Saturday, August 21, 2010

PAU. (a wink and a smile)

"Pau" means finished in Hawaiian. I know we're all winking and smiling because how can one ever "complete" the project of mental and physical health? How can I stop training, despite the fact that my jumprope broke on Day 90 (bittersweet, but definitely not a sign that jump roping is no longer on the menu. Thank you, Mr. Rope, for 180+ days of fun times together)?

I imagine us all with this huge quilt of knowledge - we've got pieces and patches from a variety of sources, but ultimately we need them all. More importantly, the growth of this quilt is never-ending. This quilt might circle the globe like 8 times in our lifetime.

My current patches include: my mother, my sisters, Patrick, the whole PCP/KFB crew, my intuition, Geneen Roth, The New York Times, the good stuff on TED, Coach Jen, Angela at Bend and Bloom Yoga in Park Slope, Mestre Foca and Instrutora Rouxinol at Capoeira Brooklyn, any holistic healer/natural food blogger who has written about the chia seed, coconut flour, or How to Tell if You're Lactose Intolerant, acupuncturist Juliette Aiyana, my awesome therapist, my hero, Emily Drum, my spiritual leader, Amber, and the list goes on.

Thank you all for teaching me about my body, encouraging me to keep fighting, or stretching, or just breathing. I could not have made it without your expertise and patience!

A special shout out to some of the amazing women who weren't part of my official team (in fact some of ya'll weren't even training KFB! Not yet.). Jessica B. and Heather L. from Team Tiger, Jenny H. and Elena S. from PCP team Sexaaayyy. YOU LADIES RULE. Seriously. Let's form a buff lady band and go on tour. Your comments got me through the days I wanted to drown my quinoa in peanut butter ( cookie idea?).

So what has KFB added to my quilt? First, here are the benchmarks...

Standing jump: 10.5" (up from 10!)

Ball punches: 131! up from 43!

Toe touching: hmm...not much past the toes. Still got a pain behind the right side of my knee that makes this not so fun in the morning.

I could tell you about pounds lost (5-ish?) or huge body transformations (arms, arms, arms. LOVE THEM. And oh yeah, they should call this the KFBooty Project, because I believe mine came back a little - hello push kicks!) and maybe I would if the stats were as dramatic as what happened between my ears. Still, here's what happened physically:

When my enthusiasm was faltering midway through the project, I asked myself: What do you want from life and how will KFB get you there?

Here are some answers.

1. Follow a creative path that is rewarding and true to your beliefs, visions, etc. Finish book, or at least find new direction in novel!

Ok, I haven't exactly finished a novel, but I'm nearly finished with a collection of short stories I started like 9 years ago and then forgot about because many people told me I couldn't sell it. I'm writing about what I want, not what I think I should, or what would make me, like hella rich. That is, if people are still reading in 2020 or whenever my books make it out the brain and into your local library!

2. Become a BALANCED eater. i.e. Buy ice cream and have it suffer freezer burn because you bought it on a whim, had a little and were satisfied (rather than feeling like you'd ruined your diet/life and thus should consume entire pint) and actually forgot that it was there!

Made a bit of headway here, more in the direction of uncovering and dealing with the feelings that drive me to restrict/binge/restrict. You know the cycle. I'm working on this everyday, with lots of reflection, help, and forgiveness.

3. Get closer to 20 minutes of meditation!

This was hard. Especially while living with others, above a bar. I could not have maintained the focus and discipline to complete the program without daily meditation. Yes, sitting silently was harder than pistol squats and pull-ups, and a trillion times more rewarding! I feel the same way about meditation that I do about jump roping - how did I live without this do-it-anytime/anywhere-life-saver?

The practice has improved my concentration and ability to control my reactions. It has also helped me become more articulate when expressing my emotions, a task that is integral to developing a healthier body image and relationship to food.

Somewhere my ancestors are laughing - yes, it took an American man living in Japan to teach me to meditate! Go figure!

High-five to all of you who made it to Day 90, and to those who will be brave to attempt this mind/body revolution in the future!

Thank you Patrick and Chen for the chance to be part of this overwhelmingly powerful project!

I can't wait to see what you will dream up next!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Girl Down, Part 2

Hey all! I've come down with my second case of summer flu...I'll take a few days to catch up to the Day 90 folks (congratulations team!) and blog it out with ya.


Monday, August 9, 2010

Fear, Approval, Awareness, the Beginning

I've been thinking about writing this post for awhile, but I've been too afraid to "confess" the way I've been feeling about myself, my body, my food choices.

