Blog for Stephanie Bryant, a writer with too many hobbies and not enough time.

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Balancing Acts

I’ve been performing some re-balancing on my life lately. I was feeling really… down, physically. Eating a lot of junk food and sweets, and not exercising. My skin was in bad shape– kind of oily. My back ached a lot. And I was stressed out– I can’t even begin to tell you how often I would think “I need to do this thing, but I have literally no time to do it.”

I still don’t have time, by the way. But I’m working on that.

When I went to the ziplines and got weighed, the number bothered me– a lot, even though I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want us to buy any of the pictures that I was in– I really felt my weight, really perceived that I just looked frumpy and overweight and… ugh.

I realized that I need to exercise more. Even if I’m not ready yet to make a more serious effort about my diet, just moving a little more every day will be helpful for me.

When I installed the RunDouble app to start tracking my walking routines, I found an ad for this company called Achievemint that is doing kind of a points/rewards thing for making healthy lifestyle choices. The ad came with an offer: sign up for Achievemint and get the Couch-to-5K program already programmed into RunDouble for free.

Well, heck. I’ve done Couch-to-5K (or C25K as it’s called) before. I signed up. In addition to getting Achievemint points for RunDouble, I  get points for tracking my weight, tweeting healthy articles, and so forth.

So, I started back on C25K and this is Week 3 of that journey. It’s not easy, let me tell you. I was bit by a dog last week while out jogging in my neighborhood– just one week into the program! On Tuesday, I had a grueling 15 minutes of run-walking in 97 degree weather (and it’s unlikely to get cooler!) I have to set aside an hour, three times a week, in order to stay on the program. It takes an hour from the time I grab my gym clothes to change until I put on street clothes again after my shower. Running without a shower isn’t an option, nor is running without my asthma meds.

One of the benefits is that I crave  sweets and junk food a lot less– a benefit I’ve enjoyed in the past as well. I remember that, in time, I came to really enjoy running– and in fact, my runner’s high was so fantastic, I was downright giddy after the dog bit me. I’ve had an extremely stressful couple of weeks, and the running has just given me a little bit of space to just… go.

I also, at the encouragement of a friend of mine, started the 100 Push Ups program. That one’s a little tougher– I gradually work my way up from 1 pushup to 100, over the course of 9 weeks. Each week, you do 3 days of pushups, 5 sets each day, with a 60 to 120 second rest in between. On the last set, you do pushups until you can’t do anymore– that failure point helps build your muscles.

When I started, I could not do 1 pushup. I still can’t, not really.  When I try to do a floor pushup, my stomach hits the floor long before the pushup is complete, and I fail.

So instead, I do my pushups against a countertop in the bathroom. I keep my core/torso very still and stand a few feet away from the countertop. Put my hands on the counter and lower myself down to it– again, keeping my torso very stiff. For now, counter pushups are a good place to start. After I finish these, I will move to doing pushups against a chair. Then maybe yoga blocks. Possibly by then, the floor. I’m in week 2 of the pushup program. I find they take about 10-15 minutes to complete.

So, I’m dedicating about four hours a week to making sure my body doesn’t completely fall apart.  That doesn’t seem too bad, I think. If I’m gaming for 16-8 hours a week (which is about average for me), then spending 4 hours to undo some of the damage of a sedentary lifestyle isn’t so bad.

Oh, and I bought some makeup and hair gel last weekend. Now that my hair is growing out, I’m trying to gel it down so it’ll look like a pixie cut instead of a weird anglo-fro.

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