writing rengeek magpie mind

December 2014

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superhuman

you say that's exactly how this grace thing works

The post-novel ennui is ebbing. And given that Dragon Age has developed an unfortunate habit of crashing during bossfights, that seems like a good set of signs that it's time to start exerting a little more personal discipline. I'm still giving myself the rest of the month off from writing--March 1, I need to get seriously busy on the next Shadow Unit episode, and also on the revisions for Shattered Pillars--but between now and then, frankly, I have a bunch of reading and even some TV I'd like to catch up on. The great cauldron of story won't make soup if you don't dump in ingredients--and twitter does not make the doughnuts, as the saying goes.

Also, I want to reread Range of Ghosts before I revise Shattered Pillars. Because that would be smart and stuff.

I saw a sketch for the Shattered Pillars cover at Boskone, courtesy of Tor's Irene Gallo, and... I think Book 2 is likely to live up to Book 1.

So it's time to start more rigidly circumscribing my social media habits again: I think I'll give myself an hour a day for unabashed fucking around on the internets, such as reading the science news and the nerd blogs and playing Scrabble on Facebook (like you do), and then I will do something productive with the rest of my time. It's been relaxing not thinking too much, but it's starting to make my brain itch.

The stuff below this line may be triggery to some people, as I am about to talk about exercise and diet.


So I haven't actually taken off any more weight since my trip to the Midwest, but I have managed to maintain--despite Boskone and ConFusion and a killer freaking plateau and extensive travel. I'm back on the moderately stringent Discipline, and I've switched from Fitday to SparkPeople for most of my exercise and food logging needs. SparkPeople's relentless rah-rah attitude annoys me, and I prefer, quite frankly, the Fitday interface in a lot of ways as it permits more precise logging of activities and actually tells you what your calorie burn for a day is, rather than just that from exercise... but SparkPeople nags me to drink water and floss my teeth, and right now it turns out I need the reminders. And SparkPeople makes tracking food easier, with its user-maintained database and recipe thingy and the way it breaks stuff down into meals--I find it's pretty easy to plan a day's food in advance, and stick to it.

And I would be lying if I said the point system wasn't motivational.

One thing I enjoy about the Discipline: it turns eating into a kind of resource-management game ala Sim City. "So, how can I manage to have chocolate today, and still stay under my calorie goal?" One thing I don't enjoy about it is constantly being somewhat hungry, even when I have just finished eating. But hey, thirty-five pounds or so and I can probably go back to the luxury of a maintenance diet.

And being slightly hungry isn't so bad. The world is full of people for whom never quite getting enough calories isn't exactly an option.

The good news is, I really enjoy my food these days. And if it doesn't taste good, I feel free not to eat it, since I know the calories count anyway. And while I haven't been losing *weight,* I've been noticing more muscle definition, especially in my thighs. Beyonce, here I come.

I'm up to running a little over five miles in about 68 minutes, which makes me extraordinarily happy. Being ninety pounds lighter sure as hell makes running up hills easier. I think once I'm at my goal weight, I'm going to see if I can find places to do a little trail running. The Quabbin Reservoir isn't so far. 

I've been keeping up on the yoga, too--although I haven't been climbing in over a month, I mean to fix that on Saturday. We'll see how much I've lost. I miss it so damned much.

I know I'll be back to being terrified the first few times, and there's that issue of losing the grip strength in my hands--but I have been keeping up on my upper body work, and my balance is still good. Technique comes back fast, and in a few days of climbing, the confidence will be back too.

Walls! Walls, dammit! Need more walls.

Comments

Could I "friend" you on Sparkpeople? Or is that being presumputious. :)

I'm looking for motivation!

Edited at 2012-02-23 09:48 pm (UTC)
You certainly may. I'm matociquala over there, too--but I don't have a blog or anything.
One thing I enjoy about the Discipline: it turns eating into a kind of resource-management game ala Sim City.

A friend of mine is a professor studying game design, and she's been talking a lot about exactly this kind of thing. There are lots of nifty new ideas in the air about "gaming" things like food, exercise, breaking of habits/addictions, etc, as a means of leveraging the entertainment instinct for productive ends.

