Tag Archives: Working Out

You Cannot Hate Yourself Thin


Dear Mom,

You cannot hate yourself thin.

And I mean YOU, not the general you.

Lots of people hate themselves thin.  They have eating disorders, mental illnesses that distort how they view themselves to such an extreme that they torture themselves to reach an ideal that will never be achieved.  They will die before their twisted standards can be attained.

More accurately, no one can hate themselves healthy.  The difference between healthy and thin is not always apparent, especially in an image-obsessed culture.  Thin is an insignificant number on a scale.  Thin is visible ribs, flat stomach, stick arms.  Thin is fragile and weak.  Thin can’t raise five kids.  Thin is the opposite of Fat.  Fat=bad, Thin=good.

Healthy doesn’t rely on numbers to be true.  Healthy is how you feel.  Sleeping better, moving better, breathing better.  Being healthy is about loving yourself so much that you want to take care of yourself.  You’ve heard obnoxious people say how their body is a temple so they don’t want to eat that trash, right?  We all know them, so superior with their spinach smoothies and coordinated yoga pants.  Or are they kale smoothies?  Arugula?  Whatever.  Healthy is the opposite of Morbidly Obese.  Healthy is meeting great-grandchildren.  Morbidly Obese is “Mom, I’m afraid for your life.”  This is a new feeling for me with you.  I’m used to it with Dad.

Yes, obnoxious.  But right in an essential way.  Your body, yes YOURS, is a temple.  It is sacred.  And you perform sacrilege every day.  I grew up listening to you fat shame yourself.  I know you can’t help that.  I know your father contributed and that unburdening yourself from the judgements of parents (however well meaning) is impossible.  I know you hate being fat.  It frustrates you because it doesn’t seem to matter what you do, it doesn’t go away.  It doesn’t get better.  You’re still fat, you still hurt, and it works for everyone else, why the hell doesn’t it work for you?

I don’t know, because I’m too far away and way too busy to monitor you 24 hours a day.  But I have a few theories, because how could I not?

Regularity.  Do you work out consistently?  Same times and days every week?  Do you have sufficient recovery stretches?  Do you have established refueling rituals?  All of these things help.  Consistency means you can keep track of progress and regularly increase difficulty.  Knowing how to recover means making sure a good workout doesn’t knock you on your back the rest of the week.  And having rituals reinforces the habit.  Finish a workout, get an awesome protein smoothie to help repair muscles and boost energy.  And then have an ounce of dark chocolate, because damn it you deserve it.

I hate working out.  Hate it.  And I have excuses up to the moon to not do it.  I’m tired.  I work part-time, but the last few months I’ve have 30-hour weeks (part-time my ass).  And I have a migraine-a-week habit.  Migraine if I have a glass of wine.  Migraine if I have too much heavy dairy.  Migraine if I don’t drink enough water.  Migraine if I sweat for five seconds moving stock in the back room.  Migraine if I wake up in the morning.  Migraine if I wake up.  But definitely a migraine if I work out.  For the next day or three.  (I did finally talk to a doctor about my migraines and she gave me new drugs that make me a space cadet and don’t work.  I’m planning on following up soon for other options.)  Me working out happens under three conditions.  I’m angry.  I’m having an Up week.  I’m terrified.

You told us that Dad was skinny as a rail until his early twenties.  Dad is no longer skinny as a rail.  Your daughters have been living in abject terror of genetics for our entire lives.  I am not exaggerating.  I’m afraid that I will look at myself one day and see you and hate that I let myself do that to myself.

That is the truth.

And its not for the reasons you think.

This last summer, I had to help you get home.  I had to give you support when muscle failure trapped you on a public toilet.  I had to steady you into the shower and help you dress and undress.  You said I shouldn’t have to see you this way.  And I laughed.  You didn’t know you were insulting me.  I’m your daughter.  I’m the only one who has the right to see you this way (ok, me and the rest of your children and your husband).  From that body you hate came my life.  It’s not a duty to care for my Mom.  It’s a privilege.

You look at yourself with loathing and shame.  Because you’re fat.  I see my Mom.  I did not feel disgust or shame when I saw you.  I saw my Mom.  And I love my Mom and wished she loved herself more.  That is what I’m afraid of.  I’m afraid I will look at myself and see a fat, ugly slob instead of the strong, intelligent woman YOU raised me to be.  I won’t see a loving mother or a successful business woman or a talented leader.  All I’ll see is FAT, UGLY, WORTHLESS.

This is why I think you fail.  You work out because you hate being fat and nothing changes.  So when it comes time to eat, you either don’t or you eat whatever because it doesn’t matter.  I know you try to make smart food choices, because I read your blog.  But under everything you write, I see the self-hate.  Dieting is punishment.  It means you can’t eat.  One piece of pizza.  Half a glass of soda.  No cake.  And then you accidentally have bacon, eggs, and grits for breakfast.  Oops.

