Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Paper chaser

Does anybody else find the paper punches incredibly humbling?

Not only did I not knock down the sheet with the steely windpower of my punch, I accidentally hit the thing . . . twice . . . and it still did not fall over. I guess my best defense currently, should I run into an ogre in a dark alley, is to run. Or maybe knee him in the balls.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Greetings from NYC!

. . . where I have just returned after seven days of driving from North Carolina to Oregon. It was great fun, my young nieces and older sister are excellent travel companions, and I am exhausted. But I did want to drop in to say hello before I crash.

KFB on the road was much easier than I expected. I made a tomato and cucumber salad that lasted at least half the week, bagged some chopped celery and carrots, and packed a lot of fresh and dried fruit for snacks. In the evenings when we stopped at restaurants, I had some really delicious salads with fish. I've missed my full workouts the past few days, due to road trip events beyond my control. (You know, the usual stuff like spending three hours in Billings, MT while the Mazda dealership put in a new alternator and driving till 2 a.m. because Ironman competitors in Couer d'Alene, ID and Hoopfest attendees in Spokane, WA—only the biggest event of the year, who knew?—had filled the hotels.) Today's workout was a casualty of an adventurous flight experience back to the east coast that began with my alarm at 4:15 a.m. But I think this evening I will put together all the flexibility exercises since Saturday for a power stretching session and pick things up tomorrow morning with Day 46.

This is cute: a couple of mornings after working out in our hotel room, I'd get out of the shower to see my nieces shadow boxing. My five-year-old niece also led me in a number of her freshly imagined stretches.

A few things I learned:
If a warning light comes on in the car, you should probably have it checked out.
Book a hotel ahead of time.
To 5-year-olds, potty humor is the shit.
Bring more snacks than you think you need in case your flight is delayed until the end of time . . . while you're already on the plane.
When in doubt, Dolly Parton.

I just caught up on all Patrick's e-mails from the week, and I look forward to reading all your blogs. Should get this show back up and running regularly in another day or two. . . .

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Gone fishin'...

Up in the air--it's wide angle forward bend! (Er . . . sort of.)

Just look at this photo and imagine how I thought I looked. I was definitely in a full split. Definitely.

I don't know about you guys, but I LOVED today's new freestyle workout . . . especially the punching part. I gave that ball the whatfor. But it managed to double back and whap me in the face, so I think we're even.

I am also superstoked about the shorter workout. It's going to be a godsend this week. On Monday, I depart for my cross-country driving adventure. NC to OR in 6 days. Which means I'll be up crazy early most days so I can pack it in before we hit the road. I'm not taking internet with me, so I'll probably be incommunicado till then.

A very kung fu week to you all!

Friday, June 18, 2010


To my most recent post . . .

I eventually did get up, when the dryer buzzer woke me with a start, causing me to accidentally drop the cat on the floor. Unphased, she lay where she fell and went right back to sleep.

I took the opportunity to do my wide angle forward bend as I started The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks. I'm only a few pages in, but it's quite compelling. And I must be making progress on the stretch because for once, I didn't get any back pain.

I'll get the real test tomorrow when my eight-year-old niece and I attend an aerial silk class taught by my friend Caroline.

Will keep you posted. . . .


One disadvantage to not being overweight is that when I come home to NC, my tummy isn't exactly desirable real estate for cat naps. However, after a stressful day of running from the tiny people (my nieces) who have invaded my mom's house for the weekend and hissing violently at the stray Schnauzer who crashed with us for a couple of hours this afternoon, Gigi managed to find a comfy spot on my legs as I fell asleep on the recliner. I guess she needed some TLC. I know I did.

This week has been a little rough. Every day has brought a constant, unexpected reminder that Sunday is Father's Day. Like, say, when I open my e-mail, and Amazon is all, GET YOUR DAD A KINDLE. My family attended a Bar Association memorial service for my father at the courthouse this afternoon. It was lovely, but I was crying before it even started. Better than bursting into tears on the street, which has happened almost every day this week. (Shivani, I envy your crying during meditation at these times . . . why can't I bawl when it's convenient?) I always get it under control, but one of these days, I should probably just let myself lose it completely.

