Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 18 - Back home, back in the saddle

So I'm back home, and back in touch with my scale. Which tells me that I was doing less well than I thought I was with guessimating portions.

Ah well. I'm back in the saddle now.

I both am/am not glad to be back into the numbers game for food. On the one hand, it's alot easier to figure out what to eat when the rules are so clear (and cheating is easier to resist). I had trouble getting into a "normal" habit post-PCP ... but then had only a couple of weeks before my Dad fell ill and any sort of regular diet and exercise went out the window. I'm very happy to get another chance to re-start.

On the other hand, I'm not wildly enthusiastic about the time lost to food prep ... but, fortunately, it's still close enough to PCP to remember the lessons/shortcuts learned then. And tonight, I'm making GAZPACHO! Yummmmmmmmmmmm.

For lunch today, I could have sworn I had a can of tuna fish in my office, but was apparently mistaken and settled for almond butter for my protein instead.

One thing I thought, as I did my workout on a wooded trail this weekend, was that I was really glad there was no one to see me do my jumping kicks. I had a sneaky suspicion that I probably looked a bit silly. But it preyed on my mind. This morning - because it was 84 degrees at 5 o'clock in the morning - I went to the gym and crept into the (smaller, and therefore better air-conditioned) room with the punching bags - and two walls of mirrors.

You know what? It was a little hard to watch myself and focus on what I was doing, but I didn't look half bad! No stealth ninja, but not a duck with club feet, either.

They still whip my butt.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Day 16 - KFB away from home

Some success, some failure.

Despite good intentions, my scale waits patiently on my kitchen counter - where I forgot to claim it to take with me up to Boston.

That's what will happen when you get up at 3 in the morning after a week of not enough sleep.

On the plus side, I'm on top of the work outs :)

As lovely as a run along the Minuteman trail was this morning, and as peaceful it was to do my leg swings, kicks and punches out on the trail ... the mosquitoes were not invited. And humidity = sticky = stinky!

Looking forward to a good night's rest tonight ....

Friday, May 28, 2010

Day 14 - Still tired and digging the day of (sort of) Rest

This has been a very long week -

Partly because I've somehow not gotten enough rest (partly my fault, partly because I'm not feeling as rested from the sleep that I do get ... no doubt due to stress), partly because there has just been so much going on with work, and partly because I haven't taken a day off since last year (yikes! where has the time gone?)

Along the same vein as my habit of setting impossible goals, one of the things that I keep trying to learn is to say "no" at work when someone asks me to help out with something. Instead, I should make a more realistic effort to evaluate if I can and then answer. I'm usually good for a little while and then begin slipping. This is the week of re-learning that lesson.

So I've been pretty much head down all week.

I can't tell if the workouts are contributing to my general fatigue or not - or if they are helping - but I was definitely relieved to have an easier morning. For the long weekend, I'm driving up to Boston and expect to be able to keep up with my KFB workouts - not so sure about the diet as I don't know what it will be :) but, we'll see.

Happy Friday All!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Day 13 - the need for sleep

Last night, desperately tired, I went to bed early and slept later than usual.

This morning I got up, feeling a bit better refreshed, and headed out to do my KFB workout. I showered, made breakfast and went to work.

Then felt like what I really needed was a nap. This isn't the first time it's happened, and I don't remember it happening when I was doing the PCP workouts. But, while the PCP workouts pushed my muscles, the KFB really takes the wind out of my sails (especially the kicks and punches). Hopefully I'll get acclimated to it soon. In the meantime, I think I might try scheduling a power nap before heading to work in the morning.


One of the things I like learning while doing the PCP was the incredible not-value of comfort eating.

Unfortunately, while I've learned that it doesn't work, doesn't satisfy, and brings more negatives than positives ... it has not cured me of the desire for a quick jolt of comfort. And I have not yet identified a substitute for food. This might be because there are no short-cuts to happiness, but I'd still like something pleasant to turn to when the urge manifests. Maybe meditation. Maybe a walk. Anyone have any suggestions?

Monday, May 24, 2010

Day 12 It's a Matter of Perspective

Perspective -

Every once in a while, I'll get a little nudge to remind me to keep things in perspective. This afternoon while preparing lunch at work, I was looking at it and thinking how non-PCP it was, and wondering/looking forward to/not looking forward to a more defined KFB diet, when a colleague came by and remarked how healthy my lunch was.

And it was. Not PCP stringent (salt, more carbs than PCP typically allowed, and enough avocado for me to feel indulgent), but a big arugula salad and smoked salmon and avocado on whole wheat is not un healthy. I have a tendency to set my personal bar ridiculously high, and then kick myself for not meeting my goals.

Well, duh. If your goal is perfection, you might want to get comfortable with disappointment.

