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Yeah, I know. Start a new blog. Be really great about updating it for two weeks. Then disappear.

What happened?

Got run over by that damn wagon again, of course.

Week before last, I went to a conference and, well, I wasn’t the least bit careful about what I ate, nor did I exercise. Of course, I convinced myself that that was okay because I was moving around a lot more than I normally do so that would make up for it. Right?

Wrong.

Stepped on the scale this morning and got a big ol’ wakeup call.

Of course, I might not have gained anything at the conference. Who knows? Because, well, it’s been a LONG time since I stepped on the scale.

Like most people, I hate the scale. I hate that it can determine my mood for the day. I hate that it can make me feel like I’m on top of the world or I’m a failure. I hate that it can make me feel super hot or super dumpy. And I hate that I let it have so much power over me.

For four years, I didn’t step on the scale except for the doctor’s office. Despite that, I was able to maintain my weight within 2-4 pounds due to healthy habits. It. Was. Awesome!

Then the wheels pretty much came off and my habit of not looking at the scale allowed me to be in denial about what was happening to my body. Even as I went up a size or two in my clothes, I could fool myself into believing that it wasn’t really THAT bad and obviously manufacturers had suddenly started making clothes smaller.

Stupid clothing manufacturers.

But today I decided it was time to face the music so I took a deep breath and stepped on the scale.

Was I disappointed in what I saw? Um, hellz yeah, I was. Since my father’s death in May of 2011, I have gained around 17 pounds. That sucks big donkey balls.

On the other hand, I suppose – given my impressive determination to eat whatever was placed in front of me over the last 18 months – it could have been a lot worse.

But you know what? I’m feeling okay right now. I think I need to learn to separate my emotions from the number on the scale. I need to think of it as a tool in this journey…something that gives me feedback on how I’m treating my body. Nothing more. It’s not the boss of me. It doesn’t mean I’m a bad person if the number goes up or stays the same. I’m still ME no matter what the scale tells me that day. It’s just that some days, there may be more of me than others.

Easier said than done, I know. But like everything else in the process, it’s one day at a time.

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This week’s weight loss goal: Two pounds

Progress toward goal: 0 pounds

This week’s workout goal: 5 days (2 cardio workouts, 3 strength workouts)

Progress toward workout goal:

Monday: Cardio – Step Tabata from Cathe Friedrich’s To the Max DVD

I didn’t write a post yesterday. And I didn’t exercise.

I was too busy planning to become a lesbian (what? certain segments of the population tell me I can totally choose to become a lesbian if I want to) and leave my husband for a woman I just met.

Her name is Kayleigh. I’m not sure what her last name is, I don’t know much about her and I don’t really care. All I need to know is that she gives the most amazing massages and I love her.

Okay, okay. It’s possible this is a bit extreme.

Maybe the hubby would be open to me having a sister-wife instead.

If you’ve ever had a really good massage, you’ll know what I’m talking about. A talented massage therapist can truly work miracles and cause you, if only temporarily, to consider an alternate lifestyle.

I don’t get massages often. Certainly not on a regular basis. Usually, it’s only when I have a knot or catch in my back that I can’t work out myself, which was the case yesterday.

After I reluctantly left Kayleigh’s table, I started wondering WHY I don’t get a massage more often. I felt relaxed and the constant shoulder soreness I get from sitting at a computer all day was pretty much gone.

I think it’s because it feels so decadent. But it’s really not. Getting a massage on a regular basis is actually good for you.

According to the Mayo Clinic:

Massage is generally considered part of complementary and alternative medicine. It’s increasingly being offered along with standard treatment for a wide range of medical conditions and situations.While more research is needed to confirm the benefits of massage, some studies have found massage helpful for:

  • Stress relief
  • Managing anxiety and depression
  • Pain
  • Stiffness
  • Blood pressure control
  • Infant growth
  • Sports-related injuries
  • Boosting immunity
  • Cancer treatment

If the Mayo Clinic says it’s good for you, who am I to argue?

But still, it’s hard to believe. I mean, face it, most things that are good for you don’t feel all that great at the time.

But not massage. It’s relaxing. It’s comforting. It’s pampering. It relieves stress. It alleviates pain. It gives you a sense of well-being.

