My 100 Days Post #8. Week 3 review, Week 4 plan

Here is the week 3 plan [and here is how I did]

5/15 Monday–Swim [Walked instead of swam.  Metronome @43]
5/16 Tuesday–Walk in the morning, tap dance [No walk, yes tap dance]
5/17 Wednesday–Swim, Square dance [Walked instead of swam. No square dance]
5/18 Thursday–Walk in the morning [yes, metronome 43]
5/19 Friday–Swim [nothing]
5/20 Saturday–AM yoga [nothing]
5/21 Sunday–walk to meet a friend for an event we have planned. [nothing]

According to the new plan and my calendar I should meditate in the morning on Monday, Thursday and Friday.  I should be able to meditate in the evening on Tuesday and Wednesday. Weekends I will meditate when I feel kind of exhausted.

[It turns out I don’t really feel comfortable meditating on the train.  So that won’t be a solution. Meditation was fairly successful this week, because I wasn’t doing much else]

Food habits:
I’m experimenting with getting 800 grams of produce per day.  Let’s see if that ends up to be triggering in any way.  Also I need to put my food books on hold at the library.  I can’t afford to buy my own copies right now.

[I did put the food books on hold.  There is a long wait.  The produce thing worked well on the weekend, when I’m eating all meals at home, but not so much on the weekdays, when I’m dragging my food around to work and such.]


What happened this week is that I got sick.  I lost my voice on Monday and Tuesday and I had a cough.  It wasn’t the kind of cough where I could swim. Then, instead of getting better as the week went on, I got worse.  I had pink eye on the weekend, and some stomach issues.  I write this from the end of week 4, when my cough became a killer cough and the stomach issues stuck around.

The Saturday and Sunday of Week 3 had me hanging out on the couch for most of the weekend.  I cancelled plans.  I put off going to the store.  This turned out to be a good thing, because I lost my appetite on Sunday and it didn’t come back for the rest of the week.

This gave me a lot of time to think.  I’ve been feeling overly busy in the last month or so, in a way I don’t like and don’t want to be sustainable.  I’m worried about the summer, when I’m taking an online class that supposedly will take me 13 hours of work per week.  I find that those estimates tend to be generous, but even at half the amount, that’s still 6.5 extra hours to find.

I looked for things to drop from my schedule.  I had the happy realization that on busy weeks, I don’t need to cook five or six separate and different meals.  I can make one or two things and eat them all week.  I don’t need new kinds of food every day.

And maybe, I thought, I need to ratchet back the blog. Maybe it needs to be book and movie reviews only this summer.  That seemed like a good plan.  The next day I remembered this project.

There was a time in my life when I would gut through with stuff like this.  I said I was going to do it, and by gum, it was going to get done, no matter how complicated my life was because of it.

But I’m older now, and I have left that tension behind me.  This is not going to be my 100 Days summer.  I’m setting aside this project for now, or possibly forever.  If I do pick it up again, I would rather do it in the cold and dark winter, than the glorious summer.  And I would like to come at it from an angle of motivation.  John Green must have partially been motivated by the fact that people with cameras were going to be at his gym, so he had better be there too.  I don’t have that particular motivation.  So how do I get myself going on days I don’t want to?

This has been a good trail month.  I’m glad I built it in.

My 100 days post #7. Week 2 review, week 3 plan

Week 2 plan [and what happened]

Basically, I have rough transitions when I come back from vacation.  Because I get up very early (4:45 in my normal routine) I never want to maintain that when I go on vacation.  Then it’s tough to slide back into the routine when I return.

5/8 Monday–Swim [Didn’t swim.  Slept in. Did walk before work.]
5/9 Tuesday–Walk before work; tap dance [yes and yes]
5/10 Wednesday–Swim; square dance [No swim.  Slept in again. Had bad attitude  Did walk across the bridge, did square dance.]
5/11 Thursday–Walk before work [Did it]
5/12 Friday–Swim [The triumphant return to the pool!]
5/13 Saturday–Yoga; square dance [The other occupant in the house is sick and woke me up with his coughing.  I was awake for a long time, so slept in and skipped yoga.  I did go to the square dance.]
5/14 Sunday–Walk that is more than an hour in duration. [Also awoken due to coughing by another, also slept in, also did not go on a walk of any duration.]

