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Wednesday, July 30, 2008

"Shrinking Inward" and the Imperfect Day...And How To Get Moving With Joy

That phrase in the blog entry header is the one used by my Pilates trainer today before we started our session. In her ebullient manner, she said, "Look at you! You're shrinking INWARD."

Imagine yourself there with me:

I look into the dread wall-to-wall-to-ceiling mirror of the eastern wall of the room and think, "Ew, I'm fat," but also, "Yeah, I am. I really am shrinking inward." See how my waist is defined. My belly, while still huge, naturally, at my great weight, and prominent, is nevertheless not as big, not as round, not as low.

I say, "I thought maybe I was projecting it when I looked in the mirror at home. Cause I really thought yesterday I was even smaller in my midsection."

"No, you're not imagining it," says Liza. "It's real."

Me: smiling.

I mention to her how the scale is barely budging (one pound down from last week, but still not at my lowest prior to my regain). She says, "It won't show on the scale. Not yet. Eventually, it will."

Building muscle. Wonderful and frustrating both to us scale-watchers, I think to myself.

Okay, you can come back from eavesdropping now. :)

Embarrassing moment: During one of the maneuvers on the Cadillac, my pants fell down. They're looser around my hips and waist. The same pants that were snug June 30.

Fortunately, I wear swim briefs (black or royal blue, depending on which of the four pairs is clean and at hand!) They are opaque and substantial enough to withstand all sorts of contortions and to forefend any flashing of naughty bits should pants tear or...er...FALL DOWN to my thighs!

Happy news: I can do more repetitions. I can do harder exercises. In just ONE month. Today marks ONE month of Pilates.

One month can bring changes. :)

What alterations are you going through this month? How have you changed?

BTW, how are you all doing on the exercise front? Good? I hope so.

If not so good, I understand. Really, I avoided exercising for YEARS AND YEARS.

I know it's really hard to break inertia. That couch is so comfy. That book is so engrossing. That dvd is so enthralling.

But you'll FAIL if you don't get moving! MOVE! Now! Today!

Find something that challenges you while having an enjoyment factor. It's the joy or fun or intriguing learning aspect that can make it stick. I think it's so much easier to make it to the gym or studio if you have an attachment, a pleasure, in some part of the exertion.

Maybe you are bored by treadmills. Avoid them. Try a bike. Or try hiking. Or try an exercise class. Or try a sport that will get you moving hard for at least an hour. Try a bunch of stuff until something sticks.

Honestly, who can get through all that trembling and heaving and heavy breathing for a lifetime (and we all need to move for a lifetime) unless we like something about what we do for exercise.

Without the "fascination" factor, you'll dread it and find excuses to stay home and sit and eat.

I dreaded my matwork and treadmill minutes years ago at LA FITNESS. I kind of liked the exercise machines, though--the weight-lifting sort. Still, that trainer was hard on my body and the maneuvers totally unengaging to my brain and spirit. I gained muscle, then dropped out. I didn't love it. I didn't attach to the action. I hated other people sweating on the equipment.

Now, it's as hard, but I feel connected to another person. I feel as if I'm pouring power into my spirit and body. I find it fascinating mechanically and I delight in how it uses my mind. I like that I have to think and imagine. I write fiction and poetry (at least, until my recent hiatus). I edit fiction and poetry, still. (Though I'm lax about editing my blog posts!!!) I dig metaphors. Always have. Exercising with metaphors--which Pilates does, because you must put an idea into the movement, now you're a feather, now you're wearing a corset, now you're trying to touch the ceiling, etc--works for me. Focusing on the placement and weight in this joint, that limb, creating that "scoop" in the abdomen, imagining my back straight as an arrow...I'm involved every single second.

What can work for you, those of you who have not gotten into movement yet?

Sit down. Think about what you liked to play at as a child. Use the knowledge that such a trip down memory lane gives you to narrow down what form(s) of exercise will give you what you need physically, emotionally, mentally, maybe spiritually?

Perhaps a martial art--if you want to feel like a warrior who can defend herself. Maybe swimming, if you wanted to be a mermaid as a kid. Maybe dance, if you wanted to be a ballerina. Maybe basketball, if you're tall and like dribbling, running, jumping, tossing. Think about yoga. Do you want something meditative, in tune with the cosmos? Do you want to feel like a Marine, and do obstacle courses and bootcamp-like training? You can! None of that is closed to you.

Do you want to move fast, slow, both?

Do you want music or silence? Inside or outdoors?

So, tell me. What have your figured out about how you want to move?

Write down your feelings about movement if you still haven't come to some ideas. Investigate. Become the Sherlock Holmes who unlocks the door to your perfect form of motion.

Now, a look at the food front: Yesterday was a quite imperfect day. Sadly.

I did fine until late night, which is my big bugaboo bingey time. After dinner. And I think my problem is that I had a VERY light lunch (6 points,some fat, little protein in my yogurt and fresh cherries). I felt fine at first, but the hunger at dinnertime was noticeable. I gobbled down an organic chocolate macaroon. I hit the low-fat chocolate frozen yogurt. I had a latte. I had some plums. It added up. (Clearly, I was having a sweet urge!)

I thought about my lapse. Know what? I can't do light lunches. Clearly. It sets me up for huge hunger and appetite freak-outs hours later.

I didn't make that same error today. I had a filling bowl of grilled chicken, brown rice, guacamole and salsa on top, with a dollop of organic sour cream for extravagance and mouth-satiety. I also had a three WW points iced Starbucks skinny cinnamon dolce latte right after the workout (instead of my past caramel macchiato indulgence). No sugar, lots of skim milk--oh, that lovely cinnamon kick--cause I need my calcium (I take inhaled steroids twice a day, bad for the bones.) Had some zero-calorie white tea, too.

You can approximate this entree with this recipe. If you try it, let me know how it turned out and how you personalized it. (I think it screams for veggies and avocado!)

Yesterday, I had 54 points! That's 16 over my 38 points "perfect day" number.

Today, I have 12 points left for supper. I'll be filling up on a salad pre-entree in order to head off that crazy late night temptation. And water. Lots of water.

How are you doing in your effort to have a perfect fat-fighting day?

Onward and Downward!


spunkysuzi said...

I can't believe how far you've come with the pilates :)
And even on an off day you know what needs to be done and you do it!!
You rock.

Cyndi said...

I just came across your blog and this post really hits home for me! I finally realized that I have to MOVE to lose weight and most importantly, KEEP moving to keep it off! Stop on by if you'd like...I'll be checking in here often as well!

Heather said...

well that must be embarassing abou the pants, but at least its for a good reason! as another pilates lover, I can agree with what the trainer is saying....you defintely are chnaging and while those changes dont always show on the scale, they are real!

Anonymous said...

That's great that you are noticing a difference. As for me I have noticed a difference. I have lost 11 lbs for the month of July which is huge since I haven't see a weight loss for probably 6 months just a gain. I am going to start working on the exercise for August. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Congrats, your pants fell down...yes you read that right. That is awesome, embarassing, but awesome nonetheless! That shows HUGE progress, no matter what the scale says! Go you!

I, too, am starting to love exercising! It becoming "mine". I love classes because I am competitive. I might try some Kickboxing at a real martial arts studio. I think that would be amazing!!

Hope you haev a "perfect" day!

Lyn said...

Hey there :)

I am on perfect day #5. The nice thing about it is, if oyu have an imperfect day, you can still start over and end up with hundreds of perfect days in your life, with some dramatic results!

Hang in there.