Tag Archives: gym

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.

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?

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!

Guest Blogger Christine Amodio: Couch to 5K

20 Jun

In all my life, I have never been able to run. Let me give you a little background about myself. Growing up as a child I didn’t get much physical activity. I didn’t play sports for school or the town. In high school, I did one year of track and field (really just field) and then fencing. In college the physical activity I did was lifting beer cans and food from the table to my mouth. After college I decided to get my life in order while I was on unemployment from my first job. My weight had become out of control and I needed to fix it. I started going to the gym taking cardio and strength classes. With the combination of exercise and eating right, I lost 80 pounds. At this point in my life, I was in pretty good shape, yet still couldn’t run. Since then I’ve had some injuries that are caused by over working muscles, so I’ve had to cut my gym time in half. I need to make sure the time I spend at the gym counts.

I decided I wanted to be able to run. I’ve heard of people starting the Couch to 5K program, but never heard the results. My thoughts were my friends tried it and either didn’t finish it or decided to never mention it. I looked at the plan and thought, this is going to be tough, but I can do this.. The program doesn’t seem so scary being it says if a week is difficult work on that week’s run until it’s something you can do and feel comfortable moving on. I went into this knowing it would be difficult, but I would push myself and if I HAD to, I’d repeat a week. Well, four weeks in I got sick. I had to take a week and a half off from the gym. I decided to start with the week I was on, and see how it went. I was able to continue with that week, and then move on to the next. Then I had a tough week at work, with a lot of overtime and didn’t get to the gym. Instead of stressing that I didn’t get to run that week, I made it a priority to restart the week of the plan I couldn’t finish. I’ve repeated a few weeks, but for the most part it’s become a competition with myself that I want to move on and I want to do more. I’ve grown to like running instead of groaning about how much it sucks.

When I first started I would make sure I would be at the gym at a time when a lot of people weren’t around. I felt self conscious running. I felt that everyone in that gym were professional runners and would judge me for the way I ran and how I would do a mix of running and walking. After a week or two, and looking around at other people working out, I realized I had nothing to be afraid of. No one was watching me, they were involved in their own workout.

I have my last run of the program to complete. I’ve completed two of the week 9 runs, and have one remaining. Now my decision is if I want to redo the program starting from the first week to increase my speed (substitute the walk with a jog and the jog for a run), or if I want to work on being able to run for a longer amount of time. I’ll make that decision shortly.

My verdict is, if you want to get into running this program is spectacular for it. You just have to get over the mental hang ups that you can’t do it or you’ll look stupid. You can do it, and you won’t look stupid…and if you do no one is looking at you anyway 🙂:).

Caps Lock to EMPHASIZE MY RAGE!

16 Jun

I’ve been watching a lot of old Biggest Loser episodes lately and what really struck me last night is that season after season Jillian and Bob push the contestants relentlessly until they spill the beans about their issues. For some it’s a crappy childhood, others have never felt good about themselves, some are mad at their parents, but all of them have a reason that they got fat and stayed fat for so long.  It really got me thinking that there’s a HUGE difference between recognizing your issues and dealing with them and/or letting them go.

I’ve always considered myself pretty self-aware. It could be because I’m one big mass of neuroses and I tend to over-think everything so how in the name of Neil Patrick Harris could my issues be exempt?  I’ve always been overweight with a propensity for putting on weight easily and quickly. I was a chubby kid. One of my thorny issues is that certain people (including family members and mean-spirited contemporaries) hassled me ENDLESSLY about it. I hadn’t even hit a growth spurt and had people riding me for being fat. What made it worse was that when I actually thinned out in high school I was 5’5″ and about 135 lbs (a perfectly normal weight) and they STILL told me I was fat. So many days I wonder “If everyone had just left me alone would I STILL be struggling so hard with my weight?” Obviously, I think not.

I’ve done therapy, complained to my friends, had a special relationship with Jose Cuervo and none of it has actually helped me get over it. I’d just like to say for the record that walking around thinking about how awesome you are doesn’t make you drop weight..unless of course you walk 5 mi. a day thinking about how awesome you are. Either way, just thinking you’re tits doesn’t get the job done.

I had a mini-meltdown this morning because of some photos I saw of myself. It’s been a big week.  Lucy’s graduation party, Kate’s Baby Shower and…well, I accidentally turned 36 so I went out with a bunch of folks to a local bar/restaurant.  All of these events were fantastic and I wouldn’t have missed any one of them but people also took pictures.  I should probably note that I am not particularly photogenic before I tell you that I looked like CRAP in every, single one from every, single event.   I’m telling you right now that I could get a summer job relieving the Goodyear blimp. What was worse than looking that bad was that I kept thinking “I looked in the mirror before I went out – I DIDN’T SEE THAT PERSON LOOKING BACK AT ME.”  I saw one thing but the camera saw Delta Burke (makeup and all!) and Shamu wrestling under a black shirt. I really thought that when you’re dysmorphic you thought you were heavier than you are!

