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On February 25 I performed a concerto that I had been working on for two years! it was John Williams’ Five Sacred Trees— yes, that John Williams, he wrote a bassoon concerto. Here is me, in front of the first professional orchestra I ever played with, whom I got to travel back to for the concerto :

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So that consumed most of my February— I stopped climbing a few weeks in advance of it in paranoid fear of injuring my hands, took it easy at gymnastics for the same reason, and took it easy at the gym… basically just because nothing else seemed to matter very much, lol.

 

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 It went REALLY WELL. I was honestly terrified for two straight years of the moment I walked onstage with BRIGHT LIGHT and PEOPLE WATCHING and NO ESCAPE, but I worked hard on reframing my performance anxiety and as soon as I got out  and started playing my only thought was “oh, this is easy, what was I so worried about?” (I took propranolol, too, which some musicians take before every concert but I hadn’t used since my final recital at school four years ago— I have no idea if it helped or not, and I don’t plan on taking it regularly because I don’t want to form a neurosis around needing propranolol. But in the interest of full disclosure, there it is :P)

 

That’s over and NGL there’s kind of a gaping hole in my life where all the concerto-anxiety was. And now it is time to Challenge!

 

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So… I started counting calories last year. I wanted to lose a bit of fat, and… it worked great! At first. I could eat a normal amount, and I was getting leaner, and feeling awesome in gymnastics, and people were commenting on my muscles, and life was good. Then… it started getting less good. I started to get weird about food. I started overeating when I wasn’t hungry. It was a struggle to lose the last 2-3 lbs of fat I wanted to… I was so close but I just couldn’t stick to my deficit the way it had been so easy to do at first. it was on and off through the summer, fall and this winter, and the last time I posted a challenge, I was planning on starting again. It didn’t go awesome.

Then… I listened to this podcast. With a RD named Georgie Fear. And she said, re. calorie counting:

 

“It tends to…bring on a scarcity mentality. Once I’m like, “Oh my god, I only have three hundred calories left for the day,” my brain is instantly like, “YOU WANT MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED MORE CALORIES.” It’s creating this rule for ourselves that we actually will rebel against…That state itself, the scarcity mentality, increases the perceived value of food. Simple economics— anything that is limited in supply, the value goes up. So if I tell myself, “you only have four hundred calories for breakfast,” calories just became a limited commodity that are scarce and valuable. So in that way, it starts to play mental games with people where we may want to eat more than we actually need. I have a log that records that when I was counting calories, I couldn’t go below 1900 calories without feeling like I was starving to death. But when I’m eating according to when I’m hungry and when I’m satisfied, I know that some days, I eat less than that quite comfortably.”

 

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That was a revelation. Because I’ve spent a lot of the past year being like, “why do I even want this food? I don’t want this food! But I’ll eat it anyway, just in case I do!”  Which made me feel really kind of bats, but it turns out… that’s normal! That’s just my normal, intelligent human brain reacting normally to the economics of my food intake!

So… I stopped counting calories. Once I realized that it just seemed so obvious, in hindsight, that it was making things worse and not better at this point. And I started reading some more of Fear’s writing, stuff like:

 

“People who easily maintain a lean bodyweight don’t seem to spend a ton of time thinking about food, do they? They eat, and then they go do other stuff. When I was struggling with my weight, I would notice these “lucky” people who had hours between meals when eating wasn’t on their mind. It sounded other-worldly when people would say they “forgot to eat” and I’d really wonder what they thought about between meals for all those hours. They seemed to be satisfied after they ate, relaxed, and happy.”

 

And I just… really want to eat normally! I want to be able to eat normal, healthy food when I’m hungry, and stop when I’m satisfied. Buuuut I gotta admit I’m not there yet, because when I stopped counting, the cycle of over and undereating just turned into… well, overeating. And I’m now up about ten pounds from where I was in the fall. Fun!

 

BUT IT’S OKAY!

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Because, actually, at the moment the prospect of putting in the work to learn to eat normally actually seems like a MORE exciting and lofty goal than just counting calories to get lean! And the good news is, if I’ve been overeating the past few weeks and don’t like the few pounds that it’s put on me, then eating a satisfying amount (i.e. less) will result in them coming off. And I’m OK with it if it takes a bit of time. Because I want to NOT HAVE TO STRUGGLE WITH FOOD for the REST OF MY LIFE!

 

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So the “skills for weight loss” that Fear talks about teaching her clients are:
Eating 3 or 4 meals a day
Portion control
Feel hungry for 30-60 minutes before your meal
Stop when you’re satisfied, not stuffed
Eat mostly whole foods

 

So easy! So common-sense! So… difficult to actually implement! She recommends doing one at a time, so I am firmly on stage 1: eating 3 meals, 1 snack (bedtime.) I know I’m on the right track because it’s already getting better! I am actually feeling more able to just stop eating and do other stuff after meals, instead of feeling like “IS THE EATING OVER? OH GOD IT’S OVER??? I’M NOT ALLOWED TO EAT ANY MORE??? THAT’S TERRIBLE!”

