Thursday, December 15, 2011
So, as per one of my December goals, I went to storage and dug out some weights I have. I mentioned them in another blog. They aren't dumbbells or hand weights. They are a kind that I strap around my wrists and/or ankles.
Now, I've read that they're really not good to use when walking because they can restrict normal motion. So the entire point is to strap them on to do my strength training. And so I did Monday and today.
Oh, my, can I feel the difference!
On the one hand, I found it fascinating that I didn't have to drop back down to 12 reps (the counter says 12-15 and I have been consistent about the 15). Instead, I can feel the muscles getting tired as I reach 15, which tells me it has been worked well.
That's when I realized there's an interesting side effect of losing weight at the same time as doing strength training. I've lost 20-25 pounds so far. When I do Calf Raises, I'm lifting 20-25 pounds less than I was originally. When I raise a leg or arm, I'm lifting some portion of that less on each side. The natural resistances used for strength training with no equipment decrease as I lose weight.
Which makes me especially glad I went and picked up these weights. But at the same time, I'm wondering how long this will last me before I need to increase the resistance some more. I might have to consider the community center's workout room for their weight machines sometime into the new year.
All good though. Stronger is stronger, and knowing I'm getting stronger is exciting!
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
I realize from some of the comments (and thank you all for them) that I really glossed over the reasons why those particular actions steps are such a challenge for me.
Yes, I'm cussedly independent. I will not ask for help unless there is absolutely no other alternative. I will wear myself to the bone to do something myself if I think I can do it. And my motivation and drive are pretty solid without a second person involved.
But there's another side to it, and it's really the side I feel I need to address somehow. The best term I have for it is an emotional detachment. It's not particularly new, as I look back over my life I see it in many places. In fact, toward the end of my walk tonight I remembered something my siblings and I used to talk about a little - how our dad was there, involved in our upbringing, and yet somehow not really THERE.
It's not the kind of detachment or disconnection you hear about a psychopath having. I'm actually quite empathic about other's suffering, want to fix everyone's lives. I certainly swing through the full range of emotions freely. Nor am I particularly shy or introverted in the sense of being withdrawn from people.
I ~am~ very solitude-oriented, an introvert in the sense that I recharge my batteries by getting away from people. Walking alone at night, looking up at the starry sky and the silence and emptiness - that's my ideal.
What it is ... well, start with my mother. She passed away a couple years ago from a brain tumor. They found it too late, gave her 3-6 months expectation. I talked to her on the phone once or twice before she passed, but always had reasons I couldn't get a ride up to visit. I didn't even make it to the funeral and while I occasionally think of her and remember little things with a smile, I didn't and don't grieve as I see others do.
She was my mother. I loved her as such in a loose way. But many years before I had to emotionally distance myself from her as she was married to an alcoholic-addict and was heavily playing guilt trips on me and others. By the time she passed, they were divorced and she had remarried her third husband - but it didn't change our relationship.
Now, if it was just her and just based on the ex-4th husband, that would be the end of that. But it's not. I'm so emotionally detached that right now I could count on one hand the number of people I'd really rage and mourn if something happened to them. My three children and my best friend.
What some have mentioned about my ability to self-analyze ... sure, I do that plenty. In fact, I lean toward over-analyzing things, have a learned habit of making a decision and going with it because otherwise I'd still be trying to analyze and decide. And somewhere, somehow, I feel like my emotional side is lost while my analyzing side runs everything.
Last time I cried over something other than my own pure frustration and stress in a situation was when Princess Di was killed in the crash. I'm not a big follower of celebs. She wasn't important to me in any way. But that was not too long after my last big fight with my ex and acceptance that our marriage would not work, it was done. So I could let myself cry over someone's death since I wouldn't cry over the death of the marriage. The time before that? When I was flipped out emotional on birth control pills and pregnant (double hormone whammy, but the pills made me a basket case anyway).
The big non-weight, non-health issue I'm slowly trying to address is that - trying to find that emotional side of me and bring it back into balance.
Soooooo, the reason I'm making such a stink on myself about not wanting to do that step isn't because I feel everything on the SparkPeople site is gospel. (I definitely disagree with things, and I use only what I find to be true either through more research or trying it and verifying it.)
