Challenge Update: WOOOOO

This month’s challenge was :

Oct.:  write every day for 30 min., without fail

Here’s how I did at it:

Not so good.  Well, I started out ok.  I was even making beautiful graphs and charts and everything.  And then… October.  Partly I ran out of things that were easy to write on in 30-minute chunks.  I wrote all the easy parts and all I have left are the hard parts, but people keep calling meetings.  I now have a bunch of stuff backed up that requires thinking, right when my brain is reaching the end of its useful life for the semester.  (Too bad the semester isn’t over!)  I wrote some things in small chunks, which was good, but thinking is harder and takes longer.  And my brainage is minimal right now.

Another reason I pooped out on writing at the end of October has to do with my partner and his Diabolical Plan.

See, my partner came to me and said, “I really want to start going to the gym in the morning before work.  And that’s really hard to do.  It would work a lot better if you came with me.”  *puppy dog eyes*

When I told my friend this, she said, “Did you punch him in his mouth?”

Mournful, I said, “No.  I went to the gym.”

Readers, it sucks.  This is how you know I love this guy: I have never worked out at a gym in my life.  And now I am doing it multiple times a week.  I bought a membership.  I’ve tried out various machines and even the saline pool.  Ugh ugh ugh.  I hate gyms.

Fortunately, it was the day AFTER this conversation with my partner that my doctor called and said my triglycerides were too high, and that I needed to cut back on pasta (possibly more on this later but possibly not), as well as to “get aggressive” with diet and exercise.  I had a little moment — ok, hours — where I pouted on the couch and then cried about losing all the good food in my life.  Don’t tell my mom.

My partner has been very encouraging and proud of me.  He even bought me a gift: a heart-rate monitor.  Gee.

We don’t talk in the morning on the way out the door.  Putting on shoes is the limit of what I can manage at 6:30am.  He knows I will cut him if he tries for more interaction.  And I tend to feel queasy at that hour.

Getting up at 6:15am almost every day?  I don’t think I’ve ever been so grumpy (hello, rumblings!) as I’ve been the past week or two.  And yes I am sleeping.  And trying to eat well or at least better, but that’s infinitely hard.  Most of the time I am fueled by hatred of the world.  I don’t hate my partner, but I do hate the world.

Nov.:  take up some form of exercise, at least 30 min per day at least 3 times per week

  • fidget more.
  • take the stairs at work

Report from Oct. 24 – 31st:  FML.  Oh god.  Here is my current schedule:  gym on MWTh; ride horses TuSat; rest FSu

The gym takes place at o-dark-hundred hours.  I am starting slow.  Today I did a 10-minute warmup on the elliptical, then got off and stretched.  Then I did the elliptical some more for about 20 min at around a heart rate of 154 bpm.  I hate everything about this.  Though the machines do have TVs on them, so I watched a show about baby cheetahs while I sweated and hated.  Awwww.  Also, my partner and I are both about to take a few days off from the gym: him because he has a martial arts tournament, and me because I won’t go without him and also I am tired.  Also also, eating a lot of protein is hard.

At least I enjoy riding horses and it doesn’t take place quite so early in the morning.

(Also also also, there is political shit going on at work that makes it clear just how little the university values our department and how unrespected we are around this place, but that’s another story.  I am feeling quite a kinship with the chaps over at Hungover Owls.)

Nov. 2:  I didn’t take the stairs in my office building but I did take the stairs in the library.  Did you know that there are 8 flights of stairs to get up to my office?  They are death.  I am too exhausted to fidget.



45 Responses to “Challenge Update: WOOOOO”

  1. bardiac Says:

    Go you! They say it takes about three or more weeks for exercise to feel right for most folks (that is, for your body to get really used to it and want it), and you’re already doing GREAT!

    Tell us more about your horseback riding, please :)

    I hate gyms, but like playing outside. So more power to you for actually going to a gym!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I dunno if I’ll EVER get used to it. I used to do another activity back before I moved to Blighted Town, and I never got to the point where my body wanted it. My mind, sure, but not my body. And I did it regularly, too. Ugh.

      I used to take horseback riding lessons when I was in junior high, and it was fun, so I started again. :)

  2. First Gen American Says:

    My goodness grumpy, I know that feeling of hatred. I get it when I run…so I stopped doing that. You know, I started liking the gym again once I brought books with me. Can’t you bring a book, sit on an exercise bike and read? It really is a nicer way to escape from the exercise itself. I went through a period of not reading books at all due to stuff with the kids and I missed it so much.

    You really must be in love. How Sweet.

    • Debbie M Says:

      No books? Yikes?

      I definitely read while on the treadmill. I (probably) can’t do it while jogging but I can do it while walking fast with the fake uphill, so I still get that healthy panting in.

  3. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    Poor #1!!! I bet bardiac is right and after 3 weeks you’ll feel better!

