It’s leap year my darlings! Did you know that if a girl proposes to a boy tonight and he declines, he has to buy her a gift? Well four years ago, on the eve of the last leap year:
- I was about 8kg heavier than I am today;
- My hair was a bit longer but just as unruly;
- I was just learning to get used to buying RM400 shoes;
- And I famously declared “Exercise is not for me” – something that my sister repeats frequently because for her it is still astonishing to find that I own more than a pair of running shoes much less using them and then blogging about it.
On the same eve I also had a gig at Rahsia, a cozy little place tucked in Jalan Damai, so before I continue with the Week’s recap, here’s Run by Snow Patrol, one of the songs that I sang that night with Amat Potai on second guitar.
(Coincidentally, tonight we went to karaoke and Amat Potai and I sang this again, as a duet this time.)
Week 12 is good, though I didn’t run today despite meaning to do so. In my defense, I ran yesterday though it was a rest day so I guess that evened things out.
- I didn’t get any new gear this week because I didn’t need any. I did buy two (2) new 1L water bottles but they were for a party that I was organizing. I use them when I go out but it is kinda heavy and inconvenient to lug around 1L bottle of water in the handbag. Additionally, when the bottle is half empty it makes this splashing sound as I walk, very annoying. So I suppose I will go back to using the regular 500ml bottle.
- I have mentioned it before – I lost my MP3 player some time at the end of 2011. The probability is I misplaced it but with all the moving around I don’t think I’d be able to find it. I also lost my mobile phone while I was on holiday earlier this month and got myself a Sony Ericsson Txtpro. This phone doubles up as my music player, it is adequate, not great. For some reason it doesn’t want to read the memory card so I can only save one playlist in it. The lucky thing is I am a lot less dependent on music these days to pace my running speed. All things considered, I’m good.
- French Fries is Evil. I have been having fries a few times this week. And earlier today, after a brunch of rice and lime-chilli clams, I popped some keropok lekor (fish crisps) into the deep fryer and had 2 helpings of it. Snacking is beginning to become a problem for me and I realized this is because I have not been drinking enough water. Sometimes I am thirsty and not hungry but my greedy tummy doesn’t know the difference so I fill myself up with snacks. I have nothing against snacking, and I believe there is no “bad” food – you can eat everything and anything as long as it’s in moderation – but the problem with snacking when you are hungry is that you tend to eat and eat til you feel full. Very bad. So this area definitely needs work.
- As mentioned above, I’ve been slacking on my water intake. I have been going out and partying quite a bit lately, which is fine by the way, but that also means that I have not been drinking enough plain water. While I am careful about the drinks I order and I am relaxed about the occasional blowouts, there is a noticeable difference. My face is oilier and looks very tired, I am also more easily fatigued.
- Recently my sister, who is younger than me by 9 years, is found to have IGT (impaired glucose tolerance). She was diagnosed with gestational diabetes when she was pregnant and has been monitoring her blood glucose since. Unfortunately, it has not been at a favorable level and this is alarming coz both of our parents have diabetes, and my late grandfather died of heart complications. So the risk of us developing diabetes (or other microvascular diseases) is extremely high. All those soda and teh o ais (iced tea) can’t be good for the body so in support of my sister, I vow to cut out table (raw) sugar completely from my diet.
- Poor Core & Upper-Body Strength. There. I admit it. Towards the end of Week 11, I was nursing a sore and tight elbow/arm brought on by doing too many reps of floor push-ups when I clearly did not have enough upper body strength to do that many reps yet. It was extremely challenging to wear/take-off my bra or to zip up my dress just by using the one arm. The next session I switched to wall push-ups but I did so without giving my elbow a chance to heal so the pain intensified. It has gone away now but it revealed two important things:
- I need to work harder on my core and upper-body strength;
- I should take my own advice and learn to restrain myself when the body is in pain. Sometimes I mistake pain for “the burn” and push myself through it only to kick myself in the behind later. Not good.
- HIIT is Fab. My HIIT sessions are going fabulously. Love them. Week 12 will mark the 3rd week of my doing HIITs consistently and based on the HIIT chart progression, I will need to increase the duration to 30min x 3x a week on non-consecutive days. I got through the 10min and 20min sessions just fine but I have a feeling that 30min HIITs will be quite tough for me to achieve. Maybe I will have to break it into 3 x 10min HIITs each time. No matter, I won’t know til I try. Tomorrow would be my first 30min HIIT, we’ll see how it goes and I’ll adjust from there.
