Yoga # 52

Jun. 2nd, 2010 09:55 am
supercheesegirl: (yoga - cute brown tree)
Yoga # 52
Wednesday June 2, early morning
30 minutes
1540 minutes total

Fabulous practice this morning. Weights, balance poses, squats, pushups, strength poses, headstand. Feeling great today and loving my body.
supercheesegirl: (conan the barbarian)
I dragged my sorry self out of bed at 6:35 and went jogging again this morning--three weeks in a row now! F did not accompany me today. I took my ipod with me, even though it made me kind of nervous to, because that poor jogger was killed by a falling tree branch last month in Fairmount Park and she had her headphones on so she didn't hear the branch cracking or falling or else she might not have died, and I just found out that my friend Becca was there in the park that night and saw the poor girl and tried to help, so it was fresh in my mind. But obviously that was a weird freak accident, so I listened to my ipod anyway. All my old workout playlists are really long, like 40+ minutes, so I need to make some shorter ones. I also need to get a wristwatch. I ended up staying out for 30 minutes total, but not all of that was jogging. I jogged the first 8-10 minutes, but then I got that awful stitch in my side again, and I ended up walking the rest of the time. F thinks the side stitch is because I drank too much water before going jogging, but I ALWAYS drink water first thing in the morning because when I wake up I'm THIRSTY. So, not sure what to do about that. Maybe I'll just walk the 30 minutes next time. But it doesn't feel as much like working out if I'm not jogging--who says "I'm getting up half an hour early to go for a WALK"? We'll see. But I'm happy to be sticking with it!

In related news, today I am wearing the skinny black jeans, which sometimes are too tight to wear but which today are a bit big in the front for the first time ever.
supercheesegirl: (conan the barbarian)
You might remember that I had to give up my gym membership at the end of September. My level of fitness/exercise has dropped off greatly since then. I've also been horrible about yoga lately, and eating badly, and I'm very unhappy with my resulting weight and size. I don't fit in my clothes, and I'm really apprehensive about summer clothes--and you know me, there's nothing I love more than summer clothes, but I can't stand the thought of how I'm going to look in spaghetti straps. It's bad. My arms and shoulders are horrible and my middle is causing real pants problems.

So I made a decision. Now that the weather is finally improving, I can actually take some action to correct this situation. F and I have a friend's wedding to attend at the end of May, so I'm planning to lose ten pounds by then. Keep in mind that I don't own a scale--these will be metaphorical/emotional pounds, pounds that I will consider myself to have lost when last year's clothes fit and I'm not disgusted by my appearance anymore. I remember liking my body. When I lived in Boston, it was actually a pretty great body. I want to get that back.

F is going to help. We started off strong with our hike on Sunday afternoon, and we're planning to add more walks, yoga, and stretching. I bought free weights a few months ago and have hardly used them, so those will be instrumental in getting my arms back from their current jelly-like state. I had a plan a few months ago where I was going to get off the train two stops early and get in a 20-minute walk home, and I'm actually going to start doing that, so that even on non-workout days at least I'll be doing something. We'll be spending more time in the park, too--for now just on weekends, but once the days start getting longer we'll be able to go for an hour or so on weeknights too. There are lots of little trails to explore. I mean, just this weekend we found a huge statue of an Indian that I'd never even seen before. There's so much more to check out!

And we're eating better--we've been working on that for a while, but it's going to continue to improve. Lest ye doubt my resolve, know that I have brought carrot sticks for my snack today. CARROT STICKS. And I have banana chips too. I've switched completely away from using sugar as a sweetener in my tea--now we're using lower-cal, healthier sweeteners like agave nectar and Truvia. Agave nectar is good in EVERYTHING, seriously, it's good on Cheerios and in chai. And there will be more salads, and more vegetables. F can cook green beans like whoa.

I think this is do-able. I suspect that the major things I need to fix are the lack of exercise, and the snacking--most of the meals I eat are pretty good, but I snack on junk, and even when I snack on not-so-junk I still eat too much of it. But, check it out, already my coworkers have brought cookies to the office, and already I did not leap from my seat to get one.
supercheesegirl: (ieat)
[livejournal.com profile] dreda replied to my last post, wondering if I might be especially sensitive to foods with a high glycemic index. I had never heard of this before, so I've been looking around online. OMG. Paying attention to the glycemic index of the food I eat has the potential to solve all my damn problems!

