Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spinning Class Torture

Monday, I decided I would expand my exercise horizons and try a spinning class.  I had been warned of the potential dangers of spinning, so I purposely chose the 'Spin Express' class that is only 30 minutes of torture as opposed to a full hour.  In case you are not familiar with spinning, I'll explain it to you.  Basically it is riding a stationary bike while following an instructor's lead on tension settings, when to stand or sit, and how fast to pedal.
The above picture depicts semi-accurately what an actual spinning class is like, except that no one is smiling during class in real life.  Except maybe the instructor who was pretending to actually enjoy the torture.  Because this class was my first experience with this particular type of abuse, the instructor helped me to find the proper height of my seat and told me to hop on to see if it was comfortable.  COMFORTABLE?!?!?!  First of all, the bike itself is about the size of dental floss, so I wasn't sure that it wouldn't crumple beneath me if I gently climbed on, let alone 'hop' on it.  Second of all, the seat is about the size of a television remote control (and about as cushy), turned sideways and wrapped in barbed wire.  I'm not kidding.
So I 'hopped on'.  It was about as comfortable as falling down and landing rear-down on deer antler.  I smiled cautiously, while trying to hide the fact that my nether-region was becoming a huge concern to me.  The man next to me (a first timer as well) looked equally as concerned.  At this point I'm starting to reconsider this decision.  I looked for exit strategies.  A 30 minute water break, begins to seem like a strong possibility.  I hop off the poor excuse for a bicycle and grabbed the lone cushion that is available and added it to my seat.  A rubber eraser would have been just as effective.
So class begins, no turning back now.  In case you were curious, they lock your feet into the pedals for 'safety'.  Really it's so you can't escape.  The instructor turns up the 'Jock Jams' and suggests we turn up the tension setting.  At this point she was laughing an evil witch laugh and there was fire shooting out of her eyeballs.  Maybe I was imagining things, she is really very nice, when she isn't the directer of the torture-disguised-as-an-exercise-class.  The weird thing about these dental floss bikes is that your hips are at the same height as your hands, so you are leaning forward at this really awkward angle.  I am hanging on for dear life, due to the fear of flying over the handlebars (which may as well have been straight edge razor blades), when she tells us to stand up and pedal!  STAND UP?!?!  I can't even do this sitting down!  The only thing that made me follow her instruction was that I was certain that someone was beating me in the tailbone with an aluminum baseball bat.  My poor excuse for this standing pedal maneuver is a flopping jerky movement accompanied by a lovely facial grimace.  But it was either that... or this:
When I get to the point of knowing that death was looming over me, I looked up at the clock.  It was only 10 minutes into class.  I am not kidding.  This is when the instructor has the audacity to say "Listen to your body.  Do what it's telling you to do."  Right.  I didn't tell her that my body was screaming at me to dive of this bike, run away and not stop until I found an ice covered cloud to sit on (and we all know how I feel about running).  The dread-mill was even sounding more appealing at this point.

I somehow managed to finish the entire 30 minutes, although I'm certain that we were in some sort of warped time continuum where each minute is actually 24 hours.  There were only a few reasons I didn't jump off that torture device and never look back.  One, I come from a proud people, looking weak is not something we do well.  Two, I would feel awful if someone hated one of my Yoga classes so much that she had to leave.  And Three (mostly three), I wasn't certain that I could get my toe clips undone fast enough to make a quick escape.  Also, the guy next to me looked like he was hating it worse than me.
When it was time to dismount, I wasn't sure that I would be able to.  I was pretty certain that it was going to take a surgical procedure to remove the seat.  I returned to the safety of the ab and back room where I was making a mental list of the charges to be filed against the bike seat, when the instructor popped her head in to tell me "great job".  I told her that I didn't know about great, but thanks anyway.  I complained to my spinning-loving-friend about the torture of the class and she assured me that it would get better with each class.  EACH CLASS?  Apparently you have to work your rear into the kind of shape that it can withstand that kind of abuse.  No thank you.  You would have to hog-tie and blind-fold me to get me anywhere NEAR another spinning class.  Not unless, of course, the bikes are replaced by a Lazy Boy Chair with pedals.

I guess I should be proud of my self for finishing a whole class and not quitting, but I am still not able to sit comfortably (4 days later), so proud is not something I am able to feel quite yet.

