Monday, March 31, 2008

a lazy post

An interesting little blog game, courtesy of LaurieWrites. It's harder than it looks. Here is her explanation of it:

A One-Word Sarcomical Sunday from earlier this month.

*Here are the ground rules for the newbies:

  1. After reading my answers, copy and paste the list into your comment.
  2. Change my one-word responses with yours (yes, only ONE WORD, even if it hurts the most painful of hurts).
  3. Submit your comment.
  4. And hey, you can always post your finished list on your blog, too. (Yes, a post idea! You're welcome.) Enjoy.

You're Feeling: mellow
To Your Left: breakfast
On Your Mind: book
Last Meal Included: toast
You Sometimes Find it Hard To: sleep
The Weather: grey
Something You Have a Collection of: nothing
A Smell that Cheers You Up: rain
A Smell that Can Ruin Your Mood: cigarettes
How Long Since You Last Shaved: minutes
The Current State of Your Hair: wet
The Largest Item On Your Desk/Workspace Right Now (besides computer): bowl
Your Skill with Chopsticks: good
Which Section You Head to First In the Bookstore: nonfiction
...and After That?: audiobooks
Something You're Craving: rest
Your General Thoughts On the Presidential Race: worried
How Many Times You've Been Hospitalized this Year: never
A Favorite Place to Go for Quiet Time: park
You've Always Secretly Thought You'd Be a Good: writer
Something that Freaks You Out a Little: cockroaches
Something You've Eaten Too Much of Lately: snacks
You Have Never: rocked
You Never Want To: stop

Sunday, March 30, 2008

it's never too early to start feeling bad about yourself...

I didn't do much more than shake my head sadly when Elastic Waist reported that Barbie had gotten even skinnier. The original Barbie, as unattainable as her body was, was nowhere near as shame-induzing as the gazelle-like thighless women I see flashing their thin limbs in my fashion magazine. And since Barbie aspires to be a Top Model, she of course had to get on the pro-ana bandwagon. I think she looks hideous, but what do I know, I'm old.

The brouhaha over the Sweet Valley High girls now being a "perfect size four," instead of a "perfect size six" seemed a bit overblown, but I had to agree that Wendy's take on it captured the real problem:

For extra credit, feel free to speculate about the standards by which the Wakefield Twins will be “perfect” in the 2033 reissue of Sweet Valley High. “As Elizabeth twirled her size 2 figure, the sun gleamed off her flawless Brazilian.” Because isn’t that where they’re headed at this rate? Sweet Valley indeed!
I wonder how all of this focus on appearance for younger and younger kids is going to affect them. If they see beauty treatments and grownup-looking clothes as just something fun, that doesn't seem to be a big deal. I always remember girly-girls (they made me want to puke) who looked perfect all of the time even in second and third grade. One wore fancy dresses with sashes and lace almost every day to school, and her mom set her hair on rollers. To me, I thought, whatever, and went to play on the monkey bars. I didn't like to wear skirts because I didn't want the boys to see my underpants and tease me, but that was the extent to which my appearance mattered most of the time.

Of course, I remember getting forcibly gussied up for school pictures, and even though some of them were horrible, I wouldn't have wanted them to be retouched (at least until I started getting zits). I do remember one year picture my school picture was particularly bad, and my mom didn't give them out that year, and I remember feeling sad about it. So how sad would I have felt if instead, she had asked them to fix my hair and my still-growing-in teeth, or airbrush out my freckles? Aren't some of those things kind of endearing to parents? Are they really in that much of a hurry for them to grow up?

Maybe these moms could just take a picture of some other kid they think is cute and hand that out instead.

It seems that the quest for child beauty is taking a toll:

Kids form body images almost as soon as they can form words, and already studies show that girls think negatively about their shapes from as young as grammar school. Today 42 percent of first-to-third-grade girls want to be thinner, while 81 percent of 10-year-olds are afraid of getting fat, according to a 2004 global study by the Dove "Real Beauty" campaign.
So what is all this child beauty for? The question is especially frightening when it comes to the eight-year-old whose mother wanted her eyebrows arched "like a supermodel's" and demanded that she be given a bikini wax. I don't even want to think who was going to see the result. I half wondered if the mother whispered in her child's ear, "Here's your one chance, Fancy, don't let me down."

