The Rocky Road to Ninja-hood Continues

Here is an unfortunate truth about me: I have an attention span only slightly longer than that of a squirrel.  What this means is that no matter how much I seem to love a new activity I’ve taken up, it won’t be long before I’m bored enough to make excuses to stop doing it.

Japanese Squirrel.

What's that over there? I'm sure it's much more interesting than whatever I'm doing now.

I fight this impulse all the time, as I’m moderately confident that the rewards of most things aren’t immediate and take significant time and work to achieve.

And so… kickboxing.  I am having a very irritating love/hate relationship going on with this.  Actually, hate is an overly strong word, but you get my drift.  My class is at 8:30 pm twice a week.  My problem is that I get home after work, relax a bit, have some dinner, and then the last thing I want to do is go out in the cold to walk to the gym.  What I really want to do is hibernate.  So I look for excuses not to go (Hello Valentines Day!), and then feel extremely guilty if/when I give in to them.

But the thing is, if I actually get my bum out the door and onto the mat, I have a brilliant time.  I actually really love these classes.  They’re hard, and for me quite humbling, so at the end I feel quite accomplished for going at all.

It’s not just showing up though; they’re challenging me to do things I didn’t think I could do.  I mentioned in my previous kickboxing post about how they wanted me to do push-ups.  While I’ve put doing real push-ups on the back burner for a while, I decided to at least work on doing girly push-ups.  And I can do them now.  Not a lot of them, but some, which is an improvement over none, I’d say.  So now I’m feeling a cool muscle soreness between my shoulder blades that I’ve never felt before.

My instructor is an excellent motivator as well.  At my last class, she gave me a second stripe, which I was not expecting ever to get, because of the push-ups component to getting it.  But while my push-ups are far from stellar, I think she gave me effort marks or something, and I gathered she really liked my blocking style, which was fun to hear.

So now I have two stripes on my little white belt, and you have no idea how ridiculously thrilled I feel about that.  (The first stripe was fun to get, but didn’t feel like as big a deal, because the goals it was based on were pretty easy to meet and I think it only exists to give you some confidence.)

There seems to be a domino effect happening here.  There are a lot of challenging things that I would like to do but that I don’t, mostly out of fear of failure, I think.  When I try one of these things and don’t go crashing down in flames of humiliation, it makes me think maybe I can do some of the other things.  That ultimatum thing with work was really huge for me.  I’ve been wanting to do it for at least a year and the fact that I got what I wanted was really gratifying.

From there I decided to do the kickboxing.  And from the kickboxing, I’ve decided I want also to start eating healthier.  I have a serious fear of getting old.  Not because of wrinkles or whatever, but because of the deterioration your body goes through.  My back problems have given me a vision of my future as an old person, and it’s not going to be pretty.  I’d like to hold that off for as long as possible, so I think I really need to start taking better care of myself, both with the exercising thing and the eating thing.  For some people, eating healthy isn’t hard.  I’m not one of those people.

I love food, almost every kind out there.  So I do love healthy food, yes, but I also love unhealthy food, because it tastes so nice.  You add butter, sugar, salt, cream, starch to almost anything and it’s going to taste great.  (I worked in restaurants for a long time and chefs know this.  The reason your food at home never seems to taste as good as the food in a nice restaurant is because you would never put an entire pound of butter in a sauce you were making.)  But that stuff should be a treat and I’ve been eating it pretty often.

So, since Monday, I’ve been following a regime I got from a friend of mine.  It’s hard.  It’s an eight week progression, with more things being added back in each week.  So the first week is the roughest.  Basically nothing white.  No sugar, bread, pasta, cereal, potatoes, rice, corn, or cheese except cottage.  Plain yogurt only.  I’m a vegetarian.  Sit there for a second and think about what’s left.

Fresh! Fruits and vegetables in León HDR


As it happens, there’s actually a lot left, but you need to get creative, which is a hard place to take your mind when for the past few years you’ve mostly just been aiming for fast and yummy.  I’ve had yogurt for breakfast every day this week, with fruit and flax and sunflower seeds and pumpkin seeds in it.  I’ve had loads of salads and veggies and miso, lentil, bean and vegetable soups.  I’ve had tofu and chickpeas and a few eggs.  And lots and lots of water.

Basically, I’ve just spent a week eating healthier than I have ever eaten in my entire life.  That makes me feel kind of virtuous, which I know is ridiculous, but whatever.  (That fact that somewhere in my brain I’ve apparently bought into the media myth that eating healthy food is somehow morally superior to eating unhealthy food irritates me, because I know it’s crap.)  I also feel kind of accomplished, as I’m pretty sure I’ve never gone this long without pasta before.

Besides giving myself the ability to pat myself on the back though, I feel physically different.  I feel awake and mentally sharper.  I think I’ve got used to feeling sleepy all the time, despite getting enough sleep, and now I’m thinking maybe that wasn’t normal.  I also just feel more energetic.  My body seems to want to move, to go for walks and do things besides just curling up, like it usually wants to do.

So I guess I’ll see if I can keep this up.  Maybe I can turn into a lean, mean, fighting machine yet.

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