Ballerina!

When I was a wee girl (before the “gift” of puberty), I was a ballerina.  I LOVED ballet – my dad installed a barre in our house for me to practice, and I had the pale pink leotard and tights – I think there even was a tutu.

When I went into whatever level of ballet where you get a mean German male teacher who yells at you for not knowing your left from right, I didn’t last long.  I still have to take a beat to remember my left from right – it is just a thing with me.  My dad does a great impersonation of the poor befuddled teacher saying “I do not mean to make ze little girlz cry!”

Shortly after that my mom enrolled me in acting classes, and I enjoyed that for the next 12+ years, so I am ok.  But a part of me always missed ballet.  I didn’t understand why lithe, talented girls would shake their butts to crap music when they could be pointeing and tutuing instead.

When SD was wee, I made a futile attempt to get her interested in ballet (see round peg, square hole) and was unjustifiably sad when she wasn’t interested.

Fastforward to this summer when I watched a reality show about ballet dancers.  The reality show of it made me cringe, but the ballet was amazing – and I yearned to be spending 10 hours a day perfecting my ballet craft.  I decided then and there that I would watch ballet in KC as much as I could.  Which led me to the Kansas City Ballet website… where I discovered their Studio Classes.

I had my first ballet class and absolutely loved it – and here are all the reasons why.

1. My worst fear – that I would be twice the weight of everybody else in the class – came true, and I survived.  Most of the thin girls probably didn’t even notice me.  Some of the tiny dancers were probably judgy of my excess – but who gives a fuck if they were?

2. The teacher is a *real* ballerina.  She is very pretty and friendly and welcoming.

3. Ballet has rules.  And even though we are beginners and not 8, the teacher makes us follow the rules – I love that.

4. Thin people are fallible.  I made mistakes – so did some of the thin women – and the teacher corrected both of us.  If you have ever been a fat person in an exercise class full of thin people and been treated as if you were special needs, you will know why this means so much to me.

5. I love my ballet shoes.

6. I only confused my right and left once – and nobody yelled at me in German.

7. I am pretty good for being 38 and not taking a dance class in a bazillion years.

8. The class is at the lovely Todd Bolender Center for Dance – with exposed brick walls and big windows that look into KC.

9. I got a good workout – one downside is that in Ballet class, it seems there are no water breaks.

10. We did running leaps!!  So fun and wonderful – just like we did when I was in ballet many years ago.

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20 Minutes!

I have fought the urge this year to declare all of my resolutions on this blog.  Last year I ended up scrapping them totally – making all the planning and the tracking pointless.  But it is one week in, I am doing pretty well, and I am feeling cocky.

My resolutions for this year:

1. Organize my house – every year I get a little bit closer.
2. Make my bedroom awesome fun funky.  We did the kids’ bedrooms in 2011, I want to make ours kickin’ in 2012.  I have lots of ideas – just need the energy.
3. Vegan 365 days – I have gotten so far afield of this part of who I am – but after a lot of searching, I am back.  And it is going so well.  So far 7 days and I am feeling great.
4. Run 3 miles in 30 minutes – I get goosebumps thinking about how awesome it would be to be able to do that.
5. Read 24 books.

I am focusing on behavior rather than weight loss – which is supposed to be a good thing.  And last week and the weeks preceeding as I was practicing my goals, I have been exercising way more than I ever was before.  I am not quite at the feeling great phase – exercise still feels like work – but I am getting better at getting started.  Last week I exercised 5 times – which is way better than I have been doing.  The last time I exercised I tripped on nothing and badly skinned my knee and sprained my finger.  But I am *not* taking that as a sign and tonight am going to get back to it by doing something aerobic that doesn’t require me to use my hurt finger. 🙂

The thing that has worked for me ‘lo these three weeks is the 20-minute rule – If I can just get through no more than 20 minutes of prepping for exercise (changing clothes, moving the coffee table, driving 5 minutes to the gym), I will be in motion and can feel awesome and start reaping the benefits.  And the good news is it usually takes way less than 20 minutes, but never ever more.

Happy 2012!

On Being Fat…

I am in therapy for being fat.  Truly.  My excess weight, my failure to lose excess weight, my sometimes debilitating obsession with my excess weight got to a point where I was at a loss as to what to do next.

