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?

Monday, July 5, 2010

Happy Birthday, USA.

I so partied like a typical American this weekend. High fructose corn syrup is coursing through my veins.

Not only have I fallen off the wagon, I'm so far down I'm eating dirt. I'm so down I can see the underbelly of this wagon, and it's a scary, swollen, hot and bothered belly (possibly lactose intolerant. Thank you homemade ice cream!)

Saturday morning I felt strong and in control after my workout despite the intense heat. Then, at a rooftop party on Saturday night, I was like, KFB what? Sure, I stuck with the veggie dishes first. Then, I didn't.

There were some snickers from friends (so how's that diet going?) as I consumed the following: brownies, cookies, chocolate cake, ice cream, and let's not forget the sangria. There might have been more. Sunday, I woke up feeling like a sugar truck had just run me over and stolen my brain. I was so foggy, so thirsty. So what did I do at a friend's BBQ that afternoon? That's right, round 2! Corona (Cerveza Mas Fina, indeed), ice cream, the works.

More regret this morning, and sluggishness from the heat. I'm sucking on an ice cube, trying to stay positive about how I can learn from these unhealthy few days.

Truthfully, I'm plain ashamed and depressed. And wondering why I can't get a handle on temptations this time around...

Monday, June 28, 2010

Whining, Dining, Kung Fu Timing

I've been putting off this little whine-fest I'm about to launch into for about a week and a half, only because I wanted to give the new diet a shot. By "new" I mean the infamous dinner of apple, banana, egg white.

Right now I think God is laughing at me. Laughing because I was so smug about being spared this concoction while on the PCP. I kept waiting for it - every week I'd open that New Diet email thinking, Patrick's gonna get me this time. Sort of like that family in Shirley Jackson's The Lottery who think they're going to get stoned, because it's what they do every summer to ensure a good harvest. I'm kidding!

But seriously, I couldn't think of a worse punishment (and failed to see the logic in eating fruit at night when unlimited steamed spinach with that egg white is pretty damn healthy, too!)

Ok, sorry for that drastic (and jaded) response.

But wait, can someone explain the banana apple thing? Why not apple and kiwi? Grapefruit and peach?

What ends up happening is I eat part of this fruity dinner early, maybe after capoeira, or after my two mile walk home. Or after a long afternoon during which I've had tea with milk for snack. Then I do the KFB work out and eat the "evening snack" of veggies and egg white as my real dinner. And while 140 grams isn't exactly sparse, I'm not sure why I can't eat all the cucumber and lettuce I want. And, ahem, weren't we promised more AMAYW items on KFB?

Now that I'm done whining, I'll also say that perhaps I deserve some cutbacks. I've been straying from the diet, and not sensibly. I'll try to control my hunger, and then, after not being able to get through a particularly physically strenuous day, I'll head for the peanut butter like a wild woman (yeah, Emily, I feel ya).

I can safely say I'm over that phase. I think? Wait, one more gripe. Have you seen 60 grams of oatmeal? It's like, a tablespoon and a half...guess I need to find something lighter for breakfast.

But seriously, I'm not seeing dramatic results in my weight/size, so I've got to recommit here. And stop whining about how I just finished PCP. Shouldn't it be easier to continue on the road to wellness armed with the knowledge that I'm capable of sticking to a plan?

Here's a photo of me showing off some new muscles. I call them surfer boy muscles, but really, I had a more scandalous term for these when I was 13 (thanks to my gaggle of beach going friends. We'd swoon when we spotted these bad boys on badass beach boys).

They're the muscles that run in a V from your waist down to your thigh. I've never had them before!

If you zoom in, you can see my new favorite bodily addition...VEINS!

Let's go BRASIL!!!

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Focus Factor

Since I've been turning away from the internet during novel writing time, I've produced some good stuff! I even wrote a little scene about meditation! Hey, maybe ya'll will be star characters!

Of course, I'm no Stephen King on Adderall. My mind still strays, even while my eyes are boring holes into the computer screen. I'll be staring at a sentence but comprehending nada, just kind of watching the words dance around. However, I'd say that 70% of the time I'm very much in the world I'm trying to create, which is a big improvement.

I'm used to being a hardcore zoner-outer. Living in NYC, you kind of develop the whole hear no evil see no evil defense mechanism. Blocking out the world around you feels necessary and safe at times.

