Monthly Archives: October 2008

An Open Letter To My Bestest Friends In the World

Dear Best Friends I’ve Had In the World (and you know who you are).

There are lots of things that I love about you gals.  I love the way you know one member can’t digest nuts, so bake batches of cookies both with and without nuts in them.

I love that you know some gals are allergic to shrimp or shellfish, so you only make paella when they are not in town.

I love that you except that one member FREAKS OUT BIG TIME at the smell of tumeric or the word “curry” so you try to keep both away when she’s around.

I love that we know one girl grew up with too many beans begin forced down her gullet, so we don’t bring those to dinners and watch her skwerm (though that skwerm is funny!)

I love that on trips we occasionallly stop at a restaurant because one member approves of the tea they serve (black, plain, brewed, not mixed with the coffee brewing system).

BUT when do I finally get equal treatment?

It’s been over 20 years that I’ve known I have an allergy to cow’s milk.  While it’s true, if I’m healthy and the dosage is small, all that will happen is a slight cough. No trip to the ER or anything.  Greater exposure and I’m hit with allergic bronchitis which can be treated by Mucinex and allergy pills.  During the winter months, or if I’ve already gotten a cold? the dairy will require me to take these meds for 4-6 weeks.  Twice a day.  Just because I’ve eaten some cow milk.

This one isn’t new – to me or you – yet you never seem to remember that OH YEAH, DEB IS ALLERGIC TO COW’S MILK, SO LET’S PLAN SOME FOODS THAT DON’T HAVE IT IN.  A couple of you actually sound offended when I questioned last week why so many of the foods we had at a party contained cow’s milk.  We will travel to a retreat together, go out for a tea or celebration – plan what sounds – to me – like a safe menu and then you change it to challenge what I can eat. And you complain when I express my frustration.

Worse is when you ask me to “just eat a salad”.  Like I don’t deserve warm/hot food like everyone else because I’m being “difficult” with my food choices.  Because my allergy only means difficulty breathing not an epi pen episode.  Because it’s easy for you to cook with milk and cow’s milk cheese and you don’t want to change.  Ya know, they make some might fine cheeses from goat and sheep milk, and you can even find them at Trader Joe’s!

While we’re talking, I’ve discovered something important these past 2 years.  For years I lived on TUMS to fight heart burn.  TUMS all day (even if I said I was using it because I don’t consume cow’s milk and need the calcium).. TUMS for the heart burn.

I’ve discovered that if I limit – or eliminate – wheat from my diet, I don’t need to take the TUMS.  Hmm.  Wheat = heart burn.  It’s a recent discovery.  I haven’t shared it with you all because you look at me like a 2-headed freak for not using cow’s milk; if I start talking wheat, too, I figure it’s all over.  Although you accommodate a lot of other strange food requirements, these two may land me in “never invite anywhere, she’s too whacky” list.

There are many fine grains grown in the world: oats and rice are common, spelt, quinoa (yuck), ya want to list a couple dozen more?

So do think it might be possible once in a while to plan meals we share together – or consider restaurantswe visit- to accomodate the person who is trying to avoid wheat and cow’s milk.  That isn’t that difficult: choose an Asian restaurant and I’m probably golden.   Most Asian diets do not use cow’s milk and much prefer rice to wheat.   They tend to be fairly safe on the bean issue (except perhaps for edamame) and  I’m sure they can brew tea by the pot any way the drinker prefers.

Think about it.  Afterall I thought I was one of your very bestest friends in the world, too.



Once I started reading about how to plan my own workouts, I was regularly reminded that I should keep to the same workout for a month for each body part.  It lets the body get used to the work, adapt, learn, get something out of it.  THEN you change the workout up a bit to challenge the muscles and keep things fresh.

Yeah.  Did anyone ever mention some ADD (let us say “bored doing the the same thing”) or the fact that I am Kelly’s classic Independant Exerciser. I always seem to be “mixing up” my workout every time in the gym.

BAD.  Especially bad when I’m limited to lower body work for a couple weeks.  NOT THAT BAD that I’m asking for additional injury or anything, but not very efficient.

So when this latest round of rest/injury forced me to watch what I do, I wrote 2 alternate lower body workouts and simply rotated from one to the other.  One workout focused on strength – lots of leg and ab machines.  The second focuses on stability: lots of body weight moves and balance.  So while the first would have me doing the squat sled, leg press, leg extension and leg curl, the second would have me doing squats/wall squats, lunges, step ups, etc.

There was enough difference from one workout to the next that I wasn’t getting bored, yet there was enough consistency that I could see where I was slacking and needed to step it up.

Monday, a strength day, I set a personal record on the leg press (185#) and tied the best for the squat sled (90#).  I might have gone up a plate on the sled, but I feared being able to push myself up without any help and I couldn’t find a willing spotter to help me push.  As my shoulder got screwed (I believe) because I pushed just beyond that point where I needed a spotter, I wasn’t going there with my legs too.

