Week 7 Day 4 03/23/2011
Okay, so week 7 isn't that much different, posting wise. I walked a mile on Monday and 1.5 mile today, with a break on Tuesday. I better walk tomorrow because depending on when Lindy's surgery is scheduled, I may not have the chance to walk anywhere on Friday. It did strike me today how funny it was that 1.5 miles literally felt like nothing to me. I could have gone around the park again, but I needed to get home. It was a beautiful day, though. Temperatures in the low fifties, not a cloud in the sky, the smell of spring in the air. It's probably going to snow for the next three days,to which I say BOO but we're getting through the tail-end of this crap and soon it'll be spring proper. 

So on the one hand I wish I was capable of more. On the other hand, I'm still surprised at how far I've come. 

I wonder if there's a way to find a sponsor for my weight loss. Probably not. But it did occur to me today that if things continue as they are, soon I will have no clothes that fit me. I very sincerely hope that when that day comes, it's when I actually have money. Or I'll have to learn how to sew. Still, of all the problems to have in the 

Week 7 Day 1 03/20/2011
So week six looks like it was a total wash. I don't know what exactly happened, except for the combination of the weather, finding a new television show, and working a million hours a day. I see now that "I'm taking a day off" is really just a way of saying "I think I'll stop working around 4 today." Not that I mind. It's better than any alternative I can think of. But still, it's been a distraction and I let myself be distracted rather than overcome my own inertia. That's not so great. 

Another not so great thing is that I've developed a taste for beans, specifically refried style even though every time I low-carbed in the past, I religiously avoided them. I don't know, they're just so tasty, and filling, and beans have protein and fiber. I'm going to see if they stall the weight loss now that the water weight is gone again. I don't know, if anybody has any experience with eating low carb and incorporating beans, I'd love to hear about it. 

All that said, I did walk today. I stayed on the treadmill for an hour, focusing on resistance for the first half hour and then increasing the speed. I covered two miles, and even worked up to a jog for three minutes. Which is three minutes more than I was able to do a month ago. I hope that it made up a little bit for the past three days of being lazy. I should probably start going through this routine every day to really work up my endurance. 

Anyway, I had a busy day and I feel exhausted now. I've also got my sleeping problems mostly under control, though my schedule is fucked up. Considering I dragged myself out of bed at 11:30 today and I probably won't be sleepy until 2 or 3, I'm not looking forward to getting up at 8 tomorrow. 
Week Six Day 3 03/17/2011
Since the walk on Monday was so shitty, and Tuesday's was so short, and I missed Sunday's, I knew I had to pick up the slack today. It was basically a turning point. If I slacked off today, I'd probably lose all my forward momentum and slack off tomorrow or Friday. Plus I was highly annoyed, and I figured I could get a bit of a rush to improve my mood. I went to the treadmill and started at a slow rate of 1.5. The last time I used the treadmill, I did the same thing and found that keeping the pace steady really alleviated the pain I usually feel. 

So keeping the pace steady, I increased the incline every two minutes from about minute 5 to minute 16, when I hit 4.0 and reached 1/2 mile. I held it steady there until the 20 minute mark and then began gradually increasing the speed and decreasing the incline. I reached the mile mark at 30 minutes and I was up to 3.0 mph and a .5 decline. I pushed it up to 3.3 and jogged for about 3 minutes and then began decreasing the speed every 30 seconds or so until I was back to 1.5. I wasn't really tired and I wanted to get more time and distance, so I started increasing the incline again. I got  up to a jog again for about 90 seconds and then set both to match at 2.5 and held it there until 45 minutes, which was also the 1.5 mile mark. 

My legs never tightened up, and I was sweaty and a bit tired, but not exhausted or out of breath. I actually feel pretty good tonight. Good physically and good mentally. I know I only jogged for a few minutes total, but I think I was like 12 the last time I jogged anywhere. Tomorrow is going to be all rainy and gross, so I'll probably do the same routine. 
Week 6 Day 2 03/15/2011
Another too-long break in my posting schedule. I didn't walk on Saturday or Sunday. It was mainly a combination of being busy, lazy, and my feet were super swollen. All day. This was particularly vexing because my shoes barely fit and there wasn't any good reason for it that I could see. Jaime asked me if I might be retaining water, and I completely dismissed that...but considering I also "gained" 9 pounds in like 2 days, I'm going to have to think that was indeed the case. 

