Wednesday, April 30, 2008

I still hate shopping

So, in a few weeks I am traveling down south to visit with a friend for a few days. I live in Massachusetts. Tennessee tends to experience summer way sooner than I get to. So that means my plan of not buying summer clothes until sometime in June is foiled. Unless I want to walk around with my jeans rolled up like I'm about to go wading and look like an idiot.

Shopping just takes time, even more so now. I still am not a hundred percent sure what size I am. For example, when I low carbed it a few years ago, I bought a size 14 skirt, which I remember at the time, was a bit snug, but it fit. Now, most of the things I try on that are size fourteen fit me, but the only way this skirt fits is if I pull it up far enough that there is a threat of indecent exposure. So I'm trying really hard to lose some weight, because other than an old pair of capris that are a strange color of denim, that skirt is the only thing that will fit me that I currently own. I'm not sure if I can fit into that skirt in three weeks, but I'm going to try.

I have other skirts, capris, cargo pants, but last summer, I had to walk around with my hands in my pockets so I could nonchalantly keep them from falling off. I'm sure that worked.

When I started exercising, besides yoga, my exercise of choice was the elliptical. It was pretty self explanatory, and I have bad knees, so I couldn't exercise to the point of exhaustion running on the treadmill like I could on the elliptical without jarring my knees. I kept track of how far I could run on the elliptical. I started out at 2.3 miles. By the next week I worked up to 5 miles. The next week I got to 7.5 miles. I eventually got up to 9.4 by the end of the next month. I would have gone further, but the machine makes you get off after an hour. I don't want to give up kickboxing or the ADD class. Step, I could do without, but I don't think I'll be dropping it. But I'd still like to get back to that sort of stamina.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Weigh in Day

I went down a pound this week. Exactly a pound. So that's cool. Everyone's been asking me how much weight I've lost recently and apparently I look way different, and I do feel different, like somehow my elbows feel smaller and my face feels smaller. Seeing as it has been about five pounds in the past couple of weeks, which, granted, is great, but it isn't a huge dramatic loss. I've been eating healthier than I have been and drinking a lot more water, so maybe that is it. Plus, whenever I lose weight, I always lose it in my face first, so I guess that more noticeable than if I lost it in my stomach or whatever.

Monday is my weigh in/Weight Watchers meeting day. Monday is also my go into work two hours earlier than any other day day. As such, Monday is the only day were it really does make sense, time wise, for me to take the six am gym class, because that's pretty much the only time I have to get a serious work out in. I also like going to the aerobics classes because it is nearly a guaranteed hour of working out, instead of me futzing around in the elliptical/treadmill/weight room and there's always the chance that Excuse Voice will talk me into getting off the elliptical and go home. It is a bit more difficult for Excuse Voice to talk me into leaving an aerobics class in the middle of it. And since I am getting weighed in that day, I feel like it is extra important that I get a worthwhile work out in.

The work out class that is Mondays at 6 am is Step Aerobics/Regular Aerobics/Strength Training, and in theory, each section lasts twenty minutes. Regular Aerobics is okay. I get kind of bored quickly but that's all right. Strength training is all right. I like muscles. But good lord, I hate Step. I'm tempted to find whoever invented step in the eighties or whatever and slap them silly for inventing something that makes me look like such a twit and has such a high risk of me tripping over my feet and spraining my ankle and not being able to exercise for months.

I'm the clumsiest person I've ever come across. No lie, I fell on my backside a few weeks ago while I was standing still. I have no idea how that happened. My ankle rolls out and so my twisting my ankle is pretty common. I've sprained my ankle badly enough that it had to stay wrapped for a few months and then I had to go physical therapy for another few months. And this happened while I was going down stairs. So you'll understand that I'm not exactly thrilled about an activity where the whole intent is to mimic a stair and upon said stair you are supposed to do semi-complicated maneuvers whose seeming intent is to make you trip.

