Sunday, September 30, 2012

My body and my mind

Exercise is supposed to be good for the mind. It's supposed to make moods better. Maybe that's true.

I don't like exercise very much. In fact, I hate it. It's a lonely, self-contained experience. And it's really hard. And I get hot. Sweating is so...unpleasant.

I've been exercising a lot, about eight hours a week, but sometimes more. My workouts start with either 30 or 60 minutes of cardio done on an elliptical trainer, a Concept 2 rower, a treadmill, or a wave machine, or a combination of any or all of those. Following the cardio session, I do at least 30 minutes of strength training with weights.

Since I started this self-improvement effort in July, I've lost seven pounds. I was hoping to have lost 20 by now, since I had it in my head that if I ate a calorie-restricted diet and diligently worked out, I'd lose weight at a rate of two pounds a week. Unfortunately, it has turned out to be more like a half-pound or less per week.

Exercise is boring. Don't get me wrong--I work really, really hard at the gym. It's just that the task at hand poses no intellectual challenge nor is it stimulating. My workouts are an act of both mental and physical endurance. The physical is obvious, but the mental challenge lies in not becoming so bored that I just walk away from what I'm doing.

This gives my mind a lot of free reign to roam. My thoughts fill my head, swirling around to the beat of whatever is on my iPod and whatever set of reps I'm counting to. I think about myself. I think about the situation at work. I think about the election. I think about how awful people become in a political year. I think about drone strikes, refugee camps, the horrors and bad behavior caused by religion. I think about human trafficking, forced child labor, the erosion of abortion laws and the travesty of that considering that a woman's right to an abortion is constitutionally protected. I think about the evangelical wingnuts who are trying to cram their religious zealotry and conservative views down my throat and up my crotch. I think about the truly awful people who comment on stories online. I think about how Ted Nugent wants to murder Barack Obama and he isn't even afraid to say so. I puzzle over all of the other people who hope to help him do that and I worry a lot about the president and his family. I think about money. I think about loneliness. A lot. I think about how I would kill myself if I felt bad enough and it came to that. I think about the futility of being a good person in a world largely ruled by mean rich people.

I push through the mechanics of exercise, I breathe, I sweat, I think and I process and I write long, articulate blog posts in my head. Eventually, I come home, but I'm so exhausted the blog posts have evaporated in the ether of my thoughts, and most of what I want to say goes unsaid.

My thoughts may not be recorded here, but they are still filling the Brainucopia.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Plant update

At the beginning of this summer, I posted a photo of what had become of my banana leaf plant over the winter. In an attempt to revive the plant, I gave it some new soil, fertilized it, and put on the back patio where it would get full sun exposure for months. Click here to see the picture and read the post.

I am pleased to report that after a summer of constant nurturing, the plant did, in fact, make a comeback. Here's the photo I promised so many months ago.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

This again

It's 12:30 a.m. and I'm wide awake. When I started working out eight weeks ago, it occurred to me that one of the supposed benefits of regular exercise is improved sleep and mood. I have yet to experience either.

I have a really long week ahead of me, so I'd appreciate it a lot if those exercise perks would kick in. I could use a good night's sleep. And a better outlook.