    Also: eating more healthily doesn’t mean giving up good food, it means finding new good foods!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Hey, I shouldn’t be the only one suffering.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Yeah, supposedly when you start eating boring and even yucky food long enough, you start liking it. Seem impossible. But I actually know someone I totally trust who went from drinking sweet tea (on the advice of his dentist) to unsweetened tea and now he likes unsweetened tea.

        But the sad part is that if you stop eating yummy food long enough, you stop liking it. (Not only does my friend like unsweetened tea, he no longer likes sweetened tea.) I think it would be sad to stop liking sweets. But I’ve learned that I am addicted to sugar (got the headaches when I stopped eating during a one-week experiment), so I am biased. And addiction is evil. So don’t listen to me about this.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:


        Yes, #2 no longer likes crappy chocolate, but #2 appreciates dark dark chocolate (which tasted like chalk before).. And #2 thinks that is a good thing. More encouragement for #1 here! She needs to get those triglycerides down, and hopefully find out if her tiredness is related to diet or not.

        And #2’s diet is NOT boring and yucky. It is just DIFFERENT. #2 enjoys many things she did not enjoy before she had to start eating healthily and no longer likes some things that frankly, are kind of crappy, and were always kind of crappy, but she didn’t realize they made her feel like crap. #2’s partner is also pleased with the change, even though he grew up on a diet of twizzlers, doritos, and coke. (He still appreciates such things, but in moderation. And has found Newman’s own version of twizzlers to be far superior to say, redvines.)

  4. Molly (Mike and Molly's House) Says:

    I’m like Bardiac and don’t like gyms but I’m going about once a week right now with my oldest daughter. I’ve got her into running but since it’s getting dark earlier we can’t always get a run in before the sun goes down. Indoor tracks are SOOOO boring!!
    Your sweetie sounds very sweet!

  5. bogart Says:

    Oh no! Well, on a positive note this has brought your rumblings to a new level (at least in terms of my blog-reading interval).

    Next year when the LO starts kindergarten and has to get to school earlier, I am hoping DH and I will start going to a gym (or something) together. Though don’t get me wrong, by “hoping” I mean “really this is something we should do.” I am SO not a morning person, among other problems. The LO is. I blame DH. Anyway if you can stick it out for many more months (As others say, it will likely get easier! Would MP3s help?) perhaps I’ll join you in grumbling.

    I’m impressed your doc targeted pasta and not, say, bacon or butter in relation to triglycerides.

    I too want more on the horse riding. And, very sad news. My guy colicked again (post-surgery) and I had to have him euthanized. I’ve been very sad, and it is weird with the fall weather blowing in to keep thinking about whether he’ll be OK in the [fill in the blank — rain, cold] and then realize I no longer need to worry about that :( .

  6. Dame Eleanor Hull Says:

    Saline pool! OMG I am teh jealous. Use it & direct your grumpies at me: “So there, DEH, I haz it n you don’t. Nyah.”

  7. becca Says:

    Sometimes I hate the gym. But I have the advantage of liking the group exercise classes. I am a zumba machine. I feel like total goof, but it gets me moving.

    So, my suggestion: music. Good music. If there is an exercise class with intriguing music, join. It may be great. It will get your brain learning a new thing, which somehow makes things more fun, particularly if you can suppress the goofiness feeling. Otherwise, get an mp3 player. Maybe budget in extra song purchases based on how much you exercise, as an incentive system?
    I don’t know. it all sounds very virtuous to me. Frankly, I think getting up early and going to the gym with your partner sounds amazingly, astonishingly, mind bogglingly virtuous. Because I am Not a morning person. So keep in mind, you are already doing amazing, now it’s just a question of finding something that is less hatefulevil.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      All the classes are at times we can’t go. Stupid work. But don’t worry, I would not ever dream of attempting the horrors of the gym without my iPod. Podcasts, music, audio books, all of them work.

  8. Linda Says:

    I hate working out, too. It’s weird because at the gym I hate getting sweaty (which is a given if you’re working hard enough to get your heart rate up) but I can garden in the summer and get all sweaty and just not mind at all. A couple years ago when I was going through my divorce I went to the gym about 4 days a week. It was my way of channeling all that angry energy and it worked really well. I was in awesome shape and about 25 pounds lighter than I am now. I had a goal, too: to get laid when the divorce was over; going three years with no partnered sex was awful.

    I’m trying to get back into good shape again. My current goal — to be healthy and not end up an obese diabetic like my mom and her mom — is a little more difficult this time around. Maybe it’s more difficult because I have a boyfriend who is keeping me sexually satisified and doesn’t get into working out. I’ll have to try your partner’s approach and see how it works for me. ;-)

    Horseback riding can be a great workout, so don’t discount it. It really works your core and if you’re doing a lot of posting it can raise your heart rate into the fat burning zone. I did a bit of riding during that intense working out period and wore my heart rate monitor, which is how I know that. I never could get my diagonals right…*sigh*

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Oh yeah, I am doing the riding in place of one gym workout because i know how much of a workout it is! Plus there’s all that hefting the saddle and carrying it around, picking up poop with a giant fork, etc.

