Monday, April 15, 2013

Thank You, Burpees

Friday April 12, 2013. Reflections on Boot Camp

I get up at 5 o’clock in the morning and go to a park in the city. It has been cold, rainy, humid, and pollen drenched. That I have dragged my carcass out of the house eight times in two weeks is a miracle. I’m normally up at 5 a.m, but 5 a.m. is my writing time. Now I’m using that time to sweat.

It’s an experiment. I will tell you my hypothesis another day, but here are my observations so far:

1)      Fitness is a religion. You either drink the cool-aid or you don’t. Let’s be real, I’m drinking the Crystal Light. To all my boot camp, CrossFit, FitWit, Zumba, and other fitness friends: I send you an Irish blessing. May the road rise up to meet you. May the wind always be at your back and all that jazz. Thank you for keeping the spirit alive.

2)      I love 5 a.m. I really do. It is dark, beautiful, and deep. At 5 a.m. I am reminded that I have miles to go before I sleep.

3)      Burpee is my new favorite word. It is both the word “burp” and the word “pee” together. I’m going to marry burpees. I looked up the origin of the word, and it’s named after a person. I really thought it was because after doing 10 burpees all you want to do is burp and pee. I stand corrected.

4)      We are not all winners. I am here to tell you, it is okay to be last. I am ninja-good at an awful lot of things, so it is hard to take a risk on an activity where you might fail or be last. Let me be clear. I am always last and least at boot camp. If more people felt okay with being last, more people would stick with boot camp.

5)      When they tell you “good job” at boot camp it means you are last. They do not say good job to the fast people. Those people already know they are good. The good part means that you haven’t quit.

6)      I don’t take orders well. When they say run, we run. Part of me wants to put on my leather jacket and stand against the wall with the other rebels. You can’t make me get healthier, faster, or stronger! Oh, wait. I paid to be here with my face in the grass at 6:17 a.m. When you say run, I’ll run. Slowly.

7)      My brain is busy. I lack focus during boot camp. I pause and look at squirrels. I try to plot my novel while I exercise. This is not going well. My characters will likely start doing a lot of exercise to pick up the pace. (Writing and fitness pun brought on by muscle fatigue. FTW!)

8)      Boot camp is hysterically funny to me. One morning we did prison squats. Huh? They do different squats in prison? Based on my calculations you should do no squats in prison ever, but that’s another story. On Friday, we had to do 100 regular squats. Well guess what? I did some prison squats just for the heck of it.

9)      Did I say heck? I meant F&@% of it. I don’t curse, but working out makes me want to curse. A lot. When I’m at the back of the group (I run a slow and painful 12 minute mile. I actually walk faster than I run), I think many curse words. It is liberating. I think, “I hate all you F&@%ers. I wish you would punch yourself in the face. I hope the zombies eat your brains.” Animosity really improves my endurance.

10)   Animosity is frowned upon during boot camp. As is humor. I should clarify further that my kind of humor with is frowned upon, but there are many funny characters at boot camp.

11)   My dear friend Sally runs a lot. Sally is my running inspiration. She will be disappointed to know that there are no booty smacks in boot camp. There are high-fives and elbow-bumps. I promise you I never saw an elbow-bump in my life until last week. Sally, there are only booty smacks in fiction writing.

12)   I feel like a winner even if I’m last. I feel like Rocky! Did you see Rocky? Spoiler alert. Things did not end well for him in the first movie. But he earned some Oscars. All the movies where Rocky won? Zilch. Me, in last place, feeling like a f&@%ing Oscar winner.

13)   I give thanks every day. To Andy for inviting me to boot camp even though he knows I’m a grouchy mother of four little kids who is likely to write about the trials and triumphs of boot camp. To Mandy who said she’d go to boot camp with me, and I signed up because of her encouragement (and the Zombie Run). To Boot Camp 4a Cause and this month’s cause, Girls on the Run Atlanta. They think fitness matters. And it does. To What’s-His-Name and the four Monsters who make a big production of how I smell after boot camp each morning. Like roses, people. I smell like roses.
By 7 a.m. I’m heading home. I do lament the words I could have written, but I know that exercise improves my writing, my focus at work, possibly my mothering. The sun comes up, and I can’t quite remember the faces of the people in the boot camp. They are strange silhouettes from the dawn hours. The workout seems like a dream. That’s why I keep going back. A burpee, elbow-bump, prison squat dream. Don’t wake me.
April 15, 2013 P.S. One of my fitness goals is to run a race one day. Something small like a 3K or 5K. Maybe I will want to run something longer one day. Do not let evil in the world put fear in your hearts or running shoes. We have enough excuses for lethargy without fear being among them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

You know you're on a diet when...

