Back in the Saddle Again

February 5, 2010

Okay kids, I’m back.

I started working with a nutritionist and it turns out, what I’m eating is really pretty much okay. I’ve made a few slight changes and I’m still working on upping my veggie intake in winter-bound island-nation living here in Denmark. But otherwise, fairly well balanced. … Provided I don’t completely sugar binge in the afternoon. I’ve gotten some magical traction on this lately, which I think has to do with drinking a bunch of water first thing in the morning. Regardless, the point is …

Really, it’s all about the exercise. I’ve got to be more consistent with the exercise.

I can’t focus on food, vitamins, and exercise all at the same time. I’ve got the vitamin thing pretty well done. (I just forget the nighttime ones sometimes.) I did this by making it a ritual. I already was in the habit of thinking of making tea as a ritual. And my New Year’s Resolution was to drink more water and green tea, and waaaaay less diet cola. So I’ve made this Kitchen Ritual and it’s working pretty well:

Kitchen Ritual
Step into the kitchen
Make up Emergen-C
Take vitamin tablets (in a daily case thingy), tincture, clay
Fill up water bottle
Make a thermos of green tea.
Carry these to my desk….where a napkin, tea cup/saucer, tiny spoon and honey are already waiting.

Now I’m trying to create a linchpin that will connect that already established routine to my workout routine. But I think it needs to start WAY before the Kitchen Ritual. Because the Kitchen Ritual starts about 2 hours into my day. And by then my monkey-mind has already talked me into doing any number of other things.

So..I’m gonna Twyla Tharp it.

The Bliss Chick has been writing about how she accidentally Pavloved herself into a wonderful writing habit.  Then she extrapolated from there to write about how she wants to Pavlov herself into ballet/yoga everyday.  In the second post she talks about Twyla Tharp’s The Creative Habit: Learn It and Use It for Life and how in that book Twyla says that the ritual of her 2 hour daily workout isn’t getting her gear on, or stepping onto the treadmill. It starts the moment she hails the cab.

I’m starting my ritual too late. I’ve got to start it first thing. FIRST THING. So…For 30 days, every morning when I wake up I will immediately put on my workout clothes. This means my ritual has already begun.  In fact, I’m going to say that to myself when I pull on the clothes I need to go to the gym. (Which right now means long johns, socks to my knees, sweat pants, exercise top, tshirt, sweatshirt. Geez.) THEN and only then will I do the rest of my whole morning ritual which looks like this:

Twyla Tharp It: the ritual has begun.
Morning Cuddle: connection time with the girls
The Military Precision Hour: breakfast for the kids, pack lunches, fill water bottles, send kids off.
Nap Time: an extra hour of sleep for this insomniac living in the deep Winter north.
Kitchen Ritual: water, tea, vitamins as described above.
Breakfast with Vincent: I read about VanGogh or write to him in my journal while I eat breakfast.

Also, I’ve already established what  exercise I do on what day (provided I make it to that point. Which, now I will, because the ritual will have already begun. And I am waaaaay too witch-y to interrupt a ritual already in progress.) My Exercise Schedule is:

Mondays: TanWalk (it’s my special invention)
Tuesday: Weights/treadmill
Wednesday: Pool
Thursday: Yoga/Choir Walk (40 min)
Friday: Pool
Saturday: Weights/Tredmill (after 2pm)
Sunday: Pool or Weights/Tredmill (after 2pm)

I had been giving myself one day off so I can see people in real life, and one day off on the weekend. But for 30 days, for Pavlov’s sake, I’m going to workout every day. (My workouts are not that strenuous.) So on days with morning appointments (not more than one a week) my Emergency Back-Up Workout Plan is a quick 25 minutes of pilates or 45 minutes of yoga on DVD.

Do you want to join me? 30 Days to Pavlov: The Exercise Version. Here’s what to do:

1. Find your Linchpin. What will connect your new habit to an already established habit.
2. Twyla Tharp It: What will be the thing that signals your ritual has already started.
3. Back Up Plan: What will your back up plan be if you can’t get to your gym/class/yoga studio?

