Pooped but Working Out Anyways

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Man when it's early in the morning and you've been up late and you're tired, it's so hard to drag your butt to a workout isn't it?  I have a major Olympics hangover from staying up late and watching and it's raining, and cold, and, and, and...

And what?  No matter how hard it is for me to get up and get exercising, I ALWAYS feel better after I do.  Sometimes the hardest steps in my dance class are the ones the get me in the door.  So, I'm getting up and I'm going.  So THERE!

So get up my little darlings and move your feet.  You'll feel better (I promise).

By the way, if you want to see more adorable kitteh pictures, come see me on icanhascheezburger.com.  My name is Phat Cat.

The Fat Chick

Starting Fresh: A Brand New Day

Thursday, February 25, 2010

I'm  up early this morning as usual, and I'm reminded why I like mornings so much.  At this time of the day, everything is fresh and everything is new.  No matter how badly I screwed up yesterday, that day has come and gone and today is a day to start fresh.  What can I start today?  What tiny thing can I do to make my life better?  
Sometimes, especially when it comes to exercise, It's awfully hard to start fresh.  We wonder, what will make this time any different than the  last ten times I tried to exercise?  Well for one thing, YOU'RE different.  Apparently about 98 percent of the atoms in our  bodies are replaced yearly.  That means every year. you are literally a whole new you.  So as difficult as it is to remain optimistic in the face of all the times you've exercised before, it helps to remember that the person who slept until noon on Saturday instead of showing up for dance class, and the person who seriously thought about buying a treadmill so the dog could walk himself was a different person.

So, how about getting up off your desk chair and taking the new you out for a walk today?  As Dr. Horrible says, "It's a brand new day." (He doesn't say it very nicely, but is name is Dr. Horrible after all.)

The Fat Chick

Want Encouragement? Be Encouraging.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Yesterday, I was blessed to have a few friends calling me seeking encouragement.  There have been many times in my life that I might have seen these calls as a bother or an intrusion.  But now I understand that these calls are a blessing.  Because few things in life are as encouraging as an opportunity to encourage another person.  I always walk away from these experiences feeling energized and ready to take on the world.  After all, somebody thinks maybe I know something about something.  That's kind of cool.  And when I help other people, I sometimes realize I am a little more of an expert than I thought.

Of course, there's a big difference between encouragement and advice.  Lord knows, I've offered plenty of unsolicited advice in my life and have paid a heavy price.  But when I can remember (which 'aint often, God bless me) I try to offer encouragement instead of advice.  I have such great encouragers in my life to observe and learn from.  There's Kimmy and Alison and Kate and Brian and Mary Ann and too many others to name.  When I watch them I see.  They do not say, "well you can do it, if you do it like I did it".  Nope.  Uh uh.  They say, "well OF COURSE you can do it, because you're awesome."

When I get this kind of encouragement, I feel ten feet tall.  But when I give this kind of encouragement, I also feel ten feet tall.  And while I can't control when I get encouraged, I can control when I encourage other people.  This means I can potentially feel ten feet tall, all the time.

So I'm encouraging you to go out there and encourage somebody else.  Of COURSE you can do it.  Because you're awesome!

The Fat Chick

Procrastination: and L.O.S.T.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Sometimes I have problems with exercise procrastination. I admit it. But my little chickadees that’s nothing compared to my problems with procrastinating on my writing projects. No matter how well prepared I am. No matter how much research I’ve done. When I face that blank screen in the morning I freak the f#$% out! I think I’m a pretty good writer. I don’t hate it once I start. But you just couldn’t believe the number of things I can find to do before I get started. I think I’m the world champion Sudoku player and I have amassed ridiculously huge virtual fortunes playing online Texas Hold ‘Em. You can always tell when a writing deadline is looming because my house is totally clean, my spices are alphabetized in the drawer, and my socks are sorted by color, type and condition. My husband calls these my L.O.S.T. days—an acronym which stands for Lots Of Silly Things. He knows if he comes home and the baseboards are scrubbed and I’m serving an eight-course meal complete with molded sugar desserts and life-sized ice sculptures that there’s a good chance I’ve had a L.O.S.T. day.   And today started out as one of those days.  I finished all the laundry.  I organized the sock drawer.  I cleaned the gunk in the grout lines on the kitchen counter.  Yup, definitely and decidedly L.O.S.T.