I now see this amazing woman who talks to me about things.  She is very reasonable, very kind, very funny, and very encouraging.  Despite the fact that I cry a lot during the sessions.  And I am *not* cute when I cry.  I went to her because I wanted to lose weight and I saw this as my only hope, but then so much more has happened.

First, I haven’t lost any weight.  I am not actually completely sure about that because I don’t weigh myself anymore.  I don’t count calories.  I don’t write down what I eat.  So completely weird.  And scary. And liberating.

Second, I have learned a lot.  People who are bullied to lose weight generally don’t.  People who are made to feel badly about their weight generally don’t lose weight.  Calorie restriction, limiting foods, and all other types of dieting generally don’t work for people.  They work for some people.  People I am insanely jealous of.  But they don’t work for most people.  Just ask the multi-bazillion dollar diet industry.

At our last session, she asked me a simple question that brought me to tears.  What if you never lost weight? 

Almost my whole life has been about being in the process of trying to lose weight or planning to try to lose weight.  Lots of my life has changed, but that has never ever changed.  Hating the way I look and changing it have been my constant companion.

That is very sad.  And absurd.  And that is why I cried.  And also because that most likely will be the case, if past performance is an indicator.  And I can’t live my life the way I want if I am fat.

I won’t find love.
I won’t be successful.
I won’t have friends.
I won’t be cool.
I won’t be worthy.
I won’t be healthy.
So my pretty therapist friend let me know that was BS, in her nice way.  I have love. I am successful enough.  I have friends.  I am not cool, but losing weight won’t change that.  Most importantly, I am worthy.

Which leaves health.  And so I am going to be healthy.  Exercise enough.  Get enough water and fruits and vegetables. Because another thing I have learned is that thin doesn’t mean healthy and fat doesn’t mean unhealthy.  I can work for health and still love myself and be fat.  Yes, yes I can.

Which leaves really stupid things, like not having a lot of options in clothing and *other* people thinking I am not worthy because I am fat.

I don’t really have enough money or interest to be a clothes horse.  And F people who judge me because I am fat.  Seriously.

So I decided to just start liking myself. 

This is of course harder said than done – talk of weight loss permeates lots of my life.  And I encourage others to go where their path is taking them – which may be weight loss.  But my path is taking me to work for health and to everyday like myself as much as I possibly can.  And if anybody asks me what I am doing to lose weight or if I think I should lose weight, I am going to tell them that on August 10, 2011 I decided to like myself just the way I am and stop trying to lose weight.

At age 37 I am going to start living and loving my life, not failing at losing weight.

Woot.

No F’ING way! (Day 1)

I ate 1233 calories today.  That’s it… really.  I am blown away by this.  I figure that has had to have happened before – but never on purpose.  I have made many commitments to myself… but actually making it through he first day right hasn’t happened since I was 17.  I have started and stopped WW a bazillion times, but I always eat all my extra points by the third day in and then suck on the 4th day and then start all over again.

I am trying the Carb Lover’s Diet – I am not sure there is anything special about it except that it is readily available food (and adjusts *almost* seamlessly for a vegan).  The first week is the breaking in which is 1200 calories a day for seven days – and then you get to eat more.  I mean, I am hungry, don’t get me wrong.  But not the beasty sort of uncontrollable hunger that I felt almost all waking hours before I got a good doctor who got my PCOD metabolism problem under control.  I think what I am feeling is normal hunger, not MWAHAHAHAHA JUST GIVE ME FOOD AND MY BODY WILL CONVERT IT TO FAT IMMEDIATELY SO THAT I AM CONSTANTLY HUNGRY AND WANT TO CRY AND EAT AND SCREAM hunger.  Pretty big difference.

I was dreading the evening most of all.  I usually do OK during the days but feel and act really out of control in the evenings.  And I knew at the end of the day all that was waiting for me was a veggie burger on whole wheat with 1 tsp of mustard and an apple and that is f’ing it.  Any iteration of me prior to today would not have been able to do that.  Not an exaggeration.  But today I could.  Keys to success (yes – I realize it has been just one day – but that is one more day than I have gone in a looooong time):

