Monday, May 14, 2012
Image from http://classicdisney.tumblr.com/post/41687
One of my favorite books as a kid was "Alice in Wonderland." I was thinking about possibilities this week and how far I've come, and I recalled when Alice is chasing the white rabbit down the home. She has taken a potion that made her large, and she comes upon a door. She can see the rabbit through the keyhole and the doorknob starts talking to her:
-Alice: [looking through the Doorknob's keyhole] There he is! I simply must get through.
-Doorknob: Sorry. You're much too big. Simply impassable.
-Alice: You mean impossible.
-Doorknob: No, impassable. [chuckles] Nothing's impossible!
Of course she figured out a way to get through the door to continue her pursuit of the white rabbit. We're all chasing a white rabbit of some sort, and like Alice, can find that catching it is not impossible with enough determination. I'm not going to lie, I was starting to get a bit discouraged with my weight being in such a holding pattern. It seems I needed something to really light a fire under my ass, and my upcoming fight did just that. I still don't know who my opponent is, but every time I look in the mirror I see both my opponent and ally. I have to say, there hasn't been anything in a long time that's made me look really deep down inside. Facing a real live opponent will do that I guess.
This week I only lost about half a pound, but I have been working out very hard and am probably retaining water, so that is not unusual. I am not going to do anything different yet because I am feeling pretty strong. I did aggravate my IT band syndrome by running on a treadmill this week, though. I should have known better, the treadmill (or as I lovingly call it, "dreadmill") has also bothered my knees. In any case, I won't be running for a couple of weeks. I also had another private training session with my coach Eric and another classmate yesterday; I learned a ton. My workouts this week were:
Monday: Jiu Jitsu (1 hour) and Muay Thai (1 hour)
Tuesday: strength/cardio circuit (1 hour), Jiu Jitsu (1.5 hour) and Muay Thai (1 hour)
Wednesday: treadmill run 12 minutes (2 minute run/1 minute walk), Jiu Jitsu (1 hour) and Muay Thai (1 hour)
Friday: Kettlebells 25 minutes (IT band acting up)
Saturday: upper body weights (30 minutes) and Muay Thai (1 hour)
Sunday: Muay Thai private lesson (1 hour)
I had a major breakthrough this week with eating and my emotional dependency on food. It warrants a separate blog, which I am working on and will post some time this week. The short of it is, a few nights ago I got done with work and then plopped down in front of the T.V. As I was getting ready for bed, I realized I hadn't eaten anything since my snack several hours prior. I wasn't hungry, and I just forgot about food. I have NEVER forgotten to eat or forgotten about food, hungry or not. More to come.
I am trying to do more saxophone playing that is just for fun and not necessarily stuff that is assigned to me by my teacher Jeff. At the same time, I am trying to teach myself more about music theory and saxophone technique. Just like with myself, I can probably do a lot more with it if I understand more about how it works. I have found it helpful to do some further exploration and feel like I can start improving my technique with Jeff's help. I found sheet music for this awesome song from M83; there is a 1 minute alto sax solo at the end of the song that I have been wanting to learn:
In any case, it was a pretty good week overall. Some things may be impassable, but I like finding that nothing is truly impossible. Of course, that takes some exploring and effort to find what works. Hopefully we don't have to jump down the rabbit hole to get there.
Saturday, May 05, 2012
So as of this week, I am officially a Muay Thai fighter. Well, I will be after June 16th. My coaches encouraged to sign up to fight, so I will be doing an exhibition match on June 16th. Only about 6 weeks away. Ahhhh!
I will be fighting provided a suitable opponent is found. There is a good chance that another woman my size will not be found. Either way, I will train as though I am fighting. As long as I train as hard as possible, I don't really care if I win or lose. Although it would be cool to win.
Today my coach Eric walked up to the board, marker in hand, and asked what my weight is. I asked him to please not write it on the board and practically whispered, "About 250, I'll probably be about 240 by the fight." I know that none of my martial arts buddies cares about my weight, but still, I'm not THAT comfortable with my weight that I want it written on a board for everyone to see. I hope he doesn't think I'm ridiculous for asking him not write it down.
