Sunday, February 27, 2011


There is a trick I play on myself to help control my portions:  get a salad. The salad goes in a bowl.  The bowl goes on my plate.  The other stuff has to fit around the bowl.  No getting an extra plate or bowl allowed, and definitely no holding the bowl separately.  

It's an especially nice trick on Sunday nights, which are spaghetti night here.  After an afternoon outside walking around, I wasn't in the mood for salad.  It's cold; so was I.  I wanted hot food.  I wanted to skip the salad.  But I knew what would happen if there was no bowl of salad on there:

 Happily for me, that is clip art, and not my real dinner.

This business of loving my body enough to train it in portion control is hard.  I've been going to bed hungry every night for something like a couple of weeks.  It is of course not REAL hunger...just a desire to have what I want, when I want it, and always more and more of it.  

The fun thing is I'm seeing some results.  Clothes are getting baggier and the profile pic I took today shows less "double-" in the chin.  While I am very focused on the fact that this is about learning to love my body and not about looking better, what I see says I'm loving it well. 

Friday, February 25, 2011

uncomfortably hopeful

It has been a week of a bit more physical labor than usual for me, and along with that, more of that blasted top-of-foot, ankle and leg pain.  Been rockin the heating pad and the Aleve.  Tonight there are some fun things happening in my house.  I'd love to be there, but I'm in bed with my feet elevated.  Gotta get this pain under control, as tomorrow promises 7+ hours of physical work.  Don't want to start out in pain.

Sometimes being "no longer 21" is not so much fun.  

Tonight I am particularly grateful that the approach is "learning to love my body well" and not "yearning and pushing toward a hotter bod."  There is comfort, patience, and a long-term view in this, as I realize that the only way out of more nights like tonight is to get the bod into a condition that doesn't go so quickly to pain.  

It'll take more pain to get to that place.

Love demands seeking it, anyway.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

imperfect execution and choosing rest

Didn't make it to my workout class today.  DID get a couple of hours of walking-around time in, so the day doesn't feel like a failure in that department.  I was invited to go with a group tonight...they were walking 45 minutes one way.  I really wanted to go - was excited about hanging out with friends, looking forward to seeing more of the city lit up at night, feeling good about the possibility of more exercise.  But...again with the tops of my feet and my ankles.  I had my shoes off by 6:30 PM and couldn't imagine putting them back on.  Darn it.  

I've had them mostly elevated ever since.  I'm headed into an extra-busy week with more than my usual amount of physical activity.  I really don't want to start that out in pain.  

Last night I went to bed hungry...the workout zapped everything out of me that supper had built up.  I learned this important fact:  I DON'T DIE from going to bed hungry.  I know this, but it was good to translate it from head knowledge to practice.  I have tended to run for snacks when I'm hungry at night.

Looks like tonight I'll go 2 for 2 on that front.  Craving a giant bowl of cereal.  

I have a very clear understanding just now in my head that what I'm doing with my body is the same thing I've had to do with an overly tired, whiny kid from time to time:  know what it needs, and not listen to its demands for what is not at all good for it.  

Gonna sleep instead.

Friday, February 18, 2011


Well, the bad news is I don't totally "own" the plank yet. Tonight I fell down 3 times.  Shoot.

Nonetheless, I'm counting today a victory:

*I squeezed 40 minutes of walking in on my lunch break (the gorgeous weather made it more or less impossible not to walk.)

*Supper tonight included some sort of chocolately frosted deliciousness brownie-ish looking things...and I gazed longingly at them and walked on without one.

*I didn't want to go to my workout tonight - had a massive battle with myself in my room and only made it into my sweats and down the elevator by the skin of my teeth.  Got there and a complication and delay re: our workout room offered me a possibility of slinking quietly away.  Won another battle against that temptation.  Stayed.  Worked out.  



Thursday, February 17, 2011

stop the world! i have an announcement!

Tonight, I DID THE PLANK.  You know, that thing that's kind of like a man's pushup only on the elbows instead of the hands...hold the position for some unreasonable amount of time...before tonight, I have only been able to fall down repeatedly while the other ladies held their positions.  I would fall maybe 5 or 6 times while they were

Tonight, I DID NOT FALL!  I shook, I sweated, I nearly swore...but I did not fall!!!!

Glory, hallelujah, there is hope.

Hey body, I'm starting to have fun and I think you are too...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

sometimes 2 really is better than 1...and 3 is a party

For years people have been telling me how much it helps to exercise with friends - how it makes the experience more pleasant, how it increases accountability, how it saves one from dying away from it.  I have nodded...yeah, yeah, I know...but I haven't really wanted to hear it.  This has been an area of my life I have remained a stubborn loner, preferring to do it on my own, thank you very much.  

