Monthly Archives: February 2016

Struggles with weight loss, part 77.83

Back in January, during what I think of as “New Year’s Resolution Season,” I ran across a website called Stickk.com, which is intended to help you keep said New Year’s Resolutions. You can, with a referee or not, bet against yourself as far as keeping your resolutions. If you bet $100, for example, that you’ll lose ten pounds in six months, you can keep the money if you’re successful, but if you’re not, it goes to an organization that you name, presumably one that you do NOT want receiving your money. There are choices like the Democratic National Committee, the Republican National Committee, etc.

You can also just use it to nag you once a week as to how your progress is going–without putting up any money at all.

So I signed up for a weekly report on whether I was meeting my weekly weight loss goal toward losing 11 pounds in 24 weeks. Now this is a fairly small weekly loss–about six ounces–and mostly I find such a tiny weight weekly loss very frustrating. I’d love to lose poundage faster and more easily, but it really is hard to even lose such a small amount (that’s less than an ounce a day).

However, once a week I log in to Stickk and I log my weight, and so far I’ve met or beaten my weekly goal for 7 weeks now, and I’m finding that ridiculously satisfying, because it’s a steady reminder that I *will* get there, even if it’s slower than I’d like.

I was thinking about this long effort to lose weight recently–July will be four years!–and I was mentally comparing it to a long road trip. When you start a road trip, you have to get organized, plan, pack, load the car–and then off you go, swooping over to the interstate and cruisin’ on down the road. You stop, walk the dog sometimes, walk yourself sometimes, sometimes you stop overnight. Then you’re back on the highway and speeding along. But eventually, you get close to your destination and you’re on local roads, and you’re searching for the address, and your forward progress is slow, and maybe you have to circle the block to find the right driveway.

Right now? I’m looking for my exit from the highway–but I still have some distance to the destination. It’s okay that it’s slow–I’ll still get there.

A rant (please ignore if you don’t want to be offended) (includes swearing) (as usual)

I’ve been told lately that I have a tendency to be harsh and blunt and should be kinder and more gentle. Apparently some people have been offended. I’m contemplating whether the appropriate response is “fuck ’em” or whether I should try to be more … well, more filtered. I’ve never had much of a filter, and of late my filter has gotten perhaps a little too porous.

Losing weight–slowly, painfully, one ounce at a time–seems to have triggered my inner curmudgeon. I hear certain phrases and they trigger an instant internal response. It’s like pressing a button. “I need to go on a diet” or “I should go on a diet” triggers “no, you need to change your life, because what you’re doing now is making you fat and a diet is temporary and you’ll just get fat again when you stop ‘dieting’.” “How did you lose all that weight?” triggers “Move more, eat less.” and if I actually say that, then people say “I want it to be easier than that” and I want to snap. Losing this weight has been hard, and I’ve accumulated opinions about what it takes, and really, I’m pretty sure what worked for me would work for anyone, if you stop making excuses and decide you actually will do it (because that decision is the most crucial step), not just make excuses.

I’m not sure why my weight loss seems to anger other people. My working theory is that I’m taking away a lot of their excuses. After all, I’m sixty. I’ve had cancer. I’m female. I was really overweight. All of that was fine, and no one ever criticized me for the weight–other than the orthopedist who told me I was heading for double knee replacements by sixty (four years ago). Even the doctor who referred me to the nutritionist–the one who told me I’d “be hungry sometimes and that’s just fine”–didn’t actually criticize me. She just wrote “obesity” in the list of medical problems I was facing. But now that I’ve lost almost all the weight I set out to lose (six pounds to go, as of this morning), apparently people are worried that I might have become anorexic (and my filterless brain says “would you like to see my food diaries? no? then please be quiet.“).

I want to snap when I hear excuses that people think are reasons. I want to record their excuses and play them back to them, over and over and over (and then one or two more times), until they realize they are excuses. I had a reason I couldn’t run well, why it hurt to walk, and I had that reason for maybe ten years, and now that I don’t have bone cancer (chondrosarcoma, left distal femur, now considered cured) any more, I’ve spent nine years (nine fucking years, folks) losing weight, getting faster, working on my health–and you want an easy answer and to make excuses? Yeah. You can make excuses all you want, but if you took the energy you put into your excuses and put it into changing your life… well, in a year, you’d be a little further down that path you say you want to follow.

