Pick Me!

A weblog by Laura Moncur

10/29/2003

Communal Exercise

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 8:20 am

Communal exercising is something that I haven’t ever really enjoyed. When I was a teenager, I spent some of my hard earned money on a membership to the now defunct Spa Fitness Center. I remember liking the gym. My cheerleader friend and I went there regularly and that was fun, but it was more about being there and being seen by the cool people at school. I remember the time we saw Joella Hall there. She wasn’t even wearing any makeup and she was in an old t-shirt and shorts. I remember being appalled that she would even show her face at the gym looking like that.

Whatever is in any way beautiful hath its source of beauty in itself, and is complete in itself; praise forms no part of it. So it is none the worse nor the better for being praised. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (121 AD – 180 AD), Meditations

Since I’ve become an adult, I’ve pretty much only wanted to exercise alone. It’s about exercise for me, not about looking at people. I don’t have any cute little exercise outfits to show off my assets. I pretty much wear an old t-shirt and shorts. In the summer, I mix it up a little and wear a tank top instead. I never wear makeup. I hate the gym. I don’t want people to look at me and I don’t want to look at them. Leave me alone so I can get done and out of there.

Why do strong arms fatigue themselves with frivolous dumbbells? To dig a vineyard is worthier exercise for men. Marcus Valerius Martialis (40 AD – 103 AD)

There must be something to communal exercise, though, because of all the classes that they have. People will sit in groups and ride exercise bikes together in a class. It’s nothing that you couldn’t do alone. People will do aerobics in a class together. You could do that at home for free just by watching ESPN or Lifetime at the right time. There must be something that I’m missing by not exercising in a group.

Maybe it’s like meditating in a group. Maybe there is a special energy there that connects people when they are in the moment. When you are really exercising, you are really in the moment. There’s really no other place you can be. I remember watching a movie from the sixties about a hippie that got drafted into the military. He didn’t want to go, but he didn’t want to go to jail either. He would get through basic training by putting his mind on pleasant memories with his hippie chick. All the other army guys wanted to know why he was able to stay so calm and happy during the long and grueling hikes, so he told them. All the draftees were imagining their happy place by the end of the movie. The drill sergeant would have nothing to do with that and he ended up kicking the hippie out of the army.

Exercise alone provides psychological and physical benefits. However, if you also adopt a strategy that engages your mind while you exercise, you can get a whole host of psychological benefits fairly quickly. James Rippe, M.D.

That movie was total crap. When you are working that hard, you can’t focus on anything but your feet and moving them one more step and then another step. When your body is being worked that hard, you can only be right there, with your body. All thoughts of the flowing yellow hair of hippie chicks are expelled by your body calling for attention. Maybe that’s why I want to be alone. I want to concentrate on my body and finish up. Any distractions make it worse for me. Maybe that’s why they want to exercise in a group. Any distractions make it better for them. I don’t know, but the image of that hippie chick is doing nothing for me.

11/15/2003

Vegas with a Cooler

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:49 am

Going to Las Vegas with a cooler is a very different trip from going to Las Vegas without one. You can vacation in Vegas very inexpensively. There are $20 hotels with a shorter commute to the big sites than I drive to work every day. There have been times when we were very short on money and had to go to Vegas for a computer convention. We have survived in Vegas for $25 a day including hotel.

Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.  - W. C. Fields (1880 – 1946)

We have a nice little device that boils water very quickly. With boiled water, you can make oatmeal, pot noodles, and tea. A cooler can hold bagels and cream cheese. Granola bars hide nicely in my purse for when I’m hungry and we are trapped at the computer show. Vegas with a cooler is a very different trip than Vegas without one.

Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure nineteen six, result happiness. Annual income twenty pounds, annual expenditure twenty pound ought and six, result misery. Charles Dickens (1812 – 1870), David Copperfield, 1849

On this last trip, we were there by choice. We had saved up the money to go, so we could eat anywhere. No matter what was suggested, we were able to afford it. We tried the Champagne Brunch at the Mirage. We ate at the food court at New York New York that is supposed to look like Harlem. We had elegant pastries at the Paris Hotel. We had the cheap hot dog at the snack bar in Jean. We ate the moderately enjoyable buffet at the Silverton. Whenever we were hungry, we ate and we didn’t worry about the cost.

Food is the most primitive form of comfort. Sheila Graham

What we should have worried about was the health. I know I overindulged. So many times, I have claimed overindulgence as a right of vacationing, but isn’t taking a vacation about doing something good for yourself? Shouldn’t eating healthy be part of that regime? What is it about taking a vacation that told me I should abuse my body? The security guard’s confession made me think about what Vegas could look like with a cooler.

If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. - J. R. R. Tolkien (1892 – 1973)

What if the food in the cooler was better than all the food at the hotels? What if it were healthier? What if it tasted better? What if the cheap hot dog and the fancy pastry had no appeal to me because I knew I had better waiting for me in the car? How would that trip taste if we used the cooler because we wanted to, not because we had to?

You don’t have to cook fancy or complicated masterpieces – just good food from fresh ingredients. - Julia Child (1912 – )

Well, I think I would keep the bagels and cream cheese. To hell with the oatmeal and the pot noodles, but I think I’d still keep the tea. I would bring fresh fruit. I craved fruit the entire trip and the only things I could find were melons at the buffets and garnishes on the pastries. I could bring apples and tangerines and oranges and every good thing. What about those ham and cheese sandwiches? With the fat free ham and low fat mayo, I could make them healthier. Maybe Vegas could taste as good as Lagoon did when I was a kid.

11/16/2003

So Many New Toys

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 2:21 pm

In case you hadn’t noticed, I recently joined a gym. I keep getting surprised at how nice the facilities are and I am so happy to go there. It’s really like a big playground for adults. There are treadmills, rowing machines, two kinds of stair climbers, two kinds of elliptical trainers, two kinds of exercise bikes and a funny thing that you do with your arms that I don’t even know the name of. There are free weights and weight machines of such variety and quantity that I am intimidated and excited all in one. There is a hot tub and a sauna to relax in after I’m done with exercising.

If a man insisted always on being serious, and never allowed himself a bit of fun and relaxation, he would go mad or become unstable without knowing it. - Herodotus (484 BC – 430 BC), The Histories of Herodotus

I feel like the kid that can’t choose between the swings, the slide, the monkey bars or the thing that goes round and round until you puke. I set aside time to go to the gym today and I was so excited to get finished with my routine plans just so that I could go there. I was sitting quietly in my meditation class trying to clear my mind, but all I could think about was which cool thing I would do today.

Remember when exercising was fun? I sure do. I remember learning to ride a bike. I didn’t have a bike, but my grandma said that I could use hers. It was an antique bike with a bright blue frame and white-wall tires. It was too big for me, so I used the curb to get on it. No one ran behind me. No one held it up. I just kept falling and falling until I learned how to stop falling. I have no pleasurable memories of a loving father following behind me, just battle scars on my legs, hands and arms. I did the same the summer I taught myself to ride a bike with no hands. Riding a bike wasn’t about cardiovascular exercise back then. It was about learning and transportation.

Only the curious will learn and only the resolute overcome the obstacles to learning. The quest quotient has always excited me more than the intelligence quotient. - Eugene S. Wilson

I remember wanting to roller skate all night. When my mom would call me in for dinner, I pretended like I couldn’t hear her. I hoped that maybe she would give me just a few more minutes of play time. I remember wanting to roller skate so much that I skated to school in the winter. It had been a freezing winter with little snow and too much fog. I remember worrying about bumping into something in the fog because I was going so fast.

I remember wanting to roller skate to impress the boys. I wanted to go to Skateland West so bad that Chelly and I rode our bikes there. We rode our bikes about fifteen miles to go skating and then rode them home in the dark and the cold. I remember eagerly awaiting my report card to see how many good marks I got. Skateland West would give out three free skate passes for every A, two for every B, and one for every C. I was so excited to earn those passes because it was really expensive for me to pay three dollars to go roller skating and a free pass was like free fun.

People who get nostalgic about childhood were obviously never children. - Bill Watterson (1958 – ), Calvin and Hobbes

Now, here I am. Flushed and happy from a good workout and relaxing soak, I feel like that little girl who had a handful of skate passes. I’m thinking about when I can go back again. When I’m there, it’s hard work and lots of unattractive sweating, but after I’m done, I’m so stoked for the next time I can go. The best part is that I can go whenever I want. I think I’ll try that weird arm thing for my cardio next time. I just hope it doesn’t go round and round until I puke.

11/27/2003

Thanksgiving

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 9:10 am

It’s not about the turkey. It’s not about the pumpkin pie. It’s not even about being with family. It’s about being thankful.

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others. - Cicero (106 BC – 43 BC), ‘Pro Plancio,’ 54 B.C.

You see, every year I worry about this holiday. I have a Thanksgiving at my parents’ home and another to attend at Mike’s parents’ home. How am I supposed to attend two Thanksgiving dinners and not gorge myself on all the good food? It would be fine if I didn’t like any of the Thanksgiving faire, but I love it all. I always feel like this is the only time this year that I will get this food, so I need to eat it while I can.

Plus, I feel like I would insult them if I don’t take at least a little bit of everything. “Don’t you want the candied yams? You only have one bite of them on your plate. Don’t you want more?” This holiday is a nightmare for someone who is trying to eat healthy.

Gratitude is the most exquisite form of courtesy. - Jacques Maritain (1882 – 1973), Reflections on America, 1958

But it was never supposed to be. This is a holiday to express thanks, gratitude and appreciation. Old Cowboy Winter has hit Utah in full force this year. We are entering the dark times, yet we have an abundance of food and a warm house. I’m grateful for that. I am stronger and fitter than I have been in ten years. I have healthy eating and exercise habits. I’m thankful that I have finally learned how to take care of my body properly. I have friends and family that are caring and supportive. I am so appreciative of them that I don’t know how to say it.

It’s a sign of mediocrity when you demonstrate gratitude with moderation. - Roberto Benigni (1952 – ), in Newsweek

That’s what Thanksgiving is about. I’m thankful for the abundance of food, so I will participate in the holiday. I’m thankful for the healthy body I command, so I will eat moderately. I am thankful for the family that has supported me through the hard times, so I will be there for them. This year, Thanksgiving means so much more than just a four day weekend and I intend to celebrate it mindfully.

1/3/2004

5K

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:56 am

It means a lot of things. It’s the size of diamond that Jennifer Lopez got from Ben Affleck after his stripper indiscretion. It’s the down payment and closing costs on a reasonably priced home in the Salt Lake Valley. It’s also the distance of a race. In particular, a race I registered for last week.

Of course, the 5K is far overshadowed by the marathon. There is a $100,000 purse for the marathon and a $500 gift certificate for the 5K. I guess a marathon is over eight times longer in distance. If things were fair, the purse for the 5K would be $12,000. I wouldn’t be bothered, but I know I’ll be just as tired at the end of my race as those marathoners will be at the end of theirs. I’ll train for just as long, too. I’m just not as advanced in the world of running as they are, but I’ll be there soon.

ROXANNE: Oh, the marathon is great, isn’t it? JERRY: Oh, yes. Particularly if your not in it. - Peter Mehlman, Seinfeld, The Apartment, 1991

So, I will be training for the next few months to get ready for this race. The last time I ran a 5K, I was twenty pounds heavier and finished in 40:02. That’s a horrible time for a 5K. When the winners were crossing the finish line, I was only halfway through the course. Not this time. This time, I’m thinner and I have more time to train. I will be at the front of the pack. I’ve paid my $25 entry fee. There’s no turning back. I’m going to win for my age category at least.

Make way! I’ve got-I’ve got a runner here! Get outta the way! Make way! Make way! Make way, it’s a contender! - Gregg Kavet & Andy Robin, Seinfeld, The Hot Tub, 1995

I don’t know the time that the 5K will start compared to the marathon. I suspect that we’ll be long finished before the marathoners are even halfway done. When I look at their course, I realize just how long a marathon is. They start in the mountains, run through all our beautiful parks and end up at our biggest shopping center. They’ll probably finish right in front of the Virgin Superstore that our city is so proud of.

ROXANNE: I wish we had a view of the finish line. JERRY: What’s to see? A woman from Norway, a guy from Kenya, and twenty thousand losers. - Peter Mehlman, Seinfeld, The Apartment, 1991

For the next few months, I’ll probably will be talking about running a lot. Whether I’m training outside or at the gym, I’ll be thinking about it quite a bit. It will naturally show up here. Wish me luck!

1/18/2004

Demon of Perfection Revisited

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:06 am

I just realized that the Demon of Perfection has resurfaced in my life. He is not affecting my writing this time. No, I am writing every day like clockwork. It might not be perfect, but it certainly is consistent. I’ve been told that writing is really the art of editing, but I know that it’s possible to edit your work to its death. No, the Demon of Perfection is leaving my writing alone this time. It’s like he ran away because I noticed him.

