Quick! Look Over There!

Today’s assignment in the Beck book is to pick an exercise plan.

No, really!  Behind you!  Look!  LOOK!!

Still there?  Damn.  Me, too.

I am not ready to pick an exercise plan.  Picking an exercise plan, for me, is intensive work, involving weeks of research on exactly how MUCH I should do (30 minutes? an hour? 45 minutes on Mondays and Wednesdays, but an hour on Fridays with alternating 20-minute Saturdays when the moon is full?), and WHEN I should do it (mornings? evenings? aren’t you more likely to have a heart attack early in the morning? it’s 5am and my chest is tight, OMG I’M TOO YOUNG TO DIE! but who has time after work? and I can’t get sweaty on my lunch hour because I don’t have time to shower!), and the KIND I should do (cardio? weights? heavy weights? light weights? weights AND cardio? weights THEN cardio? cardio then weights? all weights? all cardio? pilates? yoga? turbo kick (hi, Charlotte!)? free weights? machines? bands? treadmill intervals? OMG I’M DYING AGAIN I HATE INTERVALS!), and then of course I’ll read some article that shoots my fledgling plan all to hell and have to START ALL OVER.  This is SERIOUS BUSINESS, people.

I might be overthinking this.

And again, I come back to, I’ve always been great at all or nothing.  Lazing on the couch 24/7 (well, ok 16/7, ’cause yanno, a girl’s gotta sleep SOMETIME), or getting up at 4am every damn morning because THAT’S what dedicated people DO.  They also sometimes workout a second time after work.  Plus weights.  Which takes them up to somewhere between 2 and 2 1/2 hours a day, which is a number NORMAL PEOPLE DON’T ASPIRE TO, OK??

Where’s the middle ground?  An hour a day doesn’t seem like a lot, but when it involves getting up at 4am every morning, it starts to take on a whole new level of dedication that I’m not frankly sure I can sustain long-term.  And let’s be honest: I hate working out after work.  H-A-T-E it.  I have too much other stuff to do after work (like blog!).  So it’s the mornings for me.  I’m leaning right now toward 4am mornings 3 days a week, and yoga with a dvd or weights or something 3 days a week, because at least I can do that at home, and it’s not hard cardio, thus granting me at least an extra hour of sleep on those days.  (I have to get up WAY before I hit the gym for cardio in order to let my body wake up.  Otherwise my lungs close up and I can’t breathe.  It ain’t pretty.  So I get up at 4am to let my body wake up before I have to be at the gym down the street by 5am.  Yes, really.  It’s ridonkulous.) 

I keep thinking that if I find the “right” DVD/equipment/plan/shoes/treadmill-entertainment, I’ll magically become someone who exercises EFFORTLESSLY.  Four a.m.?  NO PROBLEM.  I LOVE getting up at 4am!  (Does that person even exist?)  (Except in infomercials, I mean?)  (If you ARE that person, shut up.)  (Just kidding.  You don’t have to shut up.)  (No, really, I was just being nice when I said that.  Shut up.)

So, like the good obssessive-complusive person I am, I’m totally setting this assignment aside until the weekend.  I need some time to figure something out that a) I will actually DO, and b) that isn’t either too demanding or too slackadaisical.  (Hey, look!  I made a word!)  (Um.  Actually, I really do like that new word.  I’m going to keep using it.) 


You may or may not know that Weight Watchers has a set of what they call Good Health Guidelines.  You can read about them in depth over at Jen’s blog, “Perfect in our Imperfections” (which used to be called “Yet Another Weight Watcher’s Blog,” but I like the new title SO MUCH MORE).  You’ll have to scroll down, but the series was fairly recent, so you won’t have to scroll far.  (Unless you get sucked in and can’t stop reading, WHICH I TOTALLY DID.)  Basically it boils down to, “X Servings of Dairy,” “X Servings of Whole Grains,” “X Servings of Protein” . . . there’s one about water and one about taking a mulitvitamin, and a couple others that I can’t remember right now.  I think there are 5 (or maybe 8 – that’s EIGHT, not the little smiley with the sunglasses that looks like this: 8) ) all together. 

When I did WW, those guidelines didn’t work for me: the protein was too low, I can’t eat dairy (and you would not BELIEVE the tizzy that threw the leaders into: “OMG, what can you eat??  Calcium! Calcium! Nothing but dairy – NOTHING ELSE – has calcium! Your bones!  They’re melting!  Meeeeeelllllllllltiiiiiiiiing!!!!!!  Oh, what a world, what a world!!”), and the grains requirement was on the high side for my body.  (Seriously on the dairy thing, btw.  I kept thinking, “FFS, this is LOS ANGELES, there are all kinds of people out there who aren’t eating dairy in this city, HOW ARE YOU NOT USED TO THIS?!?!”  But I digress.)  (A lot.)  (I’m tired and in a weird mood, cut me some slack.)

