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Nia jammmmmmin’!

IMG_0660The Nia Jam today was so great. Wouldn’t it be amazing if every class could have a dozen awesome teachers, go on for an hour and a half and just be enormous? I would love it.

I went in feeling not so psyched and kind of trepidatious, what with the stupid boot and all. I was feeling kind of glum and like I was going to have to be on the sidelines of all the fun.  I had a chair set up in the back if necessary. But I ended up not needing it at all. I was so surprised (and thrilled!) that I was able to do about 80% of the moves, even the turns and twirls, in my boot! AND I got a great workout, I was nice and sweaty afterward.

BIG fun is that I got to meet the awesome Terre Pruitt, the lovely Nia teacher who started commenting on my blog after my very first Nia class! She’s sweet and adorable and also has great dimples.

I was re-energized. And encouraged. If I could do a 90 minute Nia Jam, then I can DEFINITELY go back to my regular Nia classes, even with the boot. Yay!

It’s probably my last Nia for a while, though. On Tuesday morning I am taking off for the East Coast, for the grand finale/icing on the cake/best birthday celebration ever. (yes, my birthday was in August, I believe in drawing it out as long as possible!) And I’ll also be getting to celebrate my beloved daughter’s 19th birthday with her! (not something I was expecting, so it’s a special gift for both of us) I’ll be with some of my dearest friends ever, people I never get to see enough of, and we’re capping it off with dinner at the awesome, original, one and only Moosewood restaurant! I can’t waiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit. Then I come home, and a few days later it’s off to Weight Watcher leader training. October is nonstop on the go!

Listening to My Body: but what is it saying??

imagesThis ankle injury has been making me think a lot about this idea of “listening” to one’s body. On one hand, listening to my body got me into this trouble in the first place. But then part of me was trying to say something else. What if your body sends you mixed messages?

Today, the 3rd day of my injury, it is feeling a lot better than Sunday. I am limping just the slightest bit. It’s hurting about the same as it was 3rd-day-past, when I sprained it back in August. If I were “listening” to my body, I’d say I’m definitely ready to go to Nia class tomorrow, and running this weekend for SURE. But that’s not what the podiatrist said, and definitely not what I’m supposed to do.

It’s really hard to be compliant when your body is saying it “needs” something other than what you’re doing with/for it. Last night, I put my cast boot on at bedtime. At first (for the first twenty minutes) it felt comforting, like it was holding me in place. But I woke up around midnight and felt like I was encased in some medieval torture device. The plastic edge was digging into my toes, and my ankle was throbbing and searing in discomfort. I thrashed around trying to come into a comfortable position. But I am a diehard stomach-sleeper, and with that comes the position of having the top surfaces of my feet flattened into the mattress. I can’t do that with my ankle cemented at a 90 degree angle. I tried to negotiate with myself, but around 1am my body was shrieking, “GET ME OUT OF HERE!” I couldn’t take it.

And because I COULD, I sat up and ripped the velcro belts off the thing, liberated my lower leg – I told myself “just a few minutes,” fell back asleep, and the next thing I knew it was 6am, I was on my stomach and my ankle was in the Forbidden Position. (much like the illustration here) I felt guilty, sheepish and afraid. What if I had just stretched my ligament fragments even further apart?

Today, already I feel myself questioning the need to wear the dumb boot. Come ON! I feel FINE! It’s more of a pain to clomp around in what is essentially a ski boot, than to go barefoot and have a small limp.

Suddenly for some reason I am understanding why and how there are diabetics who pretty much ignore the fact of their disease because they can’t “feel” it. It was that way for me when I had high blood pressure.

I don’t know why it is that I feel that I need to be compliant re my diabetes no matter how I “feel,” but I am feeling more resistant about this ankle thing. Maybe because I don’t really believe that it will be harmful to go without the boot – because it doesn’t hurt. But diabetes doesn’t “hurt” either, not really. (not at THIS point)

It’s a short-term vs long term thing. Grasshopper and ant. I want to dance NOW. I want to run NOW. But if I do that, I could end up with debilitating arthritis. I can keep the vision of diabetic amputees, blindness and kidney failure at the front of my consciousness, because I’ve seen that, and I know it’s real.  Is it just that I haven’t seen people with debilitating arthritis who are saying, “Oh I sprained my ankle a hundred times, and never immobilized it, and look where I am now!” Do I have to see it to believe it??