For the last year, I have maintained my current weight. I have lost the same five pounds about three or four times over the last year. It has been rather frustrating. Before that, my weight loss was steady. I joined Weight Watchers on January 17, 2001 and I lost fifty pounds that first year: steady and healthy weight loss progress. Last year, this progress stagnated. I’ve been at this weight for a year and I’m sick of it. I’m ready to finish the job I started two years ago.

It wasn’t until just now that I realized that part of the reason it has stagnated is the Demon of Perfection. It was so important that I just had to write to tell you about it. I’ll tell you now that I can be perfect. It wouldn’t be an attraction or menace if I had zero chances of being perfect. I can follow the Weight Watchers plan perfectly for one day. I can follow it perfectly for two days in a row. I can follow it perfectly for months at a time, but there are always things that interfere.

No matter what month it is, there is always a celebration looming. There are decidedly more celebrations in the winter, but every month has something to celebrate, even if it’s just the beauty (or oppression, depending on the year) of summer in August. I let these celebrations scare me. It’s possible to be perfect on these celebrations, but I don’t necessarily want to. I want to jump into life fully with two feet. I’ll get out and dry myself off afterward, but an open plunge into life is what living is about.

So, I allow myself to be perfect for days or weeks at a time and then chastise myself for one full-figured celebration. Then the Demon steps in. If you can’t be perfect every day, what’s the point of trying at all? If you’re not going to be perfect on Halloween, why should you bother being perfect the week beforehand? Or the week afterward? If you can’t be perfect all the time, you might as well not even try?

What would have been one day of celebration turns into weeks of bingeing. I’m like a slow motion bulimic. Instead of bingeing in the morning and purging in the late hours when no one can see, I binge in January and purge in February. All in the name of Perfection. To Hell with Perfection. I hereby cast ye out! Instead of Perfection, I now strive for Adequate! I don’t know how Adequate I need to be to keep losing weight, but it is my new goal.

1/19/2004

Running with Snowy Egrets…yeah right…

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 9:21 am

When you are not practicing, remember, someone somewhere is practicing, and when you meet him he will win. - Ed Macauley

The temptation was so great. I am having a little bit of muscle soreness in my left leg. I worked myself a little too hard on Saturday on my hill workout. I found a treadmill at the gym that goes up to 15% incline, which is the highest I’ve ever seen and way too steep for me right now. I didn’t think it was but my inner thigh and hamstring have the final say.

I’m tempted to take it easy until my leg feels completely better. There are many options for me at the gym. I could do those elliptical trainer things or maybe a stair stepper. Neither one of those would put any stress on the sore muscle, yet I was tempted this morning to just not go to the gym at lunch today. I’ll practice for the 5K tomorrow.

When I read The Runner’s Book of Daily Inspiration, it told me how great it was to run in the rain at this time of the year. Whoever wrote that entry has never run in Salt Lake City, Utah in January. It is very rare when we have rain in January and snowy egrets are such a rarity that I’ve only seen one once in my whole life. Yes, this morning it was very tempting to just blow off my workout today.

I was tempted until I got the Motivational Quotes email. That Ed Macauley is right. Some bitch is going to be at the gym working out today and I might be running alongside her in the SLC 5K. I can’t let her get the jump on me. I have to keep going. I’ll work on the elliptical trainer today. I’ll baby my sore muscle, but I’ll keep working on my endurance and strength.

It’s strange where motivation can come from. I get the Motivational Quotes email so that I can make sure that the quotations have been typed in correctly. I signed up for my own quotations so that I could catch my mistakes. Every quote is something I’ve seen before and personally typed in myself. Every quote was one that I personally found inspirational. I forget that when I’m typing for hours or going through books in which I’ve underlined all the quotes that need to be put into the website. That website was originally something that I created because I wanted it to exist. It was something that I created for myself. I only remembered that this morning, when I really needed it.

2/2/2004

Caffeine Withdrawal

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:05 am

A couple of Saturdays ago at my Weight Watcher meeting, the leader did a “back to the basics” meeting. I always find these kind of meetings so helpful to me because when I started, I had a horrible Weight Watcher leader, so my initiation wasn’t the best that the program had to offer.

I learned a lot of new things that I should be doing considering that I have been following the program for over twelve weeks. I really should be hitting the whole grains because it will help “keep things moving.” I really should be watching my sugars, fats and oils and which ones would be helpful to me. I also learned that I should watch my intake of soda.

As a scientist, I know that case studies aren’t valid data, but I hear a good story and I think, “Man, I should try that.” Logically, I know that I shouldn’t believe it based on one case study, yet my inner Klingon says, “I think we should try it, sir.” So, my Weight Watcher leader says that when she was running, she found that it was easier for her to breathe when she stopped drinking carbonated beverages. She prefaced this story with the statement that it was only her individual experience, so it wasn’t like she was trying to fool us.

So, last Monday, I quit soda cold turkey. I thought it would be a piece of cake, considering that I hardly drink any soda. I was just trying to find a way to make my running easier. Plus, I thought, I would get off what little caffeine I drink every day, so that on the day of the race, I could guzzle down a Diet Mountain Dew and really feel its effects when it actually counts.

Tuesday, I had a headache. Wednesday, I had a massive headache and went to bed with a rice bed buddy. That night, I ended up sleeping almost twelve hours. When the headache returned on Thursday, I started to worry. Maybe I was getting sick. I’ve never had sinus headaches this many days in a row with no help from Sudafed, Tylenol, Ibuprofen or aspirin. It was weird. I began to worry that Melanie must have given me some horrible cold. I began to worry that I might be depressed and not even know it. I began to worry that I was getting a brain tumor. Then, I remembered. Oh yeah, I haven’t been drinking soda. This must be those Caffeine Withdrawals that people talk about.

By the way, don’t bother searching for advice online about caffeine addiction unless you are actually looking for herbal remedies and joke quizzes. That’s all you’ll find. I even went to Dr. Weil. I think he’s a quack, but compared to all those herbal remedy quacks, he looked almost bona fide. His recommendation, along with others, is to drink green tea. Sure, that has less of a stimulant effect than coffee, black tea and Mountain Dew, but it also has other stimulants to get addicted to. I decided to just weather it out.

No headache on Friday. It took four days to get through that headachy time and the only thing that gave me any relief was sleep and a rice bed buddy. Man, I think I’ll skip the Dew on race day just so that I don’t have to go through that again.

03/12/04 How To Quit Soda

2/16/2004

Buddha and St. John Climacus

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:08 am

I’ve been within the same ten pounds for over a year now. It’s not like I’m within 15 pounds of my goal weight. I have about forty pounds to go, but I am stagnating at this weight. It’s not Weight Watcher’s fault. When I follow the program correctly, I lose weight. The problem is that I haven’t been following the program. Sure, I’ll be really good for a month, lose ten pounds and then inexplicably start dinking around. Before I know it, I’m back to this same weight.

Right now, I’m following the program correctly, I’ve lost a couple of pounds and the other day, I noticed something about myself. I’m right at the weight where my cheekbones start to show on my face. If I gain five pounds (which I have gained and lost about six times over the last year), my cheekbones become hidden under the flesh. When I lose five more pounds, my face becomes a lot prettier. I don’t know what it is about those cheekbones that scare me, but I think that might be part of what I’m hiding from. What is it about being pretty that scares me?

Damn it, I deserve to be pretty. That whole “Pretty Is As Pretty Does” thing is getting so old in my mind. I am pretty inside. My actions are pretty, so I totally deserve to be pretty on the outside. Why do I insist on gaining enough weight to hide those cheekbones? Am I scared of what will happen to me when I become a beautiful woman? I’m not even comfortable with the idea of being a woman. I still feel like I’m a girl.

I’m looking at my St. Jude figurine. I don’t believe that getting to my goal weight is a lost cause. I just don’t believe that. I can’t call on him for help. To the left of him is Buddha. He is smiling and very fat. He says that I shouldn’t worry about getting to my goal weight. I need to work on my inner self first. I need to achieve enlightenment, then I won’t be bothered with my corporeal being. It is merely a vessel.

Yes, my body is merely a vessel. That is true, Buddha. Yet, I need to be able to keep my vessel healthy and strong so that it will last me for as long as I need on this planet. Sure, you believe you have another chance. You believe we have an infinite number of lifetimes to “get it right” but I’m an atheist. I’m a nonbeliever. I believe in nothing.  No God, no Allah, no reincarnation, nada, nunca. I only have this one life to get it right, so I need to get on the stick. I feel like I have to be healthy, intelligent, enlightened and joyful. Plus, I don’t like the idea that all of life is suffering. That just sucks. Sorry, Buddha, I can’t be the roly poly elf that you are. I have to be svelte. I can’t take being pudgy anymore.

So, I have no help from either St. Jude or Buddha. Who is the patron saint of the chubby? I know I’ve fruitlessly searched for this before. When the martyrs were martyred, there was no such problem. Gluttony was sited as a vice, but for the normal population, it was easy to avoid gluttony. Back then, it was easy to starve to death. This time when I did the Google search, St. John Climacus came up. He’s not the patron saint of obesity, but he did have advice on avoiding gluttony:

The following are the signs, the stages, and the proofs of practicing stillness in the right way — a calm mind, a purified disposition, rapture in the Lord, the remembrance of everlasting torments, the imminence of death, an insatiable urge for prayer, constant watchfulness, the death of lust, no sense of attachment, death of worldliness, an end to gluttony, a foundation for theology, a well of discernment, a truce accompanied by tears, an end to talkativeness, and many other such things alien to most men. - St. John Climacus, Patron Saints Index, 505-649 AD

So, I need to practice stillness. Buddha and St. John Climacus agree on this. I guess I’m not quitting my meditation class. Lucky thing I waited to make a decision until I thought about it for awhile.

3/12/2004

How To Quit Soda

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I quit drinking soda cold turkey on January 26th. It has almost been two months since I started and I thought I would give you folks some pointers on how to become carbonation and caffeine free.

Firstly, decide why you’re doing this. Do you want to get off caffeine? Is it the carbonation? Is it just the sugar? If it’s just the caffeine, then there are tons of alternatives. The same is true for people who want to limit the carbonation or cut their sugar intake. Whatever your reasons for restricting these items are up to you, but it helps to know what your goals are.

Secondly, choose substitutes. If caffeine is the item you want to limit, you can choose other sodas such as Sprite and Root Beer. If sugar is the problem, you can choose from a wide variety of diet sodas. If carbonation is what you’re trying to avoid, there are tons of flavored waters and juices to choose from. When I was quitting, I was avoiding all of the above and I wanted to limit my intake of artificial sweeteners, so I just stuck with water and herbal tea.

The next step is preparation. If you are going off caffeine, you’re going to have caffeine withdrawals and you won’t have much to turn to. I had headaches for four days in a row and no pain reliever that I took relieved any pain. What you are going to need is time. Expect to be a little under the weather for a week. Treat it like a flu or a cold. When you are tired, sleep. Give yourself permission to sleep twelve hours if you need it. You’ve been hopped up on sugar and caffeine for so long that your body is going to need to remember what it’s like to be awake naturally.

One thing that helped me was a rice bed buddy. I bought this one at a craft mall, but you can make one yourself. I’ve also seen them sold at Walgreen’s drug stores made into various shapes like booties, eye masks and shoulder covers. Mine is a simple piece of fabric sewn into a rectangle. Inside it is dry rice: simple. I just put it into the microwave for two minutes, wrap a towel around it (it will be very hot when it comes out) and lie down with it over my face. It smells a little like rice and it’s warm on my aching head and temples. It helped me go to sleep when I had the caffeine withdrawal headaches.

The next step is to listen to your cravings. I found myself craving pop when I was thirsty. I didn’t realize I was thirsty, I just thought that I wanted a Diet Coke. I drank about a gallon of water a day the first week. I don’t know if I had been dehydrated and my body was catching up on the water it needed or if I just used the water as a crutch to get past that first week. Either way, listen to your body.

Finally, remember that this too will pass. Some have reported caffeine withdrawals for weeks, others are able to get past the worst of it in a few days. No matter how long it takes for you, remember, there is an end to it. There must be some reason you decided to go off pop in the first place, concentrate on those benefits and know that the negative effects will wear off. Be patient with yourself.

How to Quit Soda Quicklist
1. Decide why you are doing this.
2. Find appropriate substitutes.
3. Be prepared by giving yourself extra time for sleep.
4. Stock up on remedies and substitutes.
5. Listen to your cravings.
6. Be patient with yourself.

Remember, this advice is never more useful than the advice of your doctor. Please contact your doctor if you plan on doing anything drastic with yourself. I haven’t noticed any drastic effects of being off caffeine, carbonation and artificial sweeteners except that water is far less expensive than Diet Coke. Good Luck!

