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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

This year I am embarking on a slightly different adventure. I thought long and hard about my body, my fitness level, my extra bodyfat, my thoughts on body image and my own internal struggles with a desire to not conform for the sake of conforming. I have long had a desire to get in better shape, but I don’t really act on it. I may think about it a lot, even make a few steps here or there but very rarely have I made an actual push to lose weight. I have not been on any diets save the raw food thing (and that was for spiritual not physical reasons, though it had great physical side effects) although I have certainly pondered many over the years. But in the end, any diet or fitness regime required a level of commitment I just didn’t have, despite not being totally happy with my body. It took me many years to realize that a big part of this is a holdover from my experience with ballet, my strong feminist leanings, and where the two interact.

I had a pivotal experience when I was 15 at my fairly well known dance school, wherein I was told by the director of the school that the reason I had not gotten into the audition-only summer program (that I had been in the year previous) was because “you’ve gotten fat, didn’t you notice?” No joke, those were her exact words. As a psychologically tender 15yo (especially shaky given that I had lost my father a year before), these words were incredibly devastating. I had until that point had every (relatively reasonable) expectation of a career in dance. This turned my world upside down and let me wondering what to do to address this.

I should explain a bit here: I was 5’2″, and had gone from 98 pounds to 108 pounds. I was maybe a size two. I am currently 155 pounds and I am not overly unhappy with my curves. Certainly at 125 (years later) I was very happy, and got a good amount of admiration for my body. However, at that time, somehow 108 was “fat” to this woman, something objectively at the time I knew was absurd. See, despite my love, infatuation, and overall adoration of ballet, I still had a very strong feminist-raised ME inside…and that me saw two choices: 1) obsess over my weight, try to diet and workout to fit a ridiculous and unrealistic ideal pushed on me by others, and give myself an eating disorder and huge psychological problems for life or 2) say FUCK YOU to the ballet establishment. I chose option 2. This meant that I spent several years totally unmoored with no idea what to do with my life, as well as resulting in my eating a ton of junk all the time, no longer dancing or working out at all, pretty much in a direct, quite unhealthy bodywise, rebellion. I gained 50 pounds in a bit over a year. I embraced dating and blossomed in my sexuality now that I had time to be social. Over the years I lost a good amount of the junk food weight and stabilized around 130. However I was never quite okay with not working out, not being able to use my body in the way I was used to. Getting winded easily SUCKS and it hit me like a punch in the face every time it happened.

Quite a few years later, after two pregnancies and a stressful dissolution of my marriage, I am back up to 155, almost as much as I weighed when pregnant with my second – and slightly more than I weighed in my first pregnancy. Still, it took me some time to get to the point where I was willing to let go of my “OMG losing weight = conforming to patriarchal standards” mindset and finally want to DO something about all this excess fat I am carrying around and the non-fit state I am in.

I know from experience that some changes are very easy for me and others never happen. One of the things I do very easily is classes. I am a pretty damn good salsa dancer now after knowing nothing before I started classes. One year, I just decided I was going to take some ballroom classes. Once I signed up, I continued nonstop, finding time and money. Commitment was never a question, it was easy. I also know eating healthy is very doable for me, and the raw food thing I did was a great lesson. I loved it while I was on it, but once social pressures hit, I didn’t have the necessary habits cemented to stick with it, and one of my main downfalls kicked in: my “all or nothing” mindset. Once I started slipping up, giving up altogether happened almost immediately. So I knew any changes I wanted to make, in order to be serious, needed to create commitment for me in a way that was “easy” for me, and needed to be about longlasting, habit-based lifestyle changes that were sustainable and reasonable.