 

So anyway, my main goal this challenge is to continue to implement habit 1, eating three meals a day with one snack.

 

Nothing too crazy with the other goals; lifting 3x/week because

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I’ve also been really enjoying taking kind of a different approach to gymnastics stuff where… I just don’t worry so much, haha? I’ve been working a lot on my handstands at home, and doing compression exercises and Cirque Physio’s glute and shoulder extension exercises, and trying to let go of the need to get new skills in gymnastics in the correct order and on the correct schedule.

 

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1 hour ago, tei_ said:

So the “skills for weight loss” that Fear talks about teaching her clients are:
Eating 3 or 4 meals a day
Portion control
Feel hungry for 30-60 minutes before your meal
Stop when you’re satisfied, not stuffed
Eat mostly whole foods

This is the challenge for me right now and I have based the food parts of my recent challenges in a way to try and overcome this.  I am making progress, but slowly :)  

 

Following along!

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2 hours ago, tei_ said:

“It tends to…bring on a scarcity mentality. Once I’m like, “Oh my god, I only have three hundred calories left for the day,” my brain is instantly like, “YOU WANT MORE THAN THREE HUNDRED MORE CALORIES.” It’s creating this rule for ourselves that we actually will rebel against…That state itself, the scarcity mentality, increases the perceived value of food. Simple economics— anything that is limited in supply, the value goes up. So if I tell myself, “you only have four hundred calories for breakfast,” calories just became a limited commodity that are scarce and valuable. So in that way, it starts to play mental games with people where we may want to eat more than we actually need. I have a log that records that when I was counting calories, I couldn’t go below 1900 calories without feeling like I was starving to death. But when I’m eating according to when I’m hungry and when I’m satisfied, I know that some days, I eat less than that quite comfortably.”

This makes SO MUCH SENSE!!! Counting calories brings my anxiety to unbearable levels! I just can't do it! My goal for this challenge is logging my food, but simply the quality of the food I am eating... so I eat healthier regardless of calories and whatnot... Not sure if it is gonna work... hopefully it will. 

 

I look forward to seeing you achieve your goals! 

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2 hours ago, tei_ said:

On February 25 I performed a concerto that I had been working on for two years! it was John Williams’ Five Sacred Trees— yes, that John Williams, he wrote a bassoon concerto. Here is me, in front of the first professional orchestra I ever played with, whom I got to travel back to for the concerto :

FXT23676-Edit.thumb.jpg.838d4efd78656d0fdaa1cf98b29626bd.jpg

 

:wub: This is an absolutely amazing picture! Bravo, it's such an achievement! I understand now where you were gone in February, it must have been quite stressful indeed!

Looking forward to read you again though :)

 

 

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8 hours ago, shoobie said:

Oh and congrats on the concerto!!! I bet it was the most amazing experience ever!!! :D

 

8 hours ago, @mu said:

 

:wub: This is an absolutely amazing picture! Bravo, it's such an achievement! I understand now where you were gone in February, it must have been quite stressful indeed!

Looking forward to read you again though :)

 

 

 

Thank you guys! It was stressful but ultimately a huge confidence booster! 

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Gah! So much to comment on! ;)

 

Concerto = awesome. Excellent work!

Diet/food/calories = yes. we are entirely in the same place on this. So much good stuff in your post. Especially the caloric scarcity bit and the 'I don't want this food, but I'm going to eat it anyway because what if I actually do want it?' ALL OF THAT!! This is surprising for me because I've never been weird about food/calories. I've never been an "I forgot to eat" person but never worried about whether food was good or bad or I was eating too much or whatever...but I'll keep the navel-gazing to my own thread. :)

 

Are you on a specific lifting program for your gainz?

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3 hours ago, sylph said:

Gah! So much to comment on! ;)

 

Concerto = awesome. Excellent work!

Diet/food/calories = yes. we are entirely in the same place on this. So much good stuff in your post. Especially the caloric scarcity bit and the 'I don't want this food, but I'm going to eat it anyway because what if I actually do want it?' ALL OF THAT!! This is surprising for me because I've never been weird about food/calories. I've never been an "I forgot to eat" person but never worried about whether food was good or bad or I was eating too much or whatever...but I'll keep the navel-gazing to my own thread. :)

 

Are you on a specific lifting program for your gainz?

