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In Which Preparing For Fitbloggin’ Saves Me September 11, 2012

ImageFitbloggin’ 2012 is just ten days away and the Twitter/blogosphere is really starting to buzz with excitement. I’m excited too – to reunite with friends, to meet and connect with new people, and to just be in the wonderful atmosphere that is Fitbloggin.

But I’ve had some trepidation. I’m not at all in the same place that I was at Fitbloggin’ 2011. In May of 2011 I was actively blogging – many times a week – and was really feeling great both fitness and blogwise.

This time – not so much. It’s been a struggle to keep up with regular blogging. I feel like every time I sit down to write, I’m apologizing about not writing enough. This year has meant a lot of job transition, which means I rarely feel “caught up” enough to blog. I’m often staying up until 11:00pm just trying to get a grip on my job’s paperwork. Only recently have I just started to feel like I might be getting the hang of things, and maybe, just maybe, I can complete my work during, you know, regular work hours.

Now that Fitbloggin’ is just around the corner (how did that happen?!?) it’s forced/allowed me to really think about what’s been going on this past year. There is a phrase that floats around the blogosphere: if a fitness blogger stops blogging, it probably means they’ve fallen off some wagon or another.

That’s both true and not true. It is, as they say, complicated.

A year ago, I was high about Fitbloggin’ and the fitness world. I was preparing to get certified as a Personal Trainer with a specialty in Corrective Exercise. I was studying, I was really into it. I was planning to start my own business in personal and group fitness, awareness, body image and food. I was going to call it (get this!) FoodFoodBodyBody. I took several seminars in Small Business ownership. I set up a business account. I joined a network of women working in health and wellness. I was so pumped!

And then what happened?!

About that time I signed up for my first triathlon training. And while that event was one of the most arduous-yet-meaningful experiences, one of the greatest challenges and accomplishments ever, I think it was the beginning of my unraveling. I thought I was going to turn into a lean, mean triathlete machine, but instead I ended up putting on weight. And no, it wasn’t “all muscle.” During the training I had to wrestle with a lot of person demons. I was afraid of my bicycle. I had panic attacks when I tried to swim in open water. I was always the Very Last Person during our training workouts, and slowly this began to wear at my self-confidence. And as I spent weeks training, I got more anxious and nervous. I started doing a lot more comfort eating. I tried to justify it by telling myself I was working out a lot more, but the fact was I was self-soothing because I was so damn scared.

During that time, when my self-doubt was peaking, I started doubting my business plan. I was thinking, who the hell am *I* to tell anyone else what to do in terms of fitness or healthy eating? So I started backing away from that. I started building all sorts of roadblocks to actually accomplishing that goal which had once excited me so much.

I finished the triathlon. Or, I sort of finished it. I felt good but I also felt crappy. I couldn’t help feeling like I had cheated somehow. So what did I do? I signed up for the Hike Team – during which I injured myself – and then I signed up to do ANOTHER triathlon. I know. What was I thinking? I wanted a do-over. I wanted to Get It Right that time. But because of my injury, and my frazzled self-confidence, that one didn’t work out the way I had planned either. I dropped out of the Maui (Olympic) Tri and instead did the Wildflower Mountain Bike (aka Sprint) Tri. Which was on one hand an accomplishment, but again, it didn’t solve the problem of Getting It Right.

During all of this, I look back now and I see what my worse mistake was: I stopped blogging.

I hid.

I think if I had openly chronicled (I mean really chronicled) all of the self-doubt, all of the decisions, the comfort eating, the freakouts, I think it would have taken care of itself. I mean, that’s the lesson of this blog. Being honest and out there kept me healthy for over two years. But hiding away almost threatened to put me back where I started.

Also during the last year, my beloved endocrinologist left the group practice. I was devastated. I felt abandoned, and I acted out. (in a way that could really only hurt myself) I stopped tracking my blood glucose, stopped eating so carefully, and never made an appointment (until last week) with a new doctor. I was pouting. I was really sad about this. But of course that didn’t help the course of things.

I’ve been rewriting/rehearsing/freaking out about my performance at Fitbloggin’. It will bear some resemblance – but only about 50% – to last year’s show. There’s a lot more I’ve gotta say/show/express. I’m hecka nervous about it. But also excited. Because the stakes feel greater somehow. I’m not just doing a show about how Totally Awesome my “journey” has been – but also this time – how kind of un-awesome and humbling and HARD it’s been.

But the very act of being honest is, I think, (or, I KNOW) – where the good stuff is. I’m relieved and happy to be getting back to basics. Which for me isn’t so much about working out in any particular way, or counting calories. It’s about being Real.