Luckily for me, there’s a program that I already knew of from my years of reading. Fitness and nutrition, as well as all sorts of random body-function fun facts, have long been a huge archair interest for me, unsurprisingly. Years ago I discovered http://www.stumptuous.com, a website about weight lifting for women that I adore for both her vast knowledge and her hilarious, uncensored approach to writing about it. Through Krista I learned about Dr. John Berardi, and was impressed with his focus on basics first, and his article on the compliance grid which I thought was brilliantly simple. Several years ago when Krista left the academia world to work for Dr. Berardi at Precision Nutrition, I knew a better endorsement could not be found. Still, I was not ready at that time to act. As the year came to a close however, I just knew…now is the right time. Spending $99 a month for a year – a previously “crazy” sum – now seemed perfectly reasonable. See, at the end of the day, I don’t need someone to creat a “perfect plan” for me. In fact I have quite enough knowledge to do so for myself. No, what I really need is someone to check in with my, every day, and say “hey, did you do simple step x today? Great, do that again tomorrow!”

And that is exactly what I have gotten, and I couldn’t be happier! I thought I would blog about this experience over 2012, however I probably won’t post overly frequently. I don’t want blogging to become more important to doing, and I know I need to be especially careful that I don’t let “oh well I didn’t post today so I may as well not bother doing this” stinking perfectionist thinking into my head! So, that’s all for now. 🙂

Comments welcome!

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Raw Food Status Update

I am now in my third week of eating raw, give or take a few days. As of last Friday I had lost 5.8 pounds, without trying, definitely without suffering, and I hadn’t even been working out yet (which I started today). DOPE. I have thus far not had many detox symptoms, haven’t broken out all over like last time, on the whole I am doing quite well. I was VERY tired the first week, and had a caffeine-withdrawal headache for several days before my body got over missing coffee. I also was in the bathroom a LOT the first two weeks. That seems to be settling down now, but I would not be surprised if a good portion of the weight I lost those first two weeks was just due to that alone! It feels good to have that gone LOL. My cravings for cooked food have been pretty much nil, rather to my surprise. It helps that I’ve gone to a gourmet raw place a few times, and bought “sandwiches” from Waverly once or twice. And of course the fact that I have been making my own nut pates, flax crackers, and kale chips helps a great deal as well. YUM. I have a good number of containers (mason jars and such) that I use daily to bring food to work. It’s a bit bulky but efficient. I’ve also been known to bring salad ingredients in and do the actual job of making a salad at the sink in the kitchen area. Another thing that I think has made a big difference in making this habit change easier is social support. Not really overt “You go girl!” type of stuff, but more like the fact that I have a coworker who has started bringing in salad every day and we eat together. And my dates have all had blenders at their homes (making my morning smoothie a default) and everyone thus far has REALLY liked the crackers and such that I have made. They don’t care whether it is raw or healthy – they only care that it tastes GREAT! And really, so do I. I am a hedonist at heart – if it doesn’t please my tastebuds, it really doesn’t matter how healthy it is! For the record, not only is it all yummy, but I still feel fabulous – tons of energy and just, GOOD. I am pretty sure that is the only way I was able to get up early enough to work out today. I’ve also noticed I am not napping nearly as often during my commute (this used to be an absolute given – ferry = sleep). So, eating-wise, my day looks something like this: Green smoothie for breakfast (I usually use bananas with my greens) Ridiculously large salad for lunch, with homemade dressing and maybe some nut pate Nibble on some flax crackers/kale chips/raw nuts during work Maybe have some fruit (there will be way more of this once my fruit vendors start popping back up near work!) Another enormous salad for dinner I’m going to start trying sandwiches (made with nute pate and my flax crackers) and nori rolls soon, I just need to make more crackers (they go fast and I have backorders for friends to fill now LOL!) and buy nori. I’ll probably get to that next week. I’m also going to try my hand at making kimchi soon – details to follow! I know I promised a nut pate recipe or two (and I made a new one today that seems promising!) and I WILL get them up here, I am just waiting to make more so I can measure things and take some photos of the process.

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Raw Food Redux

Last week I started on the path back to raw food. I had been pretty much back to “average” in the past 9 months or so (mind you, average for my family is still pretty damn healthy, and home cooked) and I kept pondering going back. I was missing the extra energy, but the social aspect can get hard to manuever and it’s so easy to let “just this once” turn into “all the time”, which is how I slipped off last year.