 

I’m glad it resonated for you! I wish I had read that before I started in he first place, haha. And I was super weird about food in my early teens, and kind of grew out of it by stopping caring about my body and it’s capabilities entirely... which was right for me at the time, but... now I want to be strong and lean AND not crazy! (So high maintenance, right? :P)

 

A lifting program, kind of... I was doing 5/3/1 for a while, and then went back to Stronglifts because I wanted more volume and also really like the simplicity, and then realized that I really don’t care about the upper-body lifts at all, so I’m kinda just doing squats and deadlifts, starting each new weight at 5x5 and going up to 5x8 before adding more weight, the. Spending the rest of my gym time doing body weight stuff. Not the most scientifically rigorous program but I’m enjoying it right now! 

 

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3 hours ago, tei_ said:

Not the most scientifically rigorous program but I’m enjoying it right now! 

Programs you enjoy are usually the best because they are the ones you actually end up doing

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AHHHH, big congrats on the concerto! And that dress! Wowza! Welcome back into the challenge fray.

 

I looove all those takeaways about eating habits. It's really compelling to see people hoping to challenge the tracking mindset and find a more low maintenance way to approach food. Let's all not be weird about food! (Easier said than doneeee.)

 

On 3/13/2018 at 8:29 PM, tei_ said:

A lifting program, kind of... I was doing 5/3/1 for a while, and then went back to Stronglifts because I wanted more volume and also really like the simplicity, and then realized that I really don’t care about the upper-body lifts at all, so I’m kinda just doing squats and deadlifts, starting each new weight at 5x5 and going up to 5x8 before adding more weight, the. Spending the rest of my gym time doing body weight stuff. Not the most scientifically rigorous program but I’m enjoying it right now! 

I did something similar to this for a long time while. :D I kept OHP because I felt like it had some more gymnastics-y applications, but never did bench. It put me back a little bit when I decided I actually cared about lifting, but it was great as an accompaniment to bodyweight upper body work and gymnastics. :) 

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2 hours ago, RogueLibrarian said:

I tried propranolol (which looks misspelled no matter what I do to it) for public speaking anxiety at one point, but I didn't think it ever did much for me. (Ativan seems to help me more.)

 

A big thing a lot of musicians like about propranolol is less shaky and sweaty hands, so I can imagine it wouldn’t do much for public speaking since it doesn’t affect your emotions about the situation! 

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I've only played music once in front of an audience. I was taking guitar lessons a few years ago and my teacher held a recital for all his students twice a year. 

 

"It's not going to be me and a bunch of kids, right?" I asked. Oh no, he assured me, there'd be other adults.

 

There were THREE adults including me, and about fifteen children. Somewhere there are some very awkward pictures of me standing at the back in a group photo at a children's music recital.

 

(All the children were better than me, btw)

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Congrats on your performance, that's amazing!! And that outfit, wow, you look fabulous!

 

Whyyyy does it have to be so difficult to eat like a normal person? It's insane how far our culture has pushed us into weird, unhealthy food habits considering eating is such a basic thing... 

 

18 hours ago, RogueLibrarian said:

"It's not going to be me and a bunch of kids, right?" I asked. Oh no, he assured me, there'd be other adults.

 

There were THREE adults including me, and about fifteen children.

Well technically he WAS correct.

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On 2018-03-14 at 12:58 PM, RogueLibrarian said:

There were THREE adults including me, and about fifteen children. Somewhere there are some very awkward pictures of me standing at the back in a group photo at a children's music recital.

 

(All the children were better than me, btw)

 

This in an accurate summary of my gymnastics goals. :playful:

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15 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Whyyyy does it have to be so difficult to eat like a normal person? It's insane how far our culture has pushed us into weird, unhealthy food habits considering eating is such a basic thing... 

 

Eh, for me I don’t think it really has much to do with culture. All I want is to have the most useful body possible for the things I want to be able to do with it— if being pudgy made you better at gymnastics, I’d want that instead, haha. For me it was more just a psychological reaction to calorie counting, which theoretically should be as emotionally neutral as sticking to a budget or scheduling your time, but somehow... isn’t. 

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1 hour ago, tei_ said:

Eh, for me I don’t think it really has much to do with culture. All I want is to have the most useful body possible for the things I want to be able to do with it— if being pudgy made you better at gymnastics, I’d want that instead, haha. For me it was more just a psychological reaction to calorie counting, which theoretically should be as emotionally neutral as sticking to a budget or scheduling your time, but somehow... isn’t. 

Except all of this is... Freaking out about food, calorie counting, eating for performance, having to relearn how to eat like a human being... all of it is cultural. Even being lean for gymnastics is partly about aesthetics (those lines! those leos!) and not just for performance. 

