Sunday, March 04, 2012
So, my last status update Feb. 29 was congratulating myself for finishing 29 consecutive days of yoga class. "Bring on the next challenge", I said, brimming with the enthusiasm and confidence that comes from meeting a goal.
March 1st while I was on vacation my boss resigned. Since I work in such a highly political environment, and for a number of other reasons having to do with the specifics of my work situation, I feel strongly that I can't stay without him. So, I have now out of no where plunged into the emotional turmoil that is job hunting. I haven't had to look for a job in 13 years. One thing led to another and I've prospered. But this last job was tough. I never really got the success out of it that I'd hoped for and over the last few months I've been talking openly and widely about my concerns and dissatisfaction. I was stunned and chagrined to find that people had opinions themselves on how I was doing and saw how I was struggling-- but it's so high profile a job I shouldn't have been surprised. But it was painful to see that anyway. Through these conversations I was beginning to see that I would have to set a new course, and I was afraid, deeply afraid, because my biggest fears always involve change. I really struggle with situations that are out of control -- not so much that I don't have them in control but that aren't in control at all that I can't see how they go. I
It's an interesting time to job hunt for me. Anything is possible. I don't have to stay in this town -- I'm a single mother and my youngest is graduating high school in a few weeks and headed off to college. Therefore, I have no strong ties here, which sort of leaves me sad in certain ways -- I've been here for 22 years -- but it is what it is.
So, if I was ready for a new challenge last week -- it looks like I got it. I'm nervous but I'm making some emotional decisions. First, I will not allow myself to succumb to fear and depression which is what often happens with me when I get overwhelmed. Instead, I'll pace myself and be generous with myself and let people help me. Often, when I go into stressful situations, I chose isolation. But I don't want to do that this time. I'll need help. And it's been interesting how many people have already reached out and offered support just in the last few days.
I also don't want to lose the ground I've gained in terms of my sense of well being that has come through the last several months of tuning into my body, daily exercise and making healthy choices. I'm not going to go back to the self destructive coping mechanisms that I often turned to in the past of smoking drinking overeating indulging. If anything, I want to strengthen my commitment to a healthy lifestyle which after 4 months doesn't actually feel like such a heavy burden of self-denial and willpower. I like myself and my life better because of the choices I've made and that has got to make this transition easier.
I know that there will be some tough days going forward but I can decide to be positive in meeting them. I will surround myself with cheerleaders and pick a strategy and stick with it. I will not let fear pull me into the emotional abyss as it has so many times. I will treat myself with respect. I will imagine myself doing well and feeling happy in my future, because ultimately, I'm going to have some kind of future anyway -- I may as well position myself to have the best possible future I can imagine.
Sunday, February 19, 2012
As time winds down on the yoga challenge -- there's just 10 days left -- I'm considering what to do next.
I've had such a good experience with the daily yoga that I'm really considering continuing, for how long I don't know. Just showing up at anything everyday is a remarkable thing, but it's been more than that. I feel calmer in the storm. I feel gentler with myself. It doesn't hurt that literally everyone I saw for the first time on Friday told me I looked like a million dollars. "No, I didn't get a new hair style."
I'm also thinking that I need to get cardio in. One of the interesting things about the daily yoga is that is has sort of changed my relationship to my fat. Ha! I know that needs an explanation. Before, I thought of myself as a fat person -- a person who is fat. Now, there's been a shift and I literally see the fat on my body as this stuff that is in my way a dragging me down. I was in a pose the other night and all the fat from my rear and thigh was hanging there basically in my face and instead of freaking out over it, which is what I normally would do when confronted by the pile of adipose that is covering my otherwise shapely frame, was just curious about it. I didn't think I was UGLY or anything, I thought "wow, that is a lot of extra to be carrying around." For the first time in my life, I just want to be lighter -- not THINNER -- lighter. And it had nothing to do with the way I look! For me, that's a big breakthrough. I can admit here (and for the first time anywhere I think) that I never really cared about the health consequences of weight gain or loss or skipping meals or not eating nutritionally balanced meals. I honestly did all of any of it -- the crushing workouts the no dinner dinners --- even giving up alcohol in the first place -- all so I might have a shot at looking good in a pair of tight blue jeans. Seriously.