First of all, links:

- "Glycemic Index" on wikipedia
- A story in the Sunday Times Online about a woman who discovered the "GI diet" and how it worked for her (this sounds exactly like me, seriously)
- Another article from the Sunday Times Online about the GI diet and what it does
- Online searchable database listing the glycemic index of various foods, sponsored by the University of Sidney (a bit limited because they don't have a ton of American brands on there, but they do have food from all over the world)

Basically, the glycemic index measures how quickly the carbohydrates in your food turn into blood sugar. A high GI food is digested really quickly, flooding your blood with sugar and giving you an energy rush, but then that blood sugar also disappears quickly, letting you down and causing cravings for more high GI food. High GI foods include candy, cakes, pancakes, white bread, and potatoes. These also tend to be foods that have other bad things in them that cause you to gain weight.

A low GI food, by contrast, is digested slowly, gradually releasing sugar into the blood over a few hours. It keeps you going longer and fulfills hunger better. Low GI foods include fruits, vegetables, grainy breads, pasta, milk. These tend to be the foods that are healthier anyway.

I guess I had known some general info about glycemic index, but not much (like, runners eat pasta before a race). I hadn't known there was a systematic approach to dieting according to GI. I think that [livejournal.com profile] dreda may have been spot-on in pointing this out to me. Now that I'm looking, I see the effects of high GI foods in my life all the time. For example, yesterday I was in a rush and I had two pop tarts for breakfast on the way out the door. I spent the entire day hungry and craving chocolate, then I snacked a bunch last night (a raspberry freezie thing after dinner, then a piece of cake, and then I was starving by 9:45 so I ate a bunch of potato chips). On the other hand, Tuesday was not nearly such a bad day--and I had a nice big salad for lunch. Today I started off with a bowl of healthy cereal (Great Grains!) and I am not having cravings so badly.

So, if I pay attention to what I eat, it will reduce cravings, keep me from getting so hungry, and help with weight loss. And there's no calorie counting--you just have to be sensible. Overall, planning what I eat according to the GI diet basically just seems like another way to think about eating healthily. This makes a lot of sense to me.

A possible typical day for me. )

The GI index goes from 0 to 100 (100 being straight glucose). Most of the things listed in my possible day are in the middle somewhere, in the 50s or lower. This is a totally do-able day for me. I already eat like this most of the time! I always get frustrated when I think about dieting, because I eat pretty decently for the most part but snack on crap--I can never identify what a healthy yet tasty snack replacement would be, but I need to snack on something, so I get frustrated. This system makes it easy to identify what some healthier snacks are that I would, um, actually want to eat. The fact that Dove dark chocolate is on the low GI list makes me so incredibly happy.

Foods to avoid / foods that are good )
supercheesegirl: (yoga)
I never posted about my yoga class Thursday night. It was good, but a little scattered--one girl came a bit late, then we ran a little over time and I had to leave before the end of the meditation so I could catch my train. Best thing, though, was learning tripod pose. I can has headstand! Or close enough. I'm totally working it. And I showed Lucia my new and improved handstand prep and she said I'm totally strong enough to do a real one. I said I wasn't ready yet, and she said, that's fine but really you are. So that was cool.

Awesome gym workout today. I did 45 minutes on the elliptical! Warmed up for the first 1.5 minutes, then really pushed myself so that I made 3 miles in 30 minutes. Then I cooled down for the last fifteen minutes of the workout. About 4 miles total. It said I burned over 500 calories, but who knows. Did all the weights, then did about 35 minutes of yoga. Practiced my handstand prep and my tripod, and did my other usual things like tabletop and pigeon. It was nice.

My weight at the gym today was 161.75. I took my shoes off for that. It's the highest my weight has ever been. I can now officially say that I'd like to lose ten pounds. Whee. I've been building a lot of muscle lately, so that might have an effect on my weight, I guess. Overall, I feel really good, and I know my body is in better shape than it's been in for a long time, and looks better too, so I don't want to worry about it, but the actual number in pounds is a little disconcerting.

arms

Jun. 28th, 2008 09:49 pm
supercheesegirl: (brock Yeeaaahhhh!!1!)
I discovered a new use for my new improved arm muscles just now. Last fall when I went to the Renaissance Faire, I had some difficulty carrying a half-case of wine from the car into my apartment. Today, I carried a 3/4 case of wine with no problem. Here, I had been judging my level of improvement only by how my arms looked and how well I can do side plank pose. Carrying large quantities of wine is a MUCH better scale of arm strength! By fall, I want to be carrying a full case with one arm!
supercheesegirl: (yoga)
Got to the gym around 6:40 and found a parking spot! Did 8 minutes on the non-moving-arms elliptical, then moved to a moving-arms one when one became available. I did 10 minutes and, since I was already warmed up, easily did a 10-minute mile.

