Adjusted Reality

“Reality can be beaten with enough imagination.” – Mark Twain

Month: November 2009 Page 2 of 3

Cruel to Be Kind

I was going to post about the polynesian feast today.  I lied.  Tomorrow.

Today, I have to tell a tale.  I’m not nearly as good at this as Jack Sh*t, but lemme give it a try…

Once upon a time, there was this incredibly neurotic girl named, uh, Quin.  Quin had decided that she was going to finally make some progress with her weight, and decided to shake it up a bit by trying a video called Jillybean Mackrel’s 30 day shred.  Even though she had been taught that it was bad to use weights two days in a row, she figured that Jillybean, being a famous trainer, knew best.

She put on the DVD and the first week, she got through 5 days.  Her legs stung and her arms throbbed but in a good way.  The second week, it was more of the same, but it felt as if she was getting less sore.  This was awesome!  The third week, she started to fall apart and hurt.  It wasn’t so bad, so she kept going.  The fourth week, she just couldn’t do it anymore.  Her heels revolted and screamed at her.  Her knee kept threatening to pop out of place.  Her left wrist could barely give a hi-five.

At the end of this adventure, she decided to take the weekend off of Jillybean’s torture, but apparently forgot about her pretty pretty princess back.  PPPB was trying to be tolerant of everything going on, and felt bad that Quin had to endure knee pain and wrist pain and screaming heels, and was THRILLED to hear there would be a rest.  But then she realized the rest wasn’t for her.

PPPB was tortured even further.  At least moving helped keep her limber.  Friday, she was subjected to playing a game on the laptop, sitting on a plastic chair, and barely getting up for about 5 hours straight.  Both Saturday and Sunday, she had to stay very stationary while Quin intently wrote.  Saturday afternoon, she was granted a reprieve – or so she thought.  It was time to get up… and stand in the kitchen for a few hours preparing food.  Then, during party time, she was forced to deal with high heeled boots and a lot more standing and running around.

By Monday, she had enough.  PPPB enjoyed the sleeping in, but then at lunch when Quin went to grab her gym bag (seriously, folks…this is what set it off, I even lifted from the knees), she said, “uh UH girlfriend” and decided to pull the ol’ tailbone hurty sports injury trick.  At first it wasn’t so bad, but then an afternoon sitting at the office made Quin walk like a grandma.  She was even having trouble pushing the grocery cart.  There was no running to be had.  Quin even relented and gave up all forms of exercise for the night – there is just nothing that can be done with a hurty back.  She took some pain killers and got a nice icy hot massage from her wonderful…uh…Zoltan.  Yes, apparently she is married to a fortune teller, don’t judge.

She woke up the next morning, and was feeling better, thank you very much, but not all-the-way better, so she decided another day off was in order.  She had been very frightened of the scale but got up all of her courage and put her tippie toe on it slowly, then another, then another, and it finally registered a weight:


She could not believe it.  She stepped on it again.


Not the lowest she has ever weighed, but definitely lower than normal.  And this was after a weekend lacking formal activity, increased eating, no tracking, and eating super late the night before.  Certainly not what she expected to start the week at – oh no.

The moral of this story is that sometimes the body just needs what it needs.  And it will tell you any way it can.  If it whispers, and you don’t listen, sometime it will shout.

No more weight training on consecutive days for a while, and if I do in the future, try to make it focused on different body parts on different days.  More yoga.  Taking standing breaks at work/writing/while playing even if I’m really in the flow of something.  Trying to get my words in every day so I don’t have to do marathon sessions.  And maybe it will make week 1 of half training a little more jarring, but I think ol’ body needed more than just a weekend rest.  And that, it shall have.