 

Resistance September 8, 2011

Resist by Stefano Pizzetti
Resist, a photo by Stefano Pizzetti on Flickr.

This triathlon training is teaching me so much about myself. Recently I’ve been learning about resistance. Yesterday was supposed to be a swim day. I was sort of planning to sandwich the swim in between work and this dinner party I really wanted to go to. But I got out of work late. I was tired (what else is new?). It was Juniorette’s first day back at crew practice and I knew she would really appreciate a good hearty dinner when she came home. So after work I went grocery shopping, went home and made chili and cornbread (one of her favorites). By that time it was after 7pm. Lily had just texted me saying she was sick and couldn’t make the workout.

Part of me was so, so, so tempted to just say “Oh, nevermind!” and just skip the workout and go straight to the party. Wouldn’t that have been nice? No. I would have felt maybe like I’d gotten away with something. But I would have also felt bad about myself.

I decided to go to the pool and do my workout. Again, I thought that 1) since Lily wasn’t there to push me, and 2) nobody was looking and 3) I wanted to get that party, I would do the shorter Sprint/Developing workout instead of the longer more challenging Fitness level workout. I studied them both pretty hard. The S/D was 1200 yards total, and the Fitness was 2300.

I was in a cranky mood already because I’d of the aforementioned long day, the lack of swim partner, missing the party and LOSING the 4th set of goggles I’ve had since the season began. Jeebus. What is wrong with me? I lose goggles like I lose hairs out of my head. I went to the gym’s front desk and bought the best pair of goggles they have, which are sufficient for keeping out water but also keep me blind as a bat. I need the goggles with the lens correction in them, or I’m hopeless.

I did find a pair of silicon earplugs in my purse, and decided to try them for the first time. This turned out to be a good thing. I liked that kind of insulated feeling, AND of course they did the trick of keeping water out of my ears. Recently I’ve been getting a lot of water in my ears and it HURTS. And is irritating.

Anyway, I got going and after the 12 lengths of warmup I pretty much decided I was going to go for the Fitness workout. I talked to myself underwater. I mean, who was I cheating if I skipped a workout or did the easy short one? ME. And what is my goal here exactly? My goal is to enjoy this triathlon if possible (of whatever length), to not drown or suffer too much during the swim portion of it. (or any portion) So in order to meet that goal it behooves me to do the best I can. As I say to my PT clients every day, “Give it your Safe Maximal Effort.” (ie do the best you possibly can without hurting yourself)

I did the Fitness workout. It took a little over an hour. I took the 10 second rests where dictated. But toward the end there was a 500 yard set, ie 20 lengths without stopping. I didn’t churn it out, but I kept it steady. I wasn’t going at a snail pace. I remember doing a 400 a few weeks ago that almost made me pass out. I do think I am getting stronger. Later I discovered that a mile is 1750 yards. So I did MORE than a mile, albeit with some rests. It felt just fine.

I went home, made some nice Pillsbury chocolate chip cookies (throw in pan, dry hair while they bake, then GO) and went to the party. It was more of a meeting than a party, of very fine Solo Performance minds, and people were taking notes and talking a mile a minute about the recent NY Fringe Festival. It was very stimulating and I was glad I’d gone.

Fast forward to today. Another long day at work. Went out to do hill repeats after 8:45. I was in a terrible, horrible mood! Feeling resistant again! Realizing how very hard it is to do these workouts when I already feel spent from working all day. Especially the days that end at 8:00pm. But I went out there, and I pushed myself up the hill 7x (Developing level tonight!) and done.

All I can say is, if I did not have this training to be accountable to, there is NO WAY IN THE UNIVERSE I would be doing these workouts. No way. So I am so thankful to this training for getting me out there, even when I realllllllllllllly don’t feel like it.

 

Mister McBody, Meet Jillian! November 20, 2010

So we are on vacation. Not where we thought we were going to be on vacation, but a lovely getaway nonetheless. It turned out to be a road trip instead of a plane trip, thanks to $&*#! American Airlines. More on that elsewhere. Anyway, there was some rain in the forecast and Mr. McBody expressed some concern that instead of going to a hotel or resort, we are renting a private house without a fitness center. He definitely likes his fitness center, his machines. Whatever will we do?

Never fear! I tossed a couple pairs of hand weights, a foam roller and medicine ball into the car. This is the joy of car travel – you can take ANYthing with you! (I also brought a big bag of books, all the shoes I own and a ton of other stuff I would not have brought on the plane) Plus about 4 Jillian Michaels DVDs, including the 30 Day Shred, which has kicked my butt and made me happy on numerous occasions.

