I Am That Girl Now

Friday, March 16, 2007

A bold new whatever

Oh, my, it's been a while. Sorry about that, folks!

First, we got sick. My Hub got a miserable cold, and after four days of taking care of him I came down with the same damn thing. Between the two of us, things were screwed up for well over a week. It's amazing the bad food choices that one can make when it's impossible to taste anything.

Then, when I was finally getting back up and about, work went insane. Like, seriously insane. We underwent a database conversion that was supposed to propel us into the space age, only to find that it bombed us back to the stone age, instead, and I have been forced to metaphorically chip tools out of flint in order to get anything done, which takes a lot more work than one would think. This caused me to careen very close to losing my damn mind, because I didn't have the basic idea in my head that it is hard to achieve my original goals when I'm busy re-inventing the wheel, here. It felt like I was going crazy, because no matter what I did, things broke, and everything I did just dug us deeper into the hole. I was so, so, so stressed out; my back hurt, my stomach was full of acid, my head ached, I just felt drained and angry and awful.

However, things are back to normal, more or less. I talked to my boss and was assured that none of us are doing what we wanted to get done at this point in the year, and that some days I was the only thing keeping the department above water (awww!). My Hub is all better, except that for some reason he cannot stop farting (in the loudest, stinkiest way he can, and accompanied by a lot of good cheer on his part). I'm mostly better, although there's still a lot of snot lodged in odd crevices in my head.

Good news: I finally saw the specialist for my shoulder pain. I have an official diagnosis of rotator cuff tendinitis; no bone spurs, no tears. I was shot up with cortisone and given a bunch of horse pills of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory variety. If I'm still not well in another six weeks (ANOTHER SIX WEEKS?!?!?!?!?) I am to call the doctor again. In the meantime, still no yoga or upper-body weight lifting. Phooey.

[Side note: Why is it that every time I end up going to a specialist of any kind, they're the most annoying kind of jokey doctor imaginable? The oral surgeon that removed my wisdom teeth couldn't stop making horrible puns and jokes; this guy, on the other hand, seemed to think that he was a lost Marx Brother and so there was a lot of fast patter and occasional slapstick.]

That said, my Hub has started training me in the gym on squats. It seems that squats, along with deadlifts and bench presses, are some kind of holy trinity of the weight-lifting variety. I'm getting most of my information from my Hub, before I get my hands on his books; it's okay nonetheless because one of his great gifts is the ability to break anything down into plain, coloquial English. These days, he is becoming insanely well-read on the subject, and can rattle off the names of various muscles and explain what they do, and what exercises hit them, and he can also talk at length about body chemistry. (Six months ago he knew none of this. I'm so proud... stunned, agog, but still so proud.) As a result, this dominates our conversations these days, and as a result of THAT, I'm picking up even more knowledge than I had before.

As far as I can tell, the reason that squats, deadlifts, and bench presses are so beloved is because each of them works a bajillion muscles in the body, instead of just one or two, so you don't have to spend two hours working all these muscles individually (and yes, I'm exaggerating a wee bit, as I am wont to do). They're also more practical exercises: lifting things up off the floor, for example, will always be a useful thing to be able to do.

Also, they are Hardcore and Cool, or something like that. According to my Hub you get more cred at the gym for using freeweights vs. machines, and much more cred for doing squats and deadlifts vs. bicep curls. Which is why, when he got me started doing squats, there was no fucking around with dumbbells or exercise balls; I was put directly into the cage and we started me off with the 45-pound bar.

First of all, I hadn't known I could squat 45 pounds, so this was a surprise. I was even more surprised that I could squat 70 pounds, which is what I ended up with for my working set. Hooray! Last night, after a week off from sickness, I did squats again, and am now up to 75 pounds for my working set. I'm pretty sure that this is a negligable amount in the grand scheme of things, but before this my experience was limited to our dumbbell set, which goes up to maybe 25 lbs per dumbbell, and I'd never maxed that out, so I'm downright giddy with power now. I AM MIGHTY. RAAAAWR!

We'll see how my shoulder shapes up. I want very much to get back to yoga (for more than one reason; more on that momentarily) and to start doing proper weightlifting; I want muscle, dammit, and the strength and nifty body shapes and better metabolism that go with it.

Here's the other big topic: the stress thing. Those of you keeping score may recall that I'm supposed to be starting to taper off my Zoloft use soon, and so I was even less pleased than normal to have something near to a nervous breakdown on Wednesday. Seriously, I just fell apart and was convinced that my life was going to collapse, that I should never have kids, because I'm clearly never going to have a good career and can't manage anything and will never make enough money and am clearly a LUNATIC on top of everything else and so on and so forth. In short, that was a bad moment, the worst I've had for quite some time, and it happened while I was on medication. Not good.

So: new tactic. The other week I heard something on NPR about treating pain and stress with "mindfulness" meditation, and I've been reading about it here and there ever since. After Wednesday's nastiness, I've ordered Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness and the Guided Mindfulness Meditation audiobook that works with it. I'm prone to high stress and anxiety, I know that, and I'm also aware that many of my biggest food-related stupid moments occur in times of high stress. (Which is just what I do to myself; what I dish out onto other people is even less excusable.) I want to fix this before kids come into the picture. More to the point, I want to fix this for myself, because I don't like being tense and stressed-out. So: I'm going into training, essentially, for my brain. I may wait until after I've done this for eight weeks.

The book and CDs come today, so I start tonight. Yeowza.


  • Good luck with the stress eating, I have the opposite problem, boredom eating. Stress puts me off food, I must need more stress! Lots more!!!

    By Blogger Chris H, at 5:54 PM  

  • dude! you have been a busy bee. glad to hear you got a shoulder diagnosis, and hope it's on the mend soon.

    and go you with the squatting... woohoo!

    also, i think it is just dead charming that your hubster is into this stuff now and actually teaching you, when last year you were trying to convert him to this whole healthy lifestyle thing. do you realise your POWER? you should start a cult or something!

    By Blogger Shauna, at 6:42 AM  

  • Good for you! Just wait until you get to the deadlifts - more cred than anything in the world! And good for you, lifting heavy. I needed a shot of your enthusiasm today, please do start a cult.

    By Blogger M@rla, at 7:52 AM  

  • This is wonderful news. Squats and deads rule, and you'll be squatting bodyweight+ in no time. Krista has a superb intro, and I also like Burnell's list of mental checkpoints to think about while squatting.

    By Blogger Mich, at 6:37 PM  

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