That’s not an oops.  That’s a choice.  And I am tired of your choices.

Your body is a temple.  And the startling change you expect from working out will not ever happen, not if you keep sh*tting in your temple.  Eating healthy is an act of self-love.  It is not a punishment.  Food is sacred.  It is magical and wonderful in so many ways.  It brings people together, builds families, makes friends.  And it should never be a loathsome experience.  Not ever.  Not even when you are surrounded by people you hate who are all arguing over religion and politics and the latest family scandal.  Food is how Jesus explained to his disciples how they could remember him.  Within you is the body and blood of Christ.  And it has to share space with junk food.

You want extreme change, you have to start with extreme change.  Which means NO pizza, NO soda, still NO cake, and ABSOLUTELY NO accidental bacon, eggs, and grits.  No baked potatoes or clam chowders or bagels or sweet tea.  No seconds.  Hell, no complex sugars or salt or red meat or starches or processed foods.  Just bread and water, with the part of bread being played by steamed broccoli.

Which sucks, sure.  But it isn’t hell.  It isn’t even Limbo.  You stayed with me and ate my food.  Did you suffer?  Did you starve?  No.  I am a good cook and I like good food.  I would never feed someone bad food.  It would be sinful.  I am also a realist.  I have weaknesses.  Bread is a big one (all those empty carbs).  And pasta.  And potatoes.  Lots of things cannot be in my home because I can’t trust myself to always make the right decisions.  (The list is one that my husband and I made together, since marriage is a partnership, not a dictatorship.)  I still indulge in all those things, but it happens much more rarely since I don’t have easy access.

There are a lot of things I don’t miss.  Excess salt and sugar in my diet is one.  Making a lot of my own food means I control what goes in it and I like being in control.  Sometimes this involves using slow cookers to make a week of meals in advance.  A hassle, yes.  But better than eating at Panera for the third day in a row.  I don’t miss the stomach bombs from fast food or the sluggishness from greasy chips or being bloated from over-salted premade dinners.  I don’t miss chain restaurants or drive-thrus.

I love myself.  So I taught myself that the foods I used to love just make me feel like crap.  And they don’t even taste good.

I slip up, true.  Five Guys, a piece of pizza from the grocery store, SO MANY DONUTS.  But when I sit down to steamed veggies and a chicken breast, I don’t wish it was a Big Mac and fries (vomit sounds).

I’ve noticed something, though, with your menus.  I don’t think you know what “healthy” food is.  A sandwich is not automatically healthy, nor is soup.  I think you need to have a nutritionist give you a full run down on the type of diet that would best suit you.  Which includes portion size and a template for daily meal planning.  Regularity is key here, too.  Keeping to a schedule, tracking your water intake, planning ahead so you can’t deviate from your diet.  And having cheat days.

One day a week, or maybe just one meal, where you can ignore some of your rules.  You can go out for dinner.  You can have seconds.  You can have bacon.  That one day breaks up the monotony.  Nothing kills a good habit faster than boredom.

And on your birthday you eat whatever the hell you want.

Then you go to the gym.  Not because you are guilty about what you ate, even if you did slip up.  And NOT because you hate yourself.  But because you want to be strong and healthy.  Because you want to be independent, not imprisoned by a wheelchair or walker when your body starts giving up.  Because you want to feel better.  Ask your trainer why she works out.  I bet she won’t say it’s because she’s a fat, ugly pig who deserves pain.

I know it isn’t easy to give up, that hate.  After a while, it’s your best friend.  The only one who has stayed with you, who knows the real you.  The rebukes come naturally.  FAT.  CLUMSY.  STUPID.  WORTHLESS.  UGLY.  A regular chant I have memorized.  I say those things now and it shocks me back to reality.

The fat doesn’t make you ugly.  Hate makes you ugly.  Especially to yourself.

I LOVE YOU.  I don’t see Fat.  I see Mom.  And I want to help you.  I just don’t know how.

I can’t make you love yourself.  I hope you’ll try, though.

Your loving daughter,

Me

 

P.S.  Dad, this goes double for you.

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Tuesday


Today was a better day.

My brother-in-law recovered his missing cat, which was quite a birthday present.  It was a beautiful day.  I did a Body Combat workout this afternoon.  I taught three people how to crochet.  I talked to my mom for a looooong time.  Lots of good things.

Mom and I talked about the whole “getting in shape” thing.  And I told her probably the same things I’ve told her a million times before, some of the same things I mentioned yesterday.  When you have a lifetime of bad habits to correct, you have to make an entire life change.  I also got some clarification on her “numbers don’t matter” post.  She wasn’t just talking about the numbers on the scale.  She was talking about all the numbers.  The calorie counts and the minutes on the elliptical and the reps on the weight machines.  She wanted to do the things that felt right to her.