In any case, neither of my Muay Thai trainers treat me like a 250 pound woman. Their focus has only been on my athletic abilities. As surprised as I still feel to be viewed as a real athlete and martial artist, I guess I am pretty athletic. This past week was brutal in my Muay Thai classes. Nate and Eric pushed me harder than the other people in class. This is partially because I am training for a fight and partially because they believe I can do more. Nate made me do 5 rounds of conditioning (punches, knees, push-ups, kicks) instead of 3 like everyone else got to do. Eric made me use 5-pound weights for punching drills because he knew I have more strength and endurance than the other guys. (Want to shape up your arms? Do punches holding dumbbells--yeeeow!). We did a lot of sparring and I feel a bit more confident about the idea of doing a fight after getting the feel for sparring again. I'm sure I'll be a bit bruised up over the next few weeks.
Along those lines, I do plan on dropping some pounds before the fight. I have lowered my calories each day to about 1,600 (from about 2,000) and I feel great. I was very nervous about cutting my calories to 1,300-1,600 but figured I would give it a week or two to see how I felt. I thought I would be starving, but I am really not any hungrier than I was before. I have been within all of my nutrition ranges and I realized that the "extra" calories were carbs that put me over my daily limit. In no way was I trying to eat low-carb in the first place, but my carbs were always at the upper end of my allowance or over. This was the case even after cutting out wheat. And I know I don't need the extra carbs.
I also thought I would be more obsessed with food from cutting back my calories, but I don't react to hunger like I used to. I don't associate hunger with being put of control anymore. If I'm truly hungry, I eat something--period. If I am feeling emotional, I don't tend to feel the desire to eat to help deal with it any more, so I am not battling myself on when or what to eat. It has been about a year and a half since I started to break my emotional connection to food. While it has been a long and hard break-up, it has been worth it. Food is no longer on the forefront of my mind all of the time. Don't get me wrong, I enjoy food, but I am no longer addicted to binge eating.
I felt fitter this week than I have in years. There's just something about imagining someone punching you in the face that makes you pretty focused--funny how that works. My workouts were:
Monday: 1 hour Jiu Jitsu and 1 hour Muay Thai
Tuesday: Run 30 seconds/Walk 90 seconds for 30 minutes followed by Run 2 minute/Walk 1 minute intervals x 3
Wednesday: 1 hour Jiu Jitsu and 1 hour Muay Thai
Thursday: Day off
Friday: Powerlifting and 1 hour Muay Thai
Saturday: Run 1 minute/Walk 2 minutes for 30 minutes and 1 hour Muay Thai
Tomorrow will be a kettlebell workout and maybe a run. The next 4-5 weeks are going to be pure delicious fight training torture, so I don't know why I'm grinning right now. I'll be doing about 8 hours of martial arts training each week, in addition to running 3 days, 2 strength training sessions, kettlebells, and lots of sleep. I've also been enjoying ballet-style barre workouts and Pilates; both work the smaller stabilizer muscles in the hips, core, and back, all which help with kicking. I am emphasizing getting a lot of rest, but I have been pretty comfortable with this training schedule. My training will just be a bit more vamped.
I may be a heavyweight fighter right now, but I hope to be a bit lighter before the fight. If nothing else, I now have an important event to keep in mind whenever I make a choice about eating or exercise. I feel very focused and need to be just a touch more disciplined, and I should be good to go for the fight.
“Blood is just red sweat.”
Monday, April 30, 2012
"I don't train just to be better at training. I train so everything else in life is better."
My pal Nick (the shirtless one) getting ready for his fight on Saturday, with our Muay Thai coach Eric.
One of my martial arts buddies, Nick, had a fight on Saturday night. He was defending his chamionship belt that he earned at his last fight. He did lose the fight, but I know he trained hard. One day after we were done working out, he plopped into a chair, dripping sweat, and grinned. "I love the martial arts lifestyle," he said. Nick and I work out together quite a bit and I admire how hard he works. His determination has been an inspiration to me. He lives for martial arts and I have tried to emulate his dedication. He is fighting hard for the championship; he knows what he wants, and he works his ass off to go for it.
I may have not had a championship fight in the ring, but I feel like some of my victories have been like earning a title belt. I always have to come up to the next challenge even more prepared and more experienced than the one before. I have to prove that I can keep my title. As Lauren Brooks said in the top quote, training isn't about making the training better, it's about making life better. My ultimate championship victory is a rich and full life. April was a pretty good month, at least once I became cognizant that I was holding on to too much stress and made a conscious effort to let things slide. I feel physically stronger and more fit than I have in a very long time.
