Monday, October 29, 2007

Keep Your Hands Off My Cave-Aged Cheese*

*With CIO Update!

Apparently I am so out of shape that it is a wonder I can even keep up with this blog. Where do I find the strength to unsnap the top of my laptop and tapity tap on the keys? And press the return button? And walk all the way to the kitchen and back for my nightly ice cream?

This is not random sarcasm. Tonight I put myself through the torture of a gym “fitness test,” otherwise known as personal trainer-hard-sell-a-go-go.

For those of you who haven’t had the pleasure, let me explain what goes on: You are weighed and measured and poked and prodded and then special calipers come out to measure folds of fat on various parts of your body. Not just any parts, the fattiest parts: Triceps and stomach and the front of your thighs. Your heart rate is taken and your blood pressure is measured and then you take a fitness test on a treadmill. All sorts of information is calculated and you walk away with a cute little brochure touting your failing status and an emergency appointment with a physical trainer, who will whip you into shape for the price of nominal price of $150 a session, twice a week for at least three months.

Now I am by no means ready to run a marathon or try out for the Olympics, but I’d like to think that I am in decent shape. Meaning I can jog to the store to buy ice cream, if I had to, and I might walk on the left of the escalator instead of standing to the right. But I walked (limped? crawled?) out of this appointment feeling like a wildly out-of-shape failure.

Let me count the ways this was awful:

According to this particular trainer, my goal weight should be 110. OK, let’s take this apart piece by piece: 1.) My current weight is in the 140s. Let’s not get too specific because I have that whole number issue so in the 140s is descriptive enough. In my best shape (and by best I mean size 6ish with no bones protruding and able to walk up a flight of steps without needing to take a break) I am in the 130s. That is a healthy range for me, and in the low end of my personal spectrum, which spans 4/5 different jeans sizes (staring at 6 and ending at 14). 120s is bone-sticking-out, dizzy spell-inducing, lollypop-head toothpick range. So 110 is BEYOND stupid. And having a little sheet of paper tell me I have almost 37 pounds of fat on my body is ridiculous. Talk about issues. Scrape 37 pounds off of my body and I would be way way way too thin.

Another fun trainer comment: I need to give up my nightly ice cream pronto. For some reason she missed the fact that I eat lots of fruit and veggies and healthy breakfasts and lunches and dinners; I don’t eat processed foods or fast food or what might qualify as junk food. All she heard was that I pack away one ice cream bar a night, adding another whopping 160 calories to my day. Here’s the thing, the ice cream is not negotiable. Neither are the pretzels, when I have them, or the random cupcake here and there or the random slice of delicious cake or the kettle corn or my nephew’s Halloween candy or the cave-aged cheeses….

The good news from this test, which I like to focus on: Blood pressure is 110 over 68 (normal and healthy); my resting heart rate is 64, which is considered normal, if not slightly above normal. And my VO2 was 45.2. VO2 is how your body utilizes oxygen…in other words it reflects your aerobic capacity. The higher the number, the better. My number is in the very good range, and if I were a year younger I would be excellent. Almost athletic.

The trainer asked me about my goals and I explained how I need energy to keep up with the girls and how I would like to have a more streamlined workout and how I would like to train my body to operate at its peak level. And she was sitting there saying “right, right, right” and then offered “and lose the baby weight.” Well, actually, no, not really a goal, but gosh, THANKS for giving me a complex. I imagine that weight will be lost through the process of what I described but I did not put “losing belly fat” on the top of my list. Good god it’s been barely five months. Can I have a belly still please? So I told her I am fine with a belly and in fact I am proud of it. Because I am, in that way that you can be proud of something that almost everyone else finds abhorrent, apparently.

Honestly, one of the main reasons why I would like a return of a flatter belly is because I can then fit into all my old clothes. My shirts are all tightish and my pants and skirts are all low-riding (because I have big hips but a small waist, nothing quite fits like it should). So when I wear jeans, my shirts ride up just enough to my new layer of belly all around. Flat or floppy, I am not a belly-bearing kinda of girl. And it turns out floppy belly showing seems to make some people skittish. Maybe I could tour all the caves of Afghanistan and weed out bin Laden, who will run from cover, vomiting at the site of my unsightliness.

The VO2 number, this was the whole reason why I did this test. I am interested in my endurance, in how far I can push my body. And I needed a baseline so I can see a few months done the road if I am improving.

I have recently taken up the running. Running may in fact be overstating the case, it’s more like a fast jog at this point. But I am doing it every day. It’s funny because I never thought I could run. So if that is what you think about yourself, you can do it too. Believe me, if I can ANYONE can. Back in the day (like, high school) I could sprint a good sprint but distance running was never my thing. And then I felt like I had the wrong shape: Runners are tall and lithe with long graceful legs and strong torsos. They don’t lug around 36Ds or wide hips. I had a whole lotta excuses why I couldn’t run.