I think if you’ve got that down, you’re ready to go. Sign up (you know I love a good sign-up) and let us know what the answers are to these questions in the comments. I’ll see you in 30 days (0r sooner for a mid-month check in if I can get organized enough). Oh, and by the way, feel free to start your 30 days anytime. You probably need a day to think this through. It’s okay. I’ll still cheer you on.

Love to you bubs!



Exercise Is Health

October 15, 2009

Last night my hubs asked me if I wouldn’t get more done if I didn’t Twitter or Facebook.

No. That’s not what takes so much time. It’s the exercise.

If you looked at this pudgy gal (5ft 3in, 167lbs) you wouldn’t think she exercises as much as she does. But I do. Every day. Most chronic pain patients do have to commit quite a bit of time to exercise. Not because we work out more or harder than other people. Precisely the opposite. We have to work out slower and less. The cardio and muscle strength advantage a pain-free person can get in a half hour run takes us much longer to accumulate. We take slow walks. We swim. We do water aerobics with the old ladies. We avoid Power Yoga and do the gentler version.

And if we don’t. We get stiff. We get sicker. So, while Twitter and Facebook are a 20 minute pause in my work twice times a day, exercise is a one to two hour process.

For the most part, I’ve ceased to resist that reality. Sure, every once in a while there is still a day where my Gremlins start saying “Do you REALLY have TIME for this.” But I do. I must.

Heres is my routine for the week. I plan to exercise everyday and usually flub up on the weekends.

Monday: 3o minute walk, 45 minutes yoga
Tuesday: 60 hour walk, 10 minutes Pilates
Wednesday: 30 minute walk, 45 minutes swimming (plus 30 minute travel time to/from gym)
Thursday: 60 minute walk, 10 minutes Pilates
Friday: 30 minute walk, 45 minutes swimming (plus travel time to/from gym)
Saturday: 30 minute walk, 30 minutes swimming (plus travel time to/from gym)
Sunday: 45 minutes yoga

(In addition to this, I don’t have a car. So there is the walking and biking that is involved in urban commuting in Copenhagen. Which helps with the exercise thing, but not so much with the efficiency. Still, I LOVE not having a car. I wouldn’t have that any other way.

Does that seem like a lot of time to exercise? Maybe it’s not. Maybe healthy people spend that much time too? When I first started exercising it was to get a break from being the mother of two kids, two and under. So I stretched my time out at the gym as LONG as possible. It never occured to me that you could just dash in, do your 30 minutes on the tredmill, and dash out.

Pespective is everything. Curiouser and curiouser.

Daily Plan: Wednesday

September 23, 2009

Woke up this morning and threw out all the leftover “party gluten.” This included: half a pan of cornbread, three slices of chocolate skillet cake with carmelized pears, and two servings of apple crisp with hazelnuts. I just cannot have it in the house. (Dusts the gluten off her hands.)

Yesterday I swam for a half hour, along with walking the kids to and fro from school. Today I walked 25 minutes each way to the train station, then 45 minutes of weights and the gym, and 25 minutes walk back. Should it take 2 hours to workout? It seem unreasonable. Also I’ll walk Cate back and forth from after school club, and whatever walking it takes to go to book club tonight. (A new place, haven’t mapped it yet.)

Daily Plan: Tuesday

September 22, 2009

Fell off the GF bandwagon this weekend. Two parties in a row proved tempting and I ate a piece a bday cake and a piece of cornbread. Regretting it now. Feeling bloated. Also massive headache, but I can feel that this is because I carried the groceries home (instead of biking) and threw out my neck. Trying to decided if I should press to and go to the gym, in the hopes that the pool will release my neck. Or stay home and ice/heat instead. Leaning towards the gym.

Went to the health food store yesterday and bought GF pancake mix. The recipe in my GF cookbook makes hockey pucks. The mix is good, but expensive — 40dkk, or $8 and it’s not even enough for 4 people. I hate making separate meals but when it comes to pancakes once in awhile I’ll make the kids regular pancakes and make myself the GF mix. (We aren’t eating pancakes as much as we used to.)

Still no weight loss which I find super strange as I am working out everyday and not eating b read, sugar, or much dairy. Well, I shouldn’t say no weight loss. I’ve lost two pounds, but this is since the first of August. Clearly my thyroid is screwed or something, but nothing shows up on the tests and I don’t know what else to do. I have an appointment with a medical intuitive in a few weeks. Maybe she will turn up something new. (Yes, these are the extremes I have come to.)

