Monday, August 27, 2012
I guess we all were. 'Cause we were sold a bill of goods.
What?! you say.
Well, we were told that we were supposed to have flat stomachs. Hell, not just FLAT, but CONCAVE. We were told that that was the only way to be sexy. We were told that it was the only way we could bare our midriffs in public without embarrassment.
HA! HA again, I say. BULL. Allow me to present Exhibits A and B.
Those two BEAUTIFUL women are Venus and Serena Williams. They are two of the best female (hell, either gender) athletes of our time.
AND THEIR STOMACHS ARE NOT FLAT.
They (not the Williams sisters, God bless 'em) LIED to us.
They told us we couldn't be pretty.
They told us we should hide away.
They said we should be ASHAMED.
I call NONSENSE. I call BS. I call stuff that they won't let me post on Spark.
Yanno what's the truth?
Strength training WORKS. Being on program WORKS. Getting out there and doing it WORKS.
Scales mislead. The truth is in the measurements.
Here are mine, as of this morning.
My weight this morning is 229.2.
I keep my measurements and there have been 20 weeks where the numbers have been more or less comparable, ever since I started doing this. The weight for that time period has fluctuated between 209.2 and 235. Sometimes the butt has been bigger. Sometimes the bicep has been smaller. But through it all, it's been 20 weeks of this, in a time period spanning January of 2008 to the present. About the closest I was with all measurements to today was back in March. Of 2009. When I weighed 212.8.
But wait! There's more!
Numbers go up, down and sideways. In the 9 weeks since the middle of the year, my weight has bobbed up and down between 222.8 and 230. But my measurements, overall, are pretty close. Overall, yes, they tend to be less when I weigh less. But there's probably less of a difference than you would think.
And here's another thing. My bicep has been this size many times before. At my lowest weight, I was in the 160s. My bust and belly have been this size many times before, too. Those aren't quite so dramatic - they've been this size when I've been in the 220s, but with one outlier in the 210s. For the band, waist and thigh, once again, I've been this, done this. But I've been in the 200s. And for my butt, I've actually been down in the 180s at this size measurement.
What does all of that mean? It means that muscle replaces fat. And it makes the scale say nasty things that we don't like. It messes with our BMI, too, as that measurement is far from the panacea that we all grope for. After all, traditional quickie BMI measurements are just weight versus height but fail to take into account just what your body is composed of.
Lift weights, people. Grunt, sweat and strain. Eat protein. Limit carbs (but don't eliminate them). Drink water. Use a tape measure and keep records.
And for God's sake listen to your body.
And if you want to bare your belly, have at it.
Monday, August 20, 2012
In the neverending saga that is life, I got a call the other day from a relative who I will refer to as "The Reporter". This person gave me news of a recent lunch with a buncha cousins. I did not go because that all happened on Long Island and I'm in Boston and was not about to return to the old country just for a lunch.
You may have read me talking about my cousins. I am, even with about a 60 pound gain from my lowest low, still one of the thinnest of the thin in that group. And I was informed that the lunch was, indeed, stuffing. It was apparently a buffet, probably of a mix of items including, evidently, baklava. So, to my mind, meh.
I was also informed that one cousin's young son (2 years old) is tall and enjoys being read to. That's lovely. And that was it for the news. This is, mainly, a group of schoolteachers. And I see them all the time on Facebook anyway, so it's not like I'm dying for the news or anything. It's more interesting, to me, to hear what the Reporter thinks about what happened.
And I was told not of news or of jokes or cousinish aspirations or the like. Instead, I was told (without asking) who had gained weight. And the biggest are bigger, apparently. No word on whether my own recent struggles were conversational fodder, although that would not shock me. Despite my telling the Reporter that that's not what I want to hear about people, that I care about more than their appearances, I am still regaled with bits about who's huge.
Well, sheesh, folks, stop going to buffets if it bothers you so much. And find something semi-active to do, or at least something without so much of a focus on food. Nah, that'll never happen, as this one walks with a cane and that one will balk and we won't be having a conversation! I got news for ya, Reporter - if you're spending more time telling me of weight than of people's vacations and the like, you AREN'T having conversations anyway. Hell, people, at least go to a restaurant where there's a semblance of portion control. Even a huge platter of food is better than a buffet, where you can grab two, three, four plates of whatever, piled sky-high.