So I went to the park yesterday, determined to make up for the lack of walking over the weekend. I barely walked at all before my legs got really tight, and I even stretched before I started. I managed the mile but it was excruciating. I could barely make it back to the car. From my ankles all the way up to my thighs. I wonder if that's related to the other PMS symptoms I was experiencing. Due to a very uneven cycle and basic weirdness with my bodies, I'm nearly thirty and I barely know what PMS symptoms to expect, much less how they impact things like walking. 

I didn't measure today's walk, but I did go for a much more pleasant stroll in the park with Lindy. She's been pretty sick, so I didn't suggest we do the full mile, but I'd guess we walked at least 1/2 mile. It was a beautiful day, warm and really wonderfully spring. I'm looking forward to more afternoons in the park. 

I'd like to go to Sugarhouse tomorrow for my walk. There are more hills and it's more of a work out, but given the size and the number of hills, I won't feel too bad about getting a slow time. Soon it'll be warm enough to head up to Red Butte for my first stroll through the gardens. 
Week 5 Day 5 03/11/2011
I used to walk a lot. Certain family members believed, and would have me believe, that I was a lazy girl who needed more exercise. Why would I be pudgy if I wasn't so lazy? Why couldn't I exercise more and be more active? This story of Haley As Lazy Slob was reinforced in school, because I didn't really care for organized sports, I didn't run for fun, and my idea of physical activity had more to do with roaming over hills than it did running laps in the gym. As I got older and continued to gain weight, this story was reinforced again and again, until I was convinced that even the regular walking, the regular exercise, didn't count. When I started my first job at 14 as a dishwasher, the 6-12 hour shifts didn't count. When I walked up and down Main Street, drifting in and out of stores, enjoying the clear mountain air, it didn't count. When I took my dogs out for long walks over the hills and around the ranch and up and down the service road, that didn't count. Once we moved to California, and I didn't have a car, all the walking I did around town, all the walking I did in my Power Walking class, all of it, didn't count. It didn't count because I was fat and lazy--if it wasn't true, why would everybody keep up that narrative for so many years? 

Well, it wasn't true before, but I made it true. Maybe intentionally, mostly unintentionally. I knew better than eating junk like my favorite Doritos and oreos and ice cream. I knew I shouldn't indulge in acres of Mexican food, fast food, and huge plates of rice and pasta. On the other hand, I didn't live off of junk food, and I've been poor enough for the entire length of my life that I know the majority of these pounds came from the effort of staying alive--rice and pasta because that's what we could afford. Because that's what I ate as a child because that's what my parents could afford. Technically, that's all I can afford right now, but how can I sink back into what it was like before? I'd rather live off bacon and eggs for every meal, every day, for the next year than sink back into my old story. 

I walked this morning because it was beautiful outside and I couldn't get my brain working. I did a mile and a half, and the tightness in my legs wasn't too bad. I'm going to Sugarhouse park tomorrow for the longer walk. I worry that there are really only 6 or 7 weeks left before I go to England. Yes, I've made great progress in the past month and I'm proud of that, but I hope it's enough progress. 
Week 5 Day 4 03/10/2011
Sometimes it all feels really easy to me. I can't eat certain food so I don't buy certain food. I don't enjoy every single thing I eat these days, but I'm growing to appreciate it if not find pleasure in it. It's making me really evaluate my relationship with food. I used to do so many things simply because it felt good. Whatever pleasure I could find, I felt entirely justified for. Yes, that might mean gaining more and more weight with every year, feeling trapped, feeling helpless. But eating is such an amazing experience, from the texture to the temperature to the flavor. I usually didn't have a problem stopping when I was full. I wouldn't eat and eat just for the fun of it, but I would never anything healthy. I based my eating choices based on what made me feel good/satisfied and that was the greatest motivation. The only thing that mattered. Why? Why did I view food as a source of positive feelings rather than a source of fuel? 

I know this question isn't unique to me. A lot of people, overweight or not, have that same expectation of food. Food is no longer viewed as a necessity, but rather a luxury. The richer the food, the more decadent, the more pleasure we find in it, the better. I can't even begin to untangle how fucked up the relationship is between western culture and food. We've warped the relationship on so many levels that I fear we'll never, ever be able to fix it, and people will continue to suffer and die as a result. We're spoiled with variety, huge grocery stores carefully and well stocked to tempt us with every culture, every corner of the world, every sugary and starchy treat. But I don't think we truly appreciate that variety. Most people just eat the same things every week because it's what they know, what's comfortable. But all that variety sends the continuous message that we should deeply enjoy, relish, exult in, and embrace every single thing we consume. Added to that problem is the rising fury over the "obesity epidemic" and how insulting, cruel, and uncaring people can be towards their overweight brethren while we continue to teach children they MUST eat 8-12 servings of carbs per day and that meat and fat should be avoided--a proposition that's relatively new in human history, not at all supported by science, and actively harming our entire society. 