  9. TigerMomPhD Says:

    Exercising at 6:15 in the morning?!??! Crazy talk! It sounds like 30 minutes 3X a week is doable though. Group classes are fun, and I like to listen to books while I elliptical or walk. Yep, I’m that dork.

    As far as stopping pasta…give it a week or two and it will get easier. I cut down on my carbs and it was very hard in the beginning, but after a week or two my body stopped craving it. So maybe it will be easiest for you to stop cold turkey for a few weeks until your body adjusts and then add in the healthier pasta (maybe whole grains are okay with the dr?) in small amounts. Maybe drink H20 or have some almonds when you get a craving. I use to eat a ton of carbs and now I only crave them when I eat more of them than what I really should.

  10. Kara Says:

    Working out on the treadmill or elliptical *is* boring. And awful. And hideous.

    If you’re going to be at the gym anyway, start lifting weights. It’s an amazing rush to be able to lift heavy things and break away from the whole “girls don’t lift weights” and “girls do cardio” mindset. I’d recommend Stronglifts 5×5 (you can Google it) for a starting program, but there’s also a great book called the New Rules of Lifting for Women that changed my life.

    Plus it’ll help with that whole hefting saddles and slinging around poop with a giant fork thing! :)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      nnnooooo, I don’t wannnnnnaaaaa! (whine, whine). I really really don’t want to lift weights. That seems like the most boring thing in the entire world. Seriously, the most boring ever. Plus you have to do it just right to have good form, and I’m not up for “just right” in the morning. But I know I should do it, it’s really good for you. But I’m not gonna. (At least not for now…)

  11. hush Says:

    I feel your pain on both the exercise hatred, and the high triglycerides woes – mine were due to the massive quantities of sugars I used to eat. For lowering my triglycerides, the diet in Jorge Cruise’s “The Belly Fat Cure” worked for me. YMMV, but thanks to Mr. Cruise, I easily lost 13 lbs, managed to give up my lifelong addiction to Coke and Dr. Pepper, and 3-months in, I can report it hasn’t sucked too badly as a lifestyle. Find him in your local library.

    I agree with @Kara that lifting weights is an excellent way to excercise, especially for women. Also, have you ever heard of the Tabata Method (Dr. Izumi Tabata)? I’m a believer.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I looked into HIIT and I have to say, it makes me wanna vomit to think about that at 7am. ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh ugh.

      Thanks for the book rec though. If you think it’s that great I should take a look!

  12. kt Says:

    I’m going to second lifting weights. I started with “Starting Strength” and the “New Rules of Lifting for Women” and I love it. You don’t get too sweaty, it raises your heart rate, it’s kind of meditative, you feel *strong*, you get a nice butt from squats… and I think I look better now at 30+ than I did ten years ago. Today I’m going to go to the gym and run around a little, work on my squats and deadlifts, do a very brief kettlebell workout, and go home happy :)

    Oh yeah — kettlebells are fun too and you can find group classes!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My butt is already nice and squats hurt my knees.

      I know I should do it but I’m just not going to. If it’s meditative I’ll fall asleep. I know you’re right though.

      • Debbie M Says:

        Butt and leg exercises? I already walk around a lot. I prefer upper-body exercises (just like stereotypical men). I can open heavy doors better and my purse stays on my (tiny) shoulder better. They are boring, though. I got the best upper-body workouts carrying large heavy things for long distances at summer camp.

      • kt Says:

        You may not do it… but I’m going to tell you that squats done right will fix your knees. I messed my knees up biking to the extent that I could not climb or descend stairs… and that’s when I took up squats, and then I could run (I didn’t know that running could not suck) and bike and everything.

        The elliptical is just such a waste of time :( I don’t want to see anyone waste their time. Take a gymnastics class. Learn kettlebells. Do crossfit. Find a running group. Do something *fun*!

        And for Debbie, my routine includes push presses, the clean and jerk, kettlebell snatches, and pullups/chinups — so don’t worry, I can open doors alright.

      • Kara Says:

        I don’t want to sound like some kind of rabidly reformed smoker or something here .. *grin* … but really, what @kt said.

        I used to weigh 260 lbs. I now weigh 170. I lost the vast majority of it when i started lifting weights. I promise you it is NOT boring. It’s fascinating and fun and really rocks to walk into a gym and know that I know what I’m doing more than most of the guys who are there posturing and strutting and doing 100 bicep curls.

