Storms make trees take deeper roots. Pop quiz, hot shot. Who shall we attribute this little gem?
Dolly Parton of course.
They say you're only as twisted as your secrets, so I am here to fully confess that my indulgence at Jelina was not my last, nor my most indulgent. God, how embarrassing but gotta keep it real ya know.
The 3 days long detour into the Land of Old Eating Habits and Coping Mechanisms was enough to trigger an avalanche of negative self talk and shame. It showed me that I'm not immune to my old pals of Gluttony and Self Loathing. This sounds a bit dark doesn't it? I promise it wasn't all goblins and gremlins, there was fun in there too. But the morning after... oy. Like the time I met a cute bartender and thought I could just have some fun. But much like the lessons of dating a party manchild with a drinking problem, the insights here have been useful and I am beyond grateful that I'm no longer that person who eats herself sick 360 days a year. Or date manchilds with substance issues.
So back in home base, I'm now recentered and grounded. With less bravado, a stronger sense of who I am and my foibles, and a keen awareness of my part in the on-going work that we're all here to do. That damn 2nd cardio session not withstanding. Healthy strong body begins with a healthy strong mind.
Workouts 76/76, with #raisethebar at a 99.9%. 14 days left, we're not too far off now!
... is how we will feel at that pinnacle moment when we crush it on Day 90! It also describes my diet for the past 24 hours. Still gunning for it though, and all of your support (and Servebot's blog reminder) = awesome!
Much like teammate Thomas, I had every intention of saving my last and final indulgence for Thanksgiving but alas, a family style dinner at GJelina of Venice Beach had other ideas. Damn you Jelina and your New American Ways! I had driven down to LA a few days early- Bestie was in town for the final ceremonial funeral procession of her father and after an afternoon of decompressing and processing with the gal pals, we were ready for some proverbial chicken soup for the soul, except in our tummies. When the menus came, there was not a single part of me that wanted to go my own way (which was the original plan) and face another gastronomically lonely experience. So caution was thrown to the wind, and I joined in on the feast with the crew. #noregrets
Anchovies & burrata toasts, porkbelly & marscapone grits, Melted raclette & grilled sourdough, butternut squash agnolotti & brown butter sage, saffron taglioini & ridgeback prawns, uni galore, pate samplers, fancy fries, 3 different kinds of pizzas, 3 different salads, 2 veggie dishes, 2 bottles of wine, and 4 desserts. I'll spare you the details on the sweets, but suffice to say that if I were to ever drown in a pot of butterscotch de creme with salted caramel & creme fraiche- I'd be ok with it. Maybe I should prepare a living will now in case that happens. Power of manifestations!
As a result of this unplanned indulgence, I didn't fit in that 2nd session of cardio after I rolled myself home last night. Today's diet recovery has been a bit rocky but will hit the rope for a 2nd session after this blog and #raisethebar will be back in full effect!
Will be flipping my lunch and dinner grams tomorrow for Thanksgiving but will stay on point as much as I can. Rules: No wine and no dessert!! It'll be at a Brazilian steakhouse so hopefully no sweet potatoes to avoid. Yay to my 84 year old grandmother's (aka Grand Matriarch) distaste for American home cooking, specifically turkeys, stuffing, and canned cranberries. Frankly, we're the type of family that spends Christmas in Vegas. Nothing says holy night like the roulette tables, slot machines, free drinks and the Belagio buffet. For that, I give thanks.
Here's to renewed vigor as we head into the final 18 days! While I appreciate the science behind the repetition strategy for the workouts of the last 3 weeks- and I fully acknowledge his Head Honcho/ genius status- I still want Pat to take his clockworks and scoops and lovingly, shove it. Hang tight everyone, it's wax-on time!
(Photocredit: Yelp. But pretty damn close to what my meal looked like! )
Have you seen Trainer Jess' blog about #raisingthebar? It's a great post for anyone that can identify with getting a little sidetracked but recommitting to the program in a huge way. https://kenzai.me/jess/blog/time-to-raisethebar
After weeks (literally, WEEKS) of thinking (oh how I love to think) about doing double duty on cardio (or at least lengthening it beyond 15 minutes), it took Jess' blog exactly 24 hours to percolate before I bit the bullet and announced publicly that I too will commit to 30 minutes of cardio in support of Jess' comeback. Of course seeing trainees like David M who did something similar for his teammate Amaya and Sharmali's comment that she would do the same for me, paved the road to solidarity. https://kenzai.me/davidmi/blog/calling-out-ameya
I had relished a bit at the prospect of announcing on Day 90 that 'See, you can look great with only 15 minutes of cardio! No extra credit necessary! Just do the bare minimum!' But now that's out the door! Hot damn, gosh darn, good god, what have I done?