I say AMEN to that.  Sort of.

The numbers still don’t matter.  There are two general types of people in the “getting healthier” arena.  There are the numbers people and the freelance people.  Numbers people love to focus on the numbers.  They are highly analytical and keep notes on everything they eat and every exercise they do.  That is one way to do it.  Freelancers hate numbers.  They only seem to discourage because they never seem to equal the amount of work being done.  Counting calories makes them feel dumb.

The method that works with freelancers is more artistic than analytical.  It’s about perception.  They do what they do because it feels right.  It makes them feel better, accomplished, energized, etc.  The numbers don’t come into it because there is almost no direct correlation between numbers and results for them.  The numbers are arbitrary, but the boost in stamina and the excuse to shop for smaller clothes shows them all the progress they need.

And this is where the “sort of” comes in.  A person spends their entire life doing what feels right to them.  They eat food that they think is healthy.  They aren’t glued to the couch all the time.  They don’t think of themselves as having an unhealthy lifestyle.  But at after a while, they cannot deny that they are unhealthy.  Either a doctor or a friend or family or their own reflection says this isn’t working.  What feels right isn’t good for them.  The trick then isn’t to point to a bunch of arbitrary numbers and say BECOME NUMBER SLAVE.  The trick is to change the perception of “right.”

I know I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating.  The brain is a powerful tool and you can use it to trick your body into being healthier.  Forget everything you know about eating healthy because the healthy you grew up with simply isn’t.  See a nutritionist and learn what foods are good for you and why.  The benefits of foods vary based on lifestyle.  If everyone ate like Olympic athletes without the benefit of Olympic athlete workouts, everyone would be morbidly obese.  Yet no one can call them unhealthy.  If you are on the low end for physical activity, then your body isn’t using the carbs you’re eating and simply turns them into fat to be used later.  Your body doesn’t know that you aren’t going to be starving over winter due to lack of game and grain.  All it knows is that it’s getting stuff it isn’t using now but could use in an emergency.  Fat is the lifeboat of the body.  The body saw Titanic and clings to the lifeboats just in case of icebergs.

So perception.  Freelancers want to do stuff because it feels right.  When Freelancers want to get healthy, they have to change what right means.  Right means craving almonds instead of potato chips, putting spinach in everything, and finding new ways to make chicken breast taste like anything else.  Right means being about to brag about your workout instead of feeling guilty that you skipped it.

F*ck counting calories.  I am aware that some things are bad for me because they have a lot of calories.  So instead of calculating how many lattes I can have before I need to add a mile onto my walk, I rarely drink them.  Same thing with donuts and chocolate and popcorn and potatoes and pasta and all the other foods that through research I have found to be bad for my lifestyle.  I don’t care how many calories I burned on my workout or what the scale says.  No machine can accurately calculate the former and the latter has more to do with where I am in the month than anything else.

Army Analogy:  When I joined the Army, I weighed in at 108 lbs.  Was I healthy?  NO.  I was underweight and fat, and no that isn’t a contradiction.  When I left Basic Training, I weighed 120 lbs.  Was I fat?  NO.  I was fit for the first time in my life.  Throughout my 20s, the less I weighed, the less healthy I was because I was losing muscle and gaining fat (the latter weighs less than the former).  Entering my 30s, my body is starting to change gears, because that’s what bodies do.  It makes me glad that I started eating healthier five years ago.  I don’t have as much adjusting to do in that department.  Exercise is a whole other problem, but I’m working through it.  That bragging thing is paramount to my success, actually.

So Freelancers, use you’re artistic side to make your lifestyle change.  Leave the numbers to other people.  Just keep these things in mind:

  • Portion control: Small plates help you control how much you’re eating.  Healthy food is only healthy in the correct quantities.  Don’t go back for seconds.  EVER.
  • Ignoring numbers isn’t the same as being unaware of them.  Know what things to avoid entirely, like high sugar/salt content, complex carbs, starches, and animal fats.  It’s often a lot easier to avoid bad foods altogether than try to figure out how much is allowable in your diet.
  • Just because we aren’t counting doesn’t mean we don’t keep track.  You don’t have to detail every ounce of peas or every sit up, but making a note of what you ate (and how you felt afterwards) and when you worked out can be helpful and encouraging.
  • Keep things interesting.  Yes, chicken breast is a permanent fixture on your menu, but it doesn’t have to be boring.  Get NO SODIUM spice mixes, like Italian herbs, Chinese 5-spice, Cajun spice, and curry powder.  Explore the wide range of microwave steamed veggies (just avoid anything with sauces).  Buddy and I hit the broccoli section pretty hard.  Veggies are GOOD for you.  And no, potatoes are not veggies.
  • Have a Buddy.  This person is not your babysitter.  This person is also working toward health goals.  This person will share with you all the failings of her week and then listen to yours without judgment.  This person will cajole and complain during the Zumba class that neither of you really wanted to go to, but thought might be fun to give a chance.  This person will be accountable to you and you to her.  This person may have to be imaginary.