        Squat work more than your butt .. they work your entire body – from your calves, all the way up through your core, to your arms and shoulders. There is a reason that the big 3 lifts are the squat, the deadlift, and the bench. Those three work every single part of your body. You can become fit and in shape doing nothing but those three. The Stronglifts 5×5 program is a great example of that. And properly done, squats will FIX your knees. I know far too many people who have had knee issues all their lives and learning how to properly squat has strengthened the abbductors, the adductors, the hams, the quads, and the glutes … and suddenly those knee issues were a thing of the past.

        The elliptical is the biggest most useless, gymbunny piece of trash in the gym. It will do nothing for you except make you tired and bored. I spent years playing the elliptical game and never seeing any weight change and feeling like I was spinning my wheels. The first 6 weeks after starting to lift weights, I was down 2 sizes – and not just from losing fat and burning calories, but from tightening muscles and reshaping my body.

        So here you go .. I CHALLENGE you to go and lift weights for 6 weeks. Properly lift weights. Get a copy of the New Rules of Lifting and do the Break In program. Screw the diet, just lift the weights. It’s a short program that will take you maybe 30 mins in the morning to do. Then if you want to get on the elliptical after that, go for it. But I challenge you do to it for 6 weeks and then come back and report on how you feel. If you still hate it after 6 weeks, I won’t say another word. :)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        #2 has been trying to get #1 to go gluten free for one week, just to see if that’s the problem with tiredness (one week and not another peep!)… She thinks it is great that #1 is doing way more activity of any kind than #2 would do even if #2’s partner begged her.

        We had to lift weights in high school and it was really boring. More boring than playing outfield or being the volleyball player that nobody lets the ball come near. There’s just enough thinking involved that you can’t be completely distracted, but not enough thinking to make it actually interesting. It’s up there with data entry.

        There are many benefits to lifting weights, but let’s let #1 get her body in shape before trying something that, from previous experience, would make her want to quit entirely. Maybe some lifting within her entire plan, but not exclusively. She’s doing great as it is!

        Woooo go #1!!! You ROCK!!!!

      • Kara Says:

        Oh and PS – you won’t get “bulky” lifting weights. Women dont’ have enough natural testosterone to get bulky. Even men have a hard time bulking up unless they’re working their asses off and eating a helluva lot of food. :)

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        I’m not worried about getting bulky (#1 here). It’s just that weights are so, so boring. Six weeks!?!?!? There is no way I’ll stick with something so boring for that long. Heck, six DAYS might be too long to lift weights! (Thanks for trying though.)

  13. Revanche Says:

    That’s … ridiculous love. I used to enjoy all kinds of exercise but now I can’t get my tired lazy butt to the gym or really physically exert myself beyond the day for love or money. (Though … I wonder if he could incent me….nahhh..)

    I’m just saying. Love.

    Also I love that both of your personal hobbies were once mine. Fun!

  14. Debbie M Says:

    No pasta? The torture! Doesn’t your doctor know that without the pasta, you will just be dipping the cheese into the marinara sauce, and maybe even frying the cheese first?

    What about whole-grain pasta–could that be okay?

    At least you still get cheese, glorious cheese. It doesn’t take any brains to get cheese, either–it’s already made when you get it at the store.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      #2 and I had a long conversation about whole-wheat pasta. Maybe more on that later. I already told my doctor she could pry my pasta from my cold dead hands, but my partner convinced me I have to at least TRY to not die young. So I’m cutting it back, but not out.

  15. Debbie M Says:

    Uh, oh, none of my comments have been encouragement. Most people actually feel better after doing exercise for a short while. Maybe they don’t start enjoying the exercise, but they do feel more energetic and productive the rest of the day, and who doesn’t love that? It’s like having mini super powers! Also, supposedly it makes you less hungry, so you naturally eat less which, if you are like me, is probably a good thing.

    If the a.m. exercising keeps sucking, maybe you can try to negotiate a different time. Most people find that a.m. exercise is best and that p.m. exercise keeps you from sleeping. But you might not be like most people these ways. I know one guy that would fall asleep in class if he exercised in the morning, so he had to switch times.

    One other thing–some exercises make you look good while you’re doing them. Like if you do leg presses, the extra leg fat you don’t need just politely hangs down where you can’t see it, and you only see the muscles and then you get to feel all tough and macho (except for the muscles-on-fire feeling). Same with bicep curls. Pretty!

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I keep hearing that stuff about exercise giving you energy. It’s lies, all lies. Back when I used to exercise on a regular basis, it never did. That lie is pervasive and destructive. Exercise makes me sleep more and eat more, especially when I did it on a regular basis. Argh~!

  16. Breaking news: Hardcore July « Grumpy rumblings of the half-tenured Says:

    […] getting-in-shape thing. I have made some fits and starts before with a healthy eating challenge and an exercise challenge. Looking back, it appears I only have energy for this stuff in the summer. Hm… Gah, my job is […]

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