And sometimes, it makes polygamy seem like not such a crazy idea.

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Goal: Exercise 5 days this week

Days toward goal: 3

Today’s Workout: Cathe Friedrich’s “Gym Style Back, Shoulders and Biceps” DVD

Wild turkeys – presumably not cold

Remember how I said that the last time I changed my eating habits, I went cold turkey on sugar and white flour?

That’s what I was planning this time around, too.

Of course, my timing sucks, what with my anniversary and Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s coming up.

But the crazy thing is that those occasions really aren’t that hard because there’s always OTHER things that you can eat during those occasions if you want to.

You wanna know what’s really hard? Parties at other people’s houses.

We were invited to a party at a friend’s house this weekend. It was an early afternoon party that ran through dinnertime. The hosts made unbelievably delicious homemade pizzas and they also had cupcakes and caramel popcorn. Other than some almonds, there was not a single thing there that fit into my newly adopted healthy lifestyle.

Now, I could have just skipped the food altogether. But we’ve already established that I’m not the nicest of people when I get hungry and frankly, parties that end in bloodbaths caused by crazed hungry women are never fun.

Or I could have followed the advice of the “experts” and brought my own healthy stuff with me. “Hey, nice people who invited me over, I know you went to all this trouble but could you just grill up this tofu for me instead?”

Yeah, sorry. Not gonna happen because, well, it just seems ridiculously rude to me. I was taught that if you’re a guest in someone else’s house, you eat what they serve. If they want to plate up a big ol’ steaming bowl of deep fried eel brains and monkey livers with chocolate sauce on top, you just figure out a way to choke it down. Okay, sure…if you have a medical condition that will send you into a seizure if eel brains cross your lips, go ahead and do the bring-you-own-bag-o’-salad thang.  Otherwise, respect your host and just eat what they make.

Because the truth is, one afternoon or one day isn’t how you got where you are now. And one afternoon or one day isn’t going to send you back to where you were. And being respectful and considerate of others who are extending a kindness to you is far more important than what the scale might say.

Just make sure your round up those turkeys and climb back on the wagon the next day.

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This week’s goal: Work out five days

Today’s workout: Cathe Friedrich’s Gym Style Back & Triceps (45 minutes)

After I originally read “You: On a Diet,” I tossed all processed foods from my diet including sugar and white flour (which is converted more quickly to sugar in your bloodstream). This may seem extreme to some people but after the first couple of weeks, I honestly didn’t miss it. Cravings for Krispy Kremes went away and I started feeling better physically. And then the most remarkable thing happened: I became a nicer person.

Now, those of you who know me are probably all, “WHAT? How on EARTH could YOU be an even nicer person than you already are?”

I know, I know. Hard to believe but it’s true.

Come to find out, it wasn’t all in my head. Awhile back, I ran across an experiment they did on students at Mr. T’s School for Troubled Youth. Okay, that’s not really what it was called but I’m too lazy to try to find that book and get the real name of the school. Plus, wouldn’t it be awesome if there really was a Mr. T’s School for Troubled Youth? When you arrived, they’d give you a bootcamp-style mohawk and Mr. T would be all up your face going, “I PITY the fool who goes to my school!” but once you turned your life around, they’d reward good behavior with super cool gold chains.

And speaking of good behavior (see what I did there?), this school found that by replacing the regular school fare of sugar, flour and dog food with fruits, vegetables and whole grains, things changed pretty dramatically. Kids had longer attention spans, their grades went up and behavioral problems went down.

JUST FROM CHANGING THEIR DIETS, Y’ALL.

Turns out that whole grains and complex carbohydrates break down more slowly and keep your blood sugar levels constant, which in turn keeps your moods stable and your brain sharp. So there is a real science to back me up when I say that I became a nicer person. While I am definitely not troubled (no matter what certain friends or family members say. They are liars who should go to Mr. T’s School for Lying Fools.Yeah…you know who you are.), I tend to go from a little hungry to I-will-eat-your-head-if-you-don’t-get-me-to-a-restaurant-right-this-freaking-second hungry. It’s not pretty as the following possibly totally fictionalized/possibly not account shows.

