Weigh-in Wednesday #12

It’s so strange that we’re at #12. Twelve weeks means three months, which means a quarter of the year has come and gone without us really taking the time to acknowledge it. Certainly my New Years’ Resolutions aren’t as far along as they should be, nor is my Weigh-in Wednesday project yielding life-changing, body-changing results. But, it’s a good point to acknowledge: it’s 25% done, but there’s still 75% left to work with (and that’s just of this year!).

The Good

sleep 12 - goodSleep
Still rocking the sleep thing, though slowly drifting toward the minimum amount of sleep I need to function. I’m not sure what’s been going on this week, but I’ve been sleeping poorly, not dreaming, and waking up tired. I’ve got to figure out a schedule and get on it, once I get moved into my new place (life has been a bit in turmoil, to be honest).

calories 12 - goodCalories
Still solid here, though it was a slightly higher week than last week (actually, just today elevated my average a lot; not sure why I was so hungry today!). It’s good to be consistently below target though–I do see a pattern of low week-mid week-high week, so I’m going to try and prevent that from happening this time around. Must stay committed to making good decisions!

steps 12 - goodSteps
I really wanted to put this one first, because it is THE BEST of this week. I actually beat my 10,000 steps per day goal! That takes a lot of walking, let me tell you. My brother was visiting and we did a lot of walking, and I was out running a fair bit too. It feels good to make the goal though–there was a while I thought it was completely out of reach.

The Bad

fv 12 - badFruits & Veggies
I mean, it’s not bad, per se, that I’ve eaten 2.3 fruits or veggies per day for the last weeks, but there’s just so much room for improvement! I think my intermediate goal here is to just get one month of 3/day each week. Maybe that’s a good goal for April, since I’m working on coming up with goals for that month. From there, I have a feeling I will get more used to relying on fruits and veggies for snacking, instead of other junk.

miles 12 - bad

Miles
Okay so technically this is not even close to my worst week ever, in fact it was the second best. But, I just didn’t put energy in all week long, and that’s why I feel that I have room to improve. The point is to be consistently active, not just to get the 7 miles in one go. So, need to refocus here again (and keep training for my London 10k!) and get my mileage up. My goal is to have all four weeks in April achieve the 7mi/wk goal.

The Ugly

nutrition 12 - badNutrition
This is an improvement: there is a clear shift away from fat this week in favor of both protein and carbs. But, there is still plenty of room for more improvement. I can’t figure out how to get my protein up (apparently my 3oz of chicken for dinner tonight didn’t really help?), and that’s what I want to focus on: long-lasting, high energy foods.

In the end…

weight 12Yeah not too bad! Another week of coming down to hit 147, which is the lowest weight I’ve been able to manage during this whole process. Next month, the intermediate goal is to break through this floor down to consistently 145 each week.

I’m trying to consider too how to supplement my workouts: cardio, strength, running, pure barre, swimming, yoga, walking more, riding my bike to work… once I get my life re-settled, I plan to get moving again!

To My Future Children

I was recently listening to a song and thought of you. I won’t share the song, because I know that you will never like the music I like, unless for some reason vintage makes an eighteenth comeback. The lyrics were more important though:

From adulthood, no one’s getting out alive.

We often talk about surviving childhood, and surviving adolescence. No one talks about surviving adulthood.

Maybe it’s just my getting older, but I think more about death. It’s funny that I say this, because I’m sure when you’re my age, you’ll realize how young I was when I wrote this. You’ll also have your own twenty-six years of experience and perspective, and hopefully realize how old I am too. It’s sad how long it takes us to take ourselves seriously, after years of being told we’re ‘too young’ to understand certain things. Whatever age you are in reading this, know that your emotions and opinions are as valid as they ever have been, or ever will be.

I will say this plainly, so that you can hear it: if you can achieve it, your lack of discomfort with death will cause the feeling in others. The absence of your fear will create theirs. Your work to accept the only guaranteed reality of life–death–will be alarming, even alienating. Strangely though, you’ll find inner peace if you can accept death as a reality now. It will insulate you against a great terror which we all must encounter at some point. Better to get it over with, accept it now, pull off the band-aid, and move on with life (until it ends).

Then again by the time you read this, we may be ‘living forever,’ in some digital place where our consciousness can exist in perpetuity… but then wouldn’t it be horrible to live forever with the human patterns of miscommunication? Avoidance and confusion and misinterpretation aren’t guaranteed to go away simply because we remove the physical confines of our bodies. Human nature, even if not in a human body, is still who we are, and how we define ourselves.

Regardless, accept that some day you may no longer exist. Your consciousness as it exists within your physical body in its current state will one day fail to be, and this constraint will give you great motivation: to do amazing things, to change the world, to overcome great obstacles. As long as you feel the pressure of a final deadline by which your life’s to-do list must be done (not the life anyone tells you that you should have, not even me), you will work toward doing the things on the list. You will throw yourself from planes and scale great mountains; you’ll find joy in small flowers blooming in early Spring and the crunch of falling leaves in Autumn; and you’ll see the world as a precious thing which you must both devour (with your eyes) and protect (with the rest of your body). You will strive to find meaning in life, so that you can find peace as you approach death.