I do eventually learn my lessons.

Wednesday I am allowed to begin putting some load on the upper body again, but not really loading the shoulder too much.  So I’ll take my next workout (the stability) one and add moves:

Lunges will have light bicep curls at the bottom.  Lord watch me balance and stay firm through this.

Squats will join with a stretchy band or cable row or at the bottom. My glutes will be very happy!

Step ups, rather than doing my typical military press, will be combined with tricep kickbacks.  This is a completely new move for me.  Should be fun!

How to all of you deal with either being too consistent (same workout every time) or too scattered (do what I did the last time?  Boring!)?

Takin the Positive Road

We talk a lot on the fitness blogs about the mental part of being fit and healthy.  Focusing our attention on the positive; being supportive.  For me, it’s often a conscious choice to put on a smile and make eye contact with people all day.  You can’t imagine what a boost in the butt this is for everyone.


Friday night I was not in that happy place.  Some things happened during the evening that left me feeling stressed and unhappy.  I actually twittered that I wanted to run away from home.  Like a kid.  Instead I waited until the spouser went to bed (9 pm), grabbed his computer and started some social networking.  I’d remembered a couple people I wanted to email about things.. one thing led to another.

I found a craft co-op in Oakland that is offering Saturday workshops on silk screening.  I have wanted to take such a class for AGES.  Literally.  AGES.  Without thinking beyond it, I signed up for the first class.  It’s a “here is how we use our equipment here” class.  There is no chance to make my own designs, just get the technique down.  Still.  Something I’ve wanted and the universe plopped it in my lap.

I found myself suddenly happy and feeling less stressed.

How many times do we see a glimpse like that: I’d like to do XYZ.. and the universe shines a tiny light on the way to choose?  How many times do we fight, because it’s not quite what we imagined?  We have the whole picture filled in with color, lights and music and when we get a glimpse of a skeleton plan not fully-fleshed, we dismiss it as “not what I had in mind.”?

I’m learning to jump at those skeletons.  To flesh them out the way I want them and to see what dance they do.  Take a few more risks.  Trust in the future.

Think positive.

Then I spend some time searching around the co-ops website and getting to know the organization a bit better.  On web, it looks like a place that I would enjoy hanging out a bit. Imagine a fun gym with all the equipment you love and people who want you to participate.  This co-op sounds like that kind of gym.   A place that I’d like to go visit and talk to folks about and maybe get involved.  Maybe hang a couple days a week like I do at the gym.

I found myself hopeful about the future.

And inspite of the fact that all of this so far exists just in the interwebs, I am choosing to be active and participatory.  But since I’m having friends over the day that the 2nd class would be held (where I actually get to make my own stuff.. including this neat skull design I’ve worked on?) I will also have to be patient.  But somewhere in the future, expect some killer skull t-shirts to start appearing on these pages.

The Good News!

It’s late on Friday night, but I’ve got my hands on the spouse’s laptop and I won’t be falling asleep for a while yet.  So I might as well write.

Visited my family doctor this week about my shoulder.  I thought something in the shoulder; he thought slightly bulgy disc.  We were both thinking a slight pinching somewhere that hit both the major nerves in my shoulder, and the treatment was the same:

  • Four shots of Dexamethason (a form of cortisone).  One a day for four days ideally in the morning.  The nurse got intimate with my high hip!  I felt not a thing.
  • An MRI of the shoulder.
  • A short course of pills of Dex. that will last about a week after the shots ended.

The MRI was yesterday morning; this morning was the last shot and a quick consult with the doc with the MRI results.  Turns out there is some extra fluid floating around in the joint (probably from strain… I’m betting it’s from pressing one or two more times when my tricep was going into failure.  Or maybe it was flinging that 40# bag of dog food around.  Whatever.  The fluid would fill gaps and press against the different nerves depending on how I held my arm. 

It “sensitized” the nerves making them even more “twitchy.”  So daily it became more uncomfortable to hold my arm in any position.  And last night my 2nd finger (yeah, THAT ONE) spent 2 hours twitching like I was keyboarding.  tappity, tappity, tap, tap, tap, tappity, tap.

The shots helped a bit in calming things down.  As the fluid is re-absorbed, things will get even better.  I’ve got to pay huge attention to my posture to make things easy.  Ergonomic is good (though I note that I’m working in the most ergonomic position at the moment.  Oh well… at least I’m here.

I am allowed to start adding load to the shoulder on Wednesday.  LIGHT WEIGHTS.  Press, Row, Bicep, Tricep.  Wait a while for full-on shoulder work.  Another week, and I can add assisted pull-ups and half-pushups.  Carefully increase and add work. 

I will be so frikkin’ happy when Wednesday rolls around.  And may I please say: getting older sucks. 

If my computer were to show up fixed the same day, I just might dance.


