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I suppose the fact that I haven’t been writing over here is a good sign, in that I’m feeling less conflicted about food and my body and my ability to build a healthy lifestyle that is not obsessed with absolutely under no circumstances baking a cake if I really really want cake. (I really wanted cake Monday. So I baked one. It’s yummy and almost half of it is still in the pan on the kitchen counter. But I digress.)

I am trying to develop a love affair with exercise – as I’ve mentioned before, I do feel so much better and more relaxed and I’m sure I am more pleasant to be around when I get up in the morning and even spend 20 minutes on the elliptical trainer. The catch is getting my ass out of be early enough to make it happen.

So, I’ve started making my default for my alarm 5:30 instead of 6:30. Not getting up to exercise is now the conscious exception, rather than affirmatively setting the alarm back an hour. Getting up with time to do this for myself is my new rule. It’s not perfect. The other night when I got caught up in a book and read until after midnight finishing it (Heir to Sevenwaters, I love Juliet Marrillier), I figured I needed at least a little more than 5 hours of sleep.

For the most part it works. And I feel better, and my clothes fit better, and I feel more toned and stronger. I am a nicer person. Really. Seriously. Why don’t you believe me? I am completely serious though – even though I’m operating on less sleep, I am less snappy and more able to just roll with things, just ask my kid. And I’m trying not to let the fact that I’ve also lost some “extra” lbs be too much of an incentive, but it does get me down below a particular psychological barrier as well.

And therein lies some conflict, because philosophically, I still find myself watching the scale and still looking at clothes in my closet and thinking if I could just lose 2515 lbs, I could maybe fit into these things again. And then I think, you know, if just upping a couple of days of exercise is enough to take off some of this weight and stored fat, then maybe there’s a different point besides just size acceptance here – I’m not dieting. I’m barely trying to eat healthier – although I have been eating a lot more organic and less processed food, including more fruits and veggies.

So maybe it all makes a difference together and maybe the only thing that is really important is that I am happy. To the extent that I feel better, it is not because I suddenly discovered that I’d “lost weight”- I felt better before that because I was taking better care of myself. And I like myself. I liked myself three weeks ago and I like myself now and I will like myself whether I keep exercising or not.

The scale does not define me, but neither does avoiding it. I have to find my own way.

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I had to skip my regular yoga class on Friday ’cause the kid was sick and I wanted to get home right after work.  That class is an “all levels” class – the idea being that, well, pretty much anyone can take it, from absolute beginners to people who have actually been doing yoga regularly for years.  I am usually toward the advanced middle of that class.  One of the interesting things I’ve noticed about taking a class that is designed to challenge even the most advanced yoginis (all the students are women in this particular class), is that everyone’s body has things that it can do easily, and things that are more difficult.  So, while I might be doing the most advanced pose in Warrior 1 variations with no problem, I may not be able to do a modified Downward Dog/Table variation designed to work the wrists and lower arms.  And I can’t do a particularly good Lotus or Crane without some serious manipulation.  OTOH, the very sweet woman who is taking her first class ever can plop down into a perfect lotus and sit forever with no strain. 

But, I digress.  Since I missed that class and really needed to get my stretch on, I went to a level 2 class on Sunday.  I was a little worried before I went – after all, while my instructor for my all level class agreed that a level 2 was appropriate for me, I’d never taken one and I was feeling stiff and sore and really NEEDED a good class.  Unfortunately, that one was definitely an eh. It was too structured and I didn’t feel like it worked my whole body.  It definitely did *something* because I’m stiff as all get out now, but I am desperately looking forward to Friday when I can go back to my regular class.  I have one more class that I can make up and I guess I’ll look at one of the early morning one.  Ack!

