Tag Archives | exercise

I’ve been fitbit

It started innocently enough. A friend of mine who just had her second child bought herself a fitbit, a little piece of digitized plastic that tracks how many steps you take in a day, the miles you walk, and the calories you burn.  Or the lack thereof, depending.

R. swore by her little doodad; she walked and she walked and now, damned if she isn’t on week four of a  couch to 5K program.  She swears the fitbit got her moving.

How could a little piece of plastic with a happy face on it motivate a person, I thought to myself, tossing another handful of candy corn into my mouth.

Here’s the thing: in New York, people walk. New Yorkers walk everywhere and if we’re not walking, we’re running to the subway, hauling ass up and down the stairs.  New Yorkers are like sharks: stop moving and we’ll die.

But out here in the land of cheap gas and big cars?  It’s a bit like walking in LA: people do it, but everyone around you thinks you’re a lunatic.  Plus the long distances between, say, where you live and where your children play football every damn day because you’re a spineless parent who didn’t say no exercise their angelic bodies on the football pitch, necessitate driving, which is why my butt is slowly morphing into the shape of my car seat.

Besides, we are moving into the season of festive eating, which will be followed quickly by the season of omigodimturningfifty and I think it’s time that I rid myself of that pesky baby weight.  The baby just turned nine, and although I hate to rush into anything, I guess I’d like to start my next decade sylph-shaped rather than car-shaped.

I swallowed my skepticism (along with more candy corn) and bought a fitbit.  Not the super-duper fitbit that measures everything, even the efficiency of my sleep (It’s simple: I don’t get enough sleep. Don’t need a piece of plastic to tell me that: just look at the baggage under my eyes.)

For the past few weeks, I’ve had the fitbit clipped to my pocket and every night it syncs to my computer.  It’s a little bit addictive, I have to say.  A person doesn’t want to think she can be so easily manipulated motivated by smiley faces and cheerful messages but . . . the other day I was in my office and had about 45 minutes before my next meeting. Usually I would check in on my other addiction — Tom and Lorenzo — but instead I went for a little walk outside.  Added a few thousand steps to my daily total … all in search of a CHAMP! button.

I don’t know if I’ve lost any weight yet, but now that I’ve finished the candy corn (imported from the States by a visiting friend, who I’m not sure I should thank or curse), I have a fighting chance. And yes, I know I could just choose not to eat the candy corn, but that seems just silly, given that Josh went to all the trouble of bringing it from Brooklyn.

I’m going to fitbit myself all the way to fifty, I guess, but just look at that little smiling face.  Wouldn’t that face make you take an extra step or two?






Continue Reading · on November 28, 2013 in Abu Dhabi, aging, exercise, growing up, me my own personal self, NaBloPoMo

There’s a Metaphor Here Somewhere

The yoga teacher says we’re going to do handstands and that “if a handstand isn’t part of your practice, you can use the wall for your handstand.”

I’m thinking to myself, looky here, LuluLemonista, not only is a handstand not in my practice, I don’t want a handstand in my practice. In fact, I’ve been really pretty happy for most of my life without a handstand.

Going upside the hell down and then balance on my hands? Funny joke.

I don’t do upside down. In fact, I hate being upside down.

Even when I was little, when all the other kids were impressing one another with the whole hanging by their knees thing on the monkey bars?  Nope. I remained steadfastly upright. In gym class, in high school, when we were supposed to learn a move on the uneven parallel bars–a “penny drop” (swing by your knees back and forth until you get enough velocity to unwrap your legs, then land on your feet)–I about had a nervous breakdown.

So. Handstands.

Dutifully, I drag myself over to the wall, plant my hands, walk my feet towards my hands until I’m in an upside down V, then lift one foot into the air and start hopping off the other foot to launch the extended leg skyward–or wallward, rather.

It scares me. Scares me because while my feet are thrashing in space (a millisecond at a time), there’s no way of knowing if the wall is really there. Is the wall there? I can’t see the damn wall because I’m upside down, so how do I know the wall has not suddenly melted, ala “Inception” or something?  Being upside down may involve more faith than I’m really equipped to offer.

Then last week, Lululemonista ratcheted it up a notch.  Now the wall isn’t an option. We’re supposed to just V ourselves, extend the one leg up into the air and start that damn hopping off the other leg.

We’re either aiming for handstands or ol’ Lemonista has got us all doing some kind of obscure mating ritual.

Every now and then, in one of my hops, I can feel my arms kind of root down into the floor and all my muscles (such as they are) suddenly figure out how to work together, and for a brief moment I think “okay, this is what it feels like to do a handstand.”  You know what? For that split-second nano-moment where “handstand” seems attainable, it’s glorious. I feel strong and weightless, at the same time.

