Back on the workout wagon

13 08 2011

I’m back in the gym! I finally admitted to myself that I was doing a terrible job finding “alternative” workouts outside the gym. Yes, I ran for a bit (Couch to 5k program. It was ok, but since it was just cardio, my weight stayed the same and I gained 4% body fat in 2 months). There were also months of 3x weekly yoga plus some sporadic Zumba. But nothing feels like being in the gym.
It’s only been a week, but I’ve gone three times and completed a strength routine and 20 mins of cardio each day. Lifting weights is always when I’ve felt best, I wish it didn’t take so long to remember that! I’m following the guide in this book and social networking with people here.  I was pretty sore after the first couple days, but then remembered tricks like eating a banana post workout (potassium) and taking BCAAs (help muscles recover and reduce soreness). And of course, lots of water. I’m no where close to where I was last summer but I know I can get there again. Well, maybe not quite there, but strong, anyway! I don’t think I ever posted this video – I wanted to “deadlift more than I weighed” for some reason. The way Jeron had me working out made for quick strength gains. There was (mostly joking) talk of training to be a powerlifter. I still think that would be awesome.


“Unbearable Lightness”

15 02 2011

Recently, I read the memoir “Unbearable Lightness” by Portia de Rossi. Her journey is much, much different from mine. Yet, I saw parts of myself in her story. One passage struck me in particular:

“…Diets that tell people what to eat or when to eat are the practices in between. And dieting, I discovered, was another form  of disordered eating, just as anorexia and bulimia similarly disrupt the natural order of eating. “Ordered” eating is the practice of eating when you are hungry and ceasing to eat when your brain sends the signal that your stomach is full. “Ordered” eating is about eating for enjoyment, for health, and to sustain life. “Ordered” eating is not restricting certain kinds of foods because they are “bad.” Obsessing about what and when to eat is not normal, natural, and orderly. Thinking about food to the point of obsession and ignoring your body’s signals is a disorder.”

I don’t have disordered eating habits anywhere near the level she suffered with. (Perhaps the argument of overeating could be made to be as life threatening as anorexia, but that’s not my point.)  Yet, my eating is far from “ordered.” I’m not sure I’ve EVER known how to eat in an orderly fashion. I’ve been at the point of obsession (luckily, not as extreme as her experience, and it didn’t persist) but the reminder of what that was like is enough to scare me from wanting to get near it again. It is clear to me that that way of relating to food and your body isn’t healthy. I cannot seem to find one that is. (It is also possible that I use the excuse of past obsession as a reason to avoid finding a healthy balance now.) (I should be in therapy, most likely. Attempting to perform therapy on yourself is not recommended.)

My point? Hmm. I was so struck by her description of what “ordered” eating means to her and how far it is from my relationship with food. Maybe that’s all. I’m feeling optimistic right now, so I’m going to consider this train of thought as a puzzle piece I’ve found, but don’t know where it goes yet. (Does the metaphor even make sense?)

Here we go again

7 02 2011

So…. it’s been 3.5 months this blog has been silent. I’ve got a couple drafts of posts from that time, but nothing super duper great (obviously, I didn’t even finish writing and post them!)

I’ve been trying to figure out what my magical “ok, now I’ll be serious” moment was/is going to be. Diagnosed with Type II diabetes? Can’t fit into a booth at a restaurant? I already feel squeezed in some chairs. Maybe I don’t get a magical change epiphany. Maybe I just have to do it for all the other reasons  – to feel better, be healthier, be happy and pleased with myself, show my body respect, the list goes on.

In the last three months I’ve slowly gotten away from what I was doing last summer. This makes sense, the way I was working out and thinking about food was not realistic with a full time job, but I let too much slide. I stopped planning my meals, I stopped moving at all outside of daily living requirements. I let myself make the same excuse over and over that I could eat or drink what I wanted because it’s not like the rest of the day/week/month was on any kind of track, anyway. Luckily, I’ve gained less than 5 pounds. This is a huge change for me – the past several years I’ve gained or lost 5-30 pounds over the course of several months. The fact that my weight has stayed within 10 pounds of where it was a year ago feels like a small victory. Maybe I’ve sorta figured out maintenance? Too bad the body I’m maintaining is not the body I want! But it does give me hope that I’ve learned some things and have been able to make some small changes. Now I’m ready to try for some bigger changes again.

I ordered this guy at the recommendation of this gal and am eagerly awaiting it’s arrival. Of course, this is just one tool. I’ve tracked calories before, made my own grids and graphs in notebooks and am looking forward to having it done for me in an orderly fashion. I like that it includes daily exercise. It’s like a combination of many different tracking tools I’ve used and made up before! I’m giving myself license before it even gets here to not fill in every box, to leave days blank, to not be hard on myself and just use it for what it can do for me, not how perfectly I can make each day add up to 1500 calories or whatever… I’m starting a new topic which should be it’s own post… and one that will be hard to write. Even harder for my family to read. So, look forward to that I guess?

