Halfway Through 100

As you may recall, I decided to do a few experiments this year. One of those experiments involved exercising at least 20 minutes a day, every day, for 100 days.

I’m now halfway through that goal.

The good news is that I’m not dead. I honestly thought by this point I’d be ready to quit, totally over the grind, constantly sore and tired. Well, I am constantly sore and tired, but I was before I started this little endeavor, so not much has changed there.

What has changed is how much easier it is for me to do my workouts in the morning. With this challenge in place, my stubborness wins out on the days that I’m not feeling like doing yoga or belly dance or cardio. I do it anyway. I feel like this stretch of consistency has set a good precedent for what happens after the 100 days is up.

I admit that I’m being careful with myself. The last thing I want to do is derail this experiment by doing myself an injury. And I acknowledge that my fitness level isn’t even close to where it used to be and where I’d like it to be.

But, it’s been fifty days, so I’m sure you’re wondering if I’ve noticed any progress.

Honestly, just a smidge. I was slow in introducing cardio into the routine because I knew how bad mine had gotten. So far, I’ve not died and I’ve noticed that the very basic, beginner routine I’m doing is slowly getting easier. I’m getting better at the yoga routines that I’ve been doing, though I haven’t mastered the half moon pose without falling over yet. And my belly dancing is getting stronger.

At least, this is what I’ve noticed on the good days. On the bad days, the days in which I’m tired and sore and cranky, it takes every bit of my energy to make it through half-way decently. I am noticing more good days than bad days, though.

Oh, when you ask about progress, you mean weight loss.

Well, I dunno. Maybe. The scale we have isn’t the most reliable thing. When I did my weigh-in (after four weeks), I either stayed the same, lost three pounds, or gained five. So, you know. Whatever.

Of course, weight loss isn’t my measure. I’m going by how I’m feeling. Am I feeling better?

Yeah, a little.

No, it’s not happening as fast as I’d like, definitely not as dramatically as I’d like, but it is trending in the right direction.

I’ll take it.


2018: The Experimental Year

When I was younger, my two preferred career choices were either shark biologist or meteorologist with a specialty in tornadoes. Because I only like science when it wants to kill me. Okay, that’s not entirely true, but my interest in science could be the reason why I’m doing a few experiments this year.

Or calling them experiments, anyway.

I suppose it might be more accurate to call them challenges or resolutions, but I already make half-assed resolutions, so I don’t need any more. And I don’t like calling them challenges. I do challenging things and they’re tiring. I don’t want to be exhausted just thinking about these things.

So, instead, I approach them scientifically. Because I love the scientific method. Somehow, that doesn’t sound exhausting to me.

I hadn’t intended to do any experiments this year, but in the last few days of 2017 and the first day of 2018, three ideas came to me and I decided to act on them.

Experiment #1: 100 Days of Exercise

December was a disaster for me fitness-wise. I was only a few days in and I was like, “Yeah, I’m tired. Can we be done?”, which fed into the struggles I’d already been having with my exercise routine. During my reset week (the days between Christmas and New Year’s Eve), I watched a lot of videos of people doing things every day for 100 days: going to the gym, doing push-ups, making origami birds. It inspired me to do my own thing.

At least twenty minutes of exercise every day for 100 days. I’m hoping that this will jerk me out of my exercise slump and help me feel better so I won’t descend into another slump later in the year.

Experiment #2: Write a page a day

Yes, I already write a lot. Just about every day in fact. I write whole novels in November. But as it’s commonly said among writers (or maybe I’ve just read it a few times and now I think it’s common), if you write one page a day, by the end of the year, you’ll have a book. And I want to try that.

I picked one of the story ideas that I got towards the end of 2017, one that I really like, but have no idea when I’d write. This experiment solves that. Now, I don’t know if I’ll actually write 365 pages of this story; I don’t think I’ve ever written any story that was that long, even double-spaced. But I will write one page a day, every day, until it’s done. That works for me.

I can also use this as a warm-up page to help me get into my writing work on the days I’m feeling sluggish and a bit procrastinate-y.

Experiment #3: Write four sentences in four different languages

By virtue of Duolingo, I’ve been studying different languages. I started with Spanish, which I took two years of in high school, because I needed to brush up in order to teach it to my nieces for their home school curriculum. When I finished all of the lessons in the Spanish section, I started with French. I hated French, so I didn’t get very far before stopping for a while.

When I picked it back up, I added Russian to my languages because I’ve always been fascinated with their alphabet and wanted to learn to read it. When Duolingo offered Czech in beta, I quickly added it, too, since it has some similarities to Russian.

Yes. I’m insane.

To help my understanding and memory retention, I thought it’d be a good idea to actually write a sentence in each language every day. Just one sentence per language and it doesn’t have to be a difficult one. It doesn’t even have to be the same one. With Spanish, I can pretty much write whatever comes to my head, but with the others, I’ll probably be copying sentences from the lessons until I get more comfortable.

I have no idea if this will actually help me with learning my languages, but I figure it can’t hurt. It’ll also be a good use for one of my many, many notebooks.

I’m looking forward to doing these three little experiments. If anything, they’ll make my year a little more interesting.

Science must be served!

Warning: Fat Girl Walking

Sometimes, if it’s nice out and I have reason to go, I walk to the post office. It’s barely over half a mile there and back, but I do it to get a little exercise in the course of mailing whatever it is that I need to mail. Plus it feels less wasteful than driving the few blocks there and back (unless it’s gross and/or I’m running a bunch of errands that day, then I don’t have a problem driving).

I’m not the kind of person that likes to walk if there’s not a purpose to it. And for me, walking only for the exercise is not a purpose.