Grounded Again (ouch)

imagesI’m so bummed. I went running this morning and about 3/4 around the lake, I felt my ankle give way. It went snap! and I crashed to the ground. HELL, it hurt. I bloodied my knee and my palm where I tried to catch myself. My ankle is now a big swollen golf ball. It really hurts to walk on it. I was going to go to a Nia class today, but that’s clearly out. I just hope I am healed enough to do the Nia Jam (two hours of nonstop Nia with over a dozen teachers!) a week from today.

I knew something was wrong with my ankle. I sprained it while running about 3 months ago. It took a few weeks to heal, but then after my 5k a few weeks ago, it started bugging me again – just feeling kind of sore and a little unstable. What did I do? I ignored it and hoped for the best. Dumb. So today when I was running with my friend, we were talking, and there was an area where it went from path to sidewalk, just a little uneven surface. I just crashed (literally). It hurt like the devil, and we still had about 1/4 mile to go to the cars. I hobbled to the car.

Now I’ve got it propped up, I have an ice bag on it. It’s throbbing. It’s big. I just Googled “ankle sprain” and I’m trying to figure out if it is Grade 1 or 2. I sure hope it is Grade 1. But I’m realizing that this ankle is truly my body’s weak link for now.

This is one of my biggest fears in terms of weight loss, fitness, maintenance etc. That I will be injured for a long period of time and thus be unable to exercise, that I will become inactive and become blobby and gain weight etc etc…

But I can’t go there. I just have to try not to panic, to keep my ankle iced and elevated and try to remain calm. There are two events I am missing today because of this: my Nia class, and also a friend’s going away that is in a park, at a picnic site a 1/4 mile hike in. Can’t do. So I will take these extra hours.  Get some writing done. Rest. Try to breathe.

Gone Fishin’

No, not really fishing. Mostly, teaching. But yes, I’ve been kind of scarce around here. I hope you won’t all forget about me! I’m doing well, just super super busy with my classes.  And other stuff.

  • Mr. McBody and I celebrate being married 21 years ago today! Woo!! Sometimes this just boggles my mind. Where did all that time go? I am thankful that it has been a good, sweet journey, not without its bumps, but we’ve ridden them all so far. I am grateful for his support and his always advocating for my health even when I didn’t advocate for it myself, in fact I was trying to toss it out the window with both hands.  I think we’ll probably go out to a nice dinner, and I will practice my appetizers + wine + 3 bites of dessert method of maintenance. I’ll let you know how that goes.  We also got tickets to a play that has gotten rave reviews and is allegedly romantic. We shall see!
  • I have been WANTING to write a post about the recent brouhaha about Michael Pollan and people accusing him of Fat Hatred. Unfortunately, this is not something I can just zip off in three minutes. I feel like in order to be coherent and really make any sense, I need to do a LOT of reading and then take a lot of time to formulate my thoughts. Of which I have many. If you’d like to read ahead, and get started on this conversation without me, just Google “Michael Pollan fat hatred.” You’ll be busy for a while.
  • I’m going to 4-day intensive WW Leader training starting October 15th! Without giving away any Big Secrets, I’d love to blog that experience.
  • I have a winner in the MizFit “unapologetically myself” T-shirt giveaway! It’s LND, who wrote:

Excuse: I cant work out because that work out scares the shileighleighs out of me.

Response: (Don’t look up the workout before going to the gym…CrossFit changes it daily)

Actually, the response is something along the lines of: If you don’t go you are just cheating yourself. Scale the workout if you have to, but results only happen if you do the work necessary to get there.

I just love that word, “shileighleighs.” OK LND, I’ve emailed you. Hit me up with your mailing address and you will have your MizFit shirt in no time!