“I wish I could run faster but my knees hurt” is an excuse when it comes out of the mouth of someone who is fifty pounds overweight. My snappish curmudgeonly brain wants to say “Lose weight, try Couch-to-Five-K, and maybe you’ll run faster and I’m pretty sure your knees will hurt less. It worked for me. Or you could try swimming. Something. More exercise than trotting around the ring with your dog.” I try hard to shut up but don’t push me, folks. Really. Following that excuse with other ones about how you don’t have the time or energy or whatever? You’re making excuses. Stop lying to yourself. It’s not just that you’re lying to me, it’s that you’re lying to yourself. Curmudgeon says: “You don’t really want to get more fit–if you really wanted to do it, you’d be doing it, not making excuses.

I don’t know anyone whose dog is competing at the upper levels of agility who has a fat dog. We all know how to keep our dogs at a healthy weight. Many people I know have treadmills for their dogs, to keep the dog fit. We all know what it takes to have a fit, lean dog–and my first thought when someone with a fit, lean dog says “I wish I could lose weight” is that “you should manage your own diet and exercise as carefully as you manage your dog’s diet and exercise. That would work.

Running with the big dogs…

I took Rush to the Mt. Hood Doberman Pinscher Club’s agility trial last weekend. AKC-flavor agility, two rings, lots of noise. I’ve said for quite a while that the only way I can Q with Rush is to not want to Q, but instead to focus on doing the best I can. He’s a huge challenge to run. More on that in a minute.

After we spent the weeks in Palm Springs focusing on fitness, lots of running and playing with Rush, but no agility training at all, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Rush. As it turned out–a very fit Rush is a fast and driven and focused and fun dog to run in agility. And I was fast and fit and driven and focused too.

This is the first trial where I’ve not worried about keeping up with Rush, where I was sure I could be where I needed to be when I needed to be there. I’m not sure what made the difference (maybe because I’m faster and fitter) but there it was. When that worry ended, I also found that I stopped worrying about the Q. It didn’t matter, somehow, because it became about my handling and my training, instead of about my ability to keep up.

The judges for the trial designed big wide-open courses for the Dobermans. I really enjoy the Dobie trials, because there are a lot of big dogs with big strides competing at the trial. There are dogs with stride lengths like Rush, which means I can watch those dogs and learn about handling big-strided dogs. It was so much fun to run Rush on courses where he could run in full extension. He even did a 185-yard Standard course in 39.56 seconds on Friday–4.7 yards/second. That’s fast! (He did get a first place ribbon for that.)

There are videos for his Saturday Standard run and his Saturday Time-to-Beat run here.

What I did instead of agility….

I really believe it’s good for me, and good for the dogs, to take some time off from agility and training agility. This year, Jay and I went to Palm Springs for almost three weeks, and all I did with the dogs was take them for walks and runs in the park near our rental house. Jay taught Rush a new game with his favorite toy (this one: Grandma Hippie Chick). Grandma makes a very strange noise when squeaked and it makes me laugh and Rush justĀ loves the toy. He loves it so much that he will sit and stay sitting when Jay throws it, then bring it back to Jay immediately so he’ll throw it again. But the new game they figured out? Jay asks Rush to sit and wait–and Jay goes off and hides the toy. Under a cushion, under the bed, on the bookshelf… and Rush searches and searches until he finds it. His persistence was amazing.

Besides playing with the dogs, I did a lot of running. At least, it felt like a lot at the time, although when I add it up, it was only about 15 miles a week. I ran a flat 5K race through Palm Springs, and finished 3rd in my age group (of 26, so that’s actually pretty cool). They gave me a medal for that.

palm springs 5k 2016 victory photo small

Jay and I did a fair amount of bicycling–he did a lot more than I did, in fairness. And I hired a swim coach for an hour to check my stroke and to work on re-learning how to do a flip turn. It was a sunny-weather boot camp of sorts, I guess. I did a few hikes in the Indian Canyons as well, on the Cahuilla Indian trails. They do an amazing job of caring for the trails and I feel safe hiking alone there. I hiked out to the Stone Pools, which are a set of springs that are the result of the earthquake fault that creates Palm Canyon.