As for Dragon Age . . . yeah, I've been hitting DA2 again, because it's February and it always brings a serious case of the DON' WANNAS. Life got better when we realized the reason it was being hella crashy was nothing to do with the game, and everything to do with the wad of dust and lint stuck in the computer fan. <g> But DA often crashed on me during boss fights, because I hit "pause" so often to micromanage the party.
Yeah. And boss fights are freaking boring. So I don't want to have to keep starting them over!
They really are, aren't they? The high point of DA:O isn't the fight against the archdemon and the waves of minions; it's the choices that lead up to it. The actual fight is a coda.

(You can tell I play for the story, not the strategizing of "how can I beat this on Nightmare, with no companions, in starting gear, with one hand tied behind my back?" Which makes me rather different from the assholes that populate the Bioware message boards . . .)

Gaming the brain

Heh. Yeah, I do the Fitocracy thing, and when I log my workouts, I find myself thinking that I only need x number of points to get past the next hundred for that workout, and then I go do more exercise (a favourite is side bridges, because I can watch TV at the same time) purely to get past that next point break.

Re: Gaming the brain

Ehe. That is exactly why I decided Fitocracy was not for me. Because I know what I'm like on a treadmill or elliptical. "Next round number in calorie burn! Oh, look, only a half-mile to the next mile!"

...one can be there indefinitely. ;-)
Yes. That's why Rocksmith and I are getting along so well. My guitar playing is better than it's been in ages. If I don't have friends to play with, I either just play the fun bits of things or don't play at all. Rocksmith ties into gamer psych and gets me to do to all of it, and plenty of it. It isn't perfect, but it's really pretty good.

And there are all the Wii fitness games and such. I don't much like or want the social competitive interaction, but competing against myself? Oh yeah.
It's good when you miss doing stuff that's good for you like climbing. Trail running sounds fun. At least you have landscape there. Here we've got flat, flat and more flat, and maybe a tree or two. I'm about halfway into "All the Wind-Wracked Stars." Been reading it in big gulps. I've been reading so much on my Kindle Fire lately that reading this dead tree edition of ATWWS seems kinda strange. Soooooo addicted to listening to Rhapsody playlists while I'm reading on the Kindle Fire. I need to get into Yoga.
I think I was in the seventh grade, we were given an assignment to read and write a report on some book of 'classic literature', which was defined as "choose one from this list of 100 books". No idea where that list came from, but there were only a handful of books on it that I didn't recognize, so of course I had to pick one of those.

I chose "The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner".

Hated running then, even though I was on the track team. Dad used to insist that the whole family go jogging together. I would have rather been reading a book. Then I joined the Army, and really learned to hate it. Mostly I think It's the pain that I don't care for, impact in feet and knees and the all-over hurt from doing something intensely cardiovascular. Ran six miles every day. Hated it. Ran a 10K in 40 minutes. Hated it. Ran a half-marathon. Hated it, hated it, hated it.

But it does something to the mind that keeps me going back to that book. You run, and you think, in a tragic church buffet salad of layers. At the lowest layer, you think 'put foot in front of other foot, put other foot in front of first foot, breathe in, put foot in front of other foot, put other foot in front of first foot, breathe out', and at the next layer you think "trees, birds, oh look the old guy on the corner is selling his house, is this car gonna turn into me?", and at the next layer you're singing to yourself in your own mind Kate Bush "Running Up That Hill", or The Call "And You Run", or something like that, and at the next layer you're thinking about the ugly database problem at work, and at the next layer you think about what would happen if you just kept running, like in Forrest Gump, and then you remember that no, you need to go home and let the dog out, and at the next layer you're thinking about what you're going to say to That Girl if you ever see her again, and eventually the pain and the feet and the breathing just fall away, and you're flowing through the universe of ideas. And you know exactly what you will say to That Girl.

And then you stop, just before the finish line, and let the other guy win, just to stick it to The Man. THAT'll show 'em. They can't break me!

...y'know, I should start running again. Maybe this weekend I'll go buy a good pair of shoes.
I need new shoes.

I get Manfred Mann's Earth Band's "Runner" a lot. But today it was, indeed, "Running up that Hill."

And yeah, I get a lot of thinking done.
I find your posts about The Discipline to be extremely heartening.
There are nice trails at Rock House, on Rt 9 at the edge of W. Brookfield and Ware.
Sounds like the Discipline is working really well for you. About midway through my weight loss, I kind of hit the same place you are at right now. But it was a hopeful place because, again, like you, I was starting to see muscle definition which I hadn't seen before (in me, that is...). Plus this last time making the whole thing into more of a game of "what fun food choices can I make?" rather than "Oh dear God there's FREAKING NOTHING I CAN EAT!!!"