I really have to take up running or something so I have an option on days where there isn't kickboxing or ADD aerobics.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


Last night I went out with one of my best friends. We've known each literally our whole lives (if you don't count the year between our births). Growing up she was always tiny. Most of our lives, she's probably been too thin. She's gained some weight through college, like most people, and she just moved into an apartment with her boyfriend, and her life has been stressful the past few years, and as is prone to happen, she's gained some weight, and currently, according to her doctor, she's overweight now. I think she looks normal, or even smaller than normal, but whatever.

I personally like to shop alone. I'm in and out and I'm done with the mall with two hundred stores in it in less than an hour. But she lives to shop. And she's smart about it. She signs up for the credit cards so she can get the discount but then pays them off right away. Somehow she always has a coupon and she can always find something in clearance. She is a true power shopper, and most of the time, when we go out together, we end up at a mall.

I always felt depressed during these trips. She traipses off into American Eagle, or Hollister, or the little stores that were probably chains but that I'd never heard off, armed with coupons and her credit card that would guarantee an additional discount. Once or twice in our earlier expeditions, I'd find the biggest top in the store and attempt to try it on, only to find out my C cup boobs would look mashed up and going in weird directions, the shirt (which somehow was always a peasant shirt) would make me look pregnant, and the sleeves would be cutting off the circulation in my arms. Inevitably, it would take me several minutes to get the top off and hearing a ripping noise wasn't uncommon. My face would feel extremely hot and if I happened to be unlucky enough to pass a mirror in my state of severe disappointment, my cheeks would be flushed.

I would console myself by telling myself that after all, the same size in Kohl's fit me. The clothes in this store ran small. It was just ridiculous and if they were going to make people feel like shit by making them buy the next size up in clothes then I shouldn't be spending my money there anyway. And I would put on my calm, mellow face and watch my friend go through her power shopping and I might have a bag from the shoe store and a bag from Bath and Body Works at the end of the night, and try to ignore the fact that the number of stores that ran small was getting to be a much larger number than the number of stores that whose sizes ran just right.

So we went out last night, and she had a coupon for American Eagle, and it seemed like some of the clothes could probably fit me, especially as the peasant top isn't so much in style any more and thus I didn't have to worry about the pregnant-crooked-boob look, but none of the things that probably fit were anything I was particularly set on having. Even if they did fit, they wouldn't be flattering, and I felt my heart rate spike a little bit while in the store, possibly as a Pavlovian response, but we didn't spend too much time in there.

Then we went into one of the smaller stores that is a chain but which I'd never heard of before, but nonetheless, my mind immediately slapped the "runs small" label on it. I was a bit annoyed, because as a general rule, I'm more or less in a state of being broke. Losing weight at this time of my life is good in that I'm still pretty young, my skin will adjust and not stay lose, I'll spend less time destroying my knees with the excess weight than I would if I waited a few more years, but bad in that I'm too poor right now to be replacing my wardrobe. Even though I haven't lost a drastic amount of weight for seven months now, I still only have a very limited amount of clothes that fit me. The smaller store was having a sale and the quality of clothes was good, better than American Eagle, so I decided to just look, and I immediately started seeing things that seemed like my size. But as soon as I started picking up things off the rack, I started feeling the anxiety.

I'd spent a good part of my life brainwashing myself into believing that the girl who I saw in photographs of myself was not really me. I did not really look that fat. That was just bad angle. But just as there were fewer and fewer stores that did not run small, there were fewer and fewer photographs that didn't have bad angles. But nevertheless, I felt like I wasn't that big, and thus I'd pick up clothes off the racks that probably anyone with eyes could see wouldn't fit me, but that I'd insist on trying on. As I was picking up clothes to try on, I started getting worried that I'd be picking up all these clothes and even though my size fourteen jeans (purchased at Kohl's, of course) were going to have to be traded in for size twelves in a couple of months, this store probably ran small, and even the few size eighteens they had in the store weren't going to fit. The extra larges looked like they were too big for me, but how was I supposed to know for sure without setting myself up for disappointment? And suppose I tried on the extra large shirt and it was too big, but my perception of myself is still so skewed that I think it fits and in reality I look ridiculous? As I was going over tops, and trying to figure the whole thing out, I complained to my friend that I just didn't know what size I was now.

