Friday, February 22, 2013

Yo Yo Exercising

Everyone, I'm sure, has different things that they give up at one point or another - an instrument, a sport, hobbies and activities - expecting that they'll get around to doing it again someday. At some point we face reality and decide that we'll probably never do said thing again but it was nice to have done it and boy don't we wish we had the time/skill/energy to get back into it? Then there's the things you try, aren't much good at and even hate, and then you throw in the towel fully expecting never to do it again.

For me these are running and yoga. I've always had a very strange love/hate relationship with running. I'd love to be able to run.  But running hates me and my joints/lungs/feet. (I promise not to use any more slashes now). I've taken up running - specifically running, not running as a result of doing another sport - probably about three times now. I've decided to quit and not try again all three times. I'm sure it will surface again and I'll decide, "This time it's different and I'll keep it up!"

Yoga, on the other hand, has been a much more complex experience for me. Yoga doesn't hate my body. Yoga is nice to my body. But my personal issues hate yoga. My feelings of limitation, the difficulty I experience in being focused mentally, the coordination and strength required for something that doesn't appear to be nearly so difficult, these things make yoga my nemesis.

The first time I tried yoga I was at Pacific. We had to have a phys ed credit to graduate so I took yoga thinking it would be good for my singing. I hated it. I was in a class of athletes who were taking it as part of their physical therapy program or as training for their sport. I was terrible at it. And I hate being terrible at things. I really hate being terrible at things. I got an "A" for the class but I had to really bite my tongue and survive through it.

My second encounter with yoga was a couple years ago (as chronicled in this blog). Bikram was way more challenging than the class I took and there was a much more diverse group of people in the class. I decided to tackle it head-on at first going as often as I could to classes. It kicked my ass. If you've never done hot yoga, I highly recommend trying it at least once in life. I loved it at first but it started to turn sour pretty quickly for me.

Yoga is rooted in a very long history. It isn't just exercise, it's mental conditioning. You have to be extremely patient to do yoga regularly. This is why they call it a practice. You never reach perfection. It's not about the destination, it's about the journey. Really. There are no winners. Yoga is not a competitive sport. Except if you are in terrible shape and your weight is a result of your feelings and you feel validated by comparing yourself to other people, yoga pretty much calls you on your shit. You're in a situation that demands you be present in your body and doesn't allow you to talk to anyone Those voices in your head get pretty damn loud and it's your job to learn how to quiet them.Oh yeah, and in the meantime you're just trying your best to get that thigh around your belly fat so you can finally get your weight off your throbbing feet and get yourself into the appropriate pretzel. In tight clothes. Yoga is a complex and very specific practice for these reasons.

So I'd like to think that this time around yoga will stick. I am in serious need of some balance. And it's not just my life. My life will always be stressful and hard. Because I am a stressable person that has a hard time processing my feelings well and yet I still love me an impossible challenge. The more difficult and impossible the better. Except whenever I'm in the throes of one of these challenges I tend to lose my head. Point in case poor Aaron (the band teacher at Lincoln)  had to mop up the mess of my tears yesterday as I was freaking out over not having enough credit hours to renew my teaching license. I really have to stop going ballistic at every rough patch.

The logical thinker in me (what little there is) looks at yoga and says, "This is the answer!" If I can learn mental discipline - something I'm notoriously bad at if you ask my teachers, mentors, family and husband - my love of insane challenges becomes less insane right?

This is my third attempt at going to yoga. This time I'm going to normal classes at 24-hour. No hot yoga. No power yoga. No "so you want to go to the olympics?" yoga. I went to a class on Tuesday followed by an hour of Zumba. My feet hated me. My body hated me the next day. I stopped when I needed to and I jumped back in as soon as I was ready again. I pushed myself without over-doing it. Something I'm trying to learn to do better. It sure felt nice to be sore in all the right places. I'm going again tonight to hopefully work out some of those sore spots.