Now I've personally come to the realization that I'm happier frequently falling short of impossible goals than feeling like a slacker for setting my sights too low by meeting my goals too often. You would think there would be a middle ground, but I haven't found it yet. But it's useful and good to get these reminders ever so often to re-ground my perspective.

I'm feeling pretty whipped today. Last night I stayed up past my bedtime to see The Prince of Persia (fun, obviously not a groundbreaking film, but free and I don't want those hours back). But I still got up early to start my KFB workout and did the hard half (core, stretching, and meditation to go) and now ... want a nap.

Day 11

I'm trying to conduct an experiment this week.

I've noticed, during my meditation attempts that while my mind has a tendency to float off to other things without my really noticing, when I try to draw back into the moment and to watch my thoughts, my mind is at its most quiet when I'm striving to be aware of what I'm hearing.

It's fairly quiet in my apartment and I'll hear the muffled sounds of neighbors getting ready for their day and the birds singing (and this time of year: not so quiet). At that hour of the morning there is not a lot of sounds of traffic - which paradoxically makes me more aware of it. I don't like the sound, especially while trying to meditate, because it makes me feel rushed and I think of the drivers busy on their way to work.

It occurred to me, that if just listening to the sounds of traffic wound me up, then perhaps one way to calm myself down would be to limit the noise in my life and embrace more quiet. So this week I'm:

  • not watching any television (not all that hard, as I usually only watch on the weekends)
  • not listening to music (except when running on the treadmill or while cleaning the apartment
This is harder than I thought. I've already turned the radio on in the car a couple of times before I remembered my experiment, and turned on music at work.

But I'm curious to see how it goes...

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Day 10

This morning I woke to very stiff and sore shoulders, upper back, and neck. It may have been the hook punches... but I'm more inclined to believe that it was due to rearranging all the furniture and other flotsam in my bedroom on Sunday. The sort of activity that almost inevitably awakens one to the existence of an otherwise forgotten muscle or three.

So I took a painkiller and hustled into the KFB workout. This morning was grey and rainy and I wanted to get a little running in so took myself to the gym. You know what they also have in my gym?

Punching bags. Long, almost floor to ceiling heavy ones, in a room with a wall of mirrors. And at 5 o'clock in the morning, no class is using that room. So I wandered in there to do my punches and kicks. Whereupon I learned a few things:

  1. my form is still pretty good (as in not bad, not that it was ever awesome)
  2. I can still punch with the proper two knuckles
  3. Those knuckles no longer have calluses. I might want to rethink the bag hitting
  4. The kicks are SOOOOOO much more satisfying against a target. Not only do I get to kick something, but I don't have to worry about hyper-extending myself kicking an imaginary target.
Because I was monkeying around at the gym, I didn't have time to do my stretching or meditation before booking it to work. But I'm kind of looking forward to doing them when I get home, to mentally and physically set aside work and step into my own time.

On an unrelated note:

We've all heard the drill - don't drink your calories. Which I'm normally pretty good about, except the occasional party and slightly less rare latte, but this will really open your eyes:

It boggles the mind to know (I didn't fact check this) that there is a beverage you can order, and (maybe - I don't think I could come close) completely consume that is 24 fluid oz (which equates to more than 1.5 pounds), is more than 2000 calories, and has enough saturated fat to be equivalent to more than 30 strips of bacon. Obviously, it would be hard not to know you were indulging while consuming, but still ....


Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 7 - The end of the first week

And today I am walking like a slightly-less-old woman.

My calves are still tight, but not as much and I more easily loosen up once I'm moving about. But semi-sensibly, I've left my KFB jump roping for this evening to do so better warmed up (and to get a little more sleep this morning, I confess). I'm pleased that the timing of the KFB means that the light day falls on Friday, which coordinates well with my schedule where Friday is the day I would find it the most difficult to get up and get a full work out in - as I learned when doing the PCP earlier this year.

Yay for happy circumstances!

And - despite having a mind that goes all over the place, I'm really enjoying the meditation portion of KFB


Jumping: 14 inches (my officemate and I spent some time figuring out what would be the best way to measure this - and decided that the most accurate and consistent method would be to measure the displacement of my head by jumping, as measuring from the ground up would vary by how straight my legs would be and how flexed/extended my feet would be)
Punching: 142 I didn't get around to acquiring a pingpong ball, so used a small sponge - either that or previous experience seems to have given me an advantage.
Stretching: about 2 inches past my toes (can place second knuckle on ground)

Before photo:Height: 5'5'' (not really expecting this to change :)
Weight: 145.8 lbs

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Day 6

Today I am walking like an old woman.

I don't feel like one, naturally, but my calves are tight and sore and it makes straightening my legs painful. I went on a little run this morning, and they loosened up - but after sitting for awhile they tighten up again. And I forget, so when I get up from working every so often, it's a bit of a surprise.

