Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Wednesday Weigh -- a few hours early

What if you're a women, and you don't smoke, and you drink quite a bit of coffee AND tea? Nice to hear good news about my habits for a change! HT: Bearing Blog

But I'm still almost resolved to significantly limit my coffee drinking (consumption seems too detached a word) for this Lent.

This post from Bearing Blog, forget moderation and embrace the unnatural...., about induced exercise, really made me think, especially this:

"I'm just going to eat moderately" or "I'm just going to move more in my daily activities" -- these are linked, and here's why: If weight is at all stable, we are already moving and eating "moderately." ....We are pretty good at "moderation." What we aren't so good at is knocking ourselves off balance in the direction we want to go.

So. How do you knock yourself off balance? You do something artificial, foreign, and shocking to the system. If we're talking about eating, you make sure you eat less energy by measuring and controlling intake. And if we're talking about movement, you introduce deliberate, controlled movement. You "have a workout." You induce exercise.
At first, I wasn't sure if I agreed. I read a book that said that introverts tend not to like to exercise much. Certainly I'm exhibit A in the case. If I don't like to exercise, then why should I torture myself? I also remember John Senior talking about how he hated to see a person "working out" when in the good old days it was not a planned-out "I'll go for my 20 minute power walk at 12:35" but a natural part of life.


That bit about going off balance did ring. I like "knocking ourselves off balance in the direction we want to go" -- that actually describes things like walking quite well, and it also is exactly how I feel when good things are happening in my life. That I'm disoriented, but moving the right way.

I remember when we first got Aidan out of the hospital. He had to take 14 meds per day and there was this big procedure of measuring them all out in little syringes. You wouldn't think it would be that hard, measuring liquid into syringes according to a medication chart, but at the time it seemed enormously complicated to me. Enormous amounts of effort and attention had to be expended just to draw the right amount of medication up and affirm accuracy. I would even show them to my husband and read them off the med chart while he made sure I'd gotten them right. Well, guess what. I got where I could draw out a medication from memory, tap out the air bubbles and insert it into a G-tube as easily as if I had done it since kindergarten. I had to, so I did it. It was a good thing; it meant that Aidan could come home and be with his family.

When you are learning to do something different, of course it won't feel balanced right away. It will involve your whole self. It will seem, yes, unnatural to the self you are at present. But that doesn't mean it won't be good and do you good.

After thinking this way, I decided I would try it. I had spent January doing "stealth exercise" of the kind described....more nicely as "natural exercise". ..... going up stairs extra times, playing a bit more with the kids. And that was good. I think it did help get me moving enough to take that first step back onto the exercise bike.

But this February I got back on the bike (with a book to help with the boredom of cycling in place). I made up my mind to advance SLOWLY, so I increased my frequencies and durations of cycling, very slowly, like this:

  • Week 1 -- three times a week for ten minutes (plus a couple of "stealth exercises" like shoveling the driveway for a while)
  • Week 2 -- four times a week for 15 minutes.
  • Week 3 -- four times a week for 20 minutes.
  • now, Week 4 -- I'm up to 25 minutes, so far.
And guess what? Yesterday morning I was vacuuming and actually enjoying moving around. And today I was sawing kindling and actually having fun working. I haven't gotten as tired in the afternoons, and when I bought some jellybeans at the local market to commemorate the final days of Ordinary Time, I could only eat a quarter of them. I didn't feel like finishing them and getting that weak low-blood-sugar feeling.

I haven't really been counting calories or anything, so the change is more about the exercise than anything else, I think. Oh, and perhaps it's a good time to mention that my weigh-in (a bit early) shows me -1 from last week.

So I guess I'll continue. The next thing I have to watch out for, if past experience is any indication, is my tendency to get obsessive, because I am really not a moderate person. If you charted almost anything in my life you would see it start from less than zero and rise steadily until it gets above the goal, and then start spiralling downwards again.

I just figured out that I probably form a habit of increase. In other words, I am trying to get to a certain point on a line, so I start progressing at a steady upward climb, say a 2/1 slope. But my mind seems to think my goal is a constant 2/1 slope even when I've reached the point where I should level off. Then of course I get to where it's too much and so I approximate the goal by overcompensating upwards, then downwards, then upwards.

So I'm not really a moderate. I'm immoderate even in my good habits. Maybe it's a simple logistical problem though and now that I'm aware of it I can fix it. That would be nice.

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