I feel sad for my own lost innocence -- I really didn't want to think about kids being treated this way -- let alone the child's. I don't want to think of eight-year-olds sexualized in this way, painted and waxed, and dressed in clothes more appropriate for an adult. I want them to go run around the yard, refuse to brush their hair or take a bath, and think boys are yuckky, and be allowed to be little girls.

This body-image stuff is hard enough for us adults to deal with. Let's try to protect kids from it as long as we can.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

the lure of Big Numbers

I was thinking on my drive home (through very wet snow) about the bloggers among us who have written books about losing very large amounts of weight (Frances, Shauna, Jennette) and the popularity of the show "The Biggest Loser."

Maybe part of the appeal is what Wendy said in I'm Not the New Me:
Tell us where the food came from, where you kept it, how greasy it was, or how sweet, or how much butter was involved. Don't skimp on the butter.
The sort of weird, vicarious food porn pleasure of reading about someone else's unrestrained indulgences? I think that's what they were getting at, in the olden days of "The Biggest Loser," when they had the contestants have a free-for-all binge in the first episode, cameras rolling. The producers thought that the home viewers would want to watch this so they could nod and say, "Yep, that's how they got that way." The food frenzy would set up the morality tale of the Bad Fatties becoming Good Thin People. But somewhere along the line, they realized that the viewers could identify more with the contestants than with Bob and Jillian. So they started making the show nicer, and just ran more food and diet ads during the show.

There are two things about these books, and the show, that fascinate me most. One is the sense of transformation -- of someone who felt sad and hopeless but somehow found a way out. The sense of a transformation that goes beyond fat to thin, and is really more about finding a life that makes sense than about fitting into smaller jeans. The other thing that is interesting to me is the disorientation that comes with losing Big Weight, and an account of how someone makes sense of that.

The lure of a weight loss that runs into Big Numbers is that it exaggerates and highlights the drama of weight loss in a way that might not seem as compelling and interesting when talking about 20 pounds, or even 50. The person losing 100 pounds or more may have to learn her way around several new Selves, and figure out where the core of her is that doesn't change when her dress size does.

I think this is the central challenge of weight loss for all of us. I think that one of the reasons that a lot of us are overweight, maybe the most important reason, is that we're focused on the idea of a fat self, and the weird relationship with food that goes along with that. We don't know how to choose food outside a rubric of Good and Bad, beyond Being on a Diet or Not Caring.

I would really be interested in a study that explored whether overweight people with amnesia lost weight because they were free of the memory of that fat self, and might not remember all the rules they should follow. Because I think that we not only are fat because we eat, but eat because we're fat.

I remember in the Fat Old Days, when I had maybe 50 pounds to lose, scoffing at someone who was complaining about her 10 extra pounds. I said I dreamed of 10 extra pounds. But here I am with 10ish extra pounds, and I still feel really, really fat. I'd do the amnesia experiment on myself if I could only figure out how to conk myself on the head like they did in sitcoms.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

e. none of the above

A recent item on Elastic Waist reported that "fat actress" Katy faced the following dilemma:

Let's say you're an actress. Let's say you're 125 pounds and 5'2" of cuteness. Let's say an agent tells you that you're not going to work until you either lose 30 pounds to be a lead actress or gain 20 pounds to be the fat best friend. What do you do?
I was pretty outraged about this dilemma: Of course there is the option to say, "Hey, maybe someone should write a movie about a woman who isn't either a skinny ingenue or a "fat best friend." Oh, wait, someone did that and they cast a thin, but not conventionally pretty, woman as the lead instead of someone who looked like the size-14 Rose described in the book.

But do we buy it ourselves, that we could be Leads and not Fat Best Friends? I know I'm not fully convinced. Neither, apparently, is Anne. Or Weetabix. How about the rest of you?