Some days, do you need a smack on the head?  Does life sometimes try to whisper and you don’t listen?  Hey, at least I hear shouting (I had halfway considered the ol’ painkiller and pushthrough technique, even though it’s specifically what I told Charlotte in a comment not to do!  Bad me.  At least I didn’t actually do it!)…

Sorry, Monday, I’m Just Not That Into You…

Attitude is everything.  I’ve taken some really rough days and put a positive spin on them and come out alright.  I’ve gotten through some tough times in my life just with optimistic thinking.  So why, when everything is going great, and I feeling so…bleh?

I’m thankful for having a job at a stable company that has a successful product where I’m making a living wage at a title that is not beneath me.  However, I’ve been at that title for 4 years now and it’s time to move up (I’ve never gone so long without a promotion).  Plus, I miss the creativity I used to have earlier this year.  That one post I made a few months ago all excited about job stuff?  That’s on hold and I’m onto something else not quite as exciting.

I’m thankful for have been able to able to lose 110 lbs, and go from someone who grumbled about having to park 100 feet away from her apartment to a half marathon runner.  However, it’s been the greater part of a year since I really took off any more weight.  Why the hell can’t I get it together and finish this up?  Also, a trend I’m not liking is I feel like I’m becoming less enthusiastic about my workouts.

I’m just feeling all around burnt out lately.  This year has been crazy (crazy cool, but still crazy) – it started in March with the birthdays and then April with half training, and then in July, it was wedding, wedding, wedding until October.  I figured things would calm down but now it’s been taking care of all the stuff I’ve put off since the wedding.  Plus I decided to take on NaNoWriMo.  And next week begins half marathon training.

I feel like the guy in Office Space who just wants to do nothing.  The silly thing is, I know it’s crazy because I go NUTS doing nothing.  I think the combination of stressing over my sticky scale numbers, having a period of work where I’m just not quite as into what I’m doing as I could be, not having had a good, lengthy, and relaxing vacation in a while, and feeling obligated to do something at every moment of the day this month is just about making me crack.

But don’t cry for me. Seriously.  I saw you taking that tissue out and just go ahead and put it back.

The Write Stuff:

Even though I’m stressing about it, NaNoWriMo has been a great experience that I will be immensely proud of, even if I don’t get to 50k words (but I’m not giving up!!).  Just sitting down to write a story and getting through it has been huge for me.  Though it’s been hell some days to find time to write, and yesterday I just couldn’t get inspired, I’m pleased with my consistency of being able to sit down and flow.  While this week was too crazy to write most days (hence, why I got so behind), I pulled over 7000 words out this weekend.

Words needed to be on track: 25000

Words written: 20500

Words per day needed this week to catch up: 2400

One thing I’m also realizing – it doesn’t need to be THE BOOK for me to start writing it.  You know, the masterpiece.  The one that’s going to somehow become a best seller and I’ll be able to retire and go move to Vermont like all writers do or whatever.  If I can speedwrite a short book in one month, I can chip away at a novel a year.  Slow, sure.  But it’s better than not writing and complaining about it.  I think it is going to be a goal from now on to write at least one novel per year.

Food, Glorious Food:

I’d say I lost it here this week, but honestly, I don’t know for sure.  I stopped tracking mid-week and just couldn’t bring myself to start it up again.  The key days were Wednesday, Friday, and the weekend.

Wednesday – work event, which I sailed through.  I ordered a DELICIOUS asian chicken salad and only used half the dressing.  Then later, for dinner, I ate a bunch of fried appetizers after some drinking.  This is sort of a wash.  Sure, I ate crap.  But at least I had the sense to split the crap with other people and then realize I was done eating for the night even though it was an appetizer.

Friday, I had a buffalo burger, wheat bun, no butter and split some fries for lunch.  I was hoping to love it since it’s a fairly healthy option for Fuddruckers, but I just didn’t.  The meat tasted weird.  We had grilled chicken, tiny baked potatoes, and my famous veggie pasta salad for dinner.  However, there were two margaritas on a beautiful patio and some drinks later, so again, kind of a wash.

