Tag Archives: exercise

Some Thoughts on Being a Grown Ass Woman

19 Feb

I haven’t written in a long time; mostly because the actual living of my life has gotten in the way. There’s always an email that needs answering or a ringing phone or wine to be drunk that prevent me from sitting and collecting my thoughts all quiet-like.

A fun but perplexing weekend has left me working over some thoughts, likely till I’ve worried the finish right off of them, but all that thinking led me right back here to try and distill it all down to something useful. I had one of those moments this weekend that just made my brain explode. It was the moment that launched a million questions about myself, about how others perceive me, and the way things work between people. Ultimately, it led me to some of my own truths, that by writing them here, I’m owning.

It was a simple thing really….a very sweet, well-meaning friend who, I believe, was speaking to protect my best interests, said I was naive. My cerebellum lit up like a pinball machine at the word – a mixture of horror, amusement, and indignation for the most part. I managed to collect myself before I spoke. My response was simple, “I’m nearly 38 years old, I’ve been in relationships most of my adult life, I’ve learned a few things. Now I just take what’s good from a situation and move along.”

I can’t rightly say how it was received, but over the past few days, I’ve come up with some things that I know to be true about myself at this point in my life.

1. I am an enthusiastic and whole-hearted lover of people, music, and words. I am truly unabashed about all three. An ex-boyfriend of mine used to laugh at how I would gush that something or someone was “amazing” with such emphasis and glee. I’m quick to love people and pull them close and despite it getting me kicked in the teeth more times than I choose to count, I wouldn’t change it. I love that my friends, family, and “special interest groups” know how great I think they are and that I adore and appreciate them. Yes, I’m more careful these days about who gets into the inner sanctum, but I’m ok with being effusive. It’s what makes me me.

2. I want things and that’s ok. I’ve been very uncomfortable for a good many years about having needs and wants…that is, up until I put some serious time into dating. There is nothing that gets you to define and embrace what you want and need (and don’t) like a series of bad dates. I want to be myself and blurt out ridiculous, silly, filthy jokes and comments because that’s what I do. I want to be surrounded by people who make me think, sing, laugh, smile, and make a fool of myself. I want to shamelessly flirt because, no matter what the size tag on my pants says, I’m sexy and I’m a damned good flirt when the spirit moves me. I don’t ever want to make myself smaller for anyone again either physically or emotionally/spiritually.

3. Losing weight is not easy. It actually gets harder every day. It’s work. Watching what I eat isn’t enough – my body tends to want to be…zaftig. I have big boobs, and a big ass and when I weigh less they are still big – and I like ’em. So do some other folks. I will never be tiny, I’m just not built for it, but if I work really hard – exercise and diet – I can be healthy and smaller. More than anything, I need to be doing it the right way for the right person – me.

4. I like men. Ok, you knew that. For the record, I’m down with everyone liking men or women regardless of their own gender. I like sex. I’m a grown ass woman and there is nothing in the world wrong with acknowledging that I like it. No, that doesn’t mean I’m bedding every willing man in the contiguous U-nited States, but guess what? Sometimes I have ulterior motives. Sometimes I find someone so attractive that I get that “oh-yes-he-will-be-mine” thing going on. I met a fella not too long ago who I found very appealing pretty much from the get-go. As I’ve gotten to know him a little I’ve found him to be smart and funny and interesting to talk to and very talented to boot. I also wouldn’t mind seeing him naked. Not one bit. In fact, I insist. I don’t think we’re getting married and having a white picket fence and 2.5 children. I just enjoy him. Whether I ever have my way with him or not I will continue to enjoy him and harbor dirty thoughts and flirt. If this is problematic for you, please review items 1-3 and then revisit.

5. My life would be incomplete and no fun at all without my girlfriends. They are the loves of my life, my partners in crime, the Sonnys to my Cher, the Pinot to my Grigio. They are also all significantly better looking than I am and I only go out with them because they’re happily married and therefore off-limits to my conquests. Joking aside, if I never make another friend for the rest of my life I’ll be ok. None of what I’ve written here will surprise any of them because they already know who I am.