What I've done is linked my outcome to an external factor. It's so easy to backout on a rope date with me, myself, and I- but backing out when I've told a pretty blonde that I would show up? That makes it so much tougher to flake, especially now that Sharmali is onboard as well. Scientific research has proven that hell hath no fury like a woman scorned- I dare not leave Kenzai trained ladies hanging!
If it weren't for Jess' declaration to get back on track with 30 minutes of cardio and that tugging at my innate desire to don a cheerleader's outfit, I would not have declared my intentions for doubling my cardio as well. It's really a win-win. So thank you Jess for your honesty and transparency!
And here's my confession for the day for being too damn polite: I ate 1/2 of a mochi during lunch.
Lunch was with a former business prospect who has since become a dear friend, someone very generous and kind to me. She wanted to take me out for belated birthday sushi at the best spot in town- how could I say no? The meal was fabulous and she came with gifts but at the end of the meal she insisted on dessert. After many polite declines for sweets and an outright protest, she ordered a redbean mochi ice cream anyways. It came, she cut it half, handed me the fork and the sucker went down. She had turned on the Asian hospitality and batted her lashes, and I could not refuse without being rude.
Man, awful news out of Paris. Thoughts and prayers to all those directly with family and friends affected by the senseless tragedy. Love to all of us, as we all are indirectly impacted.
Not like party-party, but you know, time to start the final 30 day countdown clock!
I am up to 7 egg whites a day which means 49 eggs a week for the liberal arts majors amongst you (myself included). Damn if it isn't time to stop buying free roaming, all natural organic eggs from chickens that are fed whole grains, caviar, and virgins' blood.
Breaks my heart to have to buy eggs from farmers with less humane practices, but it was breaking my wallet the other way around. Funny how I then just dropped some serious dough on Patagonia gear because it is freezing in Cali (yes, bring on the hate). Decreasing body fat = need more winter clothes. We all make our choices.
- Weight remains stable
- Barbaric waist trainers ain't got nothing on clean eating and getting the body moving, down 1" from Day 1
- 100% diet for the past 2 weeks
- 60/60 workouts
- Pants are uniformly starting to sag a bit- the legs, the hips, and most importantly, it's loose on the booty. You know what I'm talking about. Bunchy fabric that does not contour across the full curves of the gluteus that we're working so hard for! Pre-Kenzai, it always made me think that the person has a small butt (horror of horrors!)... nooooooo, sometimes it's that the pants are too big. It's all in the packaging folks. Package it right, everything is juicy. Butt frown lines because pants are too big is not how Sir Levi intended jeans to fit!
Fear not though, I will continue to represent the SaggyBottoms Club with pride and confidence, knowing that in 30 more days, a proper shopping spree will be in order (winter gear doesn't count!).
Week 9 Song on Repeat: Nina Simone takes it home!
"I ain't got no... but I got my smile!" #kenzaidanceparty https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqrngnMqumY
Ploughing on, with no real updates except that the struggle is real. So real. A friend shipped "The Greatest Cake America Has Ever Made" to me as a belated B-day gift from Pittsburgh. Practicing gratitude, not WTF attitude. Steeler fans are intense and somewhat crazy, so it's no surprise that they would therefore produce an intense and crazy good dessert.
This gorgeous burnt almond tort has been sitting in my freezer for five days now. Taunting me. Calling my name. I often think of it. Who am I kidding? I think of it ALL THE TIME. Just typing this is making me all flustered and breathless. And you might as well know, I'm salivating as I type this. But darn it, this 4 sided affair will have to wait until KB2 ends. Indulgence 3 is going to Turkey day dinner in LA. The fam are not dessert folks so I'd just end up demolishing the whole thing by MYSELF if I brought it to "share" with them. Gobble gobble goes the turkey and I. Nope, not happening.