Monday, March 24, 2008

found money, spent money

I overheard a conversation between my dad and my husband about the price of gold being up to about $1,000 an ounce. I joked about trying to sell my old junk chains and my dad said I should.

In the '80s, I used to always like to wear those really thin gold chains you could get at the mall for about $10. They would inevitably get tangled into knots, and I would try to untangle them and they'd break. Because they were 14-carat gold, I didn't throw them away, I'd just chuck them into a segment in my jewelry box and let them sit there. So I had about 6 or 7 of these all tangled together in a wad. I weighed them on my dieter's scale and the amount seemed significant enough -- my husband estimated that it was between 3 and 4 grams of gold.

I have the day off so among other errands, I went out looking around Toledo for a place to try to sell these chains. The place I was thinking of was closed, and then we saw a sign on the sidewalk that said, "We Buy Gold!" when driving around. I didn't notice what the place was until we were inside and I noticed all the guitars. There was a long line of downtrodden-looking people trying to sell things. I whispered, too loudly, to my husband: "I think this is a pawn shop." We left -- my husband didn't think we'd get a good price there, and I was just weirded out by the idea of selling my jewelry at a pawn shop.

We had given up and were going home and my husband spotted a sign for an estate jewelers that said, "We buy gold and diamonds." We figured this would be a better place to go, and it was. The woman there was very amused by my golden spaghetti, and I got $35 for a pile of what was, to me, junk. I told her about the pawn shop and she said that pawn shops will only give you about 40% of the value for the gold. She said she paid 80%.

I was happy to have my little bit of found money, especially since I made a trip to the Gap Outlet in Monroe a little earlier today and got a little carried away with jeans, khakis, and dress pants all on clearance for $7.99 - 29.99. Now at least I can look good while I try to lose the New Job weight.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

manual labor is good for the soul

One of the things that put me into such a foul mood the other day is that the sale of my old house, which I thought was a done deal, fell through at the last minute. So we are still making two house payments, paying two sets of utilities and insurance, and generally having two places to worry about instead of just one.

Our listing with our old real estate company has expired, and I have some time off, so we thought we'd do a little bit of sprucing up and take some time to think before listing it again. Yesterday we took a carpet cleaner out there to clean up the mess of three months' of people tromping through our bedrooms, and I decided in a fit of ambition to tear down the bathroom wallpaper and repaint it to make it look brighter. I just had to feel like I had done what I could (within reason and our very tight budget) to make this house sell.

What I thought would be a four-or-five-hour project for me to do while my husband cleaned carpets turned into an all-day project with both of us pitching in. I had trouble getting the wallpaper to come down, so I decided to paint over it. Guess what dissolves wallpaper glue better than anything else? Paint.

We ended up scraping the still-damp and peeling wallpaper off, getting covered in a lovely shade of lilac in the process. It made a big mess and we had a lot of mess to clean up, but luckily we had enough paint to do the whole room twice. I like the way it turned out. I know that lilac (Veiled Violet, actually) isn't a neutral, but the whole rest of the house is in neutral colors and the bathroom has white wainscoting and trim, so the color is a nice contrast. And, I can tell you from experience, paint is a lot easier to paint over than wallpaper if the new owners (please God let there be new owners, and soon) don't like it.

Amazingly, after a touchy start, both of us were good-natured about the whole thing and I ended up bone-tired but satisfied that I had done something right in the end. I had done a Spinning class in the morning, not realizing what kind of workday I was getting into, so I worked off a lot of anxious energy and slept soundly for the first time in a while.

Today, not surprisingly, has been a day to relax and do not much of anything.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

a break, finally

I have a lot of ideas for a great post kicking around in my head, but today it felt like the weight of the world rolled off the spinning plate I was using to balance it over my head and fell on me. Since I've taken my Snazzy New Job, it feels like not much has gone right. I know that it really isn't true: I have a new house that I love, a great family, friends that I neglect terribly, beautiful kitties... lots of things are going well. But with my commute and the frequent travel, I feel like I barely have the energy to keep my head above water. I thought my dissertation was hard until I graduated and got a job. Now I'm daydreaming about being a graduate assistant, which was a perfect life except for the lack of money and the unfinished dissertation hanging around my neck like an albatross. I was fit, walked to work, took care of myself, and enjoyed my writing some of the time.

