Exactly Where I Need To Be

Saturday I went to my 20-year college reunion. But before that I got up and did Day 6 of the Killer Body workout, because, dammit, I’m not going to do days 1-5 then skip out on the last day!

I had a surprisingly good time at the reunion, mostly because I got to see a friend who was there celebrating her 40-year reunion (my college does one giant reunion by 5-year increments, so we had everyone from class of 1945 to class of 2010 there, with a few break-outs for class-specific events, but mostly all together). None of my friends from my time in college were there, although I didn’t have many to start with. I wasn’t much of a joiner, and as a music major I spent 2-4 hours a day practicing my instrument on top of the usual academic load, so I really didn’t have time for clubs or sports or other interest groups.

Art Building at Mills College

Art Building at Mills College

Regardless, I was delighted to find a new piece on the side of the art building. It sums up how I feel about life in general these days, and looking back, how I wish I could have seen all the other times in my life. Even the bad times were learning experience and all of them contributed to making me the person I am now. For example, if I hadn’t married the first time to a very unsuitable partner, I wouldn’t be as well-equipped to recognize and cherish the wonderful man I’m married to now. The little bumps and occasional spats might seem so much more momentous if I hadn’t already learned just how bad an ill-fitting marriage can be, and how to identify one.

I spent yesterday with a migraine, as the usual penance for having a great time on Saturday. *sigh*

Today I got up and went for a run, the usual 3 miles/5K route. I’m not sure how this week is going to shake out exercise-wise, but I am sure that I feel the urge to get a little more cardio into the mix, as last week’s program was focused largely on strength-building exercises.

And finally, I’ve now gone about 9 months without stepping on a scale, and my clothes still fit! I have worked out how to maintain without the scale! Oh frabjous day! This system is working – I must keep doing it!

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It WAS Easier For Your Parents

HOLD THE PHONE.

Cripes, I don’t even know what to say about this article I just stumbled across:

Your Parents Didn’t Have As Much Trouble Losing Weight As You

Summary: It’s harder for people who are young now to lose weight despite doing the same exercise and eating the same things, than it was for people in the Baby Boomer Generation, due to various environmental, physiological, and behavioral factors. It lists 4 factors that have scientifically been proven to cause weight gain or prevent loss, and yeah, 3 of those 4 (if not all of them) are definitely a factor for most people living today.

And then the last half of the article is utter bullshit, where they ask an “expert” what you should do and he says that it’s all your fault anyway because you don’t move as much as older generations did and you eat too much sugar, oh and try to exercise more and eat better (which contradicts what was stated in the first three paragraphs of the article, and I quote: “People were about 10 percent heavier in 2008 than in 1971 and five percent heavier, despite eating the same amount of food and doing the same exercise.”). So the last half is really stupid but it’s about what I expect from articles on Yahoo! Health anymore.

This week I’m doing the Killer Body DVD. There are 3 workouts: Monday I did arms, yesterday I did core, today I did lower body/legs. I’m gonna be sore, but tomorrow I start in on arms again, etc. Good workout! The one-minute cardio intervals are significantly harder than her usual 30-second ones. More than twice as hard, I think! Harder than they have any right to be. The Core workout yesterday left me sore in places I’ve never felt before, so yay!

Everything Is Chaos Right Now!

It’s been an exciting week since I last posted. Not in the fun Las Vegas kind of way either. Since my last post I’ve taken my husband to the ER 3 times for complications resulting from his knee surgery, and he fell down 2 flights of stairs while having a drug-induced panic attack on Wednesday, resulting in a badly sprained (and marvelously bruised) ankle on his previously-good leg.

So as you can see it’s been all butterflies and unicorns here.

I’ve tried to keep up with my exercise and eating habits amongst all the chaos. Yesterday I went for a run after strongly informing him that he’s on lockdown and not to move until I come back. In fact, he’s pretty much in lockdown in the bedroom until he’s healed up. So I am making a lot more trips up and down the stairs than usual, and that’s got to be worth something!

I also have taken yesterday and today off work since it became pretty clear that doing my paying job while also trying to care for him during recovery was too much and I wasn’t doing either very well. Tuesday I did Level 1 again of the Yoga Meltdown DVD, and since that was the third or fourth time I had done Level 1 I thought I would try Level 2 this morning.

I learned something. I learned that I’m not ready for Level 2.

Sooo not ready for Level 2. There are two moves that are so far beyond my capabilities that I can’t even see them if  put a telescope on Mars (what? Yes, I’m reading The Martian right now, isn’t everyone? It is highly engrossing!). There’s a move called Crow, where she says to start by putting one foot up and then the other and I’m hunched there thinking, I can barely get one foot up for a single second! Obviously this is going to take some time. And then there’s something called a Wheel, I think? I could probably hold it if I magically found myself in it, but pushing up to it from laying down? Hahahaha! I’ll just lay here and do a bridge instead. I may never be able to do that move, much like a push-up from my toes. I am, however, finally starting to see some glimmer of improvement in doing a chattaranga pushup from my knees, so that’s something!

I feel like I need a more remedial Yoga DVD if I’m going to keep doing it, and I enjoy it so I think I will. Yoga has been a nice respite this week during a very crazy time! But I think what I have is too advanced. Please, give me your recommendation for a Yoga workout DVD for people who have no experience with yoga and have to work up to things like Crow and Wheel slowly, over perhaps years!