I went for a 4.75 mile walk in the cool rain yesterday morning. My DirectLife told me that this was pretty good, but only 70% of my daily target. Hmm. Who knew. Running is a much more efficient calorie-burner than walking. (duh) I knew I’d have to do something else.

I started in to bugging him around 2pm. He hemmed and hawed. Finally he set me up with a deal: If I would listen to a 20 minute podcast about WWII and the Great Depression (did you know he is a MASSIVE and I mean MASSIVE history geek?), then he would do the 30 Day Shred with me. OK. DEAL.

I listened to the podcast. It was pretty good, and not the greatest hardship in the world, since in some parallel universe, I happen to be writing a historical novel set during WWII. So it was helpful, kinda.

The moment had come! But we are staying in a super fancy rental home with a space-age entertainment center, a cabinet full of electronic equipment that says DO NOT TOUCH ANYTHING OR YOU WILL BE CHARGED $100, and a remote control with 500 buttons on it. We got the DVD into the player and could not for the life of us get it past the menu where you have to choose which workout. We wrestled with the remote for about half an hour, which burned about 20 calories.

Then we came upon the brilliant idea that we could play it on our laptop. Voila!!

He was a trooper. He said he’d go for Level 2. I was like, YEAH Mister! Jillian started it up and from then on there was not much conversation. But he hung in there, I hung in there (with 8 lb weights!) and we had a KILLER workout that left us both sweating rivers. It was excellent.

He was way impressed! On the way to dinner, he said (several times) “I’m really glad we did that! I feel great!” So yay. Maybe tomorrow (today?) we will try the Yoga one. He also expressed amazement that she did not humiliate us during the workout. Haha.

So go Jillian, you’ve got another convert! and maybe I have an at-home exercise buddy.

 

The World of Work and Working Out April 12, 2010

This is the first week in, oh, I don’t know, my MEMORY that I’m working a more-than-full time week. I’m working 3 days at my new job, 2 days at my previous job, and 2 evenings at Weight Watchers. And all of a sudden, today, I had this enormous hit-by-a-truck feeling of deep empathy for people who struggle with this all time. “This” being namely trying to find time to exercise when working full time and having a family.

It’s TOUGH, people. So let me take a moment of silence and awe to honor everyone who has managed to do this. Now it’s time for ME to figure it out for myself. Wow.

Today is pretty much shot. I think. I woke up super early. Took kid to school. Had breakfast in coffee shop next to train station but couldn’t take train because the parking lot was full-up. Duh. So I drove. (hello $10/day parking lot fee! Goodbye paycheck!) I reported in at 9am and clocked out at 5. In the middle, I learned all sorts of stuff about my new duties. Which still remain somewhat mysterious, but oh well. Tomorrrow I think it will begin to gel and get a bit more real. (don’t even ask me to describe it. please. because I can’t! I mean I’m incapable!)

My new boss/who is actually an old friend invited me to lunch. I was not about to say no. We had a nice lunch. Afterward we went back to the office and I almost re-enacted a scene from my solo performance piece in which I fall asleep at my desk. I think I was super tired from not much sleep last night, getting up early, getting super adrenalized from the New Situation and then lunch. Zzzzzzzz. I managed to deal with it. But I felt like a sack of bricks. I soldiered on through the afternoon and at 5pm went to pick up my kid. There was no way on EARTH I could think of cooking. We stopped and got some Indian food takeout. Came home and ate it. And now I am lying on my bed.

This is going to be a fast path to gaining about 35 lbs back, let me tell you!

I have got to strategize. I’ve got to strategize NOW. First thing I gotta do is start bringing my own lunch to work. That will help. Second thing is I think I am going to try and walk or run during my lunch break. Probably walk (better than nothing?). If I run I am going to be a stinky frizzy mess. There is no shower at work. OK, what else? I am going to have to figure out some sort of dinner plan wayyyyy ahead of time. Crockpot? What? OMG. I’m also going to have to figure out when I can work out. (walking does not count, that’s just staying sane and alive during the day)

I guess my choices are:

1. Before work

2. After work

Oh my GOD. It might have to be before. Because after…… I just can’t face it. I don’t think I can do it. I am so NOT a morning person but I think I am going to have to join Mr. McBody (who has been doing this for YEARS) at O Dark Hundred and bite the bullet and do it.

I’m going to get up early tomorrow and give it a go. Which should not be a problem since it is 7:30pm and I am ready for bed NOW.