I’ve suffered with this particular form of procrastination all my life and I can only come to one conclusion. This type of procrastination is about fear—mostly fear of failure. Because, somehow I believe in my head that I can’t fail with stuff I haven’t started yet. From a logical standpoint this is completely ridiculous. In truth, the only way to guarantee failure is to never start or never try. But as logical as that whole have to begin to win idea is, I find myself in loops of painful procrastination.  Thankfully, today I got out of the loop after about 2 hours--which for me, is pretty good.  I ate some breakfast, I squared my shoulders, I went to my computer and I got on with it.  And I got a few creative things done.  Not everything I needed to, but some things.  It's a small victory, but I'll take it!

So how about you sweetheart?  What are you avoiding?  Are you L.O.S.T?  If so, get a snack, put on your grown-up pants and go create something!

The Fat Chick

Motivation: Success is the new Carrot

Friday, February 19, 2010

Today I got a request from a reporter to send my tips on how I stay motivated to exercise.  For example, do I put my exercise clothes out the night before (I do) or buy enough sports bras so I have enough to last from wash to wash (I do that too).  But as I thought about it, I realized that the most important thing I have ever done to motivate myself to stick with exercise, is to divorce exercise from the expectation of weight loss, and learn to exercise in a way that lets me enjoy consistent success.

When I was younger, I engaged in a lot of intense exercise hoping to become thin.  I tried lots of things from Karate to working with a personal trainer to belly dancing all trying to lose weight.  I'd go out too hard, exercise too much too fast, not lose any weight, get hurt and give up on the whole thing.  This pattern repeated over and over.

But about ten years ago, I decided to exercise just for the sake of exercise.  And I decided to concentrate on doing only what my body really felt ready to do.  Then once I succeeded at that level, I bumped things up a little bit and exercised a little bit harder the next week.  That's it.  That's my magic formula.

But here's what's important about that magic formula.  It allowed me to succeed every week.  Since I didn't make an unrealistic expectation of weight loss a part of the formula, that didn't cause disappointment.  And since I worked out at a level that was appropriate for me, I could do it every week and not get hurt.  Heck, I even started to enjoy it.

And nothing breeds success like success.  Since I was feeling good about my workouts, I couldn't wait to do them the next week.  And since I had figured out how to win, I couldn't wait to help other people "win" too.  That's why I became a teacher.  Now exercise is something I truly love.  I can't wait to put on some fun and interesting music, gather my posse together and shake my groove thing.

It's not rocket science.  But it got me through 5Ks, 10Ks, sprint triathlons, half marathons and even one marathon.  It just works!

Hope you'll think about giving this magic formula a try!  And if you do, let me know how it's going!

The Fat Chick

Baby Steps: Glued Butt

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Recently I went to a social gathering (a real one with drinks and stuff, not a virtual one) and I spoke with an editor friend of mine.  He was complaining of back pain after long editing sessions.  I looked at him knowingly and said, "Oh yes.  I understand.  You have Glued Butt Disease." 

Naturally he looked at me funny and asked if I was okay to drive myself home.  But after I assured him that I had only had one glass of wine, I defined "Glued Butt Disease".  "This malady," I explained, "comes as a result of spending a whole day or sometimes even a day and a night with your butt glued to the chair.  It's common among editors, writers and eleven year old WOW players."

I assured him that I have often suffered from this malady and have experienced serious back and neck pain as a result.  I also assured him that there is a cure.

"Well the cure is to just get up, about once an hour and walk around a little bit." I said.  "But the trick is to remember to do it.  I set the timer I use when I bake cookies.  I have been conditioned over the years to perform a full, salivating, pavlovian leap every time that beeper goes off.  Definitely gets me out of the chair.  I set the timer again for five minutes and I walk around, stretch or get down and boogie until the timer goes off again.  Of course every time I get up, I'm hungry for cookies, but that's a different problem all together."

