Sunday, February 15, 2009

Wait...What Was I Doing?

Nothing sounded appealing yesterday, so I did a half hour of strength training in silence (as silent as my house gets with three dogs). I realize I need to do this more often because I get a better workout when I concentrate on the moves rather than sing “Mas Tequila” at the top of my lungs.

Instead of music or news or a podcast, I listened to the Pink Panther neon wall clock ticking loudly on every second. I followed its cadence while lifting rather than the cadence in my head because, as I learned, 10 Lynn seconds is about 6 or 7 real seconds. Amazing the difference 3 or 4 seconds can make. Just ask my obliques. Fifteen to 20 reps, 3 sets…that’s 2-3 additional minutes per exercise. Yikes.

After the ST at home, I went to the gym and did cardio for 50 minutes. With all the thinking and music listening I do to distract me, the exercise itself becomes tertiary. I just muscle through doing the same old same old and wishing it was over. Halfway through my workout yesterday, the song “The More You Ignore Me…” by Morrissey came on. I forgot I’d added that to my playlist.

“The more you ignore me The closer I get You're wasting your time The more you ignore me The closer I get You're wasting your time”

It was like Morrissey was channeling my body. “Stop ignoring me!” it was saying. “Pay attention!”

I focused on my thighs and calves and heart rate and realized, yes, I really was being an ignorant nit. I could do better, work harder, stop wasting my time. So I cranked up the arc trainer to 50 and a 7 incline, found “Mas Tequila” on the playlist, and stepped in time to the beat (no, I didn’t sing). I paid attention to everything me. I felt every drip of sweat fall over my nose and watched them drip to the floor. I felt my feet and legs and arms and abs. For 3 minutes it was just me, my myself and I. Well, and Sammy, too, but I didn’t engage in my usual fantasy of drinking tequila in Baja and licking the salt off of…oh never mind.

Today, I rode my spiffy new recumbent bike in silence. I thought I’d go stark raving mad, but it wasn’t too bad. I learned where I need to focus, so hopefully that will become second nature with some practice.

I am easily distracted, though. My mind wanders all over the place, whether I’m exercising or writing or whatever. For instance, the first thing I wanted to do this morning was pay bills and balance the checkbook. I got up from my desk in my office to retrieve my checkbook in my purse hanging on a chair in the dining room. On my way, I remembered I wanted to plan meals for the week. I wandered into the kitchen, dug out cookbooks, figured out the plan, and then walked back to my office. I sat down and thought, Wait. I need my checkbook. Back to the dining room. On the way, I remembered I wanted to add soap and paprika to the grocery list. But before I could do that, I had to turn off the electric candles in the windows, open the shades, make some tea and pick out workout clothes. I got back to my desk and still didn’t have my checkbook.

This is a recurring issue for me. Even after yesterday’s intentional mindfulness during exercise and I was feeling so good about how well I’d done, today comes and I have to start all over again.

And that’s OK. I didn’t lose weight overnight. I can’t train my mind to pay attention overnight, either, right?

Now I’m really going to go pay bills and balance my checkbook. Really. I am.


  1. I feel for you in the distraction department. Flylady has helped immensely, but I can still find myself 5 steps away from my original task, and none of them finished!

    When I saw this...I thought of you! I know you're a fan of TJs. Just one more thing to distract you.

  2. Thanks for the link, jenive! I loved it! It's so true. TJ's has the oddest, coolest things and yet so many strange little rules. We don't have those cart stop thingies here in PA, but I discovered them in California. My sister thought it was hilarious when I tried to lift it over the threshold!

  3. That's the thing about mindfulness. It's all right here right now. Doesn't matter about yesterday--and thinking about how well you did or didn't do yesterday just takes you even further away from right here, right now! Gah!


    Well done with that, though. That sounds like it was a wonderful experience.

  4. Your post made me laugh. I get distracted by telling you.. Hubby is the KING of distracted. If I don't put a list in his hand and walk him through it, he'll end up on his computer reading e-mails or falling asleep on the couch. Sometimes it's just easier to do myself. Oh no... did I just rant? Sorry - loved your posting! Appropriate! Vee at

  5. I hear you on the distraction stuff! I cannot clear my mind when doing yoga, I just keep thinking of the things I am going to do when I finish it! I have a hummingbird's brain.

  6. On the mindfulness/attention/focus thing - that has been the biggest benefit of yoga for me - not so much being able to focus on one thing - as being able to have NOTHING going on in my mind.

    I was behind in my reading and just caught your burger recipe - wondering if there is a reason that you don't do the whole thing in the food processor - ??? would chop the carrots easily/tiny. I have heard that onions should not go in a processor (changes the taste) but don't know if this is true??? And have you ever tried letting them 'set' in the refrigerator for a couple hours before cooking? One of my turkey burger recipes recommends this and it does make a BIG difference in getting them to stay secure-ly in their patty form - ?

  7. whoa, Lynn, have you been in my house watching me? And I am mindful in some areas. But so many times my whole day goes the way you described 'paying your bills.'

  8. So THAT'S where I get it from!!!

  9. I am the WORST at being distracted - I am the same as you, I put my keys down, start to unpack the groceries, then realize I want to clean out the fridge, then I find the spinach and remember I wanted to put a frittata together, meanwhile the frozen groceries are melting all around me!

    Glad I am in good company!