Remember... you're In Good Company.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Sugar Detox

I have SO been slacking in the blog area lately!  But to be fair, I've also been slacking in the areas of exercising and healthy eating as well (although the scale says I've lots another pound, how in the heck does that happen?).  In fact, it seems like I have been on a 3-week-long sugar bender.  Seriously.  I am considering doing a sugar detox.  This was supposed to start on Monday (which was ruined with lemonade and chocolate chips), then yesterday I enjoyed a delicious (with a capital 'D') peanut butter cup Cyclone from Spangles.  So here leaves today to start this sugar detox (although I'm not completely convinced it will actually start today, seeing how Wednesday night meals at church always include a delicious dessert).  But, so far, so good (if you don't count my two tiny bowls of Special K cereal - seriously, who sets those serving sizes?).
I think the problem with sugar is that once we have it in our bodies, we want more of it.  To me, it feels like an addictive substance.  I know how I feel when I crave sugar, searching through the cabinets for something that I may have missed when I looked 5 minutes ago, opening the refrigerator every 15 seconds to see if something new grew, wondering how terrible it would be to drink the entire bottle of my son's reduced sugar apple juice.  When you are experiencing a craving, it is all you can think about.
I have successfully kicked my soda habit (although I have had a few Sprites lately, and I will confess that I enjoyed a regular Dr. Pepper and a regular Pepsi over the weekend), and although my hand feels quite lonely without the company of the cold aluminum can of dark liquid fizzy caffeine deliciousness...... sigh.....  Where were we?  Oh, pop, okay I don't drink pop anymore.  Woo-freaking-hoo.
So back to my sugar detox... we all know that I generally don't support the complete exile of any food from one's diet, but I am sort of at a loss of how to kick my dependence on sugar.  I've tried limiting my intake (although if I have it in my house, 'intake' means to eat it until it disappears), but it just doesn't seem to work.  I watch commercials for candy and instantly start making a grocery list so that I can pick up something sweet in the checkout line (of course I get something for my husband too, to ease the guilt a little).  And do you think my 'something sweet' makes it to my house?  Heck no!  I usually have devoured it before I am out of the parking lot.
So, needless to say, I am in serious need of a detox... maybe even rehab.  I can just picture the men in white coats dragging me out of my front door while I crumble into a sobbing mess begging for just one last sour gummy worm.

I honestly feel like if I can get the sugar out of my system for a week or two (now I'm only talking processed sugars, I will continue to eat fruits and such), I will be able to make wiser choices in regards to sweets.  Maybe I'll even be able to keep chocolate in the house for more than a few hours (it tends to vanish into thin air... or fat rear... whatever).  I don't intend to fill myself with artificial sweeteners either; I believe they are much worse than actual sugar.  I'll keep you posted on the actual start date of my sugar detox, it mostly depends on my ability (or lack thereof) to refuse dessert this evening.  I'll let you know when the withdrawal symptoms kick in.

Remember... you're In Good Company.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Crashing Off The Horse

I have a confession.  I have not worked out in over two weeks (with the exception of teaching one Yoga class).  I'm not being lazy (although I feel it), I have been sick, my son has been sick, or it's just been too darn cold to leave the house.  The problem with skipping workouts is that I make horrible (and I do mean horrible) food choices when I am not active.
It's not even like I consciously say "I didn't workout today so I'm going to fill up on junk."  When we make one smart choice, it tends to flow over into other areas.  On the flip side of that, on days when I workout, I am very careful about what I eat so that I don't ruin what I did in the gym.
I suppose that while being stuck in the house the last few weeks I should have taken the time to do some floor exercises during nap time.  But I just cannot get motivated at home to workout.  I see dusting that needs to be done, Days of Our Lives that needs to be watched, dishes that need rinsed, laundry that needs folded, floors that need mopped, beds that need made, etc.  My spastic ADHD mind (my husband tells me I have hamsters running around in my brain) can't concentrate on working out at home.  When I'm at the gym, I am 100% dedicated to my workout.  At home... hamster brain (I imagine this is because there are always a million and one things a mommy needs to complete during the duration of nap time).
So, back to poor food choices.  My snack over the last few weeks?  I'm embarrassed to tell you.  But I'm going to anyway.  I spread crunchy peanut butter on two whole graham crackers, and, before putting them together, place a whole Hershey Bar in the middle.  Break in half, enjoy with milk.  Seriously, it's delicious.  But come on!  I know better than to eat like that!  I've worked my hiney off to lose 50 lbs and snacks like that are going to have me digging in the attic for my tote of fat (fatter anyway) clothes.  Every once in a while, snacks like that are fine, but not every day.  And yes, I did eat that every day until my stash of Hershey's was depleted (too bad my husband found them and decided I should share with him).  Did I mention my friend Ashley brought me a Valentine's treat of puppy chow today?  Delicious... and almost gone.
So, I suppose my confession isn't that I haven't worked out in two weeks, it's that I have crashed head first off of the horse into a pile of gravel.  I am really dreading weighing in at the gym tomorrow, but, for my own good, I have to.  I have climb back on the proverbial horse and get my booty back on track!  That being said, today is Valentine's Day.  And I firmly stand by my belief that a 'box of chocolates' implies a single serving... no matter how big the box.
Tomorrow, after we finish all these chocolates, we can work on being better together.  Right now, we're great, just the way we are.  Remember... you're In Good Company.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Foiled? Not Quite.