Suffice it to say, I've been eating a lot of granola.
And unlawful carbs (usually at night.)
And too much fruit (maybe, I don't always measure.)

I don't consider any of these breaches to be KFB fails, however, because if the worst thing I do is eat too much granola, I'm on the right path. I realized this week that I'm not counting the KFB days. I don't feel like I'm missing anything. I have no desire whatsoever to eat processed anything (I can make it myself!), big fancy meals, or refined sugar goodies. Not even cake. Not even homemade. Not even at my unbirthday celebration tomorrow. My brain and my body finally see eye-to-eye. These foods will not serve me (even on an emotional level, though clearly granola has stepped up to the plate on that one . . . baby steps.) Of course, I still need lots of practice, but KFB feels like regular life to me. Definite win.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Deep Thoughts

I rather enjoy the targeted exercises when I can invest the time. Like this evening. After a couple rounds of kicks, I was popping them off. KAPOW! BOOM! BOINK! Finding my rhythm cut my agility time in half (it's a Tuesday miracle!) Soon I'll be able to challenge anyone to a proper street fight. Game face: ON.

Pictured above: the agility section of my home gym. The space is configured such that I have to do kicks from inside the bathroom. I like to do it all in the dark. You know, just in case aforementioned street fight breaks out at night.

I finished the rest of the workout while I watched No Impact Man. Pretty interesting stuff. I'm trying to quit paper towel usage cold turkey. How the experiment is going would depend on which member of the household you choose to ask.

Going back to agility, my new favorite thing is spitting cherry pits into the trash can behind my desk at snack time. Patrick, I think you should consider adding targeted spitting to the agility workout. PTOOEY!

Pacato tells me I'm looking rather agile in the capoeira roda. I have no idea if this is true. What I do know is that we started class today by playing without kicks, and I was pulling tricks out of my bag that I forgot I knew. I must harbor a small fear of getting kicked. I think my game reflects the fact that I'm not a touchy feely person in real life, but throw out the kicks, and suddenly, I'm all up in your space.

Now that push kicks are getting more play in my brain, they've insinuated themselves into my capoeira repertoire as well.

Also, I walked by the mirror the other day in my morning P.E. uniform (sports bra and undies) and actually thought, I can't believe that's my body. I dig KFB muscle tone.

I slept in till 6:50 a.m. this morning. It was glorious. But I literally just woke myself up snoring in the middle of writing this post. So I suppose I'll hit the sack.

Until next time. . . .

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Life is a bowl full of cherries

Or at least my morning snack is. 140g of cherries is a lot of cherries! Nom nom nom . . .

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Do you hear that?

That's the sound of rules breaking.

A few nights this week, I ate peanut butter straight out of the jar. Spoon in the peanut butter. Spoon in the honey. Spoon in my mouth. Repeat. I'm not outing myself to lament having fallen off the food wagon. As far as I'm concerned, I'm driving this wagon. I'm just using Patrick's map. Up till now, when I've taken a detour it has usually (but not always) meant eating less at a meal if I wasn't hungry or having an extra fruit snack if I was. When I started this program, I made a commitment to myself to make mindful, healthful eating a natural part of my daily life, but it does take practice. There have been moments when I've stopped to ask myself, "is this food going to help my body or harm it?" In those instances, I've usually had to put it down and walk away.

But the greatest challenge of mindful eating has not been choosing healthful foods. It has been understanding why I eat. If I reach for a handful of granola when I'm not hungry, what am I trying to cover up? I recently read Geneen Roth's Women, Food, and God, and I've been practicing her approach of inquiry—stopping in the moment of wanting to binge to allow myself to understand what I'm feeling. (In fact, as I type right now, I have a strong urge to get something to eat.) My favorite of her seven Eating Guidelines is "Eat (with the intention of being) in full view of others." Because I tend to eat like I'm afraid someone's going to take my food away from me. I eat quickly. I eat simply because the food is there. And as it turns out, if I give myself the choice to put my snack on a plate and walk it over to the dining table, I usually choose not to eat it. Because food isn't what I wanted.