I will really try and stop in but it will probably be kind of boring. “I ran.” “I went to Nia.” “I maintained my weight.” 🙂

Seriously though.  This blog has been my lifeline for MONTHS so I do not want to stay away too long. I know once I stop blogging, I might be tempted to get slacky in other ways. Don’t let me do that. Write me and let me know if there’s anything you want me to write about. I respond well to homework.

AND I’ll be here Tuesday night for Biggest Loser liveblogging, without fail.

Weighing In Mess

I got an email from the WW people saying that my monthly official weigh-in was overdue (it’s taking me a while to understand the rules here) so I thought I’d check out a meeting out here in the Midwest. Found one just a mile from my hotel.

Now this is the deal with Lifetime. You are eligible for free meetings if you are no more than 2 lbs over your Goal Weight. (the weight you were at when achieving LT).  At my last weigh-in, I was almost two pounds UNDER. So today, I was 1.8 lbs over THAT weight, which meant I was .4 lb over my GOAL. (also, the clothes I am wearing are easily .4 heavier than my normal weigh-in outfit) And the weigher tsk-tsked at me and said, “Hmm, 1.8 up. Well, you’re on vacation, right?”

It affected me. WOW. Why did I let it affect me? I sat and steamed through the whole meeting (and btw the leader was TERRIFIC, not the same person as the weigher). It made me think, once again, about how sensitive this whole weigh-in thing is. People who do this can seriously throw people off.  When I do this at my job, I really try to be as positive as possible, as encouraging as I can.

I really liked the meeting, which was about restaurant eating. Speaking of restaurants, my daughter took me to this GREAT place last night. It was so uber-healthy and delicious! You basically go to this huge vegetable bar, load up your bowl, add some protein (if you want) and they stir fry it up and bring it to your table. You have total control of portions, ingredients, etc. It was incredibly yummy.

Anyway, back to the meeting. The leader had everyone fold up their nametags (good way to have people not walking around with tags on all day) and she did a drawing for a prize. The woman next to me said she does this every week. I’ll have to remember this. It was fun – she gave away a journal. I wonder if she gets these things in bulk or whatever, but I thought it was a great idea.

I came back to my hotel for breakfast. They have this free buffet thing with a decent assortment. I headed straight for the hot egg mcmuffin (actually a mcBagel thing). Definitely  not the best choice but I was still all messed up from the stupid weigh in. WHY? And why did it make me make a “bad” choice? I didn’t just have one, but two. (OK, two HALVES so I guess one whole bagel!) NOT a big deal in and of itself, but the fact that I was eating out of pure emotion. Hmmm.

Then after breakfast I was too full to go work out. But I’m not in the mood for hotel gym right now. I’m going to go to that Nia class again. I am hoping it will help calm me down.

Interesting what a crazy cycle it all is. If I had weighed-in at home, I would have felt perfectly HAPPY with my weight, which is just FINE. But that offhand little comment/facial expression whatever, just threw me. It THREW ME ACROSS THE ROOM. It made me eat all emotionally. How stupid is that? Or how…? I don’t know. I’m just feeling all discombobulated right now and I could really use some spacey music (or maybe some geriatric lavender aromatherapy, hm Mizfit?) to calm me down.

Nia Nia Everywhere!

I’ve been taking Nia in so many places it’s making my head spin (um, literally!). But it’s very interesting.

Last Sunday after the 5k I went to a great class with an awesome Nia teacher. What I didn’t mention is that that class was actually FILLED with Nia teachers. One of the participants turned out to be a Nia teacher who was visiting from … Ecuador! She was just a few feet away from me and was absolutely amazing to watch: graceful, beautiful, fluid. There was another person near the front who seemed to have an INCREDIBLE amount of energy. Whereas the teacher usually demonstrates, “This is level one.. this is two.. three…” in terms of exertion etc., this woman was operating at like level EIGHT. I was thinking, whoa, are you over the top? Are you trying to outdo the teacher? But it turns out she was an instructor as well. It made me curious – does she teach her classes at that level? Do her students feel intimidated? Or energized?

