Health, Yeah!: The Second Week
This was the week where good stuff stopped happening and bad stuff really started happening. If I had a subtitle on this post, it would be “Everything Sucks And I’m So Tired.”
The biggest problem was that my weight shot up to 164.5 — half a pound heavier than I was when I first started this project. (No need for a picture of the scale. We can all guess what it looks like.) I think it was related to alcohol intake, not food. I had a couple of glasses of wine the other night — the first in a few weeks — and bam, there were the increased numbers. Awesome.
The second biggest problem was that I hurt my shoulder, but more on that in a minute.
This is the point where I’m starting to regret chronicling this journey on the Internet. But hey, we’ve gotten this far. Might as well keep going.
I know I usually start these posts talking about exercise; but I want to talk about food first, because I’ve noticed something disturbing.
The most disturbing thing wasn’t the day I had Sonic chili cheese fries and a Tastykake for lunch late last week. That was to be expected. David and I were fighting, and when we fight, I eat crap. I know this about myself.
What I didn’t know — or didn’t want to admit — was the sugar cravings. Holy sh*t, you guys, the sugar cravings.
I joke a lot about my terrible eating habits. HA HA I LUV SWEETS and all that. But until I was using My Fitness Pal, I hadn’t realized that every single day, I have a serious sugar craving. It hits in the mid or late afternoon, and it’s not “Man, I’d really love to eat this right now” — it’s “I need to eat this because I have a headache and am feeling vaguely nauseous from not eating it.” I must have something sugary, preferably cakey. So I eat it, and allll riiiiiiiight everything’s okay again. And I look at the oily napkin that was under my Tastykake Butterscotch Krimpet, or the cupcake crumbs left on the plate, or the paper towel that was wrapped around my organic toaster pastry (no high fructose corn syrup, yet 210 calories each), and I feel bad. But not bad enough to change my behavior the next day.
Someone told me that there’s a correlation between children from alcoholic families and sugar cravings. I didn’t believe it initially. I come from a long line of very bright, well-educated, and extremely high-functioning alcoholics, yet no one else in my family gets these horrible cravings. They’re all trim and athletic people, even the ones who’ve had kids. They all drink. A lot of them smoke, too. Huh. Maybe that takes the place of the sugar. Who knows.
So yeah, sugar / baked good cravings. I don’t know what to do about that. But at least I know about it now…which is good, right?
Fitbit and My Fitness Pal: Antisocial Media
I love and I hate the Fitbit, just like I love and I hate My Fitness Pal. (Incidentally, I forgot to mention previously what kind I got: it’s the Fitbit Zip, in blue.) I love that the Fitbit encourages me to move more. I no longer resent having to go upstairs to grab something. And I love (okay, I appreciate) that My Fitness Pal shows me how terribly I’ve been eating.
But I hate that they’re constant reminders that David’s beating me at both lower calorie intake and weight loss.
Every time I log into My Fitness Pal, it’s all, “David’s completed his food diary and was under his calorie goal!” and “David’s lost 2 pounds so far!” My greatest accomplishment? I logged in for 10 days in a row. YAY.
Both Amalia and a friend of mine reminded me on separate occasions that men lose weight faster than women. I know that’s just how it is. That doesn’t make it any easier. Knowledge may be power, but it’s not soothing this burn.
(Note: I deleted my Facebook connection to my Fitbit, and I’m not adding any friends to My Fitness Pal. Please don’t take it personally! I just don’t want to share that level of detail about my calorie intake and exercise info. Mostly due to embarrassment.)
Exercise: Injuries, Gyms, and Reading, Oh My!
Thankfully, my elbow — which started bugging me, as I mentioned in last week’s post — calmed down. But I hurt my shoulder. And that wasn’t good.
My right shoulder started getting cranky back when I was doing CardioStrong classes. It was my own damn fault. I went to do push-ups, wasn’t paying attention to what I was doing, and pop! goes the comfort.
Because Amalia is awesome, she helped me work around my budding injury. She came up with some alternate exercises — stuff that would still send blood to the area, rather than totally ignoring it. “That’s how you’re going to heal, even though it may feel counter-intuitive and you don’t want to do anything,” she explained. And it’s true: when I give in to my aching knee, the achiness doesn’t really go away; but when I keep up with my knee exercises, it’s manageable.
Even though I’ve had some workout-related setbacks this week, I’ve also remembered how grateful I am to have GrassIron in my life. I just learned about Gawker / Deadspin’s “I of the Tiger” series, a tongue-in-cheek exploration of the raw truths and great lies about fitness. It’s highly entertaining, and even a little inspiring at points. (The latest post is here; look to the right for the older posts. These are my very favorite ones so far.)
“I of the Tiger” reminded me how much I hate big-ass chain gyms. I will never join a chain gym again. Ever. And before you go saying, “Well, we can’t all be lucky enough to have a little private gym in our neighborhoods,” stop right there and go to Yelp or your neighborhood listserv and look, because I bet there’s one in your neighborhood, too (even if it’s not GrassIron), and hell, they’re probably offering discounts to new customers. Yes, it’ll eventually be more expensive than your average 24-Hour Ratfest. But you get what you pay for.
As much as this week has sucked, it hasn’t sucked nearly as bad as going to a big-ass gym did. If you have a membership at one, I’m willing to bet that you, like me, despise the place but consider it a necessary evil. You might go every Tuesday and Thursday at 7 or 8 (to try to avoid the post-work rush); but you secretly love it when you can’t go, right? You hate being there. You’re phoning it in like Sinatra. And you’re not losing weight
Of course, if you go to your big chain gym and you love your classes and you don’t mind that asshat who leaves 450 pounds on the leg machine and doesn’t put them back when he’s done (I know that linked article took place in Manhattan, but that guy’s brother must live in Austin or something, because I swear he would do that and then grin smugly while watching me put away all his damn weights), or you’re not bothered by that bossy skinny girl who asks you to let her and her guy friends “work in” on the bench press and rolls her eyes when you’re panting too hard to say yes (I’M OKAY, BY THE WAY; THANKS FOR ASKING, LADY), then FINE, keep going to your gym. If it works for you, it works for you. But it doesn’t work for everyone. And if it’s not working for you, learn about your other options and take advantage of them.
We don’t always get a lot of choice in our lives. Sometimes we have to take jobs we don’t like. We buy the house we don’t love but can afford. We bargain when we can, and we walk away when we can’t. We compromise. We go to the gym that fits our budget, and we go when we can get away from work and the kids. “You take what is offered,” Richard K. Morgan wrote in Altered Carbon, “and that must sometimes be enough.”
If you can’t go to a boutique gym, you can’t. But make sure you can’t before you swear it’s not possible. It might be more within your reach than you think.
You know, that’s a pretty good mantra for fitness and health in general: it’s more within your reach than you think. It’s still going to take a hell of a lot of effort, and probably some money to make sure you’re not doing more harm than good. But it’s within your reach. And my reach.
Now I just have to keep going out there and reaching for it.
Copyright 2013, Sarah Rodriguez Pratt. All rights reserved.