4/2/2004

Trekking

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I saw the advertisements for the new class on the gym doors, but it took me a month to try them. It was the kind of class that’s right up my alley. There is one treadmill that faces all the others where the instructor is. I’ve walked past that treadmill many times at the gym and it sat there as a reminder, “You should try that Trekking class.”

Of course, when I talked to Mike about it, he had a different idea of what it might be. “What is it? Do you do Captain Kirk impressions for an hour? Maybe everyone pretends that they are on the Enterprise and it has just been hit with phaser fire.” I barely chuckled at his witty jokes because the word “trekking” had already been embedded in my mind. It meant a new treadmill class that I’m a little scared of. It did not have anything to do with Star Trek anymore.

I finally tried the class two weeks ago when Mike was out of town. I didn’t have anything better to do that evening, so I decided to try the class. I tried to follow along with speed and incline as well as I could. I could barely walk the next day. The class kicked my butt.

Unlike the Cycling and Aerobic classes, which have their own rooms, Trekking is held in the cardio area at the same time that normal exercisers are there. If I arrive late, I have to beg a normal exerciser to go to a different treadmill so that I can see the teacher. That Cycling class was scary to me too. The room is dark and the teacher speaks in a soft, relaxing voice. It was totally different than what I expected.

The Trekking teachers speak more like the Aerobics teachers. They are very high energy and excited about the workout. Of course, by the end, they are sweating as much as we are, which is totally cool. It always thought that the Aerobics teachers were a little weird because the workout didn’t seem to affect them at all.

Even though I was in pain, I liked the class, so I went again last week and made sure that I took care not to overwork myself. I enjoyed it even more. There was a time when I said that I didn’t like group exercise. I thought maybe that the attraction for communal exercise was that special energy that you can get when you exercise with other people, but it’s not like that for me. I love this class because it pushes me to work harder than I would normally push myself. I might push myself too hard with this class. That’s a risk, but I might also achieve more than I thought I could.

I tried the Cycling class last week and enjoyed it also, despite the dark room and calm voice. I’ve gone to the Trekking class three times now and have decided to keep it in my weekly routine. So here I am, taking exercise classes when the old me used to hate them. I guess this is just another part of my transition.

4/10/2004

Sweat Gets In Your Eyes

Filed under: Health and Fitness,Philosophy — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Sweat and tears taste the same to me, but if sweat gets in my eyes, it hurts like a muthafucka. There has to be something profound that can come of this fact, but every thing that I think of sounds corny. It’s painful just to go through the thought process.

Work and grief are not the same. Just as you cannot replace tears with sweat, you cannot replace sorrow with labor. - Laura Moncur, Pick Me weblog, 04-10-04

Nope, that just sounds like it was quoted out of a 1950′s Christian Stories To Live By book. There has to be something here that is profound and touching and so incredibly quotable that I’ll end up in Bartlett’s.

Sweat and tears both taste salty, but they are not interchangeable. Tears rarely cool you off on a hot day and sweat stings when it gets in your eyes. Each is unique to itself and each must be used appropriately. It is the same with work and grief. They are not interchangeable. Do not work harder when you need to grieve. Do not grieve when you need to work harder. Each activity is unique to itself and each must be used appropriately. - Laura Moncur, Pick Me weblog, 04-10-04

Nope, that one is way too long. It’s hard to get in the annuls of history with more than one or two sentences. One perfect sentence is what the quotable masters were known for. They could state everything in one, simple and beautiful sentence.

If the sweat is stinging your eyes, wipe off your face, stupid. - Laura Moncur, Pick Me weblog, 04-10-04

Yeah, that’s one sentence, but it’s a little too irreverent. Sure, it says that working hard is important, but not so important as to ignore the sweat in your eyes. It’s essential to take a moment to take care of yourself, even during hard labor. Sure, it says all those things, but it’s not quite on the quotable level. It sounds like a joke quote. Plus, it doesn’t say what I really want to say.

I was on the treadmill yesterday morning. I was working really hard and the sweat started stinging my eyes. I realized that I had been using exercise to exorcise my grief for so long and didn’t even notice that it wasn’t working. My exercise is really helping me be healthy. It elevates my mood for the day, but it doesn’t solve the problem. It doesn’t help me grieve for the life that I thought that I was going to lead.

Only truly letting myself grieve those regrets will get this out of my system. Sweat can’t take the place of the tears that I need to shed. The opposite is true also. There have been times when I’ve just wallowed in self-pity when I needed to get my ass out of bed. Tears can’t take the place of sweat either.

Work can’t replace grief. Sometimes you need to cry and if you try to replace tears with sweat you’ll just end up stinging your eyes. - Laura Moncur, Pick Me weblog, 04-10-04

Maybe that’s it. It’s not one sentence, but it’s exactly what I wanted to say. I guess I’ll leave the quotablity to Winston Churchill.

4/16/2004

The Bosu Incident

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I tried a new class yesterday called Bosu Synergy. It was really hard and reminded me why I usually don’t like aerobic classes. The teacher has taught the class so many times that she just assumes that her students know what she wants. With little or no instruction, she will just change moves. That’s great if you are watching a video over and over, but this is a live thing. I can’t rewind her to get it right. Fortunately, it didn’t concentrate on dance moves. We were using a step and a half ball thing that’s so popular right now. The half ball thing is the Bosu half of the class, but the Synergy is a little more elusive. I guess they were trying to evoke an image of high energy, but that’s not what synergy means. I guess in gym speak, synergy means we’re going to use the Step too.

I had a junior high moment in the class. Those Bosu things are really hard to get on and really hard to balance on. I’m sure that I would be fine if I practiced on one at home, but this was my first time I had ever tried anything with that damn half ball thing. Once I was finally balanced, I was able to try the squats that the instructor had us doing. She had us hold the squat in the lower position for a count of eight seconds. My Bosu was really wobbling and I was doing my best to stay in position. I found out that eight seconds is exactly long enough for the bitch next to me to get her friend’s attention, point at me and for the two of them to laugh. I had a vision of punching her square in the jaw for just an instant, but it faded quickly.

While I rose from the squat and got off the Bosu implement of torture as gracefully as I could, I started thinking of all the things that I would say if I could defend myself. “Give me a fucking break. This is the first time I’ve taken this class. I usually run on the treadmill, but I’m trying something new today. I could kick your ass on the treadmill, bitch.” Then I looked at her tiny butt and realized that she could probably kick my ass on the treadmill too. For the first time since I joined, I remembered why I fucking hate the gym.

Within eight seconds, that girl was able to bring up every horrible memory of every gym class I ever had to endure throughout junior high and high school. She represented every scrawny bitch who insulted me when all I was doing was trying my best. We all have to start somewhere. I’m starting here. All I can do is my best, which is what I was giving. It’s not like I wasn’t trying. I got on the damn ball, so what if my butt was shaking.

I felt so bad that I decided to do something nice for myself instead of eating into oblivion. I did something just as destructive to my health, but this time I didn’t turn to food. I went straight to the tanning salon and spent 73 bucks on 20 tans and some overpriced lotion. I know that being tan won’t make me more graceful. It won’t help me balance on the Bosu ball, but I was tired from the class. There was no more that I could do today. After I get my check, I will spend some money on one of those Bosu balls and learn how to balance in the privacy of my own home. Maybe I’ll just practice every day at the gym for a couple of minutes until I can get on and off the thing with ease, but for now, I went to the tanning salon. I got the little heart sticker and placed it on my chest, circling the birth mark that shows when I wear my brown animal print shirt.

Since I haven’t tanned in so long, the session was only eleven minutes. After that, I let myself sit in the hot tub for fifteen minutes. All of that didn’t make me feel better. The money I spent on tanning sessions that will ruin my skin didn’t help. The stay in the hot tub, getting my body temperature high enough to make me feel dizzy didn’t help me. The long shower didn’t help. The magazine that I had been saving for the hour in between getting ready and going to work didn’t help. I almost wish I had pushed that bitch off her Bosu ball. That would have made me feel better.

The worst part is that it made me not want to try any more of the classes. It reminded me that no matter where I go, there will be some wench there, eager for me to fall. It made me want to never step into one of those classes again, when I know that the only way to become really good at that sort of thing is to keep attending until I have it mastered. I should keep going until I have that step on so many risers that it looks like a bench instead of step. I should keep going until I can jump on and off that Bosu gracefully and make it look easy. I should keep going until I can look a girl like that in the eye and know for a fact that I could kick her butt in any class at that gym.

All of that takes so much time. By the time I learn all that, she will be pregnant or something. By the time I’m able to look her in the eye, she’ll be long gone. She’s already long gone. I can’t remember what she looks like except that she had brown hair, a skinny butt and she has never been in the position that she put me in today. I try to imagine her sad and hurt by some cheerleader in school and all I can do is see her motion to her friend and point at me, working as hard as I could to steady myself. Her graceful body got on the Bosu easily and she performed every squat with simplicity. Maybe I can imagine her trying to write a blog entry every day.

Yeah, I can just imagine her blog entries, “I went to the gym today. Nothing really exciting is happening right now. I guess I’ll write later.” Three weeks later, she’d write another entry, “Well, I was going to write in this thing every day, but I just don’t seem to have the time.” The next day, she’d write, “I had this great idea for something to write, but I was at the mall and didn’t have anything to write with. Now I can’t remember what I was going to say.” This would go on for about another week and then her log would be abandoned.  Yeah, she might be beautiful and have a tiny butt, but I’m getting there and I am a writer. Soon I’ll have her tight ass and I’ll still be a writer.

I know you’d like to thank your shit don’t stank
But lean a little bit closer
See if roses really smell like poo-poo.
- Outkast, Roses, 2004

The song called Roses by Outkast just came to my mind. Sure it’s on heavy rotation on MTV, VH1 and BET so it’s hard to get it out of my mind, but it is making me feel better. Sure, it’s juvenile, but for some reason, I imagine that girl at the gym to be Caroline. I imagine some guy writing that song about her years later and the ache that she would feel knowing that the song was about her.

Take that, gym bitch. I’m going to keep going to that class. I’m going to take every fucking Bosu class they offer. If you ever do that to me again, I’m pushing you off your little Bosu ball and teach you not to mess with a punk rock girl like me. I can feel the veneer of civility just cracking and flaking off me. The only safety she has is that I can’t remember what she looks like. Nobody better mess with me. They might get the beating that the little gym bitch deserved.

All this talk doesn’t make me feel better either. I still don’t want to go to that class again. I still want to cry for all the times that I took that kind of malicious abuse. Inside, there is a little girl who just wants to say, “Hey, it was my first time taking this class. I’ve never even touched one of these things before. Give me a fucking break.” It would have been so easy if we were guys. I would have gotten off my little Bosu ball, kicked her in the balls and it would be finished. She would have left me alone and I could have peed on her Step. Instead, I’m sitting here, wondering how I could have protected myself. The only thought that comes to my mind is that I should have never stepped into that class and I know that’s not the right answer.

Bosu Update

4/19/2004

Bosu Update

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 2:21 pm

The Bosu Incident

Friday, Mike took me to every store in the Salt Lake Valley looking for one of those Bosu Balance Trainers, but to no avail. I just resigned myself to learning how to balance on them at the gym, in front of all the people. All the people just watching me learn how to balance.

If that sounds scary to you, then you’ll understand how I felt. When I went back to the gym on Saturday, I ran my 5K on the treadmill, just as planned, but I decided that practicing on that damn Bosu thing was just out of the question. After my run, I went to stretch so that my muscles wouldn’t seize up on me. There was a Bosu sitting in the stretching area. This is a unique experience. Usually the Bosus are downstairs by the weight machines, but one had migrated up to the stretching area.

I stretched on the floor, watching the Bosu like it was some wild animal that might attack me. I stretched my hamstrings. I stretched my inner thighs. I stretched my quads. I even turned my back on the Bosu to stretch my calf muscles, but it was still there, mocking me. I decided that I needed to get past this.

Instead of trying it at the hardest level (bouncy side down), I decided to try it on the easier level (bouncy side up). I did the squats just like we did in the class and this time there was hardly any shaking. If I had known that there was an easier level, I would have turned the damn thing over in the class, but I didn’t learn that until the very end of the class when I saw another beginner do her thing on the other side. That’s one thing that could have saved me: I wish the teacher had mentioned that there was an easier level.

After doing the squats, I tried balancing on one leg, while holding the other in a quad stretch. I didn’t really know what else to do to learn how to balance on one of these things, so I just tried that. It took a long time just to be able to hold the stretch for ten seconds. The important thing is that I did it and I didn’t let anything get in my way, not even the horde of people on the cardio machines watching me.

Even after my success on Saturday, I knew it would be an uphill battle every day at the gym. Every time I went there, I would look at the Bosu like it was an animal, ready to pounce. I decided to look online and found one at Amazon.com, so I ordered it. I’ll get better in the privacy of my own home. I will get past this. I know it.

