Motivation Monday – Highlight Reel

I’ve seen this quote floating around a lot lately, but I think it’s an important one to remember.

Even the best among us have bad days.  Days where a run goes poorly or our hair looks terrible or we completely tank a solo in choir or…

When you have a bad behind-the-scenes moment, think back to your highlight reel.  And what you want to see on it too.

Fitness and Body Image

I’m not going to lie.  I started running because I thought it would jumpstart my weight loss.

And it did to some degree.  But then life happened and so did age and medication and I’m back to having very stubborn fat.  I’m a very stubborn person, so it makes sense that my fat would be like me.

A lot of my friends think I’m crazy when I call myself a fat runner.  And I admit it, I’m not the biggest girl out there.  But I’m not the smallest either.  My BMI has me teetering right on the overweight/obese line.  My legs are very muscular though, so I think the BMI is a bit skewed.  Doesn’t mean my weight is healthy by any means though.

I don’t put on weight in one particular place.  It likes to go to my thighs, my breasts, my face, but most noticeably to me, my stomach.  I am insanely self-conscious about my belly rolls.  I try to wear clothing that doesn’t emphasize it while still trying to not look pregnant.  Too much belly disguising can do that to a larger busted woman, after all.  I know that it doesn’t work, but it makes me feel better about myself.

I don’t worry about it as much when I run, at least until I see the pictures afterwards.  When I’m running, I feel powerful.  Sure, the water belt around my waist gives me a lovely fat roll, but who cares? I’m running.  I see pictures later and think “Oh man, I so should have sucked it in when I saw that camera.”   But I don’t let it get to me.  I have a less than flattering photo of myself hanging on my fridge from a race I ran last year.  In it, I’m powering through the finish line, having just earned a new PR.  I don’t even notice my stomach in that photo.  Just the smile on my face (and the giant jet of red hair flying behind me).

As I look at triathlon gear, this is the thing that bothers me the most.  The tops are tight.  They should be – it’s hard to swim in a loose shirt.  But there’s no way for me to hide my body in those.  Does it mean I’m not going to do the tri? No.  But it’s definitely something I have to get over.

Honestly, I need to lose weight, and ideally, the belly fat would go.  Being overweight does raise cholesterol levels, and belly fat is the least healthy sort of fat and comes with all sorts of health risks.  But I have to be honest – even though I know that I should want it because it will make me healthy, I want it to feel better about the way I look.  I shouldn’t care.  But I do.



Cholesterol Levels

Last week, I had my annual physical.  Always big fun.  This appointment came with a bonus tetanus shot, the gift that kept on giving in the form of a sore arm for days.  Of course, a sore arm is much better than actual tetanus, so I’ll take it.

I’m not a thin woman, so my doc is always watching my weight.  I’m on meds that lead to some weight gain, but I’ve managed to keep it stable over the last year, so that’s a plus.  I would like to see a downward trend, but I’m doing what I can.

The big thing that my doc wants to check is my cholesterol.  For no apparent reason, my cholesterol levels aren’t great.   The prescription is that I should eat a low cholesterol diet and exercise.

Well, I’ve got the exercise thing down.  We’ll discuss the diet in a bit.  First, the actual numbers.

Total Cholesterol – 210.  Under 200 is desirable, 200-239 is mildly high.  So this is something that needs to change.

Triglycerides – 150.  Less than 150 is ideal, 150-199 is mildly high.  I’m right on the border, so I’m not too worried.

HDL – 45.5.  This is the good cholesterol, so higher is better.  Less than 50 in women is considered a risk factor for heart disease.  That’s not good.

LDL – 134.7.  Ideal is less than 100, 100-129 is near normal, and 130-159 is borderline high.  Yet another strike against me.

So what am I going to do about this?  I started researching a low cholesterol diet on WebMD.  LDL is linked with saturated fats and trans fats in the diet.  That’s something I do watch, so not really a change I can make.  HDL can be helped by eating healthy fats and it helps by removing the bad cholesterol.  So more healthy fats!  For triglycerides, “people who are overweight, inactive, smokers, or heavy drinkers tend to have high triglycerides, as do those who eat a very high-carb diet.”  Well, one of those five things applies to me.  So the weight loss goal is a good one.