Why now? I’ve been thinking it over a lot, very often had transitioning back on my mind, and then the place that I am working until May started a weight loss competition. And just when I was a bit on the fence still, my husband made a green smoothie over the weekend. And it was soooo yummy, and I just said right then, that’s it, I am going back!

I had to think my way past a few mental hurdles – that it’s more work, more money, etc. Now, I know it is not necessarily hard to do, but I needed to convince my lazy-natured brain that this was definitely true, so I started plotting ways to ensure that eating raw is easy for me. I reminded myself that most of the basic things I like to make (like nut pates for my salad, and sprouts) really don’t require much “active time” at all. For instance, soaking the nuts takes a while – but it’s really simple actually since I just set them to soak and then don’t have to look at them again until the next day. Then, I drain them, throw them in my food processor with a few other ingredients, and five minutes later have a nut pate done and ready to go in the fridge. Eight minutes if you count washing the food processor. How hard is that? There are lots of other little things I do that make my life easier for this too, and I am always learning more. I’ll talk more about some of those tricks in a later post.

So anyway, last week I started transitioning, and by the end of the week I was pretty much 100% raw again. I haven’t had as much detox as last time yet (my face is still pimple free, thankfully!) but I know from past experience that it will probably come, but it will also pass within a few weeks. The first few days were fairly hard, because I went off of coffee – which meant I was tired, and spent Wednesday with a migraine like headache that lasted all day. This was very similar to when I went raw previously, day 3 post-coffee was the worst, and after that things started getting much better. I have been having green tea, usually 1-2 cups a day. I will probably cut that down to 1 soon, but at the moment having something hot to drink at work is really nice. I also tried to make my coffee transition a bit easier by cutting down a bit more gradually, which I think helped a small bit in mitigating the withdrawal.

This week I am starting to get some good energy levels back, even though I drank wine Friday (a little) and Saturday (much more than a little). It will be interesting to see if I get the same random euphoria I had last time. Time will tell.

This week I am also starting to work out again. This has been one habit that is the hardest for me to sustain. I had the most success when I was working out with Deme, but as he works out in a rather different way now, and I am not sure even at what time(s), I don’t think it will work to coordinate again. This is one thing I will just have to figure out for myself. I am very determined however – a few times now I have gone out dancing and done SO MUCH body movement that I was actually sore the next day. And I LOVED it, I love that feeling, the reminder of a fabulous night, so why not replicate that at home? And hey,maybe with more dancing. I think a key for me is to set up some playlists on my ipod that are timed for working out.

I am going to drop my laptop off for repairs this week, so soon I hope to post much more often, especially about my progress with raw food – it keeps me honest LOL! Plus, kale chips. Sooooo yummy, I promise, I will post pictures of the process soon – it’s another of those things that looks complicated but really isn’t!

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Yesterday’s fast went very well except for the end. One should not break a fast with wine, trust me on this. To make matters worse, we were missing one of our normal wine-sharing people at rehearsal and for some unaccountable reason I felt obliged to drink her portion as well! What I was thinking, I could not tell you. I can say I knew going home I was pretty drunk, so when I made a bad eating decision and ate not one but *two* bags of potato chips, I kept the bags in my pocket so I would remember to record them today. Good thing too as I know I would have forgotten altogether otherwise!

Still, despite my indiscretions in breaking my fast, the scale was moving in the right direction this morning, and though I somehow do not recall an…intimate encounter…I am not hungover either so it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. Next time however I need a plan in place for breaking my fast.

I did get to the gym for my intervals workout yesterday, though I went at 2 instead of at 1 as my coworker requested that. In general I will be going at 1 every work day. My plan is to go to the gym every week day on my lunch break even when I don’t have a TT workout scheduled. In this way, building the habit of going will be much easier – my default option. On non-workout days I have several options: steady state cardio, pilates, salsa practice or handstand practice.