I could make this list far longer but it would get a lot less interesting and you’re probably exhausted from the exertion of reading these five things. If you want to share some of your truths in the comments I’d be delighted. In closing, I’d like to quote 2 men who have been very influential in my life.

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” – Dr. Seuss

“Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.” – My Dad

Just Say Om

8 Aug

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When I sit down to write these things I usually know what they’re about and where they’re going before I type the first word. Tonight I’m not as sure. I have a lot of things I want to tell you…about my twisted love life, my yoga classes, my Sister Wives and The Compound, but I’m not getting my usual laser focus going so I’m just going to wing it. My apologies if reading it feels like dropping acid.

I’ve learned a lot of lessons in 37 years, some of which I’m just now starting to implement in my daily life. Some are simple, like eating ice cream on a really hot day makes me sick, and some are more nuanced, like what I want and need in my life and that I have a right to make those things clear and ask for them.

Things with the Irishman have been a bit dicey for the last week. We had a stupid tiff and he’s been a little on the standoffish side since. I brought him to a party on Saturday night at the home of one of the Sister Wives and he really enjoyed himself but I think he also got his first glimpse of Independent Lisa. Independent Lisa doesn’t babysit or cling to you…she drinks, and mingles, and meets other people, and laughs a lot. Independent Lisa had a great time at said party. It could well be that Independent Lisa is not the Irishman’s type.

Here’s the thing about his type…I don’t know what it is. I realized that I have no idea what he’s attracted to as far as I’m concerned. Kids, I’m built like the prow of a ship…if the prow was attached to a short, padded body with a sizable aft, and I’m pretty ok with that. As it turns out, neither my fore nor my aft are of interest to good ol’ James Joyce. I like to think I have a big personality and a good, if bawdy, sense of humor…and yet those characteristics seem as incomprehensible to him as Finnegan’s Wake. So what gives?

So here’s where it gets weird – just as I start to spiral a bit and berate myself about my smooshy midsection and the fact that I haven’t been to the gym in 2 months, The Hebrew Hammer reappears. I cannot say at present time (because I don’t know yet…I’m not holding out on you) what has sparked this renewal of his suit, but he has resurfaced full of praise of my multitudinous virtues. He is aware of my current involvement and has nicknamed the Irishman “Judgy O’Judgerson” for his habit of mild yet repeated critique. I know I need to address the fact that neither of our towns have been miraculously relocated closer to each other…but not just yet…because I’m confused…and cranky…and thinking too much about what everyone else thinks and wants and thinks of me.

So I went to yoga. Twice this week. Yoga is amazing for this sort of confusion and angst. No, it doesn’t solve anything. You don’t shake yourself up like a Magic 8 Ball for an hour and suddenly receive the right answer to the dilemmas of daily life. Here’s what it does do: it forces you to focus on yourself. To practice effectively you have to quiet the mind and focus on your body..its movements, its limitations, its strengths AND NOT JUDGE THEM. It takes all my concentration to breathe and not fall over. It takes all my patience and kindness to laugh and smile when I DO fall over. I can’t think about the Irishman and the Jew or my belly or what comes next. I just have to stay in the moment and contort and lift my body and breathe.

I like my body when I’m in class…it can do cool things and if I keep at it it will become conditioned to do more cool things. Yoga is moving me toward my weight loss and fitness goals and helping me gain the focus to tackle my personal and professional ones. If you haven’t taken a yoga class, I encourage you to give it a try for both the mind and body benefits. For those of you who feel like you’re too hardcore – have you tried lifting your body weight recently? How flexible are your hips and hamstrings? Give it a shot – you’ll find it’s quite the workout. Most studios offer small beginner packages to take it for a test drive. My studio, Verona Yoga has 3 classes for $30 for new students and two Absolute Beginner classes a week.