You can differentiate the distinct flavors for Equal, Sweet-n-Low, Splenda, Stevia, Truvia, honey, brown sugar, cane sugar, and white sugar.

Same goes for Diet Coke and Coke Zero.

If you don't drink a Diet Coke every day you turn into The Hulk. (Maybe She-Hulk, but a hulk nonetheless).

You know the low calorie food options at Wendy’s (it’s the chili).

You consider the following cheat food: Corn.

You have counted out the 55 pieces that equal one serving of goldfish crackers and 140 calories.

You know how many calories are in one single Dorito.

You know what glycemic index means.

You know the glycemic index of a banana.

You have tried Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, and Nutri-system, and thought they were too expensive. At the same time, you’ve spent equal money and calories at Starbucks without a second thought.

Then you’ve tried Atkins, The Zone, South Beach, The Cookie diet, and the Paleo diet. You are pretty sure that diets that make you feel crazy must work.

You’ve had the South Beach flu.

You once drank cabbage soup for three days straight.

You've invented your own diet more than once. (See the George Clooney diet and the Star Trek diet).

You’ve considered cutting your hair to lose weight.

You don’t weigh-in until you’ve shaved and exfoliated. I mean really exfoliated. I mean shaved everything.

You count sex as exercise (and your husband isn’t complaining).

You caught yourself discussing your bowel movements with your co-workers. During lunch.

You have stayed up not once, not twice, but five times to watch the P90X infomercial at 2 a.m.

You’ve been dieting for five months and lost five pounds. Your husband goes jogging twice in a week and looses six pounds.

What are some weird things that you do when you are dieting? Let me know in the comments.

Weight in (July 5 to date): -5.6 lbs! Food journals and recipes coming soon! Happy eating and exercising.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

LL Cool J Exercise Plan

Remember the George Clooney Diet? This week I'm all about LL Cool J. I'm not ready to track my food yet, but I am exercising.

Wednesday - 1 hour yoga
Thursday - 40 minute interval walk/run
Friday - 30 minute interval walk/run, 30 minutes of yoga
Saturday - Soccer mom (there is no way to calculate this exercise)

The moral of the story is LL Cool J. As I ran, all I could think was "You're jiggling, baby." Which of course made me think of the song "Jingling, Baby." That made my running happy. The more I jiggle now, the less I'll jiggle later. Thank you, LL.

On a side note, two friends kindly emailed me regarding pilates and Zumba. Rule #1. Be sure to keep good friends by your side, the kind that reach out a hand and encourage you. I also exercised several times with my tweenaged niece. She's lazier than me, but she is a good motivator. Even sent me text messages to let me know what exercising she did on her own. A good kid.

As some of you know I gave up Facebook for Lent. There are always people out there waiting for you to fail. This is a reminder to those people that I need encouragement. Don't wait for me to fail or break my commitments. It makes me feel disappointed in you. Now you owe me an apology. Twitter is not Facebook. (And Facebook emails me updates once a week, so I can see you talking bad about me). Do 50 sit-ups, and I'll challenge you to an arm wrestle on Easter Sunday.

Until then happy eating and happy exercising. Even if you are jingling all the way. Was LL talking about Christmas in that song? What does jingling baby mean anywho? A point to ponder on my next run.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

140 Words or Less

(Pregnant me and monsters hiking at Amicalola Falls. I grudgingly got exercise even while gravid. It was What's-his-name's idea.)

Last year, I was about to get back on the exercise bandwagon, then poof! Nothing. A year of silence. Here’s what you missed.

  • I got pregnant and had a baby.
  • Yesterday, the baby turned 12 weeks old. To celebrate, I started a couch to 5K running program. 20 minutes run/walk intervals on Days 1 and 2.
  • I ate a Wheat Free Peanut Butter cookie from Karmic Kookies. Life changing.
  • I’ve given up the frivolous internet for Lent. I won’t be on Facebook, but you can still find me here and on Decatur Patch.
  • Despite my love of verbosity, edits on my novel will progress better if I limit myself to 140 word diet updates. Kind of like Twitter’s 140 characters only super-sized into a blog about getting skinnier.
Happy Eating and Exercising. Happy Lent!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Gong Xi Fa Cai

I think the holiday season starts on with Halloween in October and ends with Easter in the April. A few weeks ago, I thought the holidays ended on Superbowl Sunday, but then I forgot about Chinese New Year. Then Valentine's Day. Then Lent started. Okay, I'm not Catholic (yet), but I am feeling guilty.

