Sunday, June 30, 2013

Days of Our Gym: Sharing, Caring, and the Karma You Get Back

So here's the latest episode of Days of Our Gym-the continuing soap opera of my gym. The highs (runner's highs) and the lows (nice low pushups), the ups (chin-ups) and downs (downward dogs), and all sorts of other stuff that happens at my gym. This week's is a mash-up of the past 2 weeks.

Saturday(s) yoga: 
Last week, I skipped my major yoga weekend workout because teen daughter needed to be driven to Madison for a summer camp. So yesterday, when I rolled my feet over my head to do plow pose--whoa! cricks! The rest of the poses were fine, but I never expect plow pose to get stiffer that fast. Yes, some of my flexibility is so fleeting that if I miss a single week, it is noticeably more difficult the next week. So yesterday, I stayed an entire 3 hours at the gym to do an incredibly slow and thorough yoga workout. Every pose was done slower and more times. Plow pose was done again later on, in which I had relaxed my body enough for a very good plow. It was a wonderful experience.

I taught C., a gym fitness instructor, more about dancing on the top of Bosu balls (flat side up). I'm pretty good at dancing on a Bosu ball. I explained to her that to maintain balance, the opposite arm has to always counterbalance what the leg on the other side is doing--just like how speed skaters balance when skating.   

Apollo Ohno counterbalancing his leg with the opposite arm.

So every leg movement has to have a counterbalancing arm movement on the other side to keep balance. She was quite slow and wobbly when she tried it. I dance full songs on the Bosu ball at the gym every week, so my body understands how to balance that way. I told her that it just takes practice.

Today, I saw a woman balancing on a Bosu ball. She told me that she recently had a foot injury, and that she was rehabbing it. She knows, as I tell you quite often, that balancing poses are quite good for rehabbing feet, ankle, and knee ailments. I rehabbed my tricky knee with balancing poses, and they are an exercise that I consider essential for my joint health.

Sunday(s) Weightlifting:
Last week, a guy was using the lat pull down machine for a long time. But, no problem, I asked if I could "work in," which means to take turns using the same machine or equipment at the gym. I'd do a set while he rested from his set. He said sure! And this is how friendships are built. Someone is considerate to you, and next week you can often return the favor. And it worked great. I got in all of my sets of reverse grip pull downs. And I walked a few brisk laps around the gym when he was doing his sets. 

Yesterday, I saw that guy again, J. who is about my age, because we formally introduced ourselves. And we both had good things to say about each other. I told him of the lovely back form he had for a certain exercise. He told me that my current hanging bar exercises were "outstanding." And he described how he saw it: hanging from the bar with my arms bent and my legs pulled up. A couple of other guys have recently stopped to tell me they like my "work ethic" with my hanging exercises. My gym buddy A. also complimented my progress, so 8 months of this hanging leg lifts project and my chin-ups project must be paying off.  I which I could see this--I've never seen what they see. Maybe I can get gal pal T. to take a phone pic of this, since I have taken some gym pics for her.

While my back is getting stronger, my bench press has suffered a little lately. I was sick with a cold during this week (but all better now!), so I did not do as many pushups during mid-week as usual. I just have to get over that. Some weeks are a little disappointing for certain exercises--but I know what to do for a better upcoming week. 

Some dude (NOT a gym buddy), let's call him Hoggy, was using 2 of the 45 pound bars today at one time--for himself. Well, when I went over to the free weights area, all of the 45 lb bars were being used. So I did ask him if he was using both bars. He said yes. I assertively informed him that there were no other 45 pound bars for me to use, so I would wait a few minutes to see if one becomes free, otherwise I would like one of the two bars. He pointed out a 30 pound bar that was available. I told him I don't use 30 pound bars because they play mind games, which is true. He knew what I was talking about. It appears that you are lifting heavier than you are because the bar itself is 15 pounds lighter but looks very much like the 45 pound bar. A 45 pound bar did become available during that exact moment, and I took that one.

So Hoggy kept using 2 bars, while another guy right beside him then used the 30 pound bar for bench press--which is pretty rude, if you ask me. I teach smaller women how to do bench press with the 30 pound bar. NO weightlifting guy wants to do bench press with the 30 lb bar for the mind game reasons I described.

Finally Hoggy left.  But what gift did he leave us? He left 4 45 pound plates on one bar, and some more plates on the second bar. He left a medicine ball and a sweat towel too. No one's cool to the rest of us--unless you clean up your stuff. Nobody wants to put Hoggy's stuff away because we all have limited workout time ourselves. Further, the sweat towel is especially important to remove because displaying a sweat towel over a bar tells everyone else that you are still using that machine or bench. So people would automatically assume it was being used with the sweat towel draped there--even though it was available. I put away his medicine ball and sweat towel when going that direction.Ugh.

However, I fully cleaned up at the other Smith machine instead, so I could do my hanging exercises, because I thought it would take me less time than cleaning everything up after Hoggy. At that Smith machine, someone left a 60 pound dumbbell. I can easily carry a 60 pound dumbbell back to the other side of the free weights area, but some women can't. If a smaller woman would have come across this situation, she would have had to ask a guy to help her move it. But usually a woman who comes across this situation just finds something else to do, that is not impeded by huge weights leftover from lazy weightlifters. Again, to both lazy dudes--not cool.

But was I angry? They are who they are. Next week, they will probably do the same thing. I can't fix that. And I like to be happy. So I still had a wonderful time doing my hanging exercises, especially considering all the nice compliments I've received about them lately floating so nicely in my mind.

I said something or another to T., my prettier-than-anyone-needs-to-be gal pal. She said, "You complement me every time you see me." I replied, "If I think something nice about someone, I say it. It's a good way to live, and the karma comes back to me." She did raise that I told her that I hate her 3% (because she makes me appear less pretty beside her). (But she said she hated me 3% back for me being able to do splits when she can't.) I replied teasingly, "Well, eat a couple dozen doughnuts and plump up, and then I'll look a little cuter beside you and we can fix that 3%." She laughed. Some years ago, T. lost over 50 pounds, and she's never going back. Her calories are always kept in check. 

I saw my gym buddy A. looking purely exhausted from his workout. "I feel that way too," I said. But I still had some workout time left, so what to do? Well, I can always do more AB exercises. So I did those for a while. My ABs look good, but AB strength is the core of many exercises, so it is advantageous to get them stronger.

I ended today's workout with--you'll never guess. Lots of somersaults! Lots of forward and backward somersaults. Some with straddled legs too. It was fun and something I haven't done for a long time.

What do *you* think?  As usual, add whatever you think.

Have a fantastic day!

