Friday, April 21, 2017

Fun at Fugitive Fitness

Last night I had a great first Functional Strength class at Fugitive Fitness - Parkour Dallas. I've done a couple Parkour Foundations classes there, but the scheduling is sometimes tricky, so I wanted to check out the strength class.

Since no one else signed up for that hour, I got a one-on-one session with the instructor and a personalized workout. It was very challenging, but I *just* completed it in the allotted time.

I definitely could have gone heavier on the deadlifts but wanted to start conservatively because I don't practice them and had never seen the large ball weights before. I rocked the push-ups (no knees!) with only minor wormy-wobbling near the end. Hated the crunches but got through with only a very few poorly done.

My resistance band pull-ups were admittedly pathetic, but I've never attempted nearly so many at once, so I'm okay with what I managed—especially since I did keep going until the end and did more than a shoulder shrug on every rep.

I should try to find more creative ways to do core work since it is definitely my least favorite.
I definitely want to attend more parkour classes, but I think I'll also attend the strength class again.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Eat a damn vegetable

If you’re at all like me, then you’re also one of the 9 out of 10 Americans who don’t eat enough fruits and veggies and for whom no amount of PSA messaging is likely to change that.

The reasons hardly matter, be they access, preparation, taste, or disinterest. There’s no need to judge ourselves harshly for this “failure” either.  I’m sure we all have enough other stress in our lives—between work, training, commuting, kids, partners, art, chores, volunteering, activism, etc.—that fretting over finishing your peas just isn’t worth it.

But (again), if you’re at all like me, then you probably also go through cycles of trying to increase or diversify your veggie intake—a week, a month, or more at a time, you might find the motivation and determination to make it happen. Even then, it may take A LOT of energy to plan and execute.

Here I share some ideas for the in-between times when you have interest in getting more produce but have limited time, energy, desire, or funds. These are my favorite ways (or “hacks” if this were a clickbait listicle) to eat a damn vegetable, specifically simple ways to sneak them into my usual diet.

  • Fruit smoothies: Preparing your own breakfast smoothies is an easy way to get both fruits AND veggies. My go-to recipe includes 1 or two bananas, a handful of baby spinach, ginger, granola, almond milk, vanilla yogurt, and a scoop of vanilla protein powder (because I also struggle to get enough protein). The great thing about spinach is that it has a mild flavor easily covered by the other ingredients and adds a lot of important nutrients to the mix. Pinterest of course has a lot of recipe suggestions, and you can add any variation of fruits and veggies that you like.
  • Frozen Steamfresh veggie and protein mixes (or whatever brand you like): Technology has come a long way such that flash-freezing produce is the norm, and the method preserves nutrients just as well as canning. Supermarkets offer lots of tasty vegetable mixes, some with light sauce or seasoning and/or added protein items. And you can just throw the whole bag in the microwave for five minutes and pour out a fresh, hot bowl full of veggies. Hawaiian style is my favorite: whole grains, shelled edamame, carrots, pineapple, and white beans with a pineapple ginger sauce.
  • Baby food: I actually got this idea when I was pet-sitting my sisters’ sugar gliders once. They get a tub of baby food each day, but I splashed a bit when I opened the food and licked it off my fingers without a thought. Turns out that baby food fruit and veggie mixes are freakin’ delicious (especially when chilled). So I buy the pouches with a cap from the grocery store to snack on during the day, and I get a wider variety of produce than I’d ever buy and prepare myself: pumpkin, squash, beets, and even kale masked by yummier things like mango and raspberry.
  • Subscription boxes: I don't know yet whether I'm recommending these, but next week I'm starting my free trial of Blue Apron, so I'll be back to write more about it.
Balancing your eating habits doesn't have to be a chore and doesn't require cutting out all sweets and restricting your favorite foods. Just add some variety and nutrients when you can.

What are your favorite ways to prepare and eat fruits and vegetables?

Friday, April 14, 2017

Ego and Fragility

[CN: Weight loss, surgery, assholery]

I subscribe to a weekly e-mail list that provides creative art prompts for the whole year. One week’s e-mail frivolously lauded weight loss:
“Back in November I had a major surgery.  One of the positives about that was that I lost 26 pounds.  I have needed to buy a lot of new clothes as a result.  Last weekend, I ran out of room in my closet because I was still hanging on to my pre-surgery clothes.  In order to bring anymore new things into my closet, I was going to have to let go of what didn't fit anymore........I was going to have to release what was no longer serving me in order to make space for wonderful new things.
“That experience left me in a week of inquiry about other places in my life that I needed to do some releasing.  What else could I let go of that wasn't serving me?  People, thoughts, feelings, behaviors, stuff.......what needed to go to make room for new possibilities?  The best time to do releasing work is during the full moon energy....which is now!”

After hesitating and revising a few times, I sent the artist some feedback:
“Weight loss (and lauding it) is a very serious topic that can easily trigger those who’ve dealt with weight cycling, body dysmorphia, and eating disorders, which are far more common than most know. I'm disappointed there wasn’t a content note at the top of this week’s e-mail to give readers a heads-up. It would have been just as easy to tell the story without going into the weight loss info; it’s common for people to hold onto clothing in older sizes that no longer fit and to need to buy new clothes, no matter whether larger or smaller in either case.” response?
“M, I don't appreciate your lecture.  If you have been triggered by my subject matter I would suggest communicating with your therapist and take steps to self regulate.  Attempting to shame me is ineffective and of no value.
“I had most of my stomach removed. The weight loss was secondary. The point of the post was about letting go. Im sorry you missed that. Blessings.”

Since she decided to be a major asshole, I decided it wasn’t worth my time to respond. I wasn’t triggered. My point is that such dialogue is actively harmful to others. I’m sorry you missed that, lady.

A short, fair and dispassionate critique is not ‘an attempt to shame and lecture.’ If I wanted to lecture and shame you, I’d strongly suggest you practice letting go that aggression, self-centeredness, smug attitude, self-righteousness, and ego. But that would be ineffective.

It isn’t fucking about YOU, lady. Oh, wait. You’ve just clarified that this art prompts workshop that you’ve SO generously provided is NOT, in fact, about guiding, inspiring, teaching, or lifting up others or building community—it is only all about you, almighty art guru.

Oh, boy. And then she went and posted this to the Facebook group for the e-mail list subscribers/participants:
"Hey ya'all. A little mercy please. There are occasionally typos and errors in my emails, things that make you uncomfortable, etc. It isn't necessary to email me before dawn to tell me I'm imperfect....I got five today. I already know and I'm ok with that. And you are responsible for managing your emotions if something triggers you. Attempting to shame me or project your shit onto me...Never ok."

I sent the message at 10 a.m. CST, and she responded within minutes. And she generally sends the prompts at 3 or 4 a.m., so I don't know what that is about. But if FIVE people tell you there’s a problem, maybe you should think about the people you’re hurting.

And talk about projection. The irony: it burns us.

You don’t have to put up with people being inconsiderate and deliberately being jerks when asked to think about it. And you probably ought not be giving regular advice about self-reflection that you cannot take.