Do you have Glued Butt Disease?  Then my friend, peel your behind up off your aeron chair and walk around a little.  Take in the sunshine.  Watch the snow fall.  As I've been saying, all endeavors begin with a few small steps.  So even if it's just to stretch, walk around your office,  or boogie until your coworkers start flipping through the mental health section of the company medical plan, just get up and get going!

The Fat Chick

One small waddle for ducks, one huge step for kid kind...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I just watched a beautiful little video on the icanhascheezburger site that shows a little boy with physical disabilities learning to walk from his pet duck who also had an injured leg.  (CLICK HERE to see it.)  The doctors were doubtful that the little guy would ever walk.  But as the boy watched his little duck buddy struggle, get stronger and succeed, he learned a valuable lesson about getting from here to there:

It starts with one struggle-filled, wobbly, tiny little step.  And proceeds with another.

Like CHRIS KRINGLE sings to the Winter Warlock in that famous Christmas special, put one foot in front of the other and soon you'll be walkin out the door.

That my friend is the secret to fitness.  Start with one, possibly pathetic, kind of wobbly and possibly quite embarrassing little step.  Are you ready to take it?  If you're not sure how to start, you might want to CLICK HERE for some tips and tricks (from my Fat Chick Website).

Don't forget--fitness is perhaps the best valentine you can give to yourself.  After all, you deserve to feel great!

The Fat Chick

Being your own darn Valentine

Sunday, February 14, 2010

OMG there are few holidays better designed to sow anxiety, stress and deep depression than Valentines day.  This is the time of year where my husband and I giggle and snort at the television ads for expensive jewelry and, wait for it, new cars.  I usually turn to him on the couch and bat my eyelashes and say in my best Scarlett O'Hara voice, "surely you're gonna buy me just one liddle ol' Beamer for Valentines Day.  I'd like red please.  And darlin', don't neglect the leather package and upgraded stereo system.  As God is my witness, I'll never drive a Honda again!"

Seriously.  Whether you're with somebody or not, chances are better than 50% that Valentines Day will leave you annoyed, disappointed and ready to eat chocolates--heart shaped or otherwise.

So this Valentine's day, why not just be your own darn Valentine?  Buy yourself something nice.  Cook yourself a nice dinner (because heaven knows you won't get good food, prices or even adequate service at a restaurant today), take yourself to the movies or buy yourself flowers.  The best news here is that you won't be disappointed because you know exactly what you want.  And if you're with somebody or married, then both of you can do it. 

Here's wishing you the best Valentine's Day EVAR.


Freedom: A really bad day.

Friday, February 12, 2010

I had a really tough day.  One of those, "why on earth did I ever get out of bed sort of days'.  I drove over fifty miles to go to a lecture with somebody I really wanted to see.  The lecture was (apparently) great, um yesterday.  Tried to make a conference call on my new cell phone that refused to work, and just as I was headed out to meet with some friends and have a glass of wine, I caught my new leather skirt on the door handle and tore it.  So I had to run to the store and buy another skirt (not leather and NOT on sale) before I could go to the networking event.

So, yup.  I had a colossally bad day.  One where the entire sky is one big pigeon that decided to poo on my head.

And this too offered a type of freedom.

When you have a crappy day of epic proportions, you give up expecting what will come next.  You don't put immense pressure on yourself to produce--you're just trying to survive until bedtime without ending up in the ER.  And when you give up on what you think should happen or even having any idea what's going to happen.  Totally cool, completely unexpectedly wonderful things happen.

If this whole drama hadn't unfolded the way it did, I wouldn't have ended up going out tonight with Gina--who happens to be one of the very funnest people on the planet.  And I might not have had the oh what the heck attitude that allowed me to drop the power networking persona and just meet people for the fun of it.

So my bad day allowed me to end up having a day that was good in unexpected ways.  Pollyanna?  Perhaps.  But I still say, "I just give up, give me a chardonnay" is a kind of freedom too.