Lately I've felt just plain FINE: Fucked up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional, as my shrink used to say when I had time to see her. I have felt on the verge of tears at inopportune and inappropriate moments. I've been trying to do what I can: Squeeze in some time for exercise, find a way to make my commute more pleasant, remind myself how lucky I really am. But I've still been irritable. Just one example: A friend sent a picture message to my telephone. I don't pay for bells and whistles on my cell phone besides a minimal texting plan, and I was unreasonably annoyed by this, because it reminded me that I haven't been in touch with her and that she probably felt hurt about that, and I couldn't handle the sense of guilt along with all my stress. I sent back a snappish message and immediately felt bad. But I still didn't call back like I should have.

I am hoping that my friends have other, better friends to talk to besides grouchy, angry, resentful me. I'm getting by better than you would think from this post, but barely. I have to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and hope that everything works out the way it needs to. And I'm taking a few days off to catch up on non-work responsibilities and maybe squeeze in a little R&R.

Hopefully, after a few days I'll be able to cheerfully get back to Snazzy Job and remember again why I felt lucky to get it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

top ten diet tips from Jillian Michaels' podcasts

It has been fun to read the comments on my last post about "The Biggest Loser." One thing that all the Black Team contestants seem to be forgetting in all their drama is that even though there is only one "Biggest Loser," everyone on that show can be a winner. That was what I loved about Season 2. Rather than focusing on the gameplay and acting as if it's all about the $250,000 prize, the contestants all focused on their own goals and took advantage of the opportunity that the show gave them to get to their weight loss goals. A quarter of a million dollars is a lot of money, but the kind of weight the contestants lose on this show can make a much bigger difference in their lives than the money ever could. Plus, they've learned what their bodies really can do. I hope Jillian can get her team to focus on that.

Season 6 is casting now, but since most of us probably don't want to go on the show, I thought I'd share some of the tips that I've gotten from hours of listening to Jillian's radio show in my car. I hear her say many of the same things every show, while callers ask about weird things like fasting on maple syrup and lemon juice... If people can't follow a sensible diet plan, what makes them think they can stick to a crazy regimen like that? The thing about these tips is that they are simple, though far from easy:

  1. Educate yourself about calories. Jillian tells every caller to buy The Calorie King calorie counter, which is currently two-for-the-price-of-one at Borders bookstores. For a week or two, she asks people to write down everything they eat and look up the calories. I also think it's interesting that things that people think are really fattening sometimes don't have as many calories as expected. A teaspoon of sugar is 16 calories, and a pat of butter is about the same. I used to eat two rolls with no butter instead of putting butter on one, costing myself hundreds of calories. You can also use free sites like Calorie Count Plus or Fitday to track your calories. Weight Watchers is another system for counting calories that also takes into account fat and fiber. Either system will help you make better choices about food. Once you learn to make good choices, Jillian says you can back off the calorie counting as long as you continue to meet your weight goals.
  2. Weigh and measure your portions for a a couple of weeks. Again, Jillian recommends a training period to relearn what proper portions look like. It's not realistic to think that people will weigh and measure everything all the time, but after a week or two you will get to know what proper portions look like. Every now and then it's a good idea to take a refresher course, because the natural tendency is to pour a little extra into your cereal bowl or grab a slightly bigger "serving" of chips.
  3. Don't drink your calories! This is one of the first changes that I made. You can drink a 350-calorie Coke or a 600-calorie-plus coffee drink without feeling really satisfied or realizing how much you're really consuming. This also goes for juices, which are naturally high in sugar, and sometimes even have added sugar.
  4. Don't load up on artificial sweeteners. The Diet Coke addiction might not help with weight loss, and I agree with Jillian that all these artificial chemicals are probably also dangerous. I've never enjoyed diet sodas much, though I will have one now and then when I want a sweet drink and don't want to waste the calories. I've been trying to substitute with iced tea, plain seltzer (sometimes with just a dash of juice for flavor) and coffee (though my half-and-half habit is a violation of tip #3 above) instead of leaning on diet soda.
  5. You know the drill: Fruits, vegetables, lean protein, whole grains. I can hear you all now: "BOR-ing!" These foods are more satisfying because you get a lot of volume for the calories they contain and they will keep your blood sugar more stable. You also can't find them in vending machines or drive-thrus.
  6. Cut way back on or eliminate processed foods. Processed foods are convenient, cheap, and easy to eat on the go. But they also aren't very nutritious and usually are mostly sugar and refined starch. This can cause blood sugar spikes and crashes, which can lead to more overeating.
  7. Plan indulgences into your calorie allowance. There's no reason to live in a dull diet gulag. You know you won't stick to it anyway. Work the foods you love most into your plan.
  8. Figure out why you want to lose weight. When people call in asking how to get motivated, she suggests that they write down all the reasons they want to lose the weight. No reason is too profound or too shallow. If you're motivated by imagining yourself in a pair of jeans, write that down. If you're concerned about your family history of heart disease, write that down. Make copies of the list and post them where you will see them so that you can look at your reasons whenever you're feeling unmotivated.
  9. Figure out what is standing in your way. Jillian believes that most people who have serious weight to lose are insulating themselves in some way. She suggests that some kind of therapy or support group might be necessary to help you work through those problems if they're too big or frightening for you to face on your own.
  10. Don't wait: Live your life now. I'm paraphrasing a bit, but this is the gist: "Live your life in the body you have now. Accept yourself the way you are now. Accepting yourself doesn't mean you can't try to improve, but beating yourself up or putting off your life until you get thinner isn't going to help. All we have is the present."
Most of these are common sense, but worth repeating, especially since most of us find them very tough to implement in real life. I still crave the processed junk food even though I know it's no good for me, for example. It's not that I don't like fruits and veggies, but I have never, ever, craved broccoli. If it's a choice between broccoli and Goldfish crackers, I want the crackers every time.

Have a great week. I can't believe another weekend is slipping away.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

musings on Season 5 of "The Biggest Loser"

I've been a longtime fan of "The Biggest Loser." I didn't watch the first season but have watched every season since. Season 2 is still my favorite, followed by Season 4. We won't talk about Season 3, except to say that I'm glad the producers realized their mistake and got rid of Trainer Kim.

A commenter asked what I think of this season. So far, it has been middling. Because of the writers' strike, this season has been all two-hour episodes, which has meant more time for character development but also more time for soap-opera drama to be stirred up. I prefer to see people to come to the show as individuals. As couples, too many contestants seem to have brought along unhealthy, codependent relationships. There was the complete lack of sympathy that Lynn had for Jenni's goals (the older guy and his daughter who were kicked off first), the one-sided longing of Paul for his ex Kelly, and the strange big-brother Mark treating 30-something little brother Jay like a child. It has all been a little weird to watch. My favorite "couple" was Brittany and Bernie, who started out the show as strangers. At the start of the last episode, it seemed like we finally were down to individuals again, but of course, there had to be a twist.

I do really like a lot of the contestants, especially Brittany, Roger, and Maggie. I really didn't like Dan at first, but he's starting to grow on me now that his mom is off the show. I keep rooting for Kelly to go home, because like the commenter I feel like she is awfully whiny.

Last week's twist seemed to be a cheap ploy to put Mark back on -- I really thought Jay would have benefited from a little time out of his shadow. I do like having Ali back, though, and can't say I blame her for not wanting to get caught up in all the gameplay. The Black Team gets too caught up in the idea of themselves as victims to the Big Boy Blue Team. I am surprised that Jillian hasn't been able to snap them out of it. She doesn't seem like the type to let her contestants sit around feeling sorry for themselves.

What do you think?