I'm an expert in this arena. When I was a child my mother thought I was deaf. Sometimes, when she called me for dinner or whatever have you, I just wouldn't hear her, even if I was 4 -5 feet away from her (I blame Judy Blume books).

Another time I was separated from my family at Disneyland for like 10 hours but I had no idea, and thus didn't panic or try to find them (a great strategy!). I just stood in the same spot, dreaming and chowing down on my candy apple.

Then there were those embarrassing few months I played softball. Who goes through an entire season of playing a sport without understanding the rules? Yo. Naturally the coaches picked up on this and relegated my spacey ass to some way out there position. I'd stand still in a hot field and not have to touch the ball (correction. Once, I did have to touch it. I threw it to the wrong team).

Thankfully, I've made some improvements in this area. And without prescription drugs! Thank you, meditation! Finally, I feel more "present in the moment," to use a phrase I hear people toss around, like "love," or "mindfulness," or "sits bones." Unless you feel it, you'll never know.

So here's my interpretation. Instead of dreaming of where I'd like to be, or where I was, or where I thought I'd be, I'm like, uh, this is me now. Stuff is happening!

During today's workout, I wasn't thinking about what I was going to eat afterward, or what I had to do tonight, or that my thighs are way tighter than they were a month ago, or that it kind of sucks that I lost my job a few days ago (oh yes, be careful what you wish for).

And despite the fact that I was sweating like a boxer before weigh in and starving like a....SHIVANI ON KFB (I have a bone to pick with this diet. Less food than I was allotted on PCP, but ok fine... I'll try it) I was so into the sensation of kicking, the use of my core, adjusting my distance from the ball to make contact - all without too much thinking and analysis. Same with the stretches. I felt those neck vertebrae totally wake-up and come to life in plough and rabbit. I could have stayed there forever. So awesome!

Here's hoping for another productive day tomorrow. Tchau people!

Sunday, June 20, 2010

You Had Me at Freestyle

For some reason, I downloaded the workout for Day 39 instead of 37, and got myself a little surprise treat (sort of like opening up the Christmas presents early!).

I'm loving the new moves! The shadowboxing and freestyle kick sequences got me jamming all over the living room, feeling warrior-ish. So much more fun and satisfying than hitting that ball (in my case, an old golf ball I used to employ as a massager, back in the day when I had crazy shoulder pain. Haven't had to bust out that bad boy in a loooonnng time). The momentum of moving around the room adds force to the kicks and power to the punches. Good times!

Now that the workouts are shorter I can really linger and relax into the stretches. YUM. Feels awesome.

And my body is responding. I've got veins popping up all over the place and new muscles above my forearms, which I actually started petting today while I held plank pose. Cool stuff!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Mindful Indulgin'

Behold my first official KFB indulgence. It's called the chum chum.

It's not my favorite thing in the world, but on Friday I was in the mood for something sweet. I thought I'd dive head first into a fro-yo so delish that my kundalini would rise, but then I found myself in Little India. So I thought what the hay. Time to return to my roots to satisfy the craving.

The owner of the sweet shop was nice enough to give me an extra something something, a sample of coconut barfi.

Concentrating on eating the items was a little awkward. I didn't love how they tasted, but I thought if I just focused more, I could turn them into something else. I had childhood flashbacks, memories of my mother stirring the stuff on the stove and the shame I sometimes felt when she explained to my friends that she was making something called barfi.


No, barfi.

The sugar made my teeth ache, but, you know, each mithai did its thing. Made me feel a bit overwhelmed and sluggish.

It's funny how little attention I pay to the textures, and sometimes, the taste, of "clean" KFB food. Like, it doesn't feel so unholy to inhale kale in front of the computer, because it's kale and why should I expect its consumption to turn into a sensual experience? No offense, kale (especially the purple really ARE a beauty).

And doesn't it technically not matter whether I keep eating the kale mindlessly (I mean, is anyone examining how they feel after chewing each piece of kale 20 times? You're eating your allotment! Doing what you've been told!) because overeating isn't really a danger, if I'm following the rules? Why should I concentrate on consuming this beautiful gift nature gave me? Do I ponder how the PeptoBismol is going down?

But shouldn't I?

Even if our food is medicine, we can do more than just shovel it around and in like fertilizer. Like pellets.

Geneen Roth would surely argue that both kale and cocoa (and, in effect our spirits) are equally deserving of appreciation, no?

