Tag Archives: weight loss

bodyboss

I have started a new fitness program.

I know. I wait for your unmitigated shock to pass…

A friend and running mate decided to try bodyboss, so we, her running club, decided to go down with her.

bodyboss is a exercise program delivered via a booklet (physical or online) heavily pushed on Facebook. Most simply, the program is high intensity interval training (HIIT). It advertises as a quick 30 minute workout 3 days a week. What it neglects to mention is the 10 minute warmup and cooldown that bump it up to pretty much an hour.

The entire deal is 12 weeks long, and I am about 2 and a half into the process. So I have done enough to taste the workouts but not enough to truly gauge the whole system.

With this much of a taste, I can say that it fucking sucks.

I hate interval training. I also hate jumping and planks. That is literally what these workouts are. Almost all the are. 7 minutes seems like such an innocuous commitment, yet during the intervals, it turns into a damn eternity. I sweat and struggle and swear so much. There is no high; there is no rush. There is only pain.

Like barre, nearly all of the exercises also irritate my hamstring. After a year and a half, every twinge just stirs a rage of frustration and hopelessness. I have to modify many things, just to continue to acquiesce to the injury.

And so far, I feel no results. I have been working out daily and doing barre multiple times a week, so while I struggle with the workouts, it is not a huge difference to do them. I get sore sometimes but not often. If anything (despite also tightening my diet), I feel fatter.

But it has only been two weeks.

Stay tuned to see what I have to say after 12!

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Surviving the Whole30

whole30header

I survived the Whole30 Challenge.

When the new year dawned, my barre studio hosted a Whole30 Challenge, complete with Facebook support group. When I read the email, I thought, we could do this. It did not seem that difficult or different from my low glycemic diet, and after all, it was only 30 days. It seemed like the perfect way to reset from the holiday season of indulgence. I even convinced my husband to join me.

The rules seemed simple enough…

whole30foodlist

Seemed simple enough. Except that sugar and soy are in EVERYTHING! I did not consider not being able to have hummus or salad dressing or any of the accoutrement that makes the yes list bearable. I think, mostly, we were unprepared for the sheer amount of food preparation.

Since I HATE (loathe) nuts, if it wasn’t an apple or banana, everything required preparation. We had to either make salad dressing or cook eggs or make a whole meal that had no easy ingredients. It was an adjustment. And a supreme challenge with how completely jam packed and double booked I keep our schedule. Who has time to cook everything?

Then, there was also the withdrawals. Whole30 has a whole little timeline to give you a preview of what you might experience. I, of course, did not follow this timeline really at all.

whole30timeline

For example, I started my journey at KILL ALL THE THINGS. Literally in the first couple hours. As if my brain told my body it was in for a shit storm. I went through borderline psychotic withdrawals and hanger. I was hungry and angry and bitchy and irritable and all of it. I struggled to concentrate the first three days, and suddenly, 30 days seemed like a borderline infinity.

So there was the anger (homicidal/suicidal rage) for a couple days. Next, I experienced a strange food apathy. I stopped caring, and I stopped wanting. Since the food I could have was not very enjoyable to me and exhaustive to make at times, I did not really care when or how much of it I ate. I would shove something in when I was hungry, but otherwise, food became more utilitarian. I experienced a lot of tired days, either from the detoxification process or the low calorie count due to my lack of food inspiration.

I would have days where cravings and hunger would rage up. I would want to eat absolutely anything I was not supposed to have. I would try to talk myself into defying the rules, cheating, slipping. Then it would be back to sleepy food apathy. I just stuck with it. I just followed the rules and crossed off days on my calendar.

hungry

About halfway through, I was supposed to experience what the program calls “tiger blood.” I was to feel energized, see better workout performance, just feel awesome. Unfortunately for me, I spent two weeks cripplingly sick instead. When I should have been burning clean and bounding with healthy energy, I was feverish and unable to lift my head off the couch.

It was a miserable two weeks. For us all. I was sicker than I usually get, taking sick days when I work from home. Then, of course, my kids were sick, and I was taking care of them. Then my husband. We were a typhoid house, practically under quarantine.

So I did not get to feel great. I also did n0t get to workout while feeling the effects of the diet. That was disappointing, but it did not make me want to bail on the program or regret trying it. I did cheat. I ate condensed soup and ice cream after not eating for two days. I could not bear the thought of preparing anything, nor could I stand long enough to do so. But once my health improved, I returned to the rules immediately.