But I digress, I suppose.
What is it about bulk that seems to be such a compelling item of, well, not conversation. Let's call it what it is: GOSSIP. What is it that's so itchingly transformative for the Reporter that I have to be told about THAT?
I do not give a damn.
Truly, I don't.
I see plenty of FB photos, and I see status updates that are about meals out versus races or going to the gym or, really, any form of interaction other than hanging around and consuming mass quantities. So I know already. And I wouldn't even need to see photos in order to know.
It saddens me, really. I turn 50 in 13 days. I strongly suspect that I will not see 100 (none of my grandparents did, and only a great-aunt did of the immediate family of either side, and she was from the side opposite to that of the aforementioned cousins). So this is it, folks. I am past the halfway mark.
And I wonder, in 40 years or whenever things are hitting their end, what will I be like? And who will be there with me?
My 60-something year old cousin who walks with a cane will be gone. My 20-something cousin who is bigger? She might not be around, either. The Couple Who Go Out To Dinner Every Other Night? They might be gone as well. The Reporter will certainly be gone.
I will be done with running, I am sure. And there are diseases that might hit, regardless of my best intentions and my behaviors. Cancer may still strike, as it has struck so many on both sides. There is heart disease lurking in that genome, too, and it might fell me, or it might try to.
All I can do is try to push those days away as far as possible, and make them happen later, rather than sooner. I can get out and move my body. I can put my fork down. I don't need a damned third trip to the buffet. I've got - despite being out of work for months now - plenty to talk about that isn't weight-related. The day before they all had lunch, ya wanna know what my husband and I were doing? We were running a 5K. It was his 27th and my 31st.
So you can keep your gossip, and your third trip to the buffet, and your internecine sniping. If you want to join me, I am more than happy to slow down for you. Hell, I'm already slow, and I remember being slower.
But don't ask me to stop.
Monday, August 13, 2012
I wanted to post this cutie as I love the colors on that pic.
It's another Monday. Time for another rant. Or, maybe not.
I have been thinking about communication lately, and about socializing.
I come from a background that generally frowned upon socializing. I mean more in the work environment than elsewhere.
I never really had good party skills. I'm still lousy at sticking my hand out and introducing myself, even at networking events or the like, where it is expected, nay, encouraged.
I just feel so weird about it, still. I am nearly 50 years old and should be utterly comfortable in my own skin. And I mostly am. But I still find it weird to just sort of foist myself on others at events. I do far better in one on one situations, or in huge speaking halls. I have zero fear of public speaking, possibly because I don't have to look anyone squarely in the eye. The bigger the crowd, the better! I love it, no lie.
But get me to a party and I want to hide.
It used to be, I'd hide in the clam dip. I've gotten better at that, and am a lot more likely to hide behind fizzy water with a twist of something or other.
Anyway - communications.
One of the best and easiest ways I have found to communicate in person is by having something - anything! - in common with the person I am approaching. Wanting to network, to me, is not enough. It's got to be more than that.
Early last week, I saw a guy with his black lab off leash. The dog was friendly, came over and immediately leaned into me as I starting scratching the part that, obviously, the big beast could not reach. The guy came up and said, "That's Dakota." And the guy had some sort of a Western accent that I could not place. Colorado? New Mexico? Maybe one of the Dakotas? I dunno. I gave Dakota another scratch and we went our separate ways.
This morning, as I was walking along, almost back to my house (this was at around 7:15 AM or so - it's been way too hot to walk much later than that), I see a guy across the street, walking a big black lab and the guy waves at me first! Holy cow. So I wave back. I did not cross to say hi but there was still that smidgen of contact as Dakota and friend undoubtedly went home to enjoy a hearty breakfast, etc.
And that got me to thinkin', which is always dangerous.
Maybe I was the first person who said hi to this new guy in Boston, ever. And he's probably pretty far from home or, at least, far from wherever he got his accent. And while he's got Dakota, I am guessing that Dakota does not speak a lot of English.
If I hadn't gone walking that day, if I had let the heat and the humidity and the general chewiness of the air keep me from getting some aerobic exercise in, I would have missed this encounter. And Dakota would not have gotten scratched (at least, not by me). And the dude might not have had anyone say hello to him, maybe.