Handstands and extra credit on the glutes have been put to the side as getting through each day's workout takes up every ounce of motivation. During the turbines yesterday, I remembered Sharmali's quote "smiling like it's still fun." So I'm smiling/ grimacing/ not eating cake. Or drinking craft beers. Or dating.
Yep, this is the Grim D. She ain't pretty, but she sure is determined. So onward and upwards people, I got a date with Day 90 and I'm wearing my white jeans.
Welcome to my backyard!
Current weather: 70 degrees, sunshine. Winds NNW at 15 mph.
This is my view during my skip sessions. I skip on a padded cushion (2 ft by 3 ft) so my beloved BuddyLee rope stays fresh and in 1 piece. This lesson was learned the hard way.
Where are YOU skipping at?
Murasaki Sweet Potato- I wish I knew how to quit you! You are getting to be a problem. Why must I banish you from my home? Why can't you be decent and behave like a real vegetable? You know, help me exercise some measure of self control? Moderation. Portion control. Noooo, instead you have to be all delicious and buttery and sweet. You know I can't say no when you have that dewey barely there olive oil glow, slathered in pumpkin pie spice and being all steamy and roasty and hot...hell, you know I love you even when you're cold.
But now, I'm done with you! Get out of my face. (I'll see you on Day 91, ok?)
(photo from www.settingthebone.com)
In other news, I've been hitting the treadmill at the gym for the alternative cardio days. Running has always been a challenge. I hated running so much that THE REASON I joined marching band in junior high and high school was so I can get out of the weekly mile runs in gym class. I'd rather face social pariahood with a tribe than the lonely mile by myself.
But I've been really digging my weekly runs now. Even during that challenge where we had to go without music- I was cruising to the melody of my (labored) breathing. It's been super motivating to be able to see improvements in my pace and time each week.
Today, I hit a personal best that I didn't think was ever possible. Ran for 30 minutes, including warm ups and cool downs, but that's not the exciting part. The exciting part is that after warming up, I was able to run for 20 minutes at the 9 minute/mile pace. For those of you not from Burma, Liberia, or the US- that's the pace of 9 min/ 1.6 km. Basically that means if you blinked- you missed me.
Prior to this, my best time was 10:40 for 1 mile and I was 12 years old. Chuffed doesn't even begin to do my mood justice.
Let it be known that I sat in a small enclosed room with this box of goodies for two hours hosting an event and the will stayed diamond strong. But whispers from the maple bacon bars has since haunted my dreams relentlessly. Day 91 will be oh so sweet for many reasons.
Ward is our resident DJ, but here is my song of the day by Chairlift. It is about handstands! As a metaphor for relationships or something but whatever! Handstands! https://youtu.be/ZQ9hLOHj8ag
The important thing is that I finally made it to a 60 seconds hold on the wall facing handstands and can come out of the pose in a controlled manner, so on to Phase 2!
And this is where I realize that I need to incorporate cartwheels in my future- as cartwheels are the safest way to exit out of a handstand once you move away from the wall. I'm not there yet but I might as well start *thinking* about the cartwheels and plan for them because I will need to do them some day. Within the next 6 months. Gulp.
You probably guessed it, I have never done a cartwheel before in my life. Not even as a child. But unlike that other trainer with the self-professed large caboose (show-off ahemwardahem), I cannot blame a juicy posterior as the reason for a cartwheel fail (but give me a few months on that as well, I'm working on maximizing my gluteus). So Sharmali- your daughter's tutorial was so very timely!
Loved seeing Kim's face and her Diet Challenge! I'm still going to go for this week, even though I took a couple of sips of wine tonight at a business chamber event. I really wanted to try the winery that was pouring and I put down the glass after 2 nicely aerated sips. Nothing makes me feel more like pretentious snob than aerating wine in my mouth but it did the trick. I didn't try any of the other free food or free flowing alcohol.
I can't believe we're in Week 6 already. Workouts ramping up for sure! Tomorrow will be my first 5 am workout as I have a 7:15 meeting. 5 am workouts would be unthinkable to me but inspired by all the other Kenzai trainees who share pre-dawn workouts, I am going to attempt it. You heard it here first!
