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I’ve been working on a new definition of being “good”, which involves things like working out 3-4 times a week andeating more fruits and veggies and less refined sugar because I feel better and am happier and less cranky and tired when I do these things. Under this new definition, “being good” also means taking time to do things that I want to do for myself, like write blog entries and short stories and novels; like pulling out my guitar and singing; like actually using the wonderful watercolor set I received from my partner for giftmas.

Good things. Ya know?

And as of last week, I was doing pretty good according to that definition. I got up and used the elliptical trainer a couple of mornings and was going to yoga for the first time in ages and was plotting out the next few chapters in my head…

Then I had a long Friday at work (contrary to popular belief and actual practice in many places, Friday is usually my worst workday because of developing crises in weekend programming. But I digress). I went into the first serious yoga class I’d been to in 6 weeks, having missed two for India, then had a heavy relaxation/light workout session, then a week off, then a migraine two weeks ago. I was tight. And tired. And stressed. And tight.  My body was telling me something was wrong through the whole class – weird muscle aches and cramps forced me to modify certain things. Then the instructor had us do a warrior 2 in a way I wasn’t used to and my center of gravity was off and I was frustrated and tired and pushing harder than I should have because I knew I could do the post better than I was. Then I heard the ripping sound. It was not, in fact, my awesome yoga pants. But rather was the sound of something awry in my inner thigh.

Sigh.

I’m still sore and I want comfort food and I’m grumpy and I’m reading things into innocent comments from my partner. I want to be active, dammit, and I can’t right now. We were supposed to go hiking this weekend – we have reservations at a lodge and everything. And now I don’t know if I can. I hate this. The smallest setback can completely torpedo my ability to easily like myself and to be proud of my accomplishments. And that is not good.

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.

Yoga tonight, finally, then dinner at the Melting Pot.

Also, I’ve been having crazy intense fruit cravings all week long. I’ve completely ignored ice cream at least three times this week, but put a pineapple in front of me and it’ll disappear.  I went to an Italian/salad bar place for lunch today solely because I knew they tend to have a really nice fruit selection and loaded up on mango and papaya.  If I could have more, I totally would, but I have no urge to go hunting down some other sort of snack. 

Weird that.

(imagine to the tune of Lola/Yoda and there you go)

I am soooooo sososo looking forward to yoga tonight.  Clearly I must have done some good with my exercize on Wednesday because I still feel stiff and a little sore and I cannot wait to be in that warm, softly lit room and stretch.  I can touch my toes people.  I’ve NEVER been able to touch my toes.  It’s amazing how just one long session a week with some incidental stretching and poses in between can make such a difference in how my body feels and how I carry myself.  The good thing about blogging these feelings is that hopefully when I fall off the exercise wagon I can look back and see just how good I do start to feel when I do this regularly.

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.

So I was pretty much dead on about last night’s dinner, to the point where there’s no point in re-mentioning it.

The evil toffee of evil is gone – thanks much to me – so that is at least good on the temptation front.  Damn that stuff is good.

I’m going to a yoga class tonight, which is a Good Thing.  I love yoga.  I’m looking forward to this.

Also, twice today I’ve looked in the mirror and thought “Damn, I look good.”