Then recently I started getting so bored of the elliptical trainer and my standard free weights routine. Someone told me once to look around the gym, find someone with the type of body you want and do what they do. The people with the type of body I want are the runners. Not just the body but the attitude. You don’t have to be stick thin (in fact, watch a race and you see every body type). And the runners, they have this something else…a sort of balance I guess and a sort of Zen something. They are like a tribe, a clique. And I LOVE that sorta thing. I am all about giant groups of people with things in common. And runners also have perseverance and focus and endurance. I want endurance. I want a portable endorphin-releasing exercise that I can do anywhere. And I just needed a change after years and years of elliptical workouts.

I was inspired by my friend Molly, who runs all the time and can train for a half marathon and finish it. She actually talks how she enjoys running. “Enjoy” and “running,” two words I didn’t think could live in the same sentence. So foreign to me. But one morning about two weeks ago I just started running. I got on the treadmill instead of the elliptical trainer and just started to run. And suddenly—literally suddenly—I was a runner, as if I was a runner my whole life. I bought new sneakers and new clothes and running magazines, which makes me feel like the new skier in the flashiest, most ski-tacular set-up on the bunny slopes, but whatever. I got books and did all sorts of research online. I keep track of my times and mileage and compare them day-to-day. Seriously, it is starting the change the way I think about exercise and how I look at endurance and strength. It is shaping my goals. It is giving me new strengths. I am signing up for a four-mile race and hope to do a 10K in the spring. It’s like my whole gym life snapped into focus.

What I like about running is that it gives me something to strive for, literally. I can train for little races, which gives my workouts new meaning. I’m not just on the treadmill: I am trying to run longer and faster. And it is SUCH a good way to work out tensions and release those endorphins, which for me is what it is all about. And if I have to lug around some extra body fat, so freaking be it.

So that is the story of the fit test and the new hobby. And, and for the record, I had ice cream for dinner!

If you can stand to read more, here’s the latest on CIO. The girls were exhausted on Sunday, since they didn’t nap like they usually do. It was Leif’s birthday; they spent a better part of the afternoon kicking it Halloween style and not sleeping. Bedtime was around 615ish, since they didn’t nap well. They definitely send strong cues when they are ready to go to bed. Avery went down first, and cried and cried and cried for about 15 minutes. Nicole took her out of the crib because she was borderline hysterical. I know, not CIO protocol, but we are human and it HURTS to hear a baby cry like that. At least we are better than the first nigh, when Nicole removed a crying maddie from her crib and deposited her in our bed and refused to move her back to the crib (which I had to do).

Back to Night Three. Nicole rocked Avery, then I breastfed her (not sure how much she is getting, if any) and put her back into the Scandinavian Crib Of Fire (with new mattress, thanks for the heads up, Infertile Pediatrician). She screamed for 15 straight and then fell asleep, probably exhausted from crying and the day. Maddie went down and stayed down, seemingly oblivious to the screaming of her sister.

But that night, Night Three, Maddie slept all the way to almost 6:30 am WITHOUT waking up! Can I have a round of applause for Miss Maddie! About 12 hours of sleep without waking is amazing! And Avery went all the way till 4:30 until she started to cry. This is the child who routinely woke twice a night and wanted to start her day at 3:30ish. Avery cried until 5:00, which is when we got her, because 5:00 is an acceptable wake-up time and she went so long already. I’ll take 5 ANY day over two wakings plus a 330-ish wake up call!

Tonight is Night Four. I was at the gym, so Nicole put them to bed without me. I am curious how tonight will go. Could we be turning a corner?? Is there light at the end of the tunnel? Now that I said that, of course, I have jinxed us.

To be continued….

Pictured above are Maddie and Avery chillaxing together in Mad's crib. Notice the cuter-than-cute pants.


Ah, the powers of jinx. All was going swimmingly until 2:30 a.m., when Maddiegator awoke and started crying. She cried for a good half hour, finally waking up Avery, who, not one to miss out on the fun, joined in the mix. Nicole and I lay in bed, listening to the monitor and steeling ourselves. So so hard, not going in a picking them up. We both took turns checking on them during the crying ordeal to make sure neither had a limb stuck in the crib or was stuck in some sort of painful position. These girls can both roll from their backs to their tummies but not from tummy to back. So I get nervous.

What shocks me most during this process is that I am the one who is stronger and more regimented, not Nicole. From Day One Nicole seems like she could change her mind at any second and if I said screw it, let them sleep with us, she would have a king-sized mattress and new sheets delivered to home before the day is through.