Total planned activities:  10
Total activities done: 8
Number of activities subbed: 2

Wednesday and Thursday might be tough due to after-work commitments.  Will aim for the other days.  [I did meditate on Monday and Tuesday.  I did not meditate on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.  Saturday I did, though.  What happens on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night was that I came home from work, and had the choice of eating, or meditation.  I could not do both.  There was no time.  I will be proactive and meditate on the train in the morning on days that have quick transitions.  I didn’t meditate on Sunday, because weekends have no routine and tend to be busy, so the meditation gets forgotten.  Weekends are going to be an area of focus during 100 days, I can tell.]

Food habits:
Continue to track food habits.
Last week I noticed the following things (that were not at all new for me to notice) 1. I eat while cooking, which I don’t really like doing, but also don’t like stopping.  2. I sometime don’t eat dinner because I’m “not hungry” and then eat snacks instead.

This week I noticed I never have a food plan for the weekend.  I’d like to have a slight bit more structure built into my weekends around food.

The plan for the week of 5/15

As mentioned, the boyfriend has had a cough and a cold.  As of Sunday night I’ve got some laryngitis stuff going on.  I’m hoping that’s the extent of illness that will invade my body, but there’s a chance this plan will go south.  Though I hope not.  It’s a really busy week.

5/15 Monday–Swim
5/16 Tuesday–Walk in the morning, tap dance
5/17 Wednesday–Swim, Square dance
5/18 Thursday–Walk in the morning
5/19 Friday–Swim
5/20 Saturday–AM yoga
5/21 Sunday–walk to meet a friend for an event we have planned.

According to the new plan and my calendar I should meditate in the morning on Monday, Thursday and Friday.  I should be able to meditate in the evening on Tuesday and Wednesday. Weekends I will meditate when I feel kind of exhausted.

Food habits:
I’m experimenting with getting 800 grams of produce per day.  Let’s see if that ends up to be triggering in any way.  Also I need to put my food books on hold at the library.  I can’t afford to buy my own copies right now.

My 100 Days Post #6. The first tracking week.

Here was my plan [Here’s how I did with my plan]

5/1 Monday–Swim [Did it]
5/2 Tuesday–Tap [I forgot that I was going to an author reading instead of going to tap class.  But I also forgot to list my usual Tuesday morning walk of approximately 25 minutes.  I did that, and took a 10 minute walk to the bus stop after work, and then a 15 minute walk after the reading.  There was no intense tap dance class, but I still got 50 minutes of walking in.]
5/3 Wednesday–Swim, Square Dance [Did the swim, went to square dancing]
5/4 Thursday–Hike? [We did have a short, 30 minute hike]
5/5 Friday–Hike? [We drove a very long way to a short 20 minute hike.  It was cool, but not a lot of activity]
5/6 Saturday–Hike? [We did a long hike, somewhere around 2 hours.]
5/7 Sunday–Hike? [No hike.  We took a long drive home.]

Can do on M, T.  Wednesday might be tight.  T-Sun.  Vacation probably hard to work in. I will see if I can. [Did meditate on Monday.  Did not meditate any other day this week.]

Food habits:
Note three food habits that could be modified. [Have noted them, will do a summary at the end of the trail month.]

Plan for next week:
5/8 Monday–Swim
5/9 Tuesday–Walk before work; tap dance
5/10 Wednesday–Swim; square dance
5/11 Thursday–Walk before work
5/12 Friday–Swim
5/13 Saturday–Yoga; square dance
5/14 Sunday–Walk that is more than an hour in duration.

Wednesday and Thursday might be tough due to after-work commitments.  Will aim for the other days.

Food habits:
Continue to track food habits.

Pre-100 Days. Post #5 The plan for the tracking month.

I’ll write a draft post at the beginning of the week saying what the plan is for my areas.  At the end of the week I will report how my plans went, which will inform my plans for the following week.

The plan:

Vacation is Thursday-Sunday, so thrown out of usual routines

5/1 Monday–Swim
5/2 Tuesday–Tap
5/3 Wednesday–Swim, Square Dance
5/4 Thursday–Hike?
5/5 Friday–Hike?
5/6 Saturday–Hike?
5/7 Sunday–Hike?

Can do on M, T.  Wednesday might be tight.  T-Sun.  Vacation probably hard to work in. I will see if I can.

Food habits:
Note three food habits that could be modified.



My 100 Days Post #4 Where I am with food habits.

