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A Strange Case of Exercisophobia June 27, 2011

Filed under: emotions,exercise — Susan @ 11:39 am
An unpleasant sense of fear by Violator3
An unpleasant sense of fear, a photo by Violator3 on Flickr.

If I stay away from exercise for too long, an odd thing occurs. I start feeling afraid of it. I have NO idea what this is about. OK, maybe I have some idea.

Back in the day when I was super unfit, if I tried to do something, and it made me feel tired or just “I can’t do this!” that feeling would just freak me out. It would make me cry and feel just a heap of self-criticism and unworthiness. I would crumple to the ground and hate myself.

Not fun.

And I think a part of that still lives inside me. When I don’t exercise regularly, I start fearing that FEELING – I think what I am afraid of is not the physical sensations, but those emotions of “UGH I’m out of shape!”

This weekend, Junior offered to teach me some of the cool stuff she learned at Fitness Ridge, mainly some of the HIIT treadmill routines. We met up at the gym and just as I was about to step on, I heard myself saying, “I’m scared.”

Of a treadmill?? Me, who ran a half marathon? Um.

She was very patient and supportive and finally I just started and of course, as is ALWAYS the case, I didn’t die doing the workout AND I felt ten million times better.

Which led me to examine in close, what is this strange fear about? Because it definitely hinders me. And it makes me mad. Why would I hold myself back from something that clearly makes me feel so good? This has been proven to me hundreds of times by now and yet still, I sometimes find myself in the place where I just feel chained down to a chair with absolute paralysis.

I know it needs some more excising and examining. But this is a good place to start.

 

Goalaversary Number Two! The Neurons Converge! June 24, 2011

photo credit: Hybridotus, via Flickr

Today is my two-year anniversary of reaching my Weight Watchers goal weight. I “celebrated” rather sheepishly and quietly, mostly because I am a couple pounds over goal due to certain Hormonal Influences of the Week. But also because it’s been a rough patch of time lately and I just wasn’t feeling as exuberant as I did last year.  I didn’t go out and have cupcakes. However, at my meeting last night I fastened some curly ribbons to my nametag and at the end of the meeting, I did announce my 2-year goalaversary and I told the members they could ask me anything they wanted.

One person raised their hand and said, “What do you do when you feel stuck?” Ahem – like RIGHT NOW? I stood and thought for a moment. And then I said, “I change things up. I look for something new to do. A new book, a new kind of exercise, a new recipe, a new way of looking at things. Anything to move things and unstick them.”

And just as I said it out loud I knew it was true.

THEN we had Celebrations and we celebrated one member losing 11 pounds. She said it was due to “earning LOTS of activity points, and joining Team in Training!” We all clapped. Then I remembered when I had joined Team in Training in 2000 and completed a marathon (walking). I remembered what a wonderful experience that had been.

This morning, I was still thinking about it. I thought about another member who came up to me after the meeting and said he was “doing pretty good” with his food, but that he wasn’t getting much activity in. Then the neurons in my brain started sparking and I thought, “Hey! I should recommend that he try Team in Training! How awesome would that be!”

Then it jumped to, “Hey. Maybe *I* should re-join Team in Training! Maybe I should do a marathon!” I had gotten a flyer from Team in Training just last week (I’m still on their mailing list, 11 years later). I started getting excited.

Then on the way to work I remarked to Mr. McBody that I was contemplating something biggish. I told him. He said, “That’s a great idea!” But then he said… “But you know, I’m not sure these long distance events are really a good long term plan.” (speak for yourself, dude.) And he went on to say that maybe I ought to mix it up and do something other than running.

I was about to get all defensive and upset and tell him I was going to be running long races into my eighties (um??) and then an even bigger bunch neurons exploded in my head, and the words “triathlon – running- biking – swimming- TEAM IN TRAINING!” all merged together at once and I let out this huge “Ahhhh!!”

As soon as I got to work I went on the site and looked at the upcoming events. Marin County Triathlon. November 5. My heart started pounding. And I registered for an info session on the spot.

I’m going to do this. This is my new thing! This is my shaking it up!

I’ve whispered and mumbled and thought about the word “triathlon” in the past. But then I never started and I knew that I was just plain CHICKEN. Of the biking/swimming part. And I know without a doubt that the ONLY WAY – the ONLY way in the entire universe that this will ever be possible for me, will be if I have a coach and an entire HERD of people doing it with me.

My big, giant, annual work event finishes up on July 22nd this year. Training for the Marin County Triathlon begins on July 23rd.

Um, isn’t that, like… fate?