:-) Marion

Friday, June 28, 2013

Under Fitness Construction

If you look at my blog, you will see a bunch of new changes. Also, I'm adding better links for you to find good health and fitness info. I am trying to get my blog to look more fitness-orientated. I felt the last blog design, while nice (and very blue), hid the fitness element of my blog. I want first-time viewers to get a better sense of what I'm like.

Way More Fitness Photos!
So I have put up a LOT more fitness photos. I hope it is not too obnoxious. (If it is, blogging buddies please kindly tell me that.<<Emphasis on kindly, here.) I always feel that looking at myself in photos is obnoxious to myself. However, I must confess that I LOVE looking at other bloggers' fitness photos. They are amazing, so I try to understand my own bias against myself here. :D

However, this is a place that is supposed to inspire people to eat right and do better fitness--so I should have photos that encourage and inspire that. If you look at one of these pics and think, I'm going to exercise because it looks fun! or Marion lost her weight, I can do that too, well, then I succeed.

New and Improved Blog Links
I also have been including more blog links on the right side lately. Some more popular blogs have linked me--and I got quite a few views from them, as well as new followers. Thanks so much! And I'd like to do the same for others. So if you link me, please let me know if I haven't linked you back--because I want to do that. (And bloggers, you should consider making a link down the side of your blog, if you haven't done so, for this very reason.)

I have included extremely popular fitness blogs on the list. Dave Draper's blog, for example, is my ultimate #1 weightlifting website to read. He's so cool and is so inspiring. His blog is not so good, but if you click the link, you get to his website which has thousands of awesome pages of inspiration.  Ross Training always has at least one super inspiring video per week to rev you up for fitness. I love them, and hope you do too. Yoga Dork is a incredibly fun yoga site with celebrities doing yoga, and fun stuff like that. Then there's LeanGains for intermittent fasting, Mark's Daily Apple for paleo eating, and Fitness Blackbook for super intriguing fitness information. Links are all on the right side.

Then there are popular doctor blogs I have linked. Dr. Sharma's blog, Dr. J's blog, Dr. Briffa's blog, Dr. Freedhoff's blog Weighty Matters, and Obesity Panacea. If you don't like the current blog topic, click the link to find good stuff in the archives. I also have Refuse to Regain, a popular weight maintenance blog, linked.

Lastly but bestly, my blogging friends. You know, I've learned the most about fitness and weight loss from my friends. Not professionals, but just kind people who wanted to help me. So a bunch of you are linked too. (If you have me linked, and I have not linked you, please let me know. I am human and error-ridden. :D ) I probably need to update these links, as well. If I recently followed you, you might not be up there yet. I keep learning, and I pass it forward.

You should know that I have some blogging friends whose blogging info is outstanding. You guys know who you are. :D  I tell you this all the time in my comments about how much you help ME.

But also, I have up-and-coming blogging friends linked too. They are still working their health formula out. If you are really trying hard, with no excuses, then I want linked too. We all need to support people, even if they have not reached their goals yet. So I might not be updated with you up-and-coming people either. So let me know. 

That's it. My current blogging project. If it inspires you just a little, I have succeeded. :D

What do *you* think? Let me know.

Have a wonderful day!

:-) Marion

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Headstands, Splits, and Other Yoga Poses


I'm learning to edit these photos. So they are going to be replaced a few times tonight as I learn what I'm doing. :D

Headstands, Splits, and Other Yoga Poses


Headstands, Splits, and Other Yoga Poses, a set on Flickr. A few photos are new that I haven't put up on the blog yet.

In case you wondered, I just set up a Flickr account in an attempt to figure out how to make a slide show for this blog.

UPDATE: I did figure out how to make a Flickr slideshow--small miracle. :D

Also check out my Flickr photos by clicking the link.

I'd eventually like to get my blog to look as cool as my new Flickr page. ;D

:-) Marion



Dips, a set on Flickr.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Weight Loss Meeting: Puzzles and How Much Cardio I Actually Do

Last night, I went to my weight loss meeting. Of course, I cannot share anything personal about the others in my group. But we have a good time, and I think you'd like to hear about the topics and issues that we discuss. So here comes the weight loss meeting gossip...woo hoo!

We are doing a puzzle game right now--place up to 5 pieces on your puzzle per week for the following: 1) lose weight; 2) attend meeting; 3) food journal; 4) drink 8 glasses of water per day; and 5) exercise at least 3 times per week. Well, a couple of people noticed that someone wasn't filling in their puzzle. That would be me.

Why? Because I haven't lost weight this past month (haven't gained either), and because all of my puzzle pieces look like confusing pieces of lettuce. "I think my puzzle picture is a salad with a tiny fish on top," I said, which is exactly what it looks like. The reason I got behind on my puzzle is that sometimes I have arrived a few minutes before the meeting, in which I have to weigh in and start my secretary's meeting notes to get as much stuff done on that before the meeting starts.

Once I got behind, I thought, who cares. A person with 4 kids did enough leafy puzzles in my lifetime anyhow. But people wanted amusement of my puzzle struggles, so I indulged them asking, "Am I allowed to be the F kindergarten student and just glue on 5 pieces any which way???" Apparently, they think I'm more capable than that. I already spilled a drink over the corner of this puzzle a few weeks ago, so some of these puzzle pieces were really smacked hard onto a warped edge, and kept popping back off. The struggle was NOT averted.

Madame Secretary--I am called. "Oh, I love being called Madame Secretary due to all of the power from my position," I say. They laugh. What power?! We have about 16 members at average meetings. Nobody wants my job, but strangely, I like it more than I thought. When I read the minutes about last week's "open discussion" meeting, among other things, I mentioned that we discussed "Marion's obsessions" to which a few people chuckled because they remembered that.

For the new business, TOPS recently put out new dates for upcoming rallys and conventions, etc... Well, I was raised in Minnesota, where I know where a few dozen lakes are located, off the top of my head. However, despite living in Milwaukee, when I hear too many Wisconsin town names like Pewaukee and Waunakee and Sheboygan, and Menomonee Falls (and no, I do NOT care if I spelled these wrong), at some point I give up. I always say, "Ask [leader's name] if you want more info on getting to that town" behind every one of these. Last night, I added, "Actually ask [leader's name] anything, like if you can't meet with a psychiatrist and want some advice, just ask her." To which people laughed, and someone added, "Help 5 cents."Our group's leader is a very nice and wise person.

I had the presentation last night--What was it? Oh, that's a mystery because I'm going to put it up here later this week. I can't put down the topic and then you all Google it and deflate the intrigue. This turned out to be a great presentation in that people all jumped in to make their own interesting insights, like when my blog comments take on a life of their own.

