I Am That Girl Now

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

And now you can't shut me up!

Day eight on reduced Zoloft. So far, so good. I've had several things come up that, two months ago, would have reduced me to a tightly wound stressball on the verge of tears, and I was just fine with it. Calm. Asked questions about stuff I didn't know, asked for help when I needed it, wasn't freaking out about what people thought of me. Take that, Zoloft; meditation is continuing to kick your ass.

My shoulder is doing well enough to switch to a upper/lower body split. Which is good, really, but I need to put together a better upper-body workout. My lower body stuff is great, since I've been working on that for two months; squats, step-ups, lunges (oh my God, I can do lunges! I still hate them, but I can do them!), hyperextentions, all that good stuff. I suspect I'm going to have to consult one of my Hub's books and put together a proper routine.

Need to get back to cardio, because I need to burn off some of this fat. Problem: I hate cardio. ARGH. I sense some quality time doing fartlek-style interval training outside coming up.

Good news: one of my friends, who took up strength training on the advice of her doctor (and a lot of encouragement from me and my Hub), has, after just one month, pretty much eliminated her carpal tunnel pain and has significantly lessened her lower back pain. I'm so proud.

I forgot to mention several magical things that have come with squats & meditation (although not both at once; that would be a transcendent experience of a very wrong kind and would involve LOTS OF PAIN).

1) Guys. I can squat. Like, I can lower my ass toward the floor, and not a) fall over or b) tip forward with my heels hiking up behind me. My heels stay on the floor. These are things that did not happen previous to the first week of March, when the Great Big Weight campaign began. I am so thrilled about this, I find myself doing little mini-squats while waiting for the train, just enjoying the fact that my body finally works in a way that everyone else's has all along. When I was all dressed up for a college-reunion-ish shindig last week, dress and heels and all, I tested a squat to see where I'd go with it (answer: ASS TO GRASS, baby, and even though it totally doesn't count because my heels were three inches in the air it still felt AWESOME). I often do little sumo-squatting poses just because I can.

See, I walked on my toes since I was born, which as far as I can tell is due to my tendons in my ankle area being shorter than normal. My entire life, I've been trying to figure out what the hell to do about this, because although it's definitely a memorable way to walk, it has fucked up my general skeletal alignment and made it hard for me to do a lot of things well. Squatting with low weight did not help. Stretching did not help. Lifting small weights with my toes (to contract the muscle that runs up the front of my calf) did not help. Squats with heavy weight, on the other hand, helped in just two damn months, not because my tendons have grown any, but because the other muscles have developed enough to compensate. Those muscles on the front of my calves are hugely stronger, and my quads are stronger, and to top it all off having this notion of how to move has actually changed the way I walk.

2) Mindfulness meditation being all about keeping one's brain in the moment, it is a hell of a thing when it comes to food. I have a tendency toward constantly thinking about the next thing, and the next, and hence giving somewhat shoddy treatment to the thing that I'm actually doing at that very moment; food is no exception. While chewing one bite, I tend to be readying the next bite, so I end up with too much in my mouth per bite, chewing incompletely, and bite follows bite so quickly that everything is done way too fast and I end up feeling unsatisfied, mentally, because I missed the whole thing.

I know I've thought about this before, talked about it before, tried to fix it before, but I think that this time, because it's tied to everything instead of just being associated with the reasons that it's hard to control my weight, it has sort of clicked. I'm at great risk of rushing through my life without actually experiencing any of it, much less enjoying the damn thing, so this is a great place to start. I've been trying to relax and concentrate on the sensations of having food in my mouth, of how it reacts to tooth pressure, moisture content, the tastes, yadda yadda yadda. Huh.

3) Doing things mindfully is kind of like indulging myself, in the best possible meaning of the word. Not thinking about anything else except for what's going on is a form of pampering. I'm not sure how to explain this, except for maybe that since I am generally ALWAYS thinking of what's coming next, planning ahead, and so forth, letting go of that part of my thinking for a while feels like a decadent vacation, even when what I'm doing is taking a shower, or brushing my teeth, or writing, or going to work.