So, we've established that I love to eat.  Right?  We're all on the same page now?  You in the back, do you have a question?  Yes, yes I love food.  Okay good we're all caught up.
I guess I didn't realize how much I really love food until I was suffering from this winter sickness junk that has been going around.  I sat down to a lovely meal my husband had prepared and took a bite.  My world went dark.  It was the same feeling you have right before you're about to pass out, you know when your sense of hearing starts to fade and everything in your line of vision slowly goes black?  It was exactly like that, except I couldn't taste anything.  I was like the Ray Charles of the dining room.  I was sad, literally.  With each bite I kept trying to taste what I was eating but couldn't.  Throughout the evening I kept eating and eating, hoping that something would taste okay, but nothing did.  I couldn't smell anything either (which has it's perks, when you're the mom of a little guy).

That night I lay in bed worrying that I may never be able to taste anything again (before you go thinking I'm too crazy, just know that I have a real life gym buddy who lost her sense of smell and taste from a severe sinus infection).  I'm not kidding, the thought kept me awake, tossing and turning.  I was imagining the depression of not being able to delight in ice cream, of not smelling homemade meals, of not being able to enjoy dining out.  Have I mentioned I have have a tendency towards catastrophic thinking patterns?  I was picturing going through the motions of ordering a salad with no dressing instead of a burger, because what's the point anyway if I can't taste anything?  I lay there imagining how awful it would be to cook a dinner and not know if it were disgusting or delicious.  I went through losing my love for cooking and baking, and eventually my love for food all together.  I was, in my mind, eating plain bran and cauliflower, drinking plain dull water, and not ever ordering dessert again.  It was like serving a prison sentence.
Because it's my nature to always look at the bright side of things.  Seriously, sometimes I even annoy myself.  I moved on from picturing this depressing eternity of never tasting food again to realizing that (if this were to truly be my destiny) this may be just the thing I need to help me with portion control.  I began to be excited.  I was thinking that maybe I could listen to my body instead of my taste buds.  I was then imagining myself making wiser choices based on fuel, necessity, and nourishment, rather than cravings, addiction, and the love of chocolate.  I was invigorated!  I would be chained by my love of junk food and lack of portion control no more!
So, eventually I left crazy town (my mind) and went to sleep.  A few days later, I was feeling much better.  I could kind of taste the peanut butter on my toast, which was super exciting!  My husband called me on his way home from work that evening (per usual), and I announced to him that I had made Huntington Chicken.  "How does it smell?"  "Amazing!"  "That's the best news I've heard from you all week!"
So now I've made my grocery list, complete with ingredients for the most amazing, savory meals I could think of (plus some super unhealthy, yet delicious, snacks for the Superbowl).  I suppose I will have to think of another, much more enjoyable, way to work on portion control.  Foiled?  Not quite.

Be happy.  Love yourself.  Remember... you're In Good Company.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Never Too Sick for Chocolate