I was in time for the Monday night yoga class, but it got canceled. I was already off the elliptical and ready to go, so I just did some yoga anyway. I had an awesome yoga practice--it was one of those days when I felt completely made of muscle. It was really nice. I did crunches and everything. A full hour's yoga practice!

I am concerned lately about my belly. Usually, when I get on a good gym streak, the belly fat melts away, but this has not been happening. In fact the belly seems firmly established lately and officially sticks out farther than my tits (at least, when they're confined to a sports bra). This is a problem. Perhaps I should stop eating raw cookie dough as a snack. You think?

::edit:: I just remembered, I'm due for my period this week!! That means we can attribute the belly fat to bloating!!
supercheesegirl: (monsoon - alice)
Update from today:

- The phrase "Robbins 8th and Walnut" has been stuck in my brain since my childhood. It's a diamond jewelry store that advertises on the radio all the time and has since forever. They do TV spots, too, featuring one of the jewelers/owners who wears a diamond in his beard. All this time, though, it never really occurred to me that "Robbins 8th and Walnut" denoted an actual location. Today, however, I drove down 8th Street, which has jewelry stores up one side and down the other between Chestnut and Walnut, culminating in the Robbins store on the corner of (you guessed it) 8th and Walnut. Wow, revelation.

- Today I tried on a corset. No, a serious corset. A corset made according to old Victorian patterns, and actually boned and stuff. A corset that costs several hundred dollars. I'm actually not quite sure how I feel about it. I couldn't breathe kind of at all, but I knew that. It was also hard to tell how it would really look on the top because I had to try it on over my shirt. I don't think I've had a 24 inch waist since puberty, though. The girl who laced me into it really knew what she was doing. I don't know, for some reason the whole experience kind of made me feel like crying, and I don't know why. Because here's this lovely thing and I so totally and completely should not be buying it? Maybe a little, but that wasn't entirely it. Because I couldn't breathe and was feeling lightheaded? Partly. Because a corset is a thing that both celebrates my womanly body and also shapes and restricts it to an uncomfortable ideal form? Because I was supposed to feel beautiful?

- I spent a small chunk of the afternoon playing Scrabble with the old Muslim guy who owns the Alhambra Cafe on 3rd right off of South Street. He was persuasive. We are now friends on Facebook and are playing Scrabulous there. If you want to get your ass kicked, go friend him and play a game.

gym log

Apr. 14th, 2008 10:48 pm
supercheesegirl: (yoga)
I need to get so much better about going to the gym. Tonight was awesome, and it's entirely worth it to rush home and change so I can get to the gym and have a night like tonight. I left my apartment by 6:25, got to the gym at 6:35, circled the parking lot twice before pouncing on a spot, and was on the elliptical by 6:40. Managed 18 minutes before yoga class at 7:05. I also did my little circuit of the four arm weight machines. Yoga class was excellent--a good workout. I got surprisingly sweaty. My latest observation is that my arms are much stronger lately than they've been in a long time, because I've been working on them and really paying attention to the weights when I'm at the gym and my plank pose in yoga class. My arms still look the same (i.e., well on the way to middle aged lady chicken wings), but they are noticeably stronger. However, my legs are jelly. I need to start doing my squats again, because my thighs can hardly hold a pose at all. I might even consider starting the thigh weight machine.

Weight, after yoga class and before dinner, including sneakers: 160.
supercheesegirl: (conan the barbarian)
This morning I went to church for the first time since Christmas Eve. Unfortunately, there was a guest speaker. I hate it when they have guest speakers because the speaker always goes on and on. It always starts out really interesting but then you don't get out for an extra 20 minutes.

After church I went to the gym. 36 minutes of elliptical. Did all the arm machines, then 30-40 minutes of yoga. I pushed really hard on Friday, so I went a little easier on myself today. Still, a good workout.