And even if they figure out a way that we’re all living forever, pretend you will die. Feel the finite nature of your current state, and let it spur you to great heights. Be the change you wish to see in the world, so that as your world ends, you can feel fulfilled.

Two nights of late night writing thoughts…

I realized laying in bed last night that writers have an amazing ability to transport readers into singular and nonlinear timelines. What I mean is that a writer can literally transport the reader anywhere in the past or future of the narrative, which in turn becomes the present of the narrative.

Think about all of the times your favorite author has been telling you a story, ostensibly set in the ‘present,’ and the another character launches into an explanation of the past. In your mind, in the strange place that we all live, we see this past-as-present: the only place in which our brain can exist while that portion of the story is unfolding. As soon as we come back to the present, our brains are there, but for all of our past- and future-cognizance, we really are quite limited in comprehending multiple timelines with complex details, and an actively visualizing imagination.

It’s a bit of a dangerous and unwieldy power that we writers have, this ability to change the way people experience based upon the time we set things in, and the ability to yank them from one time to another. It almost begs for a writer to take this tool and really play with it: to use characters who reference characters in a labyrinth of time.

Wednesday Weigh-In #11

I am pretty pumped about this week’s stats. There’s still room for improvement, even upon my Good categories (four of the six!), but it’s the first week in a while that feels like a solid step in the right direction. I need to get a lot more active, still, but the weather has turned cold again, so I’ll do what I can when I can.

The Good

Sleep 11 - GoodSleep
I am the best at sleeping of ever. Actually, that’s a lie, since they say you need 8 hours a night, but I’m an ardent believer that I need 7, so I think I am right (especially since I’m totally alarm free and loving it). Interestingly, this week had three nights with less than 7, and I definitely felt it the next day, and had to try and make sleep up. Overall, it was a good week though.

Calories 11- GoodCalories
This week was my lowest week EVER. Okay, not of all time probably, but since I started tracking 11 weeks ago. In fact, it was 8 calories lower per day on average than the next lowest week, which was week #1! I wasn’t necessarily trying to be super attentive, other than doing my best not to snack all weekend, and getting a lot more active (spoilers for what’s to come). It’s okay to take more in if I’m burning it off and end up with a good stat in the end!

Miles 11 - GoodMiles
Boom, baby! Another best week ever: 6 of my 7 goal miles were put on these knees and feet this week. No lie, it wasn’t easy to just jump up to doing two mile runs, but I found myself really enjoying the distance: I was able to push myself (meaning actually improve pace) on the back-halves of each run, and feel like I was actually training, rather than just surviving. Onward to my London 10k!

Steps 11 - GoodStepsIn a lot of ways, this was my best week ever: in addition to the above categories, I also logged the highest average steps per day this week (8 steps more per day than week #6, aka when I was traveling a lot). I’ll take it! Getting out and running helped my steps, my miles, and my calories. That’s a powerful activity, and I plan to do a lot more of it. I also took some nice long walks this week when the weather was still good.

The Bad

FV 11 - BadFruits & Veggies
Gosh darnit, I was thinking I was on the upswing for a while there. It’s unsurprising to me that my physical activity improves before my diet does, but it’s really something I’ve got to push myself harder on. Fruits and veggies are so good for me, I simply must eat more of them! I haven’t been eating as much this week, I guess, so I haven’t been logging the necessary fibers. Room to improve!

The Ugly

Nutrition 11 - UglyNutrition
Okay, to be fair, this is an improvement over last week. Fat proportion has gone down, but unfortunately so has protein, and all at the expense of carbs. I don’t need more carbs! I need more protein! I must start eating… I don’t know, like whole chicken breasts for dinner or something! Definitely am going to focus on this as soon as I get settled in my new place and start cooking more.

In the end…

Weight 11Stability is the name of the game. To be fair, you can see that this is a long term pattern of stability with occasional spikes, but there’s space to improve. I don’t feel as fit as I want to, and I’m hoping to get weight-lifting in coming weeks, in addition to adding cardio. I’m sure that will help my calorie counts, and miles, and energy (and thus sleep), and hopefully we can start to see a little bit of improvement in this stat by Week 20. Eyes forward, focus and carry on.

Gnawing, biting, breaking, hacking, burning.

Sometimes I forget that life is about ups and downs. When I’ve been on an even keel for quite a while, with only little bumps along the road, I forget that for every yesterday’s-blog-post kind of day, there’s a fair chance of a today’s-blog-post kind of day too. They’re not necessarily related, but they might be. In today’s case, they’re completely unrelated in any way other than that my life yesterday is still my life today.

The hardest thing is that I wish I were more along the continuum of normal about dealing with situations where I feel like I’m letting someone down. Maybe it’s poor ego-strength, maybe it’s Catholic guilt, or maybe it’s a lack of self-confidence, but when I feel like I’m doing something which upsets another person, it makes me quite unwell. It’s even worse when I feel this way and can’t do anything about it. The thought of my own behavior being displeasing to another person, most especially if I don’t have all of the information about why I’m causing displeasure, eats away at me. It’s an insidious thought which gnaws at my focus, unleashes otherwise tame demons inside me, and makes me an emotional mess.