The guy who borrowed my Joe Weider weightlifting book was back-- On the way out to the parking lot, he said he is thinking of taking yoga, which I think is a good idea. He is pretty overweight still and says his family has weak knees. "Oh, my family too. They look so durable--but actually pretty weak." Balancing poses, I told him, are excellent for strengthening knees, ankles, and feet.

So we got into a conversation about my exercise. He was surprised that I really don't do a lot of cardio per week. Friends, I'm not a huge cardio person. I dog-show-run Keebler, my dog, around the neighborhood about 5 miles per week (1-mile excursions). I speed-walk (faster than some joggers) 1 mile at the gym per week. I walk up a steep hill/incline on treadmill (not holding on) for 1 mile per week. That is it, besides my frequent shopping with teen daughter and trotting up and down the stairs of the house for various reasons. My knees feel great, and I never hurt. It is the other exercises I do that keep me lean and muscle-y--not cardio. This guy was surprised--because he thought I'd be an over-doer of cardio--but I'm not.

We had a visiting TOPS member from Colorado. That's cool.

We have a few members who haven't been showing up at all lately. Some members think that it is rude to call them to inquire about it. "They're adults, and they know what they're doing." But I said I'd call these two people because I know from blogging, that, often, they don't feel like that at all. Sometimes, people need to know that they are missed and welcome, no matter what weight.

If you want magic in your life--then you have to produce your own magic. People often join a weight loss group and wait for the brrrrinng--"magic" to happen to them. But then it doesn't--weight loss doesn't come, or it doesn't stay. The weight loss group members are merely support and positive influence, but other people's influence is never enough when you're all alone with food on your worst day. You have to be your own best friend when it counts. If I seem quite exhilarated, fun, dream-like, and otherwise sort of magical about fitness and weight loss, it is because I choose to be that way. And *you* can be however you want to be about *your* fitness and weight loss too. But in the end, it is always up to you to make it happen for yourself.

I promise you--we all ALL "too busy" for weight loss groups when we are gaining weight. NOBODY likes being weighed after a week of naughty eating. But, perhaps, the weight loss meetings can also be viewed as a new week's beginning, and of a re-commitment to ourselves. I learned a lot about coming back to meetings when-- I. Did. Not. Want. To. We don't always like what we did, but we constantly have to re-commit.

What do *you* think? Honestly, I read the comments and am really surprised at what matters to you at your point in your life. I often think that a certain sentence of a post is the very best---and then, usually, each person thinks other points are far more important to them. So, of course, add anything you want to say. I'm always curious. :D

Have a magical (yes, you create that yourself) day!

:-) Marion

Sunday, June 23, 2013

My Rocky Fitness Dream Behind Eating Boiled Egg Whites (And Why It Drives Over Cheesecake Fantasy With A Semi-Truck)

Excited about your healthy eating? Not so much? Well, today I'm going to tell you about my Rocky Fitness Dream behind me eating boiled egg whites. Lots of pictures today and quirky annotation. Trust me, my gym buddies are amused and inspired when they hear about this, and you will be too.

 When I tell people that I eat boiled egg whites, as some of you know, people have said things like, "Ugh. Nasty." But what these people don't understand is that boiled egg whites have a complete fitness dream attached to them.

I'm not just eating the boiled egg whites, 
I'm consuming the dream

Necessary background on egg whites: They are 1) super high in protein; 2) super low in calories; and 3) have no fat. One egg white has only 17 calories. And, best of all, eating some egg whites make you feel full and satisfied. All of this info is sort of sexy in itself, huh.

But what we're all waiting for....

My Rocky Fitness Dream behind eating boiled egg whites: 

Here's Rocky chugging down his glass of raw eggs. (Super cool, but my fitness dream deviates slightly here and does not include raw eggs. Wonderful that I have a stove that boils eggs so great.)


Then Rocky does his hanging exercises. (Boy, do I love my hanging exercises at the gym!!! I wish I had this set-up in my backyard too.)

Then Rocky does his famous push ups. (I love doing some Rocky push ups with the medicine ball. Can't get more classic than that!)


Then Rocky triumphs.
He ate right, he did the work,
he gets the triumph.

Now the Rocky Fitness Dream turns to me: 

I eat my boiled egg whites while consuming my fitness dream, and then I ...

Bench press like a girl monster:

Pulling down more than my weight--Arghhh!:


Dips like magic:

I ate right, I did the work,
I get the triumph!!!

Didn't this Rocky Fitness Dream drive over any cheesecake fantasy with a semi-truck because--all fattening food fantasies end up with the eater feeling like a chubby loser.

When I eat clean foods, I know that I'm a winner, and even more so, that I ate to strategize for me to keep being a winner. We can eat to make our lives better and more special! There's loads of self-love in this eating/fitness dream.

Does it matter that we're not as athletic as Rocky for this fitness dream? Not at all! Each of us has to make the very best of ourselves. We are all we got, baby! It's not a competition; it's about you and me leading fulfilling lives and meeting our personal potential. We all deserve to be our best.

We should all make our own fitness dream--and live it.

By the way, this Rocky Fitness Dream of mine started before I was in great shape. You have to dream it to make it ever happen. So if you're a fitness newbie, turn up the fitness dream level way up! And crank it loud!!!

It's like a fitness food psych-up! All happy and thrilling to the mind each time I eat my boiled egg whites. You never get that from eating junk food crap.

What do *you* think? I hope you found this amusing and inspirational for your healthy eating. As usual, add whatever comment you want to say. Right now, I'm off to the kitchen to boil some egg whites for lunch. :D

:-) Marion

P.S. Instructions for perfect hard-boiled eggs: 1) Place eggs in a big pot with water (about 1/2 inch of water over the tops of the eggs). 2) Cook until the water boils. 3) Turn heat down and simmer eggs for 20 more minutes ("Simmer" means hot but not boiling). 4) Rinse in cold water and then let them soak in cold water. 5) Peel eggs as soon as cool enough--because they are super easy to peel right after cooking. 6) Rinse the peeled eggs once more to get off all tiny bits of remaining egg shells. 7) Eat whole eggs or pop out the yolks like I do. 7) Sprinkle egg white halves with your favorite seasonings, like salt, pepper, Parmesan cheese, red pepper flakes, etc...

Thursday, June 20, 2013

The Answer You Need To Know--To Weigh Less

This is very interesting research from Dr. Sharma's blog.

Question for *You* to answer: 

Do you believe that excess weight is caused mostly by: 
A. Overeating
B. Lack of exercise

Research found the following results: 

People who believe that excess weight is caused by overeating
--are less likely to be overweight. 

