Saturday, June 25, 2011

June 25: another party heard from

  I heard a news snippet the other day: when it comes to weight loss, what we eat is more important than our exercise.  The pendulum undoubtedly swings back and forth on this debate: we're sure to find those who swear by exercise, those who swear by diet, and those who remain smack in the middle.


  Despite my exercise regimen, my weight loss during these recent months has been minimal (though thanks to my exercise I recently had someone I hadn't seen since last summer ask me whether I've been a contestant on The Biggest Loser).  I'm not happy with this minimal weight loss.  With our beautifully cool summer weather, I've begun thinking about autumn clothing, and that I want to continue shrinking and having the fun of fitting into smaller clothes.  My October birthday and Halloween aren't that far away, and I'd love to be able to indulge in some smaller-sized clothes and to wear a store-bought Halloween costume for the first time in years.


  Today's our penultimate weigh-in for Lighten Up.  It feels to me like a good time to try something new, make this last month different.  My writings, just like my mental state, have focused on exercise.  For this final month of the contest, I'm going to force myself to shift my focus to food.  Exercise is still hugely important and exciting to me, so it'll undoubtedly stay in my blogs.  But I'm challenging myself to find a way to focus on food.



Thursday, June 23, 2011

June 23: adrenaline and endorphins

  This morning started out well enough.  I woke up early, read for an hour, and ate breakfast before everyone else came downstairs – peaceful.


  Then I discovered Lake Charlie, a newly formed body of pee in our house.  It made me sad because our dog Charlie is getting old; it grossed me out because there was so much pee to clean up; it made me mad that there were pieces of kids games in the new lake; it made me feel guilty for not keeping a better house with no kids' game pieces on the ground. 


  Little by little my good mood was choked by the talons of stress.  And it's weightlifting day.


  On my way to the gym, I coaxed myself into feeling frustrated; I encouraged it to turn into anger so that I'd have an emotion other than helplessness to use in my workout.  When I got to the Y, I had INXS's "Kick" in my head: "Sometimes you kick, sometimes you get kicked."  I made up my mind to not let life kick me.  I got myself good and peeved, then cardio-ed it out.  During my workout, Rascal Flatts's "Stand" came around in my playlist: "On your knees you look up, decide you've had enough; you get mad, you get strong, wipe your hands, shake it off, then you stand."


  So when cardio was done I had the endorphins I needed to get me through weightlifting.  Hoo boy, it's a good thing I did, because it was a good one today.  The exercises defy words; suffice it to say that every last article of my clothing was drenched.  My muscles got such a workout that at one point I could only say "Help" and trust that my trainer would save me.


  Thank goodness for music and endorphins.


   AND the universe seems to be applauding my efforts to fight the good fight.  Since I started typing this, I had a phone call from someone I love who sounds happier than I expected (yay!); I found my set of keys which went missing yesterday (woohoo!); and someone returned a toy they'd borrowed (much to the delight of my youngest).


  My dog is still getting older; housework is still monotonous; and there are still a million things to do.  But today I was strong and self-reliant, and there's a whole day just waiting to be made good.



Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 22: Splish splash

  With my first sunburn of the season gracing my shoulders, I can safely announce that summer pool season is here!  (I did use sunscreen before leaving home, but forgot to reapply – let that be a lesson to you!)  I'm not sure if I've got more confidence because my body's reshaped somewhat or if I'm extra busy with my youngest in the pool or if I really just don't care what people think – but so far I've walked on the pool decks to the pool in my swimsuit, without trying to hide my body within a towel.  It's a relief since hiding while carrying a squiggly one can become cumbersome.


  Looking forward to seeing the gang on Saturday – it's fun to see how much we change from month to month.  Wait till you see our pictures in August.  We're an impressive bunch!


Tuesday, June 21, 2011


It's been pointed out that the quote I attributed to Mr. Miyagi was actually from Yoda.  Sorry about that!


June 21: Did you see that?

  Did you see that?  Were you paying attention?  Did you pick up on the clues?  Did you see what I was doing?  I didn't recognize it till it hit me square between the eyes this morning, and I'd been in the midst of it all along.  It sucked me in and messed with my eating and my attitude until I wasn't sure which way was up anymore.


  I fell back into people-pleasing habits.  I started out thinking of the upcoming triathlon as a fun challenge and I was really excited about it.  Then I started thinking about what it would mean to finish last: not that it would bother me on my own to finish last – I really will be happy with the accomplishment of finishing a triathlon.  I started to worry about upsetting the good people who have volunteered their time so that a bunch of us can swim and bike and run (or jalk).  I started to worry that they'd be mad at me if I took too long.  And that's when training became stressful rather than joyful, and food became my comfort rather than my nourishment.


  When my conscious self grasped that realization just a few minutes ago, I felt immediate relief, an immediate lift in outlook concerning not only the triathlon, but training, too.


  It started coming on gradually.  The other day I biked a different route home from the Y and I found that the pavement was far smoother, there were some fun curves, and overall I was much happier with it.  Then I tried another route and then another.  And somehow it struck me that although I always see the serious, bent-over-their-bikes-like-Lance-Armstrong bikers riding a certain route, I don't have to bike that route.  I'm not them.  That route makes me crazy with its chuckholes and asphalt patches.  No one's telling me which route to bike: I've got the freedom to choose.  For me, freedom is what biking is all about: the wind in my face, cruising through curves, the fun of getting somewhere quickly, on wheels, and without hurting the environment.  I like biking – I shouldn't change it into something I hate.


  So I took that attitude with me (although subconsciously, so I didn't recognize it yet) onto the treadmill this morning.  As I increased the speed to a jog, Pat Morita, in the form of Mr. Miyagi (The Karate Kid), began whispering to me, "Do or do not, there is no try."  Close on this was Robin Williams as Cozy Carlisle (Dead Again): "Someone is either a smoker or a non-smoker.  There's no in-between.  The trick is to find out which one you are, and be that." 


  And I thought to myself, "I am either a runner or a walker.  There is no in-between."  And I realized that I am a walker.  There's nothing wrong with being a walker – walking doesn't mean strolling along la-dee-da all the time.  Walking with strength and speed requires focus and practice.  Walking means I can sustain my heart rate at over 150 for a nice amount of time, which is a good thing for me.  Walking means I'm not pounding my joints.


  So, what's my homework, kiddies?  Having recognized that I'm a walker and that I'm worried about upsetting the race day volunteers, I need to contact the race organizers and see whether it's okay for me to walk the 5K.  If they say, "No, you really have to run it," then I'll have to rethink my entry, consider the entry fee a donation; pick up my packet & t-shirt and be proud of all the physical and mental work I did in preparation.  If they say, "Sure, there are people who walk it," then I'm golden and I can train to walk my good clip for longer stretches of time.


  For training this means I'm going to explore other routes for the foot portion of the triathlon.  Going around a track 13 times isn't too bad, but it's not a good representation of what I'll have to do on triathlon day.  I suspect I'm going to take myself back to my favorite places: the Metroparks walking paths.  Exercise is hard work, but I believe it's also meant to be a joyful celebration of all that we are and all we can aspire to be.  There is no try, there is only do.