Saturday, I knew I needed major fortification, so I had a footlong subway turkey with no cheese and lots of veggies and an apple.  That got me through the day until the party, where I cooked a feast (more on the tomorrow) and pushed tropical drinks on my guests!  There was some healthy (veggie tray, veggie curry, etc), and some not so healthy (fried lumpia, fried chicken katsu, etc), and I ate some of both.  Come on, a good cook ALWAYS tastes the creations.

Sunday, minus the pizza that found it’s way into the house during lunch time (Zliten’s fault!  He didn’t even give me the chance to veto, he just left and came back with it), I noshed on the leftover veggies, salad, soup, fruit, and for dinner we made tiny filets.

All in all, I think what happened is I slipped back into “balanced lifestyle” mode instead of “weight loss” mode.  I didn’t go off the deep end.  I balanced out the alcohol and junk with a lot of fruits and veggies.  And this was even left to my own devices.  I’d venture that I averaged maybe 1700 calories per day this week total, which is not what I’m aiming for, but not up to my maintenance calories either.  I’d call it a victory, but I haven’t had the courage to step on a scale yet.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll let you know. 🙂  Last week, I bounced between 154.2 and 155.4.  Disheartening as I was hoping to continue the downward trend, but encouraging as I was not up and down like normal.  I’ll take what I can get.

This week, my goal is to stay under 1500 calories per day (closer to 1300 if I can), minus a planned event Wednesday which I’ll allow up to 2000.

Body Movin’:

I talked about this a lot this week with my abrupt end to shredding, unplanned day off minus some yoga Wednesday, and my subsequent discovery of DDR circuits that I refined on Friday, so I’ll spare you any more details.  I took the entire weekend off to give myself a rest and am back at it this week.  This is essentially my week 0 for half training, and I’m getting myself prepared to run more by bumping it up to 3 days this week.  I am a week and a half from my 5 mile race, and I just haven’t trained much for it specifically, so I’m just hoping for the best.  Here is the plan:

Monday: 10 mins warmup, 6×400 sprints, 10 minute cooldown

Tuesday: 5 mile run at attempted race pace (45 minutes)

Wednesday: off

Thursday:DDR circuit

Friday: 3.1 mile tempo run (yeah, I’m going to chase my sub 25 5k ONE LAST TIME before half training starts and I need to be a reasonable human and stop running so fast and work on running far)

Weekend: DDR circuit and a bike adventure

Wednesday is off because I have to be into work early anyway to go to said event at 5:30, and I don’t do early early morning workouts so I’ll adjust the rest of my week accordingly.  I may reconsider and do a regular strength session tonight at the gym after my sprints instead of so much on the weekend, but we will see.  Without schedule conflicts, I would have run M/W/F (sprints/tempo/long) and did DDR circuits Tu/Th.

I still owe before and after shred pictures.  I’ll get on that.

So bloggy people, how was your weekend?  Anything supah cool?  Anyone else kinda feeling the blahs and just CANNOT WAIT for some damn time off over the holidays?   Wanna tell me what an arsehole I am for feeling whiny?  Your opportunity awaits…

And yes, it was another Natalie Dee day.  It just felt right.

DDR Circuits

So what did I do instead?  I think the title says it all.  I wanted to take the awesome from the 30 day shred and convert it into something I could do sans DVD with my own twist on things.

I present to you, DDR circuits (version 1):

1 song warmup

1 song + 1 minute strength, rinse and repeat 12 times

1 more song

1 song cooldown

The exercise list:

Arms – traveling pushups, 10 lb chest flys, plank flys, lat raises

Abs – bicycles, double crunches, supermans, and plank twists

Legs/arms – squat and press, lunge and hammer curl, front rows with military press, side arm raises with calf raises.

You’ll recognize most of this from the 30 Day Shred (minus the last legs and arms exercise I concocted all on my own).

The verdict?  I did about 3/4 of a normal 30 minute DDR session, burning about 3/4 of the calories.  I got through a normal strength session worth of 12 exercises.  It took about 50 minutes, where that workout would usually take about an hour and a quarter, minimum, so bonus.  However, it felt…underwhelming.  It was too easy.  I’ll reserve judgment for tomorrow, but it felt like a nice light workout.  Totally not on par with a shred.  I’m not giving up however.