People who believe that excess weight is caused by lack of exercise
-- are more likely to be overweight.

According to a study published by Brent McFerran and Anirban Mukhopadhyay from the University of Michigan in Psychological Science, according to a series of studies across five countries on three continents, researchers found that:

Individuals who believed that obesity was mainly caused by a lack of exercise were more likely to actually be overweight than those who believed that obesity was mainly caused by a poor diet.

In one of these studies, twice as many individuals who thought that obesity was due to lack of exercise met the BMI criteria for overweight than those who thought obesity was caused by eating too much. These findings were consistent across all studies in all populations.

What this means for you:
To get successful with your weight---you need to face that it is excess eating that causes the extra pounds. Then you can effectively make a solution that involves less daily calories.

I will say this until I'm blue in the face--Vigorous exercise will not burn up excess eating. Those cardio machines are the biggest liars. They do NOT burn off as many calories as they say. No exercise does. It takes a marathon of running (26 miles of running) for an average woman to lose just 1 pound of calories. (Some women will lose less than a pound for a marathon.)

This is why we all know chubby people who are actually quite athletic but have excess pounds. They exercise many hours per week but do not burn off the excess calories they eat. (Marion used to be one of these people!--fitness freak with excess pounds.) So it's easy to see why it is more effective to rely on restricting calories that we eat.

I tell you this because I care. I believe that I'm saving you frustration by telling this to you straight and honest. Then, when you plan your formula, it will include the proper amount of food reduction, calorie-wise, to help *you* achieve success. I really do, with all my heart, want you to succeed. :D 

What do *you* think?  As usual, add whatever is on your mind.

Have a marvelous day!

:-) Marion

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

I Got Told I was "Obsessed" About My Eating

Last night, at my weight loss meeting, we had an "open discussion," meaning that the entire group talked spontaneously weight loss/maintenance issues for 30 minutes, during which another member told me I was "obsessed" about my eating. In this post, I will discuss that meeting. (Ooh, weight loss meeting gossip here!)

Last night, at our weight loss meeting, one woman explained how she struggles to make food that her husband and children will eat--that was also healthy for her to eat. One example she gave was how she rinses fat off of meat before using it in recipes.

I commented, "I pretty much eat entirely different food than my family eats."

Then a woman who greatly struggles with her excess weight (trying to be polite here) told me, "Marion, you are obsessive with your eating." She went on and on telling me about how she thinks how I eat is "obsessive" and how "your eating has taken highest priority in your life."

I answered with some of the following statements:
  • "I have 4 kids, a job, and a house to run.  I don't really have time for eating to be the highest priority in my life."
  • "You might call food journaling for 260 days in a row obsessive, I think of it as committed."
  • "A person does have to become more obsessive about calorie counting and food portions to get to a much smaller size. If I relaxed my eating, I'd be a size 16."
  • "If I did not have my strict food rules, I'd drive my diet motorcycle straight off the cliff."
This is the same woman who previously said "Ugh. Nasty." to me eating plain oatmeal and boiled egg whites. I'm not sure if I was barely polite, exasperated, or on the borderline of rude.

After the meeting, a slimmer woman of our group and another woman, who is consistently losing weight, walked out to the parking lot with me. The slimmer woman said, "When I relaxed my eating, even though it was not binges or huge meals, I gained back about 8 pounds in a month." The other lady agreed that she is the same way.

I think other members of the group were exasperated too.  
Hello! (What we Americans say to sarcastically wake someone's brain up.)
We meet every single Tuesday about weight loss/weight maintenance. Some people have belonged to the group for many years (possibly 10+ years for some members) now. That persistence by itself could be termed, "obsessive." Or it could be termed, "health-conscious."

I have never figured out a way to be "moderate" about eating while being a healthy size. This past weekend, I had a dabble of "relaxed eating" that scared me, having my worst eating day since September 2012. I think that strict food rules are my "girdle" that tightly controls my chubby brain and its chubby brain thoughts--suck it in, baby! I love my strict food rules because they have changed my eating into something consistent, such that I feel really proud of myself.

My family thought this episode was funny. Teen daughter thought of hilarious comebacks I could have said. But I told her I don't want to do that. 

Just now, my teen son offered me a Texas-sized muffin (for international readers, that is a super huge muffin, twice as big as a normal muffin) for breakfast, and I said no. My husband reasoned, "because you know what's healthy for you." :D

What do *you* think? As usual, say whatever you feel like saying.

Have a proud-of-yourself day!

:-) Marion

Monday, June 17, 2013

Housecleaning for the Soul: How Organizing and Sorting is Related to Weight Loss/Maintenance

This post is about housecleaning, and how it is directly related to weight loss and weight maintenance.  Moreover, I'm talking about how organizing and sorting household items is good for the soul, being therapeutic in so many ways.

Yo-Yo Housecleaning: This week, my two older daughters talked to me about my house organization being less than it should be. Now, firstly, I will tell you that in my past, I've been sort of a yo-yo house cleaner, very analogous to a yo-yo dieter. If you came to my home on Friday night (the worst day of the cycle) the house would be quite disorganized--with a huge pile of unsorted junk mail on the table, assorted shoes and coats not put away properly in the entrance, a stove top that needed cleaning, totally disorganized upper bathroom, etc.... However, by Sunday night, it would like like a totally different house after weekend cleaning.

Anyhow, my daughters were talking to me about improving this issue, in the similar ways to how I cleaned up my fitness and eating habits. And I could see their point because this is actually the same lifestyle issue as weight maintenance and fitness--and all of these issues are VERY related.

My Yo-Yo Eating Past: How did I ever end up as a size 18 in 2005? It was due to random eating with no firm rules and accounting. The yo-yo ups: I ate whenever I emotionally wanted to. The yo-yo downs: I actually did have quite a few good eating days, where I did watch the amount I ate. However, those bad eating days could not be balanced out by good eating days. If I had not had any good eating days at all, I would have been an even bigger size.  

How I Fixed My Fitness Issues: Well, this took a long time of going to the gym every single morning for years! A lot of my fitness issues were social/lifestyle issues. I was awkward with my body. I was haphazard and impulsive about exercise. I was unintelligent about exercise. I did not like to ask people for help. I did not know how to deal with difficult people in general. I did not know how to ask people to take turns for equipment. I did not know how to make small talk with people to make friends with them. I did not understand how to constructively tell someone how to do something better, in a way that made them feel positive in the end. <<So all of these lifestyle skills were learned in the gym. I also learned practical skills of fitness journaling, fitness technique and strategy, the value of making many mistakes to improve, and developing patience for progressive improvement for years in a row.     