The next day, I took another class at a new place, where I thought I’d be with a teacher I’d had before and liked a lot (the dimpley, “gooey” one!). But it turned out that she wasn’t there, and the class was taught by a sub. All I can say about that experience is that it was one of the only Nia classes I took where I felt like it just was not a good match for me. The music rubbed me the wrong way (think elevators and dentists). The teacher seemed physically not quite up to the job. She was enthusiastic and seemed to be having a good time, but this class was a little bit too much DIY (do it yourself) for my preference.  If this was my first class, I do not think I would return.

Today, I went to a class two thousand miles from home. I was warmly welcomed by the teacher. It turns out this class is brand new, and there were only two students! (including me!) It’s a good thing this was probably my 8th? class or else I would have probably not been able to deal with that. The teacher was good. The other student was good. It was all good. It didn’t knock my socks completely off, but it felt familiar in all the right ways and unique in some good ways too. I thought it was impressive that this teacher could teach a class to TWO people and seem perfectly comfortable and relaxed, as if she were teaching to two dozen. I was happy I went, and I will certainly try to return if I can manage it. After the class, the teacher asked how I liked it and  said she had not been teaching Nia very long (could’ve fooled me!). I told her I’d enjoyed it a lot. (true)

One of the things I’ve noticed about Nia is their great ability to “translate” certain movements into descriptions that just make so much sense. I am normally a terrible dancer, I have a hard time following instructions and it can take me forever to pick something up. But some of the phrasing I’ve heard in Nia makes me feel like I “get it” right away and I don’t feel like I am completely out of synch with the entire class. A few things I’ve heard have been: “your hands are seaweed” – (yeah, flowy!) – or, “we’re surfing” (changing balance in that crouched position) – wiping a table, pulling out an arrow (from your stomach? OW!) etc. It’s all very visual an accessible.

I am really looking forward to a big “Nia Jam” coming up in a few weeks, which is a two-hour extravaganza taught by a whole slew of teachers. It should be so interesting! and fun. If anybody around wants to check out Nia, this could be a great opportunity to try it out.

Did another 5k – But am I a Runner?

IMG_0625I did my 3rd 5k race today. I was really nervous about it since I have not been running very much at all – maybe a 20 minute run per week -and I had not trained for it. But I was curious to know how the rest of my exercise would prepare me – does general fitness help? And I was curious about how my running time would stand up to the previous two runs.

There were all sorts of impediments that I was sort of hoping would make us decide to NOT do the run. I realized that the major bridge between where I live and the run took place, was closed all weekend for construction. But we ended up going around, and taking two other bridges, and we actually got there in about half an hour.

We got there so early we went to a Starbucks nearby (there are ALWAYS Starbucks nearby, aren’t there?) and I had my 2nd cup of coffee for the morning (probably not wise). We went over to the race course about twenty minutes ahead of time, registered and got little tags to pin to our shirts. This was definitely a low-budget, low-tech, volunteer affair, unlike the other races. Which meant that most of the people participating were more serious runners.

There were only a few minutes to “warm up” and I was sort of kicking myself, because the point of getting there super early was to WARM UP, not to sit and drink coffee at Starbucks. Duh! There was no bell or gun or anything at the Start, just a guy yelling, “Ready…. set… GO!” We went. Most of the crowd (a few hundred people?) took off really, really fast. M and I had sworn to each other that we would try and go at a comfortable pace, and not get all worked up about trying to keep up with folks. This was hard as most people just kept passing and passing us.

For the first mile or so, my feet hurt. My feet haven’t hurt while exercising in MONTHS. But they hurt. Plus I knew I was breathing harder than usual. M kept saying, “It’s going to get easier.” Probably the middle mile was the easiest. My foot pain eased up and we were in sort of a rhythm. It was super windy. We were going against the wind and it felt like a huge hand was just pushing us way back. The good part was that it was right along the water and the Golden Gate Bridge was right there and it looked quite pretty. (not that I looked at it much)

After a while, we started seeing the front runners coming towards us. The route had a turnaround point and those out in front were sailing past. They looked pretty awesome and cool and I felt inspired seeing them. Then I kept wondering, when do WE get to turn around? It took a lot longer to get to that point than I would have liked.

