Hello WordPress, my old friend

In the past two months I have been seriously lax on exercise. I didn’t think much of it – yeah, I put on four pounds, but I felt fine and if my resting heart rate was up in the low 70s instead of the upper 50s it was no big deal because my blood pressure was still normal.

Then came PC last week, with the five minute shimmy warm-up that I had to bail out on, and two rounds of half-remembered Dancing Drums that left me way more winded than I ever dreamed possible.

Okay, maybe taking two months off dance wasn’t such a good idea. But hey, I had just given blood that day, so that explained part of it. Right? Right. So there ya go.

Then I got my cholesterol numbers that had me up 63 points since November, from “just barely normal” to “WTF are you thinking??” Can I blame it on a bad test? I can try – the repeat draw that I’m requesting on Friday when I go to the doctor will answer that. So still, no big deal, deny responsibility and the need to change, and keep doing what you’re doing. Everything’s fine, nothing to see here, move along.

But then there was dance class last night – a full-on “learning a new choreo” dance class. If I needed any concrete evidence of how poor my cardiovascular endurance has become, last night did it. No excuses or rationalizations can explain me not being able to get through a 60-minute dance class and needing to sit down before I passed out.

I can try to blow off “it’s only four pounds” as though the number on the scale were the only thing that mattered, but that’s a lie. Health is more than a number on the scale, and I should know better.

So starting tonight I have a recurring appointment with my treadmill. This could be the re-start of a beautiful friendship.

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Down, but not out

On Monday I had a little bit of a sore throat, which I wistfully chalked up to “dry air”. Not so. By Tuesday I was in the throes of a full-blown cold, with the sniffling, sneezing, coughing, aching, stuffy head, (no fever), cold. The whole nine yards. It seems to have moved through pretty quickly – by Thursday morning I felt like I’d been hit by a bus, but after sleeping all day it seemed to have gotten past the worst of it. I actually contemplated going to Yoga Thursday night, but fortunately sanity prevailed and I ended up staying home.

This morning when I got on the scale it said 178.6. I haven’t been below 179 in a couple of years, so even though I realize it’s the side effect of being sick, it’s still nice to see. It’s also a little kick-start to hopefully motivate me back to Yoga on Monday, as long as they’re still having the class – the instructor said something about going on vacation, hopefully they will have found a substitute.

This weekend there are two festivals at which I am dancing, so that’s another reason that I am glad this cold seems to have moved through quickly. We’ll see how well I can breathe at the end of dancing three choreographies in a relatively short period of time. It will also be interesting to see if between the weight loss from being sick and the spa wrap that I had done today, whether I need to do some last-second pinning for my costume!

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Since I don’t have a pithy subject line popping into my head (or a non-pithy one, for that matter), we will go with the default.

It seems like every morning for the past week or so, I’ve gotten on the scale and the number has been lower than the day before. Not that I’m complaining, mind you, but since I haven’t consciously been doing anything different, I’m starting to wonder if my scale is screwing with me. Maybe I was just eating so much junk and salt that I was retaining more water than I ever thought possible.

I have noticed that cravings are getting easier to suppress (except for the two boxes of Girl Scout Cookies that arrived last week). Maybe the audio I’ve still been listening to regularly has been leaving little footsteps in my brain. Now to nurture it from the subconscious into the conscious… I’m working on my Mindful Eating approach to the Samoas, but have only had limited success so far. I still have a box left to try it on, though!

Last Saturday I went back to belly dance class, and promptly got my butt kicked by the new choreography that we are learning. I haven’t been to class in nearly a month, so everyone else in the class had already had the basics broken down for them. The teacher did a quick breakdown and refresher, and I managed to keep up with a decent chunk of it by the end of the class. My personal goal is to nail the choreography by the beginning of April – I need to find a video of it somewhere so I can drill it at home. I also got reminded yet again that I’m not quite up to my former endurance level, since I was out of breath halfway through it!

Chalk up yet another reason to get my butt back on the treadmill.

Hello weekend!

