Mile 230: A Conversation With Myself

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“I’m looking for some back and forth with you.
Are you feeling the same as I do now and now and then?”
–Foo Fighters, “Back and Forth”

Miles Last Week: 50
Total Miles: 230

Now that I’m about halfway through Level 1 improv, I think it’s time I checked in with myself about how it’s going. The talk was longer than anticipated…


Hi, Amanda.

Hey.

I know you’re excited about The Walking Dead coming back today, but I’m going to need you to focus and answer a few questions.

Okay. But Better Call Saul starts tonight, too, so I can’t make any promises.

Fair enough.

So, whatcha wanna talk about?

Improv.

Yay!

So I take it that means it’s going well?

Yeah, I mean, I laugh a lot. It’s really fun, and I’m definitely learning a lot. I’m not super great at it, but I always look forward to it every week.

That’s great–but you decided to join for a lot of reasons. How’s the rest of it working out? Are you using improv skills elsewhere? Are you participating more? Are you feeling more creative/funny?

Um…

Uh oh.

What’s that supposed to mean? You asked a lot of questions in a row. I was just trying to decide which one to answer first.

Sure you were.

Whatever, Amanda.

"Talk to Yourself Hat" by Kate Hartman Source

“Talk to Yourself Hat” by Kate Hartman
Source

Let’s just take them one at a time. Are you using improv skills elsewhere?

Well, I’m writing this blog post. That’s kind of improv-y.

You’ve been thinking about this since yesterday. That’s not at all improv-y.

Oh. Good point.

I know.

Well, no need to get cocky about it.

Just answer the question.

You’re mean.

No, I’m not. I’ve just learned that I need to be firm with you.

You are me.

I know. I’m not proud of it, either.

You’re doing that mean thing, again.

Okay, next question. Are you participating–without being prodded?

Um…

Good lord.

Hey, now. I’m participating. I’m just still working on the whole “prodding” thing. It’s only been four weeks. Changing behavior takes time.

I suppose that’s understandable.

I know.

Don’t do that.

What? You can, but I can’t?

Pretty much.

You’re the worst.

I’m you.

I’m aware.

Still, come on. You can jump out there. I know you want to.

I know. But the other people in my class are so creative/funny/quick. It’s slightly intimidating. I might screw up.

There are no wrong moves in improv. It’s one of the rules and everything.

I know, but…

Are you so arrogant that you think you are the one person who can mess up improv?

Ouch.

Besides, it’s not like you are a stranger to trying something and failing. Do I need to remind you about the Planking Challenge of 2013? Or the NaNoWriMo disaster?

You bastard. How dare you.

Life’s hard. Get a helmet. And jump out there–literally. It’ll probably be more entertaining that way.

I’m working on it. And you’re still mean.

Yeah, yeah, whatever. Are you feeling more creative/funny?

Um…

You’ve got to be kidding me.

Well…

What’s the problem?

I wouldn’t say there’s a problem, per se. I just think I tend to go to the most obvious thing and not necessarily the most creative. I’m still working on that, too.

Well, just say something creative/funny right now.

Eek…

You did it, didn’t you? That squeak thing you do when you don’t know what to do?

No. Shut up.

You were expressly told to work on not doing that.

I know. I am, but–

But changing behavior takes time. I know.

You’re sympathy is overwhelming.

As for the “obvious” thing, sometimes you just have to say the obvious thing to get it out of your head and then you build off of that. Plus, sometimes the thing that’s obvious to you isn’t obvious to everyone else.

Fair point.

I know.

Not again.

Anyway, I can see that we’ve made progress but that there’s still some progress to make. It’s okay, though. We can do it.

Did you just say something moderately encouraging? It’s like I don’t know you anymore.

I’ll be ignoring that.

You would.

You would know.

Mature.

Look who’s talking.

Whatever. We’re agreed, anyhow. We’ll keep working. We’ve got this.

Yeah. You’re not so bad.

You’re still mean.

Ignoring that.