And then, immediately, “oh my god am I going to do a handstand? holy crap.” My feet come thumping down onto the floor and I realize that my arms are trembling with fatigue.

When I used to be in therapy and would wail about my anxieties to my therapist, she would look at me and say, calmly, “what’s the worst that could happen?”  And most of the time, when I forced myself to answer that question out loud, “the worst” wasn’t usually that bad – usually not death or pestilence or global destruction.

What’s the worst that could happen in a handstand? Maybe the wall wouldn’t be there. Maybe I’d fall down.

Or maybe, maybe one of these days (weeks, months, years) I won’t fall down. Maybe I’ll  just suspend there, balanced on my hands, toes wiggling in the air.

Nah. Never gonna happen. Upside down still scares me.

Most of the time.

Continue Reading · on January 19, 2011 in me my own personal self, yoga

Reverb #17: Learning

Oh good lord. Lesson learned. What was the best thing you learned about yourself this past year? And how will you apply that lesson going forward?

I learned that questions like this irk me, partly because it seems really hard to point to A Thing I Learned, to one discrete lesson or “aha” moment. I’m not Oprah, after all.

That said, however, a few things have crawled into the margins of my consciousness–not all things I’ve learned, necessarily–more remembered and put into practice.

It’s easier to keep writing than to start writing. Which means that I should write every day and that once I’m over the hurdle of starting something (so painful, so slow, so what-the-hell-am-I-wanting-to-say), I must keep at it instead of letting my own writing slide to the bottom of the Important Stuff list. Kfitz, at Planned Obsolence, has a pretty similar thought–once something is started, it’s a lot easier to keep it going.

Same principle: easier to keep exercising than to stop for a few months and then get back in the rhythm.  Don’t laugh, but sweating makes me happy. I’m a bit of an endorphin junkie, and while I’m never going to be a marathoner or a triathaloner (yes, Cabot, and Suzie, people of steel, I’m talking you) my little yoga class keeps me happily sweat-soaked.

What else? I learned a few not so nice things about myself, having to do with temper (too much) and patience (not enough), but as Scarlett likes to say (O’H, not J), “I’ll think about that tomorrow.”

I’ve learned I can hold down the fort while husband travels, and I’ve learned that without a group of friends to rely for all-important battery recharging, I’m useless.

So that’s the plan, going forward: keep writing, keep yoga-ing, keep with the friends.  Gosh. A gal could think that maybe a balanced life is within her reach. Or at least being less stressed about being OUT of balance.

Continue Reading · on December 19, 2010 in reverb10

Reverb10: Body

Reverb 10 prompt #12: This year, when did you feel the most integrated with your body? Did you have a moment where there wasn’t mind and body, but simply a cohesive YOU, alive and present?

I remember waaay back in the day–high school and early college–when I was a bun-headed dancer. In high school, daily life was pretty miserable but when I walked into the ballet studio, all that misery got swept away by the precision of plié, tendu, plié, relévé. The girl I saw in the mirror controlled her body in a way that she couldn’t control the world outside the studio–and while I was never going to be a prima ballerina, I think having the separate world of the ballet studio helped me survive adolescence.

I’m pushing fifty at this point, so that ballet body ain’t coming back any time soon (okay, ever) and I’ve (sort of) made my peace with that. What I keep searching for, in my exercise life as an adult, is that endorphine-fueled focus, the sweat that puts everything in perspective.  For a while in grad school I ran on a semi-regular basis but ultimately? I run too slowly and it hurts. Knees, back, ankles. Just one big slow ouch.

And now, in this late-mid-forties place where I find myself and my extra five (eight, maybe ten) pounds? I find myself  at the risk of sounding like someone who totally drank the lotus-spiked kool-aid because what I love these days is yoga.  When I’m sweating in the yoga studio (which has no mirrors, a key intervention in the struggle between mind and body), all the crap that I think about all day–  whattocookfordinnerwhoispickingupwhomwhatamIteachingtomorrowdidIcallthedoctordidIcallthebabysitterwhattimeissoccerpracticeareweoutofmilkisthelaundrydone –all that stuff disappears.It’s not the “om-ing” that I like, although I’m getting less cynical about that, it’s the focus on where I’m putting my body, listening to my creaky joints, feeling them de-creak as I stretch, and the distinct pleasure I take in being able to do things now that I couldn’t do two months ago.

So the short answer to this question is, “today, at about 12:40, when for the first time I managed to lift myself for a split second into something that almost resembles crow pose.” Of course, I tipped forward immediately and about cracked my nose on the floor, but I guess that’s all part of it, right?

just for the record – that person in the picture? not me – it’s from dailygoods.wordpress.com

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Continue Reading · on December 15, 2010 in reverb10, Uncategorized

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