Friday, August 24, 2012
I've had a love relationship with the elliptical machine for several years. It's my favorite, go-to cardio exercise machine and if I didn't know it's important to surprise my body by switching in different types of workouts, I'd use only that.
I remember the first time I got on one - I was good for about 3 minutes. It was so challenging I vowed I'd work up to half an hour. I added one minute each time I used it ... which was every time I went to the gym till - I'd worked up to half an hour - then 45 minutes - then 55 minutes.
Then I started exploring the different programs. My gym has several types of these stand-up bikes, some with built in heart monitors, some with more elaborate programs - but all of them with settings that let you punch in your weight and age and select different workouts.
Then I had a bad fall and injured two areas of my spin - one neck and one lumbar - and I really thought I'd never be able to use an elliptical again. There was always a little bouncing up and down as I cycled away on the machine and that frequently aggravated the two injuries. I'll admit it - I even sometimes sort of hunched over the handles just to keep going - even though I knew it was truly bad form and I know that form is 85% of exercise.
Eventually enough healing occurred, a better form developed, I did serious core strengthening with the help of a personal trainer and I could get back into action and I have worked up to going 45 minutes at level 9 on my favorite machine with only maybe 6 more levels available.
But there is an uber athlete who works out at my gym, frequently at the same time I do. She's very nice and now and then, in the nicest way, offers up a little advice. And I always notice her because she really is ripped. And I have noticed that when she uses the elliptical - her upper body is utterly still. Though her arms still pump the handles, her head and torso never go up and down. Nearly all of the work she does on that machine is from the waist down.
So yesterday, which is a weight training day for me, I did a little cardio to warm up and decided I'd try to use the elliptical the way she does.
This is an entirely different workout. I was sweating in 60 seconds. I was breathing heavily in 4. I did it for only 5 minutes.
But I now have a New Plan ... a New Relationship with that elliptical machine. And a New Goal.
I plan to use it that way from now on - adding, as I did once before, one minute each time, till I, too, can go 30 minutes working only from the waist down - I see I've just added a new workout to my week and it'll be a killer - but it will be MUCH safer for my back and my goodness - push me to a brand new level of fitness.
And no. I will never be an uber athlete. It's not a goal. It's not a desire. I was never a tomboy. I don't like to compete with anybody but me. But I sure love being fit.
And it's sure fun to fall in love again with an old friend.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I weighed in at just a few ounces over last week's weight and the Big Number is still 153. That's 3 pounds from my WW goal and only 1 (almost 2) pounds from not having to pay to go to meetings. I like those meetings and expect I'll continue to go fairly regularly even though the rule is only once a month. I like the WW employees and I like the people who attend. But I would rather have the $.
When I look in the mirror, though, I see that I would rather weigh 140 lbs than 150. It's a proportion thing and it's an age thing. The only thing that would keep me heavier would be if my face sagged too much at the lower weight (also an age thing). But way back in 2003 when I first picked this WW goal I thought I'd look and feel better in the 140's. I just didn't want to work towards it any more. Now, almost a decade later and half an inch shorter, I need to see if this is right for me.
So. So what's going on? I'm playing around with the same few pounds - or eve ounces - again. Time to listen in to my Left Brain School Marm and my Right Brain Wild Child and see what we can do to start moving again.
LB Well, my friend - we're starting to dance away from our weight loss goal again. Want to talk about it?
LB So, do you want to get slender?
RB Yes but I'm afraid
LB What are you afraid of?
RB I'm afraid I'll have to work this hard for the rest of my life
LB What else?
RB I'm afraid I won't be able to live up to our expectations. And I'm tired
LB What are you tired of?
RB I am tired of having to think all the time. Think about what to eat. Think about exercising. thinkthinkthink
LB How else do you feel?
RB I don't feel free enough
LB What would make you feel more free?
RB LOL - a cook in the kitchen who made all the decisions for me and they were all good ones. And restaurants that figured out how to make good for me food as tasty and cheap as not-so-good-for-me food.
LB Well. I'd like that too - but what can I do to help you feel more free?
RB Make the lists. Make the plan. Plan out meals. Take time to do your job.
LB Hmmmm. I can do that. I even like doing that. But it means not doing other things. Time is finite when it comes to this sort of thing. You have to be willing to Not Play with Other Things while I do all this list making and planning.
RB When? When?
LB How about Thursday afternoon? But you will have to be quiet
RB OK - I can be quiet while you're working.
LB And we may miss drawing and have to double up on Saturday
LB Anything else?
RB I am getting older and I don't know who I am as an old lady
LB You're the same person you always were
RB No I'm not - I have creaky bones and aching joints sometimes and I have to watch out for my back and I'm scared I'll look bald when my hair turns grey but I'm afraid I'll look stupid with an old lady face and died hair.
LB Nobody's looking at you that hard
RB I am looking at me
LB How can I help
RB Oh. I didn't think anybody could help. Can you make a plan about that too?
LB I'm sure I could
RB When When When
LB Well - hmm. How about Labor Day weekend, when I have a little extra time ? And btw, I'm glad to learn you see the value of all my list making and plan writing ...