On the plus side, since recovering from the flu I’ve been relatively pain free. This is the first mondo headache I’ve had in awhile — most have just been low grade and only at night. My energy level continues to be stable. I do have to take a 45min nap some afternoons to stave off the headache but that is SO much better than the “in bed most of the day” thing of last Winter that I am encouraged. I switched doctors last week, so in another week I’ll get my CPR (Danish national health insurance) card and I’ll see a doc who speaks English! Woot! She’ll do a blood draw and I’ll be able to check my iron and blood sugar levels.

Well, that’s the update. Off to pack my panniers with my swim togs.

Day Three: Flu Recovery Week

September 16, 2009

Walked Cate to school, then rode my bike to Vesterbrogade, and took the train to the gym Bring all my dry and all my west stuff is such a hassel. I don’t think the idea to both weight train and swim on the same day is going to work out. Lifted weights, but skipped the sit ups which still really hurt my neck and head.

Day Two: Flu Recovery Week

September 15, 2009

Eden is still home sick and still doesn’t want me to go all the way to the gym, but she can manage me taking a long walk around the neighboorhood. I walked Cate to school (10 min) then took the dog for a long walk. I walked two of the five “søers” or lakes that run through the middle of Copenhagen. My understanding is that they were orginally part of the old moat system, but are now cement lined and only about 4ft deep. An incredible variety of birds live there tho, including swans who build giant nests in the Springtime. I enjoy walking around it and it’s part of my year round ritual of watching the season change in an urban setting.

While I walked I listened to Seth Godin’s Tribes,  which I may do as a read-a-long at Magpie Girl. … Although I’m not very impressed by the first chapter. He’s so technically oriented and I find his writing lacks soul. But I want something that might spur Soultribe planters on, so we’ll see.

Having to change my workout plan due to Eden’s illness has taught me something about my week and how I like to sort of ramp up into it. I have a lot of energy for writing work on Mondays, and hate loosing a large portion of the day (2hours at least) to traveling to the gym and doing my weights and swimming routine. But I always plan on doing that on Mondays so that I “get off to the right start.” But now I’m wondering if this isn’t a better slow-build plan that works well with my writing rhythm:

Mondays: 30 minutes tanning walk*, 45 minutes yoga on DVD (now with a singing bowl closing meditaiton thanks to a gift from Rebecca)
Tuesday: 1 hour walk/work “reading” via and podcasts
Wednesday: weights and swimming at gym
Thursday: walk and yoga or pilates on DVD
Friday: weights and swimming at gym

That only gets me to the gym two days a week, instead of 3. But timewise that might be more realistic for me right now, since the gym involves either a bus and a train ride or a bike and a train ride.

I’m also experimenting this week with my work rhythm and dinner prep. I often have a headache by dinner time and dread standing in the kitchen when I’m tired, chopping things that make my head hurt (i.e. onions.) And, I usually don’t feel like writing until noon or 1pm. I used to feel badly/lazy about that but now I know it’s just my functional working rhythm. (Praxis! Function! Hurrah!) So I’m playing around with working out and preparing most of our evening meal in the morning. Then showering and starting work. Even if my head is worse in the afternoon, I find writing more motivating to “push through” than cooking dinner. The only problem I’m having is that onions are killing my head to prepare, and everything I make has onions in it. I’m not reacting muscle-testing wise to onions/ no allergic reaction to eating them, but the fumes are killing me. I might have to go back to cooking without them again, but nothing tastes as good that way, and then I over eat because nothing satisfies taste-wise.  Back in the day when I ran Monkfish Abbey, Jennifer Roach used to chop onions for me and bring them to me frozen in ziploc baggies. That was so nice of her!

Okay, enough with the journaling. Time to go grab a shower and get to work. Neil sent me my new book layout today and I’m hoping it will spur me on into a writing frenzy and get another chapter or two churned out. (I think there are only 3, maybe 4 to go!)

Day One: Flu Recovery Week

September 14, 2009

Eden is sick now and doesn’t feel comfortable staying at home without me, so no gym. But I did manage a 25 minute walk with the dog (Eden called midway through to touch base.) And I did 45 minutes of yoga.