My Excuse For Not Showing My Face In The Gym

4/20/2004

My Excuse For Not Showing My Face In The Gym

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Bosu Incident

As you may or may not know, I have a 5K race coming up this Saturday. I signed up for it so long ago that most of the people I’ve told have forgotten about it. Maybe they are scared to mention it to me, fearing that I’ve flaked out on it. It doesn’t matter. The important people in my life know about it and are planning to be there.

I’ve trained for this race on the treadmill almost exclusively. Now, I am here, four days before the race with little or no training outside. That’s my excuse. I can’t go to the gym. I have to do some outside runs to get myself ready for Saturday’s race. And, I need to taper a couple of days before the race, so I won’t be going to the gym at all this week.

Sure, it’s a great excuse, but it isn’t the only reason. I just don’t feel like going there anymore. It’s not a safe place anymore. It doesn’t feel like my place any longer. It used to feel like the spa at the Luxor hotel in Las Vegas, but it doesn’t anymore. Now, I’m scared that there will be a brown-haired waif in the wings making fun of me running on the treadmill or using the weight machines or practicing on the Bosu.

I don’t know how to make it safe again. I don’t know what to do to make the gym a fun playground instead of a reenactment of every day in gym class in seventh grade. I realize that it’s all perception. The gym isn’t any less safe now than it was before. I just hadn’t met the one bitch in the place yet. In fact, now I’m safer. I can make sure that I only stand next to blondes next time.

I don’t know how to make it safe again, but it doesn’t matter because I have this entire week to gain the courage again. I’ll run outside with my dog and I’ll train as hard as I can in the rain. For all I know, it’s going to rain on the race day, so I need to get that experience. After the race, I’ll get the courage to go back to the gym.

Previous: My Excuse  Next:Going Back To The Gym

4/21/2004

Going Back To The Gym

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Bosu Incident

Buddha and St. Jude agree. I need to go back to the gym. I need to take the Bosu Synergy class again and again until I master it. I need to take all the classes until I have mastered them all. I can’t let this minor thing get in my way, but I argue with them.

“It’s not a minor thing. She really hurt my feelings.”

Buddha: “So you’re feelings are hurt. Pain is as much of living as pleasure is.”

St. Jude: “I’ve noticed that you aren’t directing your questions, pleading or replies to me. Even you know that it’s not a lost cause.”

“It doesn’t feel safe there anymore.”

Buddha: “Safety is an illusion. There are those who feel safe on the streets of New York and there are others that tremble in a meadow. Safety is what you believe it to be.”

St. Jude: “You’re supposed to find what you fear and conquer it. You’ve been given a great opportunity. Conquer it.”

“I want to punch that girl. I wish I remembered what she looked like.”

Buddha: “Yes, remember her. Remember how hard it was for her to get up on the Bosu. She had to hold on to her step. The teacher helped you, but she didn’t help that girl. Maybe she was jealous of you. All of us are struggling. Her struggle is just different than yours.”

St. Jude: “Go ahead and punch the bitch. I don’t care. When you’re doing time for assault, then you can talk to me.”

“What if someone makes fun of me again?”

Buddha: “Then laugh with them. You have to admit. You did look pretty funny on that Bosu. Your little butt was jiggling a bit, you know. You’re just mad at her because she voiced your own fears. If you hadn’t been ashamed of yourself, her pointing would have gone unnoticed by you. You would have assumed that she was pointing at someone else.”

St. Jude just stands quietly and looks straight ahead. He knows that I’m not even listening to him now.

Akenaten chimes in, “In case anyone is listening, I thoroughly approve of the color in her skin. It looks like she got some sun.”

Previous: Going Back To The Gym   Next: What’s The Big Deal Anyway?

4/24/2004

Race Day

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Today is my race. I’m writing this ahead of time, of course, so I have no idea how it’s going to turn out. And, as is the case most of the time, you probably won’t even get an update after the whole thing is over until you have forgotten about it.

It’s my first 5K race in two years. I weigh less than I did at the last race and I’ve been training harder than I did for the last race. Neither one of those facts are helping my confidence right now. My goal is to beat my last time. Last time I did the 5K in forty minutes, so I want to do this race in less than forty minutes. Sounds easy enough, right?

Wrong. I have been running the prerequisite 3.2 miles during my training and I haven’t gotten close to the forty minute goal. I know that there is some extra adrenaline or something that makes you run faster when you compete, but I’m in much better shape right now. Shouldn’t I be able to get closer than three minutes from my goal?

My original goal was to place in my age division. That’s a really cool goal and if I make it, that’s great, but it is so dependent on other people. Sure, it’s an easy thing to accomplish if no one in my age division competes. It gets exponentially harder to achieve with each additional contestant. Plus, it’s concentrating on something outside of myself. I decided that my only goal should be to beat my personal best.

So, my personal best was forty minutes. I’ve got to finish in less than forty minutes. All my training runs have fallen short of that goal, so what am I to expect on this final race day? Who knows? I guess I’ll post my time after the race.

4/28/2004

Race Results (Part 1 of 2)

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 11:58 pm

I’ve been sick the last few days, so it took me a little longer to get back to you than I thought it would. I’m sorry for the delay.

The morning of the race I woke up with a nightmare. In my dream, I was waiting for my family to arrive so we could all go to the race. I knew that Stacey, Dan, my mom and her husband, Reed, were coming, but I had told them that if they didn’t get here by 7:15 am, I was going to leave without them. Even though it was after 7:15 am, Mike wouldn’t let me leave. He purposely wouldn’t put on his shoes. He wanted to wait for them to come, even if it meant that I was late for the start of the race.

Then a huge family with two dogs arrived to come with us. Mike had invited them and he was so excited that they had come. Instead of all of us fitting in one car, we ended up taking three cars, one of which for the two visiting dogs and our dog, Sid. Mike really wanted Sid to see me run the race and no complaining on my part could make him not bring the entire pack of dogs.

We arrived just as the air horn went off starting the 5K, so I jumped out of the car and started running. The bad part was that we were late, but the good part was that only five people were running the race. I thought that I would be able to win for my division for sure. That was until I saw the course. The course went through a shopping mall. I had to dodge merchandise everywhere I went. There were huge pillows on the track and I had to run over antique furniture culminating to a stack of baby grand pianos. I was also delayed by a woman from my church who was poking me in the butt with a broomstick.

When I neared the finish line, I was so angry. I was angry with Mike for making me so late that I started the race late. I was angry with Mike for inviting the family with too many children and dogs because I didn’t really want them here anyway. I was angry with the race directors for putting the race through the mall just so they could sell merchandise, I guess. I was just seething when I crossed the finish line.

When I finished with the race, there were no people to check my number or anything. I was so angry at how disorganized the race was. I finally found someone who could answer some questions. She was surprised because the race hadn’t started yet. It was only 7:45 am and I had fifteen minutes to get back to Liberty Park to run the real 5K race. I realized that I must have gotten all mixed up when I was so worried about being late to the race and I had been so mean to Mike for nothing. I was the disorganized one, not the race directors and I only had 15 minutes to get back to the starting line so that I could finish the real race. I was devastated.

That’s when I woke up. It was a bad dream to have before my race.

4/29/2004

Race Results (Part 2 of 2)

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 12:31 pm

On the day of the race, I woke up from my nightmare, grateful that I didn’t have to run my 5K twice. I verified with Mike that he didn’t invite a family with too many children and dogs. I was assured by him that if 7:15 am came around and my family hadn’t arrived that he would leave without them. He pointed at his shoes the minute he put them on.

Stacey, Dan, Mom and Reed all came right on time and we piled into my mom’s car to go to the race. The Calvary Baptist Church Choir sand the national anthem and the race started 15 minutes late (Mormon Standard Time). I ran really well and we started the race to the song, Love Shack by the B-52′s. I didn’t realize it, but the race went right by Port O’Call, which is a local club that I love to go to. When I ran past it, I pointed and said, “Look, it’s Port!” The people around me could have cared less and just kept on running.

During my run, my goal was to get past the guy with the shirt that said, “The Kat is Back!” I just wanted to pass him and then I would be happy. Each time I passed him, though, I’d look up and there he was in front of me again. I kept trying to pass him. I thought that maybe he didn’t stop for water at the aid stations and that’s how he got past me each time. By the fourth time I passed that guy, I realized that it wasn’t the same guy. The guy I had been chasing and passed had brown hair, but this time it was a blonde in a “The Kat is Back!” shirt. Apparently, they were a team of runners and I was passing several guys.

By the time we got to The Gateway, I was pretty tired. When you looked at the race map, it looks like you finish when you get to The Gateway, but that’s not the case. No, the finish line was at the other end of The Gateway Plaza. I’ve walked that route before in the cold and it felt like a mile then, but at the end of my race, that stretch of sidewalk and road felt like an eternity. Before I could see the finish line, I finally called out, “Where’s the damn finish line!” None of the runners were listening to me, but I’m sure they were thinking the same thing.

I finished the race in 34:15 minutes. That is 5:48 minutes faster than the last time I ran a 5K. I came nowhere near winning for my division, but I beat my best time by over five minutes, so I didn’t care. There was some drama getting our finish times. They had them all listed in the paper on Sunday morning for the marathon runners, but the 5K participants had to wait until they were posted online on Monday. It wasn’t until then that I knew that I finished so well. I had forgotten to start my stopwatch when the race started, so I just had to guess on my time. I thought that I did pretty well, but I wasn’t sure.

My family took me to Lamb’s Restaurant to celebrate. It took me over an hour to find them because of the crowds. They thought that I hadn’t finished yet and were really getting worried about me. Little did they know that I finished about two minutes before they got over to the finish line. I was able to run it faster than they could drive it, Yeah!

Race Results
Race: 2004 Salt < ?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />Lake Marathon 5K
First Name: LAURA
Last Name: MONCUR
Sex: F
Class: F35-39
Pace: 00:11:03
Final: 00:34:15
Class Rank: 100 out of 242
Overall Rank: 1578 out of 3037

5/4/2004

The Home Stretch

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

After the divorce, my dad took Stacey and me on the weekends. For awhile, he tried to make each weekend something fun and interesting to do. One time, he took the two of us to a place to ride horses. Stacey, Dad and I each got our own horse to ride and we took them up the trail. It’s the only time I’ve ever ridden a horse, except for that one time that I tried to get on Sceverenia’s horse in Fairview and it bucked me off. I don’t really count that time because I was only on the horse for about three seconds.

While we were going up the trail, I had a hard time. The horse that I was on did not want to go. He would not walk and I fell behind Stacey and Dad. The two of them were far ahead of me, heading into the trees while I nudged and bounced on my horse to get it to catch up. The thing would not move or would only move slowly toward Stacey and Dad. We only had the horses for an hour. By the time that I reached the tree line, thirty minutes were already gone. If we didn’t turn around right now, we would be late getting back to the ranch. My dad had us turn around and head back, hoping that my horse would be able to keep up.

At that point, I was surprised. The second we turned around, my horse picked up speed. By the time the ranch came into view, my horse was at a dead run. I enjoyed the second stretch of the trek much better than the first. We got back to the ranch in fifteen minutes flat, half the time it took to go out. When we got back, I realized that my horse didn’t want to take me for a ride. It wanted to rest. It was tired and every step away from the ranch meant that it would have to take me back that far. Going away, it fought me, but returning home, it gladly pranced and ran.

I caught myself doing the same thing Monday. I was running outside in my neighborhood. I ran out to the doggie park and back. When I headed back, I noticed that I was running faster than when I ran out. I felt the happiness in my run because I was going home. The faster I ran, the sooner I would get home. It’s something that never ever happens when I run on the treadmill. The treadmill is one never ending run in place. I never am able to run fast enough to get into the TV screen in front of me and I never run home.

As you can tell, I still haven’t been back to the gym. I could say that the sun and the beautiful weather are enticing me to spend my exercise time outside, but that’s not the whole story. I could say that getting ready for work at the gym is inconvenient and less efficient than just getting ready at home after a workout, but that isn’t the whole story either. The whole story is that the gym isn’t my fun playground anymore. That Bosu incident just sucked the life out of my safe and enjoyable spa. It doesn’t feel like a luxury spa in Vegas anymore. It feels like a junior high locker room.

I don’t know how to fix this. I remember feeling like this before, but this gym was different, I told myself. This gym wasn’t a gym; it was a luxury spa where everyone there was solely interested in becoming better people. I had told myself that the harpies that had vexed me in the past didn’t exist in the adult world. I had convinced myself that I was safe as long as I went to this special and magical place.

In the eight seconds that the teacher made us hold that squat on the Bosu Ball, that brown-haired girl stole all of that from me. I want it back. I realize that it was only an illusion. I realize that the friendly people outnumber the mega-bitches. I realize that all of this is solely a problem in my mind, not the gym. None of that brings it back to me. I feel like I need to bring a body guard to the gym with me. I wish Andre the Giant was still alive. He could follow me around at the gym and thump bitchy brown-haired girls on the head when they mocked me.