It is because I'm not just looking at it and saying "No, this action step doesn't fit me." I'm outright trying to shove it away, ignore it, fight it, do anything but consider it.
=P Kind of a funny thing, but I find that my strongest opinions are the ones that I don't feel any need to defend. If I feel challenged on an opinion and want to rise up and prove it right, that is when I pull it out and look at it more closely. An instinct, if you will, that deep down I know something in my opinion isn't quite solidly believed by me.
Same idea here. It's one thing for me to say "I don't visualize; I think in spacial ways and descriptive terms". With that, I simply converted "see yourself thin" into "feel yourself thin". But when I say "I don't wanna!" and can't rightly say why having a SparkBuddy or new friend is bad, something hidden isn't right. And that's what I need to eventually bring to light.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Trying to move along in Stage 3 now that I've accepted my "vision" of what I'm doing this for ... and immediately I run into another snag. O_o Honestly, at the rate I'm going, I feel like I'm playing my daughter's game of opposite day and just being contrary.
What's got me stumped now?
"It's okay to ask for help."
Long-story short, I've been independent since I took my first steps. It shows in my baby-book pictures, it shows in the stories my mom used to tell of me, it shows in my memories as a kid. I've always been social, friendly, and happier off doing things alone. I could honestly be a hermit in a log cabin and be completely satisfied with life.
I have one absolute 100% best friend. He's very special to me. I trust him implicitly. Yet in the years I've known him now, I think I've only ever vented twice, and even then I didn't ask for help - I just needed someone to spill to. Before I knew him well and trusted him, I usually wrote it in journals, then tore up or burned the pages. Once it was out of my system, I was working to figure out a solution.
I'm loving the community here, but I do sometimes feel I am deliberately skipping over the surface. I friend everyone who adds me as a friend, I read statuses and blogs and comment regularly. I really want to help every person I read about and sorrow for those who disappear. (Yes, I notice when people drop away, even with 70-something people friended right now.)
But (of course there's a but) it's such a large community that I can be very involved without being dependent on another individual or having someone else be dependent on me. And that last comes back to my being cussedly independent. I could do the Spark Buddy thing, but I know I won't really ask much (if anything) of that person ... while I'm very prone to giving too much.
In addition, I don't seem to have the same challenges as many others. I'm not a binge eater. I'm not an emotional eater. I don't eat just because I'm bored. I don't eat when I'm nervous. I'm not a party-goer nor do I have family events to worry about. Other than eating out with my kids or on my own, eating within my calorie limits is absurdly easy. Nor do I run into any difficulty getting myself out the door to walk or pushing myself in speed, form, or distance. I'm coming up on three months without a day missed on tracking, walking, drinking water, etc.
Which again points to me not needing much, and a buddy being more likely to be depending on me. I just fought for an empty nest so I don't have two adult children depending on me.
Soooooo, the action steps:
- 1 - Pick 2 of your nutrition and fitness goals and do them with another person.
I want to just pick this whole step apart with reasons I won't do it. My goals are solo, independent minded. I don't want to rely on some other person to do them too. Can I just count every other person who gets 8 glasses of water? *SIGH* Seriously, I do not want to do this. I don't want to pick "another person" and involve them in my personal journey. I can't even explain well why I hate the thought so much.
I've spent over a week forcing myself back to that page and trying to figure out some "easy" way I can just do some petty thing and call it done.
Moving on for now ...
- 2 - Check out the SparkPage search feature and try to match up with a buddy online
(( I'm cranky apparently - removed a rant here about the outdated instructions and outdated article that made this step harder to do than it should have been, which only fed my not wanting to do it. ))
After a good bit of hunting and aforementioned cranky, I found COMMUNITY > SPARK PAGES had a basic search, and searching something led to the advanced search that was being described.
I did a couple of half-hearted searches. One got a single result, someone with minimal information to go by, but at least one Spark Team that makes me uncomfortable. The other got seven results, but only if I didn't make them be local - and that's when I discovered I had no easy way to tell who was active without going to each page and poking around.
Then something clicks. I'm soooooo resistant to this step, I'm going to find reasons (EXCUSES) why no one fits. GAH!
I feel like it's a perfectly fine reason. It's like my #1 list item for a Mr. Right someday - he must not smoke, preferably has never even tried and has no interest in trying. Yes, I flat-out lose interest in a guy the moment he takes a puff. I don't care if he's a Greek God, a billionaire, and dotes on me. Cig = NO!