I skipped my salsa classes yesterday, in favor of talking to a friend online that I have not spoken to in a while. We got into a very interesting discussion on the impact of sex on friendships :). I did of course go to my salsa rehearsal at 9:30, where I ran into the aforementioned bottle of wine. My legs felt fine during rehearsal, not too sore at all, though I was a bit off balance but I am 98% sure that was due to wearing my performance shoes (with quite high heels) instead of the dance sneakers I’ve been fond of lately. Also, from my prior experience with HIIT I knew to hold back just a bit so I could walk later!

 

Today’s goals:

Eat well at work (this is easy for me – fruit, salad and larabars are my workplace staple)

Eat supportively at home (tonight that means having a big salad with curried sunflower seed pate and indulging in a small piece of my sister’s homemade pizza – she is making it nondairy by using buffalo milk mozzarella and I know better than to think I will abstain totally, the key here is moderation)

Weights workout B (I may try and do intervals as well using a jumprope, or I may do them at the gym today or tomorrow) after dinner, no excuses

Complete my evening routines fully. This morning was a wash as I overslept, though the house looked pretty good so clearly my past few days of dedication to my routines is keeping me in good stead.

 

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Yes, I have switched back top counting “up” instead of “down”…

 

Last night went better than I expected. The extra coffee I had on my way home didn’t hurt any, I’m sure!

Foodwise yesterday was not great but not bad either. Raw-wise, not so hot…

AM: large coffee with soy, Cashew Cookie (Larabar)
Lunch: large salad (spinach, cauliflower, scallions, red cabbage, orange pepper, snow peas, cucumber and oil and vinegar) with curried sunflower seed pate, large glass of water with lime
PM: large coffee with soy
Dinner/snacking: half a grapefruit (too sour to finish!), 2 sunnyside-up eggs, spoonful of peanut butter I should not have had, and a bit of the Japanese sunflower seed pate
Post-workout: one potato with olive oil and curry powder (ummm yeah…I like curry)

OK on to my evening. Coming home I was somewhat tired but not as bad as I expected. Once I got home, dinner for the kids came together quickly since there were leftovers that I could reheat. I also made my younger daughter two eggs as she loves them 🙂 and that is how I ended up eating eggs lol. Getting the kids to bed went very smoothly and I cleaned up as I went so once they were asleep there wasn’t too much left to be done. I was thinking about doing my chores first, but decided I had better work out ASAP before I passed out – I was beginning to drag a LOT.

I did the weights Workout A from the Beginnner TT.  (I will do the intervals today at the gym during my lunch break.) I had done one “test” workout from the Intermediate last week and decided that starting slower is not a bad thing – it’s been a long time since I’ve done any weights, a year and a half I think. Because of that, I also tried to keep it challenging but not too heavy, so that I can walk come tomorrow LOL! All this is to say that I am not beating myself up over using 8 pound dumbbells 😀 as I’m sure I will get my strength up again pretty soon.

The workout itself felt pretty good. The stability ball exercise is killer, and I don’t even think I did it right the first go around! Working out gave me a good burst of energy, and I ended up finishing my chores for the evening with energy for doing a little bit more – except for packing my lunch, which I put off in favor of sleep as I can pick up salad at the cafeteria today and happened to have money set aside for it. (NOTE: I ended up deciding to fast today.) Even so, by the time I was done showering I did not get to bed until midnight or so. On the upside, I’ve been getting back in the hang of using a neti pot, which is nifty! 🙂

My goals for today: I am fasting today (after I finish this coffee lol!). I also will be doing my intervals from Workout A at the gym today at 1pm, and probably doing some Pilates stuff or salsa practice a bit since the intervals won’t take me that long. For my “off day” 30 minutes, I will be walking to the dance studio after work. Then I have a full evenig of salsa classes (3 hourlong classes plus an hour and a half rehearsal). I don’t count my dancing for my “off day” activity as it is nothing new for me (and clearly if I was going to lose weight from it it would have happened alread LOL!)

How can you help? Ask me about the intervals after 2pm!

