Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Ruthless . . .

There is a movie called Ruthless People with Bette Midler. I loved that movie when I first saw it in the 80s. I love Bette Midler. One memorable scenes is when she is being held captive in a basement for ransom. Because she has all the time in her hands, Bette's character decides to workout and eat better. Ultimately, she loses weight and says something to the effect that she has spent a fortune on fat loss spas and products, but being held in a basement for ransom helped her lose the weight.

I will be going away for a few days for professional development. My secondary goal is to be free from the little stressors of home. I hope to exercise and eat right during my three day.  I call it a "family sabbatical".  I already do well with exercise, but I don't do well with the intake of food.  

I've downloaded enough food addiction podcasts to last me the weekend. I listened to one this morning while on the treadmill at 5 a.m. It was 5 minutes, but the most enlightening 5 minutes of my time on this blog. I'm always searching for answers as to why I overeat. I have relayed many of them here, but the ultimate reason is "GUILT". Yes, guilt.

I binged yesterday because I felt guilt over leaving my children for 3 days while I gain some more knowledge on how to do my paying job effectively. Guilt for not doing enough in my paying job. Guilt for not keeping the house up to snuff as a former stay-at-home mother. Guilt for leaving the 3 kids to work a full time, paying job so I can support them financially.  Guilt for not calling my mother enough when she is losing her memory. Guilt for being angry with my mother for losing her memory (blaming her) and doing nothing about becoming more socially active and an active participant in her own well being. Guilt for being angry with a husband who works too much (in order to take care of our family). Guilt for overeating. Guilt for not working out enough. Guilt, guilt, guilt, guilt . . . GUILT!

It is debilitating to write that word so many times, so you can imagine "feeling" that word every hour of my day. I am trying to compartmentalize the guilt and resolve those feelings so I can move past them. I can't resolve all the world's problems in my paying job. I can't be the perfect mother for my 3 kids. I can't be the perfect wife. I can't keep a perfect house. I can't be the perfect daughter.  Guilt also leads me to fears.  I will write about "fears" in the future.

What can I do? I can try my hardest, everyday, to accomplish small tasks that can get me near-perfect; like taking care of myself first so that I may take care of others. This trip will allow me to step back a bit and rejuvinate, so I may come back and be more giving. I am flying to Memphis in the morning and hope to meet a lot of people in my profession. I hope to socialize with many folks at the conference.  I want to exercise everyday and walk outdoors.  I want to enjoy being in a city that I've never been in.  All the while, I will be praying for the flood victims and for receding waters.  

What's eating you (guilt, fear, etc)?

Monday, May 9, 2011

Reflection . . .

I had a great Mother's Day; excluding baby being hit on the side of her noggin by her brother's after swing of his bat (yes, a real bat).  We sat outside after a nice breakfast of pecan waffles with syrup, bacon and one egg with a small glass of orange juice. I chased that with lunch of leftover Chinese fried rice and fried chicken wings. And capped that off with a hefty serving of roasted chicken, bread stuffing, rice, and peas. I was stuffed.  Outside, we blew bubbles.  I looked over to the window and saw my reflection.  Thankfully, I had my camera in hand documenting the bubble fun, and took this pic of myself; in all my glory.

Sitting is never a lovely angle for me.  I have the gut that impending motherhood of 3 pregnancies left me with.  I do not love my arms.  I love long, lean and defined arms.  Worst of all, I feel like a stuffed turkey.  I am bloated and flabby; plain 'ole uncomfortable in my shell.  I literally feel the anxiety of wanting to zip open my outer shell and step out as a thinner and comfortable woman; just like we feel when we have had a far too long winter, and we don't want to put on our winter coats ever again.  The thought of putting on that coat makes us shiver in disgust.  I feel like shivering every time I put on jeans that cut into my flesh or wear a shirt that makes my arms feel like sausage in a casing. 