The last mile was both better and worse. The prospect of finishing made me happy, but I think we were both struggling a bit and wondering if it was going to happen. Then the finish line was in sight. We sprinted at the end, so we could finish with a time of 36 minutes. We did! But then I felt instantly nauseated. I had to walk around. I felt pretty awful.

After we drove home and I dropped M off, I noticed that I was only about a mile from my Sunday morning Nia class, and it was starting in 15 minutes. Part of me said, “That’s crazy” and part of me felt like I really, really needed it. I think the run had stressed me. I felt pretty anxious during most of it, asking constantly about the time and trying to figure out if I was going to survive. I was sure I was filled with adrenaline and stress hormones. I felt like I needed the calm and grounding of Nia, even if it was another workout. So I went.

It was lovely, and very energizing. I felt like the run had really warmed me up, plus the room was super hot. I was really happy to be in there. The teacher was fantastic (again).  I was glad I had done it. After the class, I decided to go check out the mega amazing super organic million-times-better-than-Whole-Foods new grocery store.

And it was in there that I bonked. Suddenly I was pushing my cart like a 100 year old person, feeling faint, nauseated, overwhelmed. None of the amazing food looked good to me, even though I hadn’t eaten anything since my PB-on-whole-wheat-English-muffin at 6:30am. (MISTAKE) But I pushed it along for an hour, came home, brought the groceries into the kitchen, feeling worse and worse and worse, then promptly fell into bed and did not move except to moan for the rest of the day (I am still in bed).

I think I got super dehydrated. I also did not do myself any favors by not eating, especially before the Nia class. But I had been feeling so upset-stomachy that food did not appeal. So I pretty much messed myself up today. Oh well. I learned. And I recovered by having some super salty chicken soup that my nice husband brought to me.

But I’m feeling ambivalent about running now. The good news is:

  1. I finished.
  2. I finished with the same time as my last race.
  3. 36 minutes for 3.1 miles is not amazing, but it is also not too shabby. For a 50 yr old who does not run a lot.
  4. It made me feel happy and accomplished, and I got another little ribbon to add to my collection.

The bad news is:

  1. I was really pretty anxious during the whole run.
  2. I was dumb and did not hydrate or eat enough.
  3. I basically was useless the entire second half of the day. I mean, I felt TERRIBLE.
  4. I do not want to run all the time, which is probably necessary for doing better during races than I did today.

The thing is, I actually like running when I am running to run, but not in races. I get too caught up in keeping up with people. Meanwhile, today, an 80 year old limping guy passed us. A woman who probably weighs 150 more than me passed us. A ton of little kids passed us, including a few who fell down and were crying, but got up and still beat us.

We ARE the running Penguins, that’s for sure. Should we just run for the fun of it when we want to, as far as we want to, or should we (or mainly I) keep doing races?

Vacation Then and Now

IMG_9325We’re taking a short little vacation up in beautiful Whistler (site of the 2010 Winter Olympics) in British Columbia, Canada. The mountains here are truly spectacular. Yesterday we took a gorgeous hike; today we walked around a stunning jade-green lake and then I went to the fitness center for a little workout.

It used to be that the word “vacation” was synonymous with: eat as much as possible because you might not ever have this opportunity again;  exercise as little as possible because this is supposed to be a “rest.”

But this vacation has showed me how much my mindset has changed. When we first arrived in Vancouver the other night, I discovered that there was a Nia (!) class taking place about a mile from our hotel.  I was so excited. International Nia! I put on my running shoes after dinner and took off in the direction of the class. I realized I only had about 15 minutes so I knew I’d have to run. It was fun, running through the crowded city streets in search of Nia. When I finally arrived at the building, the receptionist told me the class had JUST ENDED. Whoops. I am pretty bad when it comes to military time! So hubby and I walked back to our hotel (he had come with me to keep me company, not that he had any intention of doing Nia, LOL) and on the way we stopped in at a Lululemon store (nifty workout clothes). We both tried a bunch of things on and I bought a very Nia-esque top. And I thought, wow, THIS is different. Finding a workout in a different location (a different country, even!). RUNNING to get there. Shopping at a store that features exercise gear. All of these things would be fairly unheard of a year ago.