That wasn’t so bad, I suppose. It’s good to check in with yourself every now and then. I have some things to work on, and I’m going to. It’ll be good. It’ll be fine. I think.

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Mile 180: Things No One Tells You About Weight Loss, Part 1

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“In a few weeks, I will get time
To realize it’s right before my eyes.
And I can take it if it’s what I want to do.”
–Two Door Cinema Club, “What You Know”

Miles since last time: 69 (hehe–sorry, sometimes I’m 12)
Total miles: 180

When people talk about losing weight and getting fit, there are a few obvious things they’ll refer to: new clothes, more stamina, etc., etc., blah, blah, blah.

There are also many things that no one tells you–or at least, no one told me. I’ve started a list.

1.) You can feel your heartbeat in your torso when you lie down.
Try it. Press your hand right above your belly button, down to the muscle. Some of us (ahem, me) might have to press a little more, but you’ll feel it. I don’t know what blood vessel is right there, but it pumps hard enough to move your hand up and down. It’s kind of weird.

You can also put your other hand on your neck and see how the pulses are just a millisecond off of each other. It’s kind of cool, if you’re curious about that sort of thing…

2.) You notice it in your hands.
I’ll never have a thigh gap, but I have a finger gap. Am I pretty yet?

Has my hand always looked like that?

Has my hand always looked like that?

3.) You lose all ability to regulate your body temperature.
Since my teen years, I’ve been someone who is basically always wearing at least two layers of clothing, even in the summer. I guess I just like the layered look (and have a pretty high amount of body shame, but whatever). Now, though, this has a lot more function. I’m freezing when I get home after working out, but I may wake up sweating during the night. I’ve also become someone who doesn’t understand why people walk into her office and comment that she and her officemates are basically sitting in a furnace. And if the A/C is on, I start to wonder if it would be weird for me to be wearing two sweaters and my gloves.

I imagine it’s like a much, much lesser version of being bipolar–but without meds. That being said, I still (and will always) prefer winter to summer. I’m just going to need more sweaters.

4.) If you’re a lady, you become more…um…regular.
I considered not including this one, but this is supposed to be the start of a list of things no one tells you, right? Well, a lot of overweight women don’t menstruate regularly. When some of that weight starts to come off…well, you get the idea.

Okay, talk about normal, healthy body functions = over.

5.) You start to feel more comfortable answering “What if?” with “Let’s find out.”
Two years ago, I never would have considered running, even for a minute at a time. But what if I did? I swore I would never own skinny pants. What if I just tried them on and maybe just got some on to wear with boots? Or, what if I referred to menstrual cycles on my blog? And, of course, the big one–what if I joined an improv class and built some comedy skills?

This might be where you have the urge to congratulate me on the self-confidence to try new things, but let me stop you there. I see this as more the result of thinking, “Hey, I did a thing I thought was impossible (i.e., going thousands of miles)–I wonder what else I can do.”

As you start to test your physical limits and discover what you are capable of, you get curious. And if you’re a lifetime daydreamer like me, you have lots of what-ifs to choose from.

Unfortunately, you can’t test them all. I mean, I don’t really foresee a scenario in which I should find out what would happen if I decided to start parting my hair on the other side or something. Let’s not get crazy.

This journey ain’t over yet, folks. More revelations to come.

Mile 111: Baby’s First Improv Class

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“I said, ‘Yep, what a concept.
I could use a little fuel myself,
And we could all use a little chaaaange.’”
–Smash Mouth, “All-Star”

Miles since last time: 85
Total miles: 111

Yesterday, I attended my first Level 1 class at the OKC Improv. In a word, I’d say it was…

GREAT.

Actually, I’m gonna need two words because “fun” should also definitely be thrown in there.

I could use several more adjectives, but I’d just be taking them out of the thesaurus entries for both fun and great, so those’ll work.

I mean, I wasn’t great–that would be awfully presumptuous of me to say (not to mention incorrect)–but I’m just starting out, okay? There’s obviously room to grow. A lot of very open, spacious room in which I may flail around without any idea of what I’m doing. Surely that flailing will eventually become slightly more intentional. Eventually.