How I Fixed Yo-Yo Eating: I fixed my yo-yo eating problems by food journaling, itemizing all of the food that I eat each day. I watch my calories by calculating how many calories are eaten day. I established firm rules to stop up-and-down eating. I read the best articles on how to control cravings by avoiding processed carbs, and cleaned up my diet. I made a food routine that became more and more consistent. I go to a weight loss/maintenance group every Tuesday night, where I am the secretary of our chapter. I weigh in every morning, but also publicly on Tuesday night.

How My Improved Fitness and Eating Lifestyle Is Related to Organizing and Sorting: If you examine the above two paragraphs, much of my lifestyle improvements have to do with: 1) getting more acutely aware of my personal issues; 2) talking to people who are better than I am about these issues to get advice; 3) understanding why improving the issue would improve my life; and 4) making a detailed plan to address the issues on a consistent basis.<< This formula works for any life issue. Once you learn how to do it for one issue, it can be more easily implemented for another issue.

And Now--The More Interesting Details of the Organizing/Sorting of my bedroom:  This is turning out to be an interesting and liberating endeavor. The entire rule I made for myself for right now: Organize and sort things that really bother me. So this was not exactly a cleaning issue. It was an emotional baggage issue.

I did some sorting this weekend, and I had some interesting examples of getting rid of emotional baggage:

1) Shoes that were poor purchases--I have very difficult feet to buy shoes for. They are skinny long feet that blister and cut easily. I've improved on this, but no matter how hard I try, I have ended up with some pairs of shoes that cause me problems, such as that I don't wear them: The size 11's are too wide and floppy.  The size 10's are too short. The size 11 narrows are too tight across the widest part of my foot. Some heels are too high in the back, causing my heels to get scraped. Some shoes cause blistering.

Why was I keeping 3 pairs of shoes that don't fit me? To punish myself for wasting money on them.

Why am I getting rid of these shoes? To quit punishing myself.

2) Old shoes--In the past, I have never gotten rid of shoes until they were completely worn out.

Why was I keeping 3 old pairs of shoes I never wear? This is an issue that is disguised as a frugality issue, when it it really a tinge of emotional hoarding. I have enough shoes to wear without keeping the old shoes.

Why am I getting rid of these shoes? To quit laying this frugality baggage on me. 

3) De-wrinkler spray thrown under the dresser--I had a little bottle of de-wrinkler spray thrown under my dresser for a few months now. My husband was going some place and had a big wrinkle in his pants leg, but in too big of a hurry to iron. I wanted to help and ran down to the basement to get the de-wrinkler spray that I love. You just spray your wrinkle, pat/iron the wrinkle with your hand, and the wrinkle disappears. When I brought it up, he was extremely grumpy that I had wasted his time and did not want to try it. He wanted to be wrinkly instead. I hated that reaction to my eagerness to help, so I tossed the spray bottle under the dresser. (Very immature, I know!)

Why did I throw the bottle under the dresser? This was a visual sign of my anger about the whole episode.

Why did I put it away in the right place again? To quit having a reminder of that episode.

4) Out of style sweaters that I used to love--Some of these sweaters were my absolute favorites. I had spent over $60 on one of them, which was hand-knit. However, I had not worn any of them for several years now. Some of them were too big. Some were not flattering. Some were just out of style.

Why had I kept 5 out of style sweaters? I spent a lot of money of them, and they used to be my favorites, so I kept thinking that I'd wear them again some day.

Why am I getting rid of them? It is not that I have so many sweaters. But all excess clothing gets in the way of finding the clothes that I do really like wearing. It is needless stuff in my life. Besides, my middle daughter told me that someone who buys them at the thrift store will love these sweaters--and wear them too. Don't I want these favorite sweaters to be worn? Yes, even if it is not by me.

5) Shirts that are too worn or lost their shape--I always think it is good to keep painting/cleaning shirts. However, a person only needs a few painting/cleaning shirts. The rest is excess. 

Why had I kept 5 worn/baggy shirts? I really hate it when a shirt I really liked in a perfect color gets worn out. I kind of want to hang on to the idea of that shirt in its former glory.

Why am I getting rid of them? The idea of a favorite shirt doesn't match up with worn-out shirts, which I don't wear.

6) Excess books and home makeover magazines

Why did I keep them? I highly value books, even if I've never read them or didn't really love them. I think that home makeovers are cool.

Why am I getting rid of them? They are not fitting me, content-wise, right now. But, maybe, they will fit someone else. All excess magazines and books go to my gym, which has an informal library system of allowing members to borrow them. 

7) Assorted gifts I don't use

Why did I keep them? I love the person who gave them to me, but don't use the gift.

Why am I getting rid of them? I can still love the person, understanding the thought behind the gift, and keep the thought, but not the gift.

I did this sorting with my teen daughter--She confirmed that all of this new reasoning was correct for getting rid of these items. Somehow, sorting through my stuff was much more fun for her. But I also viewed it as a way to role model to her that she should be allowed to get rid of things instead of keeping them for emotional baggage reasons.

This was liberating! I do not think my bedroom looks much different from this type of cleaning. But it feels emotionally lighter.  And I live a better life as I get rid of more and more emotional baggage.I am cleaning other various sections of my home this way. Perhaps I will make a post about the kitchen sorting, which is about halfway done, because that was interesting too.

I've also been getting more consistent about cleaning in general. I'm making a concerted effort to end the yo-yo aspects of all of my life. I'm sorting out my junk mail on a daily basis, with the shredder humming every day. Little things like that make a person's life happier. :D

Do you see why I think that organizing and sorting is related to weight loss/ maintenance? All of these are major lifestyle changes, requiring a dramatically new change of perspective.

What do *you* think? As usual, say whatever you want to add to the conversation.

Have a delightful day!

:-) Marion

P.S. I've been super busy lately. I am writing this blog post before 5 a.m. because I have to get ready for work soon. I was a tour guide at a mansion this weekend for our district's historical tour. My oldest daughter is moving back to Milwaukee this month--yay! My teen kids are home 24/7 right now, so I'm spending time with them. So I'm planning on blogging less right now. So if I'm not commenting as much as I have in the past, it is not about you. It is me. But I'm still going to try to look over what you all are doing, probably tomorrow. :D

Friday, June 14, 2013

What A Fit Lifestyle *Really* Means (And What It Doesn't Mean)

I'm always about learning from others, and belonging with other fit people. So today, we will discuss what a fit lifestyle really means--from two other bloggers' perspectives. 