Very reasonably, she asked me "What size are you wearing now?"

"Well, a large top, and fourteen jeans." Incidentally, as I said this, I kind of patted myself on the back for saying my size like it was nothing and not whispering it like I was at confessional. " know...sizes in different stores run like...small."

She gave me a look like only a person whose known you your whole life can, and said "Just try it on." So I grabbed a few large tops, and a couple of size fourteen capris along with their size sixteen counterparts just to safeguard my sanity.

They all fit. There was no running small. The size fourteens fit better than the sixteens, but I elected not to get them because I wouldn't be wearing the capris until June, and I think I'll not be size fourteen then, but shirts give me a bit of leeway. I was actually astonished that the shirts fit. Yeah, they kind of showed my lovehandles a bit. But I have lovehandles, and anyone looking at me knows that I'm not thin, so there's no use in trying to find a nonexistent shirt that hides them. One shirt was a smidge too tight, but since I am planning on losing more weight, I need a shirt that I can keep for a while through a couple of sizes. And honestly, I loved the way those shirts, even the one that was a smidge too big and the one a smidge too small, made me feel.

I remembered last year, about a month before I said to myself this is it, being in the same American Eagle looking into the mirrors and seeing a girl with bad skin and wearing dumpy clothes and wanting to find an ice cream stand or a shoe store because she was depressed because she yet again maxed out the sizes in the store she was in. I'll be damned if I have to deal with that ever again.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wherein I get a bit tangenty (this could probably be the title of very post from now on)

There are a few things I really don't get about this process. About three years ago, I went on a low carb diet. I know I lost some weight because I went down one or two sizes, but I didn't weigh myself until after I'd lost some weight. I do know that at the end of it, I weighed 194. I had just been low carbing it, and not really exercising except for once about every two weeks I'd push myself to get on the elliptical or something at the gym. So maybe the fact that I weigh 206 now and am a size smaller than I was back then has something to do with the exercise and some muscle mass dealy thingy whatsit. But I know I weighed less than 190 something in high school. I felt disgusting and fat and unathletic, which, truthfully, I was. But I'm pretty sure I weighed less, even though I don't remember ever knowing what I weighed. But I wore a size bigger than I do now, definitely couldn't get away with the things I can wear now, and couldn't even zip up my size sixteen jeans all the way and had to rely on a safety pin and longer shirts. But now I wear size fourteen jeans and pretty soon I'll have to go down a size.

I'll grant that my self esteem has probably been shot since I was seven years old. Exercising has giving me an unbelievable and probably unjustified boost in self confidence, so maybe exercising gives me a new body awareness that allows me to see that some clothes look good on me that my high school self would have shied away from. I also adhered to the big girl myth that clothes that touched your body were too tight, and thus, especially as far as tops go, I never wore anything that fit. So maybe I had a warped sense of what size I was. I distinctly remember, however, not being able to zip those size sixteen jeans up and knowing that none of the department stores had anything bigger and having to resort to a safety pin, and my mom seeing it one day. I felt so ashamed that I couldn't make myself better.

I am more active than I was back then. However, until junior year, when the neighbors would give my brother and I a ride, and senior year, when I had my own car, I walked back and forth from school everyday, which is probably over three miles total. I also did marching band and one season, winter guard (yep, I'm a full fledged geek), which, granted, isn't track but it did get me moving and lugging a fifteen pound saxophone around my neck for probably twenty plus hours a week ought to count as weight training. I played softball for two seasons. I had gym every year except junior year. I didn't eat healthily by any stretch of the imagination, which probably does have a lot to do with it, but I did do some activity. I'll allow that I am way more enthusiastic about my activity now, though. But it seems as though exercise shouldn't play as big a role as it seems to be in the way my clothes fit. I don't feel all that much stronger than I used to. I still can't do more than two or three knees up push ups, and even then, my form sucks (but currently my goal is to do a knees up push up that I can be proud of).

