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July 21st, 2010


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12:40 pm - Some physical discipline: running, shovelgloving, and dieting sensibly
On May 1, I started doing something I didn't really expect to ever get in the habit of: I started running. Now, mind you, I hate running with a passion: it's rote, boring, and (frankly) silly to me. In my mind, I have always thought that running without aim was possibly only surpassed in pointlessness by swimming laps. Either way, the effort expended doesn't actually get you anywhere.

I started running, though, for two related reasons. First, I found myself winded after ascending the two flights of stairs to my office each morning, and that troubled me. This led to the second reason, which is that it got me to thinking about what I do as an ADF Priest, and what sorts of things I feel I ought to be able to do. Namely, I carry ritual items from my car to the ritual site and find myself winded reasonably often, and I don't want to be that Pagan Priest who can't get to a wedding deep in the woods.

Being a Priest doesn't have any physical requirements, obviously: mostly, you show up, pour some oil, and talk a lot. It's not particularly physically demanding, so long as you have people to carry your stuff and your rituals are next to the parking lot. It was this notion of being able to walk deep into the woods, on trails or off, and do ritual without waiting to catch my breath (if I even made it that far) that really stood out to me, though. I wasn't in such poor shape that it would cause a problem today, but I thought, "What if this continues?"

I had also been considering thoughts that eventually became my post, "Reviewing the CTP, Discipline, and Other Thoughts," and I realized that I wasn't willing to recommend that require that anyone do something I wasn't willing to do myself.

So, on May 1, I started running a mile per day, which takes about 10 minutes. And by "running," I mean, "jog .5 miles, walk .25 miles, jog .25 miles." It was just as mind-numbingly boring as I thought it would be, but I began to see improvement almost immediately. I could walk up stairs without being winded in less than a week. I had more energy and I could walk a lot further and a lot faster in my daily routine.

Shortly after I posted about discipline and potentially including physical activity as such a discipline, I was turned onto a new form of physical practice by sleepingwolf

This practice was called Shovelglove, and I've found it remarkably beneficial (as well as stupidly common-sensical). By adding the 14 minutes of a shovelglove workout to my 10 minutes of running, I had 24 minutes of "exercise." And here's the thing: it wasn't hard. I'm now, suddenly, exercising with more regularity than I ever have in my entire life, including the four years I was a varsity athlete at Ohio State.

On top of this, the Shovelglove doesn't stand alone: it's part of what Reinhard calls "Everyday Systems," and he's got non-complicated ways to deal with most of humanity's vices. One that caught my eye, though, was the "No S Diet," which is a very common-sense approach to eating. Basically, three rules and an exception make up the diet: No Snacks, No Sweets, No Seconds, Except (sometimes) on days that start with "S." It's very different from the usual way I eat, doesn't require me to buy a stupid cookbook or drink disgusting shakes, and makes sense. And that's what attracted me to it.

So here I am with a regular diet and regular exercise after nearly three months. Most people who have known me only over the 'net won't understand how weird that is for me, but my close friends will. On top of this, I've lost nearly 15 lbs. in that time, can see my toes, and actually have some muscle mass for the first time since I was 20. It's like some sort of "miracle diet and exercise regimen" you might read about in a tabloid, except a) this makes sense, b) doesn't cost you money, and c) it doesn't require me to do anything except maintain my body in the way a human body should be maintained.

I'm not exactly "perfect" on any of this: I don't run every weekday, don't shovelglove every weekday, and don't stick strictly to the "No S" philosophy. I might go an average of 3.5 or 4 days each week being "on target." But discipline is not about being perfect, it's about being consistent. None of it is high-impact or complicated, either. Honestly, I just feel better, and that's all I wanted from this.

I didn't set out to lose weight, to get in shape, or to do anything silly like that: I was just looking for the balance and non-windedness that comes with a small amount of regular exercise so that I could better serve the Folk in the long run. The more I do this, the more convinced I am that some level of activity and moderation is probably important for our Priests: there's no argument that exercise doesn't help people live longer and healthier lives, after all. I think that a discipline requirement for "being active" might not be a bad idea, especially when we come to a point where we want to cover our Priests with health care coverage. But that's down the road, and will require more discussion.