Well, whatever gets you there I guess. Giving up daily alcohol and cigarettes switching to daily exercise and a 10 pm bedtime has lead to a series of other changes that have amounted to a full scale life transformation that I have been trying to get to for years now. So, no folks, I did NOT get a new haircut.
Suffice it to say, I'm not as motivated by size 4 anymore.
I've been thinking about running this week. For decades I ran between 3 and 7 days a week and I loved it. But in recent years I just wanted to do something else. If I ran a few days it would actually be two workouts a day because yoga takes up 90 minutes. And I haven't even figured in weight training yet. But even if I did less (timewise) yoga that's still sorting out and suiting up twice a day. I do a dance class already once a week, so that's cardio. If I ran, I'd almost certainly have to do it in the morning before work. Right now I love my morning routine but honestly, if I stopped all my puttering and computer stuff and headed out the door for 30 minutes before my shower, it would not impact the relaxing morning routine I've developed. It might enhance it.
One thing that I haven't talked much about here is my relationship to food. I don't like the term "foodie" which I associate with people that treat food as a status symbol -- but I am a very serious cook. And a very serious eater. There's no junk food in my diet but there is butter and olive oil and meat and white flour and sugar in the good meals that I prepare for myself and others. Did I mention chocolate? Yes, I eat chocolate -- daily. Just chocolate in it's purest yummiest form. Like those people that drink their bourbon neat. I buy a pound of 65% cocoa chips from a local purveyor and eat a tablespoon of those after dinner every day over 10 minutes savoring every morsel. (Fortunately, I've never been a big "cheese" person. That would probably put me and my food and calorie budget right over the edge.)
Still however, not every meal I eat or prepare is some gourmet extravaganza. I'm beginning to realize that I need to think about more functional easy meals on a routine basis. Especially after a hard day at work and then the gym I just want to walk in the door and EAT something nutritious and prepared and ready in minutes. It's maybe one or two meals a week that I go all out -- and most days it's just doing my best to balance protein, veggies, starch that tastes pretty good like everyone else and trying to get something on the table before people drop over.
I do have a tendency to "cheat" with food. I taste. I snack on handfuls. I graze. And when I do it, It feels very transgressive -- emotionally it feels very much like a kid "stealing" a cookie from the cookie jar. If I look at what is plaguing my calorie goals though, it's that stuff. It feels like anxiety seems to motivate it. I don't really understand it.
Anyway, I know this is long and all over the place, but I thought I'd get down some of this running dialog in my head down in print. Thanks, if you read this far, for doing so!
Monday, February 13, 2012
I've been doing yoga occasionally for probably a decade. Never really got super committed to it, but enjoyed it when I did it. For me, I was always a runner first, then everything else fit in behind the daily run. I ran long distance for over 30 years and still love it. But it was just time for me to get out of old habits and into new things. So, I started doing more yoga along with all the other changes I was making in my life starting in November of last year. So that all that change would just be GIVING up things. It was also taking ON things.
At the yoga studio near my house they offer a 30 day yogathon twice a year in February and October. It intrigued me. It's a sweet little studio and really close to the house. I don't know. I think it appealed to the long distance runner in me. So, with only slightly more intention than a whim I signed up for February's yoga challenge. It's been almost two weeks now. So here's the report.
First, the most striking thing is the schedule. When you have committed to do something daily for any length of time well every obstacle that has ever stood in your way to working on a commitment shows up and you just can't let it stop you. So if you are tired, you go. If you are sore, you go. If you are in a bad mood, you go. If your son wants to have a certain dinner and you don't have all the ingredients you go and he eats something else because you don't have time to go to the store. If you left your cell phone on the desk at work, you go. If all you have energy for right now is curling up on the couch with the cat, you go. If your best friend from high school is in town, just for the day, you go. If you ever want to get in touch with your "excuse" side, sign up to do something daily. The excuse-o-meter will be pumping out ever more lame reasons why you can't do whatever it is and then you do it anyway.
So, aside from how I'm feeling physically, just blasting through excuses day after day after day has been pretty great. That might be the main skill building that's happening here. This is what your brain looks like on a steady diet of "Just do it!".