Along those lines, training this week was good. I got in 2 solid strength training workouts and several hours of martial arts training (see pictures below). Thursday and Friday I dedicated to yard work. I did about 10 hours of heavy yard work over the 2 days, so I definitely counted that as my workout. April was a pretty good workout month overall and I got in a lot of martial arts training, as well as strength training, every week.
Eating was okay this week. I was much better about tracking and tracked most days, which is an improvement. I didn't track (at least not accurately) for most of April. Not sure why--just didn't. I know I do a lot better when I am paying closer attention to what I put in my mouth, so I plan on tracking every day now.
Yeah, just squatting like 155 pounds here--nice light set.
Muay Thai bag work.
This was one of the better weeks I have had in a while. Last week I talked about needing to just let things go, and it has been much easier since I have made an effort to just let the stress slip away. I realize how much easier it is to stay on track when I don't let my mind get muddled with negative thoughts. I need to keep that championship on the forefront--the title is mine!
"Should you desire the great tranquility, prepare to sweat."
Sunday, April 22, 2012
“Incredible change happens in your life when you decide to take control of what you do have power over instead of craving control over what you don't.”
I do animal poison control for a living. Most of the time I find it very rewarding to know I am helping save pets' lives, but sometimes, pet owners are not so grateful for our services. A lot of people are unhappy that we charge for our service (we don't receive any public funding/tax dollars, so like any veterinary practice, we have a charge for our service). Most people are happy to pay the fee because sometimes it saves them an emergency trip to the vet, and if their pet does need to go to the vet, we help with treatment so that a poisoning does not get out of hand and become fatal.
Of course, I can't please them all. I talked to a woman last night whose dog ingested the owner's pill when she dropped it on the floor. It was a dose of the medication that could cause a drop in blood pressure, respiratory depression, coma, and/or death. Of course I told her she needed to take her dog to an emergency vet right away. She argued and asked the same questions several different ways trying to get a different answer out of me, as if me saying, "Okay, sure, stay at home!" would save the dog. I firmly reiterated the information I had repeated several times, and told her I needed to let her go.
Now, I do empathize with my callers, I really do. I understand being frantic and upset. But I do have a low tolerance for owners redirecting their frustration with the situation at me and becoming rude. She called back less than an hour later and spoke to my co-worker, stating that she was upset at how the call was handled and that she wanted my supervisor to call her back, which means she'll get a call back from our head veterinarian.
Normally, I would fret and stew over a caller complaining about me. I would keep checking the case to see what our head vet said to the owner. Not this time. I was initially upset, but then I stopped, took a few deep breaths, and let it go. The situation is ultimately not my fault, and that owner would have complained no matter who had taken the call, unless she had been told that her dog would be just fine. There is no point in getting caught up in someone else's problem. Sure, the complaint was made against me, but ultimately, it is that pet owner's problem.
I am glad my automatic reaction was to choose to let go and to not hold onto any stress over this woman's actions (although I do hope the dog is okay). I have been hanging on to too much stress recently. Last week I said I wanted a fresh start, yet continued to be frustrated with myself for making the same poor choices over and over again.
Of course, my entire reason for being on SparkPeople is that I have not been able to let go. The extra weight on my body is just past pain and memories that have clung to my body. The extra weight is the food I turned to (and sometimes still turn to) for comfort. My past is no secret, everyone can see it with one glance at my 250 pound body. By making peace with the past, by letting go of the fretful moments as they occur, I have been able to make peace with my extra weight. By making peace with my weight, I have been able to make peace with my whole body and mind, at least for the most part. But I still struggle with letting petty crap slide and with letting in too much negativity, and worse, dwelling on it.
While I know I need to acknowledge my feelings, I can approach them with equanimity (a principle I have learned from meditation) and not actually react to them. Equanimity makes it so I can step back and decide how to react to my feelings before they turn into out-of-control emotions. Slowly, I have incorporated equanimity into my thinking. It helps me not blow things out of proportion and to think more realistically about any given situation. Since I have not been meditating regularly, I haven't drilled this concept in well over the past few weeks, hence struggling more than necessary over the past several weeks. Needless to say, I will be meditating every day, even if it's just 5 minutes, even if it's just a few minutes of moving meditation; I know I must do this.
