eat, move, think, feel


May 22, 2009

Got Sweat?

It used to be (not so long ago, either!) that if I got a little pink in the face and had a thin film of sweat, I’d declare, “WOW that was a good workout!” But I wasn’t wild about big exertion. I only saw my trainer twice a week, and during the other days, I’d either walk (leisurely) or do nothing.  I was fairly sweatophobic.

Now, I feel like a workout session just isn’t cutting it unless I have visible rivers of sweat running down my face and body, and unless I can see a color change in my clothing. THAT is different!  And now, on my “days off” from my trainer I am either running with my penguin buddy (we call each other that because we used to run like penguins) or at the gym. If I take a walk, it’s “extra” and really for pleasure rather than considering it a workout.

Someone on Twitter recently mentioned that she didn’t want to intentionally sweat after sweating all day at work. I liked that phrase “intentional sweat.” I LOVE intentional sweat now!!!!! But I still really really hate “uninentional sweat” which comes from just standing around in hot, muggy weather. I grew up in NJ so I know about this. It’s MISERABLE.

ANyway, I read somewhere that once you start working out, you really have to keep upping the intensity level or your body just sort of stagnantes. As you get stronger, you just have to DO MORE. Back then, the idea absolutely terrified me (“I can barely do what I’m doing NOW, how can I do MORE? Aghh, get me off this train!”) but now it is exciting. It is making me believe that now that I’ve done a 5k, they will keep getting easier and faster, and that I WILL be able to get to a 10k or even a half marathon. RUNNING.

I had an incredible nonscale victory today. I’ve been going on and on about how I HATE spinning (stationary bike). It’s true, it’s the only exercise I’ve done that has made me want to puke. About 2 years ago, I worked up to a pretty high level but then we moved on to other things (trainer and me). I’ve never taken a group spinning class. I really don’t know how those things work, just how I do it with my trainer. Anyway, he had me doing these things that he calls “hops.” One hop basically = pedal 2x standing up, and on the 3rd pedal, sit down for a millisecond. Then up again.This is all done at very high resistance, so you have to push HARD to do one revolution. This is a lot harder than either perpetually standing or sitting, because it’s that up-down thing that is such an effort. I hated those freaking things. The first time I did them, I was heaving and gasping and really almost crying after I’d completed 25. I worked up to 4 sets of 25 for a total of 100.

I hadn’t done “hops” in YEARS when a few weeks ago he said, why don’t we try this. I immediately felt a sense of dread and anxiety. And it kicked my butt. I actually did cry then, because I felt like I’d come so far in my fitness, the running etc. and why could I not do these hops?? It nearly killed me to do 100, then a second 100, gasping out for mercy the last 30 or so.

So I was NOT HAPPY when I walked in and he said we were going to do the bike today. I thrashed around on the floor and whined and groaned (I can be quite dramatic when I feel like it). He was like, don’t worry, only 500. I was really upset. I dragged out the warmup for about 40 minutes. Then I got on the bike. He turned up the resistance. I started.

Um. It did not kick my butt. I kicked its butt. My trainer counts by going 1, 2, 3, 20, etc (going up) until the last ten, then he counts down when he reaches 90. 10, 9, 7…  His plan was for me to do five sets of 100, with ample breathing and whining in between each set. But when he got to 90, I wasn’t even breathing hard. He was like, WOW, okay, keep going. I got to 150. I got to 200. I was still feeling pretty damn good. Happy little sweat rivers were coming down my neck. I got to 300. Then I stopped.

My trainer had tears in his eyes. He said, I have goosebumps, you crazy woman. I was so happy. I was not at all winded, but my feet hurt, so I thought I was a good time to stop. I said, “I don’t think you had the resistance high enough.” He looked at me funny. He cranked it up several turns. He said “OK, now go.” I cranked out the last 200 feeling like, I don’t know what. Chariots of Fire.

It. Was. Freaking. Awesome.  And now I’ve been on an endorphin high all day.

I’m not afraid of anything anymore.

UPDATE ON 5/27/09: Did 700 straight without stopping. Heeeeeeeee!!!!!

Old Habits Die Hard

One of the things that David Kessler talks about in The End of Overeating is the incredibly strong trigger of nostalgia, emotions about certain foods that are hardwired from childhood.

I’m going to a major league baseball game this weekend. I wasn’t really worried or thinking about it at all until a friend (who is also going) just emailed me and said, “What do they have for food? Is it mostly junk?” My immediate reaction was, “YES, AND I LOVE IT ALL!!!!!!!!” I know, I KNOW, they are horrible disgusting products made of pig toenails and rat ears and nitrites and poo, but god, I LOVE hot dogs. I remember very clearly being at a church picnic when I was about ten? years old. The hot dogs were perfectly grilled, with the crispy little lines on them, and I remember squirting them with that fluorescent yellow mustard and thinking I had never tasted anything so delicious in my life.  The weather was perfect. I kept going back to the outdoor grill, and one of the church dads was grilling, and he kept saying (delightedly), “You want another one??” I don’t remember how many hot dogs I ate that day, but it was probably five or more. It was a lot. (was that the beginning of it all?)

Imagine my horror when I grew up and realized that hot dogs were not, like, the perfect food.  We don’t eat them at home anymore (except when my mother wants them–she has NEVER given them up, and she’s 86) although we do enjoy the occasional chicken-apple sausage (yummy, but not exactly the same). I felt like the only place where I could legitimately enjoy a hotdog was at a baseball game. I mean, who ISN’T eating hot dogs at a major league baseball game?

Obviously, I have not been to a ball game since January. Sigh. NOW what do I do. I did have some ideas about hosting a healthy tailgate (oh GOD) in the parking lot beforehand, but I have something else going on all day, so wouldn’t have time to prepare anything.

I could, obviously, eat ONE hot dog and it would not kill me. But there’s that slippery slope. And I’d probably hate it anyway. (would I?)

I have to make a plan. I have to find the one vegi-burger stand in the entire stadium, and do that. Or else pack a bunch of random things in a carry-in bag: carrots, hummus, apples, cheese. Sigh.

No hot dog? No garlic fries? Realllly?

Yeah, really.

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