First of all, no disasters. Nothing has fallen through the cracks. My son is still alive. The cat eventually got fed. I managed to go to class when I was really tired and at the end of class, I was -- um -- really tired. Presumably, I would have continued to be really tired even if I hadn't gone to yoga class.
Otherwise, the physical stuff. Well, my skin looks incredible. I look like I get a 100 dollar facial every day or else I'm in love. (ha, I wish!) Have no idea why this is, but it's the first most noticeable thing. Second, I think that the little bit of meditation and concentration is helping me manage my stress level enormously. Third, I am much more aware of my body and what is happening with it even when I'm not in class. It's like I'm more IN my body all the time, which is very cool and may be the thing that keeps me really going after the challenge is over. It's like my life has another untapped dimension.
I'm not doing cardio right now, so my weight loss is slower -- and I'm slow to begin with there. But I feel fantastic. And my curves are less lumpy. I don't know, I'll take an "after" picture on day 29 and you guys can judge for yourself. It's hard to tell for me.
Tuesday, January 31, 2012
1. 30 day yoga challenge! So, I have committed to 30 days of yoga at my yoga studio down the street. I have to go to at least one class a day for the next 30 days. (Yes, I could do MORE than 1 class a day if I want.) Very excited. Nervous. Excited. Nervous. aahhhhh!
2. Track the hell out of my food, measure everything and stick to my food plan like white on rice. (I have figured out that little bits of snacking is my calorie downfall. I need to plan everything. I hate that, but I do.)
3. 8 glasses of Water. 8 hours of Sleep. Just like I've been doing since first week in November.
4. At least 3 days of cardio and as much as 6 depending on how I'm feeling and time available. I don't know how much time I'll have given the yoga commitment. So I'm committing to at least 3 days of cardio.
5. Weights. Since I couldn't make a decision about how much weight lifting to do, perhaps I'm not ready to make a commitment there. It may be my intuition telling me that I need to focus on these other commitments. (But I'd love to hear from Sparkers that do cardio, and yoga and weights and how they work it all in.)
6. Oh, forgot to mention that yesterday started the new semester of hip hop class. I did it last year at the dance company's studio near my house and I LOVED it. It's once a week and it makes me feel like JLo for about 10 minutes per hour, which are the ten minutes that I'm not falling on my ass and looking like a middle aged woman in hip hop class. (Don't tell my children, because they are mortified that I do this.)
I'm not going to have a weight loss goal this month. But I did buy a new scale that measures fat percentage and water.
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
Hey everybody. Love some ideas.
For my entire adult life, I've been conscious of my weight and on one level or another kept track of my food and calorie intake. It wasn't until I joined Sparkpeople in November that I started tracking consistently though and it was an eye opener, but not in the way I think it usually is in these parts. I almost always eat well below 2000 and usually below 1700, whether I'm "dieting" or not and no matter how active I am. When I tried to drop down to 1200 calories a day, I sort of freaked out. I found it super hard to do without rigorously planning every snack and every meal and avoiding nearly every social occasion on my calendar. I bumped it up to 1500 and that was a lot easier to manage, but then another interesting thing. When I bumped it up to 1500 I found I was a bit more compulsive about eating. It was easier to go from there back up to what my body seems to "want" to eat which is closer to 1700-1800 and I was getting a little obsessive about food.
I'm not losing much weight at all. Exercise is trimming me up inches wise and I'm pleased with my progress, but my BMI is still "overweight" and I'd feel a lot better training for this marathon in Oct. carrying less weight.
So, here's my quandary. I'm not convinced that calorie restriction is going to do me much good other than make me entirely neurotic about food -- and as you can see from some of my other posts, equanimity is pretty high on my personal priority list. However, I do have a genuine desire, that is not entirely vanity driven -- to lose this 20-25 lbs. I know now that I have a tricky metabolism. I gained the 20-25 pounds very slowly over 10 years, so I wasn't a big gainer ever either.
I was reading some posts from the Slow Loser contingent and there was a lot helpful there. Maybe, I lose at the ounces level rather than the pound level and since I am steadily losing, I should just keep at it and not expect to lose faster. Right now, my main quandary is whether I should continue tracking my food so any feedback on the upsides and downsides of this and secondly I'd love any sort of advice on deciding about calorie restriction for someone who eats a generally very healthy diet and is getting a little frustrated with my results.
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