Monday, November 21, 2011

Chubby Girl's Guide to Running

I mentioned about 50 years ago.....okay 4 months ago, how I was going to try to lose 30lbs and be able to run 3 miles by Christmas.....yeah, well....umm...procrastination is a horrible virus I tend to catch. I was not as "on top of it" as I had planned....Although in my defense I was pretty lax in my "plan". But here is the thing about me. I am an "enjoyer of life". Obviously, to me that includes delicious food and adult beverages. And it also includes snuggling up under a blanket and watching a movie with a hottie instead of stressing about how you need to work out.

But obviously I do think there is a fine line between allowing yourself to enjoy food and getting to that point where food is the enemy. You know the point where it doesn't become fun anymore? Where you look in the mirror and you can't think of one nice thing you see in yourself. Where all you see is chub, you have nothing that fits correctly, and you just want to crawl under your bed and hide from the world. Yeah well I think most of us have been in that place at one time or another. That might be the point where food isn't your friend anymore. Where it isn't enjoyable. So it is a slippery slope.

I know that I could cut out carbs, stop drinking cocktails and beer, and run 5 days a week, and I would drop this extra padding in no time. And I have told myself 'would it really be a big deal to sacrafice for 3 months to get to where you want to be?'. The answer to that is: of course not. It wouldn't be a big sacrafice. I would probably be so happy after those 3 months that it would make up for the fact that I denied myself things. But.....that is not me this go round. I have done it that way before. And it wasn't sustainable. Case in point - current chubby me. If that worked for me long-term, I wouldn't be writing "Chubby Girl's Guide to __" posts. (And just to reiterate this is not baby chub. This is pre-baby chub. Amazingly the weight I gained during my pregnancy was gone pretty quick like).

So how long will this really take? It is hard to say, but to be perfectly honest, I am happy right now. If I continued to do what I am doing right now and never lost a pound, I think I would be just fine with that. I look  in the mirror....yes when I am nekkid even...and you know what? Sure it isn't perfect, but hey it is pretty awesome too. The only real issue I see is my boobs are making a southern migration, but it's nothing a push-up bra can't fix. And sure, maybe nekkid isn't the best look for me, but with clothes on, I feel good. Chunky Natalie is okay.

That being said, perhaps my new outlook on myself has to do with the fact that I have been running. And I am starting to make some progress when it comes to distance...the weight thing...I am not sure about (I like to judge my progress by how my clothes fit, rather than how much I weigh. It is better). I believe 100% that the best way to give your confidence a little boost is get that tushy of yours in motion. You don't have to run. Just a walk around the block can do it. Or do something really fun, like jumping on trampolines or find a swingset. Go swimming or rollerskating....although if you're going rollerskating give me a call because I wanna come too. I find that it doesn't matter what I look like nekkid after I get some exercise. I just feel good that I am taking care of my body. Sure sometimes I go for a run during the day and then eat a double chocolate chip cookie in the evening (just as a random example) but I still feel good. Best of both worlds, so to speak.

I kind of find myself comical and I especially find the way I get myself to run hilarious. It is a complex web of bribery, denial, inner-laughter, and ass kissing (yes I kiss my own ass....hey at least I know where it has been which is more than I can say for some of the people whose asses I hafta kiss). Anyway, I thought I would pass on my "Guide to Running"....mostly just to make you laugh, but maybe my "tips" will help you too. Laughing burns calories, so you're welcome.

Rule 1: Give yourself some love. I have started the "I am going to start running" process many times in my lifetime. And the trend I have found is there is no way I am finishing a run, and there is definitely no way I am sticking to the habit of going for runs, when I am down on myself . It is like the negativity just shuts me down, my body rebels. So before you get started, talk yourself up a bit. Find that thing you like about yourself maybe it is your booty (not the case for me, I have a pancake ass....and I also have an extremely short butt crack, but that is a story for another day) and look at yourself in the mirror - probably best if you are dressed and ready to run/do activity - then say 'hey there sexy lady.....whoa look at that hot booty!' then turn around and do a little booty shaking. Dance around the bathroom in front of the mirror. Drop it like it's hot. All that. Basically make yourself giggle. I find when I am running and I hit a really hard know that point where you are trying to talk yourself into stopping...yeah at that point I like to recall the silly things I was doing earlier and it boosts me back up again.

Rule 2: Don't focus on distance at first. The first few times I went out, I was struggling to finish a 1/2 mile run.....and let's be honest, what I was doing was less like running and more like shuffling. So while I like to start out thinking 'I am going to run this far', in reality the first few times I was out, I modified those goals as I went. If there is one thing that will make you not stick to the habit, it is pushing yourself too far the first couple of times. I like to pick "checkpoints" if you will. I will look ahead of me and see a stop sign 4 blocks away and say 'okay get to there'. Then when I get to there, I try to push myself a little further. 'Okay get to there'. etc. You get the idea.

Rule 3: Once you have picked your checkpoints, avoid eye contact with them. If I look at the checkpoint sometimes I find myself saying 'why are you so damn far away stupid checkpoint!'. This is going to work against you. So I tend to look at the ground....not the most fun way to run, right? Because we all dream about running and looking around, enjoying the scenery, thinking to ourselves 'this is the most beautiful look at those leaves...gorgeous.....I need to rake the leaves in our yard when I get home' etc. Don't get discouraged, you will get to this point and if you can start out this way, kuddos to you! I am jealous. For me, I have to look 10 feet in front of me and just think about those 10 feet. This is especially necessary when facing any sort of hill. To look off in the distance and realize how long and steep the hill is, just kicks my ass every time. I find myself gasping for air, panicking, wanting to die. So I have to focus just on those 10 feet at a time. Going down hill is a different story. I can look around and think 'I am such an amazing runner! Look at me go'.