And yet ...
Moving on for now.
- 3 - Join a SparkTeam and post 5 messages in your Team forum or on the Message Boards this week.
Long since a habit. Hey! At least I've got one out of three easily done. I've joined several teams and try to be active in most of them. Four of them I post almost daily and huddle as well. One I'm co-leader of and trying to do my best for the Team.
Relief. I'm not completely contrary and impossible.
*looks back up at number 1 and number 2 and SIGHS*
Oddly enough, I have a feeling that forcing myself to do those steps is more important to a non-weight, non-fitness goal. As I say on my Spark Page, I bulked up to hide from relationships. I don't just mean a Mr. Right dating relationship. I mean all relationships. Other than my kids (the 2 I raised) and my best friend, I don't do close relationships. And that's a story for another blog, I think.
I need to do this step. I really do. I hate it. I don't want to. It has nothing to do with my weight-loss or fitness journey at all. And yet, I will find a way to do it.
In the meantime, as I crack down on this, I will move on to the next step. This isn't stopping me from working out, eating well, losing weight, gaining strength - and that shouldn't be held back over my emotional issues around inter-personal relationships.
Monday, December 12, 2011
I knew I wanted to get out there and try to take some pictures of Christmas lights tonight. I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about how far I'd be walking. Some three miles later (I only recorded 2.9-ish, but there was uncounted street crossing, going up a little block and back, etc.) I got home and checked out what I got. Here's a couple and then a link to my Google+ posted album.
So, the odd thought (thoughts) on Christmas ...
Start with this. I was raised a Jehovah's Witness. While they are Christian, one key thing of note is that they do not celebrate any common religious holidays. A big reason for that is how much of the ritual / tradition is not actually Bible-based. (They do hold an annual Memorial - the night Jesus spent with his 12 apostles, breaking the bread and passing the wine, telling them to keep doing this in remembrance of him. As he directly instructed his followers to do this, it is the one thing Jehovah's Witnesses do.)
Now, when I moved out at 18, I left that behind. One of the first things I remember doing was getting myself a belated birthday present - a carousel horse music box.
Over the years, I've been very off and on about doing stuff for holidays. I loved being involved in an adopt-a-family thing with one employer many years ago. I've usually joined in with company gift-giving things. And for my kiddos when they were smaller, I even did the tree and lights, but on a very reduced level since we spent more time at my mother-in-law's. (As Latinos and Catholics, the EX and family did do quite a bit.) But by the time they were about ten, I'd pulled out of being involved and just tended to get them presents - with them along to pick them out.
Now, in spite of my own lack of interest or following of the religious side of the holiday, it honestly boggles me how often those who are professed Christians leave that out. Someone had linked in their blog a song about "Where's the line for Jesus?" And it's really a valid question for those who allegedly are celebrating Christmas as a religious holiday.
Bringing me now full circle to all the pictures I took tonight. There were a lot more houses I didn't shoot or pictures that didn't come out well enough to post. However, in three full miles of walking, there were two nativity scenes and one statue of the Virgin Mary with lights and decorations around. The rest? Had Santa, elves, snowmen, trees, candy canes, peppermints, lights galore, wreaths, pine cones, and so on.
And this is a city and a neighborhood with many Latinos (Mexican and more), Vietnamese, Chinese, Portuguese, and so on. This is a neighborhood in which there are many many denominations of Christian churches. My daughter sings in the youth choir maybe 6 blocks from one point of my walk, and that church alone has at least four separate masses weekly. I pass several churches on my walks even.
It may mean very little to me except as a commercial event that gives me an excuse to be generous to those in need, but I'm almost shocked at how completely commercialized it has become otherwise, with the majority of the focus on things from either "pagan" origins (trees, wreaths, lights, etc) or non-religious tradition (Santa, reindeer, elves, snowmen).
On a similar note, I think I've only seen one place that says "Merry Christmas". Most that had any words said either "Happy Holidays" or "Seasons Greetings". While I personally will tend to wish people a great "Holiday Season and New Year", it just seems like someone decorating their own home should be able to refer to the holiday they're decorating for.
Just an odd little bit of thinking there, from the perspective of someone "outside".