But they were right.

My exercise class didn't fit in my other commitments tonight.  I was talking this through with my friend, who is also in the class and is a GREAT encourager who tolerates my reluctance with great stamina.  I wanted to use the time between my 2 Bible studies for a walk...but by that time, it's dark outside and "outside alone after dark" isn't something I do here in the city.  I knew I could climb the stairs here, but I hate that.  I love walking outside in this impending-spring air.  I was definitely whining when talking to my friend about it all.  

Actually, there is time right after work to walk, before supper.  She was quick to offer to walk with me then.  

Reluctance really should be my middle name.  I sighed and smiled.  "Yes, that would be a good idea.  I'll walk much faster with you than I would without."   Seriously, why does she put up with me?!

We had a great walk.  Another friend joined us.  The fresh air was delicious.  Stomping through the mud and snow and tiptoeing around the puddles was childlike fun.  Laughing and talking together made the fact that we were walking much faster than I walk alone seem like not really so much a hardship.  I was invigorated.  I burned calories.  I worked up a sweat without feeling overly taxed.  And my muscles are telling me tonight that they got worked for real. 

I felt better toward my body when we got home than I did before we left.  I mean, I get that this "loving my body" thing has to be more than just a has to be built of many, many decisions.  But noticing that the feeling part improved a notch...

...that was pretty nice.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

progress and popcorn knees

I ran into someone from my workout class tonight as I was headed up the elevator.  "Are you coming to class?" was her question.  She got my usual:  reluctant assent.  Yes, I will be there, and my bad attitude will be with me.  

A cool thing is that there were several exercises we did tonight that seemed so far outside my abilities that I broke out laughing when they were introduced...but then I tried them and I could sorta kinda do them!  I am so grateful that I don't get kicked out of the class for my doubt.  

We've been doing wall squats for a few times now.  I'm really having trouble with them, for this reason:  my knees sound like a popcorn factory or a fireworks store on fire when I do them...and the popping hurts.  I'm generally not that thrown by popping...heck, back in my pom-pom girl days my knees used to pop all the way up and down the stairs.  But that didn't hurt.  This does, and it's not just one or two's like 50 of them (I am not exaggerating).  

I asked about it and was told it means I need to strengthen the muscles around my knees.  That makes sense.

It still scares the crap out of me.

Monday, February 14, 2011

a valentine from me to my body

Today, I chose to love my body.

Early on in the morning, it announced to me that today would be a PMS day.  This filled me with dread.  My gut felt like I had been kicked by a horse.  My skin was so dry it was driving me to distraction.  My brain was fuzzy and I just didn't feel like I could deal with life at all.  Latent crabbiness kept trying to rear its ugly head.

Then came the donation of Dunkin' Donuts.  Really?  You gotta be kidding me. 

I resisted - not by much (I spent the day longing for a chocolate-frosted bavarian-creme filled bit of deliciousness) - but I resisted.  My body definitely thought we should have a donut ("or two") as a consolation for the wretchedly miserable way it was feeling.  But I remembered to love it enough for discipline.  

God is good.  The next donation of the day came from Whole Foods - fresh veggies!  With overwhelming child-like delight I picked through the box and picked out a feast of fresh veggies.

After work I treated my body to an hour of walking along the lake.  After that I cooked up the veggie feast and savored it well.

Happy Valentine's Day, body.  I just might learn to love you yet.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

body talk

I don't like it when my body talks to me in negative terms about my age and/or lack of fitness.

Yesterday my ankles and the TOPS of my feet hurt - a lot.  I had spent quite a bit of time on my feet Friday night, standing in one spot without relief - I guess that was what brought on the pain.  They hurt even when I was sitting or laying in bed, but they REALLY hurt when I stood on them.  I spent the day in slippers, off my feet as much as possible.  Shoes were not even an option - the mere thought made me cringe.  Rest and massage did very little to reduce the pain.  I was so bugged about it that I wasn't willing to write about it or even talk about it.  My inner critic spent the day explaining to me that I am a hopeless case and will never get in decent shape.  Argh.

Today they were still pretty sore, but I was able to put on shoes.  Trying to push through, I went for a 2-hour walk along Lake Michigan.  It was a great walk and I'm glad I did it.  But my ankles and the tops of my feet begged for mercy all the way...and by the second half of the walk, the bottoms of my feet and one knee had joined the chorus.  

Still, I'm glad I went.  Tonight I am sitting with my feet elevated and wrapped in warm blankets, trying to reduce the pain.  I'm frustrated at the pain and actually I'm embarrassed by it.  