As always, I invite any and all comments, but I’d love to know what you do to get out of your own head, find your focus, or feel more comfortable in your own skin. Off to bed for me! Namaste.

The Luck of the Irish…Perhaps

23 Jul

Irish Big Love?So when I last wrote I was pining for a fellow of the Hebraic persuasion who felt that the schlepp through the deserts of South and Central New Jersey to reach me in the Northern Promised Land was far too difficult. Had Moses felt the same all of Biblical history would be re-written. And so it was in the life of this single gal. If I have learned one thing from this epic attempt to date – other than that I don’t really like being molested in parking lots by men who look like my gusband but are straight – it is that we (meaning me) cannot pin our hopes on impossible dreams and stories we made up after enjoying the fruit of the vine.

When it became clear that my gentleman caller was, in fact, sticking to his zip code where dating is concerned (marked by the arrival of a woman who I arbitrarily named Ethel), I moved on without many bumps and bruises…and met the Irishman. Besides having a smattering of Irish in my family tree, many of my favorite people wear the green including one of my Sister Wives (known for going “All Crazy Irish Girl”). For those not in the know, I am not a polygamist, and I promise to devote a post to my beloved Sister Wives and our dream of owning a compound in a later post. I loves me some Irish…and redheaded Irish…don’t get me started.

The Irishman is handsome. And age-appropriate. And an amazing father to his beautiful 16 year old daughter. He is sane, has a great job, lives a reasonable distance from me, and, did I mention handsome? He has a great sense of humor and, virtue of virtues, seems to enjoy me. I’ve been enjoying his company both on the phone and in person and had the great pleasure of meeting said beautiful daughter this weekend. Children are the measure of their parents and this girl was a wonder. She is sweet and funny and has none of the disturbing overly grown up qualities I see in many girls her age. We had a lovely dinner and I managed not to spill anything on myself or drool on her father.

I don’t want to get ahead of myself or put pressure on things, but I’ve been smiling a lot lately. The Irishman is generous with his praise and is quite clear that he finds me attractive, and yet…the sad fat kid voice keeps cutting through all the fiddles and fanfare. Although my weight is slowly wending its way down, I’ve become a little obsess-y. I hate my mid-section – where I store anything and everything I put in my pie hole. I find myself considering Insanity (which would kill me) and  CrossFit (which would kill me twice) to make it go away. The truth is that I still haven’t adjusted completely to my workday beginning at 8 instead of 9 and have been staying up too late as a result of the dating expedition to actually get up and work out in the morning.  I’ve missed yoga more than I’d like due to work stuff.

Here’s what I AM doing…I’m trying to relax and enjoy myself. I’m taking control of my eating by starting the day with a good, solid protein shake, drinking a Red Sea’s worth of water and decaf iced tea, and having a reasonable lunch and dinner. Most of all, I’m walking in the door of my apartment every night and immediately removing my pants. Pants-free evenings are not only comfortable, but also remind me that my rear end hasn’t met the back of my thighs yet and is still pretty damn hot.

I’m off to enjoy this delightful thunderstorm, the latest episode of The Closer, and some absolutely hysterical texts from the Irishman before I retire. Until next time, may the road rise up to meet you all.

Let’s Do The Time Warp Workout Playlist

20 Feb

Despite a sinus infection and an annoyingly irritated eye, both of which have kept me out of the gym, it’s been a pretty good week at Chez Forsaken. I weighed in at Weight Watchers 2.2 lbs lighter and, as of this morning, my now compulsory Saturday treat from Hobcaw Cafe (a lovely, generous slice of red velvet cake) has not altered that in the slightest. Now that I’m feeling better I’m gearing up for a triumphant return to the gym and charging the ol’ iPod – The God Pod – which led me to think about the music that gets me moving.

I’m constantly cruising workout playlists online and in magazines to find some tunes that get my motor running and help me power through the tougher parts of my routine, but I must admit that my musical proclivities don’t usually match the suggested songs. Hi, my name is Lisa, and I’m in a musical time warp.