Freelancers, you will do the right thing not because the numbers say it is right, but because you have decided that it is right.

 

There, I think I’m done soapboxing for tonight.  I’d like to thank my Mom for listening to my BS tonight since talking to her helped me clarify some thoughts I’ve been having on this subject.  For those of you who think you have it bad, I want you to know that my Mom is doing everything you are on an artificial hip.  That’s struggle.  As always, Mom, you are my inspiration in so much of my life.

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Oops


We had our 4.1 Anniversary this weekend (anniversary of our court wedding).  And thanks to the 2 $25 Olive Garden gift cards we got from our parents for Christmas, we only shelled out $15 for a full lunch at Yardhouse.  You should have seen the happy dance we did when we saw Yardhouse on the list of restaurants those cards work for.  It was pretty epic.  Nothing against Olive Garden, which is a fine place to get reliable Italian food.  It’s just some places are expensive enough that gift cards are much appreciated.

Anyway, here is my honest review of Yardhouse.  I do not like eating there.  It is noisy and dark and they seem to be understaffed because the service is always slow.  The staff is incredibly friendly, though.  They always get gold stars for enthusiasm and flirty attitudes.  And it is pricey.  We gave a generous tip, but even so it was a $50 meal for two people and Buddy didn’t even get a beer, which is kind of a big deal there because it is a microbrewery named after their signature “Yard of Beer.”  So why were we so excited to eat here?  This is why:

That’s crab, lobster, artichoke dip, three different kinds of tacos, and a lamb burger.  The food is AMAZING.  I forgive many things for good food.  This is why I have a love/hate relationship with this restaurant.  Hate eating there, love the eating.  But, if you have a group of people who love trying good beer and don’t really want to yell at each other over the TVs and the raucous sports fans, it’s the place to be.  Also, if you just love food and don’t like talking to people.

Now normally if we get an appetizer we split an entrée.  This is common sense for a couple of reasons.  Portion sizes for normal meals are huge in this country, far bigger than healthy portions.  While I love eating until I throw up as much as the next American, it’s just not a good idea.  It’s also a good way to feel like we’re getting a full meal without breaking the bank.  Appetizer to snack on and then managing to eat the entire dinner instead of leaving half of it on the plate.  That was not our strategy Saturday because we had gift cards and we went on a walk that morning, which was great for building an appetite.  We managed to clean our plates quite well.

After lunch, we walked around a mall to aid in digestion before making the drive home.  There was a brief stop for Anniversary cupcakes:

Ethereal Cupcakes

We didn’t eat those until dinner time, when we were finally hungry again.  For the rest of our special day, we watched TV and I made a purse.  Then before we went to bed Buddy did his usual tally of receipts to make sure they matched up with what the online accounts said.  Which is when the evening turned.

Someone had withdrawn $483 from our checking account from an ATM just over a block from where we got cupcakes.  So we called the bank.  We thought maybe someone had swiped Buddy’s number when we got cupcakes, but it turned out someone had a copy of my card and had walked right up to the machine and used my PIN (first try) to access our accounts.  I’m hoping that someone just used a skimmer to get my info because the only other explanation is that someone I know has the tech to copy my card and found out my PIN somehow.  The bank actually asked if we shared that info with anyone.  Um.  No.  Not ever.  That’s my Personal Identification Number.  As in mine, no one else’s and an actual secret to everyone else, including my husband.

That really soured the evening.  I slept badly, too, because I was incensed.  Sunday, Buddy went to a beer tasting and I stayed home because I was cut off from my funds (unless I wanted to use the checkbook, yuck).  I (mostly) finished the purse I was working on.  And I broke my chocolate ration.  By a lot.  I ate 6 squares of a Ghirardelli salted caramel dark chocolate bar.  Which is 6 times my limit.  That’s the Oops.  That and the fact that I didn’t do a workout today.  My excuse is that I didn’t want to wake up this morning and I didn’t feel like it when I got home from work (feet sore and laziness).

