Saturday, January 10, 2009
Growing up I was always active. Even when sitting at my school desk, my knee was constantly jumping up and down and I had what are probably psychologically significant hand movements (constant paper folding, pill rolling, playing with any rings I was wearing, etc.). I was good at things like kickball and softball, played basketball until I became a cheerleader, etc. And then I was skinny (not slender, never really toned, just skinny). Every year I would be incredibly frustrated in my effort to get the Presidential Badge because of the flexed arm hang. I just couldn't do it. I never developed had any arm strength at all. Over time and cheerleading jumps, my legs became toned but never my arms.
Then I grew up, got a desk job, had kids and began my love affair with cooking and eating. I started cooking clubs, much of my reading involved books about food or cooks or cooking, and I began watching the food network. None of these activities involved much in the way of calorie burn, don't you know. My daughters grew into athletes and I never hesitated to apply that term to them. But I would never have applied it to myself at any point in my life.
Today I did my Curves workout and then headed to the rec center where I belong. I had skipped exercise for the last two days and didn't want to go below my calories burned goal for the week so I planned to swim 1500 meters. I headed to the weight room where I was thrilled (thrilled I tell you!!!!) when I could complete two sets of 15 reps on the assisted pull up machine. Even as an adult, this was eating at me. During my Boot Camp Fitness class, I hadn't been able to get through a single set of 15 and the trainer would have to help me each time. So, I've been doing pull ups 2-3 times per week in the hope of gaining some much needed arm tone. Yay for this small success! Now, I'll work on moving from the weakest possible weight load to get better. I did a couple of other exercises, recognized someone I knew and was feeling kind of like I belonged there, you know what I mean? Not like an interloper, wanna be.
But when I got to the pool, there were about 200 middle school girls and their parents and swimming coaches crowding around what seemed like the whole pool. I just turned and fled. I did manage to ask a staff worker when the swim meet would be done so I could get a lane. Turns out there were two adult swim lanes that were reserved for open swim in spite of the meet. So, if I was willing to walk in front of all those people in all my swim suit glory and be the ONLY swimmer except for the swim meet participants, I could still swim. Even though I love to swim, I am quite self conscious because I know my technique isn't good at all. I am slow, often the slowest swimmer even when those lanes are crowded with adult swimmers. But I stuck out my chin and headed for the pool anyway. The whole time it felt like everyone was judging my performance negatively (even though my brain knows that no one was paying any attention to me at all). But I did my swimming anyway.
What I thought as I left was that an athlete is someone who is confident about his/her right (entitlement?) to be in a gym or to use a particular facility. It's someone who feels comfortable enough to focus on his/her performance instead of anything around. That's my goal. This journey is about my health and I need to keep my focus on my actions not on my thighs in a swim suit.
So, tomorrow I'll head back to spinning class where I am the bottom of the class and just hope to keep going long enough to feel like a spinner instead of an imposter. I'm feeling good about my progress toward being an athlete today though.
Friday, January 09, 2009
So, yesterday I was interviewed for a spot a local t.v. show is doing on Curves. It wasn't terribly professional but there was lighting, a camera man and a mike threaded up through my clothing. Another Curves member was there also being interviewed and she came across so great. I think I was more stiff, not so warm and relaxed as she was so I suspect they'll use a lot more of her footage. And who knows what the finished product will look like. It airs next week so I'll see it then, I guess. It was flattering to have been asked to participate as a result of my recent weight loss success though.
Even aside from that, yesterday was a banner day for compliments and really positive feedback for me. It's kind of funny. Two people asked me for my "secret." Everyone deep down wants to feel like there is a secret and if they can figure it, they'll be successful. I just finished reading "Half-Assed: A weight loss memoir" by Jennette Fulda. She talks about this concept, too, and is reluctant to advise others on their weight loss. Go. Read. She's funny and smart and very thoughtful in herapproach to things. And her journey to health is an inspiring one. But, ultimately, there's no one secret. First because none of this is a secret. There's lots of information out there about the benefits of exercise and a healthy diet. Second, because I firmly believe that different people can get to the end result using different methods. Ultimately, small actions, consistently (not perfectly) taken, over a long period of time will move people forward. The more of those you add in, perhaps the faster or more obvious the result but it's the long haul that matters. It's never truly stopping but being active and eating mindfully from here on. It seems that it's that "forever" piece that truly discourages people. That's why it has to be a lifestyle change instead of a diet or a weight loss program. You have to love what you're doing and eating (as well as the results) so that it doesn't feel like punishment to continue doing and eating the way you are now.
Anyway, reading this and the other book I read this week "The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl" helped me really process through some of my thoughts about my journey so far. I hope that came out on the t.v. interview. But, ultimately, what matters is that it makes sense in my own head so that I can focus on living this life in the best way I can.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
Today I read The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl. I know I'm way behind the curve on this one. It's been out for a while. I only clued into it because of a shout out she got on one of the Daily Blog entries. Then when I saw the book in the bookstore, I couldn't resist. It's a great book in spite of the pain and suffering she goes through on her journey toward health. Anyway, one of my favorite passages occurs early in the book when she realizes that she has to be her own superhero to achieve success in her journey. She then struggles through six years getting to her happy ending. Hopefully, we can all benefit from her experience and wisdom. Obviosuly, I'm going to give some thought to my own superpowers so that I can start putting them to work. Seriously, she's absolutely right. Everyone in the world can be supportive (or not), they can encourage, motivate, help, inspire (or not) but the only one that can actually do this for me, is, in fact, me. So, get to it, eh?
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