Thursday, July 28, 2005

Exercise vs. Me ... The Rematch

Exercise...the word in itself reminds me of its close cousin Exorcize. Let's face it. We exercise and diet for health reasons. Yeah right. Let's be honest...we do it to look better. We want to get rid of something that is mainly evil from our bodies (like fat!), so the comparison to its infamous cousin Exorcize is not that far fetched.

I have had many bouts with Exercise and sister Diet. At times I have thought I've won the match, but no. The dreaded fat creeps up on me. Or maybe I should admit it once and for hasn't been creeping up on me: I've opened the gate and let it in. And usually it comes accompanied by its friends Pizza, Dark Chocolate and Soda.

Well, this time I think I am going to win that match no matter how long it takes! I commit to this last rematch, which is why I dare to type it here. Hopefully I will be shamed into following this point I'll try most anything.

During my lifelong battle with the bulge (sometimes little scuffles, sometimes wars) I have done many things to win. There was the time when someone told me to eat Grapefruit because the acidity would 'melt down' the fat. I thought that was a good idea, but it didn't work. The person that clued me in to this grapefruit madness neglected to tell me that grapefruit also lowers your blood pressure rapidly. This little tidbit I discovered the hard way: Cold sweats, light-headedness and ultimately fainting on the front lawn. Not a pretty picture.

During most of my life I have tried to exercise one way or another. When I was in my pre-teen years I played tennis. That was good, plus I was doing that for fun. I wasn't really overweight then. I had to stop that because I was going into High School and I was studying piano and had no more time. I had to choose and I chose piano. That's when the dreaded pounds started to climb.

I was at a gym during my early 20's and it went pretty well. I had a six pack on my non-existing tummy and I felt great. The problem is that I was obsessed with exercise. But how can that be, you ask? Beats me, but I was. I lost a whole lot of pounds, gained muscle and NOTHING moved about when I walked. Then I stopped. I actually stopped because I was moving to another country, and that was the end of that.

I enrolled again, but I wasn't really into it. There was that one time that I saw in the gym schedule something called Boot Camp. An alarm whistled in my head but I chose to ignore it and decided to try this out. Hmmm...well, keep in mind that at that point I had no stamina, lots of fat and worse - no real desire to exercise, no matter that I am also hypertensive...oh, well.

So there I was, among a dozen or so 'recruits' in this Boot Camp class. I should have known that something terrible was going to happen to me since everyone in there was about a third of my size. I should have known that something incredibly hard and agonizing was about to happen when the trainer came in with a whistle and basically pushed us out of the aerobics room and onto the running track while shouting non-pleasantries into our ears. But nooo...I didn't want to back out, especially since he asked me "Are you in the right class?" In my ears, that was a dare. Oh yeah, I was in the right class alright!

So, he asked us to run around the track 10 times to 'loosen us up'. By the end of my first run about the track, all the rest of the recruits were into their 8th or 9th time, so the trainer kindly told me that I could do the rest by walking fast since I was 'hard-headed' enough to continue. With a smile - ok, a smirk - I thanked him and continued to run. He just shook his head and kept a close eye on me. Obviously, he wanted to be ready when he would have to call 911. In his mind it wasn't a matter of 'IF' but of 'WHEN'.

Once the others finished their run, they waited for me (nice people) and the trainer instructed us to do 4 runs around the track doing walking lunges. Walking Lunges, I found out, were exercises where your hands were on your waist, you bent one knee and took a step at the same time then you would alternate with the other leg. The first 10 times actually felt good. The next 20 were not feeling that great and the last 10 I did were excruciating. I was using muscles I didn't even know I had. At this time, my hair was dripping with sweat and my face was beetroot red. The trainer felt sorry for me, I guess, because he kept asking me if I was OK. I said Yes, of course, contrary to better judgment.

He then took us back to the aerobics class where now, there stood a bunch of punching bags that appeared who knows from where. This part I actually liked, since I imagined that I was hitting and kicking a few people that I know who would really benefit from an avalanche of whoop-ass. Unfortunately, I seemed to like it too much and I used up all my non-existent energy on this punching bag. The trainer asked us - well, actually yelled at us - to do 'Duck Walks' across the room and to crawl back on all fours. Duck Walk may sound funny and it certainly looks funny, but believe me, the consequences of duck walks will remain with me forever. What is duck walk, you ask? Well, basically you squat on the floor and proceed to walk while still actually look like a duck, hence the name.