When I was in grade school, I had a teacher obsessed with exercise. As such she’d take us on walks multiple times a week, making us walk long distances as fast as a bunch of fifth graders could manage. My fitness-minded mother often walked in the evenings after all of the daycare children went home. For at least thirty minutes, she’d power walk around the neighborhood to exercise. A couple of times she made my sister and I come along. She complained that we were too slow. We complained that it was pointless.

Now that I’m grown and no longer at the mercy of fitness-minded/exercise-obsessed adults, I only walk if I have a place to go and a purpose to fulfill. That makes sense to me. If I want to exercise, then I do yoga or I belly dance. Walking to the post office to mail something is bonus exercise.

But walking anywhere means that I am a fat girl walking.

For some reason, this is a sight to behold. People seem to find it very interesting. Eye catching, really.

Okay, yes, some of it is my own paranoia and projections, but we all know the truth of which I speak.

People LOOOOOVE to tell fat people to “take a walk, fattie”. And then when the fat folk do, they’re met with looks, glares, smirks, and sometimes even nasty comments hurled from vehicles as they pass. Thankfully, that last one has never happened to me. Most likely because even at my nicest I strike people as someone who will cut you.

If you can picture these two occurrences as a Venn diagram, they’d damn near overlap to form a flawless circle.

Now one would think that people so fatphobic that they offer unsolicited advice about exercising to lose weight would be supportive of someone doing just that. But no! You see, the underlying message here is not only should you not be fat, but you should also not attempt to alter your state of fatness in public. These people are only interested in the before and after pictures on the commercials; they’ve got no interest in witnessing the journey.

Furthermore, if these delightful humans found out that some of us fatties aren’t even walking to lose weight, that this is just a little bonus exercise to get things done, or a preferred method of cardio with an eye on fitness, not the scale, well, I imagine they’d be so offended by the notion that they’d melt from the heat generated by them frothing at the mouth and screaming about why this approach is WRONG.

Or, perhaps what would be the ultimate worst, that some fat people don’t walk for exercise. Not to lose weight, not for any modicum of fitness. They walk because, well, humans don’t hover. Sometimes bipedal transportation is just the only way to go. Think of all the fat people judged because they’re using mobility scooters. Now think about how those same people are judged if they’re walking around.

That judgement doesn’t change much does it?

You know what else doesn’t change?

Fat people walking around in public. That’s going to continue to happen for all of the various reasons listed above. Humans gained the ability to walk upright at some point, have been using it as a mode of transportation for ages, and well, despite all insults to the contrary, fat people are human too. We’re going to continue walking about in places where everyone and your God can see us.

So, if you do happen to see me on one of my post office walks, smile and wave.

Otherwise, keep on driving.

Fat Girl Fitness

I like exercise. Okay, some mornings I don’t feel like I want to do it and it’s kind of a chore, but overall, I like it. I like moving my body and I like the health benefits from it.

For about a year, I’ve been struggling with my workouts. Part of the problem was working full-time. I wasn’t exactly skilled at working in 20-30 minutes of movement after working all day (I sure as heck wasn’t getting up any earlier to do it before I left for the cube). The other part has been trying to find a workout routine that I can stick to.

FitTV was my main source of my workout. Remember that channel? It’s Discovery Health now. I did a belly dance workout every morning. When Fit TV took it off the air, they put several other shows in the time slot that mixed cardio kickboxing, Bollywood dancing, Latin dance, hip hop dance, and cardio sculpting. The days that they aired segments I didn’t like, I did yoga. It was working really nicely, or so I thought, until Oprah needed to have her own network and ruined mine.

So since then, I’ve really been struggling with finding something to do that I like, that I will do every day, that will help me achieve my goal of losing the forty pounds I put back on after I lost it in the first place.

At the end of October I took another setback when I hurt my knee. My already sporadic fitness routine ended up practically non-existent as I struggled to find exercises that I could do that wouldn’t further injure my knee.

All of this struggling and lack of progress took its toll on my self-esteem. And it’s pretty common that the worse you feel about yourself, the less likely you are to be motivated to be do anything about it. Frustration has a tendency to negatively affect my productivity.

But with the new year comes a new opportunity, or at least, that’s what it feels like. For some reason that symbolic restart was just what I needed to clear out some of my baggage and get back on the fitness horse once again. I still haven’t come up with a routine that I like and that I’ve stuck to, but I’m working on it.

I’m going back to basics and taking my own advice. First thing I’ve got to do is get into the habit of moving again, five days a week, no exceptions. My knee is healing and feeling better. I can do more now (wearing a brace during exercise helps). I need to take advantage of that. I need to move. Dancing (free style and belly), stretching, and yoga every morning should do it. These are all things I like. There’s no excuse for me not to do them.

Once I get that rhythm going, then adding in some weights in the afternoon won’t be a big deal. The one thing that retail offered me was that I could work out in the morning, then I’d be walking around when I was at work at night at least a couple of days a week. Writing, I tend to be planted in front of my computer for most of the day. A little sculpting in the afternoon would be a nice way to get the blood flowing and break up some of the afternoon slog.

I’m a big advocate for fat girl fitness. I give my fat girl friends fitness advice all the time. I’ve been doing this for years and I like to share my experience. It’s so easy to be overwhelmed with all of the information. It’s so easy to look at DVD taught by some skinny chick who’s never been fat a day in her life and think that you can’t do that. However, when some practical advice comes from a fat girl, someone who lives with it and struggles with it and does it anyway, it’s a little more encouraging.

This fat girl needs to listen to her own advice and stop over-thinking things. No, I’m not at the fitness level I was a few years ago and that’s frustrating. No, I’m not at the weight I was a few years ago and that’s frustrating. But I know how to get both of those things back, now don’t I? I’ve done it before.

So, shut up, listen, and do it. No excuses.