My husband’s journey diverged from my own quite a bit. Granted, we rarely experience anything the same (or even similarly). Thankfully, our different phases never aligned. I do not know that our children or house would have survived both of us being psychotically hungry at the same time. Instead, when one of us went mad with withdrawals, the other sat comfortably in the program. It was a trip to be able to watch both sides from the other side. Yet it was also helpful to be able to support each other from that position.

He made it too. His sickness slightly behind mine and even more severe, he crossed the finish line unable to eat at all.

For me, the most unexpected part of the experience was how much I learned about my own habits and food itself. I did not notice how much I sampled food while I was cooking for my kids until I could not eat what I was making them. I did not notice how often I ate because food was easy until food was no longer easy at all. I did know how often I ate for emotional reasons, but it became more obvious when that crutch was removed.

And oh how I missed booze! And Monster.

In the end, despite the hurdles and unexpected turns, the Whole30 served the exact purpose I was after. I wanted to reset after holiday overindulgence. I just wanted to detox and get back on track. Though I am only in the first couple bites of freedom, I do feel like that is what it did. I don’t feel the compulsion to eat all the fattening, sugary, unhealthy things I was physically craving after the holidays.

I also dropped 15 pounds in the month. Strangely, once weight loss was not the goal, it actually happened. When I let go and focused on just getting the eating right, it just fell off. I am now not only back at my pre-pregnancy weight but below it.

You would think after all my struggling and obsessing and fixating, I would be ecstatic. Instead, I’m ambivalent. Because I had finally made my peace with my body before this challenge. And I think this is how I would prefer it.


My Love and Hate Relationship with the Barre

My hands grip the barre until my knuckles start to pale; my rings dig into my fingers from the pressure. I am clinging to the slender wood for dear life as my entire body threatens to tremble into a puddle on the thin carpet.

“Rise onto your highest pair of heels, and sink you seat an inch lower,” the instructor says as she paces methodically around the room. Her tone is soothing, yet her words abrate my mind as my muscles beg me to stop in an ascending burn.

I roll onto my toes, pressing and arching my foot until I feel my calf muscle ball up behind the back of my knee. As I ease my hips lower, awkwardly squatting above my elevated heels, my legs behind to vibrate. It’s a subtle tremble at first, just a quiver on the edge of my skin, sending waves through the acid beginning to team on my muscles. I breathe through pursed lips and hold tighter to the barre.

“Now tuck to tempo. Tuck, tuck, tuck.”

I dig deep and gather the muscles of my abdomen in towards my spine, tilting my pelvis up into my torso. The muscles that still feel so distended from two babies. With each tuck, fire licks the tops of my thighs. My heels press against each other, desperate to stay lifted. I feel the weakness trickle down, pouring over my legs down into my perched toes.

“Lower your hips down an inch, up an inch. Little down, little up.”

My muscles practically cackle at her words they sound so outrageous. Didn’t she mean lower your heels and lock your knees? Stand like a normal, relaxed person?

I close my eyes and breathe more purposefully. I do not look in the mirror. I do not want to see the sweaty tomato of my face while my reflection wants to give up so deeply. 

“This is your last change,” she says.

Hope blossoms across my chest. I can do this. It has to be less than a minute left.

A minute of burning hell on my legs.

I lower and lift my hips against the objections of my flesh. I make the small, controlled motions even though my nerves send relentless messages indicating they cannot comply. My body moves just the same. With each lower, the shake seizes me. My heels wobble and smack together; my knees knock and tremble. I can feel the vibrations rolling up my body in waves all the way to my cheeks.

“Final 10 strong. 1, 2, 3, 4…”

The countdown inspires me. Only 10 tiny movements left. I clutch the barre harder, close my eyes tighter, focus only on her count. I drop my seat lower, tuck my hips harder. My entire body is a mess of quivering fire.

” 9 and 10.”

I made it. I lock my knees and bask in the pleasant rush of the acid receding from my muscles. I breathe out relief as the heat stops flaring beneath my face.

Then I feel it, somewhere between the endorphins and the accomplishment–the high. The pain in my body evolves into euphoria, and my mind climbs somewhere both level and calm.

 

love

I believe I can safely say that I have reached addiction level with my affair with Pure Barre.

socks

That is what I do, after all: become addicted to things. Substances, activities, people, places. My mind will turn about anything into a drug. I live in extremes and chases excesses. If a little is good, more must be better, and a lethal dose is probably where I’ll end up.

Hence the attempt to shift addictions to “healthy” outlets. But I digress…

I started trying barre classes because an acquaintance of mine had started teaching classes and was posting about it. I was mired in my obsession to recover from my son and was trying any and all fitness options available, so I gave it a shot.