No matter how sick I am, I am never lucky enough to lose my appetite.  I am just finally starting to get over this winter crud that has been going around and hanging around.  I'm talking about the head-exploding, sinus-closing, teeth-aching, ear-pain-inducing, ton-of-bricks-sitting-on-my-chest, feverish, body-convulsing, every-joint-and-muscle-screaming-in-pain crud.  I am sick.  The doctor said that my sinus infection was "out of control" and that I had influenza symptoms.  Yuck.
You would think that barely being able to get out of bed would have helped me lose a few needed pounds.  But do you think I could stay away from the homemade brownies?  Heck no!  I couldn't even taste the fudgey peanut buttery goodness, but that didn't stop me (this may have something to do with my strong belief that there is nothing that the rich dark brown sugary sweetness of chocolate can't cure)!  I couldn't taste the entire gallon of fruit punch Gatorade, and I couldn't even smell the garlic and cheese layered wonder that is lasagna.  But I ate it all anyway.  Boy did I eat.  I suppose that my body needed fuel to fight the crud, right?  And these sub-zero temperatures make EVERYONE super hungry, right?  We'll just go with that (did anyone else hear those crickets?  Weird.).
This has been a bit of a trend with me.  Let me explain.  In high school, I was warned after my wisdom teeth extraction that I wouldn't be able to eat solid foods for a week or so.  I was eating steak the same day.  In college, after my tonsils and adenoids were removed, while in recovery I asked if I could have something to eat.  I ate just like normal, right away.  Seriously, normal, right away.
Like I have said before, I love to eat.  I am sitting here, shivering in my KU Snuggie (yeah I have one), struggling to breathe through my nose, I have a horrible excuse for a voice, and I would just really like to have some ice cream (the brownies went missing... someone ate them).  Maybe I need to go to chocolate rehab.  All I do know is if I'm well enough to get to the gym on Monday, I am going to skip my weekly weigh-in.
Eat Chocolate.  Love yourself.  Remember... you're In Good Company.

Be Your Own Kind of Beautiful

I am really starting to see some improvement in certain areas of my body from all my working out!  I can tell a big difference in my obliques, thighs, calves, back and arms... this is fantastic because I was beginning to wonder if I would ever have any definition anywhere on my body (besides stretch marks, of course).  The part of my body that I struggle with the most is my abs (actually, I don't think it qualifies as 'abs' yet, how about gut?).  I knew that losing my post-baby belly was going to be a challenge when my neighbor kindly asked me last January, "When is that baby coming?"  I was honestly able to tell her "Oh a month ago."
The thing is, I still feel like I look pregnant now, 13 months after delivery.  I mean, I could probably smuggle snacks into a movie theatre under my stomach flap.  And the stretch marks, oh the stretch marks.  I have flames from my groin to my navel.  I suppose they are cheaper than tattoos...

There are times when I see a picture of myself and shriek, "My word, Quasimodo, stand up straight!"?  There are others when I am standing up too straight, and look like a linebacker with a giraffe neck.  Of course, there are plenty where my gut looks too big, I can distinctly see my triple chin, and "Holy cow, look at my flabby arms!"

The truth is, none of us are probably 100% happy with our appearance.  It doesn't matter how skinny, chubby, bony, pretty, jiggly, or zitty someone is, almost everyone is insecure about something regarding outward appearance.
It's easy for me to roll my eyes when a thin woman complains about not being able to gain weight, or when someone with a 'perfect' physique whines about being fat.  When that super skinny woman at the gym keeps saying how she needs to work on her abs, I just want to slap her and say "you are so skinny that you don't even get to pluralize that.  You have an ab, not abs."  But I just smile and say "Oh me too, plus I should stop eating cookies!"  But, in all honesty, no matter what size we are, we are all a little bit skewed in the way we see ourselves.  Even the beanpoles have fat days, the models have bad hair days, and the goddesses get breakouts.
We make it so easy to compare ourselves to our friends and sisters.  We set goals for ourselves based on their achievements or failures and when we can't meet those goals we tear ourselves down.  Some women begin to tear down others around them as well.  Sad.
The thing is, we can only be the best version of ourselves.  One of my friends has a quote on her bathroom wall that says "Be your own kind of beautiful".  How perfect, for her and for her daughters.  Even on my very best day, I know I will never look as good as Eva Mendez on her very worst day.  That's just the the truth of it.  When are going to accept the bodies that God gave us, start setting realistic goals, and stop comparing ourselves to others?  Young girls are using disgusting 'thinspiration' pictures to motivate them to lose weight, but they are being taught that behavior by you and by me.  We're all guilty, not just the media.
I talk a lot about balance.  I need to lose weight as I am currently at an unhealthy size.  So, slowly but surely, I am working on getting more fit.  I will probably never love my body or feel like I look perfect.  I don't want to be one of those women.  Conceded is not what I am striving for.  I just want be healthy and to love myself.  I want that for you, too.

Remember... you're In Good Company.