When I first went to this gym, I used to go with a friend from work. Ming and I would leave at lunchtime every day and meet by the treadmills. After a month of going to the gym and not encountering any evil women, I felt like it was safe enough for me to go alone. When I had to take the second lunch and go without Ming, I felt safe there. If I went during the evenings, I was still scared, but I knew that the lunch crowd wouldn’t hurt me. This class was a morning class, but the entire gym feels unsafe again.

Mike volunteered to go to the gym with me after work. He said he would protect me from evil women. He’s up for protecting me from women. He knows full well that I can protect myself from men just fine. Men are easy. All you have to do is kick their ass and they leave you alone. Women are hard. I’ve yet to find the perfect response to a catty girl who makes fun of me when I’m trying to do my best at a new activity. Punching them in the face doesn’t work. Being bitchy back at them doesn’t work. Nothing I’ve ever tried has worked.

In the meantime, I’ve mapped several runs that I can do from my house: two mile runs, three mile runs, four mile runs. There are lots of routes that I can take and I’m always surprised at the distance I can go. When I drive them out in the car after running them to find out the mileage, I’m always amazed at how far away I went and came back. Of course, the home stretch is much easier to run and faster because I’m running home.

5/5/2004

What’s The Big Deal Anyway?

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

So, the gym doesn’t feel safe anymore. Who cares? You don’t need to go to the gym to get healthy. You have so many options at home that you don’t ever need to go back to that gym. Why do you keep mourning it? What the big deal anyway?

It’s a valid question. I haven’t received any emails. I haven’t received any nasty comments that were discretely removed from the site. I just sit here imagining you people who read my site every single day telling your significant others something along these lines, “That Pick Me girl will not shut up about the gym. She had one little problem with a girl at the gym and she has been whining about it for about two weeks now. Jeez, either stop going and live with it or start going again and live with it. What’s the big deal?!”

The big deal is that I’m in transition right now. I’m undergoing a transformation.  I’m a caterpillar in a cocoon. I’m a polliwog. I’m changing into a new person. I was a fat girl. I was a fat girl my whole life. I remember being about four years old and watching Sesame Street on the television at my grandma’s house before she moved to Billings, Montana. She and my mom were having a conversation in the kitchen and they didn’t know I could hear them, but my ears perked up whenever they talked about me. I was listening.

My grandma started the conversation, “I noticed that she has another roll on her stomach. We really need to do something about her.”  My mother responded, “I’m not going to bug her about losing weight. She’s only four years old.” She defended me, but it was obvious that they both thought I was fat. That is the day that I became a fat girl. I was four years old and the two most important women in my life had decided that I was fat, so I must be fat.

I didn’t know that my grandmother was unhealthily obsessed with weight. I didn’t know that my grandmother was unhealthily obsessed with me as a child. I was the oldest grandchild and the she considered me the daughter that she never had. After having three sons and a hysterectomy, I was the only person who could fulfill those dreams of what it would have been like for her to have a daughter. I was the only one who could do the things that she couldn’t do when she got pregnant at the age of fifteen. I didn’t know that she somehow had a strange connection to me that almost made my body her body. If I wasn’t perfect, she had somehow failed and another roll of fat was definitely not on the ticket for perfect.

I know all this now, but changing from a fat girl to a healthy girl is still difficult. I can look at myself in the mirror. I can run a 5K race, shaving five minutes off my best time. I can eat healthy every day for months. I can go to the gym religiously, trying all the new and interesting things. All of this does little to change my image of myself.

Here I was, doing my best at an exercise class at a gym. I was doing something that a fat girl would never do. Not only was I trying a class with a weird half shaped ball thing that I had to balance on, I was at a gym. I was going to the place that thin people go and doing the things that thin people do. For a brief moment, I was a thin girl. Then I saw that brown-haired girl point and laugh at me. I watched her try to get her friends attention so that her friend could laugh at me too. Suddenly, I was right back to where I was before. Suddenly, I was a fat girl again.

I felt like someone opened my cocoon and all the caterpillar goo oozed out onto their fingers. I felt like someone pulled off my little new legs, growing alongside my gills and fins. I was so proud of those little legs and now they are gone. I couldn’t hop with them yet, but I was so excited to use them when I lost my tail and gills. Now I have to start growing those little legs again and I have to hurry before my gills close up.

5/10/2004

Growing Back My Legs

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Bosu Incident

I lied. I didn’t know I was lying, but I lied.

Last Thursday, I went back to that Bosu Synergy class. The minute I walked in, I was able to pick the brown-haired girl out of the forty women in the class. She had placed her items in the exact spot they were last time I was there. I saw her friend there also. I had said that I wouldn’t have been able to tell her from any other brown-haired girl, but I lied. I noticed her the minute I walked into that huge room.

It was hard for me to go back. Two days earlier, I had gone back to the gym with Mike as a bodyguard by my side. We took the Tuesday evening Trekking class. The teacher was good and it was an energizing workout. Mike even enjoyed following along with the class. Going back to a treadmill class was the perfect thing to ease me back into the gym.

Wednesday night, I talked to Mike, “That Bosu class is tomorrow morning. I really should go back to that class.” Mike agreed and it was decided. I was going to wake up early for the Bosu class, but I undermined myself. After not drinking soda for weeks, I decided that I was really in the mood for a Diet Coke that night. I was up until well past midnight from the caffeine buzz.

Thursday morning, Mike came into the bedroom at 5:30 am. I immediately sat up in bed, “I’ve got to get up. I’ve got a class at 6:30.” Mike responded, “I was wondering if you were still going to go.” I was decided by then. I was going back to this class and nothing was going to get in my way.

Nothing except maybe those checks that need depositing. Nothing except that lunch I need to pack for the rest of the day at work. Nothing except all those little things that can get in the way and make me late. When I walked out the door, Mike said, “Break a leg,” he paused for effect, “but only if they make fun of you and only break their legs, not your own.”

I was about five minutes late to the class. There was still room for me, but there were so many people in the class that there wasn’t a Bosu ball left for me. I had a strange moment in which I could see me sabotaging myself. I’m never late for anything, yet I let myself be late for this class.

I started with the class and we exercised mostly with the step, so it didn’t matter that I didn’t have a Bosu. By the time we got to the Bosu section of the workout, some people had left the class, so there was an extra one for me. This time, the teacher had us use the easy side of the Bosu, but that brown-haired girl and her blonde little friend insisted on using the more difficult side. They were the only two in the class that did.

I’d love to be able to say that the brown-haired girl made fun of someone else during the class because then I wouldn’t feel so singled out. Unfortunately, she just did the workout and left the class early (before we got to the abdominal workout). I didn’t talk to her. She didn’t recognize me. She might not have even noticed me. I just took the class and did the best that I could just like the day she made fun of me.

All in all, I feel better. I can go to the gym alone without worrying about some Heather making fun of me. I made the bravest step of all by going to that class. After that, the rest is a piece of cake. Let’s just see if I can go to the class this Thursday and be there on time. I can feel my little legs growing back again.

Previous: What’s The Big Deal Anyway?    Next: Wardrobe Malfunction

6/3/2004

Diet Mountain Dew

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’m drinking a 20 ounce Diet Mountain Dew: the most caffeine laden drink I could drink without choking down a coffee. After getting completely off of any type of carbonated, caffeinated or artificially sweetened beverage a few months ago, here I am. Drinking a Mountain Dew.

I guess it started after the race. After I finished my race, I had no reason to stay off carbonated drinks. I didn’t notice any increase in physical stamina while I was off the pop and I didn’t notice any decrease in stamina when I started drinking it again. There was no point to keep off the pop, but I had a new habit, so I didn’t drink it very often.

Then I went to Yellowstone with Mike, Stacey, Dan, my mom, and her husband, Reed. We had lots of fun. We sat in the hot tub almost every night. We ate good food. We drank a lot of alcohol. Ok, maybe that was just me. I drank a lot of alcohol. My favorite is a double shot of gin and Diet Mountain Dew. I call it “Gin and Mello Yello” even though I don’t drink Mello Yello. It’s from the song, “Tangerine Speedo,” which is the best song to party to. It’s on the Charlie’s Angels’ Soundtrack. Listen to it right now and then come back to me and finish this entry.

After many Gin and Mello Yellos, I came home from Yellowstone with a major Jones. The gin can come or go. I don’t care. It’s the Diet Mountain Dew, man. I can’t give it up. Ok, that’s a total lie. I could give it up. Give me four days, a warm bed buddy and lots of sleep and the Diet Mountain Dew could leave my life again, but why?

Why should I stop drinking it? I wasn’t able to run easier when I didn’t drink it. I didn’t notice a change in my alertness when I stopped drinking it. All those people who talked about the benefits of quitting soda must be a different species of human being because I haven’t noticed any change.

So, instead of abstaining from it, I actually drove to Randall Brothers and bought one for myself. Here I am, writing an entry and luxuriously sipping a Diet Mountain Dew. I feel like I’m breaking all the rules. I feel like I’m eating a huge piece of chocolate cake in the middle of the day at work. What a strange feeling. Just a few months ago, I wouldn’t have had a second thought about it, now I feel like I’m having the biggest treat of the day.

6/9/2004

Wardrobe Malfunction

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 12:20 pm

The Bosu Incident

I ran to Sugarhouse today. It’s about 3.5 miles up, around and back. It’s usually such a pleasant run in the morning because we are having such good weather. The sun is up when I leave the house, but it hasn’t become oppressively hot. It’s just a bright reminder that summer is almost here. My displeasure with the run had nothing to do with the beautiful weather this morning. The blue skies and sprinklers at the park enticed me to run, run, run! Unfortunately, my clothing interfered in the worst way.

I bought four pair of these shorts, all the same color, same size and same brand. They were all black with gray pin stripping down the side. They were all size medium. They were all Kathy Ireland brand. Only one pair failed miserably: the other three are just fine. This wretched pair rides up like a muthafucka.

It took me 56 minutes to run the 3.5 miles to Sugarhouse, around the trail and back home. Every 42 seconds, the shorts rolled up my thighs. The rolling up wouldn’t have been so bad, but the legs of the shorts rubbed against each other in such a way to cause pain to my inner thighs, so every 42 seconds, I had to pull the legs of the shorts down. That means I pulled down the legs of my shorts at least 80 times during my run, which made running almost impossible.

I would have worried that I was too fat for the shorts, but as I’ve said, I bought four pair and these are the only pair that ride up. During the 56 minute tug and pull festival, I chided myself for not throwing this pair away. They look identical in the drawer and when I put them on. It’s only when I start running that they turn into the exercise nightmare ensemble.

I suddenly became ultra-self-conscious. I am usually anti-self-conscious. I usually assume that everyone is so wrapped up in their own little worlds to notice me. Instead, I found myself feeling every car pass on 2100 South. I found myself noticing every jogger, walker and canine on the trail. I found myself trying to pass people, wait for a lag in the traffic and then hurriedly tug and pull my pant legs down. By the time I got home, I lost all sense of pride and just tugged and pulled no matter who was walking past or driving by.

Put even the plainest woman into a beautiful dress and unconsciously she will try to live up to it. Lady Duff-Gordon (1863 – 1935)

The minute I got home, I pulled the sweaty monstrosity from my body and tossed it in the garbage. I ate my breakfast in a tank top and undies and felt much less embarrassed than I had during today’s run. It’s amazing how beautiful one can feel after being ugly for an hour.

 Previous: Growing Back My Legs    Next: The Return of the Treadmill

6/15/2004

The Return of the Treadmill

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Bosu Incident   “I’ve been thinking that maybe I’ll condense my two bookshelves. Do you think the treadmill would fit right here.”

Mike indicated the corner of his office that I had coveted for the treadmill when we moved in last July. I knew for a fact that the treadmill would fit there because I had measured it back then. It was a snug fit, but the tread would fold down perfectly and the ceiling was just tall enough for Mike on the highest incline. I was sure of it because I had wanted it so badly.

“Yeah. I know for a fact it will fit there, but do you really want to lose a bookcase?”

“A lot of the space is wasted or could be somewhere else. I think I could condense everything down to one bookcase and then put that bookcase in storage and put the treadmill there.”

“Are you sure? You seemed so against it before.”

“I hate the gym. I miss the treadmill.”

My sentiments were echoed word for word. Ever since the Bosu Incident, the gym has felt less like a playground for adults and more like a playground for mean little bullies. I forced myself to go. I exercised at home. I ran outside. I rode my bike. I played Dance Dance Revolution on the Xbox. I played with my Bosu Ball at home. I found myself dreading the gym and missing my treadmill that was hiding in storage.

“Ok, well, if you want the treadmill back, we can do that. Here, let me help you organize this bookshelf.”

I started to reach for his books and toys. I started to pull the four large books of condensed music CDs.