I also noticed that I wasn’t as hungry while I was sick. I know part of this was the flu itself and the sore throat, but I also think it had to do with the copious amounts of fluids. So I’m trying to take from that lesson anddrink more water, watered down juice, and tea. I don’t like many kinds of tea, and sadly am not especially fond of green tea, which I know is super good for you. But I do like roiboois and have been drinking that with honey or agave instead of sugar.

Tonight we are having ground lamb and cucumber salad for dinner. I’m getting used not having bread at meals. I might try to make quinoa. Last time I made it it came out very soggy. 😦

Emerging from the Flu

September 12, 2009

Last Monday I woke up, cheerfully went to the gym and did my weight training. (Felt great.) Came home. Threw up. It just went down hill from there.

Hello H1N1.

After a week on the couch where I felt so badly I DID NOT EVEN KNIT! (I know, shocking.) I’m finally feeling well enough to eat solids and putter around the house.

In the hopes that next Monday will find me headache and flu free, I’ve made my weekly workout, dinner and writing plan. I feel hopeful.

Current Weight: 165.5 (down from 168.5)
My Body’s Preferred Weight: 140
Days Gluten Free: Loads (I’m back on the wagon nice and solid now.)

Next week’s workout plan:
30 minutes of swimming/45 minutes of weight M/W/F
30 minutes early morning walk Tues
45 min yoga Thurs/Sat

Dinner Menu:
Tonight: Chicken Pad Thai
Sunday: lamb and cucumber salad
Monday: sloppy joes (cooking with Eden)
Tuesday: leftovers or white bean and spinach salad
Wednesday: corn pasta with white sauce (cooking with Cate)
Thursday: grilled cheese and tomato soup for fam, leftover pasta for me

Daily Plan Thursday

September 3, 2009

Woke up again with pain. Day 6..7…I’ve lost track.

Called a friend yesterday for advice on a stuck place in my business. Was told that I am letting what I *percieve* as limitations stop me.

I don’t think this pain is a percieved limitations. It seems pretty damn real. It seems pretty damn limiting.

Still, I am trying to think of how I can return to teaching — something I quit because I could no longer trust my body to be well enough to show up when I was scheduled. I’m trying to get around that limitation.

But mostly I am angry. Angry at the illness. Angry that people can’t see how much it effects me. (I can count on on hand the number of people who truly “get” it. Lynette, you’re number one, love.)  Angry at how alone that make me feel.

Angry that I don’t get more credit for all the herculean effort it takes to do the things I do in just one day with pain: feed my children, exercise regardless of my condition, be emotionally present to my family, my readers, my friends. Does anyone see this? Does any care? This doesn’t flow, it doesn’t come easy. It’s a hike through the desert, every single step of it.

Today’s Plan: Move on Anyway. In spite of. In the Face of Pain. Yoga (45 min). Eat clean. Write and Podcast the Do Less post. Find new doctor (requries a bike or bus ride). Walk to pick up kids from school for choir practice. Walk to choir practice. Walk home. Make dinner. If the pain in manageable go to my own choir practice (I may have to quit this because I’m usually in too much pain by dinner.) Mourn the fact that my brief daliance with moderately pain free living has passed. I will do all of this — and more — in pain. Despite pain.

What I won’t do because of the pain: learn how to edit my podcasts, learn how to set up an ecourse registration page (can’t concentrate enough or read enough), have sex, truly enjoy anything I do (hurts to much), ride my beautiful bike instead of walking (everything takes so much longer on foot), laugh.

Daily Plan Wednesday

September 2, 2009

Today the reality of my life with pain came crashing down around me again. I don’t know which made me weap more: the fact that  I could have been better six years ago if someone had done a simple blood test; or the fact that I am not all the way better yet even after doing what I needed to do based on the long-overdue simple blood test. Either way: lots of anger, lots of tears.

Also, I fell off the no sugar wagon and ate a Mars Bar.

Also, I still have not lost a single pound even tho I’m not eating bread or sugar. Mysterious.

What went right today:

exercised even with a headache (45 min pilates, walk to/from school)
drank a bunch of water
headache is not quite as bad today as it was yesterday