The first class absolutely annihilated me. I could scarcely perform the exercises included, and I was sore like I potentially never have been. And I rarely get sore anyway.

bettersorethansorry

I enjoyed the class, felt deeply intrigued by the challenge; however, I was married to my gym and the full schedule of classes I committed to every week. I could not afford the extra expense and more the extra time without provided child care. So barre became an occasional flirtation, once a month or so.

At some point, I started going more frequently. Perhaps when my son’s school schedule changed and gave me more unencumbered time. Then I purchased a deal on classes without actually reading the fine print. When my unused classes were about to expire, the studio owner was gracious enough to give me an extension, into which I stuffed every class I could make.

Boom. Addiction.

I actually injured my hamstring doing barre stretches. After a dance class, I was moving gently through the thigh stretch sequence. When I came down easily into the splits (which was a celebrated accomplishment), something popped, and five months later, I am still recovering. Ironically enough, the activity that injured me also seems to the best suited to my injury. With its minute, controlled movements, barre  is the perfect exercise to strengthen my hamstring without straining it further.

It is as if the class itself has trapped me.

plie

Now, I am a 2-3 classes a week attendee whenever I can support it. With my obsessive commitment, it is pretty often though children and work are known to pop up in the way. Barre even has me convinced me to abandon the gym, shifting to only barre, belly dance, and running. Once I found a piece of dance to complete my heart, I was sold.

I LOVE and HATE Pure Barre classes, potentially equally, definitely simultaneously.

The classes themselves make me uncomfortable. Yes, I am a dancer; I was a belly dancer for eight years and still pursued hauntings of that with zumba and hip hop classes. However, that is all VERY different from ballet. The only ballet I have experienced is watching my daughter’s classes. I had the benefit of knowing how to tuck my hips, but the form and movements are all completely divergent. It throws my body out of its comfort zone, challenges its muscle memory and ingrained positions.

platformsquat

Yet, beyond the physical fluency, I do not look like a ballerina. The instructors and the majority of the students look like they came up on the barre, long, lean, and svelte. I am a thicker girl with curves and things that shake when I shimmy. Never do I look larger than in a classroom full of these slender former dancers. And that unavoidable comparison tickles every tingle of body dysmorphia I have. Hating myself in a barre class mirror is what pushed me back to counting calories (which I thankfully have dropped again).

This discomfort is part of the reason I keep going back. Yes, I am a masochist at heart, but it is also the challenge that seduces me. I want to feel like I overcame the weakness of my flesh; I want to feel like I made progress battling back the crazy in my mind.

sock-blog

Physically, I am enticed by not being good at it, by it always being hard no matter how much I improve. Like running, regardless of how much I train or how I often I do it, I am not able to coast. I coasted through my entire youth; I don’t want that anymore. If I somehow master one routine, it changes to a new one that wreaks havoc on my muscles. And I’m a sucker for the pain of it.

And it hurts. So much. The class is literally painful. You would think such tiny movements would be easy. Absolutely not. My muscles are on fire and trembling the entire class. I can feel tidal waves of acid blaze over my nerves. My knuckles go white clinging to that barre for dear life. I sweat as much as I do in high cardio. It hurts. Yet on the flip side of that pain is the rush after, the high, the euphoria. Which is ultimately what I am always physically chasing. Which I why I am so addicted to running.

As much as it pains me physically, the true challenge for me is mental, emotional. That goddamn echo of an eating disorder I can’t seem to shake. Mentally, I refuse to be controlled my own insecurities. I will not allow my misguided, shallow fixations and comparisons to prevent me from doing anything. I may feel gigantic and weak in these classes, out of place and incongruent with all the other participants, but that is why I have to keep going. Not to work my way into fitting in but to make myself become comfortable standing out. I will learn to love and accept myself one way or another. If I can wrangle bipolar, body distortion should be downhill from here. Even if I have to sit with my own self-loathing beating at my chest and a swarm of inappropriate comparisons buzzing in my brain for 100 classes. I will not limit myself.

ball

And with each class, it gets better. I feel more at home in the class; I feel more comfortable in my skin. I am wearing myself down, dulling my sensitivities, making it part of my normal. If I can accomplish that, it would be far more valuable than getting to a certain size or weight.

So I love and hate the physical challenge. I hate and need the mental challenge. The results… I just love.