The days are short and the work is long. Often the only times when I have time to eat my fruit snacks are when I'm driving on the road. Bananas are great for that. But a girl can only eat so many bananas in a day- two to be exact- and with the pre-workout banana on the menu, I need to find more road-friendly, on the fly options. The second best fruit for life on the run... drum roll please....
I learned a while ago while doing research for a K-Note that a kiwi can be eaten whole, fuzzy peel and all. This was news to me as I have been eating it my entire life with a spoon- digging out the flesh and throwing away the skin. Because really, who wants to eat brown fuzzy peel even if it packs a mean punch in fiber and vitamin C?? Alas, desperate times call for desperate measures. When there's no time to weigh out/ prepare your fruit snack (cut/ core/ peel) and your oversized bag cannot possible fit another item- especially precious cargo that could get smashed- it's time to bust out the kiwi.
It's compact, it's self contained (no peeling necessary!), it's not overly juicy so unsightly juice stains are not the norm, and there's not a whole of variance in size so they all pretty much weigh the same. It can be eaten safely with only one hand while the other steers the car, and perhaps most importantly, it won't mess up the lipstick too much when done properly. So many virtues. And it's green! Who doesn't love a good green fruit? It's so fun to eat. The fuzzy peel doesn't bother me at all. It's pretty good actually. Next time you're in a hurry, just grab a couple of kiwis and head out the door- you'll be golden.
30 Day Check In:
I am bringing up weight because often trainees get pretty demotivated about the scale not budging downward after working so hard for a month. We probably sound like a broken record player at this point, but it bears repeating- the scale really doesn't matter!
I am crushing so much more food now compared to pre-KB2 and still the scale still has not gone up. Not that the concern was based in reality, just that sometimes old thinking still sneaks up on me too. In the months leading up to KB2, my diet was crap- not in what I ate but how much I ate. I was eating enough to survive and that was all. But now I am eating to *thrive.* Such a world of a difference eating to survive vs. eating to thrive. Thrive mode feels good- Body feels stronger, weight is stable, and clothes are fitting looser. I trust that more gains is to come, absolutely.
Waist: DOWN 0.5 inch.
Diet: 100% pure love (this week)!
Current Mood: Awesomesauce and motivated.
If my life was a rom-com feature, wouldn't this be about the point in the story arc where something disrupts the budding romance between the protagonist and the numero uno love interest? You know, to create dramatic tension, punish hubris, and provide opportunities for growth. Blah blah blah. Well, dear readers, I aim to not disappoint... I have been withholding some information about the Professor...
But first, let's talk about these white jeans. I've always loved white jeans- to me they scream casual Hamptons chic- a look that is particularly hard to pull off when one has never been to the Hamptons and so for all I know, the beautiful people of the Hamptons don't wear white jeans at all. But I digress. I've always loved white jeans but have never owned a pair because they are very, very, unforgiving. Ladies, you know what I'm talking about.
But I bought these jeans online a few days ago and I purposely bought them 1 size too small. The pictures do not do them justice, so you just have to believe me- they are so dang tight right now. My very Chinese mother would call them sausage casings. So the challenge is for me to confidently and comfortably strut around in these jeans come Day 90, without invoking any pork-related metaphors. The key to motivating someone is finding their driver- well made, WELL FITTING, beautiful clothes motivate me to the moon and back. They are fully refundable in 60 days but Lord knows I love spending money so I hope I don't have to return them!
So yes, the Professor...well. The fact is that this dear man is...
Not completely single. Not legally at least. God, that makes me sound like a tart. So here’s the low down: The man filed for divorce in April after TEN years of marriage (!!!), and it will be finalized at the end of this month. On my birthday, incidentally. Of course I didn't know any of this when I agreed to meet him for a beer for the first time that fateful night in August.
Against my better judgement, a beer turned into a date turned into a 3 hour tour. But now I'm afraid that the tour has come to an end.
It all came down to a simple, single disruptive word- BROWNIES. Just kidding, it came down to Timing! Oh Timing, you got me good here- but we gotta do, what we gotta do. The farewell was very amicable and as a true sign of friendship in this modern age, we've agreed to be Facebook pals.
Dating and Kenzai is a combustible duo and it has forced me to be super selective in who I share my food grams with and less generous in determining who is worth the extra calories for a glass of wine. While the Professor was worth it, I can’t say I’m dying to jump back into the game this very second. We train too hard to just blow it! A friend messaged today with a man’s picture and said an architect was waiting behind Door Number 2, will I open it? I don’t know… maybe I will just focus on fitting into those white jeans for a bit.