I present to you, DDR circuits (version 2):

5 song warmup

2 strength exercises – 3 mins total

2 songs

1 ab exercises for 1 minute

x 4 total

5 song cooldown

Same exercise list.

Basically, this is Jillian’s 3-2(ish)-1 ratio

Verdict:  the ratio rules.  I feel worked just like a shred without any of the heel pain.  This will probably make up a good amount of my cross training days during half training.  Its a full strength and cardio workout in less than an hour.

And on that note, I’m going to disconnect from lappy and enjoy the rest of my (pre-planned) hookey day.  It’s about 75 and sunny and I think I need to find somewhere outside to soak it up.

Have a lovely weekend!

An Untimely, Shreddy, End

The 30 Day Shred Experiment is over.

Not because I’m a wuss (though I have to keep telling myself that).  Not because the workout was too hard.  It was challenging workout for sure, but I was able to get through it.  Not because I hated seeing Jillian’s smug mug every day saying the same cheeseball lines about “gargling my heart” or “replacing hours phoning it in at the gym”.  Not because it got boring doing the same damn thing over and over each day.

Just about the only thing that could break me did – I found myself yesterday *thisclose* to an injury.  When I first started running I had a lot of heel problems.  I had to take 2 weeks off (which literally almost drove me crazy) because each step doing something more poundy than just walking hurt like the dickens.  Of course, I’ve gotten over this.  I haven’t felt heel pain minus an odd tinge in about a year and a half.  Until Jillian came into my life.

The first week wasn’t so bad.  In fact, the overwhelming pain was leg muscles, and it was the “hurt-so-good” pain.  So I kept on.  Week 2 wasn’t too bad either.  However, I think my feet started to be sensitive as by the end of it, I REQUIRED new shoes.  I’ve been wearing the old ones to shred and honestly, nothing really seems wrong with them now.  Week 3, I only made it through 4 days and started to feel some mild heel pain.  Figure it would go away.  This week didn’t start so badly, but yesterday morning, I had to quit during the WARMUP because my heels were killing me.

If you know me, I do not quit workouts.  Starting sometimes is an issue but when I’m suited up, I’m just about unstoppable.

After considering the options, I decided that Jillian everyday was not going to work for me.  Not with running and DDR too, and I don’t want to give those up.  My heels were still mildly sore today, so I avoided running, but was able to DDR without a problem, even the super jumpy songs.  This doesn’t mean I’ll never shred again, but I cannot see doing it every day.  Apparently my heels aren’t tough enough.

So, my half-assed review follows:

Weight lost: Hard to say because I fluctuate so much, but I will say that when I started, my weight was between about 155-158.  I’m now stabilizing around 154-155 this week with a low last week of 152.8.  I would have liked to say that this was the month where I kicked the 150’s to the curb, but I just didn’t have it together.

Inches lost: I totally misplaced my measuring tape, but I found another way to tackle this problem.  Huge progress here.  I had one pair of jeans that were in the “a little tight but wearable-ish”, and one pair that would barely button at the beginning of the month (both size 6s).  I am happy to report that both pairs are now in my regular rotation (though the too tight to button, I do have to take care which shirts I wear with them as they are suuuuper low rise).

Pictures come later – I took befores, and I am going to take afters tomorrow or on a day I don’t feel so bloated. 🙂

The good:

I feel stronger.  I haven’t felt stronger like this in a while.   Through my half training my weights and reps stopped increasing and I just haven’t been motivated to do a big push on this since.  While I was only using 7 lb weights during most of the videos (occasionally I’d switch to my 3 lb ones on the second set if I was hurting), it definitely worked me over.