I’ll probably do Level 1 a few more times before I look at Level 2 again, if I ever do!

Friday Fitness Bits

My husband had knee surgery on Wednesday. I’m very fortunate to be able to work from home most of the time these days, so I have been looking after him. Boy it keeps me hopping though! I’m running downstairs to check on him, and back upstairs to my home office a LOT more than usual. That’s got to be worth some exercise points, right? Right.

I have to say, though, I thought I was much more badass at this Hardbody workout until I did it with somebody watching (he’s set up on the couch in the living room, where I do my workout). With him there I was intensely aware of every time I took the easier modification or stopped doing it a motion or two before the trainer on the DVD. I don’t think it’s good for me to have somebody watching, I feel very self-conscious! I mean, he was reading a book, but he was there.

I’m hoping for cooler weather tomorrow. We’ve been having an epic heatwave all this week, the temps have been 100 or over every day. No running outdoors in that mess! Tomorrow it should drop by a good 20 degrees, so I’m hoping to get a run in first thing in the morning while it’s (hopefully!) nice and cool.

Hunger Is Real

A friend posted this article on Facebook today from the New York Times:

Diet Advice That Ignores Hunger

I have several thoughts on this, I found it to be interesting reading. My first thought is that this trend of articles complaining about how unrealistic it is to lose weight and keep it off obviously consider me and people like me to be freakish outliers. That’s an interesting feeling. I’m here, I’m real, and I’m doing what they say is impossible. So.

My second thought is that it’s all well and good for him to talk about how hard it is and what a strong force hunger plays (this part is absolutely true – you can’t discount hunger as a motivating factor for humans!). But what he fails to do is consider options for handling it. There ARE options for dealing with hunger while still maintaining a healthy weight. I’m living proof. One of those strategies is to focus on eating foods with Low Caloric Density – foods that provide low calories per bite. Here’s my article on that from a couple years back.

I agree with the article’s main premise – hunger is a biological phenomenon that is absolutely an issue in weight control. Health care professionals would do well to consider offering their patients strategies to handle it instead of ignoring hunger as a factor altogether. However there are strategies to handle it. It can be done. I’m living proof.

 

The Hardest Workout I’ve Ever Attempted

Level 2 of the Hardbody DVD is the hardest workout I’ve ever attempted. I’ve done it twice now – Monday and today. On Monday I was certain that Jillian Michaels was trying to kill me. I haven’t even given her a reason yet! Today I’m still mostly sure she’s trying to kill me but since she hasn’t succeeded it might just make me stronger. And I say “attempted” because so far I haven’t yet successfully done all the moves. Some of them I will never master, such as crow pushups. I will never be able to do a crow pushup – after 8 months of working hard at it, I still can’t really do a regular pushup from my toes. That is just not something my body is capable of. And many of the moves require a combination of strength, balance, and coordination that doesn’t happen the first time or two. It gives me something to aim for.

However, I am happy to report that I didn’t have to take the modifier for most moves. In fact, the majority of the moves I was doing the regular motion, it was just really hard! My glutes in particular were sore yesterday from Monday’s workout, and other muscles to a lesser extent.

The only downside of Level 2 for me is that I don’t really have the space to do them as they ought to be done. I’m working with  a smallish living room, and even pushing the coffee table and bar chairs out of the way I still don’t have enough space to do some of the “traveling” moves. I do my best, but my only knock on this workout is I wish she’d consider that most people aren’t doing it in a wide open gym like they are but in living rooms where room to move can be an issue.

But, I like it and find it hugely challenging. If you’re looking for a really hard home workout, this is definitely a good one.

Some Science on Running

Last week my doctor told me to stop running because the pounding was hard on my “joints, bones, everything” and might be aggravating my shoulder issue. (spoiler: yesterday no shoulder pain despite running. Jury is still out but they’re leaning). So yesterday while I was running I got curious about what I would find if I put two different phrases into my search bar: “is running bad for your joints” and “is running good for your joints.”

Here’s what I found under “is running bad for your joints”:

Is Running Bad for Your Knees? Maybe Not. (Time)

Is Running Bad for Your Knees? (GQ)

5 Experts Answer: Is Running Bad for Your Knees? (livescience)

And under “is running good for your joints”:

Is Running Bad or Good for Knee Cartilage? (livestrong)

The Benefits of Running (Why Running is Good for Your Joints) (Runners World)

Put Those Shoes On: Running Won’t Kill Your Knees (NPR)

In neither case did I find any reputable source stating that running is bad for your joints, bones, or knees, or any article quoting any scientific study that showed the same. What the largest studies on the matter have found are that osteo-arthritis and other joint problems are largely genetic and that running doesn’t seem to predispose you to them one way or another, but ALSO that running seems to have a prophylactic effect against them by helping the cartilage in your knee to thicken. From the NPR article: “After imaging the joints of the participants in both study groups, they found that the biochemistry of cartilage actually appeared to improve in those participants who were running.”

It seems my doctor may be a bit behind the times on that particular topic. She’s still a great doctor, just misinformed in this case.

So…I’mma run. Extra bonus: it’s good for my bones. (NY Times)