Anyway, someone from the show sent this announcement along and I thought I'd pass this along for other fans:

MSN and NBC's "Million Pound Matchup" Sweepstakes

It's a weight loss sweepstakes from MSN and NBC! (January 1, 2008-April 15, 2008)

How to Enter: You must answer (3) of (3) MSN Health and Fitness trivia questions via multiple-choice answers on the entry form. A correct answer is not required for entry.

Trivia questions will be presented in video format, each approximately 30 seconds in length, and will direct you to articles where the answers can be found at the Health and Fitness section of Watching video clues is not required for entry. You can play every day to increase your chances of winning.


Grand Prize
(1): A luxury fitness trip for two people to a resort of the winner's choice from among a list of resort options provided by Sponsor at the time prize is awarded in either the U.S. or Mexico. $7,000 ARV

Daily Prizes
(106): A Zune 30GB digital media player is given away each day ($199 ARV each.)

Play until April 15, 2008 at

I entered, though I would rather play for a couple of weeks of beatings from Jillian. Where can I find that contest?

Sunday, March 09, 2008

sad to see Sunday go

I'm so sad to see another weekend winding down. Sunday evenings are always sort of melancholy for me. I love the weekends -- long hours to spend with Jesse, getting out for walks in the park or longer workouts, having time to just do nothing if that's what I want. The weeks are so hectic.

Thanks for the sympathetic posts on the clothing dilemma. Once my clothes are sprung from the dry cleaners, I should have enough variety to tide me over for a while. I'm feeling almost up to starting Weight Watchers again, just so I can feel comfortable in my own skin.

Saturday, March 08, 2008

it's going around

My mom, my sister, and two or three other people I talked to today said that they were feeling fat and that their clothes are all too tight. Here in Ohio, we've had one of the snowiest winters on record. Maybe we're all putting on a layer of hibernation fat? I did take a big pile of pants to the dry cleaners and am hoping that it's open tomorrow so I can go ransom them.

We got even more snow last night. The roads seemed too treacherous to drive to the gym with a pool, so instead of swimming, I did a weight training workout today. I have daydreams of kidnapping me, taking me to the Biggest Loser ranch, and beating me up for about a month and whip me back into shape. I've been listening to too many podcasts, I guess. I downloaded about three months' worth.

What I notice is that she says pretty much the same things every week: Count calories, do circuit training to build muscle and burn fat four days a week, do another day or two of just cardio, take one day off, change workouts frequently to shake things up. That's it. Simple. But people call in and ask, "So, what do you think of hoodia?" "Should I get gastric bypass?" "What about the Blood Type Diet?"

Everyone is looking for the magic bullet. I'm guilty of it myself. I haven't tried any diet drugs, but i did buy one of the multivitamins that Jillian recommends, just in case that is enough to transform me from fat to phat.

Friday, March 07, 2008

congratulations, Corinna!

I have a lot of my favorite bloggers in my RSS feeds so that I can keep up with everyone, even if I don't always post comments or visit each and every blog. I notice that Corinna Makris, my roomie from Blogher, has a book coming out. This means that everyone but me in this picture has gotten a book deal now, which, to me, suggests that it's my turn. I notice that I am hearing and seeing book, book, book everywhere, and that my little ears perk up every single time I do. Even if The Universe isn't trying to tell me something, maybe I'm trying to tell me something. Even if there's not a guaranteed Rich and Famous contract in it for me, I know I like to write. It would give me something to do when I'm alone in my hotel room on all the million trips I am taking for work this summer.

Actually, I did write a book. It was a few shy of 150 pages, plus about five pages of references and another few pages of appendices. But I didn't get any royalties at all! I was robbed. In fact, I paid quite a lot of money for the privilege of writing it, money that I have to start paying off this month.

I did get to wear a pretty cool outfit with a funny hat. So it was worth it, I think.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

the worst thing about gaining weight

Not sure how many other people do this, but I had a terrible morning today and thought it would be useful to blog about it. I was trying to get ready for work, and none of my favorite pants (that's trousers to you UK folks, not knickers) were clean. I had to settle for a pair that were a little tighter than I'd like them to be.