Suffice it to say, I'm seeing tremendous benefits from just three months of this. I cannot imagine what a lifetime might eventually look like.
Current Location: Southeast of Disorder
Current Music: "Gypsies in the Palace", -JB

(25 comments Leave a comment)

Comments:


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From:wcm
Date:July 21st, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
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I like the sound of that diet! I could certainly benefit from something like that, although the snacking part wouldn't work for me. I get my fruits and nuts through my snacks. :)
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
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Just do what I did: take the parts that make sense to you and ignore the other parts. It's remarkably flexible when it comes to modification. Besides, 2/3 isn't bad at all.
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From:wcm
Date:July 21st, 2010 04:53 pm (UTC)
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Oh and best of luck with all of it!
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:31 pm (UTC)
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Thanks!
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From:trip_tych
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:38 pm (UTC)
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I really enjoyed this post! I have a long time struggling with weight and my body and all that and in the last year or so I've tried focusing on a more holistic, "my body is a part of who I am" approach rather than isolating it and treating it separately from the rest of my life.
I love the idea of doing what's right for the body because it is right for the whole but as common sense as that is, it doesn't fit in with what I've learned for the majority of my life and is still taking a conscious effort to remember.
Well anyway this:
"But discipline is not about being perfect, it's about being consistent." is about the most amazing thing I've read in a long time and really turned on a light for me.
So thanks :)
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 21st, 2010 05:46 pm (UTC)
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Cool :) Honestly, our bodies are very much a part of who we are. That doesn't mean that we can't treat those bodies well, which isn't necessarily about being "thin" or "fit." It's just about being able to do what we want to do (on a realistic scale).

iancorrigan and I were talking about discipline, and he made a very useful point that you may also find helpful like I did:

"Guilt over failure to do the work is often the largest barrier to doing the work."

I've found that feeling guilty about a missed day or a slip is the best way to screw the schedule pretty badly. It's the same with exercise, dieting, or daily devotionals, really: in all those things, missing just one day or instance can make you feel like you "fell off the wagon" and can't get back on.

Weirdly, getting over that wasn't so hard once I realized the guilt was the problem, not the lapse.
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From:prophet_maid
Date:July 21st, 2010 06:48 pm (UTC)

You knew I was going to comment....

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I'm glad this is working out for you, and as you are someone who has a high degree of influence, I hope you realize that this is working for YOU. I have a "reasonable diet" that "makes sense" in that I don't. Intuitive eating as part of "health at every size" is accessible to anyone and is objectively and uniformly healthy. The principles of the No S diet are Unhealthy, Unsustainable, and Unhealthy, at least for me. I had attempted to do the two parts I labeled unhealthy several times, and I always wind up sick. PCOS makes life fun.

And, again, 10 minutes of running is bad for me, really bad. I can not run more than 3 days in a month without injuring myself; I've tried. Joys of flat feet. Now, when the weather doesn't suck I usually go on two 30+ minute walks a day, and do some serious yoga practice 4+ times a week, on top of other calisthenics. I am active, love being active, but I CAN NOT run.

I know you're a good person who is openminded and accepting, but I know many people like you who say stupid stuff about diet and exercise. Since you are in such an influential position (your suggestions will most likely be the rule I have to live my life by) I want to make sure you keep to openminded, accepting, and flexible principles when it comes to things that effect my life.

****

"Suffice it to say, I'm seeing tremendous benefits from just three months of this. I cannot imagine what a lifetime might eventually look like."

Per my research on this, you're in the honeymoon phase. Weight loss will plateau, stop, you'll regain. Now the less tangible benefits will last if you keep it up, and even if you don't, you'll be better off than you were before the next time you start up.
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 21st, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)

Re: You knew I was going to comment....

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Per my research on this, you're in the honeymoon phase. Weight loss will plateau, stop, you'll regain.

Perhaps, but I'm not doing this to lose weight. I don't actually care about it: it's a side effect, pleasant but not a driving desire. So if I did stop losing weight (which, honestly, I hope I do, or at this rate I'll be at a very unhealthy 100 lbs. in about two years), it won't affect me too much. I'm still about 20 lbs. "overweight" in my mind, but it's not a goal (and I don't think it can be a goal). I just like the way I feel compared to how I used to feel. So if it doesn't get "better," I'm still going to be happy with it.