“These can go downstairs. Now that we’ve ripped them all, we don’t really need to access them regularly.”

Mike stopped me, “No. I don’t want to start that project right now. Cory is going to be here tomorrow. I don’t want to deal with that while he’s here. Let’s just wait until he leaves.”

“Cory could help us move the treadmill.”

“No, let’s wait until he goes home.”

So, I waited. Cory visited and we enjoyed having him stay here, but the day he left, we rented a U-Haul, moved the bookshelf to storage and brought home the treadmill. Sadly, something happened to the treadmill in the move last July and it wasn’t working when we brought it home. After a half hour call to NordicTrack, my part was ordered and it arrived last Saturday. Mike had it replaced and working by the time I got home Saturday at lunchtime. I was happy to be the first person to play on it once we had it situated in the spot where the bookcase used to be.

When we moved from our 3500 square foot house in <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />West Jordan to this 900 square foot house in Sugarhouse, we had to make choices. What was more important, my computer or my piano? I had to make that decision. I observed the facts. I sat and wrote at my computer every day and I only played my piano at Christmas. In fact, the last Christmas we spent in the West Jordan house, I didn’t even play. I ended up finding a family with a little girl who wanted to take piano lessons and sold the piano. It was a choice I had to make. I could have put the treadmill where my computer sits today, but the computer had precedence.

Mike had to make choices too. What was more important? Having all of his books nearby or having a treadmill? Since he went from a huge office to a tiny room at the back of the house, he decided that the bookcases were more important. After a year of struggling with going to the gym, though, he decided that he’d rather have the treadmill.

I keep suppressing the thought that he did it for me. He has had a front row seat on the Bosu Incident and all my struggles with the gym. He insists that going to the gym is doubly hard for him because he has to overcome the fear of exercise and the fear of people. I have no fear of exercising. I’m just scared of those skinny bitches that point at me when I’m just doing the best that I can do. That has been enough for me to keep running up to Sugarhouse Park or playing DDR instead of going to the gym. I can only imagine how hard it has been for him. Maybe he didn’t do it for me. Either way, I’m just so glad to have my treadmill back.

Previous: Wardrobe Malfunction    Next: i2Workout

6/26/2004

Does Anybody Love Their Gym That Much?

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

The Bosu Incident

Dodgeball: A True Underdog Story. It’s the new movie from Ben Stiller. Average Joe’s Gym is going to be bulldozed to become the parking lot for Globo Gym unless the rag tag team of losers wins a Dodgeball competition.

Can I just ask the world out there something? Does anyone love their gym enough to train and compete in a Dodgeball competition? Even before The Bosu Incident, I didn’t love my gym enough to defend its honor and mortgage. If the forty bucks a month I’m giving them isn’t enough to keep them alive, then I’ll go to Globo Gym and pay the higher prices. Or maybe I’ll pay higher prices at my gym. Ask me to be in a Dodgeball competition and you’ll just have to be bulldozed, fella.

I’d even run a charity 5K race before I entered a Dodgeball competition, but even that is not very likely. Since Mike brought back the treadmill, I haven’t set foot in the gym, not even to tan my body for the Vegas trip. I have exercised every single day since the treadmill has come back. I have brought the weights that were gathering dust in the basement upstairs and I’ve used them. I have not missed the gym for a second.

Ok, that’s a lie. Once a day, when Ming goes to the gym at lunch time, I miss the gym. I liked going there with him. We talked about work. I felt safe, thinking that the gym bunnies would leave me alone if I had someone else there with me. Going alone after The Bosu Incident, I felt unprotected, but I miss that feeling of safety I had a couple of weeks after I first started going. When Ming goes to the gym without me, I miss it. It’s a moot point, though. I only get a half hour for lunch now, so I couldn’t go with him anyway.

No, if they asked me to be in a Dodgeball competition to save my gym, I’d refuse. In fact, I’d probably hope they lost so that I could get out of my one-year contract with them.

Previous: i2Workout                 Next: Back to the Gym

6/29/2004

The Perfect Run

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

They say that the ideal running environment is a trail run on pine needles, but “they” obviously don’t run as often or in as many places as I have. Where there are pine needles, there are pine trees. Where there are pine trees, I am going to trip on a fucking pinecone. It’s just how nature works. You can’t have the pine needles without the pinecones. No, the ideal running environment is not a trail run on pine needles; it’s the sixth floor at the Luxor Hotel.

Like any pyramid, the Luxor Hotel is an engineering marvel. The inside of the pyramid is basically hollow, making a huge atrium filled with waterfalls and amusement park attractions. The rooms of the hotel line the outside of the pyramid, so each floor is a square of rooms. I like the sixth floor best because it’s the biggest “track” in the hotel. On floors one through five, the square isn’t complete. Some of the areas are blocked off for office space and attraction rides, so the first floor where there is a complete square to run is the sixth floor.

Once you get higher than the 23rd floor, the “track” is too small to really enjoy running and if you go high enough, it’s just a few rooms and a hallway. But from floors 6 through 23 or so, the running is good. This trip, we stayed on the second floor, so I couldn’t just step outside of my room and start running. I had to walk to an Inclinator, show my room key and get my tired butt up to the sixth floor. Most of the time, however, I can just walk right outside my room and start running. I love to stay at the Luxor Hotel just for this reason.

I always run clockwise. The Pagan tradition states that whenever you go in circles, it should be clockwise. Counter-clockwise is work of the dark side. I would really hate to run for Evil. Considering that the Pagan tradition is thousands of years old, I wonder how they knew that clocks were going to turn in that direction instead of backwards. Maybe the Pagan tradition is why clocks turn the way they do, or maybe it’s all bunk. Who knows?

Pagan tradition aside, I always run clockwise. It doesn’t matter which direction you run. You’ll always have to either pass someone facing or behind. People walk all different directions in hotels and there is no avoiding other people. When I run in the morning, their hotel rooms smell like soap and perfume. Some of the people are crabby and some of them are cheerful, but they always smile when I puff out a Good Morning at them.

The carpeting is softer than pine needles and the only thing to trip me are room service trays. Make sure you run early in the morning or well after four in the evening. Otherwise, you’ll end up dodging the housekeeping carts. If you see a security guard, don’t panic. They don’t mind if you run around their hotel. Just say, “Good Morning” and smile at them. Yeah, Runner’s World doesn’t know what it’s talking about. I’d take air-conditioned carpeting over pine needle trails any day.

7/10/2004

Back to the Gym

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I went back to the gym last Tuesday. Mike and I met there to take a Trekking class, which is a class on the treadmill where the teacher tells you what to do with your speed and incline to music. It’s kind of like my i2Workout CDs without the robotic voice.

The last time I went to the gym was sometime in early June. I used the elliptical trainer and there was no incident, but I still hated it there. I was still mad because of The Bosu Incident. Heck, I’m still upset over it and it’s still hard to set foot in the door.

After all the times I’ve compared it to The Oasis Spa at the Luxor Hotel, I realized that I was wrong. I went to the spa at the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = “urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags” />Luxor on our last Vegas trip and my gym is way better. There are more machines and the changing facilities are nicer. The only ways Luxor beats Xcel Spa & Fitness is the hot tub is larger and more luxurious, the showers have their specialty products in them (available for purchase at Dandera’s Bath and Body Shop) and there is fresh fruit in the waiting area. I’d much rather be able to choose which machine to use without waiting than to have fresh fruit waiting for me. The more I think about it, the more I realize my gym is a great place. I just had one bad experience there.

It had been about a month since I last went to the gym. You wouldn’t think a month could change things, but they did. All the signs begging you to narc on your friends were different. They had some Christmas in July promotional going on as well. Then, when it came time to scan myself in, the scanner was gone. Now, I need to hand my card to the person at the front desk so they can scan it and make sure I’m up-to-date before they return my card. Plus, one of their washing machines is broken, so they are low on towels. Other than that, everything still looked the same.

The Tuesday Trekking class has a rotating teacher. Every time I go there, I never know who is going to teach it. Each teacher is different, but they are all good in their own ways. Last Tuesday’s teacher was the small blonde. Every time she gives a command, she says something positive afterward. She tells us to speed up and a few seconds later, she says, “Nice!” She tells us to slow down and a few seconds later, she says, “Recover!” She tells us to change the incline and increase the speed at the same time and a few seconds later, she says, “Keep going!” Just like when Mr. Rogers introduced me as his television friend, I feel like she is talking to me personally. It feels like she notices that I’m working hard and she’s giving me positive reinforcement.

I kept being distracted by a girl on a treadmill in front of me. She was thin and had brown hair. I never saw her face, but from the back, she looked like the Bosu girl and I wanted to punch her. For all I know, it was a girl that was shaped just like the Bosu girl, but that didn’t calm me down. The more I saw her run on the treadmill (she wasn’t following along with the class, she was just exercising on her own), the more I realized that she could have kicked my ass on the treadmill just as much as in the Bosu Synergy class.

While I was exercising, I fantasized about how I could get back at that girl.  The best I could come up with was tripping her and when she got back up say something like, “You should really work on your balance. You know, they have a class called Bosu Synergy. Maybe you should take it some time.” I chuckled to myself as I missed the command from the teacher. All I heard was her response, “Nice!”

Previous: Does Anybody Love Their Gym That Much?    Next: 24 Hour Fitness

7/25/2004

24 Hour Fitness

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

When I got the mail a couple of weeks ago, I thought it was junk mail. It wasn’t. Our corporate office had gotten a corporate account with 24 Hour Fitness. Our local office has an account with Xcel Fitness and we now have the option of having a membership through 24 Hour Fitness also. “Cool,” I said to myself.

Inside, all of my thoughts whirred. I could go to this gym. There’s no brown-haired girl there. This place is right by my home. I wouldn’t have to change in the dressing room. I could just go there and go back home to get ready for work. There’s no brown-haired girl there. They have a swimming pool. They have a co-ed hot tub. I could sit in the hot tub with Mike. THERE’S NO BROWN-HAIRED GIRL THERE!

Run away from my problems? Hell Ya! Is it silly to think that I might be safe at 24 Hour Fitness? Hell Ya! Do I care? No way. When my year is up on Xcel, I’ll drop them. I know it’s not their fault that the Bosu bitch made fun of me, but I’m not acting rationally. I need a place where I feel safe. I need to be able to go to the gym and get in shape. If I have to dip my head in the sand and convince myself that 24 Hour Fitness is safe to get my butt in the gym five or six times a week, then I’ll do it.

It has been so hard to go back to Xcel. I’ve only gone once a week on Tuesdays for the Trekking class. I have made Mike come with me for protection. The rest of the time, I’ve been playing Dance Dance Revolution and running on the treadmill at home, but I need to work out at the gym.

It’s such a good feeling to see all the healthy people there. It makes me feel like the whole world is fit and healthy and I deserve to be fit and healthy like the rest of the planet. I absolutely hate to go to the food court at the mall. When I’m there, I feel like the whole world is fat and gluttonous and I start to feel the same way. Cinnabon? Sure, no problem. Deep fried cheese? Yeah, I can stuff some of that in too.

It’s different at the gym. Almost everyone there is fitter and hotter than I am. I have the image of what I will look like when I’m thin right there on the treadmill in front of me. I took a tour of my new gym on Tuesday after Mike and I finished our Trekking class at the old gym. They have fewer machines. You can listen to the TVs on the radio instead of using an in-gym system. There is a swimming pool (closed because of chemical problems). There is a hot tub (complete with a skinny old guy in a Speedo). It’s not as pretty as Xcel, I’ll admit, but there wasn’t a Bosu in the place. That alone was enough for me.

Previous: Back to the Gym

7/27/2004

Dance Dance Revolution

Filed under: Health and Fitness,Reviews,Video Games — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Ok, it’s time to admit it. I’m completely addicted. I played for forty minutes this morning and I’m contemplating rushing home from work to play some more. I played for an hour yesterday morning and I still hopped on the pad in the evening to see if I could finally get a better grade on Secret Rendezvous.

I thought it had a bug. I got an A on Secret Rendezvous, but when I went to the high scores, it showed my old grade of a B. I backed out of the game to the beginning and played it again. I got another A, but it still didn’t save my score. So, I backed completely out of the game, turned off the console, restarted and played again. This time I got the amazing score of AA, but it STILL didn’t save my score!

After logging onto the forums and talking to the DDR obsessive compulsives with more experience than I have, I found out that DDR Ultramix doesn’t have a bug. It saves the highest score, not the highest grade. Apparently, it’s possible to get a B with a higher numerical score than an impressive AA performance. Somehow those two items aren’t inherently linked. I’m glad to know that there are people out there who are more obsessed than me.

Now, can anyone explain to me why the Workout Mode has different steps for the songs than the Game Mode? And, what am I going to do when I finish unlocking all the songs, pass them all off with AAA grades at all levels and finish all the downloadable Song Packs? Maybe I’ll be obsessed with something else by then.