Then you hear people say "Oh, I'd do low carb but I could NEVER live without bread/cupcakes/cheese cake/ice cream/pizza/pasta/rice/fruit/etc." That chaps my hide. You CAN live without your favorite food. Seriously. In fact, mankind has been surviving for thousands of years without the food we're now being told is essential to our lives. Eating carbs causes acne, gas, irritable bowel syndrome, spiking blood sugar levels, weight gain, diabetes 2, headaches, exhaustion, and dozens of other minor and major inconveniences. Sugar stimulates the same portion of your brain as cocaine. So when you announce that you can't live without your favorite starch, your essentially admitting an addiction to a substance that harms your body with every bite. If the topic was about alcohol, nicotine, or actual cocaine, nobody would accept such a silly excuse. Nobody would ever say it and expect to be taken seriously. "I know I'm going to die, and I would quit, but I just could NEVER live without my bottle of vodka." And yet if you're talking about food, that sort of behavior isn't only supported, it's endorsed by the government and medical professionals. Most people who low carb experience the "Atkins flu." When you give up sugar, you feel like shit for about a week. Like when you give up caffeine or any other addictive yet poisonous substance. 

I'm not so much writing this because I was to convert people--and I use that word deliberately. Eating practices are as sacred to some people as their religion. For some people, religious beliefs/practices are easier to change. Is it because we all have a personal relationship with food? Is it because we often eat what we were taught to eat by our family and immediate peers? Is it because it's a communal act whether we want it to be one or not? Is it because no matter what, we all have to eat? I believe you have to find the path that makes you happy. But at the same time, the lack of real education, the continuing nutritional lies,and the hysteria over obesity is frustrating to say the least. 

I've completely drifted from my original topic, which is that my number one concern when it comes to food shouldn't be taste. Food is fuel, and it can occasionally be more than that. It SHOULD occasionally be more than that. There really is no greater pleasure in this world than expertly seasoned and cooked food, and I'm  not going to pretend otherwise. But in my day to day life, I need to be aware that there are greater concerns. 

I had major pains in my legs again today. They pretty much ruined the entire walk for me. I still made my mile, but it really wasn't the pleasant walk through the park I was hoping for. Literally. I went to the park and the day was absolutely beautiful.  
Week 5 Day 3 03/09/2011
It's hard to believe it, but it barely looks like it snowed at all this week. It was about 45 degrees today, all the snow was gone, the sky was blue, and I was starting to get the sense that spring really was just around the corner. I passed the same old man twice. He was circling the same block from the opposite direction, though he was jogging, too. I passed another older gentleman out for a stroll, and something about it made me happy. Actually I like how many people walk around here. You're always passing somebody and then you spend a few minutes thinking about who they could be, where they're going, where they're coming from. 

Tightness in my leg again. It's so annoying. I feel like it's never going to be wholly comfortable to walk two miles. 

Time: 30:00
Distance: 1.12 miles

I weighed myself today. The scale finally did move! It's down to 346, so 7 pounds since last Thursday. I used to spend a lot of time on a low carbers board and they always called that a visit from the Whoosh Fairy. 
Week 5 Day 2 03/08/2011
Today was a treadmill day. The storm had passed and by noon, the clouds were completely gone and everything was clear, blue, and bright. It was also bitterly cold. Okay, that's a bit of exaggeration. By the late afternoon, it was almost pleasant outside, but still too cold for me. So of course that means the treadmill. 

Since I've been having so much trouble with my tight calf muscles, I've decided not to focus on speed. I kept it at a nice and easy 1.5 mph, though I did up it to 2 for a bit. Instead of worrying about speed, I focused on the incline. I had it up to 5.0 before I had to stop for the laundry--realizing in the process that I once again failed to turn the stupid washer on. So I started the clothes AGAIN and went back to the treadmill. 

This time, I gradually upped the speed and decreased the incline, until I had it set to 1.5 and 3.0 for the speed. I managed to keep that up for about five minutes before my body betrayed me and decided right that second absolutely needed to be a bathroom break.

