Thursday, December 2, 2010

Very Superstitious

Judging from the comments on yesterday's blog, quite a few of you have been feeling unfocused and wishy-washy. Or you've been beating yourself to death emotionally. Maybe you won't be EXACTLY where you'd like to be by the end of this year, but there are still 29 days left in 2010 to stop that crap waffling and get your act together.

And about those abs? Good Lordy Gertie, I'd love to have me some killer abs.  But really Jackie Warner's abs are pretty unrealistic for me mainly because I'm not even shaped like that, um, which is sort of boyish and shapeless, dare I say.  What I really want is MY version of those abs.  I found them yesterday... in a photo that I came across while doing some research.  And don't even ask me what I was researching and how in heck did I get sidetracked.  Anyway, recognize this?

If you don't, that's 65 year old Helen Mirren's abs.  I'm 15 years younger than that.  I'm sort of shaped like her when I'm at a good weight.  Why can't I have these?  I want these.  Which, to be honest, might require some surgery in addition to losing around 35 pounds... but still they represent the realm of possibility for me.


Funny how the universe seems to align to bash us over the head with signs...

Last night, I was catching up on some backlogged magazines and came across a Saucony advertisement that said:

Halfway up a hill
is when you
realize an ounce
can actually be a
significant amount
of weight.

Of course they were referring to their shoes, but I immediately thought of my ass.  Because that is true too -  the more you weigh, the harder it is to drag your behind through a run, period, never mind up a hill. And I have been whining worrying about how my extra weight is affecting my running and making me injury prone all year.

I had a very superstitious maternal grandmother who believed 'signs' always came in multiples.  If she was here, I'd bet she'd tell me that was my third one.

Second thing was the Jackie Warner book with the whole wishy-washy business and living "as if."  Written words presenting some of the same information to me that I'm positive I've heard before, but presented in a way that they started illuminating dark areas in my thoughts.

But the first thing happened over the weekend. Mr. Helen and I got into a conversation in which he asked me to describe myself as an "athlete," which immediately made me hysterical with laughter. 

Once I calmed down, I responded that I feel like I work out more than a lot of people, that I'm pretty strict and regimented.  I run around 20 miles a week and go to Muay Thai at least twice which generally amounts to working out 6 days a week.  I also feel like I do that in self defense as I have a job where I sit way too much. I told him that I don't feel like a martial artist, so my definition would be, I'm a runner who does martial arts.

His response completely shocked me and threw me for a loop.  A loop that has been playing in my head since the weekend (probably waiting for other signs to confirm what he said).

He said that he felt that I could be one of the best female martial artists in our dojo (and especially for my age - a statement that I'm never sure how to take) if I would just commit.  He doesn't think I'm really committed to it, or to weight loss, or to getting myself into the kind of lean shape I'd need to be in, to be a fabulous martial artist.  He also admitted that he realizes I'm battling a myriad of physiological issues which makes some of it tough. Still overall, he's convinced that I need to commit and haven't.  He stated that knows this because he's seen me really commit to other things and when I do, I'm like a Pit Bull (his words, and don't get offended doggie people). He finished by reiterating that even though I am pretty good at martial arts, I could be excellent.

Believe it or not, I didn't get upset because he didn't say it in a mean way at all.  He was just sort of factual.  I do value his input because he is an excellent martial artist.  Did you know that not everyone who earns their black belt earns the title "Sensei" with it?  But Mr. Helen has.  So he knows what he babbles on about.

Lots to think about there. Mostly because I'm not even sure I want to commit to martial arts that way.  But it is very interesting to think that someone watches me and sees that potential. And I do have lots of things that need working on.

My martial arts? My running? My weight?  Those abs? Maybe it IS a lack of commitment?

Very superstitious, writing's on the wall...
(sorry Stevie Wonder)


  1. Okay, Helen, do you think the other Helen has had work done? I've heard varying opinions - either way, I'm with you - she looks fabulous. She's my AARP idol, for sure.

    I guess perceptions are very different - I already see you as one of the most committed people I know. And I'm certainly not faulting Mr. Helen, but sometimes I think men have an easier time compartmentalizing their lives, and so I would propose that perhaps it is easier for them/him to "commit" because "they" don't have as much to be responsible for and to balance.

    So before deciding that you are somehow at fault for not being committed, what would committed look like? What would it feel like? What would being fully committed do to your life? Who would handle the cooking and the cleaning while you were committed, for example? Try being committed on for size. How would it differ from what you are already doing?

  2. I'm not saying this applies to you... I'm just saying...

    Sometimes, I think lack of commitment is more about fear -- of the unknown, of success, of failure. There are times when I'm on the verge of moving forward in some area (making a real commitment) but hesitate and waver on whether it's what I really want. But what I'm learning recently is that the fear of staying right where I am is greater than the fear of moving forward. This means there are some things to which I'm truly ready to commit.

    Thanks for the food for thought.

  3. Being that I actually know Helen and Mr. Helen, I can attest to the fact that Mr. Helen does indeed excel at martial arts...he is a true sensei in every sense of the word! And his level of commitment is admirable!!

    And as someone who kickboxes with them, but is *not* committed to the martial arts, I understand what Helen is saying. If I committed to muay thai I'd be kickass for sure, but I don't enjoy it as much as I used to, for a variety of reasons, mostly because it's hard on my body.

    And the question Mr. asks, "what kind of athlete are you?" has me thinking. The other day, I did a kettlebell demo with my trainer. He's now working part time at a local Anytime Fitness franchise and they want to drum up interest in classes. So I went over there and demonstrated kettlebell moves and technique while my trainer talked to interested folks. At the end, a woman asked me, "so what are you training for?"