Again. One more moment of silence for people who manage to do this 52 weeks out of the year, make it a priority and make it work.

I feel like one of those people who don’t have kids and then they babysit their friend’s baby for like 3 hours and then they go collapse or have a nervous breakdown.

 

The Breakfast Experiment January 22, 2010

Last week I began an awesome tele-class with the dynamic duo of MizFitOnline and Dinneen  of EatWithoutGuilt. What an amazing team they are! They’re teaching a pilot class called Jumpstart 2010, and I feel fortunate to be part of it. MizFit is a unique expert on all things fitness, and Dinneen is the queen of intuitive healthy eating. Together, they are just fantastic. (for you Twitter folks, look for the hashtag #JS2010 to see Tweets on this class)

For me, I feel it is necessary to always continue learning, finding ways of fine-tuning my understanding of both fitness and nutrition. I can’t afford to sit back and say, “I’m done now.” So it was a great opportunity for me to be able to participate in this class and see/experience things in a different way. Already I am so glad for what I absorbed in the first session.

One of the “homework” assignments of the first week was the Breakfast Experiment. Which consists of eating something new for breakfast every day, and logging how we feel right after, and also 2 hours after each meal.

Here’s what I’ve noted so far.

Day 1: 10am (after heavy workout) mini whole wheat bagels (“bagelettes”) with peanut butter. Pretty good. But since I ate SO late, I was ready for lunch around noon.

Day 2: 8am – caramelized onion scramble (one egg + one eggwhite) with one small slice ham, sprinkling of goat cheese. Plus blueberries on the side. This was VERY filling (Weight Watcher folks will recognize this as a classic “filling food” breakfast!!) and I was happy/satisfied until 12:30pm lunch. Thumbs-up breakfast, but I don’t always have time for this.

Day 3: 10am (again after heavy workout) – 0% Fage yogurt with blueberries, a couple pecans and a drizzle of agave syrup. Very refreshing and yummy after hot workout, but a slight tummyache half an hour later. Was it because it was cold? Because it was dairy? Because it was cold dairy? Hmm.

My trainer yelled at me this morning bc I admitted I had not eaten anything before the workout, only a cup of coffee. I KNOW this is not good. But I am rushing around like a bat out of hell in the AM, driving daughter to school, then rushing to the gym, and it’s all I can do to get a cup of coffee in me to fling myself behind the wheel. No, it’s not ALL I can do, but…

I resist eating before workouts because:

1. It’s early.

2. I don’t like eating the second I wake up.

3. I reallllllly don’t like working out with stuff in my stomach. Because I work out so hard there is often the danger of puking. Today I felt pukey enough on on empty stomach.

I guess the only solution to this is to (nooooooooo!!!) get up earlier. Which means (noooooooo!) going to bed earlier. And maybe I will have one of those mini-bagels, or a slice of turkey? or cheese? on the way to the gym. I’m going to have to experiment with this.  Miz? Dinneen? Any thoughts on this?

Edited to add:

Day 4: Double fiber English muffin with cheddar cheese. I didn’t think this was going to last very long, but it was amaaazingly filling and staying! Four hours, easy.

Day 5: Bear mush hot cereal with blueberries & cream. DELICIOUS. Also very long-lasting. Yum.

 

Fake it till you make it. December 11, 2009

Woo! I’m back in game. Wow, I had a weird psych-out week, workout wise. (how’s that for some alliteration?)

Wednesday was my first workout back with my trainer since I’d gotten sick. I think, objectively I DID okay, and he was like, yeah, you’re doing great, this is awesome, BUT I was emotionally shaky. I do these sideways running hurdle things, two sets of ten. Usually I just do them. They feel good. On Wednesday, during the second set, when I was on #7, I felt myself looking anxiously at the clock, and wondering if I could actually make it. I did, but it brought up this crazy anxiety and grief about Not Being Able To Do something. Or having it hurt or feel hard. I know, I’ve been down this road before. But it’s my particular Achilles heel.

I think one of the reasons I really despised that girl Amanda on Biggest Loser is that I saw her as this big whinemuffin. Which is how I was much of my life. I hated myself for it, and I hated that this is how I was. And if things got hard, I’d be whimpering and moaning like a big baby. (she started doing this high pitched whining during her marathon and I just had to TURN IT OFF, it upset me so much) And I felt my whinemuffin self starting to rear its whiney little head on Wednesday. And I couldn’t stand it. I left the gym feeling really anxious and pissed off, and thought, this better change SOON.