Time: 35:00
Distance: 1.12

Despite the relatively short distance in that span of time, I had a really good workout. I was drenched in sweat by the time I finished. 

My eating habits are evolving, as usual. Lately I've basically been surviving off of bacon and eggs. You may be wondering how that it is even possible, but bacon and eggs are basically my favorite breakfast food, especially when the bacon is just shy of crispy and the yolks are good and runny. I use pork rinds to replace hashbrowns, and I'm really quite pleased. Of course, the first time I did this diet, I ate tuna fish every day for like 3 months and now I can't really stand the stuff. 
Week 5 Day 1 03/07/2011
Must. Not. Get. Lazy. Must. Keep. Updating. 

On Saturday, we needed something from a store a little over a mile away. So I suggested to Jaime that we should walk down there because I needed to get my daily walk in and I wanted to see if I could have another long walk. It ended up being 3 miles round trip and taking about 2 hours. It was faster to walk the 3 miles in the park because it was all flat, we never had to stop for traffic, and there aren't brilliant little stores or places to eat in the park! Still, it was a good walk, and it made me really enthusiastic about exploring other parts of the city by foot. Sure I drive through these neighborhoods all the time, but I never really take the time to see or appreciate what's around me. It's going to even better in the spring. 

It also made me think about ways I could incorporate walking into my daily life. For example, I'm going to be teaching a class at the library at the end of the month, and thanks to today's walk, I know it'll take me 15 minutes to walk down to the TRAX stop, which will take me directly to the library. That's much better than driving down there and wasting time looking for a parking space. And that's at least a mile tacked onto my regular walking time every day. 

Having said all of that, today was not a good day. I don't really understand why some days everything is just fine and others I feel like I have cement blocks tied to my feet. The tightness/pain above my (now slightly swollen) ankle was almost excruciating. At one point I tried to stop to stretch it but that just made the pain worse, and it still feels tender even though I haven't been standing on it for 5 minutes. It's so frustrating. It's this sort of pain that usually makes me want to give up walking again forever. Of course, I wouldn't do that. 

So I'm drinking a bottle of water, hoping I just need to get more hydrated. Hopefully the various aches and pains fade enough so I can clean the messy kitchen later. 

I updated the progress page on Saturday, so everybody can see what a difference a month makes

Distance: 1.5 mile
Time: 26:00
Week 4 Day 5 03/04/2011
Today was it!!! I didn't have any pressing thing keeping me in the house, I had to run errands anyway, and it's beautiful outside. Probably not more than 40 or 45, and chilly in the shade, but nothing but lovely blue skies and puffy white clouds. No wind. The very definition of mild. So I knew I had to do it. I had to walk at least two miles, and more if I thought I could handle it. 

First things first, though. I went to the post office to apply for a new passport. So I'm one step closer to England now.  I do have the tendency to sabotage myself and I could sense I was doing that with the whole passport thing, putting it off and putting it off and trying not to think about it. I felt I had a valid excuse--the $150 it costs isn't chump change! But at the same time, I didn't want to let this chance, the thing I'm working for, slip through my fingers. So I resolved today would be the day and off I went to get it done. 

Then it was on to the park. I figured this would be the best place to push for my two miles because it's basically flat and I wouldn't have to deal with speeding traffic trying to kill me. Mostly. Plus it's really nice there and I like to see who else is out running/walking/biking/etc. 

As per usual, my leg started to tighten around 3/4 of a mile and stayed tight for awhile after that. I paused to stretch it a few times, but didn't stop to rest. After about a mile and a half, it loosened up a bit and for awhile I was comfortable, listening to puke, feeling pretty pleasant. But as I got closer to my car, my feet got really tired. Fortunately my blister/callus wasn't an issue. In fact, the bottoms of my feet didn't feel tender at all, but my ankles are tired now. In general I feel a bit tired. 

I realized one of the really nice things about walking is that I just walk. I don't get much thinking done. I don't dwell on problems. My mind doesn't race and race and race. It's really, really nice. 

Jasie says that this is no longer the "beginning of things" and I'm through the most tedious part. I don't know if that's entirely true, but I feel really proud of myself today. When I started this, three miles at once seemed utterly impossible. I don't know if I could do three miles again tomorrow, but I'm almost positive I can do two. 

Distance: 3 miles
Time: 1:07:00.