1. Medication that makes my body actually convert carbs into energy so that my body doesn’t think it is being starved.

2. The World’s Best Veggie Burger from Local Burger.  I generally can’t stand veggie burgers – I will eat them in a pinch, and often it is the only option for me in some situations, but generally I find them gross.  So when my husband and I went to Local Burger and the world’s best is what they claimed, I scoffed.  Sort of like the world’s best steamed brussel sprouts – great big honor there.  And then I bit into it and it was AWESOME!  I mean truly, seriously wonderful.  It doesn’t taste like a burger, it tastes great – and completely vegan except for the bits of their soul they had to give to the devil to make such an awesome tasting veggie burger.  They sell frozen patties you can make at home, and I begrudgingly bought some at my husband’s prodding – I went for four patties instead of the big box my husband suggested (stupid, stupid, stupid)- because I was fairly certain that home preparation would make it the mealy thing that I can get at home already from one of many boxes – veggie burgers that taste like sadness.  I thought there was no way I could recreate its fantasticness at home, but two rounds in the toaster (yes, the toaster) on a medium setting (I don’t have a “defrost” setting on my toaster – I am not a frickin’ Rockefeller) and it was GREAT!

3. Fandy schmancy french tarragon mustard on the world’s best veggie burger -tres yum!

4. Getting away from the treats – there are cookies and candy downstairs – I am staying out of their way.

5. Committing to sticking to a plan to my trainer so that she can study this Carb Lover’s Diet thing – I am nothing if not a supporter of scientific questioning.  I don’t want to let the side down.

6. I am only letting myself watch trashy teenage television shows on my iPad on a cardio machine…. and I *really* wanted to know what happened when J got back in town after being banished by Blair!  So I spent an hour working out – which was one hour less not thinking about not eating food.

I do think that my rumbly tummy will get me out of bed early tomorrow morning – which means I could get to the gym before work which would be great.  I have a 90210 waiting for me.  Oh, that this works.

iCurse!

I have an iPad.  There.  I said it.  I have been on the delivery side of more than one rant about how technology is too prevalent in our free time – how we have forgotten how to have conversations or read or just be still because of all the bleeps and bloops.  But dernit, I love my iPad.  But, still, please do not read texts while having a meal with me.

Here are the top reasons I love my iPad:

1. Puzzle games which keep me from eating in the evening.  They need just enough concentration to keep me from concentrating on all the crap I would like to eat.

2. Travel companion – I don’t need multiple books and an iPod – it all is there at my fingertips.

3. Workout companion – music, books, tv shows – all to keep me moving.

4. Easy email access.  The phone is too tiny for me to successfully write and read emails – and I will never be good at that tiny keyboard.  And powering on my home PC requires me to step away from whatever I am doing.  So now those days I have to (unfortunately) be chained to my email I can do it wherever I am – giving me more free time.

That being said, I am conscientiously trying to limit the amount of time I use the cursed thing.  And if you ever are in a conversation where I am talking about any sort of electronic device as if that is something interesting to talk about, please slap me.

12.2 Miles!

I didn’t hit my mileage goal last week. I didn’t start stong, had a spike, and then petered out. I am back on the wagon and am on track to do more than 17 miles this week to help make up for the difference.

Here is what I did:

mile 0-1.2 – Walked with my friend at work.
mile 1.2 – 4.2 – walked in the *rain* with DH. He is such a good sport. We ended up taking a windy route for a change of scenery and I was afraid it would be less than 3 miles… but it was 2.99 miles according to MapMyRun.com – close enough to 3 for me.
mile 4.2-7.8 – This was a cool walk… we walked at sunset the day after the 4th, so we got to see all of the awesome amateur fireworks displays. It was very cool. I wish every walk could include fireworks.
mile 7.8 – 9 – Waled at work.
mile 9 – 11 – DH met me at Macken and we did 2 miles. I got super exhausted for some reason – maybe the stress of working lots during the weekend and then the unrelenting work week itself. Giving up on that third mile was the beginning of the end.
mile 11 – 12.2 – Walked at work. And then had every intention to walk after work, but didn’t.

New!

Here are some new things in my life…

1. Crochet. All Sunday I kept saying to my husband “I crochet! I am a crocheter!” ala Bill Murray in What About Bob when he decried he sails, he is a sailor after being strapped to a sailboat and taken for a spin.

Two years ago for Christmas DH got me a DVD on how to crochet. I never cracked it open. But after several frustrating attempts to learn from a book, I decided to give the DVD a try. And it worked. And I like crochet, which will be much to the chagrin of my knitting friends.