The other day, my mom posted an Oops as well.  Previously, she had had a revelation about fitness.  It isn’t about numbers at all.  It’s about improving how you feel.  I was incredibly pleased about this.  Losing weight for her has been a long struggle and that kind of mindset can really help.  Then she posted an Oops where she gained 4 lbs and felt awful physically and it sounded like she was giving up on her revelation.  This is a bummer, but mostly because she’s still associating numbers with failure again.  The numbers don’t matter.  There are so many other factors to take into account.  The numbers are just another factor.  The goal should never be numbers because they aren’t enough.  If they were, then bulimia and anorexia would be medically sound ways to lose weight.  The goal is being able to keep up with the grandkids and feeling energized and living a long life.  And to get there, you have to change.  Not just your activity level but your diet and your mind.  You have to make these changes, not because you hate your reflection but because you love yourself.  Because you are a temple for God.

You also have to accept that mistakes happen.  Every day, every hour, all the time.  We are incredibly flawed and making big changes is incredibly difficult, especially if we are changing habits that have been in place for decades.  Those are habits of thinking as well as acting.  If you spent your whole life telling yourself that you’re fat and useless, you’re not just going to turn around and be all “positive affirmations” all the time.  So instead of focusing on the mistakes and the guilt, find a way to drop them completely.

Here’s my Army analogy.  When we were learning to shoot at the range, we were taught the “Sh*t, F*ck, D*mn” strategy.  You have two minutes to shoot 20 pop-up targets and the ONLY way you’re going to get a good score is if you remain calm and focus on the fundamentals they taught you.  When you miss a target, you go “oh, darn” and move to the next one.  Otherwise, you’ll get frustrated and miss more targets.  And you treat every target the same way, whether it is an easy 50m or the dreaded 300m.  It pops up, breath in, breath out, squeeze (the trigger).  Doesn’t matter if you hit it because there’s the next one.  Breath in, breath out, squeeze.  Did you miss the “Fast Freddie” (50m target that pops up for a second)?  Oh, well.  Don’t miss the next target because you’re too busy beating yourself up.

Yes, I binged a bit on chocolate and I missed a workout.  Oh, darn.  That was yesterday.  Tomorrow is a new day.  Breath in, breath out, squeeze.

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Valuable Lessons


Today was a good day.  I got up in time, got to work in time, didn’t stop for donuts, and in general was in a positive mood all day.

I taught a crochet class this morning, so that positive attitude came in handy.  I was continuing a pillow project with two nice ladies, who had been so enthusiastic about finishing their pillows with me last week that they signed up on the spot for another class.  The pillow is only supposed to take one session, which is BS since it takes three hours for me to make one side of it and I’m apparently very fast.  Beginners take much longer because they actually have to think about each stitch and they haven’t developed the muscle memory to do it automatically.

Both ladies brought in their completed panels ready for edging and finishing and bemoaned the fact that they weren’t very pretty and definitely not the neat rectangles they were supposed to be.  Both learned (I hope) 2 valuable lessons.  The first is ALWAYS COUNT YOUR STITCHES.  Especially if you are a beginner.  The pattern tells you how many stitches you should have for each row.  So if you get to the end of the row and you aren’t on the correct stitch, don’t just add one.  Count your stitches.  It’s better to do that every row than get to the end of a rectangle that looks like the bell of a trumpet.

The other, more difficult lesson is KEEP YOUR STITCHES EVEN.  Every pattern has a gauge measurement, so use it.  How else will you know that what you’re making will fit?  If your stitches are too small, use a bigger hook.  If they’re too big, tighten your stitches or use a smaller hook.  And try to be consistent.  This is very difficult when you’re starting out, but it is important.

When I was learning to knit in 6th grade, I decided to make a sweater for a friend.  I made the front just fine.  The back went even better because I was getting better.  Then I tried to match the front to the back and there was about a 4 inch difference between them.  Increase in skill meant neater stitches, but it also meant I tightened up too much.  I had to start completely over on the back.  But that’s how it goes.

Oh yeah, they were bummed because they had to keep starting over or undoing rows upon rows of work.  But repetition is desperately needed to get comfy withthis type of skill.  And while it is discouraging and frustrating to keep backing up, the results are worth it.

While both of them had completed panels, only one of them had them similar enough to piece together with a little corrective sewing.  The whole time she grumbled about how awful it looked and how she was never going to get this.  But when she put the pillow in and it fit perfectly and it looked really, really good, the pride was beaming out of her like the Eye of Sauron.

I found a new tea shop today.  The proprietor was most pleased with my Tardis gloves.  I’ll be back there.

When I got home, I decided to do Body Combat in my living room (hooray Youtube).  Which taught me the valuable lesson that I am frightfully out of shape.  If you don’t hear from me tomorrow, it’s because I couldn’t get out of bed.

Hope you learned something today.

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Baby Steps


Today was a baby steps day.

