Saturday, September 20, 2014
I happened upon this survey and figured I'd give it a go. Enjoy, and if you decide to take it, let me know!
1. What's your name?
2. What's your favorite sport?
To watch, football (Go Saints!). To do, rock climbing.
3. Have a crush?
I just might. (Yes, it might be you!)
4. What's your eye color?
5. If you could change one thing about yourself, what would it be?
My body fat percentage.
6. Are you allergic to anything?
Stupidity. And frequent, ill-used ellipses. ...(Just NO!)
7. Have you ever broken a bone?
Yes, my wrist. And when I was a teenager, I broke about seven of my toes at the same time during my clumsy phase.
8. What's your favorite movie?
Highbrow: "The Shawshank Redemption"
9. Books or movies?
10. Favorite book?
I have many, but the top three are:
EAST OF EDEN by John Steinbeck
THE ADVENTURES OF HUCKLEBERRY FINN by Mark Twain
HEART OF DARKNESS by Joseph Conrad
11. What's your favorite website?
Sadly, Amazon.com is the most honest answer here.
12. Favorite number?
I've always been partial to 18. No idea why.
13. What's your favorite letter?
A love letter.
14. Do you know all of the words to the National Anthem?
15. What's your favorite holiday?
Christmas. Not going to lie -- I like prezzies.
16. What song most describes your life right now?
"Break Free" by Ariana Grande (though it might be more an inspirational thing than an actual description).
17. Who's your favorite band / artist?
Again, so many. A few include Dave Matthews Band, Tab Benoit, Metallica, No Doubt, Maroon 5, Journey.
18. What's your relationship status?
19. Do you exercise?
Yup. Heavy weight lifting 3x/week, biking, walking, rock climbing.
20. Have you ever thrown up before? Why?
This is just a stupid question. Everyone on the planet has thrown up before - it's called being an infant (and later, a 21 year old birthday girl/boy).
21. Are you right or left handed?
22. What's your nickname?
My dad calls me CYB.
23. Do you wear make-up everyday?
Not *every* day but for the most part, yes.
24. When's your birthday?
August 3. That makes me a Leo.
25. How do you feel about "YOLO"? Is it dumb, or do you say it too?
I think the sentiment is fine. I tend to dislike the fact that people write everything as if it were a text message.
26. What's your favorite quote?
"At the moment of commitment, the universe conspires to assist you." (Goethe paraphrased, but the actual quote loses something in its wordiness.)
27. What's the worst thing that's happened to you in your entire life?
Job loss + depression + weight gain. That was pretty brutal.
28. If you could live in any state, which would it be, and why?
Native Californian and still love it here. I like the weather (except when it's 110 degrees in mid-September), the politics (for the most part), and the ocean.
29. What annoys you?
Meh. Let's not go there.
30. What food do you hate the most?
31. Do you have any pets? Names?
One dog named Huckleberry. You can see pics of him in my profile.
32. Jeans, skinny jeans, skirts, denim jeans, or crazy-patterned tights?
Yes, someday, sometimes, is there another kind, no.
33. Do you wear your seat belt in the car at all times.
Yes, and so should you. Duh.
34. Do you like this survey?
I did until I got to question #34.
35. Who's your favorite super hero?
Wonder Woman, obviously. She had an invisible plane and a lasso of truth! Not to mention those awesome bracelets, boots, and headband.
36. Is that your natural hair color?
Well, that one is complicated. My hair was this color until about college, and it's always been this color in my head - the mirror just didn't match. Since then it's needed a little help.
37. What color eyes would you like to have? Or do you like the way they are right now?
My eyes used to be blue but have slowly changed to green. I like them as they are now, but wouldn't mind if the color intensified a bit.
38. Do you look more like your mum or your dad?
39. What's your favorite type of food?
Mexican. I could live off of chips and salsa.
40. What are three things you cannot live without?
Huckleberry, oxygen, my family.
41. Who do you miss right now?
Carrie, Steph, Aimee, Taryn, Lori, Susanne, Anna, Suzanne, Amanda, Dena.
42. On a scale of 1-10, how bored are you?
On a scale of 1-10, I think this was a stupid question.