My son is over two now. I have been literally beating myself up for two years trying to recover from him. Between thyroid issues and injuries, diets and different classes, nothing really worked. Or maybe did not work fast enough for me. Either way. Yet, with the recent burst of barre classes, I not only notice a different in the performance of my muscles, I actually physically see the different on my body. I think all the cross training is why my running pace continues to improve though my injury does not and training has not happened at all.

Most of all, these classes are doing amazing things for my ass (or “seat,” as they call it). It is at a height and shape it has never been in my life. My waistline, or saddlebags if you will, are also trimming way down. My back is tightening up. Muscles are starting to bulge out of my flexed quads and calves like they did when I played soccer in high school. My body is not perfect, not where the crazy part of my mind demands it be, but I am seeing the positive results. The more I see, the more fervently I devote to the classes.

So I’m in it, maybe all in it, working harder at quelling my self-abuse and finding a real acceptance for my body than anything else. If barre is the tool I need and makes my body healthier in the process, all the better. I’ll be there, obsessively shaking at the barre.

equip2

And just to up the ante, I am also doing the Whole30 challenge as part of my new commitment to the barre. Not to lose weight, not to starve myself but because my body needs the detox and the reset. And because it does not allow any weighing or measuring. I am going all in, striving to find my strength and my balance.

setthebarre

Christina Bergling

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Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!
savagesnovella.com

thewaning_coverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!
thewaning.com

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Collected Christmas

Some of the best voices in horror fiction decided to band together and tell you some tales about a different kind of Christmas.

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Resolutions

Ah, the new year. An arbitrary revolution of the calendar that gives us the illusion or the excuse at a fresh start.

I have made many resolutions over the years, mostly of the extreme or self-loathing variety. Not all of them are precipitated by the new year; that just presents a convenient excuse to brand intention into my brain. Over the course of my “fitness journey” (read: whole damn life), I have made countless goals and resolutions. And each time I fail at them or they turn on me, I tell myself that I have learned from them; that I will get it right next time. Yet, instead, I seem to find a new way of getting it wrong, another unique way of pushing it too far and perverting the intention to masochistic proportions.

So I am accepting this quirk in my pathology, this extremist tendency of mine. I am acknowledging and embracing it. I am changing my resolution paradigm. Instead, I am going to keep it simple. My goal, my new year’s resolution as it were is: BALANCE.

That’s it. Balance.

(Potentially the hardest thing ever for me, by the way.)

I want to find the compromise between a hardcore diet and binging on food. I want to exercise from a place of health, loving my body, and enjoying the activity rather than to punish my body. I want to find a way to pursue my goals while also appreciating where I am.

Balance.

I think this idea has become especially important as I recently decided to return to therapy. I have not worked with a therapist since I was pregnant and post-partum with my daughter, over 5 years ago. Yet, I very lately plunged into a bought of body dysmorphia so strong, so persistent, so pervasive that I felt compelled to reestablish a clinical lifeline.

Generally, when I am managing my crazy, I can diffuse distorted thoughts by analyzing them, dismantling them, and applying logic. It may not necessarily cure or alleviate the feelings, but generally, it brings me back to perspective enough to ride it out while preventing behavioral consequences. In this particular round, nothing had any impact on the thoughts. I could tell myself that it was physically impossible to gain any significant amount of weight overnight, yet I just continued to obsess, fixate, hate myself, plan how I would punish myself.

It was alarming enough for me to decide to do something different. It has been over two years of unhealthy obsession disguised as health and recovery. I need to break the cycle and actually create balance in my mind more than anywhere else.

I am also changing my fitness regime with the new year. After two years of being devotedly dedicated to the gym, I am dropping my membership. My favorite zumba teacher left. They dropped the hip hop class I enjoyed. I went from attending 6+ times a week to maybe 2. It is simply not worth the investment. Plus, it is time to spice things up.

In the spirit of enjoyment over punishment, I am trading the gym to return to belly dance. I am also diving into my new barre addiction. And, hamstring willing, I want to get back to more running.

I guess my new year’s resolution is to have no resolution, to learn to let go. To find my balance.


Another Start

I ran by myself today for the first time in a long time. I ran the full distance with no breaks for the first time in an even longer time.

Running has not made it into my routine much in the past couple months. For a while, it seemed less and less by the week. At one point, I had dropped down to only run club on Wednesday. Part of the problem was scheduling. My fitness routine is stretched impossibly thin with zumba, barre classes, personal training, barbell classes, hiking–not to mention the demands of my non-exercise life. Yet, I think the majority of the issue has been my injury.

