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The personal blog of Michael Ashby

Category / health & fitness

Testing The Standing Desk Concept

There’s been a lot of interest in the tech community over standing desks, both for and against. Given that I spend 12 hours a day at my desk, I’ve been entertaining switching, if for no other reason than to give me just a little bit of exercise. I don’t want to invest in a $600+ […]

Sizing Myself Up

False MirrorI’ve entered this weird state of limbo. I’m having a hard time defining my self-image because I don’t have my usual reference points. I’ve been through the South Beach program, I’m cycling more than ever, clothes are hanging off of me, yet my scale doesn’t yield. I seem to be hovering at the same weight even though by every indication, I appear to be losing weight. Couple that with other changes in my life and it’s become more and more difficult for me to “size myself up”.
At the prime age of 36, I had reached the pinnacle of my portliness and so I decided to do something about it. I was tired of having to move up a size every time I went shopping for new clothes. I was tired of my current clothes getting smaller and smaller. I had begun a little bit of excising at the gym during 2003, but I wasn’t really committed to it. So at the start of 2004, I got on the South Beach diet and kicked my exercise into high gear.

I lost some weight and my clothes were getting loose again. As I added more cycling to my workouts, I added back more and more carbs and sugars because my body needed them. As things currently stand, I’m out of phase 3 and have been for awhile, but my clothes still kept getting bigger, so I didn’t mind. If it wasn’t for that darn scale not budging, I probably wouldn’t be thinking twice about it, but as I look at the television and see football players who are taller than me and weigh less than me, I can’t help but think that I’m a long way from where I want to be. Am I really losing my love handles if the scale won’t budge? Am I still fat?

How we perceive ourselves is one of the most relative things in the world. There are hugely obese people that think they are super-sexy and there are anorexic people who think their fat. So it’s obvious that a person’s self image is not based on what is reflected in the mirror. My self image has changed several times over the years and I’ve never really settled into a comfortable grasp of what my true self looks like.

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The World’s Largest Pink Ribbon

3M Corporation, the company that makes Post-It Notes, is building the World’s Largest Pink Ribbon, which will be on display in Times Square, NYC for breast cancer awareness month in October. As nice of a gesture as that is, they are also donating $1 to the City of Hope Cancer Center for every person that enters their information on their web site.

Normally, I would stop right there and chaulk this gesture up as yet another method of gathering up user data. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case!

Who Kicked My Butt? Oh Yeah, Yoga Did!

Downward Facing Dog AsanaLast Thursday I was sitting at a keyboard typing away and when I went to adjust in my chair, I noticed my back was a little stiff and sore. Still focusing my my typing, I dismissed my pain as a side effect of all the yard work I did the Saturday before. As I continued typing, it dawned on me that I hadn’t been sore the day before, so why was I sore now? Last weekend I built two raised flower beds set into a hill and as you might imagine, there was a LOT of digging. On Monday I was a little stiff, but that was it. By Tuesday morning my stiffness had subsided and I was my old self. So I stopped typing and began to think long and hard about what I had done to cause my back to feel so sore. I knew I hadn’t been sore the day before, so I retraced my steps through the day and lo and behold, I found the cause of my pain and discomfort – yoga.
I don’t know about you, but when I think of yoga, I think of stretching, relaxing and soothing music. Although yoga does have those elements, there is also another element that most people don’t think about. That element is called pain. I’ve been doing yoga now for well over a year and if I step away from it for a few weeks, my memory of past workouts fade and all I can remember is the calm and relaxed feeling I have at the end. If I’m “in the groove”, I’ll work out three times in one week not including frequent bicycle rides. It’s not the weight machines, the treadmill, or my bicycle that will work me the hardest. The hardest workout of the week will be yoga. Book it.

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Making Time For Yoga

I was real close to skipping working out yesterday. I wasn’t as productive as I would have liked to have been and the temptation was to keep working and just blow off working out. It was a strong temptation, but in the end I opted to go workout.

Gym Time

Since I started doing the South Beach Diet, I’ve begun going getting back into the gym. This may be the first time I’ve written about it here in the workout log, but I’ve been fairly consistent. The first week I went to the gym three times, but then it fell off to two times a week, then one and there were a few weeks where I didn’t go at all. 🙁 At this stage of the diet, I would say that I average two times a week now.

Namaste For Noobies

AM / PM Yoga For BeginnersI just finished reading Mike Rohde’s entry on his weblog about The Vital Luxury of Rest and Solitude and it dawned on me as I read it that I too have been focusing on slowing down and relaxing more. I didn’t have a succinct knowledge of what I was doing, it was more of a compulsion really, but I too was going after the same goal. I was looking to make better use of my time, but I was looking to make a transition to a calmer way of doing it.

It all started when I decided I would begin waking up earlier. My normal internal clock makes me a bit of a night owl. My normal clock would have be going to bed around 3am and waking up between 10am and Noon. That’s not a realistic time frame for running your own business, so I’m not able to indulge my internal clock much. That being said, it’s rare when I go to bed before Midnight, or 1am. I tried simply waking up earlier, but that wasn’t working. I was still going to bed at the same time, so waking up earlier wasn’t going to happen. I tried going to bed earlier, but I was just getting another boost of energy at 10pm and going to bed just wasn’t working. So I did the only thing a not-so-sane person would do. I stayed up all night.

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One Small Step For My Wardrobe, One Giant Leap For Self Esteem

The Gap Television Commercial - SwingAs I was digging in my closet this morning looking for something to wear, I noticed that I didn’t have any slacks that were clean. Of course I’ve only had 3 pairs of pants for about the last year. Those three pair are what I have labeled as my “fat pants.” They were my “line in the sand” when I went to go buy them. These three pants were the last in a series of expanding waistlines. “No more!” I screamed internally as tried them on, finally admitting that I did indeed require a larger size since the last time that I bought pants. I had to resign myself that the washing machine wasn’t shrinking my pants, my ass was just getting fatter.

My waist has been on a long slow climb since college. In fact, the first increase in my waistband happened in college, I moved up to a size 34 from a size 32. Since then, I’ve been going up and up, little by little, year after year. Each time I needed a larger size, I took another hit to my self esteem. Reading the label on a new pair of Dockers only validated my feeling of low self worth. As of January 1st of this year, I’m the heaviest I’ve ever been and I’ve grown to absolutely detest going shopping for clothes. Sure I would leave the mall with fancy new clothes, but each tag screamed that I was larger than last year and that’s all that I could hear.

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Walking With The Turkeys

My allergies were out of control yesterday. I must have sneezed a thousand times and my eyes burned all day. By the end of the day I felt like I was beginning to come down with something. I think it was due to all the post nasal drip, but it was hard to tell at the time. Holly wasn’t feeling all that well either and so we went to bed at a decent hour in the hopes that sleep would make us both feel better.

Welcome To Mashby’s Booty Camp

Last night, right as Holly and I were just going to bed, Holly made the comment, ‘Michael, I’m fat. You have to help me get back on track.’ I’ve heard this kind of rhetoric time and time again. In my opinion Holly is not fat. She’s not the lean mean pageant queen I met back in 1988, but she is in no way fat to me. I find her ravishingly gorgeous more now than ever. I’m not just saying that because I think she might read this. One because she doesn’t read my weblog and two because it’s true.

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