But the good news: here we go again! with a positive attitude!

Apparently I like running

19 09 2010
yay for me

Post-run glow!

I’ve been talking about running for a few years now.  I’ve even tried a few times to make myself into a “runner.”

After the Dash last week, I realized that running a couple miles now and then on a treadmill isn’t all I want from running.  After my workout Wednesday, I spontaneously ran to the nearby park and back (estimate – 1 mile).  It felt great, and fairly easy.  So this Friday, I did the same thing!  (even though my workout was brutal – major circuits including 100 pushups, 100 kettelbell swings, tire jumping, mountain climbers and my first go at boxing).  Somehow, I had some ‘juice’ left and took off (even though it was drizzling.)

I made sure to check the clock this time before leaving the gym, I was curious. And curiosity paid off! It took me less than 14 minutes to run to the park and back!  I wonder if when on the treadmill, I spend too much energy watching time, thinking about intervals, not pushing myself for fear of “wasting” energy that I’ve over analyzed simple running. (I’m actually pretty sure that’s the case. I’ve very good at over analyzing).

A friend gave me the book Running for Mortals and although I’ve just started it, I already appreciate that bonafide runners (that is, those who run marathons, are capable of running several miles without stopping) consider what I do (that is, running, walking, jogging, walking some more) as running.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be at that level, but I know that running feels good (most of the time) and it’s easy.  So much easier this time around.  Why? I’m not sure.  Probably due to my mindset.  Instead of thinking it was going to hurt, being preoccupied with every ache and pain afterwards, I just run.

I’ve asked for these kick ass shoes for my birthday (if they don’t come, I’ll actually be able to use my grown-up income to buy them!) I know several people who wear these and swear by them.  Barefoot running is suppose to feel completely different (which it probably does) and amazing.  Over time, leg muscles learn to work together differently to stabilize and make use of the anatomy of your foot.  I (probably have some grandiose thinking here) believe that thanks to years of ballet, my feet will be strong and my body will adjust to these shoes quickly.  Even if they don’t, I’m excited for the challenge and experience.

Finding a routine

22 07 2010

These last several weeks have been interesting, what with being unemployed, then employed (but only part time) and changing up my life to include focus on diet and exercise. It’s been all to easy to come home from work at noon and take a nap. Or take a nap any time of day, really. After a work out. After running errands. Although I work every day, my job is easy and it’s short. So I’ve got hours of free time. Some of my naps have verged on just plain “sleeping” (I don’t think they count as a nap after 2 hours). It’s very easy to shrug off tasks/chores when you know you will have plenty of time to do it tomorrow, too.  And the next day. And probably next week. Then one day when the sink is full of three days worth of dishes, you wonder what the hell you’ve been doing with all that free time (answer: sleeping.  or watching tv. or reading.)  I’ve known for several years that the busier I am, the more productive I tend to be.  If I’ve got 5 hours to make a meal and wash the dishes, it probably won’t get done.  When I have small amounts of time between work and other activities, it’s much easier to make myself do things because I know I won’t have time later. Or tomorrow. Or next week.

Today was different (yay!).  After work I came home and cooked, even though I didn’t feel like it.  Cooked enough for a few days, actually.  Then got some chores done, even got my DEQ/DMV business done (which has a double bonus of not being put off until I get a ticket for expired tabs like last time).  I realized after these tasks that although I have a routine, it’s only halfway meeting my needs.  I’m getting the bare minimum done in my life, and it’s not satisfying me.  I know I’m being lazy.  So today, when moving from task to task, getting things done… I found myself humming.  And I realized I was happy.

Although having a routine is not always easy, it’s easier than establishing one.  Or trying to operate without one.  That really wasn’t working for me.  I guess this is part of what ‘being an adult’ is.

Overcoming My Sedentary Life Fantasy

21 06 2010

Move more.  Sounds simple, but it’s not.  Not in today’s culture of working 8ish hours a day, sitting in a car another hour (at least) and another hour (or way more) of watching tv, internet-ing, etc. The industrial revolution in the past 150 or so years has drastically changed our lifestyles to be more sedentary.  Prior to this, lots, LOTS of people were farming daily.  Even if you didn’t have a farm, you used lots more energy preparing food, washing clothes, walking to the market, all the tasks we take for granted as being easy and quick.  Our bodies were made for physical work and we don’t do much of it anymore.  It’s no wonder that given modern conveniences and the food industrialization, creating cheap and crappy food that appeals to mass markets,  has driven the national BMI catastrophically high.  People have found many ways to overcome this, a popular one is adding “workouts” to our daily lives that somewhat make up the physical activity our bodies aren’t getting while we sit in our offices.  This works pretty well, once you figure out how to schedule it in.  And provided you are burning enough calories in those hours. Another idea (which I’ve always found interesting) is treadmill desks.  Walking, slowly, for several hours instead of sitting.  Genius! It also appeals to me because you’re getting exercise while completing other tasks and you don’t have to find more time in your day to get it done.