Rule 4: Set realistic goals. Don't start out going from not running to telling yourself you will run everyday for the next 30 days. It won't happen and the disappointment you feel in yourself when you fail will suck the motivation right out of you. Start small. 'I am going to run twice a week'. Then if you feel like going for a 3rd or 4th run that week....then um something is wrong with you...just kidding. No that is awesome. If you feel like running more than your initial goal then give yourself extra love for that.

Rule 5:  Tell yourself that you are a runner. I was TOTALLY one of those people who would say 'Oh I am not a runner'. Truth is, you are a runner. You might be not a marathon runner, or a fast runner, or even a good runner, but if you are moving at a pace faster than a brisk walk, guess what? you're a runner. If you need some added motivation read "Born to Run". I started reading this book when I was struggling to get past the 2 mile mark. After the first few chapters I went out and ran almost 4 miles completely unintentionally (before you are confused I am talking past-tense here. Right now I am back to working my way up past 1 1/2 miles). It just changed my whole perspective on my abilities.....come to think of it, better check it out from the library again and see if it will get me really going this time.

Rule 6: Add distance when you're ready, but not when you're too ready. Sometimes this will happen: I will get to the point where I can run a mile and then I will just get comfortable with that distance. Obviously you don't want to run 1/2 mile your first time and push up to 1 mile the second time and kill yourself. You want to get to a point where you can run a distance comfortably, but you also want to push yourself into the next milestone before you get too comfortable. This rule is hard to explain. You are going to have to test it out because it depends on you. Again you don't want to push yourself so hard that you never want to run again, but you want a little push.

Rule 7: A short run is better than no run. In some cases don't listen to Rule 6. If it is a choice between running around the block or not running that day, run around the block. At least you are doing something. Don't let yourself say 'well I don't have enough time to run 2 miles, so I just won't do it at all'. Don't let the demons get you!!!!

Rule 8: Be prepared. The biggest issue I have right now is that I go to work when it is dark and I get home when it is dark. Darkness = hybernation for me. As many times as I have told myself 'I am going for a run tonight after work', that never happens in the Fall/Winter. I determined that the only way I will run is to do it at work. This is so needed too. I get to see sunlight and I get to not look at my computer screen for an hour. win-win. Now Colorado in October/November is unpredictable, so I come armed. In my "running bag" I bring un.der.armor winter leggings and cotton yoga pants. I have a long sleeve shirt and a short sleeve shirt. I have a hoodie and a wind breaker. And I have gloves. bulky? yes. but I have every situation covered. I also modify my "running days" based on the weather report. If I know it is going to snow on Wednesday, I will run Monday and Tuesday. You get the idea.

Rule 9: When struggling, get OCD. The hardest part of my run is the first half. Once I get past that initial 1/2-3/4 of a mile, it gets easier. That voice that is telling me 'we'd still be doing awesome if we just stopped right now' gets quieter. But getting to that point can be hellish. So what do I do? I count shit. That's right, I turn into a crazy OCD person and start counting shit. Sometimes I count sections of sidewalk as they pass. Sometimes I count footsteps between cracks in the pavement. Sometimes I count steps between my inhale/exhales. Basically I do whatever it takes to get my mind off of the fact that I want to quit.

So there ya go. There are my super secret tips to getting into the habit of running. Maybe you will use them or maybe they will just make you laugh.


  1. I'm seriously bookmarking this to reread when I start running post-baby. I NEED to get back into it. Need to.

    Way to keep with it lady!

  2. You crack me up, but these are great tips!! I'm proud of you and I think you just motivated me to get my ass off the couch! (I think)

  3. Whoa! I think we all could do with some Pajamas. Haha! I've started my shopping on

  4. Did you write this for me? Yeah, I know you don't know who I am, but I still think you wrote this for me. (I may be narcissistic.)

    I like #9 the best. I totally want to quit all the time and I think counting stupid stuff will help.

    I am not a runner. Using all definitions, I am not a runner. But I'd secretly like to be. Thanks for this motivation.

  5. I am not going to lie. I have been running my whole life (well, scratch the past four years or so but you get the idea) and I have never done some of these things and totally wish I had!!! I am going to use you as my inspiration! I'm going to go count things and avoid things and shake my little (big) booty at the mirror and work off these extra 20 IF lbs I've gained so I feel good again! I mean I have to keep my online girlfriend happy too right? ;) Great work honey bun! GO NATALIE!!!

  6. I use an app on my iPhone called Trainer 5K. (Don't worry, you don't have to run a 5K for it). It is awesome because you can play your music in your ears and then hit start on the app. It cuts into your music to tell you what to do. Rather than "run a 1/2 mile" or any other distance, it says "run for 1 minute" and then "walk for 1 minute." The times gradually build, but it always breaks up with walking breaks. I love it because I am not a very fast runner, so to hit a distance goal would take me forever and be really discouraging, but when it says "run for 5 minutes" and I finish it out without stopping, regardless of how far I went I feel proud of myself. I highly recommend it. It eventually builds you up to the last lesson where you run for 30 minutes straight. After that there is another app you can get called Trainer 10K. I haven't ran in a VERY long time and have been eyeing my running clothes in the past week or so and thinking I should get back at it.... thanks for the motivation!