Running and overtraining on hills are what initially created my hip/abductor/glute issue. And running and hills are definitely what aggravate it still. The KT tape has helped substantially. I no longer hurt just walking and moving around normally. However, the pain is still there and has been there long enough for me to be over it. I just want it to recover, and I have been broken by the duration enough to be willing to take breaks and let it heal.

So I simply made my peace with running less. I missed it, but if I wanted my injury to relent and if I wanted to indulge in this litany of fitness, there was no other option.

Instead, I shifted my focus to weight loss, once again. I added the strength training I don’t enjoy. I began the calorie counting that makes me crazy. Yet, it finally seems to be working. So that is now the goal, getting the weight off. Then, hopefully, my hip will be healed, and I can return to upping my running again.

But I ran today, and it finally felt like running again. For the first time in a long time, it did not feel like a struggle the whole way, nor did my hip twinge and whine. I floated and could have been swept away by the sheer bliss in that. I felt lighter; I felt stronger; I felt more in shape. Ultimately, my pace was somewhat disappointing, but I did hike the Manitou Incline yesterday, so maybe I just am those things.

I am working to be less obsessive. Across the board. Just because I don’t lay down three or more runs a week or hit over 15 miles a week does not mean I’m not running or not a runner. Just because I take an extra rest day or allow an injury to recover does not mean I am slacking or that I will gain weight. Just because I am counting calories does not mean I cannot eat. My routine does not need to be identical every week. My brain rails against such ideas, but I am working on it.

 

Christina Bergling

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SavagesCoverChristinaSavages

Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!
savagesnovella.com

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!
thewaning.com


Breathe

I have been running for about three years now. I am, by no means, good or talented at it, hence the zombie turtle nickname. Yet I always try. I train hard; I increase distance. I can do a half marathon, slowly but surely.

Recently, I saw a video pass by on Facebook, among the others littering my feed from various running pages and runner friends. This one I actually watched (I never watch online videos) and then attempted the technique.

Generally, I do not give any thought to my breathing while I run. I am sucking air like a zombified basset hound, just struggling to keep my sluggish pace. I gasp; I pant; I slobber. All quite ineffectively.

Shockingly, trying this new breathing method actually made a difference. A noticeable difference. The first time I tried it. I was pleasantly shocked.

I had to modify it, of course. I had to extend my inhales/exhales to two strides per to not feel like I was suffocating. I think I also sometimes still sneak cheat gasps in between. I am struggling with and learning it. Sometimes, I lose the breathing and feel myself stumbling and panting to find the rhythm again.

However, if I establish the rhythm before I get winded and really find my place in it, the breathing makes a significant impact on my running. I end up barely gasping or heaving. I float more often. I am able to lose myself in the chant-like breath and just keep going.

It is not perfect; it is not amazing, but it made a difference, so I had to share it.

I hope to see it make even more of an impact as I continue to refine my technique and attempt more challenging runs this fall.

Christina Bergling

christinabergling.com
facebook.com/chrstnabergling
@ChrstnaBergling
chrstnaberglingfierypen.wordpress.com
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SavagesCoverChristinaSavages

Two survivors search the ruins of America for the last strain of humanity. Marcus believes they are still human; Parker knows her own darkness. Until one discovery changes everything.

Available now on Amazon!
savagesnovella.com

TheWaning_CoverThe Waning

Beatrix woke up in a cage. Can she survive long enough to escape, or will he succeed at breaking her down into a possession?

Available now on Amazon!
thewaning.com


May Stats

Running and zumba and yoga and barre, oh my! May was an active month.

I began by continuing to torture myself and falling as easy prey to my eating disorder. Yet I caught myself on the downward spiral. I finally recognized my bullshit and was able to talk myself down, coax myself back to some semblance of sanity and zen.

So I have let go. I have let myself have rest days again. I have let myself eat again. I have let myself not care so damn much again. And it has been liberating.

Once I let go (and also let myself recover and also fed myself), my running improved. I successfully completed the 11 mile, and it felt great. At the end, I actually felt like I could keep going. Perhaps it was the weight of my pressure and expectations in my limbs the previous time.

While scale continues to not favor me, the tape measure has been a bit more friendly. So there has been progress, even against the breastfeeding weight cling-on. I will take being happy and flawed over obsessive and still not perfect.

may

 

Total miles: 52
Total miles run outside: 52
Longest distance: 11 miles
Best times: 6.7 miles in 1:24, 11 miles in 2:25

Total weight loss: 25 pounds
Weight loss in May: 1 pounds

Total inch loss: 5″- 5″- 4″
Inch loss in May: 0″- 1″- 0″