Norma wrote an outstanding post this week about what a fit lifestyle entails in a post entitled, "Study Habits," which aptly described the difference between cram-dieting (Study to pass) and long-term health/fitness (Learn).  I asked her if I could quote from it, and she graciously agreed (all purple is quotes from Norma's marvelous thoughts/writing):

1. Study to pass.  There is a big event coming up – maybe your friend’s wedding.  You know you’re overweight and you know you want to look good for that event.  So you are a woman on a mission.  Buy that body monitor.  Sign up for that gym membership. ... Get a set of measuring cups.  Install that calorie-counting dictionary on your iPhone.  Look at your calendar: that special occasion is in 20 weeks.... You have stocked up on [processed diet food] ... ...You cannot WAIT for the day it’s over. ...You attend the event in a fantastic new think thank god that is over!  I rocked it!  The next day, ...You aren’t measuring portions anymore.... ...Three or four months later and 20 or 30 pounds heavier (you don’t get on the scale anymore; you’re “done” with your “diet”)...All you have for proof is a crumpled dress, three sizes too small, kicked into the closet corner. 

2. Learn.  You decide you’ve been fat long enough and this is not how you want to spend the rest of your life. .... You observe the habits of people for whom fitness and health is a lifestyle.  You ask questions.  ...You find yourself reaching for a bottled water instead of soda and walking past a bakery display....  ...You look forward to challenges and new experiences instead of dreading them.  You’re not looking forward to the “end.”  ...EVERY day is a mini-celebration of the new stuff you’re learning and achieving. The days that don’t go great only motivate you to regroup, review, and work harder the next day.  You look smashing every day, particularly red-faced and in dirty, sweaty clothes after a scrambling run up a rocky hillside. think holy SHIT! I did that! And I can’t wait to do something new tomorrow. fuel up with a bowl of oatmeal and a couple of eggs. ... You are always conscious of your choices and you establish a great routine that makes you feel amped.... You continue to think about ways to even better, and keep learning.

Norma is joyful about her fit lifestyle, exactly as she describes in that second paragraph.  Norma used to be a very overweight person (about 7 years ago, I think), then she changed her ways. And she has the most gorgeous figure to show for it too.

I'm quite jealous of Norma's writing in the quotes above because I have never explained this fitness lifestyle issue this well. This is something all of you fitness newbies and fitness intermediates (for lack of better term) need to understand. Click the link above to read the full post, which is far better than my abbreviated quotes.


Chris, a guy who I would gladly claim as a Canadian fitness cousin (and his wife Amber too!), recently did the O Course which is a torturous/exciting obstacle course. He provides several pics on his blog about this event at these 3 links: The O Course Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, which are super cool and will really motivate your fitness journey: 
tire carry

Take the time to click these links because his annotated story and pictures of this course is wonderful storytelling. And something you should know about Chris is that he used to be an extremely overweight unfit person, but then he changed his ways and got totally fitness awesome. If you are a fitness freak (or you want to be) and you are not reading his blog--well, get over there!!!!

I am confident that this blog post, sponsored by Norma's and Chris' awesomeness, is better than far anything you will find in a fitness magazine today.  It is real people with outstanding results, not a malarky article about "do-something-fit-for-30-days!"

What do *you* think?  Are you now motivated to live your healthy lifestyle? And, of course, add anything else you want to say.

Have a wonderful weekend!

:-) Marion

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Days of Our Gym: Unexpected Compliment, New Gym Shoes, And Great New Sign in Locker Room

So here's the latest episode of Days of Our Gym-the continuing soap opera of my gym. The highs (runner's highs) and the lows (nice low pushups), the ups (chin-ups) and downs (downward dogs), and all sorts of other stuff that happens at my gym.

Saturday: Yoga
I always tend to get a little obsessed with some pose or another. Lately, I've been doing "down bow" with knees completely together, which is an entirely different sensation than "down bow" with knees lifted. I tried to find some comparison photos on the internet:
"Down bow" pose with knees together.
Notice how flexed back his shoulders are?
(I put my knees completely together, which really stretches my shoulders back, and my knees don't lift up much at all.)
 "Down bow" pose with knees apart.
The shoulders are more relaxed with greater emphasis on lifting chest and legs up high.
So I'm doing both versions, knowing each variation has very different benefits for my body.

New gym shoes:
My oldest daughter J. bought me new gym shoes for Mother's Day. She's so sweet. I think these are the cutest shoes I have ever owned as an adult. I feel so adorbs in them. They have pink stitching! They matched my neon yellow skull and green bats t-shirt perfectly today. :D (For those of you who want to know what that skull/bats t-shirt and my panda spaceship t-shirt look like, click this link.)

Sunday: Weightlifting
T., my ultra-pretty gym friend (which I had to explain that I only like her 98% with 2% hate because she makes me look more ugly beside her! She thinks that's ridiculous, only because she doesn't know what a fan club of high school boys she has.), I digress! Anyhow, T. told me that she overheard one weightlifter guy tell another weightlifting guy about how great I bench press--meaning they were discussing and impressed with the weight amount that I bench press. I thought that was pretty wonderful to hear. I do have a lot of weightlifting guy gym buddies who are very great people. And those guys who believe in themselves quite a bit are big enough people to compliment others.

(In the past, I did know that some of the weightlifter guys have known my name before they ever talk to me. So apparently, good or bad, some of them do talk about me.) 

I took a few pictures of T. on her phone while she lifted. Because T. couldn't see what a girl monster she is when she lifts. She was surprised at all the muscle she had. She's a very slim woman with slim arms who is often mistaken for being on the weak/gentle side of women, when that isn't true at all! So now she has some photos to prove that.

My friend W. told me I look "so slim and fantastic." She's my very good friend, so course she would say that.

Helping Others and Getting Help Makes Friends
Last week, some guy was going to take another guy's bench (which had a sweat towel laid over it, so I don't even get why the guy didn't understand it was being used), and I told him someone was using that bench, so he walked away to do something else.<< This is a way to make friends among the weightlifter guys. That guy who returned was very thankful when I told him.

This week, I asked a weightlifting guy to help me remove a 45 pound plate off one end of a bar left on the floor (from the night before), so I didn't pinch my fingers when I took it off (because a person needs to be very careful about not pinching fingers between plates/dumbbells and the floor because it can permanently damage the nail beds of your fingernails, so certain situations call for a little help), << That is another way to make friends among weightlifter guys--when you need help, ask someone to help and then be thankful. :D

The Great New Sign in the Locker Room:
OMG! I was so excited about this new sign in the women's locker room which reads:  "Please place a barrier between furniture and yourself." This translates to: Don't sit on the benches bare naked with no towel under the butt. Ewww. I can't tell you how many times I waited for a obliviously naked woman to leave before I took a huge handful of sanitizer foam, covered their bench seat with it, and wiped it down with paper towels. I've even been cheered for doing that, because this grosses out a LOT of women. Apparently, our gym finally thought this issue was a serious enough "hygiene issue"  that prominent signs were necessary. Yay signs! Now, I'm hoping those women who have this problem will comprehend that the signs are messages intended for them.