I discovered I needed to work some muscles I wasn’t.  I had been neglecting the squats and lunges for a long time, and had convinced myself that running worked them just fine.  Not so.  The first day convinced me of that when I was having trouble sitting down and getting up the next day after a 20 minute workout.

I had been shying away from dual moves (for example, lunges with hammer curls instead of just doing hammer curls).  Now I know that I’ll get worked over much faster by doing two things at the same time.  I mean, duh, right?  Not sure why I didn’t get this before.

I have fallen in love with circuits!  I dig the idea of mixing strength, cardio, and abs into one simultaneous workout.

My short distance running has VASTLY improved.  My easy 5ks have gone from 30-ish to 27-28ish and I did a 25 minute tempo run two days ago and got 3 miles under my belt.  My goal was a 5k under 25 minutes and this takes me so damn close.  I haven’t done a timed mile in a while but I bet I could shatter my 7:17 record.  Shredding was also a fantastic warm up for running.  If I had an hour, I did a shred and then immediately hit the pavement for a 5k.

I feel slimmer.  I may not weigh much less than I did a month ago, but putting on those skinny jeans and having them fit felt GREAT.

Traveling pushups.  ‘Nuff said.

The bad:

It just felt wrong to do the same workout 5 days in a row.  If my heel hadn’t acted up, I totally would have been down for doing alternating levels, but doing the same workout 5 days in a row?  Totally boring and bad for the muscles, imo.

I didn’t look forward to it at all most days.  There were some mornings it took me an extra few minutes to get out of bed because I didn’t want to shred.  It was definitely a “get through this” part of the workout and not a “hey cool I get to do this” part.

Anyone else just fucking hate jumping jacks?

The ugly:

As detailed above, I got really close to a heel injury.  No bueno at all.

However, I really enjoyed what I did today, but you’ll have to wait until tomorrow to hear about it.  Yes, I know I’m awful.

So I want to know – anyone gonna go shred after my review?  Ever found a great exercise that works wonders but your body just didn’t like it?  Who wants to call me a wuss for not finishing my last few days?  Any shredders and runners see a huge improvement in times like I did?  Hit me up.

Pictures from, that don’t have anything to do with anything but made me laugh. 🙂

On Fitting an Elephant in a Teacup

Life feels a lot like this lately.  Sometimes I miss being so megamaniacally (my made up word, deal) focused on ONE BIG THING because it was easy to ignore all those awesome and time consuming possibilities on the horizon.  All that mattered in my life was my Zliten, and work.  Everything else was completely trivial.  If I didn’t get groceries one week, we just got takeout.  We rarely got invited out and we weren’t generally expected to show up.  Hobbies?  I listed them on my resume as playing games (usually testing out what I was working on), swimming (I would occasionally walk downstairs and jump in the pool to cool off), web design and art (it had been YEARS), anime and sci fi (watching while working).  My friends, I was a 4.0 student that had no extracurricular activities.

Now, my life is completely different.  I’m like that kid with the middling GPA that doesn’t try very hard in class but gets by, but is president of the glee club, in student council, plays on the soccer team, and also knits afghans for the homeless in quilt club.  For example, this week, I have just about every hour outside work mapped out.  Yesterday was catching up on my novel, dinner, and cleaning the bedroom.  It was naaaaasty (said like Clevland).  Today I ran and shredded before work, now work, lunch out, work, obtain groceries for party food, novel, then bed.  The rest of the week doesn’t get much better.  It’s all pretty much diet hell as well unless I remain a pillar of motivation and stability.   This last week was my reprieve, and I did alright.  This week, it’s on like donkey kong.  Battle Royale of Quix vs Too Much Food And Booze.

I always spend some time self negotiating here.  The fight between lazy self and truthy self.  “Why not quit NaNoWriMo?” says lazy.  “It’s a busy month and it’s your first time trying.  You’ve got a good start.  Give yourself six months and see if you can get it done by then.”

