Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Does This Holocaust Memorial Make My Arms Look Fat?

I don’t mean to offend anyone with the title of this post, but it relates to how I got to a place of greater acceptance about my body.

Have you read Alexander McCall Smith’s No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency books? You should. They are the literary version of a pillow; they are soft and relaxing. And because I’ve always hated the term “big boned,” they gave me a great description to explain my body type. Like the bush-tea-guzzling main character Precious Ramotswe, I am “traditionally built.” I work out more often than anyone I know, but in a line up with my friends, you’d pick the others as the runners and you’d think my workouts consisted of a biweekly walk down the snack aisle (a Ho-Ho stroll?) at the supermarket. For this reason, I am constantly trying to work on accepting my body and body type.

Which brings me back to the title of this post. When I was based in The Netherlands, I had lots of opportunities to travel. One weekend, about 40 of us in the international expat group I was part of headed to Berlin—awesome city, by the way. My friend Michael was our default photographer and he snapped a candid photo of me at the above-ground part of the Holocaust Memorial. When I was later browsing the photos, I saw my arms, a body part I’ve always disliked for their chunkiness, and was horrified. I groaned and asked him to delete the photo right away. And then I realized what I was saying. I didn’t like how my arms looked chunky at a Holocaust Memorial. WOW. That, in all honesty, was one of the most striking incidences of me needing to get over myself.

These days, I’m really trying to improve my body type acceptance with the old saw, health is wealth. Because it is, as almost all ECGers can personally attest to. In my case, my husband just recently had some melanoma removed. What we thought would be a routine checkup at the dermatologist became a serious diagnosis, two procedures to remove the cancerous cells from his leg, a major procedure to close his excision, a week of total bedrest, two-weeks of using a walking cane, an emergency ultrasound to check for a DVT, emergency wound care after necrosis and infection, grafts with pig bladder tissue, another infection, a full-thickness graft, more bedrest, more emergency visits, a 4-inch scar on his hip, a 10-inch scar on his calf, and a lifetime of follow-up appointments every 3 months.

For the majority of the last several weeks he has been unable to run or cycle (his two favorite activities), but he’s glad it’s been taken care of and he appreciates that they caught it early and treated it. I’m grateful he’s fine and I’m so thankful that through it all, I was able to work out to burn off the stress and anxiety of the last several weeks. I felt like I was working out for the both of us.

So, when you’re really feeling down about your weight or body type, try to instead think about your health. Are you fit? Do you feel healthy? If your answer is no, then by all means, take action. But don’t belabor the number on the scale or on the tag of your jeans—it’s just that, a number. Instead, focus on your overall health, because without that, you’ve got nothing.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Thinking of ECG VII already

In the event there is an ECG next year (lol), I wanted to throw some ideas out there. Let me know what you think. We've already discussed penalizing those who gain the weight back. But not everybody is cool with negative "negative" discipline. Some like the "positive reinforcement" technique better so how about these rules...

1. If at the start of ECG VII you weigh the same or less than what you weighed at the end of ECG VI, you will earn 3 bonus points.

2. If at the start of ECG VII you weigh less than what you weighed at the end of ECG VI, then you will get an additional point for every % lost.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Week 11 Results

Week 11 results are in. Among the reporters this week, Chris Brand is back in the lead!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Body Mass Index Calculator

Even if the number on the scale is something you think you can live with, you still need to consider your Body Mass Index. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) defines it like this: Body Mass Index (BMI) is a number calculated from a person's weight and height. BMI provides a reliable indicator of body fatness for most people and is used to screen for weight categories that may lead to health problems.

The Mayo Clinic has this easy-to-use BMI calculator which will tell you what your current condition really means to your health.

What’s your BMI?

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Week 10 Results

Week 10 results are in. Among the reporters this week, Steve Lee is in the lead!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Setting Goals

As this competition nears its end, it’s important to remember your goal for the end of ECG. I don’t mean a number that you’d like to see on the scale, or even the money that you hope to win. What I mean is, what will be your long-term take away from 12 weeks of my mostly-unread blog posts and weekly nags to send me your weights?

I think goals are key. My short-term goal is to have completed 60 workouts (40-60mins duration each) during ECG VI—today, I will finish workout 46. I really want to be in the best shape that I can. My short-term motivations are physically demanding vacations to Patagonia and Alaska in May and June. My long-term goals are to keep up with the same ECG “tricks” so that if/when ECG VII rolls around, that I’m not back where I started this year, or worse, where I was when I started ECG V.

You only lose weight one pound (heck, one ounce) at a time, so it’s important that these goals are realistic, especially because concentrating on your goals can really help carry you through. What goals are you thinking about when you pass on dessert or are sweating at the gym?

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Week 9 Results

Week 9 results are in. Chris Brand still holds the number 1 spot, but past winner Steve Lee has moved up to the number 2 spot!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Upcoming NYC Races

Maybe winning ECG VI isn’t your ultimate goal, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give the leaders a run for their money. Literally—run for 3 bonus point by completing the April 22 Run for the Parks 4 mile course through Central Park.

Or take advantage of a last-minute calorie burning boost before the last weigh in on April 30 by completing this 4 mile race: