Today’s Positive Note: I think I’m a good leader. Sometimes it’s because I’m bossy, but I think I do have a natural tendency to guide others within a group setting, and I try to do without being domineering. I like to think this is a good character trait!
Run: 5 miles (1 warm up, ~2 tempo, ~2 cool down). the tempo was more like 2.3 and the cool down 1.7 to make it an even five. I did it all on a treadmill again. What’s up with my little indoor-runnin streak? Weird. I also did 15 minutes of arm weights, and got in a solid number of moves and reps. I should have taken a picture of my lunch because it was so delicious, but I forgot. It involved pumpkin butter, almond butter, and chocolate chips. All between two slices of bread. Can you guess what it was? I get serious chocolate cravings the week of my period. I’m sure there’s no scientifically proven connection here, but I eat more chocolate that week than the rest of the month combined, easily. I have learned that trying to deny the chocolate beast will only make things worse, so I try to incorporate little bits into my day here and there. It’s a pretty good strategy.
Today was Farmer’s Market Thursday on my street! This always makes me happy. I acquired salad greens, a delicata squash (since I always see them on Stef’s blog), a sweet potato, and my usual ten billion pounds of apples. Still no sign of Ronnybrook farms for my milk though. Sad.
And now for some slightly less happy talk. At least, not food-related or running-related talk.
I was inspired to write about one of my perceived “flaws” after reading this post from HangryPants. If you don’t want to listen to me talk about my weight, my body-image issues, or some minor medical things, I recommend that you skip this section.
I have always been very strong, and I was never “thin”. I was always very fit and never fat, but I was not a skinny kid (unlike my sister; boo genetics). I had very early symptoms of puberty, probably from the time of eight or nine. My mom kept me in swimming and gymnastics, hoping to delay the onset of my period. I was typically intensely active 15-20 hours a week as a kid/adolescent. This was actually quite a good strategy on her part, and it prevented me from getting my period too early (both of my parents are doctors). This may all sound very random, but she had a suspicion from my very early onset puberty that I might have PCOS. Lo and behold, my astute mother was right. She did me a huge favor by making sure I didn’t begin my period too young; I suspect that if this were the case, the PCOS symptoms would have become much worse and I would probably have ended up overweight (I don’t really understand the science behind this, but whatever). I was officially diagnosed with PCOS when I was 17 and I saw a gynecologist for the first time. There is no treatment, per se, other than taking birth control pills to maintain a regular, strong cycle.
A majority of women with PCOS are either overweight or obese. The reasons for this are complicated, and involve various hormones and insulin. I myself am a bit insulin resistant (I have had fasting blood sugars of 130-150 multiple times. This is not good.) and must be careful about how I eat. Some women with PCOS become infertile, but because I started taking birth control pills from a relatively young age, this is unlikely. There are many other symptoms, most of which are typically things you would associate with an excess of testerone, i.e., lots of hair growth, acne, and an increased risk for a wide variety of other diseases. Anyways, my point here is not to give you a lesson in PCOS.
I have had “body image issues”, to put it delicately, for the last several years of my life. I have always felt fat (even though that really hasn’t been the case). But today, as I settle fully into my adult body, I realize that truth betold, while I am not bigger than most women, I am at the very upper range of what is considered an acceptable BMI. To put the numbers concretely, I am 5’7 and weigh 155 pounds (my weight fluctuates between 148-158, ideally I’d like to stay at the low end of this range). I am not trying to justify my body-hatred (I’m really working on getting over this), but I am trying to explain where it comes from. There are weeks where I run 40-50 miles. I cross train. I lift weights. I eat what I onsider to be a wonderful diet (although I am by no means perfect) full of fruits, vegetables, healthy proteins, and grains. It is not unusual for me to eat 7-10 servings of fruits and veggies a day.
So basically, I follow all the rules. I exercise (sometimes too much, even). I eat wonderfully. I even try to take care of my spirit. But because of the PCOS, I doubt that I will ever weigh 130 or even 140 pounds. I will never have a BMI in the low or middle range of acceptable. And slowly, I am coming to terms with that. I can’t even begin to describe to you how hard it is for me to lose weight. The only time I remember actually losing weight like a normal person was when I was eating 1200 calories a day of basically fruits, veggies, and cottage cheese. I was not a happy person then! Have you ever heard of marathoners and ultramarthoners losing a few pounds (sometimes even 10+ pounds) after a long run? Well I have done many a long run (15+ miles) and this would never happen to me. In fact, I once weighed myself before and after a long run as an experiment, and I believe I gained three pounds. To put it politely, this is how screwed up my metabolism is. But this is also the way my body works, and I am not going to get another one.
Additionally, I take an anti-depressant which most liekly also makes me gain weight easily. Not being on this medication is not an option right now, and I’m okay with that. I also don’t have the greatest genetics when it comes to weight and body shape. My mother, if I recall correctly, was unable to eat for a large portion of her pregnancies. Despite not taking in any food, constantly throwing up, and surviving on IV fluids for weeks on end, she still piled on the pounds.
So there are a variety of circumstances in my life that seem to have determined my body shape and size. I can either tell myself that I am healthy and beautiful, which are both true, or I can wallow in the fact that I’m not thin. I am making a conscious choice to see my body in a positive light from now on. I do what I can do. I don’t need to weigh 130 pounds to be healthy, happy, or glowing. In fact, I think I’m the happiest I have ever been in my life right now. And I weigh 155 pounds. I think I’ll survive 🙂