For as long as I can remember my tastes have run toward music produced prior to my birth and have really ceased to expand beyond the radio fodder of my college days circa late 1990s. Having worked at a software company with a lot of people 10 or more years younger than me, I’ve tried, as of late, to incorporate some new music into my library. As a result, my workout playlist looks like a massive American music retrospective. So, for those of you who don’t mind admitting early old fogey-dom and a desperate looking attempt to stay current, here are some favorites from my God Pod.

  • I Want You Back – Jackson 5
  • Animal – Neon Trees
  • Say Hey (I Love You) – Micheal Franti
  • Shambala – Three Dog Night
  • Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
  • Walking on Sunshine – Katrina and The Waves
  • Runaround – Blues Traveler
  • Valerie – Amy Winehouse
  • Hard to Handle – Black Crowes
  • Spirit in the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
  • American Girl – Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers
  • Bad Romance – Lady Gaga
  • Little Red Corvette – Prince
  • St. Elmo’s Fire (Man in Motion) – Jon Parr
  • Single Ladies – Beyonce

Does your playlist look a little schizo too? What are your workout faves?

Scaling Back

14 Feb

Welcome to Valentine’s Day at my house. I’m fetchingly dressed in pink sweatpants, a knitting bunny tee, and my lumberjack shirt – an incredibly oversized fleece button down stolen from a boyfriend circa 2001. I’m surrounded by flowers…when I say flowers I mean crumpled tissues. No, I’m not weeping like a jilted woman in a romcom because I’ve not received a bouquet – I have The Plague.

Ok, so I don’t have The Black Death – it’s more likely a cold or sinus infection – but I enjoy the drama…like calling impending snowstorms “Snowpocalypse.” I find myself wondering why it always is that when I’ve just hit my stride at the gym that my body throws a wrench in the machinery. It could be that it’s asking for more rest or it could just be crap luck but it’s so frustrating. I keep trying to tell myself that it’s just a head cold and that I could go to the gym for just a bit, but that familiar feeling in my eyes lets me know that I’m going to fall into a short-term coma as soon as I find a mildly comfortable position and that I probably have a wee fever. I don’t own a thermometer because when I do I take my temperature too frequently. Which gets me thinking about my scale.

I should probably send my scale the way of the thermometer because I can’t stop myself from jumping on it at least once a day. It has become an oracle that determines my moods and, often, makes it harder to stay on track with my eating. I need to stay far away from the feeling that this is not working and that I’m doomed to be my own plus one. The scale is like the worst “Mean Girl” I’ve ever met…just when I’m feeling good it takes me down a couple pegs…and makes out with my boyfriend…ok, maybe not that.

So, here are today’s goals: Drink a lot of liquids, stuff my gullet with Mucinex, get some rest, hide my scale, and be mentally and physically healthy enough to go to yoga tomorrow night.

Do you have any special goals for the day or the week? Comment away!

 

Bloated, Bothered, and Bewildered

11 Feb

Well, after a week of exercising and eating my points and no more, I weighed in this morning. While Fantasy Lisa would have lost 5 pounds and received a little star sticker that excites all us Weight Watchers as much as a kindergartener, Real Lisa gained a pound.  A pound is a funny thing – it’s nothing when you consider normal hormonal fluctuations, the difference in your weight after you drink a couple glasses of water, or the added weight of a sweatshirt, but it’s celebration-worthy in the Weight Watchers meeting room when you take it off. 1/2 – 2 lbs a week is considered normal, healthy weight loss. It’s not so much the ONE pound that bothers me, it’s the others that should have melted off after all the work and water and carefully measured food.

Wrapped up in all this worry and disappointment, like the cream in a cannoli, is the beauty of Weight Watchers meetings. As I walked away from the scale, looking like I just lost my puppy, my WW leader, Davida, zeroed in on me and said, “How are you doing this week?” I looked at her dolefully and said “Meh.” I explained that I had started an exercise routine that included yoga and cardio on the elliptical trainer, had eaten my Points, not used my Activity or Weekly Points, and had been drinking all my water but still managed to be up a pound. She looked me right in the eyes and said “Good.” She told me that this is to be expected, that my body needs to adjust. She told me to keep on program, keep racking up the Activity Points but not eating them, keep drinking my water and that next week I’ll see the difference.