On Thursday (yesterday) I sort of dragged myself to a Nia class. Most of the people there were like 75 years old, so it was not really this big consolation that I was able to get through the class without whining. In fact I felt rather pathetic. Also, I got there late because I was dragging my feet so much. I missed the first 15 minutes. I told myself that the consequence I was giving myself for being tardy was that I was going to take the class AFTER Nia, which is called something like Turbo Toning.  It’s filled with very buff college students (no senior citizens). I always see them chomping at the bit, waiting to get in as we are finishing up our Nia. (which I’m sure looks super lame to them) It’s only a half hour class. I figured I could do it.

Well, I did it. But it was hecka hard. We used 3 and 5 lb weights for endless (it felt like) repetitions. There were a lot of variations of pushups, which I hate. So I did it. I felt a little more virtuous, but still, I did not feel happy or good because I REALLY felt like whining during that class.

This morning, I trudged back to the gym. I had a little heart-to-heart with my trainer during my stretching and warmup session. I poured out all my whiney neurosis and he listened, like the great guy that he is.  He also had a bit of a devilish twinkle in his eye. He let me express all of my doubt, anxiety and whininess and then he put on my favorite Slumdog Millionaire workout mix, and we got down to it. Some of the things he had me do, I was like, you must be joking. But he was not joking, and I DID IT, and I BROUGHT IT, and it felt….. WHOOOOOOO!!

What I did today:

I did that whole circuit 2 times through. When I was done I felt like a million bucks. I loudly sang holiday tunes along with the radio all the way home.  I was so pumped.

It was interesting how my head really messed me up this week. And how it turned around. Just… interesting, this mind-body connection.

 

Immobilized. September 28, 2009

IMG_0641I went to the doctor this morning, our family podiatrist whom I really like. He trims my mother’s claw-like toenails, and he fitted me for my awesome orthotics which allow me to run without pain. So I really like him.

When I made the appointment, I told the receptionist (who happens to be his wife), “I sprained my ankle,” and she said “Oh!” in a way that *I* interpreted to mean, and you’re coming in for THAT? But who knows, I have been known to misinterpret one-syllabled utterances before. So I felt kind of sheepish going in there, feeling like, I’m overreacting, this is dumb, I shoulda just stayed home and put more ice on it…

His face said it all. He moved both my ankles around, the skinny one and the big fat one. The fat one moved a LOT further than the skinny one. He said, “This is bad. This is very bad.” OH.  He then went on to say that all of my ligaments were probably completely ruptured, and it was possible that I had a bit of a fracture as well.

I was pretty stunned. He said that it was really unfortunate that I didn’t come in when I had my first bad sprain back in August. Because basically I probably had a partial tear then, but then I’ve been running on it (and it became noticeably worse after the 5k over Labor Day weekend), not immobilizing it, and my ankle was just getting more and more unstable and compromised, and yesterday it just gave way completely. I could see that when he moved my ankle, there wasn’t any pain (bad sign!) it just was completely floppy and loose.

So now I am in this cast boot for a minimum of two weeks. I am not sure what is going to happen with the Nia Jam. I am GOING, for sure, and I will see what I can do within the confines of this boot. Swimming? Not yet. Running? NO WAY.

He said that I would have to wear the boot for weeks, and then a brace thing “forever” unless I get ankle surgery. He likened the ligaments to a nylon band and said that these things do not just mend like new, it’s not like bone or even muscle. I have to admit that after the appointment I went out to my car and cried for a while. (and if you’ve read my blog for a while you’ll know that that has become my M.O. after certain medical appointments)

The thing is, if this had happened last year (well, last year I would never have injured myself running!) I would have been secretly thrilled to have an excuse to not exercise. I would be like, OH DARN I can’t work out! and instantly take it as license to sit around and eat cupcakes. This year, I am devastated. Sure, I know it could be worse. I could have some dreadful diagnosis (yeah, more dreadful than diabetes!) — but the thing is, y’all KNOW how much it has meant to me to be working out this year. I have come to love it and rely on it and need it.

I know that my great trainer will keep me reasonably fit and busy. I can do a ton of upper body stuff (go, Michelle Obama arms!) with weights, sitting on the ball etc. and there’s all that fun CORE stuff. I can do a lot. But it’s not the same as Nia and running, which were both really important to me.

I’m lying on the bed with my boot on now. I have to say, this boot feels really good. Last night as I was trying to sleep, I could feel my ankle flip-flopping around all loose like, and that felt terrible. The boot makes me feel secure, like I am being held together. Which is good.

 

 
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