Last night, I had a friend hang out for a couple hours while Buddy was at rehearsal.  It’s her last week in town, so it was really important to both of us to get together.  She is my only close school friend, but she graduated last spring and it’s time for her to move on to the adult world.  She’s the only school friend with whom I’m comfortable discussing all the dumb people and other frustrations.  I don’t have to introduce her to my favorite authors because she’s already a fan.  We didn’t hang out too much outside of school, but that’s why she’s a school friend.  Last semester was the first time we didn’t have classes together and lunch at the same.  It made me sad.  I don’t make friends easily so I had a very quiet semester.  So she stopped by and we drank some Spumante Rosso while I put tray after tray of cookies in the oven.

The wine went straight to my head, riding high on those delicious bubbles.  Buddy and I had a late dinner after she left and I put off cleaning up and homework until my brain was unfogged.  By the time I was clear-headed again, it was nearly midnight.  Still, I watched several episodes of the Simpsons before going to bed…and realizing that I still had a mountain of laundry that had grown beyond the capacity of the laundry basket and had avalanched onto the bed with which I so wanted to be in a serious relationship.  After hastily folding most of my clothes, I propped myself in bed to attempt getting through my reading for today.  It was about 2:00 am when I finally caved.

I snoozed my alarm until around 6:20.  It starts going off at 6:00 because that’s when we feed the cats.  By 6:20, Ninja was braving the motion-detecting air sprayer (the “alarm”) to scratch at the door, so I crawled out of bed to be a good mommy.  That was the first and most pivotal baby step of the morning.  I have made the morning feeding of the kitties my responsibility, so it is not an option for me to hope that Buddy will do it.  That first effort to leave the warmth of the bed is the Everest of my day.  Once achieving that victory, I have a 90% chance of finishing my morning routine, barring migraines or other illness.

Kitties fed, I returned to the bedroom, a large part of me dead set on getting back into bed.  My legs are sore.  I’m really tired.  My eyes are itchy.  It’s gonna be a long damn day.

Well, at least get into your work out clothes.  You’re already up.  It will actually take you more effort to get back into bed and back to sleep (that’s the type of whopping lie I will only believe when I’m really tired).  Besides, you like your work out clothes.  They are really cute and so comfy.  No one says you have to actually go for a walk.  Just, you know, get a little more comfortable.

Fine.  But I make no promises.

Now, maybe you could see your way to grabbing your water bottle and going to the kitchen.  You can refill your water bottle.  You like water.

Yeah, so?  What’s it to you?

Oh, nothing.  Just wanted to point out the nice cold water in the kitchen.

Mmmm, water.  Drool.

And now that you’re in the kitchen, I mean, you can see the front door, right?  It’s just a matter of putting on your watch and sunglasses.  And now your shoes.

Fine, Ms. Bossypants.  But you can’t make me enthusiastic, got it?  I’m gonna take an easier pace because my legs are sore and I just don’t feel like pushing myself today.  Is that okay with you?  Huh?

Oh, no, you’ll get no objections from me.  Just pretend I’m not even here.

I will!

Because, of course, I’m not here.  Just a figment of your imagination.

Damn straight!  And don’t you forget it. I’m the master of my own decisions!

Crap.  How did I get outside?  Now I have to walk because a neighbor saw me.  You win this round, nagging conscience!

 

I did take a much slower pace, but it was fast enough to warm up sore muscles and keep my breathing up.  It was really warm out, too, so I’m glad I slowed down some.  And I saw a wild turkey.

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15AM000000122011 · 00:55

Acceptable Excuses


Every morning, when I get up to feed the cats and go for my walk, I argue with the excuses.  I have a very long list of excuses that try to convince me that they are reasonable.  It looks like rain.  You stayed up too late last night.  It’s okay to miss one day.  You are just too tired.  The bed is so soft and warm.  It’s chilly out there.  It’s too hot.  You slept in too late.  You just don’t feel like it.  Who cares?  No one will know but you and Buddy, and he won’t judge you.  You never say anything when he skips a work out.  It’s not like you’re fat or anything.  You don’t really need to work out.  You’re not like all those other people out there with their Wal-Mart and their fast food.  You can always start exercising when you actually start gaining weight, which is what all of them should have done.  I mean, how do they let themselves get that unhealthy before they decide to do something about it?

My mind is not especially charitable at 6 am.  Actually, I can be a right b*tch first thing in the morning.  After coffee, I can feel ashamed for such thoughtlessness and I can remind myself that I am not magically immune to all the traps that can lead to unhealthy decisions and behaviors.  If I was immune to anything, I wouldn’t have to argue with that niggling little voice every morning, would I?

I have made an agreement with myself concerning excuses.  There are 3 acceptable excuses.  It must be raining, not sprinkling or threatening rain.  Thunder and lightning are a plus.  OR it must be less than 45°F outside, though I may change that after I take a walk at that temp.  I know running would keep me warm enough for that temp to be manageable, but walking doesn’t warm me up nearly as much as running.  OR I have a migraine.  Sunlight and sweating will only exacerbate it and migraines are hard enough to get rid of without annoying them.