I know I have muscle, and not only that, muscle that's never been there before. I don't even have to flex my arm to feel it there when I'm bored and poking bits of my body to see what's changed. But it kind of seems like it is just hanging out and doing me the awesome favor of making my clothes fit better but not really making me all that stronger.

'Scuse me, I think I need to find someone to play me the world's smallest violin.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

You Are What You Eat

Right this second I am watching You Are What You Eat on BBC America. A nutritionist who has an appropriate personality for reality tv goes to an obese person's house. The obese person is generally obese because they eat take out for most of their meals, drink way too much, and not so much exercise. The format of the show is that the nutritionist shows them how much food they eat in a week, in an appropriately overcrowded table and everything looks disgusting and grows. There are usually close up shots of the obese person either in a bathing suit or in their skivvies. The nutritionist asks for a stool sample and usually goes over it with the person while holding a Tupperware container holding the "specimen" and in general there is berating of the obese person over the state of their sample in addition to the state of their skin and general smell of their sweat and things. She then puts them on a eight week detox diet.

I do think that the nutritionist is a bit extreme. But these people seem so dim that they probably need it. But there is a bit of an oh brother, way to be dramatic, there. But at the same time, I can't believe someone would dare to eat all of this, and I imagine that this woman and her show, dramatic or not, probably knocked some sense into these people. There is also generally a weigh in at the end of it and they've knocked of a considerable amount of weight.

But the thing that I really like about this show is that, yes, it helps to lose weight, but it focuses more on this is why you've gained all this weight, you're eating absolutely nothing that is healthy. I've read up on the nutritionist and there is some controversy over where she has gotten her training, but it seems like most of what she says is at least healthy.

When I started trying to lose weight, one of the things that helped was that I noticed that I felt better and could exercise better when I ate better. That was my main motivator. Yes, this is nothing new. All the magazines and health gurus say this. But seeing for myself the connection between eating well and feeling better in general really helped me stick to this lifestyle change. I really think that, even though the program is designed to shock both the participants and the audience, that going through why it was good to eat vegetables and fruit, and eating whole foods instead of processed, and how you eat food really does effect your overall health instead of focusing on the weight loss aspect really makes it a lot more helpful than Biggest Loser or Celebrity Fit Club.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


So, yes, I know I just posted like an nth of a second ago, but this has been bothering me all morning. And yesterday. And the day before. And pretty much for several weeks now. And that's what this blog is for. I've got an eating problem. It is annoying as all get out, but I've come to terms with it. There are some foods that I just can't eat because not only will I eat about half the package in one go and then the rest a couple of hours later, but I will go out and buy the same food item(s) the next day and repeat the cycle. I've come to terms with the fact only recently that I really can't eat cookies until I've got better control. But cookies make sense as a trigger food. They are sugary, they have fattening agents in them, they have so called "empty" calories, and unless someone is claiming they are diet cookies (and even then) they probably don't have much nutritional value. Cookies make sense for a trigger food.

What does not make so much sense is popcorn. Not only that, but light popcorn. I have trouble not eating an entire bag of popcorn. Not microwave popcorn, but this size. Back when I went through every week of gaining, I'd go through a bag of this every day. I don't know why I didn't eat microwave, but there we go. I'd justify it by telling myself that popcorn was a low points food and thus it must be okay (we'll ignore whatever the nutritional information says. I'm sure it's at least be a smidge better than regular Wise popcorn).

For a couple of weeks I've had a hold on it, where I've spread the bag over three days or so. But for the past several days, I've gone through one bag very two days, and today and yesterday I went through one a day. So it appears that popcorn will have to go the way of cookies, at least for a while, until I'm not such an idiot about a bag of sort of stale popcorn.