I met yesterday's mindful consumption e-mail from Patrick (eat a treat, be present for it, and recognize how your physical body reacts) with some discomfort. In fact, I reacted by making a huge batch of granola, snacking on it straight off the baking sheet, feeling terribly gassy all afternoon, and getting a stomach ache later because farting in a movie theater is against our social mores. But in the midst of all those terrible feelings, I continued to eat.

I think there's a flaw with the physical approach to mindful consumption. Food is too entwined with personal experience. Understanding the physical consequences of eating certain foods and overeating in general is not enough. For me, at least, the physical pain can add to the desired result—it provides a distraction from the anxiety, the sadness, the frustration, the embarrassment, etc.—although it ultimately exacerbates those feelings. It's a punitive cycle. Like getting a massive hangover and swearing you're never going to drink again . . . until next weekend. If millions of Americans were going to stop eating Big Macs because they give you indigestion, obesity would not be endemic to our culture right now.

The tricky part is that while the physical consequences are tangible, the emotional causes of eating are not always readily evident. I have no idea why I ate that peanut butter because I didn't bother to find out. If I had, I probably wouldn't have eaten it.

So what is the answer? For me, I have to constantly remind myself that my mind and my body are worth the extra time it takes to a) understand what I'm feeling and b) determine whether the choice I'm making is ultimately going to lengthen or shorten my life. I take more time to chew my food. I've decided that I have enough of everything I need—enough time, enough food, enough money. I meditate. This aspect of the program, I find, has been the most beneficial to me almost instantly. In fact, I've noticed that sometimes anxiety or frustration that might previously have caused me to eat now produces a great desire to sit instead.

What has been your experience with the mental side of mindful consumption?

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Snacktime Triumph

Behold! Banana Ice Cream!

Frozen Bananas + Blender = Greatest Dessert in History

Oh, the simplicity of it all. I wish I had thought of it myself.
Pacato asked me if my way around the "no processed foods" rule is just to make it all myself. I suppose it is, but mostly I'm just stoked on realizing how easy it is to make foods I might otherwise have bought. PLUS I have complete control over what goes into them.

I think this little treat may be my substitute for birthday cake this year.

5:45 a.m.!

. . . is the magic number if I want to finish my whole workout before work.

I noticed much better range of motion in my hips during the side leg swing and the crane—especially for that hour.

Veggie pancakes and spelt for breakfast. Nom nom nom . . .

Also, I'm collecting songs from the 80s and 90s for my road trip. Send your favorites!

Speaking of hits from the 90s, it's time for a MORNING CONFESSION: I totally learned to dance from MTV's The Grind Workout videos.

As I was working out to the 90s on 9 this morning, one of the songs from the videos came on—The Bucketheads' The Bomb. Which reminded me that I can't get as low on the dance floor as I used to. So I figured I'd give it a try this morning. Y'all, I have a feeling I'll be getting LOW-LOW-LOW by the end of KFB. . . . 

Friday, June 4, 2010

Thursday, June 3, 2010

I'm really kung fu at having summer fun.

It's my favorite season, and you are guaranteed to find me outside . . . somewhere . . . most likely wearing a tiny bikini. Tomorrow, I embark on the first of many adventures in the coming hot weather months—a weekend capoeira retreat at a yoga ashram (with a pool—SCORE!).

A small sampling of what the rest of the summer has in store:

Wedding (not mine)
Cross-country road trip with my sister and nieces (ages 5 and 8)
My birthday (wheeeee!)
Pacato's birthday
Visit home to NC (not complete without a trip to the amusement park)
Folk music festival

All these reasons to celebrate will provide ample opportunities to test how kung fu I am at following rules. What are you guys up to this summer that might challenge your KFB mindset?