The DVD was very helpful. I didn’t think it would be because knitting shows are so NOT helpful. The hands always block the action and they go too fast and never cover the really important or difficult stuff. But this DVD has clear audio and video and I totally caught on to the basic crochet stitches.

SD was watching it with me while she worked on her second yellow knitted scarf. I will admit the DVD is a skosh cheesy. The musak is bad, and the 80s pastel set is a little over-the-top. And the woman doing the teaching talks to the viewers like they are kindergartners… but I think that is why it works. (Unlike Vickie Howell saying “Rad” or something like that all the time while someone is trying to show something.) So during a stitch break where we at home work on our stitches before the next segment on the DVD, SD asks me…

“Is that woman still alive?”
“The one on the DVD?”
“Yes.”
“Sure, probably, I think so.”
“Oh, good! I am sooooo glad.”

Weird. My instinct was to probe why SD would query if the crochet DVD woman was still alive (the woman in the DVD is in her early thirties), but I thought it best to let it be – just one of those surreal nuggets of childhood, now forever trapped in a blog.

Anywho, I am making progress on my scarf. It is very cute and the simple crocheting I am doing is pretty easy. And it is going so quickly I can see why knitters think crocheting is cheating.

2. Chick lit. I try to avoid it because, well, I have two degrees and cut my teath reading Austen and Dickens and Burnett. And I am a humongous book snob. No more is that true. I am reading Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella and I love it and am totally addicted to it. The story is so funny and interesting and the characters so compelling that I have to give in and admit I love chick lit. And I am going to read all of her stuff. So bite me, Rory

3. Transversus Abdominis. We did exercises in Mandy’s class last night to find and work on this lower abdominal muscle. The exercises were simple, but killer. This morning I woke up and marveled on how I could feel that muscle and that it was acting to hold in my stomach even when I wasn’t thinking about holding in my stomach. Very cool.

4. Horror list. I hate meetings. I don’t know why, but I do. As DH can tell you, I dread certain meetings several days before they happen. And my job is filled with more and more and more of them. I have three to four meetings almost every dern day. Some are ok, but some are just looming horrors. So, this week I wrote on a post-it note all the bad meetings I have to go to this week. I call it my Horror List. This week I have eight horrors. And when I finish one, I cross it off. It has helped me put it in perspective – and now instead of thinking “I have a horrible meeting everyday, with the worst one on Thursday” I can think “Five horrible meetings down, only three to go.” Much better. And the horrors look great all crossed off the list. Managing dread, is what that is, I guess.

7!

NOTE: This is yet another entry about me setting and trying to hit goals for weight loss… PLEASE DO NOT READ if you will start to think me unbearably stupid and weak that I haven’t figured this out yet. I am choosing to right about my failures and the subsequent dusting myself off, rather than just abandoning the topic altogeter. And I AM unbearably stupid and weak, also known as being human.

I am a compulsive goal-setter. I hear all the advice that you should set small, reasonable goals – and not too many. I really do hear that advice. And then I go ahead and set crazy unreachable goals. And then I make a spreadsheet. Goals give me structure and focus – always have and always will.

As I near 35, there definitely are some things I need to get “done”. I should be 50% done with my 40 before 40 list (I won’t even be 25% done!). In short, I need to get busy, get some stuff done.

But the big one is weight loss. My weight loss is suh-frickin-low. The scale is going in the right direction, just unbearably slowly. And I know why – I am not claiming that I am following my goals and not seeing progress. I know better than that. I almost always hit my exercise goals – it is the eating, or rather not eating, that I suck at.

I pride myself on changing tactics when I need to. If something isn’t working, I abandon it. I have yet to find the thing that works for me. (Believe me, this blog will hear about it when I do.) I know, know, know, know it is simple, internet – Eat Less. A child could tell you that – and more than one has told me that. I just find it so hard to not eat sometimes. Why is that? Well, IF I KNEW THAT…

But previously I would just give up for awhile if I failed. But paying for and attending my group training classes with Mandy has changed something in my mind. I don’t give up for long stretches of time. I go there and work my nonexistent butt and overexistent arms off and darned if I am going to just go crazy for several weeks and lose all of that progress.
And I seriously can’t wait to see the muscles under this flab. They have got to be slammin, trust me. You are going to need shades, friends, you are going to need shades.