Friday, June 11, 2010


I finished PCP on April 14 and started KFB on May 15. At the time I signed up for this project, 30 whole Patrick-free days seemed like one too may, but in retrospect I realize I wish I'd had more time to strike my own balance, to develop a sustainable eating and fitness plan before embarking on yet another regimen designed by someone else. My first bought of KFB sign-up regret was evidenced by yesterday's intense sense of deprivation.

P.S. You think this qualifies as a Zen Pie?

Anyway, my indulgent life's-unfair-why-can't-I-eat-whatever moment was triggered last night when I passed a pizza parlor and realized that I couldn't for the life of me recall the last time I'd consumed a cheesy slice. Anyone out there know the answer to this? 2009?? I think I was at Pizza a Bessa in Asa Sul, Brasilia, where you eat til your buttons pop off...not a good moment for me.

Suddenly, the lack of pizza in my life was cause for alarm. And then, I was concerned that I wasn't really that concerned about leading a pizza-free existence. Still I was plagued with the sensation that I was missing something. Internally, I got all whiny. Clearly, this despondency had nothing to do with food; rather, it stemmed from my tenuous connection (or lack thereof) with someone I'd just hung out with, someone I once cared deeply about. Yeah yeah yeah. Food and intimacy. I've hear they're related.

Here's the dealio. That old friend and I had just spent like four hours talking about the past, which was fun, but not so much. Sometimes you don't want to delve so far back and relive complicated memories, especially when the facts regarding what really happened are debatable (but who's counting?).

He drank relentlessly, I sipped on water. He kept urging me to have some wine, to have a piece of chocolate. He tapped my hipbones and joked, OUCH! Damn, those are like daggers!

I was irritated. Stop trying to feed me, fool! And yes, my body is becoming a weapon! I wanted to say (so dramatic, forgive me). Instead, I disengaged. I was tired and wanted to go home and meditate. I convinced myself that my non-consumption was making him uneasy. Maybe he wanted to drug me with stimulants so that I'd think him funny and sweet, when in actuality, at least last night, he was neither. These racing thoughts led me to believe that perhaps it is I who am nervous with the awareness this project is bringing me. Sometimes, clarity is shocking. And scary.

After excusing myself, I strolled through a trendy Brooklyn neighborhood and tried not to stare too much at the beautiful World Cup revelers, but I couldn't help it. Stuck in a moment of outside looking in, I was suddenly envious of the sexy folks stirring gin and tonics in their summer finest. And forgetful about what I'm trying to gain on KFB.

On the way home I asked myself these questions (and hope to blog about them as the answers reveal themselves): What do I want? What do I really really want out of life? And how is KFB going to help me get there?

My body responded with agitation as well, with my knee pain intensifying so much that it woke me up later that night (it has since migrated from behind the right knee to wrapping the entire kneecap - even yesterday's half forward bend was impossible).

Thinking about things this morning, I figured out that I'm annoyed at having to give up certain indulgences on principle.

While I haven't experienced any seriously intense cravings for my normal go-to "treats" (hello fro-yo, where for art thou), I just wish I could indulge on my own. Without being ordered to; without having to "process" the whole experience. If food is just food, then why do we have to think about it all the darn time?

My goal this week (P.S. the non-internet thing has been AMAZING, both for my mood and creativity. I use Freedom to cut myself off) is to do as Emily said earlier: to have the cookie if I must (or in this case, the wine!), and not obsess about consequences and how to "fix" or overcompensate for indulging.

If I slip and sip, I won't die; nor will I necessarily feel better, I'll just have gotten a taste of something that alters my mood, numbs me a bit, and makes me groggy.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Our Brains on Technology

I'm sure some of you have seen this article that came out in Times about the effect of technology on our brains. Dude. Let's just say that while I was reading it my concentration was so wickety-wack I could barely finish.

That worried me. I'm supposed to be writer, but lately, I'm not much of a reader. So basically I'm a poser. If I can't focus on someone else's words, how do I expect anyone to pay attention to mine?

This is especially troubling when I consider how voraciously I read as a child. Forget The Smurfs, Different Strokes, and Family Ties (though sometimes the narratives were quite provocative). You couldn't pull me away from like, Old Yeller and The Grapes of Wrath and Ramona Quimby, though most of the time I wasn't fully grasping the plots. I was just into the words.

