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Emotional vs Physical Running

I’ve been running my whole life.  I don’t mean that I have been putting my feet to the pavement and racking up the miles in races. Nope. Until about two years ago running wasn’t a physical activity for me. It was an emotional one.

Internalization was a lesson I learned young and perfected by my teenage years. Anger in my house was an emotion that bred dysfunction and abuse. It was the fuel behind volatile emotionally abusive fights and my family’s inability to deal with anger in constructive and rational ways was the catalyst for another emotion that I’ve never been able to deal with well, resentment.

I learned not to express anger in an effort to avoid uncomfortable confrontations. I learned to fear anger because the wrath of the women in my family was so emotionally, verbally and physically abusive that making sure they were never angry, which meant never being angry yourself, was a well-known goal between the men and children in our family.

But when things start happening that make us angry and we don’t learn to deal with it, to talk through it and get past it, we are left with resentment. The strange thing about resentment is that it’s a very private emotion. It has almost no impact on the person it is directed towards because they rarely know that it exists. Instead it resides deep within us causing internal discontent.

When our life is filled with negativity we start trying to run from it. When my marriage started falling apart because I harbored so much resentment towards him for all the financial problems we had, all the lying he had done and all the pain he had caused me there was no fight or flight reaction in me, it was only flight, running away was always my answer. So I buried myself in my own little world of online escapism. I buried myself in work.  I stuffed my feelings with food.  This was me running away.

I’ve previously wrote about night I discovered my love for running. It was the night before my Father passed away. What I don’t talk about is the horrible fight I had with my Mother the night before that. I’ve never gone into details about how I almost left the house and got back on a plane because she wouldn’t allow me to disengage from a verbal fight she wanted to pick with me.  I’d never wanted to run away so bad in my whole life. Here I was in a house I swore I would never go back to. A house that was full of memories that had haunted me for most of my life.

But my life was different now. I’d had weight loss surgery; I’d lost 155 lbs and though I still had another 100 lbs to lose I was  taking my life back from the dark grasp of obesity that not being able to express anger and deal with resentment had led me too.

I didn’t know what to do to make myself feel better. I hadn’t really gotten to the stage where I had learned to start developing healthy coping skills. I knew I couldn’t go back to any of the old ones, especially food but I knew that if I left the house to exercise I could get away.

I ran for the first time that night. The 4th of July under the fireworks of  Los Angeles, CA  and somehow, the faster I ran and the further I went, the more free I felt. I put on music and found that it helped me feel my feelings. Something amazing happened that night. Right then and there I became a different type of runner.

I might not have been moving very fast. I still don’t run very fast, but that was the moment that the runner in me was reborn. Being a runner for me isn’t about a 8 or 10 minute mile, it’s about taking the time to feel my feelings, it’s about having a healthy coping mechanism, it’s about having time to collect my thoughts and gather my words so I can communicate them to others and deal with them rather than being burdened with resentment.

People often ask me why I run. I run because it’s my healthy addiction. I run because I made a deal with my father when he was leaving this world that I would spend time with him and talk to him when I exercise. I run because it keeps me close to my father.  I run because in truth I have always ran I’ve just found a way to turn what was once a negative emotional exercise of running away into a positive physical activity that helps me maintain my weight loss and my sanity. I run because it’s how I modified an unhealthy behavior into a healthy one and that Slender Seekers is what healthy lifestyle changes are all about.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Check out the Second “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest

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Confessions of a Stress Eater

Guest Blog by “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest Winner
Amy Smith

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Hello Slender Seekers! It’s me, your How Do You Celebrate Success contest winner. And I have a confession to make: I’ve been struggling. Like… a lot.

If you’ve lost a large amount of weight, you already know a fact that surprises people who haven’t: It’s much harder to keep weight off than to lose it in the first place. The hardest part about losing it is just getting started. Then it’s one good decision after another, until you’ve made enough good decisions to make a real difference, and the momentum keeps you going.

But besides diet and exercise, there’s the matter of our stupid brains. The ones that say “you’ve had a hard day, just go home and relax.” Or “you had a really sad day, just this once you can have some ice cream.” And then the next day they say, “you already blew it yesterday, so have some pizza today, then you’ll work out harder tomorrow.” And the next day, “you feel crappy from that junk food yesterday, take it easy on your run.” Or even “you ran 5 miles, you can eat whatever you want today.” Anyone who runs knows…it burns fewer calories than it feels like it should! Five miles, 500 calories… 2 cookies and you’re back to where you started.

I had an extremely difficult summer. Work got incredibly intense to say the least. A friend passed away. Some stressful financial issues cropped up. I got sick. My ankles have given me problems with my running. And I began to eat. It started out as a treat here and there, and before I knew it, Labor Day was here, and I was 25 pounds heavier. And then the guilt attacked me. “I won a contest for WEIGHT LOSS and I spent the summer gaining weight.” I’ve kept up with my exercise, but I haven’t been able to increase my per-mile time, because I’m carrying around extra weight. I’ve made it so much harder on myself than it had to be. But I know if I didn’t have the half marathon coming up, I probably would have scrapped the exercise as well. So thank goodness for the contest, for Pandora, and all of you supporting me, because without that, I might be in a really ugly place.

So anyway, I’ve been feeling incredibly guilty and so ashamed. But then I thought about it… and none of us would be here reading this blog if weight loss came easy to us. I’m guessing all of you truly understand what it’s like to backslide, or struggle every single day to keep making those good choices. The true test is how we rebound from times like these. NOT giving up, no matter how much damage we’ve done. And admitting our mistakes, being accountable and then attacking it all over again. Health and wellness isn’t something we just accomplish and then never think about again. It’s a lifelong process – a mental one just as much, if not more than, a physical one. I need to do some serious work on my brain, along with my butt and gut!

I’ve spent the last month dwelling on the weight I have gained. But it’s time for me to focus on the positive: I’m still down 65 pounds from where I began, I’m still about to run a HALF MARATHON, and I am going to take these 25 pounds, show them the exit, and then work on losing 25 more. I will be working on it for the rest of my life. We all will be. But with the support of friends like Pandora, awesome sponsors who keep me healthy with vitamins and good nutrition, and my family and running buddies, I’m going to overcome this. It has been a tough summer, but I vow to finish this half marathon, and finish 2014 back at my lowest weight. I need all of your support, and I am here to cheer for all of you too. We are truly all in this together, and we always will be.

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Pandora Williams author of Desperately Seeking Slender is a  Cooper Approved Wellness Coach Trained in Weight Management Strategies and Motivational Speaker studying to become a Certified Personal Trainer.

Check out the Second “How do YOU Celebrate Success” Contest

Team Slender Seekers Sponsors:

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AmeriWell Bariatrics
Like AmeriWell Bariatrics on Facebook ]

logo

WELLESSE
Like WELLESSE on Facebook ]

Celebratecmyk

Celebrate Vitamins
Like Celebrate Vitamins on Facebook ]

Kay's Logo

Kay’s Naturals
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BariMelts Logo

BariMelts
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Please support our sponsors!

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Author: Pandora Williams

Author of Desperately Seeking Slender

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