43. When something drops from the bed, you stay on the bed and stretch to get it, right?
Yes, but this doesn't make me lazy. Most of the time it turns out it would have been a hell of a lot easier to just get up.
44. How tall are you?
45. What's your shoe size?
8 - 8.5.
46. How would you describe your personality?
Independent, but the more the merrier. And no, I don't think these are mutually exclusive.
47. What's your favorite kind of cheese?
48. What's your favorite ice-cream flavor?
Mint chocolate chip.
49. What did you want to be when you were young?
A truck driver or a Supreme Court justice. At this point, truck driver is much more likely.
50. What are you listening to right now?
"Young Men Dead" by The Black Angels.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014
My pal Larry is the guy who's helping me learn how to lift weights. He also happens to be an insanely good massage therapist. Today was our second session focused on breaking up the rock solid tissue in all of my shoulder muscles, trying to get some of the mobility back.
Now, don't get me wrong, I can move and use my arms. I never technically injured my shoulders. I don't have any pain when I move them. They just don't have a full range of motion. (I won't bore you with the details, but I also didn't just wake up one day in this state, so it was a progression.) I don't think it's a technical term, but it's known as "frozen shoulder." And while I wasn't happy about it, until recently it wasn't really an issue. I don't have to reach behind my head very often, so it didn't affect my daily life.
But now? Now I want to do squats. With a barbell behind my back. Someday it will be a barbell loaded with weights. And my freaking shoulder issues mean I can't -- I'm unable to get my arms behind me enough to hold the bar in place -- so now it's all chop chop! Let's get this fixed!
This morning I'm lying on Larry's table and he is using his thumbs and palms and forearms to bore holes through my muscle, my skeleton, all the way to China. At least that's what it felt like. (OK, I'm exaggerating. But man! It is not relaxing or pleasant, that's for sure!) He's kneading away. Every four seconds he tells me to relax and take a deep breath. I'm inching over to the edge of the table, trying to get away, but his thumbs are anchored in my muscle and I'm pinned there like a bug in a display case. There's no escape.
And all of the sudden he says, "This isn't usage damage. This is emotional and it's been here a long time."
Now before you roll your eyes at Larry the New Age Sage, let me tell you that he hit the nail on the head. I have always carried my stress in my shoulders. When I feel particularly anxious, I can literally feel my shoulders shrugging up towards my ears. With Larry's fingers pressed into my muscle, I could feel exactly how hard and immobile it was. I could feel acutely what it's done to my range of motion, in a way that I simply can't when I force myself to relax my shoulders during a stressful moment.
We all know that we carry our emotional selves in our physical selves -- this isn't news. But honestly, I am more than a little surprised that my emotional state has done this much damage to my physical body, in this way. I expect it in headaches and weight gain/loss and feeling run down. I certainly didn't expect it to turn my muscles into steel (and not in a good way.)
I also think it's fascinating that I've developed "frozen" shoulder issues, especially since I would definitely describe the last handful of years as me feeling very, very stuck -- frozen even.
It's time to thaw.
Friday, August 22, 2014
Lately, I've been doing a lot of reading about building muscle and body fat percentages and simultaneously losing fat while gaining muscle. It's a balancing act because you have to eat enough to sustain the new muscle and make sure your body isn't converting muscle into energy, but also eat less than it takes to maintain. I'm still figuring it all out, and I'm sure there will be a lot of experimenting with my calorie and nutrient intake. This is just a long way of saying that I've been thinking about body composition and my goal weight lately and it's lead me to a kind of SHOCKING, and seriously amazing, discovery.
But first (sorry to tease) -- For as long as I can remember, I've had a specific number in my head for my goal weight: 125 pounds. I'm only 5'4" and have a curvy build. I based this number on that "100 pounds for 5' + 5 pounds for every additional inch" calculation. Plus that's what I remember weighing when I started college. Now, regardless of whether or not I should be basing my goal on what I weighed at 19, most people probably wouldn't take issue with someone my height aiming for a goal of 125. It's not super low, but not too high either.
But this number was just based on memory and an attitude of "Yeah, that sounds about right." I wasn't actually taking my current body into account in these calculations. And this is where the shock comes in....
