Weekend Update - a look back at my journey
this is a long one! New lunge secrets revealed!
Date: 4/8/2006 8:14:02 AM ( 14 y ) ... viewed 1932 times
Hi everyone. Thanks for stopping by.
I know I've fallen off a bit with my daily posting, but I think it shows signs of very wonderful progress.
I am no longer struggling.
My clothes are absolutely fitting differently now. And I've lost that anxious, terrified edge that I'm not going to get the results I want by the time my wedding rolls around, July 22. I'd like to take a look back at the journey today. I intend to keep posting with progress, and certainly, as my final post, I'm going to post a picture of me in my wedding dress, so we can all share in the awesome thing we all helped to create. I know my progress and strength has a lot to do with this community and all I can say is thanks.
After moving to VT from NYC on my own last fall, having found a new job, I was alone for a month, waiting for my fiance to get up here. I was drinking every night. I was depressed and so lonely. We had jointly made a decision to get out of the city and I seemed to be the only one following through - the fiance had to get up here, had no job prospects, and I was very worried about money. I was working well during the day, producing radio commercials and working hard in a new environment, but I was kind of a mess. I was eating and drinking to feel better, to feel numb, to go to sleep and get through the month on my own in a new place, with no friends, and no one around.
My fiance got up here, and after a few weeks of general terror on both our parts, he got a job and has been working successfully at a state arts organization. He, by the way, has just gotten a little mini-promotion that comes with a raise, and possibly his OWN OFFICE! Kudos to him. He's also an amazing cook and musician, and our relationship has become much stronger through these trials.
Back to January - he started his new job, things were moving out of panic mode, and it was time to look to the future. Having been at one time a very serious and talented swimmer, I never doubted my athletic abilities. But to look down, I saw a body that hadn't done anything but eat and watch TV. I had settled into domesticity with a huge sigh of relief. Three years later, I was pudgy and lumpy and out of shape. I had kept up various forms of yoga in NYC, which was really awesome. I have the ability to practice at home on my own anywhere now, having learned from some great teachers. But I never kept it up with any frequency (on for a few days, for 2 weeks, then 3 weeks off). NYC was a lot of fun, partying, and great friends. Not very healthy, however.
I think I had been trolling around this site and planning a fast through December, knowing that I had a huge task ahead of me and seriously doubting whether I'd be able to find any control over myself. I think I always knew somewhere that I had the dedication to commit to working out, but I hadn't done it in so long that those sentiments were deeply buried. So deeply buried that I didn't have access to the strength they could have provided me, starting my journey.
I thought the only way I could start controlling myself around food was to fast. I have had such an awful relationship with food for a long time. I ate emotionally, thinking the only thing that could de-stress me would be some fries, or whatever. Then I'd eat way too much of whatever that thing was. Standard self-esteem and emotional eating issues. So the only way to break my habits and to jumpstart my weight loss was surely a 30 day juice fast (having never fasted before). This was a mistake. To anyone out there, if you start with a 3 day fast, you will learn what fasting is like. The pressure of a long fast when you don't know what's coming is tough to bear.
Needless to say, the last days of 2005 were spent raw, cleaning out the body. The fast began, and so did my real commitment to change. I lasted about 10 days without solid food. I got a little over zealous and water fasted over a weekend, and Monday morning I felt unable to go to work. I stayed home, broke the fast in a non-recommended way - I just couldn't stop eating. I started slow, with a papaya, but by the end of the day I had made a pot of lentils and rice and I couldn't get enough.
It was an exercise in control. I had gotten through 10 days without food, and I had changed, a little bit.
Then I joined the gym, and started getting back to my once-true love - exercise. February's exercise and colonic series was the best thing that ever happened to me. I must say that a series of three colonics taught me so much about what I had been doing to my body. Cleaning out all the junk in my intestines, the way only a professional colonic can... I think it was a huge step. After taking a shower after the first colonic, I came down the stairs and my therapist noted, "you look like a completely different person." My skin was glowing and flushed (from the shower) and I was smiling. I found the process uncomfortable but the results amazing.
Three weeks, three colonics, and lots of time in the gym, and lots of yogurt and salad. During the series of colonics my awareness to portion amounts changed completely. When you're paying to have someone get the shit out of you, you are much more aware that packing future shit in is maybe... not the way to go! So yogurt, and salad, and working out, and a desire NOT to be full, not to feel bloated, awoke in me.
Now it is April, and March has sped by. I've started to get comments. I don't feel hostage to sneaking food all the time. I am much more aware of making choices that will make me feel good. And exercise has been amazing and I'm totally addicted to getting to the gym each day after work, and spending between 1.5 hours and 2 hours for myself, on myself. I love Ladies Workout Express, another Curves knockoff. There's a circuit of resistance-based weight machines and calisthenics, and a few cardio machines. It all looked hokey to me at first, the pink carpet and the fat ladies gossipping, but I've come to love many of those jiggly older women, who are super nice and want to hear all about the wedding.