So THIS is how we celebrate the 2nd goalaversary. First year, cupcakes. Second year, triathlon. Okay.

Anyone want to join me?? I’m going to an information session in San Francisco on July 7th!!

Oh, and: this is what I love about working at Weight Watchers. It’s SUCH a two-way street. I need to be in there, and I need my members as much as they get support from me. Thanks for throwing some sparks into my brain, people!

 

The Great Nia + Pie Healing June 18, 2011

Filed under: friendship,good things,Nia — Susan @ 6:49 pm

Ah the healing power of Nia and pie! My friend’s birthday-party-Nia-class this morning was SO much fun and exactly what I needed in every single way. The class was taught by an awesome guy in a wonderful space and it was just fun, fun, fun but also good exercise (I was sweating rivulets) AND good therapy. I feel a million times better. It also made me think it would be good for me to get more Nia classes into my life. I might even BART over to San Francisco to take this class again.

I wish I had a bunch of fun pics to show, but not yet. We took dozens of great shots using the instructor’s camera, and he said he’d email them to the birthday girl, and who knows how long that might take.

Interesting moment: I’ve been feeling just kind of awful lately. Like, maybe I’ve gained all my weight back or something. I did in my head, anyway. So I was rather shocked to look in the mirror during the Nia class and see that – um, NO, I didn’t. I actually looked strong and happy and pretty fit. And as the class progressed, I started – how can I describe this? – inhabiting the image I saw in the mirror more and more. It was actually a wonderful feeling. Nia is so funny and trippy and for much of the class we were doing these giant bird-wing movements, something I’d never done before- and I felt like this huge crane or egret or something. It felt good. I felt like once again I was taking off.

After class we went down the street to Mission Pie for the most awesome birthday party brunch ever. I had a piece of quiche (YUM) and a bite of someone else’s strawberry rhubarb pie. DOUBLE YUM. It tasted good and awesome and celebratory and just like food is supposed to taste.

As for all the other stuff, there’s movement happening and I guess the lesson is that as long as I keep moving externally, I can keep up with and cope with the internal movement. Silly old bear.

 

Nighttime Peanut Butter and A Good Long Cry June 17, 2011

Filed under: emotions,lessons learned — Susan @ 1:46 am

I’m not gonna lie, this is continuing to be a hard week. Y’all know that I have three jobs, right? Well, every single one of them has been frustrating/challenging/hard/AGHHHHH this week. All of them. I just feel like I’m not getting a break from any corner, and I’m just ping-ponging from to another. It’s just hard.

In addition to that, I’m going through some big transitions, and that’s just challenging me big time. Change is hard.  It’s good, and it’s necessary, but it’s hard. It requires a lot of emotion and squirming around. I can’t really talk about specifics yet but I will at some point.

One thing that happened this week was another one of those “Hmmm, this really… INTERESTING,” ie “WTF is GOING ON!!?!?” moments.  Last week our Weight Watchers topic was “Tracking Things Other Than Food and Drink.” I actually love that topic because to me, it shows WW commitment to really having members know and understand ourselves. Yeah! That mindfulness thing! We had a great discussion about monitoring and paying attention to all kinds of stuff like hunger, emotions, tiredness, sleep, exercise, clothing size and on and on. I was like, YEAH! I always tell members that this is the most important thing – KNOWING OURSELVES and our habits, what our mind does, where it trips us up, because knowledge is power, blah blah blah.

So my mind decided to pull a fast one on me this week.

I have spent decades analyzing my particular food/weight/habit Achilles heels. I am very susceptible to emotional eating, for example. I also have a tendency to like big meals. I’m not a big snacker, and I’m NOT a “nighttime eater.” Friends and WW members have long bemoaned their nighttime eating habits, during which I usually nod sympathetically but really it’s not something I could relate to. Because I don’t really like eating at night (unless it happens to be a weirdly late dinner). It isn’t comfortable and I just don’t LIKE IT.

Until this week. One night this week I was prowling around the house right before bed, and I happened to walk through the kitchen. Normally I have no desire to eat at this time. But I saw this open bag of pretzels. And I saw a jar of peanut butter. And something in my mind just SNAPPED and before I knew it I was slathering peanut butter on pretzels and eating them. And then (just like the famous “If You Give A Mouse A Cookie”) because I had eaten that, I HAD to have a big glass of milk. Which I did. And then I went to bed, going, WTF was THAT?!??

It was nighttime eating! When I wasn’t hungry! O. M. G.!!!!!!!!!!!