Hey all.  My computer turned into a brick overnight.  (isn’t that special!)

The guys at Geek Squad are shipping it to HP to get it fixed.  They warn me that it may be 2-3 weeks until I have my baby back.  In the meantime, I’m stuck using my spouse’s computer when he’s not home or not using it. 

(can I whine, please??, that he only has yucky IE 6 – no FireFox – which I detest.  Which looks ugly.  Which does not have all my pretty tabs along the top so I can switch from website to another quickly?  Which doesn’t have all my bookmarks and log ins and all that other shit I’ve come to rely on?)  And he doesn’t want me downloading FF? 

It took a good half hour to figure out how to log into this account.  So expect that posts may be few and far between.  And who knows how long until I log into my BlogLines account.  I will try to read all y’all’s blogs.. but if ya don’t hear from me a while, shoot me an email.  And while I’m spreading poop like it’s fairy dust, a talk with two trainer friends at the gym today has convinced me that:

  • my shoulder is probably cartiledge damage.
  • I shouldn’t put any load on the shoulder until it’s checked out.
  • There most likely will be an MRI
  • There probably will be some arthroscopic surgery.
  • Until then, it’s abs, lower back, legs, some stability and cardio only. 

I miss my chest press, push ups, and chin ups already! 

Find me on Twitter or Facebook.  Think of my miserable self limited by 2 of the main activities in my life!  I guess the house may finally get cleaned as long as it doesn’t involve any heavy lifting.  Keep your fingers crossed that my personal bad news doesn’t travel in threes…

“The Talk”…

First, I am so thankful that I got a chance to know Adam before I approached him to have this informational talk.  He admitted that what he had to say to me would totally different if I were just walking in off the street.

So what did he say?

#1. It is his opinion that I have the personality and skills to be a good trainer.

#2. No matter what I decide, I should get a national certification before I start to talk to anyone.  I’ve ordered the NASM Fundementals program.  I figure this should tell me if I’ve got the ability to learn and study to get through the whole training class.  And NASM seems to be one of the most accepted programs.  (also, unfortunately, one of the most expensive.  I wonder if this shitty economy will mean they have a sale around November or December?)

#3. Adam doesn’t want me working for him.  Turns out 24 Hour has changed their approach to trainers.  They used to be required to put in hours on the floor, working whether they had clients or not.  That’s when they sell their service, do their paperwork, meet and learn the clientele.  Now?  You only get paid for the hours that you are actively training someone. Yet you are still required to write several thousand dollars in contracts each month.  (on your own time?)

My gym is nearly fully staffed with trainers, all young and starting out. It’s almost the only gym in the area except for the Y.  And these young folks all head to the gym closest to home.  All earning part-time income.  He expects a churn-rate of trainers of about 50% or higher for the foreseeable future.  This past month 4 trainers earned full-time income (and the benefits that go with it).

#4.  If I still chose to use 24 Hour as my “cutting my teeth” experience, he suggest a gym in another county that has few trainers but lots of disposable income.  It would mean a 30-45 minute commute each way with a bridge toll.  But it would be easy to write contracts and easier to build a client base to get to full-time.

#5.  He’d rather see me work for another company.  Which means putting myself out there to strangers a lot more than feels comfortable to me most of the time.

So here’s where I’m at.  I will work through this foundations course to see if I have the discipline to study and learn something new and challenging.  I will examine how much of my thoughts on training were realistically attached to working in a familiar environment and how much is willing to risk change.  (ooo… change is such a dirty word).  And I will let this simmer quietly while I work through this.

I may even grab a friend or two and ask they would like to be my guinea pigs working out together.

Concentrating on the nutrients instead of the food

Reading the Gubernatrix’s latest post on diet and the low-fat myth, I was struck by this line:

Dr Rosemary Stanton, points out  (about a new Australian diet) “It encourages this total preoccupation with protein or carbohydrates, with nutrients rather than food.”

In the last few months there have been numerous blogposts and discussions about how eating healthy will occasionally feel like eating disordered.  For me, I’ve come to realize that concentrating on the nutrient I’m consuming seems to be the “trigger” for this teeter-totter feeling of disordered eating.

Instead of concentrating on the simple food I choose: apple, walnut, broccoli – I spend attention and energy concentrating on the nutrients: carbs, fiber, fat, protein.  Is it the “right time” to be consuming carbs?  Should I balance the carb with some protein.. and if so, what?

I’ve started worrying less about the nutrient.  Trusting that if I’m eating simple food (food with one ingredient), as long as I make sure I eat enough veggies I’ll be fine over the long-run.  Long run being maybe a week.  If one day is a little higher in carbs, the next day will likely be heavier in protein.  What matters is that at the end of a week, I’ve generally maintained the ratios of nutrients that I aim for.

How about you?  Are you concentrating on the food or the nutrient?  And how’s it working for you?