7/28/2004

Is It Worth It?

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

My cheekbones are back. I saw them in the mirror yesterday and they scared me a little bit. I have been losing weight steadily for the last month and a half and I’m starting to see the results in my face. The last time I saw my cheekbones; I rebounded and started eating like a pig again. I don’t know if that was because I had been denying myself too much or if I got scared and wanted to hide my beauty again. I don’t know what was going on in my head then, but right now, I’m scared of a relapse.

It feels so good to be back on track. I have been fighting this since the Bosu Incident and I’m scared it won’t last. Man, I’ve been fighting with this since April. I can still see that brown haired girl in my mind’s eye. She is pointing at me behind her left hand, trying to get her friend’s attention, but I can see her in the mirror. She got my attention instead.

Now, I’m going to a different gym. I still go to Xcel on Tuesdays for the Trekking class. If I go once a week, it’s worth the money that I still have to pay until my year contract is up. Mike and I have been going to 24 Hour Fitness at least twice a week. Then there is all that DDR that I’ve been playing.  All of this activity is just helping me melt away until there is nothing left but bone and muscle and tendon.

Where is my next brown-haired girl going to be? Is she the girl in the mirror with those cheek bones? Is she an unexpected injury? Is she hiding in the corners of my psyche trying to undermine me? How am I going to get past this one? Is there another one after her?

I’m so sick of it. Why can’t I just naturally eat healthy and exercise without worry? Why is it still a struggle after so much time? I have been doing this since January 17, 2002. Two and a half years and this is still work for me. I’m still learning.

Of course, I can’t overlook how much progress I’ve made. I’ve lost over fifty pounds. I now see exercise as a way to have fun instead of a chore. I eat all my vegetables and dairy items every day, whereas I used to have trouble getting those boxes checked off every day. I’m thinner now than I’ve been for fourteen years. Soon, I will be thinner than I was when Mike married me. Soon, I will be at my goal weight and learning how to stay there.

If someone were to ask me whether it was worth it, I’d say, “Hell yeah!” Just shaving my legs is easier because there is a lot less square footage of skin to shave. It’s amazing how much maintenance is required to keep a fat body clean and beautiful compared to a thinner body. I can buy clothes at the normal stores now. My shoes are a full size smaller now than when I started. Is all of the work and struggle worth it? Yes, especially considering that I was struggling just as hard at the heavier weight. I was always on some diet or exercise plan when I was heavier. If I have to struggle, I’d rather struggle at a thinner weight than the higher one.

I remember when I had Mike take my “Before” pictures. I straightened my hair, did my nails, wore a new exercise outfit and made sure my makeup was perfect. I wanted to be as beautiful as I could be for my Before picture because I knew I would be done up perfectly for my After picture. None of it helped. I look at my Before picture and I can’t believe that I even thought I looked good at all. There is no amount of makeup or hair products that can make fifty extra pounds of body weight look good. I am a little past the half-way point right now and my half-way picture blows my Before picture out of the water without makeup or shiny hair. There’s no designer dress that can hide obesity. There is no makeover artist that can do anything for an overweight person. There is nothing more beautiful than being physically fit.

Is all of this worth it? Yes, it is. Hello, cheek bones. Nice to see you again.

8/26/2004

New Plan for Weight Watchers

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

This week, Weight Watchers is starting a new plan. They did this to us last year at this time. Just when I thought that everything was settled and the summer lull in traffic was progressing nicely, guaranteeing me a good seat every Saturday morning, they introduce a new plan and the place is standing room only again. Do they mix things up just to boost attendance? After attending for the last three years, I’m starting to wonder.

This new plan really doesn’t affect me. I can stay the course and keep counting my Points, just like I’ve done since I started. Now, you have a choice, though. If you don’t like to write down every tiny piece of food that goes into your mouth, they have a different plan that you can try.

It’s called The Core Plan and you can eat until you’re satisfied from a list of core foods. Anything that you eat that is not on the Core Food list has to be monitored and you can only eat 35 points worth of foods that aren’t on that list. There is a wide variety of food on that list from all of the food groups. I just think that I would get a little sick of couscous and bulgur after awhile.

The scariest thing for me about the Core Plan is the “eat until you’re satisfied” stipulation. I think that any binge eaters who try to follow this plan will need to learn very quickly how to judge this level or they will gain on this plan. I haven’t tried it yet and I’m really reluctant to. I just haven’t been able to judge my hunger levels well enough to trust myself on this plan.

My instructor said that we needed to decide what freedom means to us. If you judge freedom by being to eat anything you want as long as you meticulously keep track of every bite that goes in your mouth, you should go on the Flex Plan. If you judge freedom by not having to keep track of things as long as you eat from a restricted list of foods, then you should go on the Core Plan.

I’m sticking with Flex. I’ve lost over 50 pounds on this plan and I’m not going to muck it up by trying something new. Of course, for all of those people who hate to write things down, this new plan might be a Godsend to them. Have fun with your plain fat-free yogurt and brown rice.

8/29/2004

Thinner Than Thou

Filed under: Books & Short Stories,Health and Fitness,Reviews — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

Buy ItThey were playing poker in their tent. I felt like I should be playing with them, but I just couldn’t bring myself to get interested in the game. Instead, I read the book I brought along.

“I hate this future.”

Stacey and Dan looked at me with confused faces.

“I don’t like the future that this book has set up. It’s too depressing.”

They were still confused, so I tried explaining more.

“In this book, being thin is like a religion. It’s against the law to be fat.”

“That’s not a diet book?” I don’t remember who asked me.

“No. It’s sci-fi and I hate this future.”

“We thought you were reading a diet book or maybe a non-fiction book about the diet industry.”

It was then that I realized that I was already living in the future that I hated. I was already working toward a goal that I despised. We talked about the insurance industry and the inevitable future of taxation on the overweight (whether they call it premiums or not, it’s still taxation). We talked about the concept of beauty that has become so attached to the concept of physical fitness. The conversation got heated. I felt guilty for interrupting their game of poker.

Last weekend, I found myself halfway through the book, desperate to finish it. I didn’t really care how it ended. I just wanted all the characters in the book to quit suffering. There wasn’t a happy life in the mix. Every person in this book was miserable and I just wanted the pain to end.

Mike suggested that I just stop reading it, but I couldn’t. I had to find out if they escaped. I had to find out if they rescued their sister. I had find out if they brought down the evil empire. Worse than Darth Vader, Reverend Earl had to be taken out. I couldn’t have stopped reading this book in the middle any more than I could have stopped breathing.

I don’t know if this is a recommendation or not. It was a good book with good writing and a good ending, but it wasn’t enjoyable. It wasn’t light reading. It brought up many issues for me and for a brief moment, I considered abandoning all exercise and healthy eating habits. It was a difficult book for me to read.

This is a book about an unhealthy obsession with physical appearance. It has nothing to do with healthy eating. It has nothing to do with the joy of physical exertion. It has nothing to with loving your body, no matter how it looks. This book is about altering the physical form at all costs. Take the pills. Starve. Exercise to exertion. Eat until you are gorged. Do whatever it takes to get the body that is “beautiful.” It’s sheer hell and I’ve been there.

Right now, I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. I exercise regularly doing activities that I enjoy. I eat nutritious and delicious food. I enjoy treats with moderation. I have finally learned to control my bingeing. I didn’t get here with the attitude that I should do whatever it takes to get that beautiful body. I got here because I wanted to be healthy. I was sick of being sick. The doctor told me that there was nothing the matter with my digestive system. It was sick because I was eating poorly. I needed to learn how to be healthy. Learning how to be healthy has gotten me to where I am today.

That’s why this book was so scary to me. When I was at the point in my life that I was willing to do anything to get a fit body, I ended up making myself worse. The minute I stopped focusing on appearance and started concentrating on health, I started to get better. That exact thing happened to one of the characters in this book, but it was so subtle that I don’t think the author intended it to be the message of the book. I really don’t know what I think about this book. I’m just glad I finished reading it so I can get my head out of that sci-fi future.

9/4/2004

Weight Watchers Core Food List

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

I’ve gotten tons of hits from people who are looking for this information:

  • Vegetables and fruits
  • Soups (non-creamy)
  • Whole Wheat Pasta, Brown Rice, Potatoes and Grains
  • High Fiber and other cereals without added sugar
  • Lean Meats, poultry, fish and eggs
  • Fat-Free Milk Products
  • Healthy Oils
  • Condiments
  • Coffee, Tea and sugar-free beverages

This is the “magic” list of core foods that are allowed on the Core Plan for Weight Watchers, but I’m going to be totally honest with you. If you are looking for this, you need to get your butt in the door of a Weight Watchers and pay the minimal fee to go to the classes. A magic list of foods is not what you need to help you achieve your goal. You need the full program to get you through this process.

This is not a diet. This is a lifestyle change. You got fat for a reason. Sorry to break it to you, but this fat didn’t mysteriously creep onto your body of its own accord. You have been systematically overeating (or worse, bingeing) for some time now. You need to get to the bottom of the reason that you have been abusing your body. A magic list of foods is not going to help you analyze these problems.

Are you feeling out of control? Are you feeling like this might be the last way that you have to get into control? Are you sick of the way you feel every day? Then you need to take that big step and get yourself into the door at Weight Watchers.

There are no excuses. The fee that they charge each week is nominal. Stop buying a couple of double lattes from Starbucks each week and you’ve got it covered. Some insurance companies will reimburse you for the cost of attending. I’m not a CPA, but I’ve even heard that the cost of attending Weight Watchers is tax deductible.

You think that it’s full of the old biddy committee and housewife brigade? Think again. There are plenty of men attending Weight Watchers. Your best bet is to attend in the evenings or weekends if you want masculine company. If you are a professional woman, Saturday morning is the best time for you to attend and find like-minded women who have a little more on their mind than feeding children or watching Matlock.

You didn’t like the teacher once? Try again. There are probably twenty teachers in each major metropolitan area. Keep going to different classes until you find the teacher that is the best for you, then cling to that teacher throughout your journey. Wait the extra minutes to weigh in with your teacher and talk to him/her personally. Tell them that out of the hundreds of people who come through this door every day, you’re the one person who is going to make it. You’re the one student that is going to make them proud, then live up to that statement.

You came here looking for the magic bullet. You came here wanting to know the supernatural list that would solve all your problems. Your problems are bigger than a list. They need the full treatment. Get your butt into Weight Watchers because the core food list isn’t going to help you if you’re not fully committed to this process.

Update 12-24-04: I am now writing for Starling Fitness, a health and fitness weblog. If you liked (or hated) this entry, there is a new one every day on Starling Fitness. Good luck with your weight loss!

9/23/2004

Carbonation, Soda, Aspartame and Caffeine Withdrawal

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 5:00 am

My Weight Watchers teacher is back on the soap box about soda. She has stopped drinking soda about five weeks ago. Her flatter stomach and the absence of weight swings have been attributed to the carbonation fast. She is drinking only water now and she is adamant about the benefits of getting off pop.

I leave her meetings thinking, “I guess I should stop drinking pop.” I’ve stopped drinking pop before. I was testing it for myself. I wrote an entry on how to quit soda. I didn’t notice any improvements in my running. I didn’t notice a flatter stomach or absence of weight swings. I DID notice the caffeine withdrawals, though. All of this, and I still leave her meetings thinking, “I guess I should stop drinking pop.”

I found myself planning a weekend of headaches so I could quit cold turkey. It takes me about four days of caffeine withdrawal headaches to get “clean.” I was thinking of sacrificing an entire weekend to “coming down” off Diet Mountain Dew and gourmet coffee. If you could look me in the eyes right now, I’d look sheepish. Yes, I have started drinking coffee. Just two cups a morning, homebrewed. I’ve found that those expensive tiny little packages of coffee that are in the coffee aisle at the grocery store aren’t as bitter as Folgers and I’m able to almost mainline my caffeine.

Maybe that’s why I’m tempted. Maybe I feel out of control. A few months ago, a Diet Mountain Dew felt like a treat. Now, it’s a treat I give myself every day with my lunch. I stop drinking soda after five in the evening so I can sleep, but other than that, I’ve gotten really interested in my daily caffeine dosage.

If I don’t get a good dosage of caffeine, I end up with a mondo headache. If I get a little bit of an over dosage, I end up writing three or four blog entries in one day. If I get an over dosage, every day, I end up needing it to prevent those headaches, at which point, the creativity spurt that used to come from the over dosage is long gone and I need even more caffeine to have that hyper-real writing experience.

All of that sounds like addiction to me and I hate to think that I am addicted to anything. Ok, I’d be happy if someone said that I was addicted to writing or exercise or healthy living. Those are addictions that I could live quite well with. Addiction to caffeine is such a item of contention in Salt Lake City that I feel like I need to be free of it.