Then, truthiness self steps up.  “No!  You always say you want to be a writer.  If you give this up, you know you’ll lose steam and it will be just one more failed manuscript.  It’s one month.  It’s 50,000 words.  You blog about half that in a month.  Suck it up, buttercup!”

Truthiness self is totally right and lazy pouts.

“Well, then something’s gotta give, right?”  Lazy says.  “Maybe I should just cut down the exercising.  I’ve done 3 weeks of shredding, that’s enough right?”

Truthiness self pounds her fist down on the proverbial table.  “Ok, let’s stop when you’re finally having the first results you’ve seen in months.  And let’s not even begin to entertain the thought of letting go of your eating.”

“But-” Lazy protests.  Stupid mind reading truthiness self.

“Hey – you know as well as I do.  It takes no extra time to control your portions and choose healthy things from the menu.   No excuse.”

Lazy is totally pouting here.  This could have been her excuse to order some really awesome greaseball food at the company event on Wednesday, the outing Friday, and completely go crazy Saturday night at the party.  “Who would blame me?  I’m totally busy this week.  Busy people eat junk food, right?”

Truthy rolls her eyes at Lazy.  “Other busy people eat junk food.  YOU are better than that.  YOU know that all that noise is comfort eating.  YOU know your body feels better when you don’t consume junk.”

Lazy grumbles.  “Fine, I give.  So what’s the deal.  What do I do?”

Truthy gets a little too close (come on, personal space, self!) and looks Lazy in the eyes.  “Like I said, suck it up, buttercup.  You want to write this novel.  You want to lose this weight.  You want to maintain this fitness.  You planned this party this weekend.  These are all things you want to do.  WHY ARE YOU COMPLAINING ABOUT THE ABUNDANCE OF AWESOME THINGS GOING ON THIS WEEK?”

Lazy wipes this spit off her face.  Truthy is a little enthusiastic sometimes.  “You are so right.  I just need to get on with myself and do it.”

Truthy smiles and pats Lazy on the butt.  “Good kid.  Now get out there.”  Not entirely sure why my hard ass self is trying to do an impression of my middle school gym teacher, but there you go.  Welcome to my head.

What I need to remember is that there is never a goddamn good time to do anything.  When I started doing this healthy living thing, I was surrounded by people (minus the Zliten who was trying to do it with me) that were either ambivalent, skeptical, or unsupportive.  I cannot think of a good time in the last 3 years to have written a novel.  I can’t think of a month that hasn’t been a whole lot of crazy.  Last spring was not a particularly good time to start training for a half marathon.  In fact, heat training sucked.  I never got surrounded by this healthy living bubble that made it all easy.  This morning I was accosted by a cupcake the size of one my shrunken buttcheeks in the break room, but I didn’t give in.

Things may have been simpler then when I only cared about one thing, but when I took the blinders off and saw the rest of my life in ruination, I knew that I had to bring back some balance, some harmony, some remedy to all-work-and-no-play makes Quix a fat evil genius-wannabe.  Between discovering that there was indeed life outside of work and shedding approximately one petite human being from my physical mass, the blinders were way off and my head was up in the clouds, dreaming about all these new awesome things I could do.

I’m good at the dreaming.  What I need practice at is the doing.  It’s easy to make excuses that life is too busy, and you’ll wait for a better time to start working out, start that novel, start cooking dinner instead of getting take out, take a clogging class, etc.  I’m here to tell you now – your life is not going to get any easier.  Unless you have extreme circumstances (aka, you work crazy hours for 3 months and then have 3 months off, or something similar), there is NO GOOD TIME to start something.  You just need to decide to grab time by the huevos, look it squarely in the eyes, and tell it that you’re going to be watching it closely, making sure that it doesn’t slip away.

So there you have it.  I am going to make it through this crazy busy week, my writing is not going to suffer, my workouts are not going to suffer, and I am going to make the healthiest choices I can out and about this week.  I am not going to sacrifice sleep, and I am not going to get stressed about it.  There are 24 usable hours in each day, I just need to make the most of the waking ones for the time being.

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