Today's weight: 161.75. However, I can tell the new exercise regime is starting to work, because I've dropped half a cup size this week. Goodbye, breasts, I enjoyed our time together. Now I get to be really pear-shaped for a while until the hips and ass even out with the breasts. Sigh.

Next for today: lunch, a little relaxing, and then hopefully I will get my act together and clean the house.

gym tonight

Feb. 4th, 2008 08:33 pm
supercheesegirl: (body - fat fish)
Tonight at the gym: 33 minutes on the elliptical, 2.5 miles. I lost in Final Jeopardy, but I think I'm getting better. I like watching Jeopardy while I work out.

Tonight I started a new program on the weights. My upper arms are fat. I want them to be not fat, so I have started lifting weights. I did all the arm machines, with the lowest weight possible (10-15 lbs), for 15 reps each. I plan to continue this on each visit to the gym, and hopefully soon my arms will look more toned and not so fat. I can already feel my arms aching a little bit.

I did some stretching, but no serious yoga. Wednesday, my friend Lucia's yoga class at the office starts, so I will start my new yoga routine then. It'll be good to get back into a class. She's only charging $10 per class, so that's a good thing.

I am very unhappy with my body right now, and have been for a few months, but I've just been too damn busy to do anything about it. I was either traveling or visiting with F for fully half of January, and I don't think I made it to the gym once all month. Sometimes that happens, I don't have any regrets. But now that I'm home and I can go to the gym again, it's time to take care of this. I know I don't look my weight, and that a lot of it is muscle, but at this point I am starting to look it, and the extra weight is evident in photos. (This is the one bad thing about going to Key West in winter--less clothing to cover up with.) This is the heaviest I've been in a while, and I'm not happy about it. I think if I work at it for a few weeks, I can drop maybe five pounds to get back to my usual weight, and if I keep it up I can maybe drop a few more to get closer to where I'd like to be. Although if I could sustain my usual weight, only with slimmer arms, I'd be happy.

Tonight's weight, post-workout, while wearing sneakers: 161.

pants

Apr. 13th, 2007 09:36 am
supercheesegirl: (goth dolly)
I am feeling some uncertainty now about the new khakis I bought at Ann Taylor Loft the other day. I put them on this morning and, although they fit perfectly in the butt and thighs, they were big in the waist and tummy. Not hugely big or anything, but enough, and I think they'll loosen a bit I wear them, too. But they're size 8s, and it seems absurd that I could possibly be a 6. I'm not sure. Also, I feel hesitant about buying pants that fit me as I am right now, since I seem to be a little abnormally thin, for me. It could be that these khakis will be perfect when I gain a little weight--not that I want to gain any weight, I would like my currently-flat tummy to stay just as it is, thank you. These pants cost me around $25, from Ann Taylor no less, so they were a great deal, but I still don't want to have spent $25 on them if they're not going to be awesome-fitting. Argh, I hate pants. Maybe I'll take some pictures tomorrow and see what you guys think.

yoga ugh

Feb. 25th, 2007 12:31 pm
supercheesegirl: (yoga)
Holy crap. I just tried to do yoga for maybe the second time in the past four weeks. I did a routine maybe last week and was pretty okay, just kind of stiff, but today was awful. My hips and knees just did not want to bend, and everything was creaking and popping. I just did Gene's seated numbered routine, which is pretty gentle, and then when I was more warmed up did my strength building stuff (squats, pushups, etc), and skipped the standing work entirely. It's going to take me a little while to bounce back, I think. Falling out of practice happened so fast! I need to get back into it a bit--I don't want to take this body to a new yoga class. Work ahead of me, I guess.
supercheesegirl: (ieat)
Okay, I know I'm not supposed to be excited about losing weight while I was sick. But my jeans! They're loose IN THE THIGHS! I can't remember the last time any of my pants were loose in the thighs. They're so much more comfortable! I don't have a scale in my apartment so I don't know exactly what weight I'm at right now, but holy crap I want to maintain it.
supercheesegirl: (yoga)
This morning Mom and I did some shopping--Kohl's (great sales! we got Halloween decorations for a quarter each!), and then Fabulous Folks, the awesome folksy store that I need to take Amy to the next time she's in town. After that I went to the gym. I had plenty of time, and the place was pretty empty, so I did 44 minutes on the elliptical, burning 500 calories. I could have kept going without a problem. Then I did my yoga routine. I can still get my right leg straight in a revolving triangle, but it's harder--I know I can get it now, though. Left leg as always isn't as strong as the right, but getting there. 20 squats, 7 (I think) pushups, a bunch of navasanas and tabletops and bridges, camel, hero, pigeon, etc. I'm doing some really good work. I feel pretty good.