Luckily, the other six people in my class are all funny and creative, and my teacher is the founder of the OKC Improv, so I feel like I’m in good hands and I’m not intimidated at all.

*cue uncomfortable laughter* Source

*cue uncomfortable laughter*
Source

Okay, maybe a little intimidated, but I’m doing what any normal person would do: shoving it down and pretending it doesn’t exist. It’s totally fine.

Since signing up for classes, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about what I want to get out of improv–you know, besides “be funny” and “think on my feet.” Those seem kind of obvious.

Anywayz (look, an inappropriate z–I’m being edgy!), here are some of the things I hope to learn:

  1. Become a better/stronger/faster writer.
  2. Go with an idea without talking myself out of it.
  3. In fact, let’s work on those filters as a whole.
  4. Also, maybe come up with some ideas.
  5. Jump in without being prodded.
  6. Be more present. (Ugh. I usually hate it when people say things like that–it has an air of pretension, but that’s my own word prejudice–but it’s still true. I want to be more present.)
  7. Work with fun, creative people and do fun, creative things that will hopefully encourage some form of laughter or generally pleasant feelings in all of us and others.
  8. Get more involved with comedy. I like it. It’s fun.

I may only be one class in, and I may have sweat through my cardigan during that one class (it’s gross but true), but I have to say that I’m pretty excited about this whole improv thing.

And yes, it’s a wee bit intimidating. Fortunately, the Ravenclaw in me is pretty much saying, “Yay for learning new things from knowledgeable people!” so I’m trying to embrace that.

I’m already looking forward to next Saturday.

Mile 26: I Hereby Dub Thee…

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“Why don’t you say the things
That you said to me yesterday?”
–Destiny’s Child, “Say My Name”

Miles last week: 26
Total miles: 26

When I started my blog, I called it “Randomanda” because it was supposed to be about random things. I didn’t want to commit to a theme (no matter how many websites told me I needed one).

But since starting the Mile Project and regular workouts, the topics have not been so random. I stumbled upon a theme without meaning to. Sometimes, growth happens without intention (and depending on where that growth is, you may need to see a doctor).

For that reason, I hereby present two kind of big (if you’re looking for them) changes to the blog:

1.) The Title.
Since the Mile Project has inadvertently taken over, why not just rename the blog “The Mile Project” and officially add fitness adventures to my nonsensical mutterings and other curious observations?

2.) The URL.
A URL with “randomanda” won’t really work if that’s not the title anymore, so I am now the proud owner of amandastonebarger.com–you know, for branding and whatnot. I guess I should have my own domain for writer-y reasons. The default URL (stonebarky.wordpress.com) still works, but only because I can’t decide if I should change that, too.

The only real content change is that posts may be about any manner of subject (including but not limited to fitness, writing, reflections, theories, television, books, movies, life, etc.), but they will always have a mile count–mainly for cohesion purposes. I’m planning to start thinking about these posts as milestones of my fitness adventures, nonsensical mutterings, and other curious observations.

Hellooooo, second mention of the subtitle.

There will likely be other smaller changes here and there, but I will say that I do not foresee any changes to the background appearance. It’s bright and colorful, and it makes me happy. If it ain’t broke…

Mile 2703: The 2014 Tally

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“No, this ain’t nothin’ new.
The only thing you’ve got is you.”
–The Black Keys, “Year in Review”

Miles in 2014: 2703
Pounds lost in 2014: 62 (98 total!)

Yes, this is the obligatory year-end/new-year post. Welcome.

At the beginning of the year, I posted three resolutions:

  • Write every day.
  • Find a happy place.
  • Do 2,014 miles.

I succeeded at only one of these. I’d tell you which, but I like to keep secrets. I’m mysterious that way.

As it is the start of a new year, the mile count is starting over again. Ah, new beginnings.

Which also means new resolutions. Ah, promises to myself that I will feel guilty about not keeping in fifty-one weeks.