I've already gained weight back (so it's a net 15 lbs lost): I dropped 20 lbs. and gained 5 back in muscle. That's expected with exercise.

I injured myself running two weeks ago, and haven't done it since (thus the visit to the hospital the other day). So I kept on shovelgloving, since that doesn't require any fancy footwork at all. I'll be back to running in a week or so, probably, because I liked doing that in combination with the shovelglove.

I know you used to swing dance (don't know if you still do: I haven't seen a post on that recently). I suspect that you did that for more than 10 minutes at any given time. . . and that's probably better for you than running. Doing the walking is another one of Reinhard's "Everyday Systems," actually. He calls it "urban ranger," which makes me think of Lord of the Rings. I used to do that (before I had a funny name to call it) quite often.

Anyway, active is active, not "doing crap someone tells you to do."

As for the "No S Diet," I'm not sure what's unsustainable about it, but I don't know your condition, either. Is it the "no seconds," "no sweets," or "no snacks" portion? I'd point out that it doesn't say how many meals you need to eat per day, for example, and his statement on ideal weight is pretty spot-on, I think. It just says to eat "during meals," which seems to make sense to me.

Really, I still eat snacks, but I'm now conscious of the fact that I am snacking, and can make a choice about it, whereas before I didn't have that understanding.

Edited at 2010-07-21 07:15 pm (UTC)
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From:prophet_maid
Date:July 21st, 2010 08:04 pm (UTC)

Re: You knew I was going to comment....

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Ok, child is whining so this may be disjointed:

The honeymoon phase goes beyond just weight loss. The most drastic changes in any person in any metric once they start an exercise program is in the first few months. Things like improved energy, stamina, blood pressure, etc. etc. etc. will level off. That's just how the body works. That's not to say the benefit doesn't continue, but unless you step up your training significantly, don't expect any further significant improvement.

As for the no S's and my condition, I have insulin resistance as part of PCOS. For some reason how my body processes insulin is linked to the state of my ovaries. Anyways, one of the symptoms of IR is what I call soul-crushing hunger. If I don't eat "enough," which is a highly variable amount, or if I eat too many high glycemic foods/too little protein, I become pretty non-functional. Irritable, can't think, tired, brain fog, and so hungry I'd chew my arm off rather than starve. The metformin helps with this, but if I'm hungry I NEED to eat or horrible things happen.

Thus, no seconds and no snacking is bad for me. I tend to choose protein snacks, but if I need that piece of ham at 3 pm (what I'm about to do) I NEED it. And I often don't know how hungry I am until I start eating. So I'll start with a smaller portion, and then go back for more if I want it. "No seconds" would mean to load my plate in the first run.

As for the "no sweets" being unsustainable. I have quite the sweet tooth, and while i have cut back on sweets a lot over the years, I can't cut it out without having some serious cravings, which leads to bingeing and is bad. Research has shown pretty conclusively that banning a substance does nothing but increase cravings, fixations, and ultimately leads to bingeing. It's the "Don't think about a monkey" principle.

I agree almost totally about that link on ideal weight. Of course, there's no ideal behavior, but that's a quibble. I get what hes' going for.


















[User Picture]
From:tanrinia
Date:July 28th, 2010 06:33 pm (UTC)

Re: You knew I was going to comment....

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way to be supportive.
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From:hearthstone
Date:July 21st, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
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That shovelglove thing looks very cool, thanks for the info!
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 21st, 2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
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Hehe. That's what I said. I think what caught my eye most was the notion that, if it didn't work out, the worst thing that could happen was that I'd have a useful tool. ;)
(Deleted comment)
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 22nd, 2010 04:11 pm (UTC)
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You *might* drop it, or you might just find yourself getting ripped. And a ripped lady_bell is an amusing mental image :) Try it!
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From:zylch
Date:July 21st, 2010 11:24 pm (UTC)
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If you ever want to switch up the shovelgloving a bit, you can get an old tire from an auto shop (generally for free) and beat the smack out of it. Gives you something to swing against.