- It is not a burden. I am yet to reach the stage where I crave to run. But these days I can honestly say that I no longer associate the word “hate” or “have to” or “struggle” with running. When I told a few friends that I wish to run a marathon some day in the future, it was not because marathon is a goal to achieve, but because I genuinely desired to do so. I know I am not ready for it yet, both mentally and physically, and I am not going to push myself to train for it (at least not til I know I am equipped to do so). It is a nice thing to aspire to, and I am pleasantly surprised that I find the prospect of running 42km an exciting one. It would be a great personal achievement and it is definitely on my to-do list.
Yesterday Coach Nicole of Sparkpeople posted a status update that said “It’s time to reject “skinny” and get strong”. The article that follows revealed that she used to spend hours in the gym and maintained a strict diet, as a way to emulate the models and trainers she saw in the media. Nicole was chiseled, but she was also suffering from an eating disorder. She said,
I spent a long time trying to look like the thin, toned, “tiny” bodies that I saw in magazines. I got there—I dropped body fat, gained muscle, and got compliments left and right on how great I looked. But as it turned out, I actually had an eating disorder. Trying to mold my body into something that it wasn’t was unhealthy, unrealistic and unsustainable. It took hours of exercise every day and a restrictive diet that gave me no pleasure from food and left me constantly hungry. Since then I’ve recovered, returned to a normal, healthy, natural size for my body and regained a healthy relationship with fitness, food, and the scale.
I don’t advocate any type of physique. In fact, I try not to talk much about burning calories, trimming inches or how any particular exercise may change one’s body. I believe people can be fit and healthy at any size. I also think it’s healthier for our self-esteem, for our minds and bodies to view exercise not as a way to “change” ourselves, but as a tool to improve our overall health. It can be motivating to aim for a healthy weight at a safe pace. But regardless of what the scale says or how your body is shaped, if you are exercising, you are doing a lot of good for your body.”
You can read the full article here: America’s Top Trainer Says It’s Time To Reject ‘Skinny’ And Get Strong.
I am definitely someone who looks at people on TV and goes “I want THAT body”. On top of that, I get a lot of flak from well-meaning people who shoot me down whenever I talk about the food that I eat (okay okay maybe I overshare and need to lay-off the status update space on facebook so that I can avoid such shootings in the future). But I am completely in agreement with Coach Nicole. While I would like to lose weight through exercise, the frustration that I get when I step on the scale is very demoralizing and pushes me to the extremes: I skip meals and exercise through injuries, I berate myself for hours on end and I get angry and defensive when people say something about what I eat or how I look. The nett result is I view exercise with loathing and trepidation.
I have long recognized this and my experience with running these past 2 years (albeit through many trials and errors) taught me that I need to change my mindset and how I “deal” with my body in order for me to be able to make peace with it. I did not have an eating disorder like Coach Nicole, but over the years I definitely went through many “starving” periods where food became an enemy; and many “crashing” periods where I stuffed my face with as much “banned food” as I could. Both practice is unhealthy and puts my body through tremendous strain. And as I get older, it becomes more and more difficult to bounce back from the abuse I put my body through.
I have since adopted a more relaxed attitude about food – accepting that food is a pleasure makes it easier to manage the way I eat. If I want to eat french fries at 3am, I will eat french fries at 3am. I just don’t eat french fries at 3am every day and when I do, I don’t eat a barrel of it at one go.
I still get annoyed when people comment about the food I eat by labelling it as unhealthy/bad or saying that I am undoing all the good that comes from running. The negativity and guilt about food is not something that I can use to spur me – I have tried this all my life and it doesn’t work. Instead, I push myself to run BECAUSE I want to be able to eat all these delicious food. It’s not an exact science; just like other things in life, it is about checks and balances – sometimes I go overboard and sometimes I go under. Frankly, I am okay with that and it’d be nice if everyone else is okay with that too. Like I said, I understand that those comments come from a good place, thankyouverymuch but I am going in a different direction these days. The old direction brought me nothing but extreme weight fluctuations and unpleasant mood changes. I am done with that.
I still have a long, long way to go to get to my optimum weight and keeping it there. Certainly, like Coach Nicole suggested, I’d like to get strong. My shape is curvy so I will never be able to look skinny-slim; but I can look fit and toned, and I know I can certainly get rid of the batwing arms and the muffin top and the thunder thighs – for good this time around. What I need to do is to continue to push, push, push and try, try, try.
To end, from one leap year to another, this was how I looked between 2008-2011 (some pixellation necessary to make it safe for work, and more importantly, safe for children!). The 2012 photo to be added after I am done with my run today.