The Fat Chick

Declaring Freedom

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

As of today, right now, I am declaring and asserting my right to freedom.  I am free to wear colors other than black.  I am free to wear clothes that aren't "slimming".  I am free to wear big, loud dimestore jewelry that I bought at stores where my young teenage nieces shop.  I'm free to wear pantyhose WITHOUT a control top or heck--maybe I won't wear pantyhose at all.  I'm free to wear anything I like even if my butt DOES look big in it.  I'm free to decide I look darn good and I'm also free to ignore anybody who says anything to the contrary.  I'm free to live a life unfettered and unbounded.  Girls I'm throwing out my girdle because today I'm free!

Lemme Off the Merry Go Round

Monday, February 8, 2010

So we've discussed all four elements of the Big Fat Cycle:
1. Panic (Omigod I've gotta do something).
2. Fantasy (I'm going to look like a GODDESS!  I'm going to win an OSCAR!)
3. Defeat (well I already had a french fry, might as well eat EVERYTHING--super sized)
4. Despair (I am so LAME!  I will NEVER be happy)

Man, I've been getting depressed just writing about this stupid cycle for the past four weeks.  What do you say?  Can we get off the ride now?

Whew!  That's better.  Don't worry, we'll be talking about some specific things you can actually do to improve your health without making you go insane.  And hey, the sun came out today.

Things are looking up...

The Fat Chick

Despair: Watch for Falling Grace

Friday, February 5, 2010

The thing about despair (major or minor) is that it causes us to obsessively look inward.  The thing about grace is it's unexpected and undeserved.  It literally comes from nowhere.  So if you're sunk into a funk or feeling despair, you just might miss it when saving grace literally drops from heaven into your lap,

As I've mentioned, I've been dealing with some microdramas this week.  And I mentioned how a critical U-turn on any given element in your life, can turn everything around.  So I took a little U-turn this week.  And the results have been great.

But beyond the U-turn, I've really sought to keep my eyes and my ears and my heart open to detect even the slightest wisp of grace floating my way.  This is especially hard when we feel that life has kicked us in the teeth or that people let us down.  Because remaining open means that we are opening ourselves up for even more potential disappointment.  And it feels completely counter intuitive.  Why would I ever believe this joy will come to me.  The world will just let me down again.

But being open also means you may get a helping hand that lifts you up in a way you never expected.  So I cautiously, gently remained open to grace this week.  And I was not disappointed.

Friends I haven't heard from in years popped up out of the blue and cheered me in a way I didn't think possible.  A former client called with a gig.  A current client and I reached consensus on a difficult creative challenge we've been wrestling with.

So however battered you may feel--however hurt--see if you can keep one eye and one ear carefully tuned towards grace.

And all the light and help you didn't even know you needed may gently fall on you.

The Fat Chick

Despair: Making a U-Turn

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Despite all the agony of realizing that you've been sprinting down the wrong road, the only way you'll leave despair and get back to a happier, better you is to make a U-turn.  As with all this philosophical stuff I spout on here, it's a lot easier to say than to do.

I know what I'm talking about.  Funnily enough I've been coping with a little bit of despair this week.  Don't worry, I'm okay.  It's more like microtrauma.  But it's a trauma nonetheless.

And after the 2 hours of wailing, crying, cursing and teeth-gnashing on Monday night in the presence of my poor husband, I had to face the thing head on.  I'm not nearly as together as my Facebook profile might lead you to believe.  I get sad.  I get discouraged.  Hey!  I'm SUFFERING over here!

But being pragmatic as I am (and realizing that I've probably already maxed out my whining to hubby time for the WHOLE month of February) I realized that my feelings won't change unless I change.  I needed to make a U-turn.

A U-turn doesn't have to be dramatic.  You don't need to turn your whole life around.  As you probably already know, I don't go in for that all or nothing stuff.  Just change one thing around.  Make a concerted effort to do one thing differently or change how you handle one thing, and see if it gets you out of the rut.

I decided that I had been feeling isolated, so I made a highly concerted effort to start calling people and setting up actual "dates" and "meeting times" to get together.  I work from home most of the time--which is awesome.  But at some point you realize you're having long meaningful conversations with the dog and you haven't washed your hair for days.  And lest I fall ENTIRELY into a Howard Hughes kind of rut, I need to make a U-turn and meet face to face with some real live people.