Which is to say, you all get to hear about it; aren’t you lucky?!

I don’t know how to fix this ‘character flaw.’ (I’d like to think that being upset that I’m upsetting others is actually a good thing in moderation, and I merely need to learn a better system for dealing with these situations… but I also don’t know what a better system looks like. Most people seem to just pretend they’re not being assholes when they are.) I want to be able to fix things when I know they’re not right, especially when it’s my own behavior. Being unable to do so–either from lack of information or lack of skills–is an insufferable feeling.

Instead, I will just try to figure out a series of things to tell myself to remind myself about not overreacting, not reading too much into it, and how my own reactions are the only things within my control. I have a feeling this is what most people learn to do on their own, and I just have to catch up on this coping skill.

Maybe it’s a good thing I always have something I’m working on. Gives me plenty of structure in my life.

Mental Abilities

I think people sometimes wonder what I’ve learned from all of the things I’ve been through. While any one of the misfortunes (read: blessings in disguise) I’ve had to face the consequences of are not statistically rare, their confluence in me, especially once you know me, becomes astronomically unlikely.

Who would guess that the 3.97 GPA, star varsity swimmer would have a daughter at age 17? What are the odds that a young woman with not even a speeding or parking ticket on her record would have a DUI by 22? Or that the over-achieving, super dedicated woman who inadvertently commands most rooms would be squarely on the borderline personality spectrum, something that wouldn’t start to improve until she was 26?

Maybe I am compensating for something most of the time, and occasionally slip up. Maybe I just like to be a conundrum. Maybe I honestly don’t know (and yes, despise a dozen years of writing, I find myself a fascinating mystery all the time). What I do know is that after all of these oh fuck moments in my one life, I’ve learned a completely different approach to my expectations about this one life.

I realized today that when I face unexpected situations, instead of being afraid, or angry, my first response is one of amusement. I find great pleasure in seeing what deck of cards I have been handed, and enjoy playing them out to see where I end up. I am quite confident that I know where the game ends (eventually all biological organisms must die), and everything between here and there is a matter of perspective.

To find out bad news, for example health related bad news (something that is on my mind currently) is actually good news, because before I knew the news, I could do nothing to improve my situation–the same thing goes for my student loans going up in the next year (at least I can prepare and budget now!), my computer getting Coke spilled on it (I finally figured out how to ensure work-life balance”), and leaving London (I’ve never wanted more than to go back, and now I have motivation and structure for my overarching life goals in the next five years).

I am learning more and more that life is about perspective; thankfully I’ve had enough bad situations in my life to learn that my expectations about life are in no way guaranteed, and the only thing I can do when they aren’t met is change my view of these un-met expectations. It’s kind of liberating to realize that there’s a lot of bad things that can and will happen, but that my own life doesn’t have to be bad as a result, unless I let it. It’s all within my own power.

I Feel Better

In one month, I will be on a plane to London. It seems strange, because it feels like only yesterday that I said I was going in six weeks, and now we’re nearly down to four. Never mind that it really seems like only the day before that I stopped writing about London, and the day before that was the one I left.

Isn’t there anything else to say?

The reality is that most writers have patterns and niches to what we say. We write what we know, or we write what we don’t know, or we write in the universe we’ve created, and it’s in this sense that novel writers who move from genre to genre are such geniuses in the field (here’s looking at you, J.K. Rowling).

I write some of what I know: I write about London, and about traveling, and about my feelings, and sometimes I even write about the things which cause my feelings, though usually that’s through the completely biased lens of my feelings because I’m writing with close temporal proximity to the event and it’s all a bit of a mess.

Speaking of messes–which I used to write a lot about–I’m not trying to jinx myself here, but life is pretty good lately. Life is not perfect; life is never perfect. There are lots of things every day which could go horribly wrong, and as I write this, my mind flicks to my doctor’s appointment tomorrow morning and how the whole world might suddenly start to crash down on me depending on the results of that appointment. But, at times like this, I often find it better to simply push the thoughts away.

Maybe that’s why I have nothing other than London to write about: I’m actually learning how to deal with my feelings in a way which more closely resembles maturity, and there just isn’t as much need to put those things which I was formerly incapable of dealing with myself, into this space. You’re welcome for that run on sentence.

Interestingly, I no longer delude myself that I will some day be a writer. I am a writer now, and I’m not a writer too. I just take words in my brain and put them down in various places, and maybe some day someone will want to pay for these words, but probably they won’t and I’ll be okay with that too. I’ll at least have put them somewhere other than my brain (which frankly gets quite full sometimes).

I must be maturing, because I find myself more secure in my beliefs: I know the things I want and the things I don’t, and it’s less and less frequent that others are able to influence those decisions. I kind of like this feeling of independence, but who knew it wouldn’t happen for nearly ten years after I turned 18 and thought I was independent, and never in the way I had imagined.

That’s life again though, always keeping me guessing (hopefully for mostly good things, knock wood for my doctors’ appointment!).

                The Never-Ending Adventures in the Life of V