I suppose I'm nervous about how I'm going to sound to my team (unhealthy, but at least aware?) and how this is going to impact those who are interested in trying KFB. I'm not exactly a poster-child for this project.

Clearly, I've been putting added (and unnecessary) pressure on myself to blog about the "right" thing these last 12 weeks. What the hell is the "right" thing? Is a "good post" one that Patrick and the rest of the team respond to? Or is a "good post" one that's written breezily and candidly? Should you really say what's on your mind when you have a reaction to the KFB, or wait 7 seconds before blogging? Especially if the thought is scary, gross, and destructive?

Because honestly, my mind has traveled to some dark places during this project. Instead of blogging it all out, I remained relatively silent and started therapy - which was a good decision; for despite the ups and downs of this project, I'm very thankful to have uncovered (and interrogated!) my pain surrounding food and body. It runs much deeper than I thought. And I'm 100% sure I would have continued on my dizzying, circuitous journey to "health" had it not been for the astounding realizations I made on both the PCP and the KFB.

But here's an example of a not so healthy moment in my journey (note: the following describes one of my milder episodes). This weekend I was at a friend's baby's first birthday. Can you think of a more beautiful occasion to celebrate with family and friends? I can't either. It was a gorgeous day. Things went well, at first - I did my workout, had a sensible lunch. I helped make cupcakes and only licked a few bits of frosting, and snacked on celery and carrot sticks.

Suddenly, party time came, and I was fielding questions about babies I'm not even close to conceiving, and books I haven't written. Then I was drinking. And having more uncomfortable conversations. Instead of handling these interactions with grace, I handled two cupcakes and a piece baklava. And several glasses (more) of wine. It's not that I ate these things, it's how I ate them. Frenzied and worried. No doubt I felt powerless, ashamed, sad, and unworthy compared to the baby-ful family folk around me.

What a bummer. The rest of the evening was wrought with anxiety. In the bathroom mirror I caught a glimpse of a part of my body I've resented for, oh...20+ years (it's my knees people - they're fatty no matter what I do), and was flat out disgusted. On the way back to New York, at a McDonald's stop on 1-95, I almost bought a sundae. The only thing that stopped me was my belief that I am now lactose tolerant (good thing, dude).


One day I will get to a place where I can have a cupcake and move on.

So yeah. I'm not in the best mental shape I could be - but again, this project has brought me to a point where I'm ready to put in the work to change. BECAUSE WHEN I HAVE BABIES I don't want to pass any of this shame and negativity on to them. Because that's no way to treat them, or myself, dammiiiitttttt!!!

On the fitness front - I'm finally feeling stronger. I lost a ton of energy around days 65-75 or so but love the workouts again. I still can't do a full pull-up, or a kung fu sit-up, or hang out for more than like 8 seconds, but my push-ups are looking pretty good and I can finally do all sets of back kicks without needing to eat a banana in the middle (those just killlllllllllll me!).

I hope this is translating into stronger and more mindful yoga, boxing, and capoeira practices, and that I can continue to KICK ASS day 90 and beyond!

Hoping to have a healthier last few days with you all!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

New Heights!

This stuff hella works! Last night as I was doing my kicks in front of my stove timer, I noticed how much higher my legs are soaring (like, a foot above my counter top!). Hells yeah!

The best part was, my brother, who just flew in from Spain, who I haven't seen since January (right before I started PCP) said I look like a yoga teacher! Thanks Sanj! Is there a better compliment?

On the mental front, I'm seeing significant improvements. I have way more patience - with my students, with my body as I'm stretching, even as I'm moving around the city. I no longer rush, shout at rude men who holler, threaten to beat people (even if they deserve it), show up early to places, or panic about being late.

I'm relieved about this because I just came off a week of serious low energy, in which I skipped two workouts completely, then did 1/2 of the exercises for Days 68-69. It was weird. For the first time in like seven months, I couldn't get my body to move. I mean, either I flake on my workout or I don't. Stopping half-way never occurs to me...I suppose I was rolled up in a combo of mental and physical exhaustion.

I think what inspired me to crawl out of the depths of this hot, lonely, sad valley was seeing Miss Peaky Keen Hottie ELENA at the Co-op. That girl rules, and so do her biceps!!

Hoping I can keep riding this wave of high energy!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Whatchu fightin' for?

I had a crappy day. Got some bad news, didn't have enough food at lunch, couldn't write to save my vida, and come workout time, just when I was ready to blast off some steam, the pain, the stiffness behind my knee, made my kicks limp and the stretches short and sad.