Speaking of early morning, I was supposed to get up by 5:30 this morning and actually use the bike – hoping, in part, that it would work some of the kinks out, especially in my legs – alas, I set the time, but neglected to turn the alarm on.  So, tomorrow it is, I suppose.  I’m feeling that urge in my body for exercise, after a mostly lazy weekend (that whole sick kid thing).  Hopefully I can get on a T/T bike in the mornings, F yoga at night kick with some pick up stuff in between and the occasional turn on the Fit.  Hopefully.  I really do feel tons better when I’m getting some sort of exercise a few times a week.

In the meantime, I appear to be losing something – my pants feel like they are falling off today.  It is hard to break out of the feeling that this is an accomplishment worth celebrating.  And, I suppose that on one hand it is – I am getting smaller not because I am dieting and depriving myself (says the woman who has been eating cupcakes and baklava all morning), but because I am mostly trying to eat more healthy food and I am trying to work out because it actually feels good – or at least better than not doing so.  New jeans in a size 10/12 and baggy work pants are a bonus.  One that I’ve used as a measure of self worth for a long time.  And maybe that’s the real issue.  I am not a better person because I lost 5 lbs or 1/4 of an inch from my waistline.  And it is sort of sick and twisted that I feel so damn good about it.

I keep trying to convince myself that this is not about the numbers on the scale.  Today is a good example of this.

I used the elliptical trainer for 30 minutes Tuesday night and I used the wii for 40 minutes last night – if I can keep focused on it, the bike is a better pure cardio workout – I’ll ride at a moderate to hard pace for approximately 43 minutes – the time it takes to watch a DVD of an “hour” long tv show.  Only allowing myself to watch these shows – starting with current shows like Lost and Grey’s Anatomy that I’d missed out on when they started and now things like Buffy and HBO series that we don’t get like Deadwood and Carnavale – while I exercise was a great motivator when I was just getting started and still is sometimes.

The thing about the Wii, though, is that it gives me more variety and I tend to be highly focused on whatever I’m doing while I’m doing it.  So, I work in fits and starts but that 6 minutes I spend hula hooping is an intense 6 minutes.  The 6 minutes I’m boxing is an intense 6 minutes.  The 5 minutes I’m stepping is an intense 5 minutes. 

I’m not loving the Wii yoga so much – part of that is the limitations of the space in our family room – there’s a drop ceiling, so upward stretching involves popping a tile and working around the support beams and there’s not as much floor space as I’d like.  But I think most of it is just how much I love doing “real yoga”.  I absolutely loved the class I took last Friday and am estatic that I have 10 more.  I’ve registered for that particular class, so now I get to end the work week with almost an hour and a half of yoga that is for all levels, so I can make it as intense or as relaxing as I want/need on that particular day.  The class was super small last week, between the weather and the long weekend, and we all got lots of individual attention, pose correction and adjustment, etc.  Afterwards the instructor mentioned that my body seemed very open and it was clear that I had a lot of experience doing yoga.  My immediate response was to say not really -which is true on one level.  Then again, I’ve been doing yoga off and on for 10 years.  10 years?!?!  How does that happen?

Anyway, I am really looking forward to class again tomorrow.  And I find myself fitting modified stretches and poses into my everyday life more.  I feel more relaxed and less tense and more powerful.  This is something that I notice whenever I start exercizing with any regularity – I start to feel straighter and stronger and healthier.   Also, while the scale is actually up a few pounds from last week’s weigh-in, my pants are looser and my body feels smoother and firmer.

So, maybe it doesn’t matter so much what it says on the scale.  My pants are loose and my back is straight and I look damn good.

This is a blog for accountability.

This is a blog for acceptance.

Like approximately, oh, 95% of the population, I want to lose weight.  Well, actually, not so much.  I want to lose inches.  I want to be in better shape.  I want to not feel run down constantly and consumed by food, rather than a consumer of food.  I want to pull on my pants without wincing at the tightness of the fit.  I want to run around with my son without feeling like I’m dying of exhaustion.

If all those things happen and the number on the scale happens to move, great.  And if I’m honest with myself, I want that number to move.  Oh how much do I.  But I also know that the number is not the important thing.  Feeling fitter and more in touch with my body and my health – those are.