Training #29 – Rainy days and Mondays

For the record, it is presently a little overcast and I do not believe there is rain in the forecast. But this song came up as I was pulling into my driveway after training and seemed appropriate for today’s post. Only with a happy tone to it. M refers to that song and others like it as “crying” music. But oh well. We’ll play it on a faster speed and completely ignore the lyrics, which truly have nothing to do with my training recaps anyway.

So Monday morning, training with J, and it was just energetic and enthusiastic enough to blast me from my blogging bonk/funk. Not that I have oodles and oodles more new insights to share, but at least I feel in the ballpark of normal energy and tumbling thoughts pouring out my fingertips.

Today was a review day, of sorts, in that we did a previous workout only with heavier weights. The List:

  • A1 – 1-arm DB Row
  • A2 – Right Leg Bulgarian Split Squat
  • A3 – DB Chest Press
  • A4 – Left Leg Bulgarian Split Squat
  • A5 – DB Pullover
  • B1 – Right Leg 1-leg Romanian Dead Lift
  • B2 – Hammer Curl
  • B3 – Left Leg 1-leg Romanian Dead Lift
  • B4 – DB Triceps Extensions
  • B5 – Alt Side Lunge & Reach

We were at the end of our time and I was slogging through the lateral lunges – not a favorite – when J mentioned reading about biological imperatives: (1) food, (2) reproducing (sex), and (3) conserving energy. So now when my form starts faltering at the end of practice, I recognize I am just following a biological imperative and trying to conserve my energy. Or fighting against the biological imperative and pursuing the J imperative to dig deeper and maintain form throughout and finish the set. Either way, it was somehow comforting to know there is a reason my readiness to quit where I stand, rep count complete or not, other than I am inherently lazy. Because I am, inherently lazy. And selfish too, but that’s yet another blog post.

Today was fabulous for me. I was even able to identify the particular reasons behind that statement, other than it’s Monday, training with J, and he’s fabulous and makes training fun. Ummm, yes, all true, but training is also kind of hard work as well. But I am getting better at most of these exercises and not as in need of correction on things I know. But today was great because:

Blasted through my boredom wall. Bored me is dangerous me; negative girl’s confinement to her cage requires a higher level of discipline and my feeling bored makes me vulnerable to releasing her back into the wild. I also recognize the need to configure a realistic balance between working all the time or being completely off the addictive work-work-work drug and not sure what to do with myself. It’s a phase, a cycle I have been through many, many times before and know it will even out. Until then, I just have to accept that there will be periods of downtime when I will be bored out of my mind because I have forgotten how to relax and not be fully occupied.

Bumping up dumbbell weights. J made it a point to increase weight on the routine we are doing. Back to that inherently lazy thing, I tend to stay fixated on a weight and not budge from it until J says “let’s increase the weight” or I have to go up because it feels like I am not working at all and it is therefore wrong not to move up. The latter rarely happens. Usually the only other non-J-driven reason I increase weight is because there is no dumbbell available in what I want/need or I inadvertently pick up the wrong size.

Validation. For months I have been arriving at least 30 minutes before our scheduled session start time to mentally and physically warm-up. Sometime in the last months I have realized that the warm-up is primarily physical anymore; I no longer feel the need to get my head settled about being in the gym and finding my comfort zone. Growing older, being new to this regular exercise stuff, I have long felt that warming up was important for injury prevention, so I have been faithfully following a basic warm-up J wrote for me and adding other exercises to it based upon the intended List of the day. This morning J was hanging out with me while I went through my warm-up, the appointment before me having had to leave early. It is always nice to have the trainer eye in attendance during unguarded moments of preparation and not overthinking what I am doing. While I doubted I was doing anything egregiously awful, it was nice to have some validation that I am doing the warm-up exercises properly as well as doing an adequate allotment of warming up my muscles for “real” exercise.

Program rotation questions. During our sessions conversation ranges and many times J will share with me things from other clients and what they are doing, insights on issues others are facing. Last week he was sharing with me a brief story about another lady client and her need for more direction and structure in her programs. At the time I thought little of it, knowing my own sheaf of papers and Lists, but by Saturday I was thinking and wondering if I were somehow incorrect in my own List-of-the-day process of what to do in practices. My habit is to decide when I arrive at the gym what List I plan to do and stick with it, and I got to wondering if that was maybe not the best idea? Deep inside I doubted it, but the thought seed, once planted, will bug the crap out of me until allowed to bloom completely or ripped out by the roots. J confirms I am fine doing what I am doing.

So training was good, great, wonderful. And as usual it brought up other stuff to be wrestled to the ground over the course of the next few days and weeks.

All this stuff and having an appointment with TM tomorrow, RD on Wednesday churns up a bunch of new questions, queries, curiosities. After a weekend of a big void of blank space I suddenly realize I have some responsibility to my village to figure out what the heck might be going on inside my head and buried underneath all the work issues that have been churning like an ice cream creamery the last week or so. I think I remember what happens to me when my residents leave town or go on vacation; my brain goes into hibernation mode and pretends I am perfectly fine muddling through on my own.

