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bear by san

September 2015



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first you decide what you gotta do and then you go out and do it.

Tomorrow I get on an airplane for Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan... not necessarily in that order. I will mostly be visiting scott_lynch in scenic New Richmond, with side trips involving a certain truepenny and her mirrorthaw , and mrissa and alecaustin and markgritter and timprov and porphyrin and dlandon , and saladinahmed  and colomon  and, and, and... well, scores upon scores of my midwestern peeps. And a bonus jaylake !

And I shall be revising Shattered Pillars for submission. Because my vacation--or perhaps collapse--is over, and I need to get some work done now. Even though I would like another month of laziness in order to let my brain grow back after the insanity that was 2010-2011.

Perhaps I will see some of you at ConFusion?

There have been a couple of major milestones in the land of getting myself healthy and fit again. The Discipline is finally starting to reach its culmination. 

NB: I'm not looking for weight loss or exercise advice (I know what works for me, and if you want to know what it is, look back along the tag "the discipline"), and I firmly support anybody's right to live in the body they are comfortable in without societal bullshit or pressure. For me, for health reasons, I've decided that I needed to regain my lost athleticism in the wake of a bad marriage, and I have been working at it since 2006 or so.

My goals include not being incapacitated and dying slowly over the course of my fifties and sixties due to diabetes and hypertension, as my grandmother did. Please respect my sovereignty over my own body: criticism of those goals is not welcome, and neither is criticism of people who are happy and healthy making other lifestyle choices than they ones I have.

As of this morning, I weighed in at 197, thus achieving two arbitrary milestones. The first digit is a one (and has been since December 31st), and my BMI is now 29.95, or below the mystical cutoff from "overweight" to "obese." BMI is kind of largely bullshit... "We've replaced a transparently ridiculous height-weight chart with an opaquely ridiculous number! Let's see if anybody notices!"

But hey, even arbitrary milestones are milestones.

In less arbitrary milestones--I'm comfortably wearing size 14 jeans again and many of my favorite clothes fit me; I ran 4.8 miles in 60 minutes yesterday (that's nearly five 13-minute miles.) and followed it up with an hour of yoga and it felt like the right amount of exercise; I feel fit, in that I constantly surprise myself how easy it is to lift a heavy object or run up a flight of stairs--I can't wait to get back into the climbing gym more regularly, because I have a suspicion I am going to fly up walls; my forearms and biceps look awesome; and when I catch a glimpse of my face in a mirrored surface, I look like me, and not some stranger with my hair; the back fat has vanished and I have collarbones again. Collarbones!

Most importantly of all, my resting heart rate is varying between 60-68, and my blood pressure is back in the healthy range, unmedicated. WIKTORY! I think that qualifies as "fit."

My original goal was 165 pounds (I am 5'8", with a fairly massive bone structure--the strapping 6'1" Viking I'm dating is the first man I've ever been involved with who has broader shoulders than I do, and I regular rip the back seams on men's shirts), with a possibility of going for 155 if I got to the prearranged goalpost and still felt like I was carrying more weight than I wanted. Now I'm wondering if 170 isn't a more sensible goal, given the muscle mass I'm carrying... I guess we'll see how I feel when I get down there. Lighter is better for climbing--human tendons do not like hauling more than about 150 pounds up overhangs. But it's stupid to keep pushing for an arbitrary number if it's not what my body wants, and it won't support the muscle mass that makes it possible for me to do what I want to do.

Ani Difranco, it turns out, is 364 days older than I am. Man, she's going on my inspiration list of incredibly fit people a little older than me, along with Shemar Moore. Have you seen that woman's biceps? She's amazing.

Anyway, I'm really feeling as if the finish line is in sight, and I have my second wind. I've lost something like 95 pounds since 2005, and... well, I feel so much better. You would not believe how much less my knees and back hurt.

tl;dr: It's nice to be fit.

Also, winter has finally found Southern New England. Low today was 0; high today is 20. Gonna go make a pot of tea now. Also gonna go put a sweater on.


