Opposite

November 19, 2019

Check out this down to Earth blog, beautifully written by one of our awesome clients and long-time Fuse Fam member, Denise. Check out other great reads on her personal blog here: http://brazenhussywordsonthewind.blogspot.com/

 

The toughest thing about being in a rut is how comfortable it is and if you’re like me, you can justify staying it it for quite a long time knowing that the opposite would require effort, change, and discomfort. Even more frightening is the prospect of a rut that is so deep and so long that you no longer know if you’re moving forward or back. That’s exactly where I found myself in regard to fitness. I realized recently that I had been spinning my wheels for quite some time - and not in a calorie burning way. I had regular but unfocused attendance at the gym, was active but not really pushing myself, was eating healthy but not mindfully, was punishing my muscles with heavy lifting but never doing anything restorative. My instinct is usually go big or go home, make sweeping changes. Lifting weights three times a week? Better make it six. Half-assing your cardio? Better run until your legs fall off. Eating a few servings of veggies a day? Better become vegan.

It dawned on me that attempting these big, drastic changes are not only unsustainable, but that mentality is exactly the thing that had put me in a slump. I was trapped in the mindset that the only thing that was finally going to work was by completely ditching everything that was going ok. A clean slate is supposed to be good, right? Ironic. Reinventing the wheel had kept me from moving forward.

There’s a Seinfeld episode where George laments to Jerry that his instincts are always wrong, that he never learns his lesson, and nothing ever goes his way. Jerry’s offhand reply is that if every instinct is always wrong, then the opposite would have to be right. George takes his advice. Instead of lying, he finds himself admitting to a beautiful woman in the deli that he’s unemployed and lives with his parents. He ends up getting a date with her because she’s impressed by his honesty. George interviews with the Yankees and gets the job because George Steinbrenner admires his bravery for criticizing him to his face.

After decades of following the advice of trainers and fitness magazines I decided to follow the advice of a sitcom: I would do the opposite! Instead of some massive, sweeping fitness overhaul I decided to focus on making small changes.

Several years of heavy lifting several times a week had earned me significant gains in strength, but it came at the expense of frequent and recurring muscle injuries and limited flexibility. I spend my day with small children and found that it had become painful and almost impossible to sit cross legged on the floor with them because my hips and legs were so tight. This was a big problem that could lead to even bigger problems and injuries.

With the new year I was ready to launch my small change initiative: I made a resolution to do yoga every day. Now, I realize that some may think that this is a rather BIG change. Hear me out. I spent a ridiculous amount of time online in 2017 watching a live feed of a pregnant giraffe. I was sitting on my butt waiting for... well, I wasn’t sure what. A pair of baby giraffe legs to squirt out of the mama’s heinie, I guess. My reasoning was that if I had the time to obsessively check the progress of a laboring zoo animal multiple times a day over the course of several weeks, then surely I could carve out the time in my busy, busy schedule to be online each day and be moving my own heinie at the same time. Doesn’t sound so big or unreasonable now, does it?

So, I did yoga. Every day for an entire month. A friend recommended a free YouTube subscription called Yoga with Adriene. Some of the sessions were only about 15 minutes long, others stretched to about 35. I did most of them in my pajamas. Less than two weeks into my practice a coworker stopped me and exclaimed about how good I looked and asked how much weight I had lost. (The answer: not a pound.) But I had noticed changes, too. When I’d been lifting at the gym it had felt easier. My trainers had commented that my form looked really good. After a few more weeks of yoga, I found myself noticing and appreciating the subtleties of lifting something, the solid connection of my feet to the floor, the pressure of the bar on my hands, the moments of exquisite beauty in the progression of a movement between tension and balance.

Kind of touchy-feely for the gym! You know what’s the opposite of me caring what you think about it? Ask honey badger.

My diet needed some small changes, too. I upped my veggie consumption from my average 4 or 5 servings to the USDA daily recommended 7 - 9 servings a day. It requires some planning, but most days it isn’t hard. An extra handful of kale in my smoothie here, a little puréed cauliflower snuck into soups and sauces there, a container of raw veggies to nosh on during my commute. I’m certain that enjoying vegetables is the opposite of enjoying beer and pizza.

Yesterday when I did my weekly weigh in and measurements at the gym I was down a few of pounds and have so far reduced my body fat percentage six percent over the past six weeks. I’ve reduced my measurements (arm, chest, waist, hip, thigh) by a total of seven inches. Today was my 41st consecutive day of yoga practice. The gestational period of a giraffe is 13 to 15 months, so by this time next year I will have made up for lost time.
 

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