I was absolutely horrified. I couldn’t have been more horrified than if I’d shot myself up with a syringe full of heroin. Because for 99% of my life, nighttime eating just has NOT been one of my (many) unhealthy habits! Other people did that, and I did other stuff, but that was just not for me. And here I was, tiptoeing (or no, maybe STOMPING) into that Territory. Nooooooooo!!!!!!!!

I felt terrible, both emotionally (AGHHHHHHH!) and physically (YUCKKKK!).

The next morning, I woke up and saw the offending jar of peanut butter mocking me from the counter. I picked it up and flung it into the trash, even though there was more than half the jar left. I was so mortified and did not want to risk. (apparently for me, stress + peanut butter = the perfect storm)

A few days of self loathing and no exercise ensued.

Today I got up determined to break this cycle of insanity. I laced up my sneakers and at first I was going to do, you know, a WORKOUT. But instead I realized I knew I needed a walk and some sort of Come-to-Jesus conversation with myself. I knew I had to get to the bottom of what was going on.

Well, I was no further then three minutes from my house when I found myself sobbing, I mean REALLY sobbing like the world was ending. It was huge. I couldn’t talk or breathe or anything. But I KNEW that this was what I had really been needing. The stress of my mom getting sick and hurt last week, plus other stuff all piling up,  and my jobs all simultaneously kicking my butt – it was all just too much. I just cried and cried. And walked. It was all good. And necessary.

This stuff can be hard sometimes. But I know that today was my breakthrough. I stopped trying to hold it all together and I just let it all out. And I know I’m ready to deal with the changes and all of it.

In other, happier news, my Junior has been at the Biggest Loser resort in Malibu this week. And she has been squeezing the most out of every single minute there. She has had the most amazing workouts of her life and is loving it like CRAZY. I am so excited for her to come back and teach me everything!! She’s had the chance to work out with Sam from season 9, whom she’s admired a long time, and she’s just having the best time ever. I am so excited for her. She has made a few video recaps with the blow-by-blow of each minute of each workout, and I’ve been eagerly awaiting them every night. If you want to check out life at the BL resort, you can see her (written and video) daily recaps here.

I think things are going to start turning around. That bawling in the woods really helped this morning. On Saturday, I’m going to a (what fun!) Nia dance birthday party class! Junior comes home on Sunday. And I am going to keep rolling through the changes.

 

 

Not Beating Up, Just Wondering June 12, 2011

Filed under: emotions,food,friendship,lessons learned,Mindful Eating — Susan @ 4:33 pm
cupcake gone by TheTruthAbout
cupcake gone, a photo by TheTruthAbout on Flickr.

A few people near and dear to me communicated to me after reading my last two posts that I should not be “beating myself up” or feeling badly about myself for eating the Chinese food. And I just wanted to clarify. I wasn’t feeling awful about myself – I was just wondering, sort of curiously, “How did I get there?” Or “How did this happen?” When I know what I know. I’m just trying to sort it out.

Same person said to me that they had eaten noodles and bubble tea. Which to me is not an issue at all unless the purpose of eating those things is to go numb. And it made me think, it’s not the WHAT of the eating that is “problematic,” it’s the HOW. I’ve eaten cupcakes and cheesecake and fried calamari and all kinds of stuff without feeling it’s a problem. I’ve eaten lots of Chinese food without having the feeling I had last night. Last night I wasn’t savoring or tasting or even necessarily enjoying. It was just about the quantity. I had that “shoveling” feeling, and in fact I shoveled down the last of the fried rice with a serving spoon. THAT’s what I’m talking about.

If I eat six cupcakes in a sitting (OK, I’ve never actually done that. Maybe two. Three.) and don’t really taste them, then it’s a problem. If I lovingly, ecstatically really ENJOY eating a cupcake, it’s fine. In fact, it’s wonderful. It’s more about the “how” and the “why” and the “how much” more than the “what.”

That feeling I had last night just was something that hadn’t happened in a long while, and I was just trying to … you know, sort it all out. I’m not feeling bad about myself or even that it happened. Just… sitting here, thinking.

 

What I Learned From My Dog

Filed under: childhood,emotions,food,lessons learned — Susan @ 12:33 pm

the day we brought her home

This morning I was mulling over my Chinese food overload from last night and I saw our dog going through her usual bizarre dog-food ritual. She will approach her bowl, do a weird little backward dance, rear up on her back legs, then stealthily approach the dish AGAIN, take a small mouthful of food, back up quickly, drop the food on the ground and then eat it with her little ears flattened to her head. Every single bite happens this way.