Now playing: Speechwriters LLC - Anodyne
via FoxyTunes

Not so yogatastic

So, Wednesdays are my yoga/pilates class day. I have a special fondness for my yoga/pilates class. It was the first sort of exercise-y sort of thing that I did actually tried to do on a regular basis. I had occasionally went to the gym after school, but mostly not. But after getting really annoyed about what a stressed out person I was, I was willing to try anything, including the yoga/pilates thing that people said helped. It actually worked, in a way, though I'm still stressed out. Going in and doing an hour class once a week without really changing any of your other habits isn't going to do squat. But it did help me talk myself into changing my other habits.

One day I went to the gym after classes on a Tuesday and did the elliptical and some of the weight machines, and found out the next day I did loads better in the class than I did on the days where I didn't go to the gym. So, I won't say that it became a habit but I was more likely to work out the day before.

I also had a hard time, in good conscious, eating a greasy breakfast at the commuter cafeteria after struggling through down dogs and planks, so that kind of encouraged me to eat well, on one day a week, at least.

But once I really did get serious about living differently, even if I couldn't talk myself into doing some exercise at least every day, I made sure I'd exercise at least on Tuesdays, so I could do better on Wednesdays.

I really respected the instructor, as well. She is a woman who is pretty much the antithesis of the perky little yoga instructor. She's friendly enough, and was the first instructor of any exercise class that I took that got right off the bat that the last thing I wanted was an instructor standing over me and telling me I'm doing it wrong. Huh. Imagine that. The very nonathletic person not wanting be the center of attention by the instructor drawing attention to to how nonathletic they are. And as far as the perky yoga instructor stereotype, she is five foot ten, is a former smoker, and while not a senior citizen, has a couple of grandchildren. If you saw her on the street you wouldn't peg her as a yoga instructor.

She was very encouraging, suggesting that I try another class, but I never did, because I did have experiences with instructors who were perky aerobics instructors who it seemed like went out of their way to make me feel hideously awkward and nonathletic. But one day she told me she was subbing for another teacher in the kickboxing class if I wanted to try it out. I tried it out, and that's how I gradually got hooked into getting up at five am nearly every weekday morning for no other reason to exercise.

The more I exercised, the more I did better at yoga/pilates, and the better I did, the better I wanted to do. The more weight I lost, the better I did. Probably because there was less of my body in the way and less weight to hold up in poses. And this is after fifteen pounds, not even 10% of my body weight.

Losing weight and being healthier was great, but doing yoga and pilates and finding I was getting better at it was the first measure of progress that I noticed. It was nearly immediate. I didn't have to wait to notice new muscles, I didn't have to wait to go down a jeans size, and I didn't have to look at the scale to see progress. I was eating better and I was exercising, and I only had to wait until Wednesday to see the proof.

Yoga isn't for everyone. I'm actually still not sure whether or not if it is for me, especially if I tried one of those hard core classes instead of the standard beginnerish one they offer at the Y. But even if I'm not yogatastic, yoga has helped me. Maybe in other circumstances, I'd have found something else that would have encouraged me like yoga did. But I'm really glad that I found something.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Why? Because it has to be.

So, I go to WW on Monday mornings. Apparently I have a hitherto unknown streak of masochism. Mainly it was because an acquaintance said that it was a really good meeting with a great group of people who are really supportive, and she was right. I've been going to these meetings ever since I started. I had to go to WW when I was fifteen, and I don't know if it was because I felt even more hideously awkward in a room full of middle aged woman and retirees who seemed to have no problems whatsoever and a leader who didn't seem to understand why this young had trouble losing weight than I as a fifteen year old overweight girl normally did. But now I have a totally awesome leader who lost her weight when she was about my age and she's incredibly supportive of everyone. She's very motivating. So even though I'm still in a room full of stay at home moms and I am usually the youngest in the room by ten years, I still connect with them and they ask me advice and I ask them advice. Good stuff.

