club, Dolphin South End Runners. They put on a race almost every week that is low key and cheap (read: $5 for a non-member!).

I went back and forth about whether or not I would show up. I had been feeling pretty sick on Saturday and I got NO sleep the night before the race, thanks to my cat Cosette (Cosie, for short!) finding a moth in my apartment to hunt all night. Cosie, I love you, but you are too darned loud!

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In the end, I decided to go. Though it is my normal tendency to not tell anyone about my goals in case I fail (yeah, I know, unhealthy…), I actually had told several people about my intent to run this race, so I really didn’t want to let anyone down. Most of all, I didn’t want to let myself down. After all, there was nothing to lose…no matter what my time ended up being, it would still end up being my PR, right?!

So I decided to do this thang!

Breakfast: One slice of whole wheat toast with peanut butter and 1/2 banana. 1 cup of coffee (not pictured)

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Observing the crowd:

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Nervous…I am going to run a race?! What?!

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Finished!

170 out of 205 runners; 33:17 total; 10:44 pace

(and I ran the WHOLE thing! No walking breaks, baby!)

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The moral of this story?

Alexa DOES run!