I was balancing in dancer pose (which involves standing on one leg, the other pulled up behind me, with I think an eventual goal of touching my foot to my head) when this younger teenage girl bops up to me and says "Whatcha doin'?" It was totally cute, but also not a particularly good time to ask me a question, what with the balancing thing. I told her I was doing yoga, and she asked if there was going to be a class or something. I said not this afternoon, I'm just doing it on my own, and she looked all disappointed. She was walking around the track with I guess her mom. I guess I looked like I was doing something neat and she wanted in on it. When I got home I showed the pose to my mom and she was really impressed, so that might be the case.

I'm a little concerned about what I'm going to do for exercise after I move. I'll need to find a new gym, or a yoga studio, of course. In the meantime, I think I'll just have to make room somewhere in my apartment to lay out my mat.
supercheesegirl: (happy beach)
Dude! I get out of work at 3:00 today, because it's a holiday weekend! AND I get the day off on Monday to spend with Chelsea! Double the awesomeness!

I booked flights to AWP in Atlanta. I arrive on Thursday March 1 around 8pm, and depart on Sunday March 4 at 5pm. I'm sharing a room with Fritz and Xina and JT, and Rhett and Jay are going too, and Tom and Jennifer, and Jim and Terry and Stuart and Dan, and probably a lot of other Greensboro grads. I foresee... lots of good times! And drinking!

I think I may spend my usual AWP book budget on liquor. At least then I won't feel guilty about buying a bunch of poetry books and not reading them, which is what I usually do. I know for sure I will drink any alcoholic beverages I buy. Although I will probably buy some books too, or at least subscribe to some journals. All part of my new plan to start being a writer again. I got an offer in the mail to subscribe to Poets&Writers at just $9.95 for a year--that's a pretty good rate, so I may do it, and P&W has a lot of information on getting published, so I bet it would be worth it.

I went to the gym on Tuesday and last night (Thursday). Tuesday I did 37 minutes of elliptical and then spread out my yoga mat in the third floor classroom space, which is in the center of the indoor track. I was in the middle of a downward dog with one leg in the air when I saw a guy I'd chatted with before running around the track, and waving at me. Next time I was rightside up he jogged over to say hi. That was kind of funny. The other really notable thing about Tuesday's practice was that I got my leg straight in a revolving triangle pose for the first time ever. Over three years of doing yoga, and finally! I felt triumphant. It was only my right leg, not my left yet (although I felt close on the left), and I couldn't recreate it last night, but still! I'm definitely making progress. Didn't feel the usual knee wobbliness in revolving extended side angle, either, which was surprising and good. I'm glad I took time away from that one and it came out well. Did the full pushups and squats routine, too. I feel like it makes a big difference.

Last night I had time for 25 minutes of elliptical before yoga class. Class was good--I like Debi, but I don't really like her teaching style, or the way she modifies some poses. It also makes me crazy that she way oversimplifies some poses, as if for a low-level beginner class (lots of the old ladies at my gym have been taking yoga for a while), but then includes poses that are above and beyond my capability, let alone a beginner's. But it's always nice to do yoga with others. I felt good and strong last night, even though I didn't have time to do my pushups and squats. And! Last night I weighed myself, and I weighed the least I have weighed in a really really long time. 151.5! I had just worked out and hadn't eaten dinner yet, but that's usually the case when I weigh myself. It's not like the weight really matters, it's just a number, but still. I felt good.

I've been noticing some other little changes in my body, too. More definition in my arms, for sure, and also in my thighs. My calves have been rock solid for a while now. It's the arms I'm most impressed with, because the heaviest thing I ever lift is me, and my full weight never even rests on my arms. Yoga is just really good for me. Doing yoga and elliptical both, three times a week, is creating results I'm really surprised at--and I haven't even been that regular about it for very long, I was all over the place in December. I hope I can find an affordable gym near my new apartment. I was planning to find a yoga studio and just do yoga and study it seriously, but now that I've been doing the elliptical I want to keep up with that too. So... I want a yoga studio, and I want access to an elliptical machine for 40 minutes three times a week. I don't know that I'd use a gym for anything else. I'll have to see what's around.