(Having the wheat, dairy and egg allergies makes the weight loss attitude even more cranky. The possibility of more and easier options for treats in small doses makes it easier this go-round. Otherwise, when there's something that comes along that tastes good...well, overindulgence happens)

Enjoying food is important for weight loss, I've decided. It's easier to take smaller amounts of Really Good Food than it is to do the same with stuff that just doesn't taste good, or is on the meh side of things.

And missing climbing is a really good sign, at least it would be so for me. While I've always enjoyed horseback riding, skiing is still pretty new after six years. But what I've also noticed is that I really feel it if I don't do the weights and yoga mix--or if I don't spin my poi and do hoops as well. The desire to be active is so damned different this time. It gives me hope that yeah, I can keep the damned weight off.

For me, the biggest weight gains come from drinking alcohol. It really does depend on the type...if I go off on a jag of drinking a sweet liqueur, I'll gain faster than if I have a shot of really good Scotch. Yet according to my calorie books they're all the same. I....don't think so. Either I'm drinking more of the liqueur (usually a Grand Marnier knockoff) or something.

Edited at 2012-02-24 04:09 am (UTC)
Somewhere in a Faye Weldon book is the line, "A little smoked salmon doesn't cost any more than a lot of tuna, and it's so much nicer."

Truth.
Smoked salmon with capers. Nomnomnom.

(One of my colleagues goes fishing in Alaska every summer. He also goes out salmon fishing on the Columbia with his in-laws. Occasionally he'll bring his homemade smoked salmon to share...very rarely. Nom.)
Having the wheat, dairy and egg allergies makes the weight loss attitude even more cranky. The possibility of more and easier options for treats in small doses makes it easier this go-round.

there was a news article i was reading just the other day, in which doctors were on one hand saying "all these people going on gluten-free diets when they haven't been told to by a doctor, are not actually doing their bodies any good"....but then followed that statement by acknowledging that the increased market for gluten-free stuff is making things like food shopping WAY easier for the folks who do have medical reasons to eschew gluten.
the increased market for gluten-free stuff is making things like food shopping WAY easier for the folks who do have medical reasons to eschew gluten.

Word. My issues are not so much about gluten itself as they are about wheat (allergies, asthma trigger). "Gluten-free" is a MUCH simpler shorthand for "don't serve me any wheat" because there are far too many people out there who think enriched, refined white flour ISN'T wheat. Early in my allergy days I spent a lot of time trying to explain this to servers who would say "Oh, that's not wheat, it's white flour." It was a bigger issue for me twenty years ago after first figuring it out because I was also so much more reactive. After twenty years of being wheat, dairy and egg-free, I'll still get triggered but it is nowhere near the same severity of initial reactivity.

And it is so freaking nice to be able to find wheat-free stuff even in a grocery store! Haven't tried gluten-free Bisquick yet, but contemplating the possibilities for revisiting marionberry/blackberry dumplings this summer. In small amounts, of course....that stuff is expensive (and high calorie)!
Trail runs are the best; I think you will love it. Good dynamic balance practice, too, so should be handy for climbing!
I've done some little ones, and used to do bigger ones. My experience is that, while I still hate running, I hate trail running much much less. *g* I kind of hope that will be borne out!
Enjoy your rest. You deserve it :-)

Congrats on the weight loss and the dieting! My sister and I are just starting out on ours. I'd KILL to have lost 90 pounds lol. That would be totally my goal weight. I have to get back into the gym, but honestly, dieting is the hardest part. I hate not being able to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. But it helps to be reminded that I'm lucky I have the choice.
I find it helps not to think of it as a diet, but as a lifestyle choice. It's gotten me through six years or so of work. :-P
A most excellent point. I have actually kept the choices about what to eat this week on the right path by doing just that. I get to the food and I think--now, is this what you know you should be eating? Will you get to your goals eating it? Are there healthier options? I haven't weighed myself, but I sure feel easier knowing I did everything I could this week to consume healthier options.
Yeah. And knowing it's a lifetime thing helps, for me. Like, "Okay, this is a thing I have to do so as not to have a stroke in my fifties. Good to know."