These days, I don't have time for poetry (at least that's the excuse I make). I want info, and I want it quick. In the middle of working on (or rather simply staring at) my novel, I'm like, you know, I REALLY need to know RIGHT NOW how to make KFB friendly zucchini bread. And, I might die if I don't find some recipes using Chia seed. (P.S. Google this stuff; it's so cool. Has anyone else worked with it?)

My goal for this is week is to shut off the internet while I'm writing, and to write for four hours a day, minimum. I wish I could show you a weekly photo of me performing said action (which reminds me, I have not taken any photos since day 1. Whoops!!).

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Kung Fu Flexi

Hey Team Crane! We're in our roaring 20's. I hope you're all feeling fabulous, light, and flexible.

Here's what I've noticed since beginning the plan:

1. I've lost about five pounds. This may be partially related to my sickness, but I do notice that my arm muscles are less bulky, more wiry, and that my hips are narrower.

2. CALM. CALM. CALM. A few mini-crises have arisen, but I've yet to breakdown, scream, or polish off a bottle of wine.

3. Letting go of the past. This is a big one for me. More on this later.

Here's my goal for this week: conscious stretching.

I'll admit. When I'm hungry and tired and at the end of my workout, I don't always give the stretches the attention, love and time they (and I) most certainly deserve. I count my breaths faster, and my inner monologue tends to have nothing to do with what my body is doing.

My gaze just wanders around my living room, drifting between the pile of bills and paperwork and the computer, where I'm sure emails I don't want to read are popping up. I'm like, "This kind of hurts. I've done this before. Should I have fish or chicken for dinner? I wish someone would tell me if I'm doing this right. Can I go now?"

Maybe I should play Enya, light a candle, or close my eyes, or...just be SUPER SORE so that by the time the stretches roll around I'm dying for them.

Today is that day. I can barely walk without my quads screaming. I can't really move my neck that well. We just came back from our capoeira school's summer retreat at Ananda Ashram. Lots of capoeira, dancing, stretching, sit-ups, push-ups, a yoga class, swimmin', meditating in my tent, and some jump roping with Emily/Pingo overlooking a lake and a field full of geese and sometimes, one of these: an amazing run on a dewy Appalachian trail.

I left town on Friday morning, so I never received this week's diet and exercise plans. I didn't panic too much because I figured that once again, Emily would have all the information (she always knows what's up!) and I was confident we'd be doing lots of kicks, strength training, and stretching (hello revitalizing 7 am yoga!).

Also, in terms of diets, we have no control over the food at the ashram, which is lacto-vegetarian. I.e. there was not an egg white in sight.

My non-panic is a definite sign of progress. Three months ago, not knowing my damn grams would have thrown me through a loop. I probably would have obsessed about the unknown amounts of salt/oil/sugar lurking in my food.

This weekend, I actually enjoyed relinquishing the responsibility of controlling what I was eating and how I was moving. How awesome was it to have my meals prepared for me? And to not have to wash pots and pans? And then, to attend amazingly fun classes in which we didn't have to count kicks, just dodge them. To live music! With friends! Sure, I didn't always know exactly what I was consuming, but somehow I intuited (based on the way my body responded) that I wasn't straying too far from the plan. Of course there were some processed slips - hello tempeh! I've missed you, my friend - but I think I did quite well.

I will say this. After two days of sweaty activity without real protein, I was ready to inhale a roast chicken upon arrival in Brooklyn (I settled on tilapia).

Hmmmmmm....wonder if this guy ever did the frog pose. Speaking of, am I the only one who feels like a bowlegged superman in frog?

So back to the flexibility.

I'm proud for not obsessing about whether or not I was following the plan to a T. I plan to do what I can from the workout tonight, but if I feel like my legs are going to fall off, I'm going to stop. What I will concentrate on are the stretches - keeping my mind in the present moment and taking full, long breaths so I don't cheat myself of the release and relief these poses bring.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Girl down

I've had a high fever since Tuesday morning. I'm shivering even though it's 90 degrees outside!

It must have been something I ate because I've basically taken up permanent residence in the bathroom. Like the mediation tears, SOMETHING HAS TO COME OUT!

I couldn't do yesterday's workout. My meal plan consisted of two crackers. Today I'm still very nauseous.

I decided to meditate in the morning. It's something I've seen my mom do, and since I can't get my body to jump in the morning, I figured sitting down wouldn't be so bad. And maybe it would bring some calm to my discomfort of feeling so weak.