...I'm considering not getting internet at my new apartment. I love you guys, but I spend way too much time online. I don't know if I can manage that, though. I'll have to think about it.
supercheesegirl: (yoga)
gym tonight: 20 minutes on the elliptical before yoga class, and 20 minutes around the track. And it was a good yoga class, too. I wish I could just do yoga all day. I'd start early in the morning, take a break for lunch, and then go do some more yoga. I forgot to pick up the holiday exercise class schedule, though, so I don't know if there will be Saturday or Sunday morning classes or not. I should go anyway at some point this weekend.

Oh, and I weighed myself in the locker room both Tuesday and tonight, and I've been between 153 and 154 both nights. So it seems like if I keep making it to the gym two to three times a week, and putting in this level of workout, I'll be able to maintain my Boston weight. I'd still like to drop 5-10 pounds, but my Boston weight is definitely not a bad thing. I just think a steady 148-150 would be preferable to a steady 153-155, but I'll take what I can get--I don't look like I weigh what I weigh, even to the nurse at the doctor's office (last time I was there she set the scale for the 130s and I had to tell her she'd need to bump it up), so it's fine. I just get worried when it starts creeping up towards 160. That's when I get lumpy.
supercheesegirl: (Default)
As I was getting dressed this morning, I noticed that my one pair of good jeans is getting worn so thin where my thighs rub together that I can see light through them, like they were a gauzy scarf or something. Well, maybe not quite that bad, but still. This is very problematic. If these jeans go, I will have more than 12 pairs of ill-fitting pants and none that actually fit right, and I will cry every morning as I look at my large-but-useless wardrobe. I need to suck it up and go buy something pricey at Eddie Bauer or Banana Republic or the Gap. (The current good jeans are Gap curvy low rise stretch; Xina recommends Eddie Bauer's curvy style, and Lauren recommends Banana Republic.) Maybe Laur will make a day trip to the outlets with me this weekend. Argh. I really didn't want to have to buy pants while I'm... the size I am. My whole big solution to this dilemma was to lose some weight and drop a size (or, rather, drop *into* a size, because I'm between sizes now), but I'm holding pretty steady at the five pounds I gained since moving here from Boston. And I seriously doubt I'll be losing any weight with the holidays coming up and all the cookies that will involve, so I need to just suck it up. Finding new jeans (and maybe even cords?) will be torture, but once I have some (preferably... two pairs? So I don't have to wear the same ones all the time?) I know I'll feel so much better about getting dressed in the morning. And I should buy jeans now, while I'm living with my parents and can afford it.

At least in spring I'll be able to wear capris. I've got three pairs of those that work. Shocking, I know. Warm weather is always better for me in terms of getting dressed. I wear lots more skirts in the summer. Just one more reason why winter is evil.
supercheesegirl: (yoga)
Made it to the 10AM yoga class this morning. I like that class a lot, and again, I really enjoyed Becky's teaching style and the structure of her class. I'm going to try to get back next week if I can. After yoga, I did the elliptical machine for 30 minutes (incline of 7, resistance of 3), went three times around the track, did only some minor stretching since I had done a full yoga routine before, and then headed home. I think I got a lot out of my two hours at the gym this morning.

I realized, though, that doing the elliptical machine is not an adequate substitute for yoga at least twice a week--I don't think I've done a full yoga routine in two weeks, and I'm losing a lot of strength. The elliptical is a good workout, but it really doesn't build the strength and flexibility that I get with yoga. I've been doing my seated postures after using the elliptical, but it's the standing work that really gets the blood flowing and builds strength, and skipping that for two weeks wasn't good for me. I also haven't been doing my squats, pushups, or other repetitive yoga moves like tabletop or backbend, and those do so much for my strength. It's not that I'm not doing them because I don't want to--I haven't been doing them because either there's not enough space to do them at my gym, or else I'm embarrassed about doing some weird thing where people can see me. Both of those reasons are pretty dumb, because usually I could go in the locker room and unless it's really busy find a spot where I could do those things. But I hadn't really thought of that before.