I then proceeded to try to put together an outfit with these hated pants out of the many hated (at least right then) options I had available to me. A cute sweater? No, muffin-top showthrough. A bulkier sweater? No, too hot and made me feel potatoey. A pretty blouse? No, larger (thanks to extra fat) breasts causes that dreaded center-button pull. Another blouse? Same problem, only worse. Long-sleeved t-shirt? Nope, muffin again.

I swear, I probably tried on and rejected at least twelve tops and was reduced to tears just trying to get ready for work. Of course, my anxiety was only heightened by the long commute that I was facing, and a day jam-packed with meetings. It is a miracle I even got to work today.

I need to make a trip to the dry cleaners, something I hate almost as much as getting dressed. I put it off for as long as I can, and once I give them my clothes, I hate to go ransom them... I'm almost tempted to just abandon them and buy new ones. Why can't everything be machine-washable?

So my life is littered with rejected, formerly-loved clothes right now. So partially it's about fitness for me, and then there's the other goal of de-topping my muffin... Still feeling completely unequal to dieting, though, as idiotic as I know that is. I have looked at this from every possible angle, and it all comes down to eating less than I would prefer to eat, whether I count Points or calories or do some other magical plan. Where's the Goldfish Cracker diet? I really could get behind that one right now. So you'll notice (especially if you subscribe to the RSS feed and see how many times I've edited this) that the crazy switch has only "On" and "Paused" positions. There is no "Off."

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

exercise therapy

I was geekily excited about getting back to Spinning classes. Last night was my first one in a very long time. I got there early and did a short weightlifting session before the class started. Signing up for that race did exactly what I had hoped -- it gave me the extra push to get out the door when I'm tired after work.

I'm glad, too, because after a 45-minute class, I felt like I had finally shut off the crazy switch in my head. I felt more mellow and relaxed than I had in a long, long time. All the chatter that runs through my mind most of the time quieted down for a while. I would never have believed, on all those days that I felt like hamburger after a rough commute home, that going for a workout would make me feel energized and happy, but I swear it's true.

Tonight, though, we have freezing rain, and I am staying inside where it's warm and safe and watching "The Biggest Loser" and the election returns.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

it's official

I signed up for my race yesterday when I went to go swimming. The race is designed for complete newbies. It's a teeny-tiny triathlon compared to others I've done before: 250 yards swimming (10 lengths), 8 miles biking, a 3K run (just under 2 miles). I think this is just the right size for a challenge for me: Enough that I will need to train, but not so impossible that I'll feel discouraged. When I signed up for the race, I had to estimate how long it would take me to do the swim. I guesstimated and chose 7 minutes. After I warmed up, I timed 10 lengths during the swim and came in at just over 5 minutes. It looks like I should be able to finish the entire race in under an hour.

One bummer is that after I signed up, I noticed that a group I used to train with is sponsoring the race. I quit this group because when I was in pretty good shape, I still felt fat and underachieving compared to all these hyper-fit Ironmen and women. I'm a little nervous at them seeing how much worse shape I am in now. I guess that's more motivation to train. Most of the people were nice, though there were one or two that really bugged me. Too bad, though. I am doing this race.

If all goes well, I'd like to do a longer race (a sprint triathlon) later in the summer. I will have to see what my work schedule (especially travel) leaves in the realm of possibility. One more reason to wish that I were independently wealthy. I'm looking ahead to a busy summer travel schedule, and definitely feeling that I would rather spend my time getting fit and healthy than touring the airports and Comfort Inns of this fine nation. Those make-your-own waffle breakfasts lose their charm after about the third one.

But there are bills to be paid, so I'm doing what I can. I swam 1000 yards yesterday and did 250 yards of kickboard. Today is a short run. Tomorrow I am going to do a short weight workout and have my first Spinning class in this session.
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"Count your calories, work out when you can, and try to be good to yourself. All the rest is bulls**t." -- Jillian Michaels at BlogHer '07