We often laugh at her because it is truly amusing to watch. But we’ve analyzed WHY she does this every time she eats: it’s because she came from a place where there were twelve other dogs, and this was her mode of survival. She would have to jump up and down in order to SEE the bowl in the sea of other dogs. Then carefully plan her approach, sneak right in there at the right moment, then grab the food and back up to take it to a safe place to chew and swallow. She couldn’t just stand there, leisurely-like, and munch away.

We brought her home when she was 9 months old. She’s almost eight YEARS old now and still she does this. She hasn’t figured out that she is the only dog in the house and she does not NEED to do this. There’s no amount of reassuring that can break her of this ritual.

But it made me think of my own “rituals” and the things I do that began long, long ago. I know they don’t serve me. Did they ever? Many people have wondered why we eat to soothe our emotions even when we know we’ll feel worse in the long run. Because at one time, it DID work (or so we believed). Food actually does work as an anesthetic and can mute feelings that are too upsetting or just too MUCH. I think last night I had just reached the end of my proverbial rope. After worrying and caring for mom all week I had to go in and go to work for a longer day than I’d planned. I was exhausted, the worst seemed to have passed, and I just let it down.

Last night I got a good long night’s sleep. Today I am going for a nice long walk. I’m going to be gentle with myself, and learn once again what it means to take care of one’s self.

 

Lessons Learned from a Hard Week

Filed under: food,health,lessons learned,overeating,struggle — Susan @ 1:04 am

I really want to thank everyone for the good wishes for my mom. It’s only been a week but it feels like one of the longest weeks ever! Tonight I think I can safely say she is definitely on the mend. After not wanting to eat a bite all week, tonight she asked if we would order Chinese takeout for dinner and she snarfed down a huge plate with gusto. WHEW.

It’s been tough, and rough, but she is one resilient lady. I have spent the week sleeping on the floor of her room, helping her up in the night. Tonight I am sleeping in my own bed again. She can once again make her way up and down the stairs and is taking the doggie for short walks down the street. This is amazing considering where she was just a few days ago.

I have to admit not taking great care of myself this week. For the first few days, she didn’t eat, and I didn’t eat. Then I lost a bunch of sleep. Then when she seemed to get better I suddenly wanted to eat everything in sight. I ate more Chinese food tonight than I think I have in years. Ah well.

This week taught me that I can’t succumb to stress. What if it had lasted longer than a week? Tonight I plan to get a good night’s sleep, then start tomorrow with some good activity and getting back on track.

It’s an old, old lesson but one that needs to be learned over and over again. Food doesn’t fix stress. But some reptilian part of my brain stubbornly wants to believe that it does.

Again, thank y’all for the warm wishes. I think they truly helped. oxoxo

 

Mama Duty Calls June 9, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — Susan @ 10:17 am

with her best buddy

Have you noticed that things have kind of ground to a halt around here? (and I still have two more Fitbloggin’ recaps to finish!!) I’m taking a little bit of a blogging hiatus for what I hope will not be a long time. Mama McBody has hit a bit of a rough patch this week and it’s taking all the minutes I have to keep things afloat. Am thinking of you all and Tweeting when I can. Thanks for all the good thoughts coming our way.

 

Ahhh Saturday: Fitbloggin’ Recap Part 3!!!!! June 1, 2011

photo credit: @BrittGettinFit

Yes folks, we are coming down to the home stretch! The final day of Fitbloggin’!

I have to admit to “sleeping in” until the late hour of 8am on Saturday. It appears that none of us set the alarm. But then I peeked at my phone and my Twitter stream was blowing up with “bacon! bacon! bacon!” and I knew that Ryan of @NoMoreBacon was starting his panel (<– check out the liveblogging recap) with @yumyucky @esthercrawford and @priorfatgirl! Yikes!! We tossed on our clothes and ran for the elevator.

This second day of Fitbloggin’ was pretty much all presentations. I’m sure that there were all sorts of logistical reasons for this, ie room setup logistics, chair moving and the like, but it felt like Friday was so physical – running and jumping and dancing and lifting (and performing!) and Saturday was all… sitting. And staying inside. I wonder if there could be more of a mixup of physical/mental next year.

It was so, so hard to choose between sessions in the amazing schedule. I had come to the conference with the intention of learning all kinds of stuff so I could improve my blog (I admit I am completely stuck on Blog 101!), but in the end I made all of my decisions for purely social reasons. I went to panels so I could see/support the people who were on them. So I missed the photography panel, and the website analytics talk, and the design workshop and SEO (I still don’t know what the heck that is, which is why I have about 4 blog readers) and self-hosting. Thank goodness for the wonderful people who did live recaps and thanks to Roni for posting them!