I love an excuse to not officially diet. Halloween, my birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Valentine's Day. I fill my year with days when dieting is taboo. Birthdays, anniversaries. They don't even have to be mine. Anyone's will do as long as there is cake. And winter. All of winter--cold, snowy winter--should be a holiday.

Good News: In all these months of slacking (four months worth!), I've only gained back 3lbs.
Bad News: I've been struggling for weeks to figure out how to get back to keeping a food journal and exercising.
Good News: I really have incorporated increased activity in my daily life. I do a lot of incidental walking to and from work, while at work, and around town. Parking a few extra spaces away really does make a difference.
Bad News: Stress has taken a hold of my life in ways I hadn't anticipated. Right now I am smarter about eating and exercising than I am about controlling stress in my life. Reducing stress will be my big focus over the next few lifetimes. . . I meant to say weeks.

The Extra Good News and The Answer: My blog. I went back and read over some of my thoughts about weight loss and dieting since July. I'm so glad I wrote down what I did. I'm so thankful for this blog. I wasn't writing it for then. I was writing those words for today. A day when I needed it the most. And I wasn't writing it for you (though I do wish you happy health and weight loss and a peaceful life--okay sounds like a Vulcan greeting, but I do meant it). I was and am writing this blog for me. The only motivation you need is yourself. You don't need me. You don't need to know what I think. You need to know your personal motivation and diet needs.

New Year New Goal: Same as before. Lose 10%. I could lose 20% easily, but I'm still trying to do things slowly so the weight stays off and my body learns to be new. Or learns to be its new self. 10% in 2010.

Let me know what you've been doing and what you want to start doing to be healthy. Let's motivate each other. I'm a tiger (Chinese Zodiac-wise) and this is my year. Gong Xi Fa Cai, Happy New Year! Happy Health, Eating, and Exercising. And Peace.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

10 Presents to Myself

Little Miss Can't Be Wrong. Nicki age 2.
Today is my birthday! I love birthdays. I want to thank my parents, and especially my mom for enduring not just my delivery at birth, but also my delivery from many of life’s trauma. Happy birthday to you, mom, and thanks for everything. Today is really a day I celebrate you!

I recently celebrated my sister's 40th birthday. We spent the weekend with her best girlfriends at Ch√Ęteau Elan for nice food, wine, and spa fun. While the other ladies were getting their spa treatments, I wrote by a fireplace and enjoyed a rare block of time free of demands. I knew that what I needed more than a massage was time to write. It was a gift I gave myself.

A few years ago, I started a book I called “30 Presents to Myself”. It was a comedy and here is the synopsis: A woman on the eve of her 35 birthday finds the list of things she was supposed to have done before her 30 birthday. She hasn’t completed any of the things on the list, many thankfully so, but now she wants to give herself 30 presents. Each chapter is a funny contrast between what she thought she would need at 30 and what she realizes she really needs to be happy at 35. Even if it is five years too late!
Here’s is my confession. Today is my 35th birthday, and I never finished writing that book. Every once in a while I write a chapter or tweak the plot. I think I'll go back to working on it. As for today I will give myself 10 presents. Hopefully, you can share some of these presents with me, too.
Sweet 16. Same blingy smile, different birthday!

Ten Presents to Myself
10. NaNoWriMo. November is National Novel Writing Month. What a great birthmonth present. Even if you aren’t officially signed up take the time to write. Best present you can give yourself if you are a writer.

9. Don’t be ashamed of yourself. For this day forward, I would like to be able to proudly state my age AND weight for the rest of my life. I’m 35 years old and 160 lbs. I could still stand to lose another 20lb, but remember I’m doing it slowly. When I’m 70, I’m going to want to remember how much I enjoyed being 35 not how much I lamented it. I've also been heavier and lighter and the last thing I want to worry about is my weight. On another planet, I'd only weigh a few pounds!