Except I’m not quite there yet. Maybe I could be sidling up to the finish line in some ways, but I certainly do not feel ready to cross it of my own volition. Shoved across, sure. Dragged across kicking and screaming “nooooo … not ready … don’t make me!” absolutely possible. Not quite there and ready to say yes, I have all my crap together enough or have toolbox, know and understand how to use tools proficiently … nope, not quite yet. At least it’s no longer the absolute “no!” But I do give TM huge kudos for oh-so-gently sprinkling the idea around in our last meeting. It still needs time to take root, grow, bloom.

To be absolutely fair, no one in my village even remotely suggests it’s time to be set loose to trudge onward all on my own. TM, RD, J are remain a text or email or even a phone call (it would have to be urgent or an emergency) away if I falter or even it I splat when I fall down.

But maybe I am really considering what it all means and what it will be like on the TM front.

Originally I started the year with my annual tune-up, a test of sorts about how I feel, where my head is at, any niggling little problems nipping at my heels. My gym crazy was still in full bloom, every single day. Despite nearly daily, sometimes twice daily visits and practices, I was still anxious and afraid about going. Now, not so much. My confidence has increased and holds steady. I can even venture forth and use the cable machines on my own much of the time, until I am distracted with thoughts of ideas of other Lists that have captured me in their thrall. Work is going well, I am not losing sleep about marketing or the idea of being some superior failure at self-employment. I have successfully detached from professional association with my former firm, although I do still socialize with many of my former coworkers. Work life is leveling out, gym life is improving as well. Family life has always been stable and good.

However, my daughter is getting married in less than 2 weeks and I am not a wreck over it. What sort of mother am I? Shouldn’t I be completely losing my shit over a courthouse wedding? My friends who have successfully married off kids describe this sort of parent-of-zilla factor that I do not seem to feel. If she needs me I’m right here, but otherwise, it’s a simple courthouse ceremony. Hopefully she and her new spouse will pick a restaurant for dinner and we can celebrate with food, drink, cake and ice cream that evening. G is unsure he can get away for the ceremony and really wants to celebrate somehow with her, but the world as I know it will not end if that fails to happen.

G and K are also getting married in less than 5 months, and again, very zen about the whole thing. They are having a more traditional ceremony and brouhaha, and other than joy an happiness that they are having the wedding they want, I do not feel particularly left out and am happy when invited to express an opinion or participate in whatever mothers of the groom do. We have a great relationship, and that’s what matters most to me. I’m happy to look at rehearsal dinner venues tomorrow, have dinner with them, and then go view tuxedo styles; spending time together doing whatever we choose to do is the most precious and critical aspect to me.

But … and again, there always seems to be a “but” in such things … I wonder if there might be something mildly off about my priorities here. While I have never really considered myself a particularly competitive person, I am starting to recognize that I have very competitive tendencies that horrify me and must be squashed like a bug.

With my kids, how they choose to tie the knot is completely, totally about them. I want to be present, because I love them to the moon and stars and back, all of them. But it’s not about me, and I have good sense to not want it to be about me. I am not competing with my future sisters in mother-in-law-hood. We all love our kids, want them to be happy. I honestly do not care if the time spent wedding and event planning is an even-steven sort of proposition. I suck at that stuff. In fact, the primary reason we’re having the rehearsal dinner at a restaurant is because M and I are having anxiety attacks about being poor hosts for a large gathering of people we will have just met.

Maybe it’s because I am pretty secure with my place within my own nuclear family. The horrifying competitive streak within me most recently comes out when I am at the gym and just systemically working my way through a List and observing others around me. I rarely think about how much (or how little) weight I might be moving; J has me completely in the zone about lighter weights, higher reps much of the time. Today we did heavier weights, lower reps, and I am fine with that, too. But I admit to occasionally I having these weird little flashes of the shoulds, in that I should be doing more, moving heavier, doing something better.

Which is complete and total bullshit. Compare and contrast does nothing but hurt me and my overall efforts. Why, why, WHY do I periodically backslide into such self-destructive behaviors?

After this much time, I think I know better than to do that to myself, yet it still happens. Not today specifically, but I can recall an recent instance of inching forward toward the emotional cliffs of insanity over a silly, playful comment from a good friend who will be horrified when he reads this. Either that or he will be text-slapping me upside the head for taking him so seriously and out of context.

And that is the neon sign that I am so not ready to relinquish my lifeline to my village of experts. TM has no worries; my confidence is still shaky enough that I feel at least a few more weeks is in order to talk me off the bridge of inadequacy.

Then RD, just returning from a week away, emails me about why not a single text and no emails during his absence. He was on vacation – I can surely get through a week of eating more protein without a text or email fest of questions and bitching/moaning/complaining, right? Maybe, maybe not. I booked an appointment with him for Wednesday to talk more about calories, fat, and other foodie stuff. I am doing okay, numbers are consistently good without only an occasionally oddball high or low blood sugar reading for no apparent reason, but I want it on record that we talked about this stuff. Kaiser is sort of insidious about records and patient care, and I really need to follow-up and figure out what to do about weight management in the upcoming couple of months before my next endocrinologist appointment.