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As a fellow 5'8" person who lifts things up and puts them down, we can laugh at the BMI together.
Rar. 13 inch biceps! Not bad for a girl!
Yay you!

I just read a scary article which implies that the only way to consistently keep the weight off for those of us with genetic programming to be heavy is to, essentially, follow The Discipline. Because, well, the damn body wants to lock in at a heavier weight unless we get tough with it.

Sigh. I'd hoped to get away from the tough regime I've been following, but what the studies suggest is successful is what you...and I...have been doing. Consistent weight monitoring, extra exercise and more restrictive diet than a lot of other folks. I think you're being wise in adjusting your goals--and hey! Major congrats at achieving this goal! You're right, the body will thank you for it as you get older. I wish I'd started the consistent weight management program back when I was younger, instead of waiting until I was in my 50s. Oh well, I think for me some of it took the menopausal metabolic changes to make it easier.
That study is so incredibly flawed I can't believe people pay any attention. </p>

Here's to us all living active lives. Yay!


It's warmer here. Have a good trip.
Congrats on deciding on goals and whoo hoo on getting there!

Whilst in the land of Cheese (my former home area), I'd recommend stopping at Devils Lake for some outdoor climbing, but you seem to be going during XC Ski season, so that won't work. Oh well. Enjoy hanging out with That Boy You Like.
Well, at least for right now, we don't have any snow so that would be a good trip.
I will definitely be at ConFusion, roaming around with theferrett and the Usual Suspects. And probably spending a lot of time in the bar with my friends. ;)
Yeah, I expect to mostly be in the bar. ;-)
Sooooon! But not so soon I don't have time to get over this cooooold!
Have fun here in sunny Michigan. (It actually is sunny today. I was beginning to think I'd accidentally moved to Portland, Oregon without noticing.)
I hate it when that happens. The moving-without-noticing thing. Though it beats having to pack and load a truck.
Have a good trip.
Goodness, you're same height as me. I had somehow registered you as being an inch or two taller. You probably have better posture than I do -- I will lean and sag.
People often think I'm taller than I am. I suspect it's because I am so broad. I take up a lot of space.
Congratulations!! I can't wait to get more fit. I was a wussypants and hired a trainer, because I wasn't entirely convinced I could go to a gym without killing or injuring myself. :) It's going wonderfully so far. I think I would like rock climbing, so maybe I will add that to my list of goals. :)
Hurrah! Congrats on the progress.
I find these posts very inspirational.

Also, in the last few years when I've worked hard at a combination of paddling and weight training, I find my posture has improve enormously. Gosh, it's really true that if you strengthen your upper body it is easier to stand up straight. They kept telling me that and yet somehow I never believed them!
Yeah, amazing how core strength comes in handy EVERY DAY and especially when you do something dumb and fall down.
First off, hooray for you and a process that is working for you in the ways you want it to.

Second, hooray for getting to see so many wonderful people during your trip.

(I will be at ConFusion, so I will see you there, but I will not get to see all the wonderful people you will since I don't think they will all be at ConFusion. :-)
Oh, I can't wait to fly cross-country to see you! *giggles*

Also, it will be nice to see you, iteratively ridiculous circumstances or not.
Hooray for the Midwest! I'm back in Minneapolis for winter break, so consider yourself waved-at from across the city. (Alternatively, if your side trip to the Twin Cities includes an event where another person would not be amiss, I am probably available.)
maybe we can swing some kind of gang lunch thing...
Congratulations on your goal-reaching. Go you!

Your example has helped me come to the realization that I have to make the choices that work for me, and that I need to be more proactive, and your openness about your childhood abuse and the scars left behind have helped me see that a lot of my resistance to losing weight is that I wanted to hide behind the fat so no one else saw me as a woman, or a sexual being -- so thank you very much for that as well as your chronicling of the discipline and your results therefrom. I have made a choice that requires a different kind of discipline and am pursuing it now, and part of that is down to your inspiring example.
Good for you. *Good* for you.
Congratulations, Bear, on all your goals and milestones. As I suspect you may already know, I totally support your efforts and applaud them every step of the way.
Likewise and back atcha.