I did it once across the room and came back crawling on all fours. Not that I wanted to crawl back, I just couldn't come back any other way. I was done for. When I arrived to the trainer's shoes, I fell flat on my face and said very loudly "I GIVE UP!" At that point I should have felt defeated, but to my surprise all my fellow recruits plus a smiling trainer clapped and cheered. "We thought you would give up at the track! We are really surprised! Good for you!". I was then told that all these people in this particular class had been doing this for years. Silly me! I couldn't go back to work for two days after legs were killing me and to this day when I hear Lunge or Duck Walk, I feel faint.

Now, I have decided not to diet, but change the way I eat. I'm going to try small goals, a new one every week, and just change my old ways. I'm trying to enroll my hubbie on this adventure and he has accepted. Not only am I still enrolled at the gym, but I also enrolled in a place called SHAPES that is located about a block away from where I live. It is sort of a strange place where there are about 10 different pneumatic exercise machines alternated with aerobic/cardiovascular stations. You start at one place and do whatever machine or cardio station you are at for 35 seconds and you hear 'CHANGE STATIONS' from a speaker and you do just move on to the next cardio station or machine, whichever is next. You usually get to do the whole thing 2-3 times in about 30 minutes.So, let's see what happens.

Just like Weight-Watchers say: "We hope to see less of you next time!"

Hoping to be fit,

Monday, July 18, 2005

What would you do for a craving?

How far would you go to eat a specific food? In my case, I'd go to another country. Allow me to elaborate...

My work takes me to many different countries and under many different situations and accommodations. One of my trips took me to the Caribbean to one of Lesser Antilles Islands. Wonderful, you say? Well, I thought so as well, until I realized that I would have to island-jump to one of the tiniest islands aboard a minuscule 6-seater airplane.

Never mind that the captain looked liked he had been drinking before getting into the plane...never mind that I could smell fuel from my oh-so-comfortable seat...never mind that we were flying so low that I could swear I could see fishes in the sea. The island where I was supposed to get off was, of course, the very last stop on this plane ride from hell. But hey, I was in a relatively 'virgin' island and think of all the exotic nature I would find (this, I kept telling myself while holding on for dear life after the 4th landing, during the last hour).

Well, I finally got there and behold! What beautiful scenery...and nothing much else. I mean...NOTHING. The island is 3.5 square miles in total, and there is no Supermarket, just a small place called Rebecca's Place. There, I found a few extremely overpriced essentials like chocolate bars and soda. And that's it.

There really was no restaurant to speak of, I was being fed by the resort that was being built (where I was doing my consulting job), and the food did not agree with my stomach. My poor belly was in revolt and I really needed to eat something that even though it would not fix my tummy, it would at least soothe my soul. And I had to be there for a whole month!

I casually mentioned this to another consultant and he clued me in on a startling fact....he knew were to find a Kentucky Fried Chicken.

KENTUCKY FRIED CHICKEN, you say? KFC? REALLY? I usually don't go to KFC in the USA where I live, but when my ears heard KFC, I could have sworn my tummy promised to behave and my body started to get prepared for the closest thing to Nirvana, but something in my head knew there had to be a catch. And, there was. I would have to Island hop on the dreaded 6-seater plane to get there.

What a dilemma....Soothe My Soul versus Die from Heart Attack. What did I choose, you ask? Why, the plane from hell, of course!

That Saturday morning, at 7:00am I was at the airport, very expensive ticket in hand and ready to begin the KFC adventure. I told no one that I was going, I simply talked to hotel person in charge of plane tickets and got myself a spot on the dreaded chunk of metal.

I arrived at my destination after much tossing about in the aircraft (it was raining like there was no tomorrow), and I literally ran towards a taxi and asked him to take me to KFC.

"Really? It's only 9:30am!", the driver said.
"Good!", I blurted. " I'll be the first one there when they open!"

To my surprise, there was a line of tourists lined up when I arrived - all hungry-looking and ready to snap at anyone that might have the inclination to cut into the line.

So, when they finally opened, I ordered almost everything on those picture thingies on the wall. I sat down and ate, and ate and ate until I felt embarrassed at people watching me. That's alright, they didn't know what I had been through.

I finally got up, went window shopping and guess what I found in a gift shop...a backpack in the form of a cylinder....are you thinking what I'm thinking??? Perfect for carrying a couple of KFC buckets back to my half-built resort room!

And that I did...I bought two buckets chock-full of all kinds of chicken and happily went back to my island-hopping plane and back to my destination. What I didn't count on was that to get to my room, I'd have to pass a bunch of other rooms...and it seems that KFC aroma, by the time I got back to my room, there were at least 12 colleagues looking like Pavlov's dogs after me.

It turned out to be a rather fun chicken eating and warm coca-cola drinking makeshift party.

I was happy...I had been to Nirvana and back and was still alive to talk about it!