    I have to admit, I was surprised and perplexed for a moment...then said, "um, I'm not training for anything, I just enjoy the workout."

    So I guess what I am trying to say is that I personally don't think we have to be "committed" "athletes"...sometimes we can just enjoy the workout and still reap the benefits.

  4. Those really are some impressive abs. I wouldn't have minded having abs like that in my 20s.

    Thought provoking post. We would amaze ourselves with what we could do if we'd only commit. But are we willing? I have to commit to lose this weight. It's so hard but we can do it.

    Love that song, BTW. It's on my playlist. :)

  5. My grandmother believed in the threes thing, too. I do think you've gotten your wake-up call, and even if you don't choose to commit to MT, maybe there is something else you will decide to commit to (and I don't necessarily mean a diet). Maybe you just need something different to focus on. At least you are aware of that, and if the book you bought helped lead you to that awareness, then it was totally worth the purchase. :)

  6. I believe in threes also. Good and bad come in threes.

    When I got sober, my recovery dad kept saying to me, "Just make a decision, Kate. Quit making promises and just make a decision." Now, that didn't make sense at the time, but I think it sort of does now. Making a decision means seeing it through.

    Sounds like you're just not on fire about Martial Arts. Fine. Maybe a new running goal, maybe yoga, maybe finally DECIDING to lose the weight that you think is slowing you down.

    You've got an inkling that you are about to do something. You just don't know it yet. Keep pondering.

  7. If I wouldn't know better I'd say we are married to the same guy. My husband has said a few times I'm not committed either to weight loss. He was sceptic when I started running March last year but at this point he has turned around when he saw I kept on running, kept pushing my limits and go further everytime.

    Your post got me thinking about commitment too. I'm going to think this month about it how I want to do this next year and what I want to accomplish.

    Thanks for the wake up call, now I'm looking forward what you are going to do with it.

  8. I think you are an athlete. It sometimes is hard to grasp that an every day person can be an athlete. We are so conditioned that athletes are like those seen on the cover of sports illustrated - however, those are *professional* athletes. But when you run and do martial arts regularly and kick butt in general - then that qualifies you as an athlete.

  9. I didn't finish my thought here...

    Maybe if you think of yourself as an athlete, then that will help you get that extra commitment to really pursue the martial arts and truly kick ass and do something really special with that. Otherwise, you will put a non-athlete ceiling on your capabilities.

  10. Yeah - I think of you as an athlete too. I've told you that. Sometimes I wonder if you have unrealistic expectations of what your body "should" be like. I never said this but I was really happy for you when you changed your blog description to "a 50 y/0 woman trying to make peace with her body". THAT's realistic, and totally attainable. The amount of exercise you get has you in better fitness than most women your age and many younger. Your exercise ethic is excellent - if you decide you really want to get 35 pounds off there's no question you can do it, given your work ethic. But what will you have with it? But can you sustain that over the long haul?

    I really love what Roxie said about wondering what "being more committed" would look like. If you want it, great. But it's also okay to strive for being the absolute best you can be within the confines of the big picture of your life, and how you want to live it. All t hat said - it's neat when you feel the universe is sending you a message, because with the message comes inspiration and new determination.

  11. OMG, I want Helen Mirin's abs too! And I agree, Jackie Werner's body is to "straight" for me - I have a curvy body so I don't think I could ever have her abs.

    Well, unless I had liposuction and had them painted on like a tatoo!

    Glad you accepted what Mr. H had to say - I know how we both can interpret what our husband's say in a negative light, even when they are just being matter of fact.

    I choose to think she's all natural and just, well, is committed :) to living long and staying heathy.

    and you ARE an athlete. and I CHOOSE to read for the git-go his words as one of admiring your gift and skill and just wanting you to be the best you can be.

    I choose to hope and think our husbands are our biggest cheerleaders.

    Im choosing that :)

  13. I don't know what I would say if someone asked what kind of athlete I was. I've never, ever thought of myself and that word together in a sentence. Maybe I should expand my idea of what that word really means. Food for thought.

  14. I want those abs! Wow she is amazing isn't she?

    I do consider you an athlete Helen. My goodness you run circles around most of us with all you do!

  15. My martial arts? My running? My weight? Those abs? Maybe it IS a lack of commitment? I think Helen will succeed with whatever she decides to do, an athlete indeed!

  16. Hmmm. While I don't want to discount Mr. Helen, and I do know you gain a lot of pleasure out of martial arts, why is that you *have* to commit to muay thai and become a black belt? Why can't it be one of several forms of athleticism that you enjoy and are good at?

    I think men sometimes don't understand the value in multi-tasking, or since they are incapable of it, they don't get why we would want to do it. It's too hard for them, so they stick to doing only one thing, and doing it well. Whereas we often like to engage in several like things at once, and we also can become proficient in all of them. Maybe we don't reach the pinnacle of expertise in each one, but we are more well-rounded and have a wider breadth of experience than they end up with. Why is that not equally as impressive?

    Like with cooking: when my husband cooks for us, that means he grills meat. Period. Sometimes he will add a vegetable, but it gets him really frazzled because he has to worry about two things getting to the right temp at the same time. Whereas when I cook, I will have two pots on the stove and something else in the oven, and we end up with a full, well-rounded meal. So we can either have one perfectly cooked steak thrown on a bed of bare lettuce, or we can have roast chicken with three kinds of roasted root veggies which may be a little burnt, some fresh cranberry sauce, and lumpy mashed potatoes. Which one is better, you know?