Category Archives: The Good Moves

Shins don’t fail me now

For the first time in…god, easily over a month, I went for a run tonight. The humidity finally took a chill pill, so once the sun got a little low in the sky it was prime conditions for lacing up my cross-trainers, and I actually had the drive to just effing do it, and so I did.

And my goodness gracious, was it wonderful.

I forget time and time again how much I love running. I forget how the rhythm of my shoes against the pavement can clear my head unlike anything else. I forget how the strain in my lungs is actually wildly refreshing, like a challenge presented to me by my own body to push on. I forget all these things, so I end up going without running for weeks on end, and then when I finally get my butt out the front door, I find myself wondering what took me so fucking long.

So, in the hopes that I won’t have yet another workout dry spell, I’m enumerating my How I’m Gonna Get My Track Legs Back (Sans Shin Splints) plan here for all to see, so that maybe I will actually hold myself to it.

1. Use and abuse the nearby stadium: One of the perks to living with my ‘rents is that I am literally 45 seconds from my old high school, which, gloriously, comes equipped with a track and a stadium just begging to be used by yours truly. I enjoy a nice long run now and then, but I was and will always be a sprinter at heart, so I LOVE a good ol’ fashioned speed workout: running 400M at 80%, sprinting full out 100M, walking till my heart rate returns to normal; jogging the stairs of the stadium until my quads burn; timing myself in the races I used to run as a teenager. The track is right there and I am still small enough to squeeze through the gap in the fence, so why the fuck shouldn’t I use it, right?

2. Something is better than nothing: Back in college when I had ready and willing running buddies coming out my ears, it was easy to find the drive to go for a run. But now, it’s just me, all by my lonesome. And sometimes going for even an easy 2 miles seems daunting. But why should I force myself to do even 2 miles? Isn’t it preferable that I get outside, get my heart pumping, get a quick burst of endorphins, if only for 10 minutes? One pathetic mile is still a mile. It’s still calories burned, fresh air breathed, mind cleared. So even on those days when it’s hot or rainy or I feel lousy, I need to remember that I can dress, run one mile, and be home in 12 minutes. A little rain or heat won’t kill me in 12 minutes.

3. A day off is good; 12 days off is bad: I always read about how giving your body a chance to repair is paramount to being fit; your muscles need time to recover. But what I tend to do is take a day or two off and then…never go back. Or I get on a roll and run as many days in a row as possible and burnout. I gotta stick with 2 days on, one off. Or Day 1, long run; Day 2, a quickie; Day 3, a hard interval workout; Day 4, rest like god did on the 7th day.

4. There is pain and then there is PAIN; know the difference: When aiming for a good 4-5 mile day, I usually wimp out around the 3rd mile. Either I get a stitch in my side, or my breathing is haggard, or my feet are hot, or my mouth is dry, and I make excuses to myself about why I am allowed to give up and go home. THAT MUST CEASE. Tight calves or tired lungs come with the goddamn territory: I will NEVER get into better shape if I cave in to a little pain. I need to use my mind to work my way through the pain; as my father always says, “MENTAL TOUGHNESS!” I hate to quote him, but the man has a point. There is a big difference between discomfort and, “Holy shit, I just tore my ACL.” I’ve had migraines my whole life, I can deal with a little pain to achieve the pride that comes with running your entire pre-planned course and then getting home and realizing, “Hey, I can keep going.” C’mon, Pamela. Suck it up, bitch.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got so far. But you get to hold me to this. I ran today and it was wonderful and the endorphins coursing through me right now are demanding that I keep it up. But tomorrow, when my little natural opiates have faded away, this post is going to be my reminder that I have goals, and for once, I’d like to actually meet them. Any words of encouragement or advice (or trash talk) you, my readers, can offer, would only serve to spur me on all the more, so comment comment comment. Please.

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My body finally got on board with my brain

So. Hi all. I know it has been quite some time since I’ve done this. Write about my journey towards health and happiness with my physicality, that is. So there’s lots to say. But it is 1:35 AM at this moment, so I’m going to pare it down a bit.