Scene: Husband and wife in the cabinet hardware aisle of a big box store. Wife has half a dozen drawer pulls in her hand.

Wife: Okay, I picked out some drawer pulls. Which one do you like?

Husband (looking them over): None of them.

Wife: What?

Husband (shrugs): I don’t really like any of them.

Wife: What do you mean you don’t like ANY of them?

Husband: Uh, I mean, I don’t like any of them.

Wife: HOW COULD YOU NOT LIKE ANY OF THEM? THERE ARE SIX TO CHOOSE FROM!

Husband: It’s not that big of a deal. We’ll just look around some more.

Wife (sprouting horns): WHY WOULD WE NEED TO LOOK AROUND SOME MORE? THERE ARE SIX – SIX! – PERFECTLY GOOD DRAWER PULLS TO CHOOSE FROM.

Husband (putting hand on Wife’s shoulder): Sweetie, are you hungry?

Wife (jerking away): No, I am NOT hungry! Don’t patronize me! I just can’t believe I married a man with such terrible taste in drawer pulls!

Husband (in a tone one usually reserves for a wild beast or serial killer): Well, how about we go grab something to eat and then discuss it later?

Wife: FINE! But this has NOTHING to do with me and EVERYTHING to do with your obvious lack of good design sense.

Cut to restaurant. Wife is halfway through meal and looking somewhat sheepish.

Wife: So – haha! – I guess I was hungry.

Husband: Uh huh.

Wife: I’m sorry.

Husband: It’s okay.

Wife: Please don’t divorce me.

End Scene.

Yep…totally fictionalized.

But should this have actually happened and should these types of incidents have stopped after Wife gave up sugar and processed foods, you would understand why the husband and wife are still married and the wife did not end up in Mr. T’s Institute for Women Who Go Crazy When Their Blood Sugar Drops.

Artwork: StoryPeople by Brian Andreas

Remarkably, in the last year and a half, the one healthy habit I haven’t given up entirely is exercise.

I say “remarkably” because I truly, to the depths of my soul, hate it. Really. A lot.

I’ve never been athletic. I simply didn’t get that gene.

In elementary school, I remember wishing fervently that I would be diagnosed with a degenerative disease that would excuse me from gym class. (I’m not sure I actually used the word “degenerative” back then but who knows? I was a bright child.)

In 4th grade, I told my teacher that I had sprained my ankle so that I could sit out track and field day and avoid the embarrassment of coming in last place in every event. I doubt she bought my story (especially since I couldn’t keep straight which ankle was supposedly sprained) but to this day, I am grateful that she had mercy on me.

I tried participating in basketball but was called for traveling every time I had the ball. The whole dribble/run thing was beyond me.

And yes, I was the one who endured the humiliation of always being chosen last in every playground game.

As an adult, I joined and quit the gym more times than I can count. It was too smelly, too sweaty, too grunty. And I was sure that the gym rats were judging me, just as they had in grade school.

Then one day, after I had joined Weight Watchers for the 47th time, I decided to try working out at home. I heard of this DVD called “The Firm” (not to be confused with the Tom Cruise movie because who would work out to that?). It promised results in 10 workouts or my money back. Heck, what have I got to lose, I thought.

So I ordered the “Transfirmer” set, took my measurements and dared it to give me results.

And holy crapballs…it did!

Not HUGE changes after those first 10 workouts but enough to motivate me to keep going.

At first, even with that motivation, it was hard to make myself get out of bed an hour earlier but I would say to myself, “You can stay in bed and go back to what you were. Or you can get out of bed  and keep going forward.” And almost every time, I made the choice to move forward.

I wish I could say that I fell in love with exercise and sweat and grunting. But the truth is I didn’t. What I DID love was watching my body change. I loved seeing new muscles pop up. I loved watching my tummy get flatter. I loved being able to lift a grocery sack full of cans with little effort. I loved being able to go up the stairs without getting winded.

And now here I am, 7 years later, still getting out of bed and working out 3-5 mornings a week. I still have muscles, even if they’re currently hidden under a layer of sugar cookies and French bread. And yes…I still hate exercise. Really. A lot. But in this one area of my life, I’m not willing to go back.

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