I’ve morphed the food section of the original 100 Days from “healthy diet” to “food habits.”  There are a couple of reasons for this.

One is that I have very healthy eating habits.  I cook nearly all the food I eat from scratch (including making the whole wheat bread I eat), I eat a variety of foods, I regularly eat fruits and vegetables and I’m working on increasing my consumption of beans and other vegetarian sources of protein.

The other reason is that I have an eating disorder and focusing too much on food triggers it.

I don’t have the acceptable kind of eating disorder, a.k.a. anorexia.  Even though we as a society have decided anorexia is something to avoid, we as a society champion a lot of anorexic things namely: very low body weight (models, most actresses), tracking food, weighing yourself daily, exercising to excess, avoiding certain “bad” foods, restricting food intake.

The eating disorder I’ve developed is binge eating disorder, which is a newly classified disorder characterized by eating large quantities of food (often very quickly and to the point of discomfort); a feeling of a loss of control during the binge; experiencing shame, distress or guilt afterwards; and not regularly using unhealthy compensatory measures (e.g., purging) to counter the binge eating. It is the most common eating disorder in the United States.*

Binge eating disorder is something that we’re just starting to talk about, but I’ve been binging for decades. My first memory of a binge was when I was younger than five (Bisquick lumps) and I developed all sorts of binging rituals over the years.  I was relieved when there was finally a name for what I did. I never purged, so I wasn’t bulimic, but what I was doing clearly wasn’t something that was good for me.

In looking for ways to treat this, I took an e-course through Be Nourished.  They call their method Body Trust Wellness and which draws from the principles of Heath at Every Size and Intuitive Eating practices. I’ve also done some reading.  Here’s what I have learned and how it applies to my situation.

  • Diets don’t work.  The success rate for a diet’s maintaining weight loss for five years is in the single-digit percentages.
  • Diets do a lot of harm.  They mess up your metabolism in ways it’s almost impossible to recover from.  They promote disordered eating.  They result in diminished self-esteem when they don’t work, which is always interpreted as a failure on the part of the person who undertook the diet.
  • People have different body sizes for reasons we don’t understand.  Due to the fact that we equate “healthy” with a very narrow weight range, there are almost no studies about health and different body types.
  • The BMI is total bunk. The BMI has made me angry for years.  This article validated all my non-scientific suspicions.

The bad news is that I have probably ruined my metabolism by dieting.  My first diet was when I was 15.  Every time I have gone on a diet I have lost weight, then gained it back with an additional 10-20 pounds.  Also, one of the ways I deal with anxiety is to eat, which also results in weight gain.  I may never again be in the (again, very narrow) acceptable weight range for my height.

The good news is that by stopping all restrictive eating and giving myself what I need or want, food-wise, I have decreased my binge-eating episodes dramatically.  I’ve also started regularly shopping for clothing that I enjoy wearing and, as reported in the exercise post, spend a lot of time doing exercise that I love.

I still have some food habits that aren’t so great for me.  One is that when I cook, I snack.  I don’t like how it makes me feels and I would like to stop.  I’ve also recently figured out that when I get over-committed my form of “relaxing” involves laying on the bed, reading, and also eating to the point of discomfort.

I also haven’t fully read Health at Every Size and Intuitive Eating.  So I would like to spend my 100 days taking in the information in those books, as well.

And I’m still not there with the Body Trust Wellness Core Competencies.

My plan during the pre-month is to purchase the above books, as well as notice some eating habits that leave me with feelings of shame.  Then, I can craft a plan to execute during the My 100 Days.

*taken from

My 100 Days. Post #3 Where I am with meditation.

Of exercise, food habits and meditation, I would say meditation is the habit most in need of reinforcing.

I learned to meditate in my early 20s.  At the time I was living in Boston and doing a bunch of Aryuvedic medicine things. One of the recommendations was to learn Transcendental Meditation.  It was supposedly going to change a whole bunch of things about my life.  I found a place in Cambridge to teach me.  The process involved an information session, four pre-lessons, some of which involved watching videotapes of the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s lectures.  I had a mild worry I was joining a cult.  It turned out that once I completed my series, I had no contact with them other than flyers sent to my house (and the next three houses that followed) advertising various Maharishi Mahesh Yogi’s things.

In my second-to-last ceremony I was given my special meditation word, chosen just for me.  I regarded this word a bit skeptically.  I felt like either they gave everyone the same word, or just picked a sanskrit word at random.

