Dieting, Humor, Life, Menopause

Run Ferris, Run


Last year I struggled with my weight and by struggled I mean I was struggling to watch myself get fatter by eating whatever I wanted. This wasn’t the first time I’ve struggled with my weight. As I’ve mentioned before, menopause had completely drained me of any emotional reasoning and left me almost hostage in my own body.


In the midst of taking Topomax, which helps migraines and has a side effect of weight loss/ circa 2015

My anxiety was at levels I had never experienced before, leaving me to be afraid of almost everything that my mind could conjure up.


Doing absolutely nothing but eating (as you can see)/ circa 2016

I was pretty much scarred by last winter after witnessing my mental health implode and I didn’t want to witness it again. Nor did I want my family to witness it again, particularly Ella who had a front-row seat as she was with me the most of anyone in my family. I needed to be a better version of myself for not only her but also for me.


On Weight Watchers (again) circa 2017

Years ago, I received a free membership to Weight Watchers and in turn, I was to write about my experience. Within the course of six months, I ended up losing 25 pounds and I felt unsinkable. I was working out five days a week at a gym because Ellie was in kindergarten most days and I all of a sudden had extra free time to do so. It was also the spring I was doing the stage show Listen to Your Mother and I had the motivation to lose weight because nothing motivates me more than standing on a stage in front of 500 people, apparently.


Image may contain: 1 person
Second from the left courtesy/Balee Images circa 2014

Then my menopause started taking me downhill from there. Medications for migraines, intermittent vertigo, anxiety and the like, made me gain weight, then lose it, then gain it back again over and over. I was losing estrogen by the gallons (yes, I know that’s not how it works) and with every hot flash, I was putting on more and more weight.

I don’t know about you but when I get sad, mad, headachy, or anxious, I eat. Food filled the void when sanity left a big gaping hole. So food is what I sought solace in over a five year period while I watched my body betray the fuck out of me. No matter the diet, no matter the exercise, I wasn’t able to lose, only gain and with each step on the scale, I would fill that angry, sad void with food.


In the midst of low-carb AND exercise daily and you’d never know it/ circa 2018

This past Christmas break, I decided that I needed an intervention.

Except, I was the only one who could intervene.

In December, I was only five pounds shy of my weight on the day I delivered Ella, 190 pounds. For my five foot five frame, I looked like an actual potato.

A red potato because hot flashes. 

I had listened to a doctor for a couple of years who told me that I needed to do low carb for my blood and I believed her out of fear. My anxiety was telling me to betray what I inherently knew and listen to this well-meaning doctor. A high-fat low carb diet would help me lose weight and not die because I was afraid after meeting with the doctor of losing my life. For a two year period under her care, I felt as though if I ate bread or sugar or carbohydrates in any quantity, that I would die.

I am not even kidding.


 

After being on low carb for two months/ circa 2018

I followed her instructions and lost 10 pounds within a month just doing low-carb alone, with moderate exercise. Then I hit a plateau, as you do with low carb but instead of riding it out, I went off of it completely and in the process, dove into a high carb high-calorie spiral of which my body is still trying to recover. I was trying on a pair of leggings one day last December and realized a size large didn’t fit me and I would have to make the jump to XL and that simple fact made me sob loudly in a poorly lit fitting room.

I decided that I needed to try Weight Watchers again but I was not paying for it like I did last winter. Long story short- I paid them so I could gain weight at no fault of Weight Watchers. After a Google search, I found the iTrack Bites app on my phone and immediately downloaded* uploaded* it.

*I don’t know how to use those two words, which shouldn’t surprise anyone. 

I also decided that I was going to try intermittent fasting again only eating from 11 in the morning until 7 at night but this time I was doing it seven days a week, not just intermittently, (no pun intended) like I had done in the past.

 

My knees in 2012

 

But the real reason I am writing this post is that I began running the first week in January of this year. I have written about my past experience training for a 5k and how I fucking hated running.

HATED. IT.

Why would I do it to myself again? I am close to 50 years old! My knees! MY KNEES. But I wanted to try it again for several reasons. Regular exercise routines weren’t working. I would follow plans to the tee with little or no results. And I remembered how good I looked back when I was training for a 5K in 2012.

But the biggest reason was that I wanted needed to conquer my crippling fear.