I feel like I haven’t fallen into “vacation bottomless pit mode” just because I’m on vacation. That is a relief and it feels good. Happily, we have a little condo type unit with a kitchen, so we haven’t had to go out for (and pay for) breakfasts and lunches. I was bummed to see that the supermarket here had NO WHOLE WHEAT English Muffins, let alone the double-fiber ones that I like. Likewise, no Fage nonfat yogurt! Needless to say, no super fiber waffles. I’ve been eating eggs for breakfast.

It has shown me that vacation can be fun and celebratory and relaxing and it doesn’t have to mean falling off any wagons. What a revelation!

Exercise as Pleasure, Not Punishment

3388196563_528db7559eIt was not too long ago – less than a year – that I viewed exercise (or “activity” as WW likes to euphemistically call it) as painful, something to be dreaded and endured. Even though I was going to a personal trainer twice a week, I rarely did anything on the other days. And I often could barely get through my workouts. Sometimes I cried. Sometimes I threw up (I am not kidding). Sometimes I acted like a total whiney wimp so my trainer would have mercy on me and go easy on my poor pathetic self. It wasn’t pretty. I’d also use exercise as a tool to flog myself when I ate too much. Again, NOT pretty.

But things changed when January 2009 and this blog and my diabetes diagnosis rolled around. I knew that I was going to have to step it up or my body and health were in for big trouble. So I upped the trainer to 3x a week, and started myself on the Couch-to-5k running program. It was not so easy at first, but eventually my 60 second runs turned into two minute runs, then three and five and fifteen minutes. Around that time I actually began LOOKING FORWARD to working out. Once I began working out 5-6 times a week, I began feeling that endorphin rush that I had believed was a mythical state of being. I started feeling happier and more energetic. I stopped wanting to take naps every single day.

For many months, I felt like the longer, the harder, the better. I would go to the gym and go at the elliptical like a mad woman. All this was good. I got a lot stronger. I lost weight. All good!

But I started thinking, how the heck am I going to keep this up when I am sixty years old? Seventy? The idea of it made me feel kind of nervous and worried.

Not long ago, a friend of mine brought me to a Nia class for the first time. It was really one of the most unusual exercise experiences I have ever had. I was not sure what to make of it. I sort of mocked it but I had to admit that it made me feel good, and after that class, I really wanted to do it again (that’s always a good sign!). So yesterday I went to my second class. It was even better than the first one. I enjoyed it so much. The teacher had fabulous dimples (I am a complete sucker for dimples) and kept using words like “juicy” and “gooey” and “yummy.” She was just like that – yummy! and really happy. At the end of the class she put on this song called “Dream” and she was singing along with it really loudly and joyfully, just like you sing in the car with the windows rolled up. I mean, she really belted it out and it was so great! I did not have the guts to belt it out along with her, but it was great to hear.

Today I went to another class, at another place. This teacher was super graceful, elegant and willowy and just beautiful to watch. (that’s her in the photo above!!) She was so cool. The other two Nia classes I went to both made me want to laugh out loud (I did, actually) but today’s class had me almost crying in parts. I got really emotional and lump-in-throat as we were moving around. But in a good way.

If you look at the Nia website, one of the testimonials has this woman saying she used to pump iron and such, but now all she does is Nia and she is in super amazing shape. And I had to think, WOW, could you really be in such awesome shape from something that is so much FUN? It does not seem possible. And this is something that seventy year olds can totally do. And thirty year olds.

But I also did not think it was possible to lose weight while eating yummy foods like cheese, brownies, birthday cake and Prosecco. And here I am, doing just that.

It’s made me rethink all the ideas I had about “dieting” and “exercise.” Maybe it doesn’t have to be torture. Maybe the secret is that it CAN’T be torture.  🙂

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