I may not have the best track record with these things–or with challenge goals in general (may I point you to my string of attempted 30-day challenges and NaNoWorkMo?)–but I’m going to keep making them. Call me an optimist. Or delusional. It doesn’t matter. I can’t hear you, anyway. I’m half-deaf, too.

1.) Write every day.
Yeah. We’re trying this again. I may or may not fail again. I may or may not fail better.

2.) No MyFitnessPal on holidays.
You know, like New Year’s, Christmas, my birthday, TV show premiere days, National Green Sweater Day, any time I visit my aunt and cousins, and various other days. There are just some times when it’s not necessary to keep track of your calorie intake. I reserve the right to work out on holidays, though.

3.) Take an improv class.
This is definitely happening, so I might be kind of cheating with this resolution. Maybe the resolution part should be not to chicken out of taking the improv class I’ve already signed up for. I registered right before Christmas and will start in a couple of weeks. This may be terrible. This may be great. I am unsure which.

Wait. That’s kind of what improv is all about, isn’t it? I have a head start!

4.) No more elliptical.
It’s been real, Lipty, but I think I’ve outgrown you. We both know I’ve had a thing on the side with the treadmill for a while. I definitely wouldn’t call it love, but there might be something there. And maybe I want to venture out and try weight machines or yoga or something. I don’t know. I do know that I need to push myself. I’m still just discovering this side of myself. But really, you’ve made me a better person, and for that, I will always be grateful.

5.) Be better.
This is pretty much the crux of every resolution, isn’t it? Still, sometimes it’s nice to explicitly say it. I want to make sure that I put time and energy into being better. A better sister, a better friend, a better daughter, a better aunt, a better niece, a better cousin–just a better human–and, of course, a better writer.

One resolution you might not notice is a number of miles for this year. I’m still going to keep track of the number, but I’ve decided not to set a specific goal for 2015. I think we’ll just see how far we get.

So, 2015. Let’s do this.

Mile 2644: You Are Not the Only One With Crazy

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“Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”
–Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Miles Last Week: 58
Total Miles: 2644

In the past, I’ve had a friend or two and such apologize to me for some sort of crazy, be it their own or someone else’s. I typically just shrug it off and tell them not to worry about it, but some personal things have happened in the last couple of days that make me want to reiterate the following point bluntly and loudly.

You are not alone in your crazy. You think you are, but you aren’t.

I can hear you telling me that I am wrong–that you, in fact, are the one soul on Earth that no one else could possibly understand because only you know your own personal trauma.

Well, yes and no.

Yes, you may be the only one who knows everything that’s happened to you. No, that doesn’t mean you’re alone.

We all have crazy–every single one of us–but most of us end up feeling isolated because we don’t want to share it or burden others, or we think that no one will understand.

My personal crazy (in my completely subjective, not at all professional opinion) is likely rooted in a lot of warped body image issues, stemming from whatever underlying, deep-seated insecurity, self-hate, depression, or anxiety I’m repressing. I’m also a ruminator, which is pretty much a  four-syllable word for over-thinker. (It would also be a terrible superhero name, but I suppose “The Ruminator” could be a mildly decent super villain.) Actually, rumination tends to involve over-thinking, plus endless dissection of some choice or event, plus obsessive reflection, plus lots of time and optional quantities of junk food.

Have I mentioned emotional eating yet? That’s definitely part of my crazy.

I may not know what your crazy is, but I’m betting it’s taken you to some pretty dark places. Mine has. The following are all things about my crazy that I’ve considered putting on this blog dozens of times, but I always stop because I tell myself that they are too serious. The truth is that I’m absolutely terrified to put these things out into the world. But after the last couple of days, I’ve been forced to acknowledge what a dark place isolation will take you. At the very least, I want people to know that they aren’t the only ones in those cold, muddy trenches.

I suppose the good news is that this is the Internet and no one will probably read this, right?