This past week was not the best workout week, mainly because my neck and shoulders still hurt. I actually thought last week that my neck and shoulders were better, but I quickly realized on Monday that it still hurt to do Jiu Jitsu. I bailed on class and was so frustrated that I actually pounded on the mat and then went into the cage and started kicking the crap out of the bag (why not, my legs didn't hurt!). My coach Nate glanced in and saw me kick the 100-pound bag so hard that it slammed into the wall. I was near tears with frustration. "Are you pissed?" my coach Nate asked me.
"Yeah, I REALLY wanted to work out hard today in Jiu Jitsu." Nate is normally a smart-ass, but he actually looked sympathetic, so I must have looked really upset. I've come to realize that I NEED to work out hard to stay normal. Weight loss and whatnot aside, I NEED to work out. It is how I let go of all the crap that I hang onto. I didn't really need to go back to school and get a degree in kinesiology focusing on exercise psychology to know how beneficial exercise is for mood. Luckily, I was able to do a good kickboxing workout Monday, did a nice 2-hour workout on Wednesday (included kickboxing, weight lifting, some Jiu Jitsu, and nunchuks), and I also got in a couple of good walks throughout the week. But I wanted to do more, and luckily my neck and shoulders feel much better and I plan on resuming normal activity this week.
I have a private training session with my Muay Thai coach Eric tomorrow. It's the first time I've done a private lesson for martial arts. I am looking forward to it. I will be forced to be very focused, which is something I have not been doing very well on my own as of late. I am going to asking for a merciless, grueling, unrelenting workout. I want to feel like I am ready to collapse by the end. I need to remind my body and mind that I can push myself. I want a workout so tough that I'll wanna go home and cry to mama. Luckily, Eric will have no problem obliging me. I think it will be a great way to start the week--Jiu Jitsu class, some weightlifting, then a hard session of Muay Thai. My body is CRAVING it!
My eating last week was slightly improved over past weeks, but I still had a day of overeating (as in, I felt sick from eating so much junk). Most of the eating was with a friend, and as I've said, I feel slightly better about social overeating than secret overeating by myself, but I still could have made better choices. I tracked accurately about half the time, again, an improvement. Of course, I can do better. When I don't track my food, that feeds into the nagging little stresses, all which feed into each other. Again, I need to forgive myself, let it go, and move on.
I need to remember that even when I'm not at my best, I am still doing the best I can at that moment. But I am letting it all go. By letting go, I can actually take control instead of letting all the crap floating around in my head cloud my thinking. All those thoughts squelched my spark over the past few weeks. Today, I have no spark--I am on fire.
“Renew, release, let go. Yesterday’s gone. There’s nothing you can do to bring it back. You can’t 'should’ve' done something. You can only DO something. Renew yourself. Release that attachment. Today is a new day!”
Monday, April 16, 2012
Last week was not overly horrible, but not really eventful, either. I felt like I hardly worked out at all since I skipped Jiu Jitsu on Wednesday and Friday because my upper back and neck hurt, but I still apparently burned a good 3,000 calories. I'm not sure if I hurt my neck doing something in Jiu Jitsu last Monday, but it still hurts now. I am finally caving and am taking naproxen. I felt like I overate a lot, but my weight remained steady. It was just kind of a "blah" week, and I'm looking forward to a fresh start.
I think part of the "blah" comes from the fact that I have been working 6 days in a row a lot this schedule (every other week), and that is after having only 1 day off. I started this schedule a few weeks ago and I was already pretty fried from work. I may work from home, but I still have a pretty high-stress job on a typical day. When our next schedule starts in June, I will assert myself that I do not want to be scheduled 6 days at a time. Thankfully, I have a week off coming up soon (starting May 19th), and I am looking forward to it very much.
Tonight is my 6th day of working and I am ready to decompress. Dare I say tonight's stress relief involves homemade vegan brownies and watching Star Trek Deep Space 9 with my sweetie. I am looking forward to it.
Just thought I would share a quote that one of my Jiu Jitsu pals posted before a competition this past weekend:
"In fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. An elevated spirit is weak and a low spirit is weak. Do not let the enemy see your spirit."
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