 

I'm not saying it to dismiss your motivations in any way - I completely understand the wanting to get leaner for performance and it's perfectly valid (Especially from a joint impact and longevity point of view). And I constantly think that if I only I'd lose 10 kg I'd be so much better at climbing/pole/etc... But then I get proven wrong over and over again by my friend that has a fair bit more excess fat than me and yet climbs so much harder. Jerk. :P 

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12 hours ago, Mad Hatter said:

Except all of this is... Freaking out about food, calorie counting, eating for performance, having to relearn how to eat like a human being... all of it is cultural. Even being lean for gymnastics is partly about aesthetics (those lines! those leos!) and not just for performance. 

 

I'm not saying it to dismiss your motivations in any way - I completely understand the wanting to get leaner for performance and it's perfectly valid (Especially from a joint impact and longevity point of view). And I constantly think that if I only I'd lose 10 kg I'd be so much better at climbing/pole/etc... But then I get proven wrong over and over again by my friend that has a fair bit more excess fat than me and yet climbs so much harder. Jerk. :P 

 

Fair enough-- for sure everything we do is influenced by the society around us. I spent a really long time, though, considering the society/culture/beauty/pressure explanation the full answer to the question of how I became such a head case about food as a teen, and it took a while to realize that just doesn't explain it very well, for me personally. A lot more things started making more sense when I started reading about disordered eating as a reaction to emotional stress, and particularly that that can happen completely independent of outside influence on eating or body image: for instance in infantile anorexia,  where emotional stress on the infant manifests in them making pretty much the only independent choice a baby can make, i.e eat vs. not eat.      

 

When I think about times in my life that I've had trouble with food, they've all been times when I felt like I was lacking in other pathways/options to acheive my goals, so controlling food is feels like, but is not in reality, all I can do. <--- Wow I've had this thought about other times in my life but typing it out was the first time I realized this also applies to me now!

 

And yeah, the relationship between weight and performance in Assassiny activities is definitely non-linear, which is both a blessing and a curse! Sometimes it feels like the relationship between training and performance is also non-linear... :topsy_turvy:

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Hmm very interesting about infantile anorexia and excellent realizations. Understanding what's going on is half the battle. :) 

 

9 minutes ago, tei_ said:

And yeah, the relationship between weight and performance in Assassiny activities is definitely non-linear, which is both a blessing and a curse! Sometimes it feels like the relationship between training and performance is also non-linear... :topsy_turvy:

Oh yeah. :) 

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Meals yesterday were pretty good! I was not tempted to snack or mindlessly eat during the day because I was working in the morning and kept myself busy in the afternoon by going to the climbing gym, and then... on a whim, I went to a sports store and bought a one-piece bathing suit and some swimming shorts and went diving! 

 

I did diving for a few months, maybe half a year, around the ninth grade when my gymnastics club moved locations and raised its prices so I wasn’t able to go any more. Diving was cheaper and I could get to the pool on the subway, so my mom suggested it as a consolation prize. I actually quite enjoyed it, loved my coach and fit in better with the kids at the diving club than at gymnastics, but then that coach left, I didn’t like the new one and didn’t stay long after that. I also had an intense lack of desire to ever do reverse dives— i.e. where you jump forwards off the board and rotate backwards— and since in competition you have to do a dive from each category, that was a problem for the coaches even though I was never going to compete at a high level anyway. 

 

Anyway, as soon as I got to the pool yesterday I learned that they don’t allow backwards entry during the leisure swim, which is the only time the boards are open to the public. So that was limiting but I worked my way up to doing tuck and pike 1 1/2s, which I hadn’t been sure I would have the ovaries to try again but it turns out once you’ve done just a front salto to feet, the urge to add another half rotation is quite strong because the extra metre of height means it’s really easy to belly-flop if you have good height to begin with. 

 

Tried to to move up to the three-metre but there were so many kids who all spent about ten minutes standing around on the board freaking out for each turn that I only got in two tries of just falling into a dive from a pike (I don’t remember what any diving stuff is called haha) before I gave up and went home. 

 

I probably won’t go back because of the kids and the no back entry, but it was good to try! 

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31 minutes ago, tei_ said:

I did diving for a few months, maybe half a year, around the ninth grade when my gymnastics club moved locations and raised its prices so I wasn’t able to go any more. Diving was cheaper and I could get to the pool on the subway, so my mom suggested it as a consolation prize. I actually quite enjoyed it, loved my coach and fit in better with the kids at the diving club than at gymnastics, but then that coach left, I didn’t like the new one and didn’t stay long after that. I also had an intense lack of desire to ever do reverse dives— i.e. where you jump forwards off the board and rotate backwards— and since in competition you have to do a dive from each category, that was a problem for the coaches even though I was never going to compete at a high level anyway. 

I did diving when I was in High School as well. Reverses were hard but it was the inwards that really gave me the willies.  

 

Unfortunately I haven't found a place that allows diving (except maybe swan dives & cannonballs...) for 20 years or so, so I have no idea how I would do if I were to actually find one.

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