But I can psych myself up for Monday mornings all I want to, telling myself that I'm better than those wusses who weigh in on Wednesdays, or better yet, on Fridays after being good all week, because damn it, I own up to what I did over the weekends. But all that psyching up doesn't stop the thoughts of "Ooooh. I had an order of fries and a beer on Friday. Maybe shaving my legs or wearing a non-padded bra will offset that."

Feel free to point and laugh.

But it is a way positive thing, even though recently I went through a two months spell where every single week I gained. It sucked sucked sucked. But I still left the meeting feel as though I could take every thing on. Obviously, I didn't, for a while, but hell, this is what this blog is for.

Which brings us to our next point. I went down today. I also went down last week as well, the first time in...well, two months. One of the women at my meeting who I always sit next to and knew I was having a rough time of it told me when we were leaving the meeting that "It's going to be a good week. And you know why? Because it has to be." And I'd been listening to a cd my friend burned for me on the way to the meeting with a song called "Good Day" by a band called Natives of a New Dawn, with the line "It's gotta be a good day. Why? Because it has to be." So I figure, it's a sign, and through a couple of different reasons, I did have a good week. I had my first loss in a while. And so when I came back the next week, I told the woman, who had her turn to have a bad week and was discouraged. So I told her that since her pep talk worked so well for me, I'd give her one in turn. And she came in today with a the same two and a quarter loss I had the week before.

So, it's going to be a good day. It's going to be a good week. It's gonna be a good life. Why? Because it has to be. No other options, here.

How's that for cheese?

Now playing: Natives of the New Dawn - Good Day
via FoxyTunes

Sunday, April 20, 2008

An anniversary of sorts

So, on seventeenth, I had my Weight Watcher's anniversary. I hadn't realized that until I noticed that there were news stories about the anniversary of the Virginia Tech shootings, and that was the day I started WW. I remember this because I remember reading first hand accounts of the shootings on the BBC website and getting really sad and freaked out and angry. Being as I work at afternoons and nights and come home at about the same time everyone else is about ready to go to bed, there was no one around when I kind of just wanted a hug. So I went for my friend, Chips Ahoy, and then I stopped and put the package back and I told myself that I was not going to do emotional eating on my first day of Weight Watchers. People usually go through a super motivated period where they stick to the plan like glue with no trouble whatsoever, and I wasn't going to be so weak to only let mine last thirteen hours. And yes, I do feel terribly guilty, but I do kind of feel proud of myself for putting those cookies back on that first day.

Moving on. One of the things I love about exercising (yes, I actually did say loved. I can't believe it myself) as opposed to watching what I eat (which, in my opinion, is not fun at all and I can't imagine ever saying "I love watching what I eat" though I don't think I would have ever imagined saying "I love exercising") is that pretty quickly I realized the limits to what my body can do are way more flexible than what I would have judged them to be. Upon realizing this, it becomes that much harder to come up with excuses on why not to do things. It's like exercising has put this challenging voice in my head that constantly asks me "Why not?" when I come up with excuses for things. Last week my car was in the shop and I had to go to the bank two miles away. The voice that comes up with excuses and which has been living in my head much longer than the challenging voice tried to tell me to wait until someone was home who could give me a ride. I almost did.

But then that pushy voice came up and pointed out I had nothing else going on until someone was home to give me a ride to the mechanics, which would be a few hours at least. It would save time for whomever was going to be giving me a ride to the mechanics. We'd be saving gas. We'd be leaving less of a carbon footprint, whatever that means. And, the pushy voice continued, You didn't get to go to the gym that is ten miles away this morning. You also didn't go yesterday because you drank way too much wine the night before. And tomorrow is Saturday and you don't exercise on the weekends. A four mile walk is considered exercise, you know.

Excuse voice at this point is going "Ehhhh. We aren't the sort of person who walks two miles just to go to the bank." (The voices at this point have apparently decided I am important enough to use "we" when we are referring to me).