Ha. My mind was jumping all over the place (all those things I'd have to start doing!) but then, I tried the "I'm breathing in, I'm breathing out." Much better. Somewhere in the black matter behind my eyes, a pulsating glowing star appeared, and it too was breathing in and out. It helps when you have a visual.

I felt a difference when I started my morning business. Normally I'm doing 14 things at once (and never to completion). I'll start making the bed, then realize I want tea, then realize I need to write someone an email, and then the milk for my tea boils over and I have to clean the stove, and so I leave the email half-written, and then I'm hungry, but then I have to make my bed, so the egg burns too...does anyone else have mornings like these?

After the meditation, I completed the tasks with much more calm and focus. One thing at a time. It really works!

Monday, May 31, 2010

Exercising with Nature

I grew up exercising in natureza. Hawai'i is where I would like to raise children, so that they too can learn to swim in choppy surf, run up mountains, climb up sloping palm trees, do handstands in their friends' backyards, surf, body surf, boogie board, all that! When you move your body in a way that compliments/uses/celebrates your surroundings it just feels better. Like planting yourself in the right soil.

In New York you have to try a little harder but it's possible. Prospect Park goes off in the summer and you can find people doing all sort of routines near the lake, under trees, between trees, on the rolling hills.

After capoeira class in the park, I brought this melon home. My awesome friend Renee helped me carry it took these (thanks girl!). I couldn't ask for a better medicine ball. Thank you mother nature! I had some fun with it.

I started off Memorial Day by working out with Emily in the park. How awesome was that? We realized we had different interpretations of the kicks (this was before we received Patrick's email) so it was fun to try out each other's "style." We even got to sing a capoeira song while in plow position!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

More tears...

I cried again today in meditation. Was it because it went on for ten minutes and my back kind of ached? Or because my forward bend was a joke and a half (and also painful - the behind the knee pain is baaaaacckkk). I had to stop midway and bend the right leg. Or - and here's what I think it is - we just got the diets, and I was picturing myself spooning couscous onto the food scale again, not being able to eat the whole apple anymore (like I did today after my awesome run in the park, with pure joyful abandon. Damn, just when I was getting used to my mammoth fruit portions!), standing in a corner at summer barbecues looking like a weirdo (a graceful, lean, enlightened weirdo. And hey, veggie kabobs rule dude).

I feel all sad and pensive, but no particular thoughts are coming to mind. Whatever I cried about has to be released, so I guess this is a good thing! And yes, the Lord Google says this is normal. Happens all the time...

We'll see what happens tomorrow. Any ideas for good unprocessed breakfast carbs?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Slip and Slide

Hot child in the city! I just did my workout barefoot. The sweat on the floor made it easier to pivot for those sidekicks. Excessive sweating comes in handy sometimes. So, what's your KFB soundtrack? Because "Buy UA Drink" and "Birthday Sex" (uncensored) just don't sound right when you're in Shao Lin stance. Hips don't want to stay still, and hips don't lie, which is now a proven fact because I'm HELLA RESTLESS.

I just don't have the crazy enthusiasm I thought I would when I signed up for this. It's too soon to tell, yes, and maybe there is something valuable in learning how to complete a process without fanaticism. Or maybe I'm just used to doing these moves in the presence of a master/mestre/yogi/former champion. It seems blasphemous to be learning something so complex, so rich, via the WWW, without the fanfare, the ceremony, the oms, the heavy bags, the screaming coaches, the mirrors, the uniforms, the camaraderie, the instructors who are really named, like Frank, but call themselves Ganesh. I miss them.

I had my first craving for processed food today. After capoeira class, I was covered in a nice film of sweat. My dress stuck to my ribs as I hurried home in the mugginess. I ran into my friend, who was devouring this:

It's a Rice Dream non-diary somethingsomethingorganicnatural processed thing. He motioned for me to wipe my drool and then offered a bite. Literally he stuck the cold delishous chocolatey mess in my face. I said no. He said, "You're on another diet?"

YEAH. I'm on ANOTHER DIET world. Really?

I went back to my PCP blog and read the part about where I said I wanted a deeper mental transformation, which is not a damn diet.

So what words do you use to tell people what you're doing? And does it matter?

And I finally got around to the benchmarks (again, thanks to Emily!):

Standing Jump: 10"

Consecutive Ball Punches: 43

Toe Touching: Gots it. I feel all the little piggies.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Post-workout nausea?