1.) I remember the first time I realized I was fat.
I was in elementary school. My best friend was at my house, and we started spraying each other with water because that’s what kids do sometimes. Her pants got soaked, so I offered her a pair of mine while hers dried. As she pulled them on, it became clear that they were several sizes too large for her, which she thought hilarious. She laughed and laughed and laughed as she pulled them on and off without undoing the button. I tried to laugh along but was mostly holding my breath and trying not to cry from embarrassment. (Side note: I feel absolutely no ill will toward this person. We remained good friends for a long time. I just remember this as the first time I felt ashamed of how I looked.)

2.) I used to spend a lot of time utterly convinced that my friends hated me because of the way I looked. 
When you’re a teenage girl (or, really, a female human at all), you are required at some point to believe that you are fat and to proclaim it to everyone else so that they know that you know what your physical flaws are. Even my thinnest, most athletic friends would have something negative to say about their bodies. One curled herself into the fetal position while proclaiming, “Look at all my fat rolls! I’m disgusting!” Then, I, a legitimate overweight kid, would look in the mirror. I figured if my friends thought they were fat, then they must have thought I was a whale.

3.) Growing up, I was constantly trying to shrink my stomach.
It really wasn’t that difficult. You would just skip a couple of meals every now and then (maybe one or two a day), your stomach would shrivel up because it wasn’t being filled, and then you couldn’t overeat because your stomach wouldn’t be able to hold too much food. It was obviously a flawless plan to a teenager’s mind, and there were two victories to this system: feeling full without having eaten everything on your lunch plate and the strong belief that you weren’t anorexic because you were technically eating (even though you were still starving yourself). If you did it enough, you would probably even stop feeling hungry–which was the obvious goal. Of course, then you would binge, curse yourself (and worse) for stretching your stomach, and start the whole thing over again.

4.) At seventeen, I tried to buy diet pills.
The cashier wouldn’t sell them to me because I wasn’t eighteen.

5.) I thought I was prepared to be a martyr for my “cause.”
This is probably the darkest thing I can remember. I distinctly recall writing “I will lose weight or die trying” in my journal as an adolescent. I honestly couldn’t tell you whether I truly meant it, but to me, that isn’t necessarily the important part of what happened when I wrote that. I remember feeling a twisted sense of victory at the sentiment. I felt like putting that sentiment into words on a page meant I was truly committed.

I may not know what your crazy is, but I do know that the worst things you can feel are alone and ashamed. No one should ever feel that. Even if you aren’t ready to talk about it, just know that you are not, despite what your head or anyone else may be telling you, alone.

If you do need to talk to someone, please, for the sake of your mental health, do so.

Mile 2586: How to Avoid Holiday Overeating

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“Fahoo fores dahoo dores”
–“Welcome Christmas,” Dr. Seuss’s How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Miles Since Last Time: 166
Total Miles: 2586

Over the next few weeks, a lot of people will try to tell you the secret to having fitness willpower over the holidays. Know this: these people are dirty, stinking liars who do not deserve your attention.

For only I, Mistress of Overeating, have the secret to staying strong during November and December. And because I’m a Ravenclaw, I want to share this knowledge.

Here it is.

The next time you find yourself at a holiday function with an overpacked buffet table, you walk up to that smorgasbord–the three different kinds of potatoes, the roast beast, the neighborhoods of gingerbread houses, the fudge, the peanut brittle, the almond butter cookies, the absolute culinary wonderment–just walk right up to all of it, take a deep breath, and say…

I SURRENDER BEFORE YOUR SAVORY MIGHT.

Because here’s the real secret to avoiding holiday overeating: you can’t. It’s impossible.

You can’t even escape the sheer amount of food. How can anyone be expected to resist it’s deliciousness?

The only choice is to accept that you are a flawed mortal with the inexplicable need to cram impossible amounts of carbs and sugar into your face during the last two months of the year. Just accept your inevitable food pregnancy and prostrate yourself before the altar of gluttony.

The only hope to keep yourself out of a full-on good coma is to maintain an exercise regiment. Other than that, all bets are pretty much off.

If anyone needs me, I’ll be stretching…my stomach.