Coffee grind (medium coarse), paprika, cumin, and pepper- hold the salt.
The dessert the Professor had planned for us to make together was actually my least favorite in the entire universe- brownies! I don't like brownies, I don't understand the appeal of brownies, I don't like the density of brownies, the color, or much about it. Every time I eat brownies, I just wish it was fluffier and more cake like, and I end up resenting the fact that I'm not eating cake instead. After he picked me up and told me the dessert menu (home-made brownies and ice cream), I almost started crying. Really.
I felt terrible- terrible that I was about to waste my precious indulgence on a dessert I hate and terrible that if I said something, I would be the world's least grateful dinner guest. Oh, and I'm lactose intolerant.
Do I suck it up and just roll with it? Or do I say something and be judged as a high maintenance ingrate?? I'm an adult, is dessert really that important? Is he going to hate me? Why am I such a brat? Where's my voice and how am I going to use it? How is not really choosing my indulgence going to impact my will power? These were the thoughts racing through my mind as we drove to his house.
Honesty is the best policy so I bit the bullet... we stopped by WholeFoods and picked up an Apple Tart & Tiramisu to share after dinner. It was divine. Along with the wine and steak and fish and veggies. Wine not withstanding, everything was weighed to my lunch grams. Nothing is sexier than busting out the food scale while plating for dinner.
There's A LOT to be said about effort and intention but sometimes, direct feedback can be helpful- at least from my perspective. We'll see if he calls again!
I had recently written about the power of Visualization for Kenzai Life— so putting my money where my mouth was (or the keyboard in this case) I decided to sit down for a few sessions and give these visualization exercises a whirl. The twist here is that I’m visualizing the absolute impossible.
The idea is that by visualizing the most far out of scenarios, we unleash our imagination and the creative powers of the brain. When we get creative and experience the impossible in our imagination, the brain gets momentarily very confused about what is real and what is not. Briefly, all the rules that our higher functioning brain abides by falls away- and what happens when there are no rules? Chaos! Freedom! New possibilities! By experiencing the impossible, more of the “possible” that you didn’t know about can make itself known. Sounds rather hokey pokey new agey doesn’t it?
I gave it a try anyways. I like hokey pokey new age stuff. Come on, as I mentioned in one of my group introductions, when I have a yacht, I’m naming it Manifest.
I set my timer for 5 minutes (because I’m a busy, fully calendared woman) and sat crossed legged on the floor to do some extreme visualization. This week alone, I’ve been an ice skating Gold Medalist, trapeze artist extraordinaire (like Cirque du Soleil level good), and finally a flying bird woman with a 10 ft feathered wing span. Each time I really focused on imagining the coldness of the ice, the tightness of the leotard, the swoosh of the air, the hardness of the bar gripped under my fingers. I focused on feeling the sting of the air from 10,000 ft elevation on my skin and how having wings would feel. (Awesome, it would feel awesome.) It was all quite exhilarating really. The wind beneath my wings felt oh so good.
So I’m here to tell you that this kind of visualization really did work to remove cobwebs from the creative corners of my brain. Within minutes of my alarm going off on the 1st day, bringing me out of my aerial flying fantasy, a solution popped into my head for a business problem I’ve been stuck on for months and months. Suddenly, I had a cool new idea to tackle this challenge . A shift in perspective is always such a miracle for a fixed brain like mine.
So what the heck does this have to do with Kenzai? I’m getting there. I was thinking about all the different goals and hopes that bring people to Kenzai- whether it’s Body, ReBoot, or KenzaiBody2, or KenzaiRun… we want to be healthier, to be fitter, to challenge ourselves, to be around for our children, to have hot bods. All wonderful goals. But I wonder how often do trainees (myself included!!) have really just imagined themselves as insanely, talented world class athletes? This identity as a “fit person”, as an “athlete” for me is a recent evolution as I’ve blogged about in previous posts. Something that happened in my 30’s. So I’ve never ever imagined myself as being someone with amazing athletic abilities. Maybe some of you have, heck I bet there's even a good number of you who were college athletes! But maybe there are others like me where this athletic identity is still new and shiny.