Yesterday, I woke up to a railroad spike being driven through the top of my skull.  It was about an hour before my normal wake up time, so I took some meds to hopefully kill the bugger before I had to go walk.  When my alarm went off, it was still there, trying to push my brain out through my ears.  So I went back to bed and didn’t get up until 11 am.  Yeah, I know.  But Buddy had the morning off and it was hard to leave him when I was just so comfortable.  I spent the rest of the day lazing on the couch, reading and watching Doctor Who.  I rewarded myself for that super lazy day with no chocolate and a glass of wine with dinner.  And then I stayed up until 3 am because apparently I can’t simply stop watching David Tennant’s last episode.  As they say, it hit me in the feels.

This morning, I got up and fed the cats almost an hour late (sorry kitties).  Then the excuses started their roll call.  I know myself.  If I give into the excuse once, it’s that much easier to give in again.  I like rules.  I need rules.  If I sleep in, there is no way I’m going to work out later.  If I skip one day for a petty reason, then I’ll need herculean determination to get put of bed the next morning.  As Mad-Eye would say, “CONSTANT VIGILANCE!”

I will lose this battle occasionally.  I’m human.  I am weak and lazy.  That’s why I need bribery and cajoling and name calling to get me going.  I won this morning.  You’re already standing, you know.  You can always take a nap afterward, like you normally do.  Stop being so lazy, unless you want to become fat.  Fat and ugly and unloved and undeserving.  Like I said.  I can be pretty nasty before coffee.

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Filed under Ramblings

Super, Awesome Day


Since yesterday’s post was so moody, today I’m just going to tell you about my awesome day.

My walk went really well.  I pushed myself, getting all the way to the end of the road with about 10 seconds to go and then getting back to my house with about 5 seconds to go (I set my watch for 30 min and turn around when the alarm goes off, unless I hit the end of the road).  That’s 4.2 miles in just under an hour.  My hips, knees, and feet are feeling it right now, but I have the weekend for recovery.  Then I did five sets of my muscular work out and only had to call myself a sissy once.

After that (and a shower and breakfast), I drove across the water to visit with a friend I haven’t seen in a long time.  We had a great time catching up over very good coffee.  Then we went outside so I could meet her gorgeous horse and pick blueberries in her yard.  It was a very successful endeavor, though about 10 min in fully understood why blueberries are so expensive.

blueberries

I also got to hang out with her little boys and meet a sweet puppy.

When I got home, I had lunch and sat still all of 20 min before I had to do something.  The other option was falling asleep and losing the afternoon, because I don’t do 20 min naps.

I drove to the Commissary to pickup a few necessary items to use up some of those blueberries.  When I got home, I mixed up the custard for my lemon ice cream and set about making lemon blueberry cupcakes from a bread recipe from Pinterest.  I’m getting better at reading recipes so I have far fewer Pinterest Fails.  Unless I’m dealing with something completely foreign to my experience (“Is coronation chicken supposed to taste that gross?  I have no idea.”).

lemon blueberry cupcake

I asked Buddy to try one and tell me if it needed the lemon glaze the recipe calls for.  He said they were good, but the glaze would make them really good.  But then I would have to call them cupcakes.  And that’s when I yelled at him that of course they were cupcakes and frosting is not what makes cupcakes different from muffins and… and… and… then I calmed down.

After the cupcakes were done, I tried to read and started nodding off after a dozen pages.  So up I got to start pitting cherries (I used three different methods before I settled on pushing the pit out with the wide end of a chop stick => halving was too slow, paperclip didn’t work at all, Pinterest).  With all the cherries juice spatter, I was starting to feel like Dexter.

By the time Buddy got home from the gym (around 7 pm), I was ready to make a cherry wine ice cream sauce.  The ingredients were a tad unusual, but they all came together to make a very complex, fruity sauce.  I’m very pleased with it.

Long story short, I did my work out, exceeding my achievements this week.  I picked blueberries, made two new successful recipes, and I didn’t nap once.  This is unheard of.  Super, awesome day.

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Does This Really Need a Title?


Well, so far the incentive is working.  My walk went well, though it was really warm this morning.

I did four sets of muscular strengthening.  I’m still doing push-ups on my knees.  I did one regular push-up.  That was…humorous.  As in slow, laborious, and fortunately not witnessed by another human being.

I struggled through my work out, even the abs.  It was a little depressing, but it could be worse.  I could complete the work out and I did have to work for it.

There is a delicate balance in designing a work out program.  Variety is good because it keeps you interested and makes sure you overlapping muscle groups.  However, too much variety can just be overwhelming.  Difficulty is also tricky to figure out.  Too easy and you get no improvement.  Too hard and you could injure yourself.