I just feel stuffed. Filled physically, to the point where I am uncomfortable. I decided I needed to step back from the eating of real food. Well, tonight is my birthday dinner with friends. Hubby arranged for us to sit at the Chef's table and have a 6 course meal with wine pairings (I abstain from alcohol) to eat myself into oblivion.  A meal prepared just for me and my likes.  I've been waiting for this meal since February when we went to a friend's Chef's meal.  But now, I am dreading it.  Simply dreading it.

Today, I am doing a liquid diet. I am eating my green monsters with protein powder. At lunch, I will have a small serving of leftover cannellini bean and shrimp soup that I made a few days ago. I have considered doing a liquid diet when I get back from a conference at the end of the week. I even thought of taking my blender.

My mind tells me that those "quick fix" diets and fasting or juicing don't work. That they wreck your metabolism and do more harm than good. My thought is more of re-balancing my intake and being more mindful of what I am consuming without gorging. I will gorge on actual food. I will not gorge on a green monster.

I am hoping to see Fat Sick and Nearly Dead when it is available on Netflix. It is about a man who goes on a liquid diet for 60 days with the goal of better health. He travels around the US promoting his plan, and "recruits" a truck driver to do the program with him. There are health and fitness bloggers who often drink a combination of fruits, veggies, and protein powders as a supplement; not so much a replacement of meals.  They've gone as far as packing their suitcase with a blender to create healthy drinks while traveling.

It is a thought.  What do you think?

Have you ever considered a liquid diet of fresh fruits, veggies, and protein powders?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Exercise Twice

When I lost 75 lbs in college, I started exercising by running around my college's football stadium that had a track.  I would walk or jog daily and run up and down the stadium stairs.  I worked at the Police Department on campus as a work study, and I was able to use the gym for lifting weights in the building's attic.  It was a recipe for success.  I often exercised twice a day without a second thought.  I was 20.  I could do that easily because I was young and getting fit.  I lost 75 lbs in 5 months.  Yes, I was like a Biggest Loser contestant without the ranch or the prizes. 

A week ago, I saw Mrs. Obama on The View.  She was talking about military families with Dr. Jill Biden.  One of the comments from Sherri Shepherd was that Mrs. Obama often works out twice a day.  Mrs. Obama responded that since her husband entered office, she isn't allowed to walk around in public, so she needs to exercise for the amount of time that she would otherwise be actively walking as a normal citizen.  This resonated with me.  Immensely!

I immediately thought back to my exercising in college.  I was always on the go.  Being in Boston, I walked from class building to class building; often one side of campus to another. Up and down stairs to get to my destination.  Walked from one side of campus to get to work. Walked back to my dorm.  Exercised for the day.  Worked a job where I often walked from dorm to job at the YMCA and back.  And would make time to workout at the Y because I had a free membership and had help from the trainers.  Walked back to my dorm or commuted on two trains and a bus to my home.  I was in a constant state of activity.  I was 20.

In 2008, when I started being most active, I had a parking spot in a Lot much farther from work.  I never took the elevator and walked up and down flights of stairs. I would often would work out at 5 a.m at home for an hour or so.  On reasonable weather days, I'd go for a walk with my coworker; even when I worked out at 5 a.m.  I strapped on a pedometer and made sure to meet 10K steps a day. 

In September of 2010, I got a new parking pass for the Lot across the street.  I started taking the elevator to get to the outside from the lot.  I then started taking the elevator in my work building.  The walks during the day decreased to nothing because of winter.  I removed my pedometer from my sneaker.  My getting up at 5 a.m. stopped because everything else stopped.  I didn't have the same vim and vigor for exercise as I did when I started this journey in 2009. 

Nothing changed in my home.  I still had a treadmill and spin bike.  My exercise DVDs were still intact and waiting to be played.  I'd even purchased kettlebells that have been gathering dust in my little corner of the play room.  My mat was rolled up in a corner without it being used for my beloved Yoga practice.

