The day of rest

At 6:30 a.m. I was struggling with exercise or no exercise. I had actually planned for a rest day, to not go to the gym or even to yoga/pilates today and instead just relax and focus on other matters. But at 6:30 a.m., I was wavering and trying hard to listen to body. Body was ambivalent and could go either way. Mind, however, was ready to go and do whatever I wanted until I was ready to stop. Mind’s idea of R&R is doing whatever I want to do and whatever makes me  happiest. Mind won. Mind nearly always wins.

It was a light day. Dumbbell matrix, an extra couple of sets of bench push-ups (current arch nemesis), and then a quick run through stability ball core List. I thought I might do 2 sets of abs, but at the end of it, it was enough. Time to go home and attend to other matters.

Starting to get a better feeling for the whole rest day concept. Part of me (the one where negative girl is incarcerated) wants to state in a very matter-of-fact tone that I do not work hard enough the other 6 days per week to warrant a rest day. But I call bullshit on that. I work plenty hard the rest of the week and am as deserving of a day of rest as anyone. So yay me!

But while body might be capable and even willing to go another go-round with another List, mind is the one that gets fatigue and burned out, a concern just as real as physical injury from the actual work. Through the months I have learned to relax my death-grip on sticking with a schedule and rotation of Lists. I can mostly trust myself. Not completely, maybe not ever completely, but enough to know that a rest day is just a rest day, not the end of consistency as I know it. Maybe when I have been at this 5 years (okay, maybe 10 years) I will feel confident in my ability to take a few days off just because and return not have some fear that a cataclysmic shift in my world view has occurred while my back was turned.

Today, mind was restless and interested in trying something. So away we went.

This was a play day more than a rest day. I worked on my form and pacing. Pacing was not super peppy, but form was good. We have been doing so many things, with new cues and subtle adjustments, and they cross over into other things we do. Plus the work on my push-ups. Feet together, rib tuck (best cue ever), and I am up to 9 before having to stop and finish number 10 (and 11 to 12 to 15, because doing just a single push-up seems silly).

What I found refreshing about today – no pressure on myself. It was a play day, since I have already done my 6 days and (this week) 7 check-ins (5 practices, 2 training sessions). If I look at Sunday as a bonus day rather than a mandatory practice, it becomes a relaxing way to spend part of my morning.

The better health quest is far from a simple for me or anyone else. There are some ridiculously painful, hard, awful days – sometimes with exercise, frequently with diet. The shame game still preys upon me, although rarely as powerfully as the first year. My eating is better but far from anything close to consistently healthy or proper. But the learning curve is steep. Trying, failing, trying again inches me closer to better habits every time.

Not giving up is new to me. Seriously new, learning-as-I-go behavior. It’s why I am in the gym as frequently as I am, the root of why I take the training as seriously as I do and find myself celebrating the tiniest of successes with over-the-top happy dancing. Turning away from how I did this right but so many other things wrong – tide began to turn when I embraced success and just kept trying at everything else. I can’t think of the right term that does not make it sound like I thing this was a noble, virtuous quest. It was a battle I had to fight and to win, but I am not curing cancer here.

I spend a fair amount of time talking about diet and exercise in general, and an awful lot of time discussing the mental and emotional aspects of changing my lifestyle. IF I do not address and pay attention to the mental and emotional aspects of lifestyle changes, I am doomed for failure. I will be quitting and starting over again at some point in the future when I get depressed and unhappy enough about the state of my life. At 55, how much more time do I have to dilly-dally with this stuff? And what else would I be missing out on if I were not trying to maximize overall good health while the opportunity still exists.

Maybe the actual day of rest does not include actual rest per se so much as the pleasant distraction of other pursuits. Life is long, pacing myself is certainly justified.

My continued enthusiasm for exercise seems driven by my small successes, which in turn come from the regular practices and trying hard to absorb the lessons. Blogging about it certainly helps as well. If I could develop some enthusiasm for talking this much about food I wonder if there would be better, more consistent, healthier eating results. But I am simply not that interested in food and I have a super boring diet. I could probably post one menu on Monday and just copy and paste the rest of the week – that kind of boring.

But my interest in food is simply not there. Perhaps someday. Blogging about food feels uncomfortably close to counting calories and food tracking. I would likely stop eating altogether before I could bring myself to do that regularly.

It has been a pretty good day, actually quite relaxing doing laundry and bulk cooking for the week and catching up with various things. Rest day – today it’s been about taking a mental recess, preparing for the week ahead, and catching up on my reading for fun.  I don’t know that I could do this every Sunday, but for today it was perfect.