I did go to the session on Building an Online Community, which was really good. It ranged from JulieJulie (my carpool/plane buddy from Day 1!), who has a small-but-a-lot-bigger-than-mine community blog, ranging all the way up to DailyBurn, which is like… GINORMOUS.

Next up, I went to a panel featuring my awesome roommate Karen CL Anderson, as well as Katie Heddleston, Christie Inge and the amazing Shauna Reid. The topic was “Ditch the Diet: Eating Intuitively.” Now I have to admit, I went into this feeling some amount of trepidation. I could feel my stomach scrunching up throughout this panel, every time Weight Watchers was mentioned with contempt or distaste. I could feel the confusion from the audience – including one woman who had victoriously reached her goal weight this week – and now hearing that maybe it was better to NOT use a scale, to not have goals, to eat “intuitively.” It was a very emotionally charged panel, and I know it spoke powerfully to many in the audience. Many panelists said things that I felt myself nodding at, and other things, I just felt the invisible arrows flying through the air. It reinforced to me that there are an infinite number of ways to “DO” this journey. I just felt sad hearing people bashing WW from the stage, and nobody up there saying what an awesome program it can be. (Dave Kirchhoff, you gotta come to Fitbloggin 2012!) I had to keep silently reminding myself that people weren’t attacking ME.

Katie Heddleston, RD

Karen CL Anderson!

Christie Inge

Shauna Reid

One of the best things that came out of that panel was the powerful question, “How do you know when It is Working?” If you’re not using a scale, or other measures, then what does “Working” mean? The variety of answers around that question was fantastic. It’s a great  and important question, whether you’re “dieting” or not. I loved Shauna’s answer, which was that she knew it was “working” when she ate only 2 finger of a KitKat bar instead of all four!

After that panel, it was time for another awesome lunch. Then, more decisions. I decided to go to the Humor in Blogging panel, mostly because I am a mad fan of the panelists: JackSh*t, Mrs. Fatass and the fabulous Charlie, who showed up in a purple cape AND took a pee break during the session! What can I say about this panel except that it was funny and I laughed a lot.

the one and only Jack Sh*t

Sue O'Lear, aka Mrs Fatass, has a funny!

It's Super-Charlie!

Then there was a panel on Blogger Responsibility. I was fascinated by this topic but it was another one that sort of irked and perplexed me. It was based on the premise that bloggers need to be careful (or do they?) about what they write, because they could, as Marie Claire magazine accused, trigger their readers and turn them toward dangerous or unhealthy behavior.

@LisaJohnson, mulling it all

The whole idea of this panel seemed unnecessary to me. But it’s easy for me to say since I have just a teeny handful of susceptible readers, compared to the likes of some of the superstars up there. Do we need to write a disclaimer if we’re going to write about weighing ourselves, or setting a goal, or counting calories or running a marathon? Will people reading it feel competitive, or unworthy or what?

Carla (aka @mizfitonline), deeply listening

I don’t know. I guess I feel like my own blog can’t really affect anyone that much, and if it affects them at all, I’d hope it would be in a good direction. I do know that some people felt tweaked and “triggered” when I started keeping a food blog. All I could do was hope that they would not look at it, that they would avoid something they knew would upset them. My feeling is that ANYthing can trigger ANYbody, and if we spend too much time censoring ourselves against who might be triggered, well then we’d never write a word. Those are my two cents on “blogger responsibility.” What do you think??

Carrots & Cake, pondering

I wrote recently about being triggered – BIG TIME- by this solo show I went to in 2009. At the time, it was terribly upsetting. But in the end it triggered me INTO this journey, it triggered me into health and the life I have now. So I also believe that sometimes triggers that feel bad can end up being good things.

Once, many years ago, someone I cared about said something very hurtful about my, er, state of underemployment. Some people could see me as a part-time worker or stay at home mom (I never saw myself with that label), but this person said I was “mooching” off my husband. OW. OW OW OW OW!!!!!!!! I think the reason that stung so much is that deep down, I worried about the same thing. I went out and started working that year, and it led me into the most meaningful work of my life. So, yeah, triggers can be a good thing. Sometimes it’s just what we need.

The keynote session featured radio personalities, Dr. Fitness & the Fat Guy, who are pretty much the Click ‘N Clack of the fitness world. They had interviewed me (for one minute!) earlier on for one of the Fitness Minutes, and during their keynote they did a great impromptu interview with FatGirlVsWorld. They’re a total hoot (but also an awesome resource) -you oughta check them out!

Dr. Fitness & the Fat Guy!

What a dramatic claim!

Okay my dearies, that’s enough for now. I’m almost at the end of this epic tale! Coming next: The Friends I Made and Met.

 

 
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