Last night, she broke protocol again by putting Maddie’s pacifier back in her mouth. Well, we haven’t really established ground rules, truth be told, and seem to have fallen in the habit of negotiating not-so-brilliantly in the wee hours of the morning. “But she didn’t see me,” she said, as a sort of excuse, which I guess is worse because now Madddie thinks not only do we abandon her, but there is a pacifier fairy out that that puts fallen-out pacifiers back into babies’ mouths. Nicole also really wanted to feed Avery but I staved that off. I know we talked about getting her used to the bed then weaning her from the middle of the night feedings but I felt like the whole night would have been a wash if we put a pacifier in Maddie’s mouth AND feed Aves. I feel like we have to go straight back to start when we go to them in the middle of the night.

So Night Three, amazing. Night Four, ehh. What’s in store for tonight??


JAMs Wife said...

I love the gym's "fitness tests" Last time I took one my "goal weight" was also set at 110 lbs. Now I haven't been 110 pounds since I was 13, and I don't think I am every making it back. I wonder if they try to make you feel bad, so that you will come to the gym more.
Glad to hear about the running, I have tried a couple of times, but my shins always start to kill.
Keep it up with the CIO, you guys are doing great.

Anonymous said...

The whole "goal weight" is a crock of...How do they account for bone structure? Boobs? Natural curviness? I am 5'9" and I have not, in the past 10 years crossed 120. I have tried, through IVF cycles and all to get to at least 130, freaking out that it's my weight that's keeping me from getting knocked up. Nada...not drinking double-calorie Ensure, not eating donuts every 3 hours...I have pix eating mayo from a jar (yes, I know, the thought of that makes me nauseous). My mom is the same story -- 50 kilos flat since she had me 30 years ago.
I think weight is just what trainers use as a goal to keep you in the gym...I wish they'd concentrate on something like having you get fitter/feel better about yourself...
Good luck with the CIO -- I could never do it.

Julie said...

The dreaded gym test...ugh.
I am so glad that our personal trainer ended up being a former neighbor and my old babysitter's sister. It worked out amazing. And she wasn't a super skinny woman either. However, I find Sparkpeople more motivating than anybody at the gym. =)
Good luck with CIO!

e. said...

i was running quite a bit in the years before i got's true how you described the zen like state of runners. i miss it so much and can't wait till i can run again. it was more of a mind clearing activity for me than an exercise routine.

calliope said...

if I could figure out a way to be a runner without my thighs igniting my underpants on fire I would SO do it. In my head I can see me running, but when I try I get the chafe.
Hope night 5 of CIO was better.

A said...

Could the babies be ANY cuter??

Shelli said...

we got tired of being pacifier fairies, too. Malka can NOW (except for last night, for some strange reason - DO NOT READ TODAY'S POST!) ;) Sleeps like a champ.

it's SO hard to hear the cry. SO hard. I'm the wuss. And thank goodness we have a king sized bed.

But you are doing great and they WILL learn to soothe themselves to sleep. It will happen.

I hope you put some serious smack down on that trainer. For all of us!

francesca said...

OK, you said the magic words. I've always said "I'm not a runner" but on the few times I've tried jogging (I call it "wogging" - half walk half jog, definitely not running yet) I've actually enjoyed it.

My girlfriend is a big-time runner and I'd love to also have a mental and physical workout that can be done anywhere, anytime.

When we call ourselves something by giving a name to what or who we are, it can be affirmative and make a community. Or, it can just reaffirm an old narrative for ourselves. Thanks for the reminder to re-write my narrative. I am now a jogger! If you can do it, I can do it! One step/day at a time. thanks!

K J and the kids said...

Ok catching up !
Love the pictures...even the belly shot :)
Hate your trainer. If he was a good trainer he would not be focused on your weight AT ALL. Weight shouldn't even be a should be ENTIRLY on the other numbers. (F#c*er) 110...WHAT EVER !

I have heard that the cry it out works with some people...and I think that means the cry it out method works on their children.
Some children NEVER take to the cry it out method.
I hope your children start sleeping for you. Good luck !

Homestead Mom said...

Oy, we're struggling with crib training, which has all the heartbreak of CIO but will probably take longer, since my partner doesn't want to stop breastfeeding at night since that's her time with the babies.
I wanted to say that we also fudge a bit here and there, and while I have no advice, I will second that it is going to be fine in the long run. That's what I keep telling myself.

francesca said...

I realized that last comment might have come out wrong -- just meant that I'm always saying, "if I can do something, anyone can do it too" but I never take it to heart...

fitness update:: I jogged on the treadmill for 25 minutes straight!! Maybe we should be fitday buddies?