So after my ex and I became, well, exes, and thus I had to depart from his homestead and move back in with my parents, I put back on a decent portion of the weight I had lost in the months prior. And that was sad, and I wanted to do that thing where you already feel bad about yourself so you eat even worse and workout even less because, what the hell, I already look like shit, what’s one more pound? But I didn’t. I fought tooth and nail to regain control of my eating habits which, I must say, is not an easy thing to do while living with a woman who naturally burns 4000 calories a day. Why God? Why wasn’t I born with my mother’s metabolism?

Anyway, I lost nearly all the weight I had repacked on and was getting on my way to losing more. I was still struggling with sugar, so I was getting lax about what I was eating, and started caring more about how much I was eating. And that was working alright. But I felt awful after eating wheat. Not guilty awful. No, unwell awful. So I knew I needed to get back onto the Paleo train. BUT, a week at the lake with my very large Italian family threw a wrench into that plan, and rather than getting my ass back into gear, my ass got bigger yet again.

Sigh.

So then there’s July. It is UNGODLY hot here in Michigan, especially in my parents crap-ass house that doesn’t have AC. This climate crisis is bad because it prevents me from being able to go running without getting heat stroke, and the very notion of spending an hour in the 80 degrees+ yoga studio makes me want to vomit, so my exercise becomes limited to taking walks after dark. Not what I’d call kickass cardio. BUT, the good thing about it is my appetite disappears when I am dying of heat exhaustion. So once again, I start shedding weight, praise the lord.

And then, about two weeks ago, something wonderful, something glorious happened: my body spontaneously decided it no longer wanted carbs, but especially, sugar. I hadn’t been obsessively limiting my sugar intake, I’d even let myself eat a little pasta when it was the only thing that sounded appealing, but then *POOF* I lost all taste for grains and sweets. Do you have any idea how freeing it is to stand in front of a cake and have absolutely no desire to eat it? To see a sea of mostacciolli at a wedding and pass it by without a second thought? I don’t crave cookies anymore. I crave salad with a great homemade vinaigrette, or protein protein protein. Yum. It’s as if the heavens have opened and I can hear the angels singing.

So I am now officially back down to the weight I was at my lowest pre-break-up. Hurray! I don’t feel like I look as good as I did then, which is probably because my muscle mass is down since I haven’t gone for a run in ages and just this week finally made it back to yoga. But taking 4-mile walks to the library with the kiddies during work, and re-introducing myself to my yoga mat will even things out soon, and then I may finally–FINALLY–be on my way to meeting my goal weight.

This has not been an easy journey, but I have not  any point, fully fallen off the wagon.  I’m not sure why my body suddenly decided to get happy about Paleo,  but I’m not going to question it. I’m just going to be thankful that my brain and my body are on the same page, and I might be able to ride this train to my final destination: physical health and self-confidence.

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Two Weeks and Counting (AKA The Battle…Vol. 4)

Two weeks from today I shall turn 23 years old, so I feel it’s time for another Get Fit Quest 2011 update.

I’ve been sorta struggling to get over the health fence recently. I’m trying, really trying, to be good, to avoid sugar, to blaze the Paleo trail, but it’s been a bumpy road. I keep finding reasons to give in to my addiction, even though they are piss poor reasons: “But it’s my cousin’s 1st communion!”; “But I started my period today!”; “But I really want that chocolate!”

All that said, the scale tells me I’m succeeding still. I guess even though what I’m eating isn’t ideal, how much I’m eating seems to be acceptable, and those 3-mile walks I’ve been taking with my dog are doing their job. My jeans, even the new pairs I’ve bought for my smaller hips, are falling down, my bras are fitting loosely–though not loose enough to drop a cup size :/ –and I’m seeing parts of my body that have been hidden for a decade: my triceps, my hip bones, my abs. It’s pretty awesome.

Now, here’s where I slip rather big news in casually so it won’t cause a fuss. If you’ve read waaaaay back to the start of this webpage, you just might remember that I had a boyfriend. And if you saw my “About” page before I edited it, you might even know that I lived with him. Well, that, uh, ended. I don’t want to go into it. I could write a whole post (or a series of posts) about it that would probably be very interesting and possibly even helpful to my readers, but I won’t because A) I don’t want to be that person that is defined by her relationship or lackthereof and B) he’s still a wonderful person and I won’t let his life become a link on his ex’s website–that would just be SHITTY. However, I need to mention it simply because it is going to affect me whether I like it or not. He was a part of my life for many years, and that’s going to leave a hole. Or many holes.