Sunday, July 17, 2005

Close Encounters of the Match Making Kind

Before I got 'hitched' to my wonderful hubbie, I decided to jump on the Match Making superhighway on the web. I wasn't expecting much, but it was worth a shot.

I must say that I did have a good time filling out my profile...maybe more than I should admit. I was quite honest on answering the questionnaire, like admitting I could find dust bunnies under my bed and the fact that I didn't like people chewing with their mouth open. You usually are prompted to list your accomplishments one way or another, and despite all my self-deprications about myself (usually in the form of "what have I done with my life?"), I found that I had accomplished quite a few things in my life. Some good, some not so good, some - quite frankly - downright bad, but hey....that is the story of ME.

On the matchmaking website it was recommended that you post a picture, assuring the potential 'matchee' a prompter reply. Well, hmmmm, considering the strange ideas that come into my mind - some fleeting, some more enduring - I decided to post the worst picture I had. In my mind I kept telling myself...If someone can look past what I can look like at my worst, well, that someone is worth meeting. Strange correlation, but there you have it. So, I posted a picture of my dressed up in Rennaissance attire....Don't ask...I might explain that one in another blog...

Well, lo and behold, I got some takers! Well, out of this, I allowed myself to put aside my fear of getting mugged or whatever while going out on a date with a person that might have crawled out from under who knows what rock....and I went out on a few dates.

If I had to choose, two dates where the more memorable...One quite good, the other horrific.

The good one was on a Saturday and turned out to be a Marathon Date. It lasted all day. I brought me a dozen red roses when he picked me up (one gold star for bachelor #1), then we went to a basketball game in New Jersey - The Miami Heat vs. The Nets. Then we went to a movie then to dinner. Everything very nice, except when during the game, Bachelor #1 proceeding to yell at a player "WAY TO HUSTLE!" in a derrogatory manner and the player stopped half-court and looked up straight at us. Can you imagine that Bachelor #1 actually me if I thought the guy had heard him. Duh!

Well, considering the probabilities, I would rate that date as an 8 out of 10. Pretty good, but I messed that one up. Mea culpa, I must confess. Some neurotic behaviour I wasn't aware of was lurking all these years in me and decided to make its debut during this short-lived relationship. Let's leave it at that.

The other memorable date I went out on was by far the worst. It was like a train wreck. It was so bad that I had to go on another date with him just to be sure that it wasn't that he was nervous (as all my friends said) or that I wasn't being paranoid (which I kept telling myself). I just couldn't believe that someone could be soooo socially inept. One thing is manners (that can be learned) and one thing is common sense.

Take these actions into consideration and you be the judge:

On our first date he proposed the Russian Tea Room. Now that restaurant is closed, but it used to be a snazzy high class restaurant. I told him that maybe we might go to a more relaxed place on our first date, just a place to sit back and talk. He got uppity and said that maybe we could go to a hot-dog stand on 42nd Street and Broadway. What a charmer! Well, I decided to accept his invitation to the Russian Tea room.

I get there, all dolled up and dressed to kill, and Yes, Miss, we have your reservation under Bachelor #2's name, but No, Miss, he has not arrived. Needless to say, after 27 minutes (Oh, yes, I was timing this), I decided the go in and have dinner by my lonesome. Hey, I was dressed and could afford to pay my own meal. "You go girl", I said to myself and then, miracle of miracles, there he made his entrance like nothing happened. No I'm Sorry, no nothing. Then he acted offended when he realized I was going to have my dinner with or without him. Ugh!!

He crossed a street and left me standing on the other side and started to yell at me "Hurry can still make it if you run!".

I'm glad that I didn't find anyone for myself on the web, basically because if I did, I wouldn't have met my adorable husband. And guess what...I met him a blind date. Hey, you never know!

All in all, I would recommend matchmaking sites to anyone. It is a good media and if you go to a reputable site, just be careful and just be yourself!

Until our next encounter,

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Not Ditzy...but definitely Confused!

I don't consider myself to be totally confused, but certain things most certainly make my head spin. Hopefully, as you get to know me, you will figure out what makes me tick. When you do...please clue me in!

My very good friend Gill has enlightened me and has led me down the path of blog-gedness (don't look it up in the dictionary), hoping that it will serve as a canvas to let out and share my kooky stories.

See..this is the thing...I can't tell a joke. Well, I can, but no one usually laughs, which is very annoying. But, when I am recounting something I saw or happened to me, or just something out of my everyday life, people just crack up. I really don't know what that means (I hope it doesn't mean my life is a joke, 'cause that would not be amusing!).

Hopefully, I'll make you smile. If not, at least you know that there is someone out there crazier or kookier than you are.

Looking forward to showering you with unsolicited Close Encounters of the Insane Kind!