Monday, December 22, 2008


More bleak snowy mountain pictures. To be fair, this is from a year ago.

Thanks for the feedback on the weight machine rant from the other day. It is clear that there are differing opinions on this issue, and I do agree that weight machine strength training is way better than no strength training at all. Switching to more functional strength training was just a huge eye-opener for me, upping my motivation, my gains, and the fun and usefulness of training. Results may vary, I can only speak for my own experience.

The most important thing is that whatever you do for fitness, it motivates you enough to stick with it for the long term. I think that for many people, weight machine workouts can't sustain that level of motivation, but instead of blaming the workout, people blame themselves. Most people see motivation as coming entirely from within. But my experience as a psychologist, designing and running experiments with human participants, has made it very clear to me that motivation is not just internally controlled; the environment has a huge impact on motivation. When I set up an experiment to be more game-like, when I pay participants for their time, when I do everything I can to make the experience more motivating, their performance shows big improvements. The lesson is to seek out an environment that motivates you and take the burden off yourself!
Still going on my Zone experiment, but I'm not being super strict about it. (No measuring, just eyeballing.) I think that I have an unusually high metabolism for a woman. Even when I wasn't working out that much, I still could eat a lot without gaining weight. People are often surprised by how much I eat - when I'm in a group, I tend to match the guys in eating, not the girls. Every time I've ever looked at a diet plan sample menu, I think wow, that day's worth of food would get me through till about noon. Has anyone else had this experience? There's so much variation between people on this...

I've been aiming for 12 or 13 blocks on the Zone, but I don't think I'm getting enough food. I've been a little cranky (ask Mike). But I think there's a lot of good too. The most important things have been getting more protein and fat and doing less carb-loading. The protein/carb/fat ratio makes a lot of sense to me, and I feel good after eating. And I haven't been getting the crashes and sharp hunger that I got with eating more carbs (or carbs by themselves). I think part of the difficulty is the transition from one style of eating to another. To ease the transition, I'm going to go with the "eyeball" method for the next 2 weeks, keep the ratios right (or close), not worry too much about number of blocks, pay attention to my own hunger signals instead of scheduling meals and snacks and planning portion sizes. If that goes well, then I'll move on to something more structured.
I hope my mitten thumb tutorial from yesterday wasn't too confusing. It was the first tutorial I've tried to put together, and I have no idea what I'm doing. The black yarn was kind of hard to see in the photographs, but that's the mitten I had in progress.

I finally blocked the two Xmas present scarves that I needed to block. One is a thick cabled deal in wool/alpaca, and it needed some seriously aggressive blocking. The other was a more delicate seed stitch affair, and it grew and grew when it hit the water. Which surprised me because I think it's superwash wool. But I think both will be fine when they're dry. Mike was my photographer and recorded the blocking process for the cable scarf - I'll try to post that tomorrow.

My Xmas present knitting status check:
2 scarves - finished and blocked
2 pairs of socks - finished
1 pair of mittens - 1 mitten done
1 pair of socks - just the foot left on the second sock
possible last-minute hat - not started

Given that the scaves are still damp, I don't think I'll have time to package up what's finished and mail it off to PA, so I'm just going to squish everything in my luggage and then wrap it when I get there. I'll try to knock out that second mitten tonight, the sock tomorrow, and the hat on Christmas Eve. Fortunately I have lots of sappy holiday movies DVR'd - they require minimal attention, so I can knit through them all.
I think that's enough randomness for today. Hope everyone's holiday preparations are not driving them too insane.

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