Monday, April 09, 2012
It's Passover and yanno what that means.
I don't, either.
Actually, I know what it was when I was a kid. It was seemingly endlessly long Seders and the food was meh and weird and all week long I'd take matzoh sandwiches with peanut butter and jelly to school and everyone looked at me funny. And the Seders were a marathon of, I dunno, praying, yes, but also endurance. My uncle (who has been dead for a good 2 decades already) was insistent that we read EVERY SINGLE SYLLABLE. Which is nuts when you think about it, as the Seder is actually supposed to be a teaching moment for children.
Shrug. I don't see it as a particularly effective teaching moment if the kids are starving or are hopped up on grape juice or can't understand the language anyway.
I celebrate these days by buying a box of matzoh and eating it during the week. I will also make matzoh brei today (which is essentially a matzoh omelet). Most people eat it with jam or honey. I find that disgusting, and eat it with ketchup, which in turn grosses my parents out.
All of this is still more religious than my husband's side of things. And so the springtime cycle of rebirth begins, eh?
But there is more going on there, you see.
We have rituals for springtime, you know. And they are not just hidden eggs or hidden matzohs. They are the changes in the clocks in much of the United States. They are the changes in our wardrobes as we begin to pull out the short-sleeved stuff more often than the long. Where the long underwear is folded and put away for another season. The cute shoes begin to replace the heavy boots.
And our bodies come out as this transformation occurs.
We can see this as a scary opportunity for people to suddenly see how pasty pale we are. And how the closer-fitting clothes don't hide the bumps and lumps quite so well as the big jackets did. There's nowhere to hide anymore.
Or, we can see it as a time when suddenly our necks appear, like swans, and we look at them and think, hey, not bad. Or our calves are bared and we think, hey, they're firm. People can see that I've been doing a lot of walking. Or our faces emerge from behind scarves and are no longer obscured by hats and we think, good for another year, another 10,000 miles.
Not bad for 30.
Not bad for 40.
Not bad for 50.
Not bad for 60.
Not bad for 70.
Not bad for 80.
Pick your "not bad for" and repeat after me -
I am going to be happy with myself today.
I am going to celebrate today, and myself within the essence of today.
I am going out there and I will turn heads. People will wonder who that beauty (or handsome dude) is, or whisper to each other about that athlete. Or maybe they'll cower in terror at the prospect of facing me, for I am their greatest enemy - a person with confidence.
See me and my sturdy thighs. See my parentheses lines around my mouth. See my less than optimal triceps. See my belly. Witness my crow's feet. Note my grey hairs.
Tremble ye citizens, and despair, for I know who I am and I know what I want and you cannot stop me.
Monday, April 02, 2012
We ran another 5K this past weekend (the pic is actually from the first 5K of the year, which was 10 days before that), and I improved my time by almost 2 1/2 minutes.
I also gained back nearly 5 pounds.
I am finding that, these days, unlike in prior years, 5Ks make me ravenous. And then my choices aren't necessarily as good as they could be. Don't worry, I take stuff to the races and it's my own food and drink. But I still want loads of it.
I do 5Ks and they make me gain weight.
The real test will be this month, as there are no 5Ks scheduled at all. So if I can lose or at least maintain, that might lend some credence to the theory.
Or not. One thing I have learned from long-term big-time weight loss is that things are rarely what they seem to be on the surface. And so, well, this is odd but the whole thing is odd and so nice and neat explanations aren't necessarily going to be forthcoming. About all I can definitively say is that salt does not help me in the weight department. But I need it, in order to stave off vasovagal (fainting) episodes. Sheesh. My body, a supreme saboteur, sometimes.
I still feel great about the 5K. I've got another 9 to go for the year (7 of which are already paid for). I am not giving up on them.
This little bit of hard to explain annoyance will not keep me down.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Last week's photograph was from the start of the first 5K of the year. This photograph is from that same race's end.
Funny, how perspectives can change.
Last week, I was complaining about gaining 4.2 pounds, due to excess salt intake.
This week, I celebrate losing 6.26 pounds and going down to a tie for the lowest weight of this year so far.
I did it with, well, the same stuff I normally do, except I didn't go quite so silly with the salt. Salt is kind of a double-edged sword for me, as I need to get some in, in order to keep from feeling faint so often (I have low blood pressure. Very low. As in, the nurse checks her instruments low.). But of course with too much I have the same issues that anyone else does - I retain water.
Ah, a balance.
They are so difficult to find sometimes, eh?
And then I see the extremes, too, where I see the woman who was 346. And the one who was, perhaps, below 180 (hard to say if that was real as the scale was on the fritz). The stationary one of last week's photo. The one running all-out in this week's photo.
Who IS that?