I like to group my exercises into four categories: upper body, upper abs, lower body, and back.  Right now, I’m only using one exercise per group.

Another aspect you must plan for is how to increase difficulty.  You can up the time and reps.  I prefer timing my exercises.  When my goal is a number of reps, my brain turns my muscles off when I reach that number.  With a time limit, I just have to keep going until the timer goes off.

I’m up to 30 secs.  I think before I up the time again, I’m going to add an exercise to each group.

I am not an expert.  This is a super boring post.  Sorry.  I took a nap after my work out and I haven’t recovered.

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15PM000000102011 · 22:56

Working Out


This morning, I walked my butt off.  If you happen to find it, please let me know.  I need it for sitting and filling out my jeans.

People who struggle with their weight tend to hate people like me.  I am not skinny.  By model standards, I’m practically obese.  However, my weight and BMI is average for my height, which makes me thin but still curvy (stupid thighs).  This engenders hate, not merely because I’m thin, but because I don’t have a rigorous work out schedule and strict diet  to maintain my weight (not since I got out of the Army 4 years ago).  In fact, I tend to lose weight when I stop working out.

However, like everyone else in this culture I have body image issues, and as 30 looms closer I’m becoming more paranoid about weight gain.  Both my parents are obese.  Most of my brothers are overweight.  Most of my friends are overweight, or think they’re overweight.  I may be thin, but I’m not in shape.  I am weak-muscled and I get out of breath far too easily.

Okay, that sounds lame.  Here’s the thing.  I don’t have personal discipline.  I hate going to the gym (get up, get dressed, drive over, get gross, drive home, shower, feel exhausted the rest of the day, ugh).  Even when there were classes I loved, like Body Combat and Spinning, I still needed a Gym Buddy to keep me going every day.  I stopped going when we moved here because they don’t teach Body Combat anywhere and my Gym Buddy was too far away.

I also have a healthy distaste for running.  Before you running fans leap down my throat, please understand that running in the Army was always stressful and painful.  The Army pushes you to your limits in many ways, but it doesn’t care if you get to your limit the healthy way so long as you get there.  I got stress fractures in my hips at Basic.  I needed knee braces by the time I was 25.  I told my sister once that I knew I had done a good run when I felt near throwing up at the end.  She was aghast, for some reason.  And don’t get me started on unit runs, which are supposed to be team- and morale-building exercises yet somehow contrive to be exquisite forms of torture.  You try getting 1600 people to run at the same pace (too slow for most males, too fast for most females) for two miles, and don’t forget to yell at and shame those people who can’t keep the pace.

Anyway, I hate running.  My hips and knees agree with me.  I also hate “dieting.”  I love chocolate.  In fact, sugar is major weakness of mine which my teeth do not thank me for.  Salt is a close second, followed by butter.  I have significantly reduced my intake of these guilty pleasures, but if I ever had to give them up entirely it wouldn’t happen.  I love food.  I will not go through my life on “diets” when I can just be conscientious of what I eat now and train my taste buds away from the foods that will kill me (I’m looking at you, fast food).

This is my point.  If I ever become overweight, I have no confidence that I will be able to drop the pounds on my own.  Besides college tuition, it’s what scares me most about having kids.  What if I spend the rest of my life trying to get rid of the baby weight?  I know this is silly.  I know Buddy will help me get back in shape if I ask.  I know it is silly to be scared of something that hasn’t happened.  Still, it’s the only motivation I have now.  I can’t allow myself to gain weight (which is not the same as being out of shape, believe me).  If I stay in shape now, maybe I won’t have to fight my weight later.

It’s not a good long-term motivator.  When school starts and the temperature drops, you probably won’t see me walking.  It’s difficult to be paranoid of something that doesn’t appear to be happening.  Then again, if I keep reading my Mom’s blog about her weight loss struggle and the insane amount of gym work she puts herself through, I might just stay motivated.  Here’s what I did today.

40 min walk (personal best on distance in the first 20, beat my time by 13 sec on the way back)

5 sets of:

20 sec push-ups (on my knees to alleviate shoulder pain)

40 sec Charlie Mansons (abdominal twist)

20 sec leg lift

20 back crunches

All of this while my cats watched disdainfully, because if they get obese it’s my fault, not theirs.

To all you naturally skinny girls:

Do not assume that you can eat whatever you want.

Do not assume that skinny equals healthy.

Do not EVER mock overweight or obese people, especially when you see them working out.  Most people aren’t born that way.  Even with good genes and a high metabolism, it can and will happen to you if you don’t take care of yourself.

(Sorry about the soap box.  I had meant this to be funny and all this seriousness happened instead.  Next post, nothing but jokes.  I promise.)

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15AM00000092011 · 09:44