What I need now is some wisdom.  I know that sometimes one needs to push through pain to get fit; I also fear that sometimes my body is sending a message I need to hear.  I don't know the difference between the two times.

It occurs to me that other joints are "talking" too...maybe I'm just really dehydrated or maybe reacting to the cold (she says as she types wearing gloves).  

In other news, I resisted pizza again today.  I'm glad it costs money - that is very helpful to me as make my choices.

Feeling like kind of a dummy tonight.  But ain't no way but through, eh?

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

small victory

Today I returned to work after being away for some stuff that has my heart completely broken.

Arriving, I learned that someone had donated cheesecake to our staff.  Good in, from a place noted for its cheesecake.  Normally, I'd have run for the comfort in that food.  I even had a friend verbalizing that very thing...maybe it'll cheer you up.

I didn't eat the cheesecake.  Nothing was going to cheer me up - this is grief, not a petty mood.  

And loving my body is not about stuffing it when life hurts.

Not feeling much joy in this victory, but I WILL stop and count it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

come on....we can get along...

Dear Body,

I know you are frustrated at my choices lately.  First there was the matter of the giant slices of moist-looking chocolate cake with chocolate frosting that I bypassed on Thursday night.  I know you were yelling for one and scheming all along about getting one of those oversized pieces.  It was hard for me not to play along with what you wanted...but it's not best for you.

And then came the trauma of passing up the possibility of a deliciously decadent breakfast this morning...I know, we had it all figured out that we could even have it delivered, and enjoy it in bed.  I know you're not grateful that my exercise class was scheduled at 10 AM and wrecked our scheme.  I didn't like that either.  But hey...look at the double bonus we got...we avoided lots of calories/carbs/sugar, AND we made it through the entire hour of the workout for the first time.  I'm thinking that should move us toward progress and not just maintaining, eh?  

Yeah, I know, you don't like it.

You were awfully loud at lunch when I didn't pick up potato chips.  Yes, I am aware that salty chips to go with salty dill pickles... it's just about the greatest treat ever on earth.  I know, I know.  I wanted them too.  Did you really have to keep bugging me and bugging me, all afternoon, with your regrets about missing the chips?  That seems unnecessarily needy and whiny to me.  

Body, I know we haven't been friends very much of the time, for a very long time.  I know that it's my fault...I haven't kept up my part of the relationship.  You've always been there for me, and I've neglected you along the way.  I've helped you to expect to always get your way.  

That was wrong.  It wasn't fair to you, and it wasn't fair to me.  I've been a jerk.

I know you don't understand this right now, body.  You're just going to have to trust of these days, we are going to love each other again...nope...again is not the right word.  We are going to find what I can't recall us ever having for more than a little while - joy in one another.

Until you can believe, that, body, just try to listen to the friends that keep offering encouragement and a bit of accountability.  They're smarter than we are right now.

We can do it, body.  We've got Someone, and someones, on our side.  Hang in there.

much love (by choice, trusting the rest will follow...)


Thursday, February 3, 2011


I'm thinking tonight about that line from a Frost poem that says, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall."  I'd like to amend it for my life...

Something there is that doesn't want me to exercise. 

Tonight was the third night this week of exercise but the first time I got there.  Monday I was busy with a family tea, Tuesday I chose to grieve two premature deaths on the phone instead.  I was ready to get back to it tonight...ready enough that I hustled, despite being tired, after my shift of serving seniors dinner.  Hurried up to my room to get into sweats and tennis shoes.  Hurried through the dining room to fill my water bottle.  I was ready to feel the burn, even if I had to start out with heavy legs.

It was going along fine...we opened with cardio activity (was it 10 minutes or 15?....I don't remember for sure).  Then it was time to do those things I hate, where we sit on the side of the stage, scoot our butts off the stage, and do some kind of reverse pushups or something.  

I sat in a different spot than usual for this hated exercise.

The spot had a nail head sticking out at the edge.

The nail head did a nice piece of work on the butt of my sweats...a perfect L-shaped tear, big enough to stick 2 hands through.

I retreated from the room, holding the gash shut, mortified.  A friend saw my predicament as I waited for the elevator and loaned me a sweater I could tie around my waist to hide my shame.  

I didn't try to return to class afterward.  After all, the elevator took forever.

No...that's not really the reason.  I really just kind of took it as my "sign" that tonight I was done.  Which was, I am sure, wrong.  What might have happened if I'd have been, like, bulldog stubborn and marched back down there in untorn pants as soon as I got changed?

I guess I'll never know.