8. No gifts please. I don’t like birthday presents. Presents make me feel uncomfortable. So do greeting cards. Trees die, papers wasted. But I do like to know how my friends are doing on this day or any day. Tell me something good you’ve done for yourself and that will make my birthday a happy one.

7. I'm going to take a walk. I'm going to renew my energy in eating well and exercising.

6. I treated myself to a DuMore Improv Women’s Retreat workshop last month. I realized that my hesitation has to do with my fear of doing things wrong. I learned that the art of comedy (and creating) has to do with letting go, listening, and reacting positively to what you hear. Creating and comedy and improv are also about reacting in unexpected ways.

5. I sent out 7 query letters. Two agents have kindly declined. Two have requested the full manuscript. I’m waiting on the rest. My next birthday presents to myself will be sending out more queries and the final manuscript.

4. I wrote the last chapter of my book, but I am still writing (and re-writing) and still filled with self-doubt and hope. Self-doubt and hope are enemies, but they also work together to keep you from achieving your dreams.

Nicki at age 34.9 as Uhura. Sexy Geek!3. Thirty days later and my life has calmed down enough to realized the great gift I received with my Maggie Award. Best. Birthday. Present. Ever.

2. Celebrate every birthday as though it is better than the one before. The American Cancer Society has a cool birthday campaign out right now. Do you know what some people would do for another birthday? Treasure yours. (On a side note, the third Thursday in November is the Great American Smokeout. Consider quitting smoking or encouraging a loved one to quit. You might help save their life or your own.)

1. Say a pray for someone else. I’m probably here today because of
other people's prayers. Mostly my mom and dad. Maybe family or friends. Maybe even the prayers of strangers. If you are the kind to pray or meditate, could you spare a moment from my dear friend Christina Crook and her husband Mercer Crook today? They need prayers more than I need birthday wishes today.

I hope you have a wonderful day and birthday and writing day! Happy NaNoWriMo. Get writing and enjoy it.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

10 Absolutely Ridiculous Reasons Why

Two months ago, I told you 36 reasons why I didn't/shouldn't/couldn't lose weight and only 2 reasons why I would. I've lost 10 lbs since that blog and my perspective has changed quite a bit. I can't really think of any reasons why not to lose weight anymore. (Don't worry. I've still got mental problems like why I'm not putting my novel in the mail. . . )

10 Absolutely Ridiculous Reasons Why I'm Losing Weight

10. Toilet seat is roomier. Coach class seat on airplane doesn't quite feel like first class, but it feels like business class on a crop plane.
9. My waist is getting lower. My pants are getting longer.
8. I can see myself a little more clearly. I'd expound on that, but I'd like to get some sleep tonight.
7. I'm at peace with my belly skin.
6. I'm filling my old "hunger" with things that are important to me.
5. No more "failure" and "setbacks". I have to brush them out of my life daily like I brush my teeth. I don't have time to dwell on them.
4. I eat the things I want, because have more space in my stomach. My stomach used to be filled with food I didn't particularly want.
3. I'm more in tuned to my body. I can hear my needs and signals more clearly.
2. Muscles and definition in my legs make me happy.
1. This ones a tough one. . . Wrinkles. If you lose weight now, it is healthier for you. If you lose weight later, you will seem more wrinkly faster. Think about it. You can and should lose weight at any age, but don't wait to lose a lot of weight when you are older. You'll look wrinkly. Go ahead and lose the weight now!

Weird Weight Loss Tip
Admit your errors. Sometimes my best isn't good enough. If you've been reading this blog for a while, you've practiced asking for help. You've told your friends and family thank you for helping you change your life. Sometimes you have to tell them you are sorry, too. Work stress and life stress can impact how you treat the people you love especially if you are over worked, calorie deprived, and exercise exhausted.

Say you are sorry.

Dear what's-his-name, I'm sorry for my mistakes, but I'm thankful that you think I can do so much more. It is so easy for you to believe in me. But it is not always easy for me. You men and your pragmatism! Ugh! It is frustrating. Women are filled with self-doubt and loathing. I'm going to take a lesson from you and grab the bull my the horns and other wonderful man cliches. I can't say any mushy stuff because it isn't my way. But you know and you're welcome.

How do the rest of you feel? Like you just stepped into my living room? Welcome, but watch for Cheerios. We include them as part of our emotional chaos. They are our happy land mines. Give me an update on how you are doing. Tell me why you are losing weight. Tell me what you've done wrong. Until later, happy eating and exercising. Also, happy happiness.