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Or, Getting Shit Together One Piece at a Time

I am done with excuses. I’ve had a great many perfectly reasonable “reasons” for not having worked out in the past three weeks. None of them matter however.

So last night, after I got home at 1am, I did all the chores on my ostensible checklist (I have a nifty chart I wanna generate from this, but I digress…). Washed dishes, put away laundry, cleaned the kitchen and mopped the floor, picked out clothes for today, and then shower etc. I had soaked sunflower seeds to make a pate out of but I didn’t want to run the food processor in the middle of the night so I got all the ingredients together and threw them in the container (actually, I did two variations – curry and Japanese) so that this morning all I had to do was dump the contents of the container into the food proccessor and turn a knob. Rinse, repeat, two yummy pates done.

This morning, I woke up after 3 hours of sleep surprisingly awake. I ran upstairs, blended the pates, and made two quick salads (one for Deme) with spinach, orange pepper, cauliflower, scallions, red cabbage, snow peas, cucumber and oil and vinegar, plus the curry pate. All of which, plus getting dressed, took me about 25 minutes.

So why so fanatical about doing my routines fully? Simple. The busier I am, the more important staying on top of everything becomes. The house being messy, being behind on the laundry, these are all luxuries that I can ill afford when I have so much I am choosing to put on my plate. Tonight when I get home I will make dinner, put the kids to bed, and then workout. After that, I will do the same cleaning up as last night, and start some more sprouts. One of the benefits to having a thorough evening/bedtime routine is that while you clean more frequently, each time actually gets easier and faster since it was not very bad since the last time (say, a day ago) you did it (there is a point of diminishing returns of course lol!) So while it seems that mopping my kitchen every night is harder, it really makes my life much *easier*.

I’ll post an update on tonight’s workout tomorrow – I fully expect it to kick my butt, but it’s all good. Do me a favor? Stay on my ass! If you don’t see a post tomorrow, bug me about it. In fact, I am going to think today about what leverage I can use against myself as it were. – something that I pledge to do if I miss my 3 workouts in a week. What do you think? Suggestions?

It bananas! It's a heart! It's yummy.

It bananas! It's a heart! It's yummy.

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Because the contest has a rolling start date, I am going to “restart” with Day 84 on Monday, and take this past 5 days as a “warmup” week. The reason for this is that although I have been pretty good with my diet, I have not been working out. This mainly has been happening because doing the workouts at home is much easier for logistical reasons (in part having to do with the fact that the stability balls at my gym are on another floor and thus doing supersets where the first exercise is with dumbells and the next with the stability ball will not work) and because I have not been getting enough sleep, so getting up early to workout has not happened.

So, the lessons I have learned thus far are:
– I need a bedtime, particularly on the nights before my workouts. This should not be overly difficult to do as those nights are on days when I am either off work, or get off early. The kids are asleep by 9 at the *latest*, so my new bedtime will be 10:30 for those nights. This should give me plenty of time to finish up my chores for the evening. One thing I am going to use to help me is to set two alarms on my phone: one for 10:00 as my early warning, and one at 10:30. If you see me online after that and it is not a Saturday, please give me a swift kick in the ass!! 😀

– Workout clothes and other essentials need to be easy to grab. I took care of the clothes to an extent by buying some pants earlier this week. I still need to buy a lock for the gym (I will be going there for intervals and some yoga on off days). I will be doing that today. I will also eb buying a new backpack – I have been using a bag that is much less than ideal, and given that carrying my food and other accoutrements becomes very heavy, a decent bag is essential. I will also take time this weekend to reorganize my clothing so that workout clothes are separate and folding into ready-to-grab piles. I have to make it easy, or it won’t happen LOL – I know myself!

– I cannot allow my sister to keep candy treats for the kids in my kitchen. For my own sanity, she MUST keep those things in her own kitchen. Now, we don’t have many – the bag of large marshmallows she got so they could have hot cocoa on these past rainy days has been the first in about 2 months – but I just don’t want to deal with the extra stress.