What do *you* think? (Added Later: But don't you all get stuck on/comment about that sign/locker room situation.<<That is atrocious I know, but the other info, compliment from the guys, and the shoes are better, huh???) I always hope these gym posts make you realize that fun times are always found in the gym. There are a lot of interesting people and situations to immerse yourself in.  As usual, say whatever you want to add.

Have a terrific day!

:-) Marion

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Warm-ups, Stretching, and Workout Order Demystified (And yes, many gym teachers are wrong about this.)

Caron asked me to write a beginner's post about warm-ups and stretching. So here it is, Caron. I hope this helps you and the rest of my readers.

Proper warm-ups and stretching are actually very crucial for us, especially as we get older. If we do intelligent warm-ups and stretching, we are much less likely to get injured. So I'd like to help you get knowledgeable about this subject.

Note: I am not a fitness trainer, nor am I a medical professional. So ask your doctor about what type of exercises are okay for you to do. Each person's body is different.

Contrary to gym class, you should always do some cardio before stretching. I know the gym teachers taught you the other way around, but what they taught you was illogical. And you don't want to get hurt while exercising just because Gym Teacher Smith told you to do something dumb in 8th grade.

Here's the logic: Gradually warm up and strategically progress to your hardest, most challenging exercises.

The logic more broken down: Start every single exercise session with at least 5 minutes of vigorous cardio to warm up muscles, ligaments, and tendons so that they are warm and stretchy. Then start with easier gentle exercises that lead to intermediate exercises that progressively warm you up for the hardest most challenging exercises you do.

For Weightlifting: 5 minutes of cardio. The easiest warmup set, which is much lighter than the best you can lift. Do 2 more intermediate progressively heavier sets in between your easiest set and your most challenging sets. If, at any point, it feels too hard, you don't keep going. You stop at what is right for you that day. Lastly, the hardest heaviest set. This is the standard progression for weightlifting that most people use.

Example of my bench press progression: 
5 minutes of cardio
95 lbs: 10 (easy for me)
115 lbs: 10 (intermediate)
125 lbs: 10 (intermediate)
135 lbs: 10 (challenging for me)

Note: I do not lift my max bench press.
Whenever you want to lift extremely heavy amounts, always have a spotter.

For Yoga and other Stretching: 5 minutes of cardio, or more. First do the gentlest stretches/poses to work out the body kinks. Then do progressively harder intermediate poses that keep stretching you out a little more each time. (Flexibility varies, from day to day. You should only do what feels good to do. If you aren't flexible enough for a certain exercise, you stop. It's better to stop and face minor disappointment than to risk serious injury.) Lastly, you do your most challenging stretches.

Example of one of my yoga progressions: (requiring back flexibility)
5 minutes of cardio
Cobra x 3 (gentle)
Up Dog x 3 (gentle)
Camel x 3 (intermediate)
Down Bow x 3 (intermediate)
Up Bow x 3 (challenging)
Standing Back Bend x 3 (hardest)

What is an "extreme stretch?" People normally use a very narrow range of motion for most activities of daily living. An "extreme stretch" is anything that you don't do easily in your normal day. For some of us, bending over to pick up a bunch of Legos or blocks on the floor is an extreme stretch, but for others of us, it is easy. Your body's version of "extreme stretch" is not the same as anyone else. If it is "extreme" for you, you need to do an adequate warm-up.

However: Nobody should do any exercise that is too extreme for their body.  Every person is different. When I posted my gym pics, some of you commented that you were always able to do splits your entire life, and that they are still easy for you. Well, for the people who find splits "easy" to do, if you can pop out of bed in the morning and immediately do splits with no effort, then they aren't an "extreme" stretch for you. For me, they are an "extreme" stretch that I have to spend about 30 minutes of warm-up to accomplish. I built up for over 2 years to gain the flexibility for splits, but they are still in my "extreme" range, meaning that I do a LOT of progressively harder leg extension yoga poses to get prepared. However, many of you should not attempt splits at all because that is too extreme for you.

Yoga dude in our gym, who can fold himself into a compact human box, does many yoga poses that would be dangerous for my body. I'm intelligent in knowing my body's range of capability. I'd greatly risk injuring myself to copy the poses that he does. So I don't do that because I love being uninjured.

Fastest Way of Injuring Yourself: Doing extreme exercise that your body can't handle.  Don't be stupid about this. If you want to work up to a very challenging exercise, do it responsibly and take the time, meaning many months or years, to do it right so that when you actually attempt the exercise your body is fully capable of safely doing it.

I think it is utterly reckless when a woman tells me that she is going to lift the same as I do by the end of the year--because I spent several years working up to my level of weightlifting and fitness. (Further, I'm a tall big-boned woman, and smaller women should not compare their strength to mine, and it would be dangerous for them to lift the weight amounts I lift.) You can really hurt yourself by taking short-cuts and trying to speed up the process of your body getting properly conditioned to handle challenging exercises. In other words--take your time and be smart about it.

Overall Picture of the Workout: 
5 minute cardio
gentle exercises
intermediate exercises
challenging exercises
hardest exercises (hits about 2/3 through the workout)
Less energy-intense exercises like cardio (last 1/3 of workout)

The above formula is often called a "cardio sandwich," because there is a thin top bun of a cardio warm-up to get the body all stretchy, then the "meat" of the sandwich is the energy-intense exercises, like weightlifting or yoga, followed by a thick bottom bun of cardio again.

So that last part of the workout is when you should do cardio as long as you feel like because cardio, the way most of us do it, is not extreme exercise. A "cardio sandwich" makes the most use of your energy, saving the most energy for the hardest exercises you do, and then leaving cardio, which generally does not require that intense energy focus, for last. 

What do *you* think? I hope this helps you logically think out how to plan your workouts with the strategy of avoiding injury. And, of course, add anything you want to say.

Have a fun day!

:-) Marion

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

The Magic of Saying No (For Every No, There Is An Equal and Opposite Yes Involved.)

Recently, I read a blog that was citing to another blog about feeling liberated about eating cheesecake and other desserts no matter what your size. Another blog post suggested that many slimmer fitness bloggers  are probably lying by omitting their food binges and slip-ups. These are related sentiments, and this post addresses these thoughts. But, more importantly, I'm going to explain the magic of saying no to desserts, food binges, and other major slip-ups.