So if you're stuck in a rut, what can you change.  How can you make a itty-bitty U-turn to get on a different track.  Turn that car around darlin' and start driving towards joy!

The Fat Chick 

Despair: Sprinting down the Wrong Road

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

In our talk about despair, I thought it important to mention that despair can also happen after you've discovered that you've made a significant amount of progress down the wrong dang road.  Now not only is your time "wasted", but you'll have to back track all that way before you can move forward.

This is what's so dangerous and depressing about our nation's current obsession with thinness as a surrogate for health.  Because we, as a nation are sprinting down the wrong stupid road.  And sooner or later, when we each individually recognize it, we have a WHOOOOOLE lot of angry to cope with before we move forward.

Take Mrs. Obama's current emphasis on the "obesity crisis".  Firstly, all kids need to work on healthy habits, regardless of their current body size.  And finally, body size is not the point.   Eating well and exercising is the point.  By singling out fat kids, we simply heap more shame (as if parents and peers aren't doing that enough already), setting them up for disordered eating and increasing stress levels which according to recent  seem to have at least as much impact on health as anything else related to body size.  Does Mr. Obama think it will improve his daughter's health to refer to her in the national media as "a little chubby"?  Does Ms. Obama think that her very public discussion of her "obesity intervention" for her daughters will help them to grow up strong, healthy and well-adjusted?  If you want to talk about how you as a family have decided to spend more energy on healthy habits, okay then.  But maybe you should focus the media on your updated parenting skills rather than your poor kids' pant sizes.

They, like so many in our country, are at the intersection, with that little orange baton waving the traffic down the wrong stupid road.  It's almost enough to make you despair.  Almost.

However,  as I've said before, healthy is as healthy does.  And rather than despair, today I choose to rebel.  I'm going to eat my tomato soup, and shake my big bootie while I teach my aerobics class.  Take that, Michelle.

I'm here, waving you towards the road less traveled.  The one where you take care of yourself and your body not because you're filled with panic and despair, but rather because you love yourself.  

Right this way...

The Fat Chick

Despair: Always and Never

Monday, February 1, 2010

We've been talking about the big fat cycle and leading up to the big dark daddy--despair.  This is when we've enjoyed the magical thinking, built up the fantasy and fallen down and given up.  Despair is when we say always and never.  I always screw things up.  I'll never succeed.  I'll never be happy again.  And the hardest part, is in this hour, of hurt and desperation, it's hard to hear anything else that anybody tells you.  Even when you know they care.  Even when you want to hear them, it's difficult to make out their words over the crushing pain in your heart.

Needless to say, it's better if you don't get to this place.  This is a real big incentive to stay off the big fat cycle in the first place.  But if you are there, you have to deal with it.

I'm tempted to offer some glib one-liner about 5 steps to conquering despair.  But in my experience, it just doesn't work like that.  I will make a few gentle suggestions though.

First, breathe.  Take a deep breath in, blow a deep breath out and repeat.  When our hearts hurt we forget to breathe and that only makes our hearts hurt even more.

Next, gently try to move away from always and never.  Never say never is an oxymoron, but the reasoning is sort of sound.  Despair makes us take "mostly", "often" or even "sometimes" and converts it to "always" and "never".  When you catch yourself thinking always and never thoughts, breathe (that's step one, remember?) and try as gently as you can to entertain the notion that it may not really be always or never but somewhere in between.

Also, find nourishment.  Remember in the first week of January, we talked all about nourishment.  Get a bowl of soup.  Take in a sunrise.  Put on your fuzzy bunny slippers.  Seek comfort.

You might also seek to find a way to take a teeny-tiny microstep towards your goals.  Something small and achievable.  Write a letter.  Make a list.  Buy a pencil to write a list with.

Finally, wait.  Everything looks a little better after a good night's sleep.  And things rarely end up as bad as they seem at first.  Sometimes you've just got to give life a chance to work  itself out.

But if it doesn't work itself out, you need to find help, from a trusted friend or better yet, a professional therapist or counselor.

If you hate me for all this platitudinous advice, I don't blame you.  I've been there.  But, even if you do hate me, I wish you peace and joy, and a smooth path to find it.

The Fat Chick