– In a similar vein, on Thursday nights, my sister cooks dinner. She tends to get a bit elaborate (either in recipes or in number of dishes) and it is always very tasty and smells enticing. When Deme cooks, he has been making us both a large salad, and it is easy to avoid temptation. Since I don’t have an ally (Deme is not home Thursday nights) when my sister cooks, it has been a struggle. Therefore, I MUST have a plan in place to avoid caving. I am going to start preparing a more elaborate raw-food meal for myself for Thursday nights, so that it has a “treat” feel in my mind while still being goal-supportive food. (As I am inherently lazy, and like salads, I usually keep my dinner simple.) I will probably use a few of the recipes that I enjoyed on Thanksgiving, and use Gone Raw for more recipes. (Also, pssst! a birdy told me I am getting Everyday Raw for Mother’s Day) I think this will help me mentally a great deal.

– I need to keep a physical food log as well as putting things into fitday. This way, when I am not near a computer I am still easily accountable. Also, this means I would only have to visit fitday *once* a day, thus wasting less time. Plus I can then keep track of where I was when I was eatnig, how I felt at the time, etc., all the emotional stuff that can help in figuring out if certain things trigger binges, etc.

Now, except for yesterday (my sister’s burgers done did me in!), I have been pretty on point with my diet. And, though I haven’t worked out yet, I *have* incorporated some lifestyle/mindset changes relatively easily. For instance, I have been taking the stairs without exception – and when that means 4 flights followed by 3 flights 30 seconds later exiting the train, it’s quite a change! Even at work, when I go up to the cafeteria I take the stairs every time. And I walked to the ferry today, and will continue to do so (it didn’t hurt that it was a LOVELY morning). So I have made some progress there that I am pretty happy with, because it is not me “trudging” along – I am happy to be active.

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With that said, I’ve decided to start posting weekly goals and tracking them by color (inspired by a fellow TC participant!).

My current measurements are
Height: 5’2″
Weight: 136.6 lbs
Chest: 35.25″
Waist: 31.5″
Hips: 40.5″
Thigh: 22″

First off, my longterm goals, for the end of the contest:
Weight: 115 lbs
Waist: 29″
Hips: 38″
This is subject to change – what I am most interested in is bodyfat changes, but I have no measurements to go off of yet (more on that soon). I am not interested in being “skinny fat”,  so weight as a measure is very subjective to me.

I am working on some fitness-measure goals which I will post this weekend. Pushups will surely be on it! 🙂

So, for this week coming up:

5th Turbulence Training Transformation Contest Week 1
Sunday:  Play with the kids at the park/gardening. Prepare food for the week (sprouts, nut pates, etc.) Update fitday/blog/TT Forum.
Monday:  TT Intermediate workout A before breakfast. Walk to the ferry. Interval training at 1:00. Walk to the studio. Salsa classes/rehearsal. Start fast at 6pm. Update fitday/blog/TT Forum.
Tuesday:  Walk to the ferry. Yoga/Pilates at 1:00. End fast at 6pm.  Update fitday/blog/TT Forum.
Wednesday:  TT Intermediate workout B before breakfast. Prep Thursday’s dinner. Walk to the ferry. Interval training at 1:00. Walk to the studio.  Salsa classes/rehearsal. Start fast at 6pm. Update fitday/blog/TT Forum.
Thursday:  Walk to the ferry. Yoga/Pilates at 1:00. End fast at 6pm. Update fitday/blog/TT Forum.
Friday:  TT Intermediate workout A before breakfast.  Walk to the ferry. Interval training at 1:00. Update fitday/blog/TT Forum.
Saturday:  Play with the kids at the park/gardening. Update fitday/blog/TT Forum.

Done

Planned
Skipped
Other workout performed

For this weekend:
Buy lock.
Buy backpack.
Buy calipers.
Take bodyfat measurements.
Update fitness goals.

 

Hope everyone is having a happy and productive Friday!!

Apples are healthy!

Apples are healthy!

 

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