Set loose on the world, I was instructed to meditate twice daily for 20 minutes and to come yearly for a checkup. I kept to the twice daily schedule for a while, then slacked off to once daily, then abandoned my practice altogether.  I’ve been off-and-on ever since.  I’ve never gone in for a tuneup.

Learning TM wasn’t cheap.  It cost at much as one of my bi-monthly paychecks, and I had to pay in installments. Still, I think it was money well spent, because when I do meditate, it makes a difference.

I’m pretty wound up. I hadn’t really realized this until a few years ago, when describing my depression symptoms to a counselor, she said, “I see you as having more anxiety than depression.”  I briefly sketched my history of the views from my bed out the window in many different houses.  I definitely  have a history of depression.  But on a daily basis, I’m tight and anxious.

Meditation unwinds me.  If I do it on a daily basis, I don’t really notice it making a ton of difference until I stop. Then, after a few days I feel claustrophobic in my head and am not breathing as deeply as I should.  One line from a song starts to play on a loop and that’s my sign that I’ve been ignoring meditation for too long.

My current goal is 15 minutes, seven days per week.  My calendar reminder tells me that my stats for the last three weeks are 4/7, 5/7, 4/7. I don’t know if I’ve made 7/7 days at any point this year.

Sometimes, meditation is easy.  I come home from work, feed the cats, and then sit down for 15 minutes before going about my evening.  But some nights, I just don’t want to. And so I put it off, and then it doesn’t get done and suddenly it’s bedtime.

I’ve also read the book Full Catastrophe Living by Jon Kabat-Zinn. He’s kind of the  meditation-is-legit-and-I’m-a-real-doctor guy.  His goal is 45 minutes of meditation or yoga per day.  When I did this, several people asked me if I’d been on vacation.

I don’t have time for 45 minutes of yoga or meditation per day (I know that I should, but don’t, and I don’t want to make room) so I will continue my goal of 15 minutes per day.  Maybe I can tease out the ways I avoid meditation and find some good incentives.

My 100 Days Post #2 Where I am with exercise.

I started exercising in college and have been a pretty constant exerciser in the 20+ years since then.  The times in my life when I don’t exercise have been the times in my life I’ve had trouble controlling depression, so I keep exercising to help keep my mental health on track.

Over the years my exercise routines have varied wildly.  Here’s a list of things I’ve done:  running, swimming, walking, biking, weight lifting, ballroom dance, yoga, parkour class, hiking, functional fitness, pilates, tap dance, Scandinavian dance, square dance.

In the past, I’ve found that I do well when I have a “thing” to work toward.  Often, after the “thing” is over, I lose all interest in the activity.  Example:  I’ve walked a marathon, which I might do again at some point, but the training takes a lot of time and I don’t really want to give up that much time at this point in my life.  Further example:  I’ve completed a sprint distance triathlon.  It was fun (except the part when the running part happened and it seemed like nearly everyone passed me).  Once it was done, I made a bit of a stab at training for another one, but wandered away from that. I also signed up for a progressive run series (started at 5K, continued on through 8K, 10K, 15K and half marathon.)  That one I needed more time to train past the 10K level and didn’t complete the last two races.  A few years ago, I signed up for a 5K run series.  I completed that, and wasn’t interested in signing up for the next year’s iteration.

Lately though, exercise has consisted of doing things I really enjoy doing.  This has resulted in my continual participation.   I’m walking into 100 days feeling two ways:  like my exercise is at a very healthy level and I don’t need more; and also like it’s missing a couple of key things that I want to add, but can’t figure out where.

Here’s what happens with exercise now:

Swimming.  I freaking love to swim.  The water is one of the places my body feels at home.  It’s also the only sport I’m actually good at.  Right now I aim for three swimming sessions a week and probably average 2.66.  I swim on Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings from 6:30-7:10 or 7:20 depending on the length of the workout.

Tap dance.  I’m in my third year of tap class and have graduated to the intermediate level.  I also really love tap class.  It’s crazy hard, but so fun, I don’t mind.  Tap happens on Tuesday from 6-7pm.

Square dance.  This is my first year of square dancing.  Much like tap dance, I love it.  It would probably be classified as an easy workout.  I square dance on Wednesdays from 7-9pm.  However, this is a lesson format, so I would guess I only spend about 30 minutes of actual active time during those two hours.  For My 100 Days, square dancing will not have a lot of participation because my club goes dark during the summer.