Using both a fancy electronic scale and calipers, I've determined a general estimate of my body fat percentage. From there, I've calculated my current lean body mass and my fat body mass. And guess what?
My lean body mass is exactly 125 pounds.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
That means that in order to reach my goal weight without losing any muscle, I would have to get down to zero percent body fat. ZERO PERCENT!
Obviously this is impossible, and even if it was, being ultra lean is not something I aspire to. But as of today, using these numbers and setting an initial goal of lowering my body fat to about 23 percent, my goal weight goes up to 160 pounds. For those of you who can't do math in your head (like me), that's a difference of 35 pounds. Thirty-five pounds! When every ounce is a battle, that is an astonishingly large number -- and a huge relief.
Of course, that number still sounds high to me. I mean, if given just the numbers, most folks (myself included) would probably assume that a 5'4", 160 pound woman would be rather overweight. But that's not necessarily the case, all depending on body composition. It's pretty amazing how the pictures in our head are wrong on a regular basis. (In fact, there's a fantastic website devoted to exactly this idea. Check it out here: www.mybodygallery.com )
I've realized over the last year or so that in order to have the body that I want, that semi-random goal of 125 wasn't going to work. I've shifted my focus towards the look of my body and a clothing size I feel comfortable about. If I weigh 170 when I get there, so be it. If I get to 160 and it's not what I want, I can reevaluate and tweak my programs. But it will be based on my desires and my body, not on some idea I figured was "about right."
So, next time you're lamenting how far away your goal weight is, think about how you came up with that number and if it actually makes sense for YOUR body.
(Thee pictures are obviously guesstimating, and every body is different.)
Tuesday, August 19, 2014
It's been a long time since I've blogged. I often feel like I don't have anything to say, but it can be hard to feel connected to the SP community when essentially remaining silent, so I've decided to just dive in.
Tonight was my first session of weight lifting. I've been excited about it for days, but also pretty darn nervous. I haven't been to my big gym in a million years, and I've never been in the weight room. Thankfully, I have an experienced friend who has generously offered to help me through the first few months of this program, to make sure my form and and technique are right. (And to make sure I show up!)
The program is a serious one, but it's also remarkably simple. Two rotating workouts three times per week, three exercises per workout, five sets of five on each move. (Rather than go into all the details, you can check it out here: stronglifts.com/5x5/ ) But these are moves like the deadlift, bench press, and overhead press. These are no jokes!
I've been working with a personal trainer for most of the summer and she had me on a regular rotation of muscle isolation machines. They have their place but I was bored and wanted to do more functional, whole body training. So, here we are.
I'm thrilled to say that tonight was awesome. The gym was crowded even at 8 PM, and the weight room was definitely a little intimidating, but once I found Larry in the back corner and we got started, all the other people and what they were or weren't thinking about me fell away and it was amazing.
But there was a hiccup -- I can't do squats yet, and they are a MAJOR part of this workout since you do them every workout. :(
Here's the low-down:
Squats -- I've had some shoulder issues in the past which have affected my range of motion, and I can't get the bar in position on my shoulders / back. So, we did incline leg presses instead (seat's at an angle and you push up). We started at 90 lbs and worked up to 270, trying to find my starting point. Even with all the work this summer that number is way higher than I expected, but definitely doable for me. We'll work from there while I do what I can to increase my range of motion in my shoulders.
Bench Press -- I started with just the bar (45 lbs), but ended up putting 5 lbs. on it for the last three working sets. Those dinky 2.5 lbs on each side looked hilarious, but I could feel the difference. Felt comfortable there, so will bump up next time I do Workout A. So 2x5 at 45 and 3x5 at 50.
Barbell Row -- I think it's going to take me a little time to get the hang of this one. We just worked with the bar resting on stacks to get the height right. I don't think I bent over quite far enough -- I wasn't parallel to the ground, that's for sure. I'll be sure to make adjustments next time. So, 5x5 at 45.
Even though I'm disappointed about the squats, the first session was great and I'm already looking forward to Wednesday. Off to do some stretching before bed.
If any of you are doing a similar program, I'd love to hear tips and words of wisdom! This is whole new world, and I can use all the help I can get!
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