So how does this relate to this post about health? Well, as of this moment, one hole his absence has left is my appetite. I have no desire to eat ANYTHING. I nibbled some left over shish kabob this morning because I knew I needed to eat something, and I’ll eat some dinner later tonight. But my tummy is quite empty right now, and I’ll allow it to stay that way. Who know how long this will last, but I’m thinking I will reach my birthday weight goal even if I continue sampling foods I know I shouldn’t.

Aaaaalright, well that’s out of the way.

So, yeah, the Get Fit Quest hasn’t (so far) been the complete lifestyle shift that wakes up my system, but I’m improving. And that’s what’s important, right? I’m working towards a healthier, better version of myself, even if it’s slightly slower going than I had hoped.

Life, after all, is a process. I’m learning that more and more every day.

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The Battle of the Bulg(ing Waistline) Vol. 3

Yes, it’s that time again: I am going to talk about my food struggles. Aren’t you excited?

It’s been one week since I announced Get Fit Quest 2011, with a deadline set for my ever-looming birthday. And I have to say I’ve done a fairly good job. From flank steak to salmon, from squash to bacon-topped salad, it was a very Paleo-friendly week. I went nearly 100% grain-free for a few days, and then when I gave in and had a little bit of pasta, it was just a little bit. Hell yeah self-control! In just a couple days of forsaking nearly all sugars, I felt really great and could have sworn I already looked thinner. But then, oh but then, yesterday happened.

I went to a baby shower (see my opinion on that matter here) and the room was filled to the ceiling with carbs. The little snacks on the table consisted of goldfish crackers (one of my dearest loves), chocolate covered peanuts, chex-ish mix, punch, and soda. *twirls finger over head* It was my own personal walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death. I sipped water and prayed that lunch would be served before my will broke down. But here’s the funny thing: I didn’t even want any of that stuff. It didn’t sound appetizing. But someone in me my body remembered that a certain wonderful and addictive satisfaction would come with nibbling, and it’s just too easy to let your hand act of its own accord and grab a handful of munchies.

I resisted, and then filled up on salad, steamed veggies and roast beef during lunch. And I was happily and comfortably full. So happy and comfortable that I easily passed up the dry-looking cake. But you try explaining your diet in a room where the star is a pregnant woman…it’s frowned upon. So I was being pressured by my table mates to partake in the treats. I had already poured myself a small glass of alcoholic punch and declared that it would be my dessert but they weren’t happy with that, so I grabbed one chocolate covered peanut to prove a point, popped it in my mouth and said, “There. Happy?” And even though I hadn’t wanted the freaking candy, and even though it didn’t even taste that good, the switch was flipped and suddenly I wanted more. My sugar-addiction that I’ve been suppressing kicked in, the dopamine kicked in, and I just…couldn’t help myself. I ate the whole bowl.

I’m so disappointed.

When I left, I remembered this Paleo Pepper post and started forming a plan for the rest of the day. So I had a moment of weakness, it didn’t have to continue into a full-blown binge. But alas, I followed up one food-ridden shin-dig with a family party where there was…*drumroll*…more cake! And this time I had not a friend but an auntie demanding that I help make some of the leftover food disappear, plus, the cake actually looked good (which was probably just an illusion caused by the dopamine coursing through my veins) so I had a piece. And then took two more home and ate them before I even got in the door. I didn’t eat anything else the rest of the night except a carrot before I took my vitamins, but still, I define that as a binge, albeit a small one.

Again, SO DISAPPOINTED.

This isn’t the first time this has happened. A little over a month ago, I had been doing very well, hadn’t eaten anything sweet for almost a week, and then I baked cookies with the little lady I watch, and I tried one to make sure they were fit to feed the kid, and it led to a two-day binge. And NOT a small one. It got to the point that I had to sit on my hands, and eventually had to email Ms. Pepper herself for support because I was about to go out to buy ice cream so that I could continue sabotaging myself. She talked me off the ledge and helped me get back on track (SHE ABSOLUTELY ROCKS!) but I knew what I was capable of. I knew that I could snap and eat so much sugar that I wanted to throw up but still want more. It’s a frightening thing g to watch yourself sink so fast and feel like you can’t stop it.

