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Monday, February 24, 2014

i can't get no...

Wanna hear something hilarious (or sad, or possibly both--I dunno, my hilarious-meter is probably broken)? I wrote my blog title and then I thought, well, of course we need to stick a picture of Jagger on top, so off to google image search I went. Typed in "Mick Jagger abs", perused the results--most of which had nothing to do with Mack Jagger's abs (you're slipping, google image search!), clicked on the best one...and it was from this blog.  Oh goodness. I know exactly which post I used it in too. I decided y'all deserved more than recycled content, so I picked the second best result above. You're welcome. Or, I'm sorry. Whatever.

Onto actual content. Here we go. Satisfaction! And lack thereof.

I told you guys I'm doing that body transformation contest, just as a way to get back on track with my fitness. In a lot of ways it's been working.  I've lifted at least 4x a week every week of the contest except one (where I missed *one* workout due to the gym being closed two days for renovations coupled with a snowstorm later in the week.)  I've been faithfully taking my lunch and snacks to work with me so I don't just buy and eat crap.  I've been getting in 3-4 servings of veggies and fruits every single day.  I've even been back to yoga a few times, though I really would like to improve on that still. I wanted to go at least once a week and that hasn't happened. But, still, on the whole I've been happy with my return to better health and fitness habits.

You know what I haven't been happy about? My results. Despite assiduously eating in a deficit, my weight hasn't budged much. It just bounces all over the place and I never know what the Random Number Generating Machine is gonna say on the days I decide to step on it.  My ability to retain water like a camel, the fact that my bathroom habits are not what one would call regular despite all the quest bars I eat, and my on and off use of creatine all conspire to make it that I never know exactly what I actually weigh, but the number hasn't been encouraging of late. Fine. So I stopped weighing myself. I took solace in that fact that my bicep vein was back, my upper pecs were getting prominent in the gym mirror again, and the fit of certain clothes as markers that I am losing fat. If I'm gonna exist on these poverty calories and pretty much give up beer for 12 weeks, I better be losing fat, okay?

Then I decided to take some midway-through-the-contest pictures, in the same bathing suit I took my horrible, bloated "before" pics in.

Let's just say I was not impressed.

Pretty sure that was exactly my expression.

Damn, I thought, I looked so much better last spring and early summer at more or less this same weight. Leaner, more muscular, tighter, more vascular. Just better. I walked around in that very same bathing suit all June and July at the outdoor pool at the Fancy-Pants Y, totally un-self-conscious, and indeed, pleased when I caught a glimpse in the locker room mirror.

Then I re-thought.  Yes, I undoubtedly gained fat and lost muscle in the 6 months that I was working two jobs and was not eating, exercising, or resting properly.  That is true.  But did I truly look THAT much better last year when I was feeling all smug and happy about my physique?  Or is it that I looked a tiny bit better but was also not swanning around taking underwear/bathing suit selfies and examining them for flaws?

Also pretty sure I know the answer to that, kids.

I had put a moratorium on "progress pics" until this contest made me take them.  I'm committed to final pictures but then the moratorium is back on.  Yeah, I'll still snap a gym or bathroom selfie when a rogue muscle or vein makes an unexpected appearance and I'm like, WHOA. But I'm not gonna set up the camera self timer and examine my flaws from every angle. No good comes from that, at least for me.


Friday, February 14, 2014

me, pinterest, and some consumer complaints

I don't really "get" some social media and I resist a lot of the rest of it, but I did recently get sucked into Pinterest (three or four years after the rest of the world, right?).  I have no idea how to punctuate the previous sentence, btw.  It may or may not be a surprise to you all, but I like to shop.  Unfortunately, I don't have much money and I refuse to run up enormous amounts of credit card debt, so a lot of the time I am reduced to window shopping or, more specifically, online window shopping. Because you can do that at midnight in your pjs. C'mon now.

Pinterest is genius for this I am finding. I specifically made a board called "things i want, january 2014" and filled it with things that I, y'know, wanted after seeing them online but did not feel it was wise to immediately waste my cash on. Then I was able to go back to these things one or two or three weeks later with the idea that I could reevaluate whether I really wanted them...and 90% of them were sold out. That's a huge money-saver right there, I tell you what.

Like, look at these $50 pj pants from Anthropologie (LOL) that Pinterest saved me from:

They're adorable. And now I can just look at them forever without actually wasting fifty fucking dollars on them.

Or this pink sweater:

I don't actually wear pink, I just get seduced by it every winter around this time when I'm so sick of all my drab winter clothing I could spit.

Or these Frye boots:

I couldn't even start to convince myself I could afford them.  But those are some cool boots, yo.