I didn’t do much yesterday in the way of exercise, but I did pretty good calorie-wise. ¬†Having an insanely busy day at work with more than a few fires to put out will definitely put the kibosh on overeating.

Unfortunately having an insanely busy day at work with more than a few fires to put out will definitely trigger stress eating in the evening, which is what I ended up doing both yesterday and today.

My task this weekend is to get back into a better mode diet-wise, and to not take the three-day weekend and turn it into a sofafest. I have TEAM tomorrow morning, and I’m not sure what to expect. I know we’re starting on the treadmill, but I don’t know where we go from there.

I also have dance class tomorrow, which will keep me moving. I also have karaoke tomorrow night, and I will have the wedge salad with the blue cheese dressing on the side in order to keep from eating all the tasty fried goodness that they have on the menu.

Post apoc-elliptical survival

Last night I went to dance class – our monthly Performing Company meeting, in which we tried some really cool ways of looking at our choreographies differently. And 45 minutes of stretching and dancing knocked the kinks out of my shoulder muscles that were still stiff from the strength circuit the night before.

Tonight at the gym was TEAM Cardio. If I ever find the sadistic bastard that developed the Elliptical Trainer, I will kick him or her in the privates. Provided, of course, that I have any leg strength left after dealing with the Elliptical for 15 minutes. Give me the treadmill over the elliptical any day!

It got to the point that I was just chanting to myself “I can do this I can do this I can do this” in time with the steps to keep from giving up. But I made it through, and I survived it. I’m not looking forward to the next time, though.

But on the way home, I had a realization. After I got done and got changed and got in my car, I felt pretty good. I’m doing something for myself, for my health, for my long-term goals. And yeah, it kinda sucks while I’m doing it, but it’s an hour (or less) out of my day. An hour (or less) when I would otherwise be doing… what? Sitting on my butt watching TV? Stuffing my face? Given those options, an hour of “I can do this I can do this I can do this” is by far the best choice.

I can do this.

But I still don’t like the elliptical.

Dancing drills

Tuesday I braved the rain (yay, rain!!) after work to go to my dance class. And I was reminded why I don’t go to Tuesday night dance class… Because traffic SUCKS.

I was glad I went – I learned some cool layering ideas to play with – but I will have to re-think going on a regular basis. The stress is just horrible.

Tonight is TEAM Fitness again, looks like Cardio. Good thing I have a massage scheduled afterwards!

Life is an ongoing lesson

I spent all day today volunteering at the dance studio, as 17 dancers auditioned for our top-level performing troupe. I was helping in the dressing room, pinning costumes, answering questions, calming nerves, etc. It was really cool being able to see them get ready and practice their solo performances and the group choreography they had to do as part of the audition. I picked up a couple of moves and transitions that I’m going to try to use at some point.

More importantly, I realized that more than a few of these dancers, some of whom have been dancing for over twenty years, have the¬†exact same insecurities and nerves when it comes to auditioning as I do. Before their solo, some were worried that they’d picked the wrong music, that their choreography wasn’t interesting enough, that they’d forget part (or all) of it, that their costume wasn’t fitting right, that their hair wasn’t right, etc. … all of which are things I have told myself before an audition or performance. And after they came back, many of these dancers were beating themselves up and cussing themselves out for having screwed up or forgotten or messed up something. They were worried that the judges weren’t smiling, that their performance was sub-par, that they weren’t good enough to make the troupe. Again, all of which are things I have told myself after an audition or performance.

I have seen almost all of these dancers perform (I think there were two I have not seen dance before). I think they are all wonderful performers, and at least three of them are ones that I try to pattern myself over because I love how they look, how they move, how they perform. To realize that they, too, have many of the same feelings and insecurities that I do was kind of heartening in a weird sort of way.

I’m anxious to learn who made it into the troupe, find out which of the dancers were needlessly berating themselves, and learn how to deal with disappointment from those who didn’t make the cut.

(On the exercise front I didn’t get any formal exercise in, but I spent most of the day running around the studio, so I was definitely active…)