I want to leave one last thing. April posted this picture on Pinterest and I just keep thinking about it because it's really inspiring.

193lbs; 5’7 size 14 usa, "my weight doesn’t and will not prevent me from doing what i love the most."


Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Sugar Detox

I have run into the great big wall of illness. I'm pretty impressed with myself though. I've managed to teach in not one, but three public schools without getting sick yet. I'm doing the best I can to kick what has already started though. Emergen-C and sleep!

So far I've been doing okay with trying to eat more healthfully. I bought a meat pack from New Seasons. It's all meat that's been raised in ethical and sustainable ways and the best part is that the big packs end up being rather affordable if you can buy all your meat for the month at once. I think it worked out to around $3 a pound for 20 pounds of different meats. Monday I made beef and pork sausage meatballs with pasta and then I used the extra meatballs tonight to make my Oma's recipe for meatball soup. The meatballs were really good in the soup.

In terms of the ethical eating I feel like I've been doing just okay. I'm not doing as well as I could be though. Obviously if I'm buying meat packs the whole vegan thing is off. I was thinking though that the majority of my meals should still be vegetarian at the very least and that my dairy should be much more limited than it has been. Grass-fed hormone and antibiotic free dairy is good and all, but that doesn't mean I can eat an unlimited supply of it. It also doesn't mean I can eat this instead of fruits and vegetables. These have taken a nosedive lately.

This weekend poses a meal problem. Probably starting tomorrow until Sunday most of my meals will have to be eaten on the go. I just need to stay focused on what it is that I'm doing and opt for vegetarian options and then to vote with my dollars. I've found that for fast food, I like to vote for Burgerville and Chipotle. They both have great vegetarian options and if I do decide to have meat they both have really good quality. I'm sure I'll get some argument from someone as to why I'm wrong. But only have two quick food options that are fewer and further between than say, oh, McDonalds is a little challenging when most of my day is in the city. So I'll just have to do the best I can and prepare myself with some healthy options.

Another thing that I've realized about my daily routine lately is that I consume an exorbitant amount of sugar and salt. In the morning I either have coffee with flavored creamer (organic and hormone free of course, but still sugared) or I have tea with a whole bunch of honey and cream added. I might have oatmeal with chia seeds and flax seed with a whole bunch of honey on it too. Lunch is usually leftovers although salty snacks tend to be involved. Dinner is probably the least sugary meal of the day but it's not lacking in sodium. Although, my frozen Trader Joe's chicken staples (okay, perhaps these are a little less ethical) consists either of orange chicken (mm orange sugar) or general tso's (only 8 grams per cup, surprising!). I usually don't go a day without a treat. Chocolate, cookies, muffins, pastries, I crave sweets on a daily basis and over-indulge usually more than once a day. Tonight was leftover soft-serve from Mike's. I was full after eating my bacon cheeseburger and fries you see, so I only had room for the cookie and had to save my soft serve. Sad right?

Okay so things in food land are not so good as I'd like to believe. But that doesn't mean I can't get back on track. In fact I fully intend to. Typically when things are unusually difficult (i.e. teaching choir in a school that has a track record of killing choir programs) is when I like to rise to the occasion. No one should ever accuse me of not liking a challenge! Perhaps this is a character flaw? So starting tomorrow and going for one whole week I am going on a sugar detox. No flavored creamer. No late-night sweet treats. Sugars naturally found in things like fruit or agave are alright within reason (in other words, no spoonfuls of agave to help my medicine go down). I am also going to try to lower my sodium intake. I've done low-sodium before and it's just a sad way to live. So instead I'm going to try to cut back on tortilla chips, fast food fries, and the salt I add to my food. I've got a long few weeks ahead of me and I think this is something that will help me be closer to my best. If anyone wants to join me, I would love some partners in sugarless crime!


PS I found a website that shows pictures of how much sugar is in things using sugar cubes. It's pretty interesting! sugarstacks.com