Because reality is that I have been drafted into a Kaiser system that looks at more than just my blood sugar and cholesterol and other indicators of good health. They also talk about things like weight and BMI and all those other happy/crappy numbers that can devastate my happy ignorance. I suspect there will be some additional, subtle pressure coming from others on the food chain to pay more attention and make those numbers come down.

And maybe it’s just time.

I do not want to become enslaved to a scale, but I also feel more resilient than I have to date about this aspect of my better health journey. RD has come to know me and my freak-out stressors pretty well in the months we have worked together, and I told him when I was ready to have a more in-depth conversation about calories and fat I’d set up a time and we would go forward. While we are a bit unconventional in our off-the-grid conversations, I know I never want to take advantage of his personal generosity with his time and expertise. Discussions and theories and experiments in plant-based protein is one thing, becoming more serious about refining my healthy eating plan for purposes of the dropping weight component of overall better health is another. It just seems like it’s time.

To that end I have been reading J-recommended books about dieting and feel empowered to not be living on some unsustainable diet of dry lettuce leaves and chicken breasts. Nor am I interested in cycling through with weekly cheat days or meals. And I am still not likely to be weighing and tracking every single gram of food that I put into my mouth. Somewhere between all those things is a sustainable, not miserable place for me. I have been listening to and learning from my various sources and experts. I have gathered some tools, absorbed quite a bit of information, and now I need RD to sit me down and show me how the blocks can fit together. Like he would with normal Kaiser diabetic patients, which we determined from almost our first meeting I was simply not.

Many of my friends are starting challenges with diet and exercise. Part of me feels slightly ahead of the curve with the exercise, but they may quickly leave me behind if I do not step up my game. See? Horrifying competitive self coming to the forefront. I find it natural to be supportive and encouraging to others in their better health efforts, and I am genuine and sincere in those efforts. However, it leaves the door open for me to be terrible to ME in the same breath. My brain makes these projections and theoretical statements about how everyone (key dramatic music here) is always enjoying more success and doing better, and the right sized chink in my armor for negative girl to seep into my thoughts and gut me happens more quickly that even I think possible.

I must find that balance that allows me to participate, support, and encourage others in their efforts to improve their health and to provide myself the same level of good and positive ju-ju in my own struggles to keep pressing ahead and overcome new and old obstacles. I feel as if I am closer than I have been in perhaps ever, but the battles to maintain my positive forward motion rages onward. This is so not the time to consider retiring any of my generals from the war with myself.

So … I think TM and RD are stuck with me for awhile to come. I already re-enlisted with J last week, all good there.

And I am consciously banishing the feeling of failure that comes from having my own village. Instead, I am opting to feel blessed that I can afford such perfect-for-me advisors and coaches. I am the lucky one.

Just for today, I truly believe that. Success is an evolving concept, written and rewritten as the days pass. Whatever my version eventually becomes into the future, I will achieve it. Eventually. For now, I just keep putting one foot in front of the other and moseying along my own path.

Happy Monday everyone!

4 thoughts on “Training #29 – Rainy days and Mondays

  1. Wow – lots going on there! My competitive streak at the gym is looking at other people with trainers and am I doing more? D pushing me harder? Am I using a heavier weight? Better form? I am so full of it. 😉

    But I am also slowly working my way through your recommendation – Zen Fitness, Tao Health. Slow because there is lots lots lots to think about and ponder. I’m headed to a big conference in DC where I will see lots of people I haven’t seen in a year (6 sizes ago). And while I am in the best physical shape of my life – I have been freaking out this week – do I look ok? Attractive? Different? And then I was reading the book and read the statement below and stopped – took a deep breath and calmed down a bit.

    “I may not be where I aim to be, but today I am no longer where I used to be.”

    I’m centering my thoughts on that and stepping back a little – not from the exercise or diet – but from worrying about when the next pounds will drop or size will go down (still worried about test results next week with doctor). Really I am figuring out what I should be aiming for now.

    And your no-drama wedding attitude seems delightful to me!

    • Oh SAK, you look FABULOUS and anyone who does not immediately notice it and think highly complimentary thoughts about it is completely, totally blind.
      Isn’t Scott Abel the BEST? I just finished his latest book (Permanent Weight Loss) for the second time and am so slowly digesting it. His books have been like he is talking directly to me, regular person with issues. And yes, reading it is slow going, because there is a lot of wisdom in that small volume.
      I’m liking me more and more. It’s like knowing I have the just right portion on the plate in front of me, but I am consuming it in tiny little bites but steadily working at it. Slowly but surely I will finish it and be ready to step away from the table.

  2. I think you are being the perfect mother/mother in law for you and for who your children are. You are their go to person, they trust you to be the voice of reason and their go to person. Plus you are a great person not to text or email your doctor on vacation 🙂

    • Possibly true. But you know there is always someone who sort of reprimands you in tone about what kind of parent you are, even when your kids are grown and on their own. I wonder if there is one of those tones for grandparenting? It’s entirely possible I will never know, although I am already getting it for being so zen about the whole grandkids/no grandkids situation. Seriously, I raised my kids; if they choose to not have any of their own, so be it.

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