There’s beauty in body acceptance and being OK with what’s possible at whatever stage of life we are and working within the confines of age and abilities…BUT!
But what would happen if for 5 minutes a day, we just imagined ourselves smarter than Roger Federer in tennis? Faster than Rhonda Rousey in an arm bar submission? Scored more points and played better defense than Lebron James? [Insert your sport icon of choice here] Look, a 5 ft 8 Asian woman who can’t dribble is not going to beat LeBron in basketball. Those are IMPOSSIBLE things. But how would my training change if I allocated a small portion of my brain to the fantastical, to the unreal, to the extreme? I don’t know, but I’m going to find out. Care to join me? Keep the dream alive!
In other news, workouts continue to be 100%. Diet hovers around 90%- I did the math, 2 off color meals out of 21- not as terrible as I thought!
Day 25 Indulgence card will be cashed in with the Professor tomorrow. We’re making dinner, including dessert! And by we, I mean him. I’ll be bringing my A game to chopping tomatoes lest you think I'm taking advantage. He’s been bragging about his dessert skills for weeks, and tomorrow it’ll be put to the test. I'm visualizing a tiramisu, apple pie, strawberry shortcake with fresh cream, and walnut pecan bars in my belly. Stay tuned.
Finally looked at the handstand tutorial on Youtube last night which took about 10 minutes then another 2 hours watching Taylor Swift videos. Haters gonna hate, hate, hate.
Stage 1: Climbed/ walked my way into a wall facing handstand. Not too shabby on the 1st set! I 'learned by doing' that I must complete the handstands practice *before* I start the strength workouts or risk injury as I did on the 2nd set. Sweaty palms ain't doing me or my knees any favors. Goal is to hold this handstand for a minute and then move on to next progression.
Today's diet was a bit wonky as I made a new friend (not that kind of friend) and she was worth the splurge on eating out. Came home from the girl date famished as I missed my carbs and fruit grams and proceeded to binge on frozen figs and roommate's dried seaweed and kettle rice crackers. This is what my life has become- it's so...GOOP. Next I will tell you about how I finished off a pint of organic tofu ice cream. Just kidding, I didn't do that. I don't like tofu.
Turned down a date from a 3rd degree connection as I quickly discerned that he was probably not worth my dairy grams for a coffee date or any other part of my precious food allotment. #snapjudgements
Kenzai: helping single ladies stay single, longer!
Day 12 started off innocently enough- worked out, massage, breakfast, errands. A hike with the Professor was on the agenda to be followed by dinner.
Well what I though was a hike was turned into more of a long stroll on the beach (there might have been hand holding) with a picnic complete with fruit, veggies, hummus, and chilled wine. The setting was really quite perfect: the 80 degree sunny weather, the impossibly blue sky, the damn ocean waves- the kind of perfect that would have me rolling my eyes if I wasn't an active participant in the scene. I mean, come on- cliches exist for a reason right?
I kinda squealed (internally) when he took out the veggies. No cheese, no crackers, no chocolates. He was listening! Yea, he didn't get the memo on chickpeas and ALCOHOL but the effort was sweet. So I had a glass of wine. With pomegranate seeds. It was lovely... if I had stopped there.
I'm a big sharer of food and the whole communal eating experience- it kinda gutted me that at dinner we had to order separate and non-sharable apps/ entrees. There's nothing like biting into delicious food together and comparing taste notes. Look, nobody wants to try a dry salad with no dressing, no matter how much they like you. I could see the joy sparkling in his eyes as he tried to be mum on just how luscious his goat cheese fig pizza was. I made him tell me- he gushed a little bit but call it a woman's intuition, I could tell the bastard was holding back on me.
Dinner was on point... unless you count the part where my if-it-fits-your-macro thinking won out. I rationalized that if I traded dinner carbs for a beer- a divine Peanut Butter Milk Stout- I would maybe be in the green (and if I wasn't, I'd be in the pink, def not red zone) since I was far under on the lunch carbs. This is called BS Magical Thinking that is popular in some corner of the fitness world but not here at Kenzai. Then there might have been a small, tiny glass of port for dessert.
Was I Kenzai perfect? Not by a long shot. Did I consume far less food and drinks than I would have prior to KB2? By a lot actually. Do I need to learn to have non-food/ alcohol centric experiences? YES.