So yesterday could have been much worse, but I’m still not pleased that it happened. I’m not happy that I let peer pressure–fucking peer pressure–get to me. I’m not happy that I saw what was coming before it happened and didn’t do something to stop it (I mean, I could have simply gotten up from the table! But I didn’t.) I’m not happy that even after an hour-long break and making a plan to stop myself, I couldn’t stop myself.

Thankfully, my binge ended by 7 PM and I had a lovely 14-hour fast to recover. This morning I started the day with some broccoli and a few breakfast sausages then hauled my ass to an intense vinyasa yoga class that made my freaking elbows sweat. I followed that up with a 3 mile walk with my dog and mowing the lawn with my manual mower (a GREAT WORKOUT. I highly recommend any able-bodied person forgo the gas-powered noisy machine and just pick up a cheap rotary blade mower.) Finally, I ate a bunless burger, some sweet potato fries and a big cherry tomato salad.  So I feel much better about life today.

Now I’m preparing for a new week ahead of me full of protein and hard workouts. After those couple wonderful carb-free days last week, I really don’t have any excuses anymore: I need to dive headfirst into paleo. And not just when it comes to grains and sugar; I need cut down on my omega-6 intake, I need to start saying farewell to dairy, I need to have faith and take the plunge. It’s time to really out my well-being ahead of my appetite. And, frankly, my appetite is even beginning to give up on toxins, so why am I still giving myself the option.

I think the time is now. I’m going primal!

Wish me luck, friends!

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That Familiar Old Itch

For a few weeks now, my self-confidence has been on the rise. Skyrocketing, even. Ever since adopting my new mantra (Be Brave) I’ve just been finding more and more reasons to believe that I’m AWESOME. And let me tell you, I spent a very large portion of my life being my own worst critic. So thinking positively about myself is still a bit new for me, but lordy, does it feel good! I am happy.

I like it.

This feeling of self-contentment is why I am so puzzled by the creeping on of another feeling: the urge to flee. This isn’t the first time I’ve just wanted to pack my bags and change up my life in a big way, but usually thoughts of flying the coop come along when I am MISERABLE, not happier than I have been in a LONG TIME.

I look at my life, and, frankly, there is nothing bad about it. I may not make much money, but what would I do with more money? I may not have my dream job, but my dream job is writing, and seeing as I’ve posted here more in the last week than I did in the first 2 months of this blog’s existence, clearly I am writing. I may not have a beautiful home but I have a homey home, and that’s what’s really important. I’m getting healthier and fitter by the day. And I’m loving myself. I have no complaints.

And yet.

And yet I am once again yearning to live in a studio apartment in a big city; or to backpack through Europe staying in dingy little hostels; or to just drive my car as far as I can until I almost pass out behind the wheel, and then wherever I end up I camp out there for a week or two, and then move on. I am simply itching to shake up my life, even though my life has finally become such a contented little snowglobe.

Why? Why am I considering give up something so good? I don’t know that I’m even considering it, but the thoughts are coming and going as they please with greater frequency these days. I find myself day-dreaming about moving to Chicago and marching into every company that has a position I wouldn’t suck at and demanding that they hire me until someone finally breaks down and does, and then I find a cute little loft and I buy really chic business clothes and I make new friends and I get to spread my cramped, sore wings. This day-dream is also becoming a night dream, by the way.

So again, I wonder, why? Why do I feel suffocated and smothered now? Here’s my guess: Because of that stupid self-confidence. Because I am feeling so goddamn good about myself, I’m wondering how far I can push myself? I’m curious about how I would do on my own in a new place surrounded by strangers? Would I shrink back into the self-doubting little shell of a person I was even a few months ago, or would I continue thriving?

Or, and this is the really BIG question: Could I possibly become even happier with myself if I was doing something else?

I don’t want to answer that question just now. Because if I do, and the answer is yes, then everything will change. Everything. And as brave as I’ve been trying to be, I don’t think I have the courage to push myself out of my entire comfort zone all at once.

Maybe the itch will go away. Or maybe I can give it a little scratch by taking a brief trip. Road trip, anyone?

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