1200 calories and 90 grams of protein. That is my goal each day. When I was told this I laughed…1200 calories? Good luck! I obstinately decided it was impossible and avoided using the food tracking app, MyFitnessPal, that we were all told to use so we could tell us just how well we were or were not doing. That was for the first day at least. This morning I decided I might as well try it. What could it hurt? Right? Turns out I don’t even have to change how I eat and I am still under 1200 calories. Clearly it is the alcohol and pizza that has been my downfall. Guess who gets to be designated driver from now on!! This girl! Guess whose bank account will be appreciative! Silver lining and all that.
But that is the boring part. At least it is to me because I have been a pretty clean eater for some years now and actually like fruits and veggies and lean meat. (SPINACH IS MY LIFE!!) The super fun part of all of this so far has been keeping my morale up. Super. Fun. You see, we are supposed to start a fitness regime to go alone with our clean and healthy eating and yesterday was not easy. Around seven o’clock I had a complete breakdown and found myself in the fetal position on my bed, crying because I felt like I couldn’t do it. I have been able to motivate myself before but in that moment I just felt completely defeated by…well…myself.
“No matter how hard you work it won’t make any difference. You will fail.” I said.
The little voice in my head replied with, “If you don’t try you definitely will fail.”
“So why even try?”
“Because you can do it. It will make a difference. You’ve done it before.”
And slowly, after over an hour of fighting with the voice in my head, I decided that I might as well get my ass off the bed, put on my old running clothes and try this whole fitness thing again. After all, I thought, exercise releases endorphins and that couldn’t be a bad thing when I was feeling particularly low and depressed. So, on went my running shoes, in went my ear buds, and to the park I ran.
Even several years ago when I was running (mostly walking) every day it took me months to build up the stamina to run more than a minute. I think I got up to 12 minutes (not on a treadmill – I got up to an hour on that bitch but being indoors is not my thing so I tended to stick with the sidewalk; it is much cheaper than a gym membership, after all!) at one point but it only took a few months of not running to completely lose all my stamina and start from square one. Talk about defeating!
Given that, I knew I wouldn’t be able to run for very long at all and instead decided on a brisk walk to warm up and then running until I couldn’t breath, walking until I could again, and then running again. I figured it was better than nothing, right? But no sooner had I reached the park then I realized that my left hip, the hip that I believe has a labral tear in it but I am too stubborn to see a doctor about, was beginning to protest. “Sara…you ass,” it intoned over and over. I knew this would happen, though. Walking causes pain on a good day so running would be no better. But, me being me, I retorted with, “If I can survive a broken foot without even knowing about it, then I can survive this.” We had a good laugh and continued on our journey with the help of Mickey Avalon in our ears. Because listening to a white guy rap about sex, drugs, and alcohol is surprisingly motivating. Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it!
Once I headed into the park and crossed the creeks bridge I thought I was possibly pushing myself too hard because I started to see lights. Lots of them. And every time I would try to look at them they would disappear. I stopped running and took some deep breaths before realizing how much of an idiot I was. Lightning bugs. They were lightning bugs, folks. It took a lot of strength not to go chasing after them – I’m the person who considers chasing after a squirrel…while driving. Why? BECAUSE THEY’RE SO CUTE!! This one time I almost hopped a curb accidentally trying to follow two that were chasing each other. You should hear what happens when I see a butterfly! Moving on…
As I exited the park and headed home I decided to stare at my feet and therefore accidentally ran straight through a swarm of gnats and swallowed a mouthful (can I add those to my protein count?) as a sign that distractions were not a good thing while running. Head high, Sara. Head high. And so I continued, for forty minutes I switched between jogging and walking through my neighborhood and it felt good. I even scared a guy into crossing the street when he saw me. Me with my neon orange running shoes, electric blue jacket, and black cap. I’m hood like that. Holla!
The best part about running my first day? I only tripped once! About a block from home. I call that winning!! And since day one was such a success I decided to up the ante and actually start my training for the 5k I am supposed to be doing in September. Oh the wonder of apps these days!! Turns out the first day of training involves intervals of 60 seconds of running and 90 seconds of walking. I totally knew that. That’s why I did it the first day. Yep. Like a boss!