RB I've always valued you - I just don't like it when you forget about me
LB Fair enough. Well - Let's work together on this
Well. Who knew? I'll be back when I have my plan to share. Hope you got a chuckle out of all this.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
So - I was 3 pounds from my goal and what did I do but think and talk myself into failure - and gain a pound. I made a half hearted effort last week and dropped half a pound on Tuesday - but no sooner did I weigh in (well - a little later anyway) but I go to the frozen yogurt store and ... well, they only have one size cup and it looks like a pint to me. And I split cake with my little visiting cousins at their favorite restaurant yesterday.
As Strother Martin said in Cool Hand Luke "What we have here is a failure to communicate "
Only, the lack of communication is between my goal setting, list making, do-it-cause-it's-good-for-you left brain school marm and my touchy, feely, you-can't-make-me right brain wild child.
RB "Frozen Yogurt! Just what I wanted!!"
LB "WHAT! You have to be joking - we're 3.6 lbs away from goal - and half an inch shorter than the last time we were there!!"
RB "Frozen Yogurt! Just what I wanted!"
LB "STOP STOP STOP. Are you crazy? Goal won't even be good enough. Stop! Don't turn left!"
RB "Frozen Yogurt! Just what I wanted!"
LB "No. No. Bad Girl. Bad Bad Wild Child. Don't you want to be strong and fit and slim and wear pretty clothes and besides it's the RULE and you have to log it and you are ruining everything!"
RB "Frozen Yogurt! Just what I wanted!"
Hmmm. Sounds like the script from a Max and Ruby picture book.
Time for a new dialogue:
LB "So, honey, we're almost at goal? What can I do to help you stay on the plan so we can reach that goal in the next 2 weeks?"
RB "Let me draw tomorrow morning instead of getting on the internet"
LB "Oh. okay. I thought you liked getting on the internet in the morning"
RB "Not when it keeps me from drawing. I want to draw more"
LB "well, honey, I'm sorry. I will let you draw tomorrow morning."
LB "And you will stay within your points/callories for two weeks?"
RB "No. but I will for today."
LB "hmmm. Sounds fair. What about tomorrow - and the weekend?"
RB "Ask me tomorrow - and on the weekend"
LB "Oh. Hmm. Well. But I like to be prepared ....."
RB "Well I can't predict the future. I can only tell you how I feel right now."
LB "I see. At least I think I do. You know tomorrow there is going to be FOOD"
RB "Yeah. So? there's food every day. You told me that."
LB "Touche - I did. Okay ... any thoughts about tomorrow?"
RB "I don't know. You're the planner and list maker and task ticker offer .... "
LB "Okay - how about this plan ... NOT written in stone, you know - but as a possible way to handle tomorrow ..... at a FOOD event - how about only drink water, only eat fruits and vegetables and take one bread savory and one sweet?"
RB "It sounds alright but you better talk to me tomorrow to be sure."
LB "Will Do - in fact - I'll check in with you EVERY morning till we reach goal"
RB "thanks! I'd like that. You know - I really am a nice person and I have good ideas too."
LB "Yes. You are - Much better ideas than 'Frozen Yogurt!" LOL"
RB "LOL! Yes. I do have other ideas besides 'Frozen Yogurt!" Ask me about them and I'll share.
Your best friend really ought to be yourself.
Friday, August 10, 2012
I actually blogged about this on my Other Blog
a week ago - but I thought perhaps I would re-post some of that blog here, just in case someone wondered ...
My August pick is this:
8. Draw 20 minutes a day. I will never get any better if I don't practice every day
As busy as I've been all summer, I just haven't felt very creative or artistic. Yes I know - there is creativity in problem solving, creativity in making a work environment where other people can blossom, creativity in organizing (and yes, creating) a beautiful room (I promise - photos soon) out of a cluttered hot mess. But in the traditional, hands on sense of creating, I just haven't been there. I even took a precious day off 2 weeks ago and met up with a girlfriend with the intention of painting au plein air, but it didn't happen - we just used the time to catch up on each other's lives. But we did come up with the idea of doing a 20 minute sketch every day in August and emailing it to each other. (As all Spark People know) It helps to make a promise to someone else when I try to effect a change and yet, I'm still shy enough about my own skills and talents to go slow with something like drawing and painting. Also - doing artwork play is very difficult for me. I can easily spend an entire weekend scrubbing out dirty kitchens ... but playing with art takes more initial thrust than getting the Saturn Moon Launch up. We need not go into all the reasons why I have such a hard time letting myself do the perfectly innocent things I want to do - suffice it to say that I have to make a duty out of play before I can actually play. At least I do make it a duty - or part of a list - or a public commitment ... and once I get over the initial fear of getting caught out not werkwerkwerking, I sometimes get pretty good at this play stuff.
As for my other 7 habits - here's the score card on them
1 Track my food ---Habit
2. Daily prayer --- Not yet a habit
3. Drink enough water --- Habit
4. Exercise --- Habit
5. Compliment someone every day --- Not even close to a habit
6. Select a Big Life Goal and take one step towards it --- Not yet a habit
7. Charles Schwab List --- Habit
Not a perfect record but not bad either - and at least I can see where I want to put in some extra effort.
And as proof that I'm drawing every day - here's one of them.
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