I don't address these comments from struggling fitness bloggers to criticize their excess weight as much as to discuss these messages, which I think are very misleading.

Pounds on a body don't lie. I'm size 10, and that's not size 18, like it used to be. But it's also not a size 6 either. I'm eating like a 5 foot 9 inch tall size 10 person, which is a slim size 10.

For me to be size 10, that means that I probably eat a dessert about one time or less per month. Some months, I don't have any dessert at all. It's been a long time since I had a major food binge or slip-up, probably months now. My body doesn't stay size 10 by goofing off with food. I've food journaled about 245 days in a row, watching my calories during all of that time.

It's a vision of what you want to be, and binges don't have a part in that vision. I have talked (yes, I'm sort of an informal interviewer of people) with a lot of slim people. Most of them do not screw up with their eating habits. Hardly ever. They eat exactly like the weight they want to be--every single day. So, no, slim fitness bloggers are not lying to their readers by omitting binges, excess desserts, and other major food slip-ups, because they aren't having major slip-ups. Otherwise, they would not be that slim. All of you should get your minds straight about that point. When you get extremely clear about who you want to be, the binges will stop happening.

I don't think a person should hate themselves for their weight. Even if your weight is atrocious to you, love yourself for other reasons. When you don't have vanity as a prop, you develop yourself in other wonderful ways. However, the obesity acceptance right now is not a good thing--It really hurt me, placing too much comfort and coziness in my obesity rut. It's truly sad that I spent too many years of my 30's being a size 16, looking like a washed-out exhausted older-looking person. Nobody should be doing that to themselves.

Dessert may appear liberating at the moment, but it doesn't feel that way when you're staring into the darkness of 2 a.m. and you hear your soul talking to you. So do I feel people can be "liberated" by dessert and by acceptance of their size? That's a short-term superficial fix to a deeper problem.  If you don't want your excess weight, eating excess calories is not going to liberate you.

Lastly, I feel I've gained magic in my life by saying "no" to excess food. Rules made by ourselves, by the way, are not restrictive. It makes us "Queen of My World" or "The New Sheriff in Town," or whatever you want to call yourself, when we take control of our lives. It makes us the LEADER, so when struggling bloggers talk about wanting to throw away the rules, well they don't seem to understand that saying "no" to certain things like excess eating allows us to say "yes" to far better things.

For every no, there is an equal and opposite yes involved. <<Marion's pretend physics here.

There is magic in knowing that I have beautiful days that are energized by the lovely aspects of my life (that is not excess food). By saying no to dessert (whether it's the sweet cheesecake or ice cream desserts or the meat desserts, like a big cheeseburger, or the "second helping" desserts), I am saying yes to other aspects of my life. I value rubbing Keebler's puppy tummy so much more. I smell the sweetness of the flowering trees during our walks. I appreciate my children, and allow them to counsel me. I listen better to what happiness other people are telling me about, their happiness which I can absorb into my life. I appreciate good work I've done. I value who I am during my struggles. There is an abundance of life events and people who should take much higher priority than food, but all of this only can take its proper role in our lives if we place food in a much lower priority.

Life is so much more vibrant when you are not drugging yourself down with excess food. 

What do *you* think? What do you find liberating in your life? And, of course, anything else you want to say.  

Have a joyous day!

:-) Marion

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Days of Our Gym: Can that Kid Lift!

This is another mash-up of two weekends of gym workouts.

(If you haven't done so, check out my gym photos: Gym Pics 1 and Gym Pics 2 and Gym Pics 3.)

Saturday yoga: 

Last Saturday, I had a great time showing an 8-year-old girl and her dad how I do headstands. She wants to learn how to do them. Yes, I explained what I was doing while I was upside down as I was balancing up to and performing the headstands. Kids think I am a rather fascinating adult because I know how to play in the gym pretty well.

This Saturday, our gym was warm and humid particularly in the hallway where I do yoga, such that there were gym goers looking fairly miserable. I crossed off some of my exercises because I wasn't going to do any exercise while not feeling my best.

I'm very limber lately, and I do think this is due to much less carbs in my diet. My standing back bends are awesome, and I ended in an "up bow" with one leg up.

Sunday weightlifting: 

I saw N., a 13-year-old boy, yank down 112 pounds over and over many times on the lat pull-down machine. Of course, I watched in fascination. It was that easy for him! Of course, I told him that he will probably be able to pull the whole 200 pounds down, probably when he's older in high school, because he's going to be a monster in weightlifting. He was pretty happy when I said that to him. His dad was pleased too.

(How I wish that some adult would have told me something encouraging like that when I was N's age. Instead, I spent my middle school and high school years barely eating in a failed attempt to appear smaller, instead of loving the strong way I was built.)  

N's dad told me that some guy at our gym was really upset about his weight so he threw the scale over and broke it. I laughed at this, and replied, "I thought it was only women who got upset at the scale. Perhaps, he should have applied that rage to watching his calories!" The stupid things people do at the gym. The scale is only the messenger--don't kill the messenger.

I showed two other teenage boys how to do dips and leg lifts. My observation is that teenage boys pretty much hate the weight machines. Their dads are showing them the most boring exercises that exist on the planet when they'd rather being hanging, jumping, swinging, and hoisting themselves in various ways. So yes, these guys' eyes lit up with some FUN exercises to do. Their dad was happy to see them excited to do their best and invited me to coach them any time I wanted.

I really have to say that I love the fitness attitude of teenage boys. They want to be the best. They are willing to try new things, and they are receptive to good fitness advice. No wonder they are doing all the cool stuff pretty well.

I've really been enjoying my chin-up project lately, which is currently my favorite gym thing to do. All of the prep exercises are fun to do, and even though I haven't even tried an actual chin-up (kind of waiting until I'm positive it will be successful), the exercises I'm doing are hard and I'm doing them well. I got a great compliment from A., my 50-year-old guy gym buddy, about my chin up prep exercises. He commented on how I've been holding my legs up when I slowly lower myself while hanging from the bar. Well, it is harder to defy gravity in different ways at once. Lifting the legs and holding them up involves AB work, while lowering my body at the same time is mostly back and arm work.  The song, "Defying Gravity" from the Broadway show, Wicked, popped into my mind. There's nothing like hanging exercises to make a person aware of how their body weight holds them back. It reminds me to watch my weight and calories, because, in the end, it will be losing a few more pounds that will bring me success for this project.

What do *you* think? As usual, say whatever you'd like.

Have a special day!

:-) Marion