Last winter, as part of the “winter o’ terror” tour that was going on in my brain, I had a constant fear of having a heart attack because of an appointment with the aforementioned well-meaning doctor last January.  I happened to mention having had heartburn a few nights prior to the visit to which she wanted to do an in-office EKG to be safe. The EKG turned out abnormal and it was decided I needed to have a whole heart workup or some shit to make sure I was good. because woman + heart shit + menopause = catastrophe.

But they couldn’t get me into that appointment for three solid weeks.

Well in those three long-ass weeks, I freaked out. Worrying every single moment that I was one heart episode away from dying. Walking on the treadmill, let alone running on one wasn’t even an option as I was frozen with fear daily. Long story short, it was concluded after several very expensive tests that we are still paying for, I have abnormal EKG’s.

That’s my thing, my jam if you will.

So this winter, I needed to prove to my brain that my heart is okay even though common sense told me that of course I am okay but my anxious brain was all, HELLZ NO MOTHAFUCKAH.

I was on a mission.

From God.

Or at the very least, The Blues Brothers.

 

 

I added the Couch to 5K app to my phone one crappy January day and began the slow journey to mental peace.

I mean, I was totally petrified of dropping dead with every single gasp but with every run, I was also telling my body who was in charge.

Shouting to my brain that I’ve got it from here, you asshole betrayer, you.

Over the past nine weeks, I have been silently battling inner demons for 30 minutes a day, every other day, three days per week.

In fact, this post was born while thinking about random shit on many of those runs, which is how I am not freaking the crap out and powering through.

One day I thought to myself man, I should create a shirt for a 5k with the words Run Ferris Run on it.

A play on this:

 

 

Meshing my love of John Hughes, film, plays on words. and well, running.

I mean, I really don’t love running completely yet, but I do love what it is helping me to accomplish. I want to french kiss it for most likely being the reason I am handling winter so much better this year or the reason I am now down 15 pounds (and counting).

I am alternating my runs to every other day and taking the weekends off so as not to overwork my 49-year-old knees. At my most, I have run 20 minutes straight without stopping which is insane for the girl who used to think she had asthma, who was paralyzed in fear that her heart would just stop, who could barely run for five minutes straight at the age of 42.

Almost eight years younger than I am as I write this.

I am on week nine of Couch to 5K so far but the quarantine has put a damper on it a bit. I am still running every other day but not for 20 minutes straight because the winds have been kind of knocked out of my emotional sails right now. But I am running and that is all that matters.

I do think all of the above are helping me power through and make me think I can conquer the world a tiny bit.

 

My knees now. Cellulite, wrinkles and all.

 

I am also proof that anyone can do this for themselves. If you are consumed by your anxiety or hate the way you look in the mirror (which is normal and okay to feel that way), if you don’t feel good on the inside and don’t know where to start, I am here to tell you that it’s okay to feel those feelings and want to sit with those feelings.

But don’t you ever think that you can’t feel like the best version of yourself because you don’t have the funds or you don’t have a treadmill or can’t afford a trainer or a gym membership or organic food or you work draining jobs and long hours and don’t have the time.

Because you can. I was you and I was in that place for a long ass time.

And for those who suffer from anxiety or health anxiety, you CAN do this despite what your fucking brain is telling you.

I am giving myself and my brain peace.

Controlling my little corner of the world in a very uncontrollable time.

One run at a time.

 

22 thoughts on “Run Ferris, Run”

  1. Girl, you should be so proud of yourself! This is incredible. And in the midst of this Coronavirus, I am so proud that you’re still at it. You are an inspiration. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness. YOU are a rock star. You really are. You’ve had so many hurdles and you keep on jumping over them. (I read your blood sucks post; yikes)
    I applaud you for getting back up each time you feel knocked down. Keep on keeping on and know that we are so proud of you and proud to know you.
    XO

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I didn’t want to seem like I was bragging but also I feel like this kind o’ post is perfect for this time of our lives.
      When all of our anxieties are at an all-time high.

      Sending you a hug.

      Like

  3. 100% relatable and YES. You put into words exactly where I’m at now…combating the anxiety and FEAR. Saying “no” to the heart attack thoughts that plagued me and controlling what I can. I’m just getting started and thankful for your posts. You are a step ahead and encouraging me all the way. Thank you for that.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great job, Kari! That is a lot of weight to lose and you sound truly motivated and on top of your game. Not at easy thing at all – way to go! Your legs look amazing!!! I have been missing my health club and my classes, but I have been working out at home. I no longer run much because it messes with my back, but I usually try to combine cardio and weights in my workouts. Working out gives me energy and makes my head feel clear and prepared for the day – well, almost. Ha.