Then again, there are all of those studies that say how great caffeine is. They say that caffeine makes us alert, increases physical stamina and makes us hyper-aware of our surroundings. There are just as many studies that say it’s bad, bad, bad, however. I just don’t have the attention span to research this issue and I don’t trust anyone enough to take their word for it, not even my Weight Watchers teacher.

So, what do I do? Well, I’m not quitting next weekend. I can tell you that much. I’m not pinky-swearing that I won’t drink pop/coffee. I’m not increasing my intake. I’m just going to lie low and make the decision later. Right now, I’m enjoying sampling all the fancy coffees in the grocery aisle.

11/1/2004

Being Positive

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 12:26 pm

This Saturday at Weight Watchers, my leader, Janece had a discussion about being positive. She wants us all to be an inspiration to those around us. For homework, she gave us the following items:

  1. Only watch television shows that are inspirational.
  2. Only listen to music that is inspirational.
  3. Inundate ourselves with motivational things (positive magazine articles, books, etc.)
  4. Only say positive things. Not one negative word out of our mouths all week.
  5. Be positive at the scale, no matter what it reads.

For years, I have monitored what went into my head. I went on a news fast and I have rarely looked at a paper, watched the television news or even allowed the radio headlines to blast through my stereo. It didn’t stop me from hearing about 9-11. It didn’t stop me from hearing about Lori Hacking’s disappearance. It didn’t stop me from hearing about all the election silliness. People are so willing to tell me the news that I really don’t need to fill my mind up with that mess.

Lately, however, I haven’t been monitoring all the things that have gone into my head. I read blogs that could be considered negative. They are all about what’s wrong with this country. I know we need whistle-blowers, but hearing about the things that are horrible in our country makes me forget the good things in our country. I’m swearing off the negative blogs this week.

I have allowed depressing music to fill my life. Sometimes it is enjoyable to have a good wallow, but if I want to be an inspiration to the people of the world, I need to feed myself some happy trumpets in addition to the sappy saxophones. This week, I’m listening to happy music only. Hello, Herb Alpert.

Since web comics make me feel so happy, even when they don’t make me laugh, I’m going to keep reading all of my favorite web comics. I’m going to keep filling myself up with happy thoughts and inspirational magazines.

Watching my mouth has been the most challenging aspect of this week’s homework. Just looking over my previous blog entries, I’m shocked to find how much negativity I direct at myself. Some of it is an effort to sound humble. I don’t want to seem conceited, so I say some negative things, but when things go well, I should just let myself be happy in things going well. I have found that I qualify so many of the things that I say about the good in my life that I could end up sounding negative. This week, I am very conscious of everything that I say.

I feel so much happier after only two days of watching my mouth and monitoring my intake of gloom. I wonder how I’ll feel at the end of the week. I’m excited to find out.

12/1/2004

Yourself! Fitness for the Xbox

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 4:45 pm

Yourself! Fitness for Xbox

I picked up Yourself! Fitness a couple of weeks ago. I have really enjoyed exercising with Dance Dance Revolution Ultramix on my Xbox, so I thought that this game might be interesting. I had no idea how much I would like it.

(Continue Reading…)

12/9/2004

Exercise Gaming

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 2:30 pm

I just found a website devoted to exercise gaming called DDR4Health. I read it all day today and because of it, I added quite a few things to my Amazon wish list. Most of them are too expensive for me to contemplate purchasing right now. They’re just there to remind me of all the cool things that are out there. Here’s a quick overview of the things that are just setting my mind afire right now.

GameBike GameBike

Think of it as a huge controller for your console system. It works with PlayStation and they sell an adapter for use on Game Cube or Xbox. Pedaling the bike causes the game to accelerate. According to the documentation, it doesn’t make a difference if you pedal quickly or slowly, you just need to pedal to make it work. I think this would be a great controller to use with Project Gotham Racing. So what if you are pedaling and steering a bike instead of driving a car? It would make all that game time productive.

FP Game RunnerFP Game Runner

This thing looks like a cheap treadmill connected to a controller. It connects to your computer for first person games with a USB connector. It doesn’t work with any of the current gaming systems (computer only). When I saw it, I thought to myself, “Hmm… I could take apart a normal controller and solder the connections to a cheap treadmill from the thrift store.” I wouldn’t recommend this item because it is so expensive. For that kind of money, you could get a heavy duty treadmill from Nordictrack that goes up to 30% incline at 10 mph.

KiloWattKiloWatt

It’s another huge monster controller for your console system. It is compatible with Xbox and PlayStation. This is a strength training machine. It is meant to build upper body strength, but the FAQ state that you will notice improvement in your quads as well. Apparently, it’s a huge machine that you manipulate instead of pushing buttons. I wasn’t interested in this one as much because it’s so colossal.

Wild DivineThe Journey to Wild Divine

This is not an active game. It’s a biofeedback tool to help you meditate. I thought it was really interesting since getting me to calm down is nearly impossible. I keep thinking that I’ll learn to relax someday. When I saw this, I thought, “Maybe then I could relax.” I keep trying to buy relaxation instead of realizing that the best thing I could do is just complete some projects and write some chapters. This program looked cool, though.

Even though all of these things look like they aren’t quite ready for prime time, what sets my mind afire is the idea that they are the start of a wave of exercise gaming options. I can imagine a future where every house has a gaming machine that attaches to their game console. It works cardio and strength training and makes the games exciting and challenging on an entirely different level. Of course, I could always just go outside and play like my grandma always used to say…

12/14/2004

My Weight Loss Story So Far…

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 4:06 pm

My weight loss story is not the story people want to hear. People magazine runs articles about people who lose 100 pounds in five months or people who lose half of themselves in half that long. The populous likes to hear stories about the obsessive compulsive guy who lost weight by eating nothing but rice cakes. They want to hear about the lady who put on a pair of tennis shoes and ran herself thin in record time, eventually winning marathons. My story isn’t nearly as glamorous.

I joined Weight Watchers January 17, 2002. I remember the day because my life really hasn’t been the same ever since. My habits have drastically changed since that day a month before the winter Olympics. What was I thinking? I joined Weight Watchers right before I went to Hawaii for two weeks. I went to Hawaii. I went to Weight Watchers in a Catholic church in Ka’paa. I lost weight on that trip and I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything Hawaiian. I tried all the food, I just logged it in my food journal.

What was I thinking? I’ll tell you. My friend, Stacey Staley, was looking good. She had always looked good, but she had confessed to me a few months earlier that she was the biggest she had ever been. She was wearing a size 14 and I would have killed to fit my size 24 ass into her fitted slacks. Still, she had been unhappy with her appearance. Several months after her confession, she looked amazing. I mentioned it and she whispered to me, “I didn’t want to tell anyone. I joined Weight Watchers and I’ve lost twenty-five pounds.” I was amazed. She ended up losing forty pounds, getting to goal and earning Lifetime with them.

Two months later, I noticed that my sister (also named Stacey) was getting thinner. She had always been more fit than I was, so it wasn’t amazing to me, but I asked her what she was doing. She confessed to me that she had joined Weight Watchers at work. She said that she really liked that she was able to eat at any restaurant. She said I should come because they were starting a new class at her work in January.

After fighting with every diet on the planet, I was tempted by the freedom to eat anything as long as it fit within my points range. I had tried the Atkins Diet, which ended in a bread binge that lasted for months. I had tried Body For Life, which was abandoned when the program didn’t allow for the pain that a new exerciser was going to feel. I was ready for Weight Watchers.

I knew two people who were looking fabulous because of Weight Watchers, so I joined with my sister’s at work program. I was disgusted with my appearance. I was ready to do whatever they told me to do because whatever they had was working. It worked for Stacey Staley and it worked for my sister. My sister was cut from the same cloth as I was. If it worked for her, it would work for me. I joined blindly and followed all of their rules. Forty-five pounds dropped off me with relative ease.

That’s the glamorous side of my story. I lost forty-five pounds in about four months. It was so easy that I was planning on being at my goal weight within the year. But here we are nearing my three year anniversary, and I’m not at goal yet. For awhile, that was really discouraging for me. I felt like I should be at my goal by now. Even though I had lost all that weight, I felt like I was a failure because I wasn’t at my goal yet. Each month that went by made that goal seem so much further away.

It wasn’t the plan’s fault. It’s not like I was staying within my points range and the weight wasn’t budging. No, I couldn’t blame it on Weight Watchers. My weight loss stagnated because I wasn’t following the program. Sure, I would follow it faithfully for a couple of weeks, but then the binges. I had allowed the bingeing to return to my life. I made excuses just like everyone else does. I could list them right now for you, all the excuses that I made for myself. They sounded so valid when I made them, but now they seem empty, like an abandoned hermit crab’s shell.

So here I am. My butt fits easily into those coveted size 14 jeans. I find myself in the strange situation of being where I wanted to be and finding out that it’s not enough. I know Weight Watchers told me that it was not enough, but back when I started with them, all I wanted was to be as thin as Stacey Staley was when she started. Now, I’m there and I realize they were right. My weight needs to be between 109 and 131 just like the little chart says. Losing forty-five pounds isn’t enough for me anymore.

Last Saturday, I was back on track. Last Saturday, I started Weight Watchers again just like I did back in January of 2002. The only difference is that it is so much easier for me now because I know exactly what to do. What is she thinking? Starting a weight loss program right before Christmas? Why doesn’t she just wait?

Nope. Can’t wait. Not one more minute. Not one more second am I going to wait. I can enjoy Christmas and eat healthy. I know this because I’ve done it for the last two Christmases. I can live like this for the rest of my life because this is the healthy way to go. I have cut the bingeing out of my life. That’s the only thing that I needed to do. I just needed to quit making excuses for the binges. You know the excuses (it’s Christmas, we’re on vacation, we’re camping, it’s a party, it’s the weekend, we’re celebrating, ad infinitum). They are crushed under my feet like that empty hermit crab shell. The shards splinter and spray around me and I am released from them forever.

If I lose at a healthy rate, I will be at my goal by October 1, 2005. That seems so far away, but I refuse to do anything unhealthy and losing faster than one or two pounds a week is not healthy. You’ve seen me do amazing things. I lost the first half of my weight without a glitch. I wrote 50,000 words in my novel in a month. I’ve written almost every day in my blog for over a year. I can do amazing things and this is the next one on my list. I will be at goal by October 1, 2005. This year, I’m going to be a vampire for Halloween and knock your socks off. Hope to see you at the party!

12/15/2004

Silver Status on Yourself! Fitness

Filed under: Health and Fitness — Laura Moncur @ 11:02 am

I made Silver on Yourself! Fitness today. That opened up the Alpine Retreat exercise space and let me use the Techno music. I really liked the Alpine Retreat. There was a mountain biker that drove by in the background a couple of times and a hot air balloon gently floated over the water. I don’t know why those little extras make things more enjoyable for me, but they really do. It reminded me of being up at Snowbird. The Snowbird Ski Resort has a nice open space where they have Oktober Fest and I imagined I was up in the Wasatch mountains exercising.

By the way, if you don’t exercise for a week, she does give you a lecture about consistency. When you start exercising regularly again, she gives you a lot of positive feedback. She has told me two corny jokes. Yesterday, I wasn’t too happy about exercising, so I chose the “You’re lucky I’m here” selection. She responded, “Kind of like my date last night.” This morning, she asked me if I’m always this animated and then said, “I am, get it?” You know… because she’s computer animated… Yeah, I didn’t think they were funny either, but she never tells jokes when I’m exercising. That’s the important thing.

On another note, tomorrow is my second DDR-U2 workout with Sinistar, the editor of DDR4Health, on Xbox Live. We are meeting at 7am Eastern (5am Mountain), so if anyone wants to join us, we have room for two more people. We play the songs on Light for 30 minutes and let the computer choose them at random. I’m excited for this workout. It gives me something to look forward to during the week.

I am really enjoying all the exercise options that are available to me. I still have both gym memberships, but I haven’t used either one in a long time. I’m getting workouts that are just as intense as I would at the gym, but I don’t have to leave the house. I can just hop in the shower afterward and get ready for work. Something about not going to the gym bothers me, though, and it’s not the fact that I’m paying for something that I’m not using.

I think that being at the gym is a positive influence on me because there are people there who are uber-fit. Having someone to look up to and strive to be like is really inspirational. The brown-haired girl from the Bosu Incident could have been one of those people. She was able to perform every exercise that the teacher asked without a flaw. She was really good and really fit, but instead of being a role model, she brought back every junior high nightmare in one vivid flashback. Even though the brown-haired girl isn’t at 24 Hour Fitness, I’m reluctant to go there.

I haven’t worked out the whole gym thing. Maybe the gym isn’t right for me, even though I have found inspiration there. I don’t know the answer to this yet, but I’m still working on it. In the meantime, you’ll find me exercising at the Alpine Resort on Yourself! Fitness. There are no brown-haired girls there. Maya’s my personal trainer and she never makes fun of me.

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