Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Current Craft Happenings and Finding Balance On and Off the Mat

Random things going on!

I finished a pretty detailed cross-stitch gift for my Ma a couple of days ago, and framed it the other night with an old 5x7 I had laying around the house. It fit perfectly, which is crazy awesome. I'm going to post a pic soon, but not until after I get it mailed out to her. She doesn't check my blog as far as I know, but I'd be super peeved if she caught a glimpse of it online before she gets the chance to open her package wondering, "What could this be?" and then being all proud and smiley when she unwraps it. Some things are way better in person than online. Most things, in fact. Bad porn is probably better online than in person though.

Other fun crafts in progress include a wall hanging that my Aunt lent me instructions for, and plans for a quilted drying mat for my smoothie cup and our coffee mugs, so I can stop using a bajillion paper towels each day. I got some pretty fat quarters for the drying mat, and it should be an easy project and great opportunity to try binding again.

I've been loving my body lately and remembering to exercise for fun instead of to attain a body that is not attainable with my genetics and love of beer. I finished up the Lean Circuit of ChaLean Extreme, which was fantastic and helped me make some strength gains. I had to move 20' sticks of 2-1/2" and 3" copper pipe earlier at work today, and amazed myself by handling the 2-1/2" on my own. I used to struggle big-time with 2" twenty-footers. Lifting heavy things safely is fun.

So, I started a new round of Jillian's Body Revolution because I had a lot of fun with the rotation last summer. I've already found myself a little too in-my-head about it, though. My goal is to do the strength workouts each week and do the cardio at least once, and do my own cardio on the other cardio day. But what if I burn out? Her cardio is so tough! Ugh, I'm being a baby. I can do her cardio at least once per week. But I need to be easy on myself, so I don't get obsessive about my body! But if I'm too easy on myself, I'm going to gain weight and that would be the end of the world! No, no it wouldn't be. Stop being ridiculous. Yes, my head is always deliberating in this way. Especially when I sit down to meditate and hope to find my quiet mind. Haha.

So I'm going to try to compromise. I love structure with my workouts, because I don't like waking up at 3:30am and making decisions. About anything. But I like when I'm able to take it easy and be happy with myself without having to go all-out, full-on, hardcore with fitness. This is also much safer for my body, in the present and in the long run. I'm concerned about my body's mobility and resistance to injury above all the other junk that is constantly spewed at me in these workout videos and fitness blogs. My compromise is this: I will complete each two-week segment of Body Revolution as planned. Scheduled strength workouts and one day of the cardio. If I feel like doing additional cardio on a 6th day, I will do it, but if I don't, I won't beat myself up. I don't think I am overtraining, but I know I've been close a few times - which violates the whole, mobility-and-injury-prevention-above-all-else thing. After each two-week session, I will take a week off and do yoga. Nothing but yoga. I already do really gentle yoga nearly every day following a workout, but a week of yoga will be so refreshing and really help me to focus on self-love and opening up to each present moment throughout my day.

With greater self-control in some areas of my life, I find that I lose self-control in others. I always thought that losing weight would be THE SOLUTION for me. It turns out it led to more feelings of inadequacy, and that if I don't take care of my mind, it will always want to obsess about something that's not worth obsessing about.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Food Issues and Fairy Angels

I read a blog post, linked by a friend on Facebook yesterday that brought me to tears. Your Fairy Angel wrote an amazing post extending a heartfelt apology to her former clients at a popular weight loss company. It's long, but it's a great read. For those who want a summary, she basically explains how while she had the best intentions, she came to realize that her job was to help her clients lose weight - which they did through her services - but then gain it back when they stopped using the services. Pretty much, the clients learned that they had to stick with this company to keep the weight that they were so desperate to lose away. She also describes helping clients who clearly didn't need to lose weight or body fat, or who were there because of pressure from parents or peers. I have so much respect for this blogger, and the post came at a time when I really needed to read it. I needed a reminder that almost all the weight loss information out there is complete bull.

I'm sure you've heard: diets are horrible, because they work, but then when you stop the diet, you gain all the weight back and usually more. Chronic dieting can lead to thyroid and metabolic disorders. It just makes no sense to deprive your body of the fuel it needs to keep each wonderful cell and function operational. Many of us, though, have grown up hearing more often that dieting will somehow lead to happiness in some form.

This go-round, I have kept what I always considered my, "extra weight," off for four years. That's incredible. I attribute this to the fact that I was determined that each change I made with exercise and nutrition, I would be able to stick with for life. I followed all the suggestions to make lifestyle changes instead of temporary fixes. Yet even with how much more energy I have, how much better I am sleeping regularly, and how much nicer it is to feel generally fit... I still have extremely low self-esteem more than half of the time. I'll go through periods where I'm pleased with my exercise regimen, accepting of my cravings for treats, and proud of my strength gains. But more often, I still deal with guilt each time I skip a planned workout (even when I make it up later!), anger when my pants are tighter in the afternoon than in the morning (hormones!), and thoughts about turning to old, unhealthy patterns after I've eaten more than an average portion of any type of food. I've been in a pretty bad rut for about two weeks now. It makes absolutely no sense. Some days, I get frustrated with myself for not seeing what is true, and then I deal with the frustration by eating more or some other subtle self-sabotage. Makes no sense, but I know there are lots of folks out there who feel me on this.

Your Fairy Angel's post reminded me that in this moment, I can accept myself. I can accept that I'm still trying to wear pants that are a size too small. I can accept that I'm lying to myself when I say that I'm counting calories again, "to see where I need to increase certain nutrients in my diet." I can accept that a 1200 calorie goal is really, really unhealthy, especially when I've been doing crazier cardio and heavier weights. I can accept that the lifestyle changes I really could make are the ones that I'm most avoiding admitting, like drinking a 12-pack of beer every weekend and using Monopoly as an excuse to get McDonald's three times in a week. I can still have beer and McDonald's, and I likely will want to enjoy these things forever, but moderation has never been a strength of mine. Avoiding this truth in this moment doesn't help anything, but neither does beating myself up mentally for the choices I've made in past moments. Accepting my body as healthy, loving it and filling it with my spiritual light, and taking a few moments to breathe deeply and drench each cell with oxygen are all a lot more helpful. So is being grateful for bloggers like Your Fairy Angel and other people in the world who are willing to speak truth.