I’m not going to BS you and say that I’m not bummed out anymore, but I DO feel better. It’s great to have someone who has been there tell you it’s ok – that your body is doing what bodies do, that you’re doing the right thing and it will pay off. When I got home, my friend Emily reminded me that this will happen when you’re turning fat into muscle…and I believe everything Emily says…dude, it’s science…she’s got a PhD….plus, she takes honest-to-God boxing and could kick my ass.

Today is a rest day and I went to my beloved Hobcaw Cafe to get a coffee treat. I have water in my glass and a healthy dinner defrosting (beef stew with lots of veg – yum!). I’ll probably nap in front of the TV. I’m just going to be kind to myself and get some rest and stay on track. Today I may be bloated, bothered, and bewildered, but next week will be better.

Back in the Saddle Yet Again

10 Feb

It’s been a long time since I wrote, mostly due to an epic backslide. I went gung ho in preparation for my brother’s wedding in August with lackluster results, confirmed by picture in which I looked like I was competing in a beauty pageant with the Queen Mary. It was discouraging to say the least. Consequently I proceeded to add an extra twenty pounds, stop exercising, and to feel really, really sorry for myself. It was a very productive couple months.

In November I signed up for Weight Watchers. I really believe in the program – no weird eating or purchased meals – and took off almost 10 pounds but then the holidays proved too much for me. I got busy with parties and friends and stopped going to meetings…then I put the weight back on plus a smidgen more. I kept telling myself that I’d return as soon as I took the weight back off. Pure and simple – I was embarrassed. At the end of January it began to bother me. I knew I should go. I knew I wasn’t happy with myself.

Finally it occurred to me that people don’t go to Weight Watchers because they’re in control of their eating – the staff and other members understand backslides and gains – and that I have nothing to be embarrassed about. I recognized that I needed to get back on the horse and start over because the only person I was disappointing was myself. I mentioned this to a friend in my knitting group and it just so happened she was going through the same thing. So, 2 weeks ago we made a commitment to each other to go to meetings together. The fact that I now have someone I have to call and say “I’m not going today” will help keep me on track as I’m more likely to let myself down than someone else.

Last week’s weigh in, after a full week of being back on program, showed a 3.8 pound loss. It was a nice welcome back present and I’m hoping to post another solid loss tomorrow. Since returning to Weight Watchers I’ve embarked on an exercise program with another friend which involves an hour and 15 minute yoga class at Verona Yoga once a week and regular elliptical workouts at the gym. I have to say I’m feeling really good. I have more energy, feel lighter, and sleep better.

I’ve always wanted to try yoga but was nervous about being the big girl in the room and, quite simply, was afraid I just couldn’t do it. My friend and I found that Verona Yoga not only offers a new student 3 class special so we could try it without making a big commitment, but also has an Absolute Beginner class so we felt that there was no expectation about our ability and no pressure. It turns out we both love yoga! Our instructor, Laura, is amazing – not only shows us modifications and use of props but encourages us to use them and not push our bodies too hard. There’s absolutely no judgement.  The people in our class are so very nice and I don’t feel self-conscious in the slightest.

It’s really interesting to me how aware of your body you become – even after just a few classes – in a non-judgmental way. I’m aware of what muscles are tight and which are more limber. I feel my muscles loosening throughout my practice and feel good about my progress. Better yet, a lifetime “bad relaxer”, this body awareness is really helping me unwind. So, yoga is a big success and we’ve decided to continue taking classes and really look forward to them.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ve got some things to do around the apartment and have a gym workout scheduled for this afternoon. Keep your fingers and toes crossed for my weigh in tomorrow and have a great day!

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