    Eddie is a huge proponent of weight lifting – this does not mean you have to have a barbell set up in your house and make the girls act as spotters. Lifting weights tends to burn calories even when you are done exercising which cardio does not do. I have one set of 10 lb weights at home but you can lift your own body weight while doing exercises at home and still benefit – like squats, push ups, crab kicks, etc. Attaching an article that sums it up. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/cardio-vs-weights-for-weight-loss#section6

    Hoping I do not sound bossy, but I live with a physical therapist and crazed fitness grown-ass men (who still behave like boys) so thought I would share. I was super frustrated when I was gaining weight with my knee messed up and Ed was all ‘start lifting more. Riding the bike is only cardio you need strength.’ Anyway, just in case you are interested.

    You are a rock star for sure. I admire your devotion. I am blessed with height that makes it easy to spread my weight out and not show gaining much. But it is hell to buy pants that are long enough, so there’s that.

    Love the ‘actual potato’ and red because of hot flashes. You never fail to make me laugh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I used to do weights at the gym and loved it but since I don’t have a gym membership it’s a bit harder. I know the doctor did recommend weights and strength exercises, so I will keep that in mind.

      Right now I’m in survival mode (as we all are) and can only think about things that get me through each day. Running on the treadmill and walks outside are helping so much.

      Like

  5. Ah, Kari. So much to say here, but I’m going to refrain from anything specific because as a person who has lived through infertility and continues to live with chronic migraine, I know how annoying it can be when well-meaning people try to tell you about things they know nothing about. While I know some of the struggles you’ve described here, I don’t know all of them. I’m just so sorry your body has been such a bitch to you. I do know a little something about that.

    I will leave it at this: Your body has gone through so much the past few years. I hope you can find ways to love it–truly love it. (The verb “love,” not the feeling–though I think the feeling comes when you can do the verb.) If that’s running, then run, Kari, run. Eat what your body is telling you it wants to eat. Make time to take care of it. You deserve it. All of it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes to all of that, particularly in that last paragraph. I’m finally slowly, falling in love with me. I know it shouldn’t be about looks but when I get heavy, I don’t feel good and it spirals down from there.
      It’s much deeper than what I can write about on this public forum but let’s say it’s been a long road to get here. ❤️

      Like

  6. You are amazing, Kari! Whatever it takes to feel good and take off some excess pounds…go for it. I hate running and can’t do it anyway, because it’s bad for my back (I have herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, piriformis syndrome, and God-only-knows what else.) However, I walk just about every single day. Today, I walked twice! I also do yoga for strength, balance, toning, and deep breathing/serenity. I know I need to incorporate weights into my routine and I don’t have any excuses, as I do have weights here. However, right now I have impingement in my right shoulder, so I’m not supposed to be using weights.

    As you know, I have terrible anxiety, too…and the walking, especially outside, really helps me. Oddly enough (and don’t hate me), I have actually lost weight during menopause. No diet…just started eating healthy and “clean” years ago and combining that with the little exercise I do, the weight came off. Giving up processed sugar helped, too.

    I still have a hard time with looking at myself in the mirror and criticizing what I see. Nearly 100% of the time, I always think I look fat. Even though I weigh 50 lbs less than what I did 30 years ago.

    Keep up the good work…you’re an inspiration! xoxo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Walking helps my anxiety too. During this social isolation, I have made it a point to walk outside every single day. Even on the days I run. Just being outside for half an hour or 45 minutes going for a walk, is good for my soul.

      You’re an inspiration too. I never mentioned this because I keep forgetting but I am so proud of you for going to California amid all of this coronavirus shit. Obviously you wanted to see her son but for you to get on that plane was huge and as someone who also has severe anxiety, I can appreciate that on a deep level. ❤️

      Like

      1. The coronavirus wasn’t a “huge” thing like it is now, just a couple of weeks ago. Things progressed literally the day we got home. We went just in time. If our trip had’ve been just one week later, we would’ve had to cancel.

        Liked by 1 person

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