The good news is I fought through and didn't quit (dude, I was so close, though). However, my quiet rage transformed the bouncing balls into targets of the worst kind. I.e. the balls became faces. One after another, all the people who have wronged me just started popping up and boinging around, and yes, despite my totally ahimsa state of mind, I started busting those suckas like there was no tomorrow. That disturbed me a little, but this happens. Mental slips, diet slips, meditation slips. Slip and slide! Have a piece of dark chocolate and move on!

The even better news is that the Jersey Housewives have also been learning how to defend themselves. Peep it! It looks like Teresa is preparing her little girls for future beefs (I hope no table turning) via tae kwon do lessons, in which Papa Joe also participates (dude those girls are badasses already!), and Danielle is under the impression that the other wives want to murder her (was it really necessary to bring the kids into the ring, D?).

All in all I think the women had great form and fought with tremendous heart!

Yeah, I know, this show is about as good for you as that malitol syrup I failed to successfully digest, but I just needed to get out of my head for a minute, and this show did the trick.

Got me thinking about women, fighting, defending. Pushing through when things are bleak, when you think you have nothing, when you think no one is on your side, when you're fighting in the dark, by yourself, with yourself. Ultimately, even if you have the best coaches on the planet, the best shoes, the best right hook the world has ever seen, you have to believe in yourself, right?

BUT IT REALLY HELPS if from time to time, someone tells you how great you're doing!

So here's to TEAM CRANE and all the brave men and women of KFB, the Pilot Season. You guys are warriors!!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Meditating, Malitol

Yesterday I had a massive sugar craving, and decided to give into my desire for something sweet.

Rather than pick something KFB friendly, like an extra piece of fruit with honey, I went balls out and decided to consume something as far from nature as Heidi Montag's new profile. You see, I wanted chocolate. Why didn't I just get a nice little piece of the high quality dark stuff? Because I'm greedy, and I wanted quantity. I wanted to stir something in my yogurt, perhaps the morning iced coffee. I was thinking ahead, you see.

Um. BARF. This stuff tastes like metal. No wait, like licking the barrel of a gun. It's like swallowing aluminum. The label says it's "fortified with vitamins and minerals" so I guess making the goop taste like it came straight outta a coal mine makes sense. Sure it's brown and pretty smooth but the word chocolate is pure false advertising. I guess this is what I (and my stomach - hello malitol poisoning) deserve for trying to satisfy an urge for 16 calories a tablespoon!

As far as meditation goes, it's actually getting a bit harder for me, as opposed to easier. I feel this way about some of the exercises, too, or are my standards just getting higher as we go through this?

I've been very distracted as I try to sit in silence. And I could hardly hold the diamond stretch this week.

I can blame the bar, the noise outside, but there's something going on in this head of mind that's far from peace. I can't quite describe it! Maybe there's something I'm resisting?

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Creative Juices!

No, this isn't a post about ways to rev up your fruit grams, it's about KFB and writing!

I haven't been feeling the itch to blog it out as much, not only because this program is so comprehensive, so gradual and surprising that sometimes I don't know where to begin, but because it's totally unlocked my inner novel writing genius. Hells yeah!

I don't know what it is - the stretching, the routine, the meditation, or all of these things combined - but for the last few days I've been working on my book for 6 hours a day, and loving how drained and zapped I feel after a good session. And I'm trusting myself more - taking the plot in directions I'd like to see, rather than trying to please an imaginary audience. Because when I do that, the writing kind of sucks. Kind of like when I push myself too hard, I get hurt, dude!

Surprisingly, the workouts aren't suffering too much - I trip a bit more on the jumping, and I'm hitting the ball less on the targeted punches and kicks - but when I get to the stretches, my body is so thankful that I'm giving it everything it needs.

Ever since getting back on the diet (ok, a beer might have fallen into my belly this weekend, and I went a little nuts with the pumpkin butter that I mixed in with my yogurt, all the while rationalizing that it was really just helping me fulfill my vegetable quota...creative, aren't we?), I've been feeling more centered, which I think has influenced my writing. I push through the scenes that are difficult like I push through the punches. I don't have to tell myself to write everyday, like I don't have to tell myself to eat more veggies, because I know how good I feel when I do, and the sensation is addictive.

Of course, I would like to be getting more sleep, and I could do a better job of preparing meals (I've been doing a lot of canned stuff - sardines and corn - after putting in extra hours at the writing studio), but I think I'm over the wild cookie phase. At least for now...

I hope the KFB is unlocking some creative force in all of you?