Hiking.  The boyfriend and I had a hiking vacation planned last summer and so went on hikes to train.  Then we kept going on hikes after we got back, so hiking seems to be a thing. I’m not very good at hiking, but I like to go for drives.  Matt does not like to go for drives, so his job is to read from the read-aloud books while I drive to the hiking destination.  We theoretically go hiking every other Sunday, but it probably averages out to about .75 times per month.  Our hikes are anywhere from an hour to three hours in length.

Walking.  Walking happens as part of my day.  I have a 7 minute walk to/from the train every day.  On Tuesdays and Thursdays I get off the train early and take a 25 minute walk to work.  Sometimes I walk as part of work, like when I drop off a deposit at the bank.  That’s a 30-minute round trip walk. I also tend to walk to the grocery store and the library.

Overall, I easily hit the recommended 30 minutes of moderate activity daily and also meet the 150 minutes of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise per week.

There are couple things missing from my life: strength training and yoga.

I’ve gotten very clear about what I want from strength training:  no excessive soreness.  I’ve done strength training programs in the past that have resulted in it being difficult for me to walk, sit, and stand. I do not enjoy this and I’m looking to avoid it.  That said, I know it’s important to do strength training and I want to maintain my muscle mass as I get older.  But what to do?  I don’t want to add two more mornings at the gym for strength training on the machines.  I’ve done that and am bored with it.  I don’t want to take a class, as my exercise budget is maxed out, and also classes tend to result in too sore to do anything.  The place where I swim has classes, but I don’t feel as though I can squish another class into my schedule.  I have a quasi-plan to do some of the workouts in the book Bodyweight Workouts for Men.  (I got that book because all the women’s strength training books tend to trend toward weight loss, and that is dangerous territory for me.)  When will I do these workouts?  My quasi-plan includes me doing them after work, but that tends to be a plan destined to fail.  Part of My 100 Days is figuring out if I can include strength training workouts.

Yoga.  I really love yoga.  In a perfect world I would start my day with either swimming or yoga and then also take a dance class in the evening.  But I don’t live in a perfect world and certainly not with my current yoga situation.  I can’t find a yoga class that works for me.  None of the studios near me have yoga at exactly the right time for me.  Not to mention if they did, the classes would cost money, which I don’t have in the budget.  It’s very frustrating.  After searching in vain for a 6am or 7am Saturday yoga class near me, I gave up and turned to YouTube.  My plan is to do a 30-minute YouTube yoga video every Saturday morning to start my day.

So far we’ve covered things I love and currently do, things I love and want to do and that leaves one other exercise thing: running.  My Facebook relationship status with running would be “it’s complicated.”  As mentioned before, running has been involved in a lot of things that I have discarded once they were done.  I’m not very good at it.  I’m very slow, I feel very self-conscious while doing it, and that means I really only can go for a run when it is very early in the morning.  For most of the year I’m running in the dark, which often leads to me tripping and falling, or spraining ankles.  Running is something I stop doing a lot, so I never feel like I’m making much progress. I often have to convince myself to go for a run, partially due to the above baggage, partially because the weather is often crappy and my warm bed has more allure than going out in the elements to do something I’m not good at.

And yet, I keep circling back to it.  I can’t figure out if I like it, baggage and all, or if there is just a general pressure from the exercising part of society that is biased toward running.  The thing I like about it is that I can exhaust myself in very little amount of time.  Because it’s hard for me, I often feel like I get a great workout from 15 minutes of running, or even run/walking.  I never can get myself to walk fast enough to feel that same way, even with double the amount of time.  And lately I feel like I’ve a little too gasp-y going up stairs.  So I’m leaning in the run/walk direction.  I have vague plans to run on Sunday mornings when we aren’t hiking.  We shall see what happens with those vague plans.

Standing desk.  I have one at work.  I haven’t been standing very much lately.  I walk in and think, “I’m too tired.”  Although I’m mostly not too tired.  I would like to at least start every day standing.

Here’s what I won’t do for the duration of this project.  I won’t buy a fit-bit or other tracking device, and I won’t track actual minutes exercised.  These tracking things tend to set me off on a very bad path.  Instead, I will have a vague framework in my head, and take things day by day.

So that’s where I am with exercise.