Studies have shown that dietary cholesterol doesn’t have much of an effect on cholesterol levels, so eggs aren’t bad (not that I eat more than 4 a month).  I do eat a bunch of fiber, which is also a good thing.  But I clearly need to step things up.

I’m going to continue my weight loss goals, trying to eat a minimum of 85 grams of protein a day and balancing that with eating fewer carbs and mainly healthy carbs.  I also setup my diary on My Fitness Pal to track trans fats and saturated fat to see if it’s sneaking in (a quick survey of an average week shows no trans fats and very low saturated fat numbers).

Anyone else have suggestions on how to improve my cholesterol numbers?

Sweat Pink!

You may have noticed the new image on my sidebar or all of my excited Tweets, but I am a new Sweat Pink Ambassador!

I read their mission and I was hooked.

We believe that kicking ass is best done in pretty shoes. We’ve learned that real women sweat, and sweat hard. We know that assertiveness, strength, and ambition are the ultimate feminine qualities. We concede that sometimes it takes hours to get ready, but we’re also no strangers to just rolling out of bed and going. We’re convinced that we run faster in pink shoelaces. We believe in pushing ourselves, and we believe in giving ourselves a break, too. We’re all about the rush of endorphins and the thrill of the challenge. We’re all for looking great and feeling even better. We’re committed to finding our best fit, and making it stick.

How do we get there?
We climb.
We journey.
We balance.
We reward.

I admit it.  I’m a girly runner.  I like wearing fun clothes when I run.  I like skirts that look cute and fun colored shirts.  I think I feel the best about myself when I run.  Of course, it isn’t about being pretty, but it’s about being confident in your body and feeling good about yourself.

I have already met some great people through Sweat Pink and I’m excited to be part of this great group of fitness enthusiasts (who, me?) who are sharing their enthusiasm with others!

Ireland Recap – Part 3

I hope no one minds that I have dragged this recap out this long.  And if you do mind, well it’s my blog. 🙂  Come back tomorrow for more talk about running.

Day Seven – Travel to Kerry, Blarney Castle

Finally, it was time to leave Dublin.  Not to disparage the city, or anything.  It was a lovely city, just too crowded.  I would like to go back someday when there aren’t insane football fans on every corner.

On the way to Kerry, we stopped at Blarney Castle.

Bad news guys, I did not kiss the Blarney Stone.  I would have liked to climb up into the castle, but the line to get in was about 90 minutes long, and since we were limited in how much time we had there, I wanted to be sure to explore the grounds rather than just stand in a line.  Besides, that sounds very unsanitary.  And does anyone really think I need the gift of gab?

So instead, we wandered the castle grounds.  That was amazing.  It was gorgeous.  And it was another reminder that we were in a place very different from the United States.  No railings.  No protections.  And then there was this.

A poison garden!  With nothing keeping people from picking things!  But don’t worry, I didn’t pick anything.  I’m such a rule follower.

I did not attempt to pull it up to find out if it really screams.

It was definitely a place where you could imagine wizards and witches living though.  Very magical.

And finally, we made it to Tralee and checked in to our hotel.  We were all so tired that we just opted to eat in the hotel bar. Which was delicious.  I need to find the recipe for the brown bread we ate everywhere.

Day Eight – Ring of Kerry Tour

Yet another bus tour, but this one was amazing.  We had a wonderful tour guide who told us all about the history of Ireland and about her adventures as a tour guide.  She was the sort of person I want to be friends with. She does all sorts of tours on foot and bike around the Ring of Kerry, and I want to join her for one some day.

Also, she encouraged us to have an Irish Coffee (coffee, cream, sugar, and Jameson) early in the morning.  I had one and I cannot disagree with her.

My photos don’t do this trip justice.  It was gorgeous and I want to go back and bike the route.

The trip ended with a boat ride.

Followed by a horse drawn carriage ride.

All in all, a very cool trip, and a perfect way to end our visit to Ireland.

We were scheduled to go to another show that night, but we were so tired and the people going to the show wouldn’t get back til almost midnight, so we decided to skip it and just be lazy and enjoy our last night in the country.

Day Nine – Travel Home

Goodbye, Ireland.  This day was filled with stress, culminating in me getting scolded by an American Airlines agent for somehow violating federal law (note: she was wrong).  It definitely made me glad to be home, and glad that I’m not doing any big travel for a while.  But don’t worry, Ireland.  I will be back.