And then pushy voice, who is getting to be a bully, and one of those rare, smart bullies at that, says "What's the matter? You think you can't do it? You gonna collapse after the first half mile? You don't think you can make it?"

Excuse voice is, at this point, completely flabbergasted. You'd think after over a year of trying and failing to come up with good reasons every single weekday morning to stay in bed and not going to the gym, it would understand what was going on. But excuse voice, while resourceful and was probably the one that suggested drinking half of the large bottle of wine in the first place, is also pretty slow on the uptake, which allows pushy voice to gain momentum.

Pushy voice, having gained strength and intelligence from getting me to exercise, has also nosed its way into other parts of my life. When I look at my guitar and think I should really practice, but excuse voice whines that it doesn't want to, pushy voice demands to know what's the worst that could happen should I pick up that guitar? It has also cut down on my procrastinating tendencies, which is excuse voice's forte. When I tell pushy voice that I'll give the cat fresh food later, I clean up my dishes later, I'll clean the litter box later, I'll sweep the floor later, pushy voice has started to ask me "Why not now?" Pushy voice doesn't do this a lot, probably because this is uncharted territory for it, but it has started to nose in more and more. Which I'm pretty okay with, because procrastination can be pretty disruptive. Now, I suppose I better go practice that guitar.
Now playing: Dropkick Murphys - The Burden
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The Objective Observer

So, my second post in as many days. I, for one, am amazed.

Nearly every single week day since last April I've been getting myself up sometime between five am and five twenty, try to find some clean gym clothes, brush my teeth, take a multi-vitamin, pushing myself out the door and driving to the gym ten miles away to take some sort of aerobic-y sort of class. Now, if I were an objective observer who was familiar with my lifestyle outside of health related concerns, the prior statement would make absolutely no sense to me.

First of all, the ungodly hour. As a general rule, it takes me two to three hours to have anything resembling intelligent conversation after waking up. However, I've found that if I'm half asleep, my brain is on autopilot and nowhere near awake enough to talk myself out of anything, including getting ready and going to the gym. Generally, by the time the first thoughts of "What the fuck am I doing? Why didn't I just stay in bed?" start trickling in, I'm either ten minutes up the road or twenty minutes through the class, depending on what I was doing the night before. The other, very wrong thing about the ungodly hour of exercise is that most days, if I chose to not do anything productive, I would not have any reason to leave the house until twelve-thirty pm, at the very earliest, for my job. Most days, two o'clock. On the rare occasion I skip working out, I've not gotten out of my pajamas until one in the afternoon. I try not to think about this too much.

The only way I can explain it is if I'm left to my own devices as far as exercise goes, I'll nearly always talk myself out of it. Even if I did what all the other work out advise givers say to do and schedule a time to work out and make it a priority, I'd still manage to talk myself out of it. I just can't give myself time to think about it. My brain is so very effective at coming up with excuses. I've also found that if I exercise first thing in the morning, my brain will forget that it ever happened in a few hours, and will maybe talk itself into going to the gym again on the days that I don't have to work.

Two. The clean gym clothes. I am a world class slob. I haven't read that book by that guy Oprah had on her show nor have I seen that episode (those episodes?), so you can read into that what you will. In any case, I do not like doing laundry. I've been able to live most of my life going through the day with one set of clothes, possibly another set if I was going to go out at night. Wearing gym clothes every weekday and sweating in them, as you can imagine, increases my laundry load.

Brush my teeth. My stomach is a weird animal in the morning and used to get upset if I even though of putting water in my mouth first thing. Never mind something that has a taste like toothpaste. It used to get even more upset if I dared to brush my teeth before eating something. However, I dislike breathing heavily through a mouth that is crawling with smelly bacteria whilst I am working out even more than my stomach dislikes the taste of peppermint in the morning, and over time my stomach has gotten over itself.

The multi-vitamin, while not entirely out of character to me, is still a vital part of the work out routine, as it either works in some unforeseen way or acts a placebo, because otherwise I am so ready to quit within two minutes.