4) Speaking of writing, learning how to relax into a task is helping me get my ass back onto the writing thing. Again, I've said shit like this before, and I realize that, but if one keeps falling off the horse then continuing to climb back up is as much of a victory as learning to stay on the damn thing. Hopefully this time is the time I learn to stay on, but if not, at least it's boosted me back on.

5) Big weights mean that I absolutely have to have good form and good posture, or else I'll hurt myself. I absolutely have to do things with concentration and mindfulness, listening carefully to my body and not doing any careless motion, because even if my legs can squat 130 pounds, that doesn't mean shit if my back can't take the work. It's starting to become automatic, though, to shift into good posture-- shoulders back, chest out, nice curve in my lower back-- in order to pick up anything, no matter how small. I think that's good. Hopefully it'll protect me from injury in my everyday life, not just in the gym.

6) If I can't do something right with big weight, that means that I have to take weight off, because my head, my habits, and my stabilizing muscles aren't up to the task that my bigger muscles can handle. It does not matter if my quads can handle 150 lbs if I don't have the strength elsewhere to keep it balanced. I can't hop ahead like that; I have to wait for the little pieces to fall into place, and just keep working. Doesn't mean that I'm failing; it just means that the little things are catching up. There's a metaphor for life there somewhere.

In other news, I'm trying to convince my Hub that we should just take the express bus after work that goes directly to our gym, rather than drive those days and end up spending $100/month on stupid parking. I may have convinced him to try one day per week. This is kind of a battle; while I don't mind the bus at all, my Hub has something against it. Grr. I'm not giving up on this one, though; this is one of the more ridiculous frivolous expenses we have these days, and if he wants it, he has to budget for it; it is absolutely not coming out of our main account.

We have to get the afternoon mini-meal hashed out, too. This battle has gone several rounds over the past few months, and every time I think we have it figured out, it goes awry. The thing is, my Hub must be fed regularly. He fails to comprehend that this means that he must plan for this and deal with it his own damn self. As a result, he hits hungry-stage right around the time that we leave work, and wants to make dinner immediately after we get home, which I still consider to be freakishly early for dinner. Everything else must be scheduled around the Feeding. This will not fucking well do.

Breakfast, we can handle. We are both packing mid-morning snacks/mini-meals. Lunch, we prepare in bulk and pack for the week. I'm convinced that the way to deal with the mid-afternoon mini-meal is to prepare them in advance, too. I'm going to throw something together tonight for just that purpose, and hopefully it'll fix all these stupid issues.


  • i'm curious... will you go back on zoloft after your pregnancy? or would this mean that you do not need the aid of zoloft anymore.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:42 PM  

  • Not going back on. Hopefully not ever.

    Half the stuff that I needed Zoloft to do, it could-- the brain chemical part, back when I went off the emotional cliff and couldn't climb back up. The other half is stuff that I thought Zoloft would fix, but which it didn't, and which is more receptive to mindfulness training-- my anxiety and general stress levels, my obsessiveness, and so forth. The chemical part is fixed; all I have to do is get through the tapering-off part, and I should be free & clear. That is, of course, as long as I keep doing my meditation.

    By Blogger Meg, at 1:57 PM  

  • I've been very interested in reading your experiences with meditation. It's one of the many things I've thought about doing but never actually have, but reading the benefits that you are getting from it has given me a new impetus. If you have any recommendations as to good books etc to use as a starter, I'd be very appreciative. Otherwise, keep up the good work, it's always fruitful in the end!

    By Blogger Cleavers, at 2:24 PM  

  • Hey, excellent! I'm glad to know that my babbling on the subject has been helpful, so-- yay!

    I've been using Full Catastrophe Living: Using the Wisdom of Your Body and Mind to Face Stress, Pain, and Illness and the CDs that go with them. I have a low tolerance for vague hippie-style blathering, which kept me from getting into meditation before, but thankfully this guy has a thorough grounding in science and brings the research, which I appreciated immensely. (My favorite bit of science: lab rabbits which are petted and snuggled on a regular basis are healthier, even when all other factors are identical. Hooray for research involving snuggling bunnies!)

    There are copies available on Half.com for a significantly reduced price; I ordered one for my sister a while back. Just FYI.

    By Blogger Meg, at 1:45 PM  

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