(And no, I don't have a shovelglove -- the gym is right across the street from work, so I don't have trouble getting myself to go -- but I've seen this idea recommended several times by various shovelglovers on a primal fitness forum I read.)
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 22nd, 2010 04:10 pm (UTC)
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I have an old tire in the back yard. Maybe I should start hitting that :)

I just have a sledgehammer. . . no actual glove on it. Seems to work just fine, and I haven't broken anything. . . yet. . .
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From:romandruid
Date:July 22nd, 2010 01:42 am (UTC)
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Congrats -- moreso on the self-discipline (whatever that means to YOU), but also on the non-windedness and sense of accomplishment being able to run a bit does for your self-confidence. As you know, I've been sticking with a regular exercise regime this summer, alternating between walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, and elliptical work. I do not, unfortunately, have a good sort of strength-training routine like your shovelglove -- which frankly I find a bit frightening.
*LOOK OUT! JENNI'S GOT A SLEDGEHAMMER!*
Yeah, well it might not work for everyone. My PT has given me several exercises and isometrics with rubber bands...that I just need to do now. :(

Enjoy!
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 22nd, 2010 04:09 pm (UTC)
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They sell smaller, 4 lbs. sledges :) If you wanted to try this, though, get one with a 15-16" handle, at least. . . or buy a 4 lbs. sledge and get a full 36" handle to put the head on.

Shovelglove is a pretty good strength training routine, I admit. Plus, it encourages creativity in the way that other types of routines simply cannot match. Check out "preparing the defenses" and "defending the walls" for a laugh. . . especially the last exercise in "defending the walls," the "finish him" move, and envision an 11 year old and his dad doing that. . .
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From:romandruid
Date:July 22nd, 2010 04:26 pm (UTC)
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I dunno... Put a sledgehammer in my hand, and I'm likely to start knocking down walls. I love demolition. *RAWR*

Maybe I should just stick to dumbbells and resistance bands...
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From:dmartin
Date:July 22nd, 2010 09:25 am (UTC)
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Only knowing you online, I suppose I don't see how much impact exercise has on you. But good for you. Having only seriously taken up exercise myself this year, I would recommend some form of flexibility training (if even just stretching) if you aren't doing it already. There's less chance of injuring yourself doing the other types of exercise.


http://ezinearticles.com/?The-Three-Types-of-Exercise,-and-Why-They-are-All-Important&id=996069
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 22nd, 2010 04:12 pm (UTC)
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*nods* I stretch before running, though I still managed to twist my ankle recently. Sometimes, all the prep in the world doesn't help.

(I tend to consider stretching to be an important but non-exercise portion of my exercise routine, so I didn't mention it.)
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From:romandruid
Date:July 22nd, 2010 04:31 pm (UTC)
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Owie on the ankle. Take care of that. And watch out for those sidewalks in C-bus. I broke my leg on uneven pavement at High and 7th years ago. The ER doc at Doctors North just about busted a gut when I started to explain how "I was just walking down High Street minding my own business when..." Said he hears that one all the time, but it usually involves gunshot wounds, not broken legs. Erm... while you're at it, watch out for drive-by's, too. *eep*
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 22nd, 2010 04:50 pm (UTC)
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Thanks. I'm mostly healed up at this point (it's been two weeks), and I'm getting anxious to start running again, which I consider a "good sign" regarding my exercise regimen.
From:red_sput
Date:July 24th, 2010 06:30 am (UTC)
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Haha, how did we end up with the exact same view of running, What is the point, you're just going on and on to nowhere, why not do something fun or competitive if you exercise!....and then most hilariously I start running at almost exactly the same time you did. Well, I started June 15, but had been doing quite a bit of non-running, more competitive activity starting May 1 and I've added the 3 mile jog around the lake next to my house most mornings before work. I could never in a million years see myself doing something like this even just a year ago. A lot has changed, it'll be hard to keep up especially when the weather turns and it is time to start the MBA thing in two months, so I'm trying to salt down the habit now. Maybe we can run up the aisle at your wedding ;)
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From:chronarchy
Date:July 26th, 2010 01:10 pm (UTC)
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I think Maggie vetoes most things that would be fun at our wedding :) For some reason, being "serious" is important :)

Ha. Like she thinks we'll be serious. She has known me for five or six years.

Don't worry: just keep it in your mind that you want to do it, and do it. That's the way to keep on track.

I have a feeling you won't need to get re-measured for your tux if you exercise. But since I started, I've dropped enough weight that I will need to get re-measured: don't want clothes falling off me!

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