And I am reminded that both are me, and that creating one persona, one face, one name, one life, one being, one look, one feel, one idea is wrong-headed, for we are many people. We are dieters and exercisers, to be sure, or we are trying to be. But we are also workers and lovers and artists and neighbors and businesspeople and children and sometimes parents and sometimes siblings and poets and mourners and mischief-makers and writers and photographers and philosophers and social networkers and patients and jokers and spectators and chefs and sometimes soldiers and freaks and animal lovers and fans and and and ....
And we are someone's painful reminder of what they can never have, or can never be. And we are another's amusing joke of how they will never allow themselves to become that way or cannot imagine themselves ever being there. We are someone's "you're going too fast" and someone else's "you're going too slow". We are someone's hero and someone else's villain or weakling.
I am not a fast runner. Photo notwithstanding, I do very little of the all-out stuff. I just plain don't have the stamina for it. I am s...l...o...w.
But yanno something? I figure, next time I fret about how slow I am, I just gotta remember how many people I am carrying around inside of me. And you are, too.
Monday, March 19, 2012
The photo is from the first 5K of the year, which my husband and I (and 4,998 other people) ran yesterday in Somerville, Massachusetts. It was my 26th 5K (and I think it was Mr. j's 23rd).
I am still a bit tired, albeit not too sore.
My time was pretty decent for the first race of the year - under 50 minutes for the gun time. Chip time was 46:23. See: www.coolrunning.com/results/12/ma/Ma
But when we were done, I ate like a horse.
Like a salt-addicted horse, I tell ya!
And so, after having run a 5K, I actually gained 4.2 pounds.
Yeah, folks, exercise is not enough to cut it.
It is a balancing act. And it can be an exhausting one.
Now, I am well aware that if I drink the water, do my workouts, stay within calorie and nutrient ranges and don't go nuts with salt this week, most if not all of it will be gone by next Monday.
Still, it's a kick in the patoot, to see just how damaging it all is when you slip up AND to see, and admit, just how addicted I really am.
It's a difficult addiction, yanno? I mean, it's not heroin or anything like that. But to be addicted - and in particular to be addicted to something that the body actually needs, so that going cold turkey is impossible - is hard.
And it's not just salt that's addicting. Negative self-talk can be as well.
After all, I ran a freakin' 5K! My 26th! Sheesh, jes, get a dang grip!
It's a small setback. It is not controlling. It is not me, it is not the future, it is not my fate, it is not the end of the world.
Eh, I'm probably just tired and projecting.
I ran a dang 5K.
I'll be fine in a week. ;)
Monday, March 12, 2012
Most of the country (er, the US) yesterday went on Daylight Savings Time. I recognize that this is no big news to any of you, even if you're from some skeery country like Canada. ;)
In any event, what does this all means? Well, of course, daylight isn't actually "saved". I have read innumerable semantic arguments about that. That's nice. Now go play with your dictionary some more. Sheesh. It's really just a quick and dirty term for what happens.
The reality is far subtler. It's actually a large experiment (and a successful one every year, I might add) in behavior modification. Even the states that are unaffected ARE affected, for what happens when you drive across the border and into a state where DST is practiced? Or you call someone there? Truth is, it affects the entire world, for I have worked in more than one company where a call from a colleague overseas had to be rethought because suddenly the time difference was an extra hour, or it was one less than before.
So, behavior modification. We all get up an hour earlier. We wake up (as of now, although that's going to change in a few months) in darkness. We come home in light. And we change! Truth be told, the transition occurs over the course of less than a week, and over 300 million people (yes, really!) are transformed. The experiment is a success, and it is undone every autumn, when another experiment is conducted and the clocks fall back an hour and we are suddenly waking up an hour later than before.
And so I ask you - if you can do this - if you can change your behaviors based on a little old CLOCK, can you change them based on something else? Can you change them based on test results? Or on a scale? Or on what a friend says? Or on how you feel? Can you change them based on the latest research? Or on what the government says the food pyramid should be?
Can you change your behavior and, by definition, your life, because of outside circumstances and influences? Yes? Then, good.
And now for the harder question.
Can you change your behavior and, by definition, your life, because of inside circumstances and influences?
What do I mean by inside versus outside influences?
A lot of us think of weight loss in the context of what our doctors say. Or it's in the context of wanting to fit into a favored pair of jeans or the like. Or the context is how a person we love feels, or what they say. And these things are all well and good, and any weight loss that comes from them is, naturally, real weight loss.
But what happens when the doctor's message is garbled, or the research is inconclusive? Or the jeans are fit into? Or the person we love turns away, or leaves, or changes their mind? If we lose those exterior motivations, I think a lot of us lose ALL of our motivations.
So we need to cultivate inner motivations. The ones where we feel better, and not just because we fit better in our clothes. Where we feel healthier, and not just because a doctor shows us a bunch of studies and numbers. Where we feel that we've accomplished something, and not just because of a stack of finisher medals and commemorative tee shirts.
When you change from standard time to daylight savings, they always tell you to change the batteries in your smoke detectors.
What I am suggesting to you is to also change the batteries in yourselves, for the times, they are a-changin'.
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