So the last time I did a calorie-counting diet (which is what I’m going to do again), I made up my OWN Good Health Guidelines (GHGs), because otherwise I can TOTALLY eat 1500 calories worth of ice cream and call it a day.  I thought it might be wise to rein that tendency in.  So in no particular order here are my own GHGs *drumroll*:
1. Get some exercise.  (Ironic, isn’t it?)
2. Eat at least 2 servings of plant fat.
3. Eat one meatless meal.
4. Eat at least one serving of fruit.
5. Get enough protein.  (I used to have a number attached to that, but some days I need 100 grams and some days I’m good with 20.  So now I just try to listen to my body.  *GASP* revolutionary, right?)
6. Eat 0-2 servings of whole grains.  (I don’t worry if I miss a day.  I do better on low grains, high veggies/protein.)
7. Eat 1 or fewer servings of dairy.
8. Eat 1 or fewer servings of sugar and/or white flour.
I left those last two in because I didn’t want to feel like it was FORBIDDEN for me to eat dairy/sugar/white flour, but I didn’t want to encourage it, either.  (My lists are comprehensive.  If something isn’t on the list, then in my head it’s automatically FORBIDDEN.  Except stuff like vegetables.  And that eventually triggers a binge.  On sugar/dairy/flour, not vegetables.  I hope that went without saying.)

Whew.  That was long.  What do you think of my GHGs?  Is there anything you think I should add?  Subtract?  Why or why not?  Discuss.  (No, just kidding.  You don’t have to discuss.  My head is just in a weird place right now.)  (But please tell me what you think if you managed to get through the LONGEST POST EVER.)


7 responses to “Quick! Look Over There!

  1. I can’t remember what I think, but I did make it through the LONGEST POST EVER.

    I am that person who gets up at 4 am. Not to exercise, though…. give your head a shake! I get up to drink coffee, smoke cigarettes and blog. Oops, did I say smoke cigarettes? No, that’s not me, that’s someone else…. (’cause I know so many people totally HATE smokers, so forget I said that part.) (and you thought YOU were in a weird mood! I just spent the most bizarre night at work, ever – spent half the evening trying to get 13 year old boys to behave. Sheesh. Is that even possible?)

  2. I love exercise, really. It doesn’t even matter what kind, I do it all. Not at 4 am, though, when I’m working, I try to do it right after work, before anything else. I’ll be in Venice Thanksgiving weekend, wanna get a drink?

  3. BL, I have GOT to hear about why you were babysitting 13-year-old boys! I’m coming over to read! 🙂 (I don’t hate smokers, either, just FYI. Adults get to make their own decisions. That’s the best part about being one! ;D)

    Julie . . . YES! YES! I TOTALLY want to meet! I’m sending you an email . . .

  4. Goodness… maybe I just won’t tell the WW people about my not-eating-dairy thing. I’m pretty sure that calcium supplements have less calories than a glass of milk.

    And I applaud your sensible decision not to laze about on the couch 24/7. One must allow time for sleep, and it’s important to make goals that are within your reach. I like your priorities 🙂

  5. Do calcium supplements have less calories than milk or do they have fewer calories than milk? I always stumble over that one.

  6. Merry, I know, right? Sleep is important. 😉

    Also re: the dairy thing: broccoli actually has a lot of calcium. The thing people don’t realize about dairy products is that even though the amount of calcium in them is high, the amount of ABSORBABLE calcium is actually not all that high. Dairy has a lot of phosphorus in it, and phosphorus inhibits calcium absorption. So your body actually absorbs more calcium from steamed broccoli than from a glass of milk. Strange, but true.

    Oh. It’s fewer calories. It’s “fewer” if what you’re describing is a plural, like “calories” or “minutes” or “pizzas.” (Mmmmm, pizza.) It’s “less” if the word you’re using is singular, like “calcium” or “time” or “cheesy.” (Mmmm, cheesy.)

  7. So… The all or nothing plan. That’s been a sticky wicket for me, too. I think what I’m going to shoot for is imperfection. Have you ever seen those demotivational posters? I saw one once, that was something like, “Mediocrity — when your best just isn’t attainable.” That’s my new leaf. I’m not going to try to do a perfect exercise plan, because I”m not willing to spend two and a half hours a day on it, and that’s what it takes when I do it “right.” Instead I’m gonna shoot for a consistent plan that is really sub par, but that I know I can manage. Fifteen minutes a day to start. Fifteen minutes. I can do fifteen minutes a day. And that’s better than zero, right?

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