Or this Athleta vest that sold out almost immediately:

But I really really really still did want one of those super thin, lightweight down/down-alternative vests that are out now, because you can comfortably wear them indoors in your cold house or office. Which leads us to the next portion of this blog post.

A couple weeks ago I went to the mall on my day off to see if I could buy a vest similar to the sold-out one above. I went to The North Face store.  The nice young man working there asked if I had any questions.  I refrained from asking my actual question which was, "Why is nothing ever fucking on sale in this store?" Because if that crappy massage job I just suffered through 6 months of*** reminded me of anything, it's that it's NOT NICE to be sarcastic to the underpaid.  No, I just took my leave of his store sans sarcasm and empty handed. Because I was not going to pay $149 for the vest I wanted. So sorry, so poor cheap.

Nevertheless when I returned to the mall later in the week (I had to go to the Container Store and buy a lunch box system because I'm still being good about taking lunch and snacks to work and I was getting liberal hippie guilt from all the plastic ziplock bags I was using), I returned to North Face. And my unspoken sarcasm was dis-proven****. They were finally having their winter sale.  So I bought this:

Which still was not inexpensive, but which I've been wearing almost every day and which frankly looks cuter on me than on that model. Or so I delude myself.  I don't wear mine over an ugly purple turtleneck, so there is that. And M2 told me it brings out the color of my eyes. So.

Pinterest is also good for some fitness stuff.  I found this board which I thought was full of really cool ideas for conditioning/bodyweight workouts, if you're into that sorta thing.  I wanted to try this one:

But I kinda think it requires an interval timer to be done correctly. Which would mean another trip to the mall.*****  I could end up at North Face.


***Did I mention in here that my Christmas present to myself was quitting that miserable massage job?  Down to one job. So much happier.

****Spellchecker insists disproven has a hyphen. Really?

*****I wanted to buy one on Amazon but it's really hard to tell in the product descriptions which ones are user friendly and which ones suck. I think I'd wanna see in person before I plunked down my $20-40.

fitting a nap into your workout

Does that sound as appealing to you as it does to me? If so, you are just gonna love my experience with yoga nidra, kids.

A couple Saturdays ago a yoga teacher whose restorative/deep stretch class I really enjoy was holding a workshop on yin, restorative, and yoga nidra. I've done and enjoyed the first two. The third I was all WTF? about, but intrigued, especially when I saw it was described as sleep yoga. Just the concept of that was fascinating enough for me to arrange for a co-worker to cover a few hours of my shift Saturday so I could leave work early to attend. When I googled yoga nidra and read that it was supposed to put you into a lucid dreaming-like state, well, then I was really reeled in.  The whole concept of being awake and asleep at the same time fascinates me.  Plus, for someone who lives in their own head as much as I do, the promise of it being actually productive/healthy/not just daydreaming is like a siren's call.  NO, I am NOT lying down in a dark, warm room covered with a blankie and letting my mind wander, I am MEDITATING, muthafuckah.

Except, yeah, I ended up lying down in a dark, warm room, covered with a blankie, letting my mind wander. It was cool.

We did the yin and restorative parts of the class first and there were a lot of hip and low back openers that we held for long periods of time--which was awesome for me, as those are just what I need, but it was fairly demanding. My groin/adductors were screaming from keeping my legs spread. (Shut up.)  So when the teacher started transitioning us in the yoga nidra, I was certainly ready to lie down comfortably, pull my blanket over me and listen.  She said that in the training/workshop she'd taken some people had actually fallen asleep and snored loudly, which was somewhat disruptive to the other students, so if any of us started sawing wood so to speak, she was going to just come and gently place a hand on us to wake us.  Otherwise we were just going to lie there, listen to her, and let our minds go through the three layers of...something. I forget. But there were definitely three layers involved.

I do not think, boys and girls, that I actually fell asleep. I didn't need to be prodded at any rate, and when she told us during the meditation that we were going to start transitioning out of it, I heard her perfectly. I didn't startle the way you usually do when you doze and wake.  But before she told us we were going to "come back", I was definitely somewhere else.  I was trying to explain it to my friend M2, and all I could liken it to was the breathwork class our mutual friend S and I attended once while we were in massage school, a class which was sorta like yoga if all the yoga was pranayama. I remember getting whacked out on endorphins in that breathwork class and leaving there feeling better than I had in months. The effect of the yoga nidra wasn't as strong, but it was also much shorter, just perhaps the last 20 minutes of the yin/restorative/nidra class.

Anyway.  It was cool.  Would do again. And since Mr Google helpfully provided me with the location of an ongoing yoga nidra class in the Boston area, probably *will* do again.


usual baseless excuses and apologies

Very busy, problems with the laptop, can't write on the tablet, blah blah, freakin' blah.

Laptop is fixed and new content will be up shortly.  Thank you for your patience.