Saturday, April 18, 2009

The Five in Five Epilogue entry

Last november after I had finished NYCM I was thrilled to be running marathons again. After the two year layoff with my back and rehabilitation I wasn't always really sure that I would be able to ever run for long distances again. But here I had finished a marathon and was already planning the next. The first thing I thought of was of course how to improve. The next thing that came to mind was my weight. The "five" in fiveinfive. When I started this blog over four years ago it was only supposed to last the amount of time that it would take me to take off five kgs...and it's been four years. I knew that if I wanted to run smoother I had to take five kilos off and get back to my old weight. I didn't know if I could do it. During my FiveinFive battle I had taken the weight off once, but it didn't last for more than a month. Now I was (am) in menopause my metabolism had changed and it seemed impossible for me to lose any weight. But I made a deal with myself: I would go back to the dietician and have her follow me for awhile. If by going on a diet regime that she put me on she concluded that THIS was my new weight and that my metabolism had slowed down and that this was a good weight for me, I would make peace with it and I would not worry about my weight for one more minute.

Plus, I had this wacky theory. I don't know if it can be scientifically proved, but here it goes: my back problems originate from a 30% slip in my L5. I also have a pretty pronounced lordosi. This, I think , comes from the fact that when I gain weight it is mostly in my hips and in order to counterbalance that weight, I shift my posture. Less weight, no posture shift, less back pain and better running.

NOVEMBER 10, 2008
The dietician is the same doctor that has seen me for the last eight years. The first time I went to her was in 2001 when I was preparing a 2km/66km/14km triathlon. Oddly enough I had just turned forty and had gone through my first metabolic shift. I'd gained weight and couldn't drop it no matter how much I tried. I followed the eating plan that she gave me and lost every ounce I needed to. But I didn't keep it up and after the season was over I gained the weight back. The next time I saw her was a few year later when I had miscarried and then still had some weight hanging on from the interuppted pregnancy. Again, I took some weight off but then didn't follow through. This time it had to be different. I told her that I was frustrated in not being able to lose weight on my own no matter how much I tried but that I was willing to accept this to be my weight if she came to the same conclusion. One thing that was really important to me was not so much the losing of the weight as much as the maintenance. Whatever weight I lost, I wanted to work on maintainence so that I wasn't constantly going up and down. I wanted that part of the whole weight experience to be done and over with for me. I know how to lose weight, I have become an expert at it over the years. What I don't always know how to do is maintain the weight I do lose.

The other important incentive for me behind losing weight was also in my athletic endeavors. I spend so much of my time running or biking or swimming and now doing yoga. It seemed silly for me to not feel in my best shape in order to get an even more positive experience during my races.

She wrote me out a regular diet and when I looked at it at first I said "I'm going to gain weight with this, it's too much." She assured me that it was approximately 1500 calories and that it was the least amount she could give me. She added in more calories on days that I worked out more. I decided then and there that SHE was in charge. I totally put the responsability onto the doctor rather than myself. Whether I gained or lost was not MY problem, it was hers. My responsability was to follow the diet and see how my body reacted.

A week later I came back for my first visit and was surprised when I saw that I had lost 1,4 kg. Part of the whole "the responsability is hers, not mine" was in not weighing myself at home. All I had to do in our "experiment" was to follow the exact instructions of the diet. Weighing in was not my problem, it was hers. I know I've said this twice but it is a really important point for me. I had become too emotionally involved with whether the scale went up or down rather than looking at it as a physiological consequence. I would think it was my "fault" or my "merit". Not weighing in helped me concentrate on just eating well rather than worrying if my weight was up or down.

As the weight came off my running started to feel smoother and I felt SO light, like I was flying...which I wasn't, but just the fact that I didn't feel like I was nailed to the ground made me want to run even more. By Christmas I had taken off all 4 kgs Byt the end of January I was down 6, 5 kgs total = 14 lbs. Now came the hard part: maintenance.


I distinctly remember the first time I started using food for comfort. It was my first year in high school. I had a totally sucky family life (in one sentence: my mom had died in a car accident two years before, my father (an alcoholic) had remarried to a younger women who split after a year, then quickly gotten together with a new woman who had two children that moved in, my sister had just moved out and I was going through puberty...good enough?) . I had made friends with a girl named Stephanie. After school we would walk downtown (really small town), hang out and eat. Mostly cookies and ice cream and tiger-milk bars and baklava. I remember getting really sick on the Baklava...too sweet. I found solice in the food and I remember that everything started to get tight and I didn't care. I would bake cakes and eat them all by myself. I would ride my bike (my only transportatin) twenty miles just to go to a certain pastry shop and gorge on sweets. I was also physically active. Lots of biking and running and surfing and hiking. That kept me from getting too big and sort of kept me in check. But the overeating and getting totally sick from all the sugar was something I did for many years. Years and years. I've never gotten too big for two reasons. The first of course was the physical activity. I've always LOVED to move and walk and hike and if my eating got too out of hand I would calm it down and lose the pounds. The other is that I did have a little vanity in me somewhere. I liked to feel and look pretty and that also helped in not letting it spin too far out of control. But it has always been there , present and waiting in the background. In the past few years it's almost come to a halt, but it was still a habit that definately kept me from achieving my best weight for me. No fiveinfive for me unless I could get a handle on it.

With the diet the dietician gave me I had a few food outlets. Once a week I could eat pizza and once a week I could eat a dessert. Holidays I had free reign for the day. These were the occasions where I learned my most important lesson. That I could blow it once, or overeat, or eat the wrong thing or whatever...but that the next hour, the next day, I was back to my eating plan. The eating plan gives me a lot of stability and comfort. Five meals a day - three main meals plus two snacks. It's very balanced and healthy and I've been able to loosely stick to it in any social situation. I've never had to say "no thanks, I'm on a diet". I eat a little bit of whatever is put in my plate, match it mentally to what I should be eating and go from there.
Staying on an eating plan also helped me realize the times that I am searching for something to eat when I'm not hungry or when I've already finished my meal. It's usually a sign that something is wrong (I'm nervous, I'm worried) and so far I've been able to stop and ask myself "what is it that you're really looking for?" It's also a regime that I've been able to use to my advantage in training. I've had no problems in adapting it to whatever training volume I had in any given week, marathons included.

I track my weight once a week and I've stayed within a two pound range now for four months. This is huge for me. I don't think I have ever in my life been at the same LOW weight for more than a month or so. I feel 1000% confident that not only will I be able to maintain, but that I'll be able to continue to change the body fat/muscle percentage with time.

Thus ends the Five in Five story. I hope you've enjoyed it (whoever you are out there!).
I still want to blog but with a emphasis on my new positive outlook. Or may it's my "old" positive outlook...yep, it's always been there :-)

Here, above (look up!) is new blog!


jbmmommy said...

What a positive end to the blog, I look forward to following along with your next phase. You sound like you're in a wonderful place physically and mentally, congratulations to you for all the hard work you've put in that has paid off.

anji said...

Happy Endings! I love 'em!