I also recommend a great book I read in March called the Zen of Eating.
This week I met with the employee at the gym who is actually a personal trainer, to learn how to hone my workouts. I have a tendency (type A personality) to go a little overboard, and I was getting sore, pushing myself really hard. The results were certainly coming, and I felt I needed to get a little guidance, to make sure I was doing the right things.
Now I know that doing 40 minutes of cardio on two machines is great, that you start burning fat after 20 minutes, but that you don't need to do the "mountain setting" if you're doing all that cardio and lifting each day (during the work-week. I'm a slug on the weekends, mostly!) She said get the resistance down, and move faster. I also have new ways to do lunges, and new knowledge about how to deal with soreness.
I was doing a lunge and leg based circuit, getting incredibly sore, and then losing a few days of working out. I was so pissed that I'd lost a few days, that I didn't want to do it again, and risk losing more days. Well it turns out that if I had done the leg circuit every other day (Mon, Wed, Fri) for 2 weeks, I'd strengthen the muscles so much that they wouldn't get cripplingly sore. So I'm starting that next week, and hello, new legs.
Also, for anyone who wants a new training tip, my trainer learned this a week ago. We all know lunges - hands on hip or holding hand weights by your sides, lunging forward, being sure to keep the forward knee over the forward ankle, creating a 90 degree angle, then coming back up. There are also back lunges (stepping backward) and side lunges (if you don't know how to do these correctly, best to do them with a trainer before trying them on your own, the technique is essential and I'm not going to explain it here).
Well try this!!!!!!!! Forward lunge: Get on a wooden or linoleum floor, and put a piece of paper under the foot that's moving forward. Now instead of stepping into the lunge, slide into the lunge. Then instead of stepping your feet back together, SLIDE them back together. This paper trick works on back lunges and side lunges as well - the leg that's moving into the lunge has the foot on paper, and you're not stepping, you're sliding into the lunge, and back to center.
It's incredibly good for your knees to do lunges this way, and it works your muscles really well.
So anyway, I'm doing great. I'm looking great. I'm going to keep blogging (my poor oldschool journal is sadly empty, but this community is so great that it's worth it). I'm going to keep sharing my progress. I am so happy that I'm not constantly struggling with the desire to eat as much as humanly possible, then sit around and feel guilty and depressed. That's just a horrible cycle. Not that I'm home free, but I'm feeling like my own person. I feel like I can help myself.
I've also learned that fasting is not the best way to get in control of your weight and eating habits. It's a good tool to gain awareness. I also highly recommend colonics. But the greatest thing I've learned is that I happen to really enjoy eating salad, tofu, yogurt (all of which I've loved for a long time, I spend 2 years as a vegan in high school). I also enjoy eating regular food with my fiance. I have learned to moderate. Fad diets are not the answer. You need carbs. You need fats. Exercise is key, and if you're really working out, you need to eat truly balanced meals, to keep yourself healthy and from getting injuries or anemia and all that.
So extremists out there, if it makes you feel good, great. For everyone else, this is one pisces' journey to the middle of the road. Tao. The middle way. There is an ancient chinese text (The Analects, I think) that tells the story of Confucius learning the middle way. How early on in life, you need to see the way of moderation and really strive for it. OK, I'm butchering it so I had to go find the text. It's from The Analects, and it's actually about morality, rather than exercise and eating, but I think it applies.
Book II of the Analects, number 4
The Master [Confucius] said 'At fifteen I set my heart on learning; at thirty I took my stand; at forty I came to be free from doubts; at fifty I understood the Decree of Heaven [t'ien ming - I think the translation kind of sucks, it should be more like "I understood the ways of morality"]; at sixty my ear was atuned [again, weird translation, the authors of the book say]; at seventy I followed my heart's desire without overstepping the line.
This is about the process of having one's desires come in line with what one finds to be moral, or right. It is an amazing passage that I've thought about many times since my time as a philosophy major at UC Berkeley, years ago.
We're all in this together. Have a wonderful weekend everyone. I'm sending so much radiant love through my heart that it brings tears to my eyes. I know this process has helped unclog. I feel powerful. Thank you all.
I plan to keep posting, but maybe not with the same frequency. We're starting to ramp up the wedding planning, and that's my top priority. I'll keep you... posted. hahaha I'm such a dork :) I love writing here and it's nice to hear that my writing's appreciated by people. If one thing I do helps one person, it's a mitzvah. I grew up Jewish, and have never used that word, thought it was corny and cheesy. But I'm starting to understand its deeper meaning.
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