I wish I could just sit around and do yoga every day like I did this summer. I'm also really missing the daily walk to and from work that I had when I lived in Somerville. That was at least 20 minutes, more often 40 minutes, every day that I was up and moving. It's so much harder to maintain my current shape now that I don't have that regular activity, and losing weight would be even harder. If I could just buy pants that fit me I wouldn't care so much about losing weight. I'm honestly not that unhappy with my body when I have clothes that fit it, but not having any jeans that fit right and then shopping to find jeans and never finding any is just really depressing. Something's got to give here--either I've got to start getting more serious about losing weight, or else I've got to find some jeans that fit the body I have right now. I'd take either one, honestly.
supercheesegirl: (fred - bibliophiliac)
This took me forever to finish (a whole month OMG!) but it was incredibly worthwhile. I'm so glad I took the time to read it.

If you haven't read it or heard about it, The Beauty Myth is a book that explores how modern culture has adapted the myth/requirement of "beauty" to control women now that women have more power in society than they ever had before, and that ideals of beauty suddenly become more prevalent and demanding right after the feminist wave of the 1970s. In the past there were a variety of structures that controlled women's behavior, like the Victorian ideas of "hysteria" and women as pale sickly creatures to be taken care of, or the domesticity of the 1950s. Wolf makes the argument that women are now controlled by the ideals of beauty, that one must be beautiful to be successful or even loved, and that a lot of huge industries depend on women believing that they are not beautiful: that they need creams and powders and home gyms and weight loss pills and plastic surgery in order to become beautiful and so to "deserve" love and recognition and success. The book is 15 years old now, so a lot of the details she cites are out of date, but so very much of the text is shockingly applicable to women today. There are a few passages that I marked that really struck home, so I'm going to type them out.

On women and weight loss:

Those ten to fifteen pounds, which have become a fulcrum... of most Western women's sense of self, are the medium of what I call the One Stone Solution. One stone, the British measurement of fourteen pounds, is roughly what stands between the 50 percent of women who are not overweight who believe they are and their ideal self. That one stone, once lost, puts these women well below the weight that is natural to them, and beautiful.... But the body quickly restores itself, and the cycle of gain and loss begins, with its train of torment and its risk of disease, becoming a fixation of the woman's consciousness. The inevitable cycles of failure ensured by the One Stone Solution create and continually reinforce in women our uniquely modern neurosis. This great weight-shift bestowed on women, just when we were free to begin to forget them, new versions of low self-esteem, loss of control, and sexual shame. It is a genuinely elegant fulfullment of a collective wish: By simply dropping the official weight one stone below most women's natural level, and redefining a woman's womanly shape as by definition "too fat," a wave of self-hatred swept over First World women, a reactionary psychology was perfected, and a major industry was born. It suavely countered the historical groundswell of female success with a mass conviction of female failure, a failure defined as implicit in womanhood itself.

This paragraph stuck out to me because it lines up really strongly with my own body issues. I have said numerous times that I'd feel a lot better about my body if I could just drop ten pounds. The usual reaction to this statement from whoever I'm talking to is "from where??" But ever since I grew out of the tall skinniness I had as a teenager and into my curves I've felt too big all over. This paragraph, I felt, directly addressed my exact weight issue: both why I feel that way, and why it's crazy and something I can hopefully learn to discard.

On aging:

You could see the signs of female aging as diseased, especially if you had a vested interest in making women too see them your way. Or you could see that if a woman is healthy she lives to grow old; as she thrives, she reacts and speaks and shows emotion, and grows into her face. Lines trace her thought and radiate from the corners of her eyes after decades of laughter, closing together like fans as she smiles. You could call the lines a network of "serious lesions," or you could see that in a precise calligraphy, thought has etched marks of concentration between her brows, and drawn across her forehead the horizontal creases of surprise, delight, compassion, and good talk. A lifetime of kissing, of speaking and weeping, shows expressively around a mouth scored like a leaf in motion. The skin loosens on her face and throat, giving her features a setting of sensual dignity; her features grow stronger as she does. She has looked around in her life, and it shows. When gray and white reflect in her hair, you could call it a dirty secret or you could call it silver or moonlight. Her body fills into itself, taking on gravity like a bather breasting water, growing generous with the rest of her. The darkening under her eyes, the weight of her lids, their minute cross-hatching, reveal that what she has been part of has left in her its complexity and richness. She is darker, stronger, looser, tougher, sexier. The maturing of a woman who has continued to grow is a beautiful thing to behold.

I just found this to be such an expressive, beautifully written description of women aging. I wanted to type it out so I could always have it here to look back to.

I could type out more, but there's so much of this book that is wonderful and eye-opening and just excellent that I would just end up retyping the book. I strongly encourage you to go out and get this book if you haven't read it.

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