So, new tactic. I am trying to eat the same thing for breakfast and lunch, and even dinner most days. Lack of choice seems to work for me. And I have set seven goals for the next seven weeks (can be seen in the left panel of this blog) – most are related to weight loss and exercise, some are baby steps to other 40 before 40 goals, and I believe all pass the reasonable test (truly!). To help me with the goals I have a hard time living up to, I have created a reward/motivation system. At the end of the seven weeks, DH and I are going to take a trip and there are seven things on that trip that will be true if I stick to my goals. And I read these seven things whenever I feel the need to cheat – like tonight when I should walk three miles and I really just want to collapse on the couch because work has sucked.

1. I am going to wear the size smaller Old Navy jacket with the lace and rooching that is so super cute. And it is going to zip up without a problem and will look really cute with my crocheted fall scarf. SQUEEEE!

2. I am going to wake up early in the morning and run one mile easily in our beautiful vacation surroundings, and still have energy to walk two more.

3. I am not going to feel the need to overeat at any of our meals out, resulting in that overstuffed, lethargic feeling which makes vacation not fun.

4. I am going to have the energy to go up any big set of stairs or big hill without getting winded.

5. I will have to buy a new pair of khakis because my current pair will be too big.

6. I am going to want to have my picture taken because I will be proud of the weight loss I have accomplished.

7. I will weigh the same weight I did when I got back from Romania in 2006.

Back!

Hi! We are back… all in one piece. I am completely buried at work, but wanted to say the trip was great… LOTS of pictures on the way, but here are a list of quick highlights….

(list 45) Highlights From Colorado Springs Trip

1. The camping bit was wonderful. The kids were great sports and didn’t mind sleeping so close to the ground and to nature. Our site was right by a babbling stream. We only had one night of bad weather (the first night), all other days and nights were absolutely perfect. I loved our campsite and loved just sitting or reading or knitting next to the stream.

2. We went to Pike’s Peak, Cave of the Winds, and Garden of the Gods. My favorite things was the Pike’s Peak Cog Railway. The kids’ favorite thing was the cave.

3. I didn’t get in as much walking/hiking as I wanted/needed to. I did count each of the .24 mile trips to the bathroom though. That actually totted up to a decent number because I have to pee regularly (being human and all).

4. When I did do walking, I LOVED my garmin thingie. It let us wander and tracked all of my miles. Very, very cool. I can’t wait to learn more about it and use it more.

5. The stepmoming thing went pretty well – by that I mean I only fell apart twice on the trip. Which for me is an improvement – it is getting easier. A couple years ago I fell apart twice per day, so, progress! Here is when I fell apart:
a. When I began to feel like an ATM – there for the giving of cash and prizes. I am sure all parents feel that way. I remedied it by giving an impassioned speech on saying “Thank You.” I think my point was made, both thanked me sincerely for everything since then, down to the chocolate chip pancakes I deposited on there plates yesterday morning.
b. When I tried to fix breakfast on the camp stove the last morning. I failed miserably. I wanted to do this one “maternal” thing and I jacked it up. DH takes care of 90% of the child-taking-care-of activities, and sometimes I get really mad at myself for not being better. But I am getting better, and it isn’t fair to compare myself to birth moms or my own perfect mom, but just do the best I can and value the progress I have made. Thanks to Mandy for reminding me of that!

6. The drive through Kansas is as boring as you remember. DH and I drove through the night Saturday night to get home – and the blowing wind and lack of, well, anything, made for a long drive.

There will be more later – including pictures. Happy Monday!

Goals! (Week 1 Update)

So here is the break down on my grades for my first week of my 5-week goals.

Big Goals:
Weight lost: 1.8 lbs
Pace on walk to gym: Unknown – will track tonight

Fitness Goals – overall grade 73% – C
Miles – 16.5/17 – 97 – A
EQ – 3/2 – 150 – A++
Zumba – 1/2 – 50 – F
Extra Abs – 0/3 – 0 – F
Water – 10/14 – 71 – C
No Diet Coke – 5/7 – 71 – C
Diet – 5/7 – 71 – C

Other Goals – overall grade 70% – C
No TV – 6/7 – 86 – B
Date w/ DH – 1/1 – 100 – A+
Book – 0/1 – 0 – F
5 things per day at work – 24/25 – 96 – A

Not the best way to start the session, but not bad. I am not too worried because in the places I have bombed (book, abs, Zumba), I can make up in the upcoming weeks. This may be the last post for awhile because we are camping tomorrow. Have a great week!