Patrick had asked us to get our benchmark measurements done by now, and I am delinquent (and feel disproportionally guilty about it). With my calves the way they are, today was also not a good day to either test my flexibility or my strength as I feel handicapped for those tests and don't want to sandbag future progress reports. I will try to benchmark tomorrow.

This week has been busier than usual - I'm still playing catchup from taking a week off to be home with my family and am looking forward to life slowly settling back to a sustainable level of activity. To be honest, I'm hoping to settle into a life with a little less activity than I've been accustomed to having. Or at least activity more consciously chosen.

This wish has crossed my mind more and more often in recent months - and is a thought that bumps across my mind at least twice during each meditation session attempt, as I try to be aware of being alive in the stillness of my apartment, listening to the distant sounds of traffic. I'm still feeling out what it is I'm actually reaching for, groping in the dark: it's not as though I'm looking for a life where I don't do anything and nothing happens. I'm probably looking to be more mindful of how I'm spending my time - and then either being present in what I'm doing, or not doing what doesn't really add anything to my life.

So much easier said than done ...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Day 5

Zoikes! Certain muscles in my legs are definitely feeling the kicks we've been doing, and it's a healthy reminder that I'm moving out of comfortable movements to become stronger and more agile.

Or that's what I keep telling myself. It took until the 4th or 5th rep for my legs to loosen up.

This morning I skipped any ancillary training in favor of sleep and feel much better for it, although it didn't manifest at all at my attempts to meditate this morning, when other thoughts kept intruding and I had the most interrupted meditation effort so far.

I've not yet done my benchmarking for the project - I've still got to find a ping-pong ball or substitute, although I have rounded up an accomplice for helping me with my jumping measurement. I suspect that I'll find it difficult to get motivated to benchmark myself often as it requires going out in search of a partner...

Internally, I'm discovering (or, re-discovering) a latent desire to have it ALL. I'm enjoying getting back into more intense exercise, but want to do MORE, I want to spend more thoughtful time writing blog posts, ...

and I want all that free time I had when I wasn't doing so much exercise or writing blog posts or preparing 6 healthy meals/snacks a day.

Greedy. That's what I am. Greedy.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 4

This morning I did 30 minutes/3 miles of interval training in addition to KFB - which may have been too much as I'm feeling pretty beat right now. Or that could be because I slept lightly last night, waking often and having weird dreams.

I dreamed that I'd damaged my feet and was limping around in a foreign country and trying desperately to avoid going to the emergency room - but I eventually unwrapped the bandages on my feet to discover that after a week I was still gushing blood and all the skin and protective flesh around my achilles tendon was gone. And then there was a lot of delay and waiting and moving to different hospitals (all in stairwells, for bizarre dream logic). Which sounds really gross and disturbing and, well, nightmarish, now that I'm describing it. But I wasn't really all that worried in the dream, and it didn't hurt, so emotionally the dream was just weird.

I should mention that while my dreams are invariably weird, they are not often bloody - and I don't think that I've ever had a nightmare. I've never been frightened or bothered by a dream.

This morning I tried doing the kicks like a Tang Soo Do front kick. Which made that quite a workout. I haven't done martial arts in nearly a decade (really? checking my math ... yes, really) and this is reminding me that I miss it...

Monday, May 17, 2010

Starting KFB

I was really excited to do the KFB when Patrick invited me - and excited to see how I would balance real life and what I learned from PCP before KFB began.

As circumstances had it, life blew me out of the water the day after PCP ended: my Dad had emergency surgery and was eventually sent home for Hospice care and died Mother's Day weekend. He had lived a good life (he was 86) and had been frustrated with limitations imposed by various physical ailments, but it's still sad, has taken a bit of the wind out of my sails, and leaves me feeling exhausted after 5 consecutive weekends spent driving home to Boston and back - a 600 mile round trip.

So, in a manner of speaking, KFB seems to have come at an ideal time:
  • when I'd already been thinking that I needed to do something to improve my flexibility,
  • when I need (and desperately want) to get back on a regular schedule of eating well and getting exercise after a few weeks where there wasn't time and my attention was entirely elsewhere,
  • when the prospect of getting my mental house in order and taking the time to slow down is unusually appealing
On the other hand, I was out of town for the first two days of the KFB and so am getting started late :(

Thoughts so far:

I may be over-thinking things, but I think that a video demonstration would help some of the dynamic exercises. I did the straight kicks like a Tang Soo Do Roundhouse kick, but on looking at the pictures again, they look more like a cross between a Tang Soo Do front kick (in which the pelvis faces forward, but which is a thrusting kick) and a roundhouse kick (in which the pelvis faces to the side, but is a swinging kick). I'm not sure if it matters for the purposes of the exercise, though ....

I have no idea what I should be stretching for the Rabbit stretch.

I like taking the time for stretching.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

The Kung Fu Body

And here I am again - I've signed up to beta-test Patrick's The Kung Fu Body.

Let's experiment!