So what did I do? I cried and grumbled…mostly to Eric because that’s always a good choice  (he actually has productive suggestions) and some to Christine (who just gets it). I still feel like crap but I did a little talking to myself and think I have it worked out.  I HAVE NOT let go of any of my issues. On the emotional side: I feel judged and embarrassed and angry. I feel like nobody is going to love me, even though I am pretty awesome, because I’m overweight. I’m mad at myself for not being able to get things in check. I’m frustrated because I AM trying.  Logical Me (and Eric) says: You have to figure out how your body wants to be fueled and I suspect you need more protein. You HAVE TO go to the gym. Working out at home was nice but you KNOW that your body responds well to weight training and cardio on the elliptical and bike. Your energy level is low and as a result Emotional Me is getting the crazy eyes.  Logical Me knows it’s going to be ok…just not RIGHT NOW.  This will take a while.

For the moment, until I can figure out what it takes to deal with my garbage or let it go, I have to be contented with getting back to the gym.  It’s going to take a Herculean effort to get myself back on an a.m. schedule but that L’Oreal lady keeps telling me I’m worth it.

How do you deal with all the baggage you’re carrying around?  Just so you know before you make suggestions: I don’t have a handgun permit or access to cyanide.

 

The Starting Line

26 May

I’m a big girl and I’ve almost always been one.  The last time I was “ideal weight” was in high school and I was still getting being made fun of for being fat.  For years I’ve struggled with my weight, jumped in and out of fitness regimens and always found myself back at the same damn starting line.

I recently decided, terrified into action by my younger brother’s impending nuptials, during which I will be wearing a sleeveless dress, that I needed to drop some weight and start working out again. The more I thought about it the more I realized how much better I felt and slept when I was exercising. Starting back up seemed like the best idea I’d had since breaking up with my ex-boyfriend.  I turned to some women’s fitness magazines to help me get going, establish a routine, and set realistic expectations for the kind of exercise I should be doing.

NOT the best idea I ever had.  Women’s fitness magazines are for fit women…or women who need to lose 10 lbs to get into a bikini.  The last time my ass was in a bikini I was a toddler and being chubby in a bikini was cute. Fitness magazines assume I can jump onto a treadmill and break into a full-on run…and sustain it….for 30 minutes….or do intervals….and not die.  Fitness magazines don’t ask whether my knees and ankles are shot from my little-known sumo wrestling career.  It doesn’t even seem to occur to them that I might have more than 20 lbs. to lose and that the closest I’ve gotten to exercise equipment in a while was to hang a bra from the handles of my stationary bike to dry.

A few weeks ago I stated,via my status update on Facebook, “Someone needs to create a magazine called “Workouts for Fat Chicks.” Every fitness magazine assumes I’m already in marathon shape but I don’t run unless someone is chasing me.”  The response from my friends, even the svelte ones, was overwhelming. So it got me thinking…I’M a fat chick…I write for a living…and hey, I know people who know stuff.

I spent a number of years working in gyms. I’ve worked with trainers who had contests to see who could make their client puke first….but I’ve also worked with trainers who are consummate professionals, love what they do, care for their clients, and truly work to make their clients’ programs match with their current fitness level, goals, and abilities and continuously push them farther and farther from the starting line. If there’s one thing I can tell you from my own experience, the trainer who makes you puke or works you out so hard during the first session that you need a team of oxen to get you out of a chair the next day is not doing you any favors.  The truth is that they’re probably pushing you OUT of the gym unless you’re into sado-masochism in which case – hey! whatever blows your skirt up! Who am I to judge?

So, for all of us who have been forsaken, whether you’ve got a ton of weight to lose, little or no weight to lose but need to get back in shape, or just look at the moves on a fitness video and say “You want me to put what where?!?”, this blog is my attempt to facilitate useful, realistic fitness and diet information.  I’m not a trainer or a nutritionist. I can only tell you what works for me and doesn’t as I’m stumbling through this and hope to hear the same from you.  I’m going to lean on the people I know who have the expertise, credentials, and experience to give you professional advice.

I hope you’ll join me in this experiment and chime in and tell me about your experiences. I think our goals can all be achieved when we’ve got the right tools. So let’s stop listening to people who are telling us to use a sledgehammer to put a nail into the wall to hang a picture and get the show on the road at the speed that feels right for us.

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