Pushing myself out the door. As stated, I'm not a high functioning person at aforementioned ungodly hour. I'm the sort of person who will stare at the television after getting up and won't remember for a half hour to turn it on. I'm surprised I remember to leave the house after all this.

Going to the gym ten miles away and taking an aerobic-y sort of class. I'm a private person. I have a thing about people paying attention to me. An aerobic-y sort of class is basically inviting someone to call you out in front of a group of people and say "Hey you! You're doing everything wrong!" And the gym is ten miles away, when there is a perfectly usable gym called "outside" which is very convenient and which would probably afford me twenty minutes more sleeping time. I learned quickly that I did much better with structure. If I'm going to be awake at that time and doing something that requires intense movement, there damn well be someone telling me what sort of intense movement I'm doing, when to do it, and how fast I should be doing it. If I'm going to trick my brain into getting me to exercise, I'm certainly not going to let my brain be the one to decide which exercises I'm going to be doing. My brain will decide a quarter of a mile on the elliptical is damn well enough. Maybe if my brain is feeling really ambitious, we can do a few reps with the three pound weights.

As far as the gym being ten miles away, it is a Y, it is not a crazy crowded Y with intimidating types in a line a half a mile long waiting for the elliptical, and it is cheap. Plus, if I am going to drive ten miles I damn well might as well make it worth it. I've also been lucky enough to find a few instructors who are quick on the uptake and do not specifically call me out. They make general instructions which appear as though intended for the class but we both know are really for me, but allows me, in my active wear capris and old Hard Rock cafe t-shirt, to keep my dignity.

It is a bit discouraging to know that I have to do all these mind games with myself just to get me to burn a couple of hundred calories. But then I remember it isn't just a couple of hundred calories and it isn't just moving from the seven pound weight to the eight pound weight. Who knows, maybe one day I can break myself from my dependence on the gym. I mean, I can run nine miles in an hour on the damn elliptical. I've done a step/floor aerobics class, a kickboxing class, and a yoga/pilates class. All in one day, several times and thought nothing of it. This really makes objective observer me really confused. Who knows, maybe one day I talk myself into...running around my block. Le Gasp.

Now playing: Barenaked Ladies - Brian Wilson
via FoxyTunes

Friday, April 18, 2008

Starting out

Fine, not starting out. I've actually been at the whole eating healthy, exercising, trying to be a better example of a human being for a year plus now. But I guess you could call it starting again, seeing as I've been at a plateau weight wise and health wise for several months now. And I've always kind of wanted to do a health blog, so here we are. I doubt anyone will ever read this except for a rare few very bored people.

The title comes from the fact that I tend to be a stressed out person in general and when I was informed by my doctor that it would be a very good idea for idea for me to lose weight and just be healthier in general, the first thing I started doing was exercising. I noticed right off the bat that on the days I'd exercise, the stress would be a lot easier to deal with.

I've been on weight watchers for about a year now, and if I could get myself to consistently track food, I'd be golden, but I am nothing if not stubborn. But weight watchers, especially if you go to a good meeting and have a good leader, is an amazing thing. I started off with both and I lost thirty pounds. But I'm also a firm believer that any healthy weight loss program can help a person lose weight and be a healthier program in general.

I've also found that focusing on things like shooting for running nine and a half miles on an elliptical or working on trying to get to the next heavier dumbbell at the gym would be the times when I would be losing weight consistently and the weeks where I'd be a head case about making sure I would lose at least a pound that week would be the week where I'd lose a quarter of a pound or gain.

So this blog will help keep me accountable on two things. One, it will just keep me accountable. If there get to be too many entries in a row where I start off saying "I just ate a whole bag of extra buttery microwave popcorn and I feel like crap," I'll know, without a doubt, that it will be time to fix it. Two, if I get to be obsessive about the numbers game of weight loss, I'll be able to know when to pull out before I get too freaked about it all.