I need to get past my "it's winter; I can't ride my bike" nonsense, and get the damn thing out again. (I'm in the Bay Area. Yes, sometimes it rains in winter. I haven't seen rain in days. And I'll only be cold until I get going and warm myself up. My excuse, it is weak sauce.)
If I can run in January in Massachusetts...


Polypro is your friend!
You are so wonderfully sensible about how to determine and re-evaluate your goals. (I'm assuming that doesn't count as advice, on the theory that most people like being praised for what they were going to do anyway.)

The arguments about BMI are annoying because they're such a clear indicator of most people's inability to understand statistics. (I'm assuming you know all this and I'm mostly just venting.) It is a good measure - but it's a measure for populations. It's a terrible one for individuals, since so many factors like frame size and musculature can affect it, but in the aggregate it evens out well enough.

We moved from a period of intense exercise (Concept 2 Holiday Challenge) to one of relative inactivity (20-day road trip, tons of walking but also hours in the car). It worked OK for me, since lots of walking actually seems to be a form of exercise that my body likes and does well with, but was terrible for my husband who functions more like you do. When he cuts back on exercise, he starts getting back and neck pain. And he gained a couple of kilos - I on the other hand lose weight on such trips, due to much less boredom-induced snacking than on a workday.
It's been a long road and a lot of dysfunction getting to the place where I can tell myself "You want to be healthy, dammit," and believe it.

For me, restaurant food is the killer. I actually did okay in Ireland and Sweden, because we ate very sensibly... but usually a weekend in a hotel is good for five pounds. :-P
You have been and continue to be one of my inspirations for why I am currently training for the LA Marathon. It's hard some days, because I have my own Fat Brain and I have to tell it things like, "We have to eat pasta or we are not running 11 miles this Sunday" because it automatically sees that as Fat Food, which it is not, when applied sensibly.

But most of all, I like being able to run five miles and not fall down at the end of it and not be panting like a dog or feeling like my heart is going to explode. And you are one of the reasons why that is now.

So thank you.

Though my dog looks at you reproachfully. :D (I take her with me.)
Go team you! Maybe we should trade dogs: mine is all "TWO LEGS ARE SLOW!"

Also, I am so in love with the Barilla whole grain pasta, and their high-protein pasta.

Because I *love* pasta, and I want it to *taste* like pasta, not like wallpaper paste... but I also want it to have tons of nutritional value. *g*
Good for you, Bear!

Also, Minnesota welcomes you (with fairly awesome weather, too)
I can't wait to see you!!!!

I am always inspired to exercise by you logging your endeavors. My prior plans to start any sort of discipline have, however, of course turned into something different. I am hungry all of the time, right now, and really, really, REALLY need to start the prenatal yoga tape I bought, because my pelvic girdle muscles hate me. Apparently my body remembers what it was like to be pregnant and has beat superfast time to get there, so I look like 6 months at 4. So my muscles are screaming screaming all of the time at the redistribution, and yet I only gained half a pound last month. The doctor is encouraging me to add calories!

Fetus likes cheese. It's like Discipline in reverse. It feels constantly decadent.

I saw Ani play a few weeks ago and I had the same thought you did -- "Holy crap, that woman is RIPPED." :) She probably has a personal trainer down there in Nola, but hey, whatever works. Though I suppose if I played the guitar like that, I'd have biceps too.
I shall definitely be at ConFusion!
And on Saturday evening, I will wear the Cthulhu Bra!

If you're doing a signing session, I'll probably bring by something to sign and be completely tongue tied.
I look forward to seeing you there!
Huzzah for feeling good about you! I'm currently suffering through physical therapy and not being able to work out like I should. Hmph. I shall live vicariously through you. You don't mind, do you? *grin*
Not at all.

I'm currently suffering through Not Enough Climbing, but my rotator cuff is probably the better for it.
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