Stay tuned for more wonderful tales of the adventures of focusing on yourself for a change! Also, in case you were wondering, the voice in my head and I are currently not speaking. I hate being wrong. I hate it even more when I also happen to be right at the same time. As if life isn’t confusing enough…
Tonight I attended my first Project Me meeting and quite honestly I have not been so nervous in quite awhile. On the forty minute drive to the meeting I oscillated from excited to downright terrified. I almost turned around twice on the highway and then, after getting lost and then having to circle the block four times before 1) finding the meeting place, and 2) finding a parking spot, I had nearly convinced myself to turn around and head back home. But then my good sense kicked in and I figured if I had already spent all that time finding the damn place I might as well go in. I did pay to do this after all…why waste the money, right? Right.
So what is Project Me? Well that you can find out on their website which will explain it much better than I can, I’m sure. I discovered it through Facebook right about the time that my fiancée became my ex-fiancée and I was feeling rather low due to the circumstances that caused me to have to break it off. Sometimes doing what you know is right for you is the most difficult thing you can do. Many tears were shed and a pint or two of Ben and Jerry’s were consumed until I was finally able to look at myself in the mirror and remember that I deserved to focus on myself for a change. And that’s when Project Me showed on my Facebook feed. How appropriate, no?
I decided to sign up telling myself that I would finally get the body I had always desired since, as some of you may know, I was a size 16 while in high school and, even though over the years I have been able to shrink down to a size 4 by eating right and exercising I still only felt pretty good about myself. Because then it became a completely different game and I decided to add anorexia to my list of things to hate about myself and shrunk down to a size 0 resulting in a loss of all muscle mass and most of my mental health. I was unhealthy, unhappy, and still hated how I looked.
Over time I was able to get back to a comfortable size 4 but still did not like my appearance. Still don’t. No matter what I do I can’t look in the mirror and be proud of all the work I have done to get the body I have. Joining Project Me was initially about my body but it has since become about loving myself. That may seem odd seeing as how it is a program about getting into the shape you want to be in and making healthy decisions but for me it is so much more.
You see I am an incredibly shy person which means joining a program where I have to attend meetings and make it known on social media that I am a participant scares the ever loving shit out of me. At the meeting tonight I was so nervous I was sweating. Me and sweat only meet upon interaction with a warm day and a decent amount of sun. Normally I am perpetually cold and have been since about 20 years old but tonight my sweat glands were on over drive and my heart was about to beat out of my chest.
When I first walked into the room I was met with a small crowd of ladies that all looked like they had just stepped out of a catalog while I stood there in my yoga pants and my favorite baggy off-the-shoulder shirt that has an unfortunate stain on the front that will not come off no matter how much I try to get rid of it. Just like in high school I felt like the outsider and I once again considered turning around and making the long trek back home but reminded myself of why I was doing this and stood my ground.
Why was I doing this? Because, while I have no problem making a complete fool out of myself or going up to perfect strangers and striking up a conversation, I have a serious issue with letting others know that I am trying to improve myself. I am embarrassed to have joined this program. Not because I don’t think it is a good program, but because I feel like I need to apologize to people for doing something for myself when I should be happy with the body I have and the person I am. I mean, recently I have been informed that I am wonderful, amazing, and perfect even. I am adored. But I don’t feel that way about me. And I would like to. So yes, maybe part of this process is about changing my body for the better, but what I know I will get from it is so much more.
Even though I felt as though I was beneath all the ladies in the room, every time I would look around I would be met with a smile. The only person in the room who was judging me, was me. And that realization hit hard. The only person that doesn’t seem to like me, is me. How do I fix this? By doing something that scares me. One something that combines a whole slew of my biggest fears. The best (or possibly worst if you are me and scared of letting people know the things you do for yourself because you are afraid they will make fun of you or guilt you out of doing it because they don’t think you need to be doing it) part of all of this is that I will be held accountable because all the ladies will be in this with me and it is actually a requirement to post on social media that you are doing something for yourself and trying to make a healthy change in your life. I actually have to let people know what’s going on in my life for a change. Only I would find this difficult. Because let me tell you, when the coach uttered the words “live out loud” I about had a heart attack. I felt my heart skip a beat. Live out loud? You mean…like…tell people stuff? I have a handful of friends that I am very close with and even THEY don’t know I’m doing this.
Being the writer that I am I decided that the least embarrassing way to let the world know the journey I am starting out on was to publish it on my public blog. I make so much sense, it’s ridiculous. Cheers to the future. May I come out on the other end with confidence and…other qualities that are appropriate but that I can’t even come up with! Seriously…I need this.