This past week on Wednesday, I'd had enough. Hubby has been traveling since Wednesday in the a.m. I got myself up at 5:17 a.m. and got dressed to workout.  I turned on the TV and pressed "on demand" to retrieve a video from Exercise TV.  I'd just changed to Uverse, so I now have access to tons of short exercise videos that I can use one alone or combine for a good workout.  I've been working out everyday since Wednesday, even on my birthday, May 1.  I woke up on my special day and put on a kickboxing video.  I've been doing kickboxing videos as a start to my morning for 6 days straight.  I cross train with either a spin session or walk/run session on the treadmill for at least 45 minutes of cardio. 

I am very out of shape for running.  I am trying to build up my endurance.  It'll be slow, but I'll get back to running shape for the 10K I plan on running in October. I also want to build up strength in my upper body.  I have a thing for long and lean arms. 

This morning as I worked out at 5:15 a.m. again, I realized that my sedentary lifestyle (a stark contrast to my college lifestyle) requires me to put in a second workout; just like Mrs. Obama.  Now, I don't want to sound like I am an obsessive compulsive who can become addicted to exercise, but "read" me out.  My life is dramatically different than when I was in college.  I drive now.  I live in a ruralesque city.  I live in the suburbs.  I have three kids that I cart around in a minivan.  I drive to the supermarket, post office, daycare, school, and work.  Once I enter my job, I sit behind a desk and work on the computer.  I sit at my desk and read briefs and make corrections.  I sit and review cases.  I sit and call or retrieve messages.  I go to meetings where I sit and communicate with others who are also seated.  I sit and eat meals and snacks at my desk.  I do a short walk to retrieve my vehicle, get the kids, go home cook, and veg out on the couch, "exhausted" from my day.

As you may empathize, that "exhaustion" is mental--NOT PHYSICAL.  I didn't do enough in my day to be exhausted.  Compared to day laborers, skilled workers and farmers, I have a sweet and easy life.  And I should be doing more activity.  I should be exercising when I put the kids to bed.  Why don't I?  Not because I am lazy, but often times it is vegging out when hubby is home.  I sit with him and talk while we watch TV or a movie.  He is gone so often (like these past 6 days that I have been working out), that I like to spend all my time with him.  I'd rather get up and workout, but I join him in the family room to sit.  I feel this sense of responsibility to be a wife and devote time to him.  I remember when I stopped being the active woman that I was in 1994 and thereafte; I started dating him and wanting to spend time with him.

Okay, now this is "blame the man" time.  Actually, when we were dating and then living together, we were quite active.  We worked out in the mornings together by walking and jogging around the cemetery in our neighborhood in Maine, and we would meet at the University's gym after work.  Often, I drove several miles after work to meet him before joining my own gym closer to work.  I would work out in the morning with him, then I would workout at the gym either at lunch or after work because I was sedentary during the work hours.  When his role at work was elevated, his exercise lessened.  Now that he travels and works so many long hours, he doesn't exercise at all.  For many years, I followed suit until I had Lootie Tootie in 2008.  I couldn't stand being sedentary anymore.  I was frazzled as a married, mid-30-year-old with 3 kids.

Going from a city girl to a rural dweller and then a mom, changed my body.  I want to get back to the body I worked so hard for in the early 90s.  I no longer want to make excuses for being this size or allowances for being a wife and mom.  I do use Mrs. Obama as a role model because she and I are in the same profession and have children.  She is a lot busier than I am with her platform and world wide travels, but we are all in the same struggle to maintain good health and moderate weight.

So, I am going to workout twice a day for at least 21 days and see if I form a habit.  Now, I don't think I will be doing the insane, intense routines as in the Biggest Loser, but I will do my weight training and get back to Yoga in the evenings after having completed cardio in the mornings.  I am going to strap on the pedometer (once I find it) to ensure I get 10K steps a day.  And I will take the stairs and walk as often as I can; even forcing myself to take a few breaks to sneak it in during the day.  Today, I made plans to walk with my coworker at 11 a.m. CT, and I am looking forward to getting some fresh air.  I hope to do Yoga tonight for my arms, legs, and flexibility.  I am excited. 

How active are you during the day?  What "obstacles" are keeping you from being more active?