The point I am attempting to make is - there is more going on than just one foot in front of the other, burn calories, rack up the steps on the pedometer, tote that barge, etc. It is a true bit of community.
I have long maintained that obesity and depression are linked. They are married. They are Siamese-freakin' twins. And we lock ourselves away. And society PUTS us away. They don't want to deal with us. They don't want to hear. And they sure as hell don't want to SEE.
So get out there anyway. And pet the dogs and say good morning and crook your finger at children in strollers in a little private wave and pick up a stray bit of trash if you see any and take a photo of your neighbor's prize petunias and scan the horizon for distant ships or trucks as the case may be, but by all means GO OUT THERE.
It is not about pedometers and personal bests.
It is about being a prized, functioning and, dare I say it, beloved member of your community. Here in the United States, we have locked ourselves away in our little castles. Put down the damned drawbridge and get out there.
And I bet those dragons would like a few scratches on their rumps, too.
Monday, August 06, 2012
Frankly, I was hoping for an excuse to show this little cutie, so here it is. :)
But our goals do hide sometimes, eh? They get behind the chair or, more likely, behind the ice cream pint or the plate of french fries or pick your poison, whatever it is, and they required some moving and reshuffling and when we look up they are further away and we are left wondering just what the hell happened.
And we get distracted, as we see the neon lights of complacency and just plain old hanging around. I gotta say, it's been hot as blazes again, and so just hanging around looks awfully good. Sometimes that's one of the few options, when it's really brutal out there.
But with that hanging around and not exercising so much has to, hand in hand, come the corollary - eat less.
But it's oh, so easy to ignore that part of things, and so hanging around also turns into more of a festival of eating. We're bored. We're at home. We're sedentary.
It's so ... easy.
But it's a seductive lie.
It strips us of our purpose and diminishes our efforts.
I say, fight complacency back, and kick it in the keister.
This heat has been brutal, but the mornings aren't so bad, and neither are the evenings. So walk then. Or go to a mall and walk. Or a gym. Or head to a cooler spot - perhaps a local beach or lake? Swimming is fantastic, and walking on sand can be quite the workout as you fight sinking.
Just, don't let it block your view of what's important.
Monday, July 30, 2012
Lately, the clock has been moving way, way, WAY too fast.
I feel like I'm running in place in order to be behind, if that makes any sense.
Part of it is the heat. Part of it is just plain ole garden-variety boredom. I've been doing the same old, same old for so long that I'm just affected with fifty shades of ennui.
Another part of it is, because of said boredom, I am overbooked with all sorts of little time killers, time wasters, time scrubbers, time eaters, time smashers, and they are doing it to me, big time.
This morning - because it's a Monday - here's what I have done so far (it's 11 something AM here).
* Lifted weights
* Walked for 85 minutes
* This blog
* Added stories to two different fic sites
* eight 8-oz glasses of water
* toured around three sites where I do community management
* talked to a recruiter
* applied for a job (unrelated to said recruiter)
* weighed in at Spark, recorded food and exercise
* email in two different accounts
* managed the RSVPs coming in (I'm planning a partay for my own 50th birthday, so there's stuff to keep organized)
* managed my fantasy baseball team (I'm in 4th place)
* took a look at the teams as they are shaping up for fantasy football
* made sure there were no comments to be moderated for my blog or my father's blog
Once I am done with this here blog, I still have Facebook and Twitter to look at.
Plus somewhere in there I have actual work to do for a place where I do community management and also some mild marketing stuff (this is online research).
Yes, folks, it's hard work being unemployed.
Now, I am well aware that most of this junk will be swept away when I begin actually working again. And I am often more nutty about such things than I need to be. I mean, is the world going to fall apart if I don't play Scrabble online one day? Not really.
And of course some things are more of a priority than others. The exercise. The food tracking. The water drinking. The job search. The work for the people who are paying me a pittance but wish they could pay me more.
I know where the lines are drawn between fun and obligations. But I don't mind blurring them on occasion. The work for the pittance people is, for the most part, kinda fun. Walking is fun. Blogging is, too.
Otherwise, I mean, sheesh - why do it at all?
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