Hello world! I just did the workout and feel like vomiting. I didn't think it was particularly hard, but here I am salivating at the mouth, and not because there's an unprocessed ice cream sundae in front of me (hot city afternoon makes me want the cold sweet stuff).

Am I dizzy from the sidekicks?

I'm going to eat a grapefruit and see what happens!

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Cry Me a River

I cried today during meditation. Somewhere during the fourth minute, I think, I burst out into tears, and I'm pretty sure it wasn't because of the cigarette smoke wafting into my window (I'm saying, living above a bar sort of blows). Physically it was awkward, and my posture suffered, but I didn't open my eyes, even though I felt like a crazy woman. I was happy for some emotion, though, because so far I've been going through this project like an uninspired zombie. Unlike PCP (yes, I too, will stop talking about this one day!) I'm not sure what my goal is. Should I put up a photo of an agile, flexible, Kung Fu-ish woman on my fridge? Maybe it's time to finally do those benchmarks, girl!

Maybe I cried because I realized that peanut butter might not exist in the post apocalypse, or because Pingo (Ms. Emily) schooled me about the processes involved in the creation my beloved Heritage flakes (I knew they come in a box, but they're so virginal, so pure to me!).

Speaking of heritage, meditation is a part of mine, and I really regret not listening to my mother about this one. She often prescribed it to me (boyfriend troubles? Meditate! Can't find a job? Meditate!), but each time I laughed it off, despite repeatedly witnessing how much peace and comfort it brought her. In the midst of intense family drama, or if her slipped disc was acting up, all of a sudden, she would just be "gone" - like, she'd be sitting there (this happened in a restaurant once), but she wasn't hearing or reacting to anything. I'm not at that level, obviously, but I already feel the benefits of sitting in silence: a slightly sharper awareness of my surroundings, a deeper appreciation for my post-workout snack...

I guess the tears were related to the stretches. While I was going through Patrick withdrawal these last few days, I thoroughly combed his blog and find a great post about opening up hips and, as a result, creativity. I'm hoping that regular pigeon poses and knots will make me a genius novel writing machine!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A little patience...

So far I'm liking the workouts. Kicks, stretches, punches - YUM! I missed moving my lower body this way during the PCP.

The stretches are the most challenging thus far - getting into them is pretty fun, but holding them without too much fidgeting, boredom, restlessness is the real work. In meditation my mind is fairly quiet, or it drifts to calm, soothing places, like the beach, like the future of my dreams. During the stretches the concentration and attention to form and breath (breathe, breathe into the pain) wear me out. I guess this says something about my state of mind right now!

I'm also worried about going from 15-18 minutes of jumping to like, almost zero. Will the fat start creeping back? I'm going to let it go, trust in the Patrick/Chen process and see what happens!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 3! What I'm doing here....

HELLO KFB peeps!! I'm so happy to be here, along with my Badass Sisters from Jan-April 2010, the recently complete PCPers Heather Lin and Lili. That's what I'm talking about ladies! I'm totally thrilled to be working with you again, along with the rest of the alums!

I decided to rock KFB because PCP very recently rocked my world, and I wanted to learn even more ways to take care of myself. Oh yeah, and I'm hella excited about becoming a warrior (I love punching, kicking, stretching, and sitting in silence), especially after my last week of falling hard off the wagon...

So here's the deal...up until about day 112, I was feeling pretty fit and healthy. I continued eating vegetables like they were going out of style, and tried to exercise 4-5 times/week according to Patrick's maintenance plans (though I did avoid the chest dips and jump squats....not my faves). The belt buckled in the same place, I was even getting the hang of pistol squats.

But then, as I considered the upcoming dietary restrictions, my rebellious streak ignited. I went buck wild with the wine, the nuts, the cheese, etc. I spent the weekend on Fire Island, where I was in the perfect place and mindset to indulge. Granted, it was only for three days, but after some serious meals and cocktails, I already feel that little extra padding in the midsection (photo to come - proof that a few days of face stuffing can un-rock your abs), the major the loss of energy, the weird stomach issues. Basically, I feel like CRAP!! I'm moody, tired, and angry at the world. Get this junk out of me dude!

What better way to cure this junk food hangover than the start of something new and amazing? I'm excited for this journey!

Friday, May 14, 2010