Walking is easy.  It’s low impact, doesn’t make you overly sweaty in case you have a meeting or social event afterwards, and can be done anywhere.  You don’t even really need special shoes or clothes. In the past week (as I’ve been unemployed and find myself with hours of free time) I’ve been walking a lot.  I like it! I’m lucky, I can take 2 hours to walk to and from the pharmacy to get a prescription refill instead of 15 minutes driving.  This is not the case when I’m working 40+ hours each week. I’ve been fantasizing about how I can continue this when I’m working again, using up prime daylight hours in an office.  I’ve come to the conclusion that I want a treadmill.  This is not a new idea, nor is it feasible (given the no-job-equals-no-money situation).  It’s a FANTASY. But not a new one – I’ve often thought a treadmill in front of the TV was a good idea.  I babysit for a family who has a fancy treadmill in the garage – it’s got a tv screen right on it! I walked/ran for an hour, barely realizing the passage of time while the babies napped.  It was great.  And although I’ve been walking a lot the past several days, I’ve also been sent back inside due to weather. (Don’t get me wrong, a little rain is fine, but when I can’t walk without my shoes becoming a soggy mess, then it just sucks.) So my fantasy persists.

I realize, as fantasies go, that this is probably better in theory than realization.  Chances are, I’d get the thing and use it for a week or few months if I was lucky, and then it would just gather dust.  But I’ll never know if that’s true… so my fantasy remains unchanged. ha!

One Step Away From Sweatpants

17 06 2010

I’ve been learning a lot about myself the last few months.  I realized sometime around February that I hadn’t really been taking any pride in my appearance.  Not only had I let myself gain 15 pounds in the last year, 30 or so since college, 50 or 60 since high school, I was barely making an effort to look better than as though I’d just gotten out of bed.

I’m not a particularly vain person (well, aren’t all humans vain? with the whole original sin business?) but I do like to look nice.  I’ve always enjoyed fixing my hair, makeup, choosing accessories to complement me and my clothes.  I realized one day getting ready to go celebrate a friends’ birthday that I hadn’t put more than minimal effort into this process since… I couldn’t remember the last time. I was describing this realization to someone (whom I love and loves me, so I didn’t take this the wrong way) “like you’re one step away from living in sweatpants, huh?”  Holy shit, that was true.

About a month later, I found myself at Target shopping for what I’d recently read to be called the “fat uniform:” stretchy, nondescript black clothes.  Ugh. So these thoughts had been swirling in my head: I wanted to make a change, it felt like such a big change I was scared and didn’t know where to start, all that kind of stuff. I wanted to take care of myself, but didn’t know where to start.

So I started with small changes (even though I read this) and figured I needed to learn how to live differently, and that had to be done one step at a time.  Jumping in without looking would likely lead me to failure and self-destruction (I know this from my history).  An easy thing to do was change what food I bought: if I don’t have it at home, it’s much harder to eat.  This continues to be a struggle, I find myself wandering in the kitchen (probably bored, not actually hungry) and not finding anything to eat that didn’t require prep or had the amount of sugar, fat or salt in it I was craving. The grocery store is only a few blocks away (which is nice! I walk there most of the time now!) but… it’s also only a few blocks away. Piles and piles of bad-for-me food is so close.  I even figured out that I could start pre-heating my oven, walk the the store and back, in the just right amount of time to heat up frozen taquitos. NOT a good thing to discover.

I’ve started walking more in general.  Now that I finally live in the city, within walking distance of so much, it seems silly to drive the one mile (one way) to the pharmacy to pick up a prescription, especially when I don’t have plans for the rest of the day. (This unemployment thing helps, too.  I have ALL DAY to accomplish tasks.) And the gym is less than a mile and a half – I can walk or ride my bike. Easy.

But at some point I need to make bigger changes, right? or not? I’m slowly losing, it can’t all be coincidence and luck. I was able to shrink my stomach – something I’ve done before. Just eat smaller meals long enough, and your stomach stops stretching so far.  Then when you eat a bigger meal, you feel full sooner. The trick is to keep it that way. It’s even easier to stretch it out again. I know from experience.

There’s more, I’m sure. But this is the start of me organizing and sharing how I’m changing my life.