== Editing because I decided to add the one nativity scene here ... since it just boggles me. That is inflated the same way those jumpy castles for kid's birthday's are. ==
Sunday, December 11, 2011
Today started off lazy, with sleeping in and lounging in bed even after I was awake. I was a little bummed, in fact, that I'd slept right through as late as I did. I had initially thought to be up just before dawn for the chance to see a "super-sized" lunar eclipse. (Super-sized because from our vantage on the west U.S. the eclipse would occur with the moon down by the horizon, where it tends to look huge.)
Ultimately, though, I did have to get up and moving. Not because there were any chores demanding my attention, but because I'd feel REALLY lazy if I only left my room to use the restroom or eat.
At that point I remembered my goal to get my weights out of storage to add a little to my strength training. (These aren't barbell weights. They are small wrist and ankle pieces with velcro straps, two smaller at 1.5 pounds each and two bigger at 2.5 pounds each.)
I also realized that I needed something to transfer data from the tower to the laptop - and since the store to get computer stuff is a half block from storage, I decided that was a plan.
I was hungry, too, having only eaten breakfast and snacks - and have had a hankering for pumpkin pie for over a month now. (Didn't get any at Thanksgiving since I don't do anything special that day.) Looked up Denny's, which I knew had a slice of pie, decided a steak would be nice even if not exceptional, and noted down my nutrition ranges. Looked up how far it was from Denny's to walk home and decided that would be a nice end to the trip.
Then off I went with this plan to go to storage, get weights, go to store, get flash drive, go to Denny's, eat, walk home.
... walking to the gate at storage, it suddenly clicks in my brain that I'm going to have to carry the weights the entire time. I convince myself that won't be a big deal. I wasn't exactly sure of how much they weighed, but even if they had been 5 pounds apiece, I wouldn't be "carrying" any more than I was on my body back in Sept.
Then digging into the box at storage, I discovered I had my hockey skates in the same box. That wasn't one of my fitness goals, but it has been a goal since I moved. SJ Sharks practice ice has public sessions and it's not too horribly far from me (40ish minutes by bus/walk). Also in the same box were older sneakers of mine - ones in decent enough condition to donate now that I have the running shoes.
So I left storage with a bigger load than planned.
Computer stores. Any geeks know that going for just one or two things ... isn't always successful. I walked out with a flash drive, some blank disks, canned air for cleaning dust out of my tower, and a new mouse pad for work. And all my stuff from storage.
Uh, no, this isn't going to work. I ended up going home first, dropping all that off, then back out to eat. Pumpkin pie was yum, though definitely not the best I've had. Steak was cheap, good to have. I got broccoli and was surprised how much here was. I got red-skinned potatoes and was a little disappointed they were cut up and fried rather than baked whole, but they were tasty.
I was rather pleased with myself for being on the high end of calories but not over - right on target. The 2.9 mile walk was enjoyable; cold at first, but I find about the time I'm through a mile, I'm comfortably warm. Came through a very busy downtown but avoided most of the Christmas in the Park / carnival crowd. Only minus is I mostly walked main streets which are businesses, so didn't get to see much in the way of decorated houses - but I'm thinking of doing a neighborhood crawl tomorrow evening to see whether I can get any respectable pictures.
And speaking of lots of walking, week 2 of my virtual walk to Edmonton, AB is done. I have traveled 16.21 miles further. I left Calaveras Reservoir behind, but remained on Calaveras Road for a large portion of the walk. This took me through Sunol Valley Regional Park. Some gorgeous scenery there, which can be seen here: www.ebparks.org/parks/sunol
Toward the end of this week's walking, I entered the city of Pleasanton. I remember going up there as a teenager to the Alameda County Fairgrounds to show rabbits (our family raised and bred French Lops, Angoras, and a few other varieties).
I'm not quite there, but I'm heading east through Pleasanton specifically to get a look at the Shadow Cliffs Park area. It used to be a gravel quarry, but is now a park with a lake, waterslide, picnicking, as well as numerous smaller lakes and ponds. At only about 3.5 miles from where I reached this week, I'll be passing through there on Monday or Tuesday.
Beyond that ... I'm trying to decide whether to take the common road which will take me to the Lake Tahoe and Reno, NV area or aim more north first and find the less traveled roads.
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