Sunday, August 23, 2009

Pacing Myself, Part Two


Okay, so this may be a little harder than I thought. Both the Challenge and writing as often as I said I would Currently no one is reading this, so I don't feel bad at all. I suppose there are some good things that come from a life of procrastination. So on to learning to pace myself while I am eating.

First off, I guess I have an extra challenge in this category specifically because of my being a teacher. Lunch for my students is 30 minutes. That is from start to finish. This does not take into account the three minutes, sometimes five that it takes to get my 20 something students from my room to the cafeteria, make sure they are settled in line, go to teacher's lounge [no longer the smoky den of scariness it was when we were kids], get my lunch, go to the bathroom, wash my hands, eat my lunch, and visit with my peers. This is assuming that no parent comes up and needs an impromptu conference or some teacher that has already had their lunch stops to talk to me about any number of important or trivial things, or I don't have copies to make for my next class. This whole process gives me approximately 21 minutes to eat. That's not exactly a great setting for learning to slow down to enjoy my meals. Because I have been doing this 5 days a week for the past 14 years I am kind of in the habit of doing it quickly.

This is not to say that I have not tried to learn to slow down a little. I actually have started slowing down a little with my eating. I would say the main reason for curbing my eating speed of course is my cookie eating habit. I used this verb earlier, but you might not have taken notice. Inhale. While that is an action associated with breathing, I believe that I can apply it to my method of eating cookies without much exaggeration.

Cookies, in my opinion, are to be devoured, and I have found over the last 30 something years that the best way to do this is to put the whole cookie in my mouth. Chomp, chomp, chew, chew swallow, on to next cookie. Unfortunately this allows me to eat many more cookies than I should because my stomach, poor thing, can't keep up with the speed of which I put things into it. It's sitting there, doing its job, digesting slowly while I continue to pile item after item into it. So by the time the stomach realizes, 'Wait a minute. This fool has just eaten 6 of those Oreos and I haven't even started digesting the first on yet.' So after the sixth one, Senor Stomach applies the brakes. I usually would be happy to keep going, but biology, in this case, wins out over desire.

"What's the problem with that," you may be asking. You also might be thinking, 'Ugh, I'm glad I don't eat with him.' These are both valid points actually. The problem is that as I have gotten older my body's ability to quickly burn off the calories of six cookies has slown down significantly. There's also the issue of the second thought just mentioned. I have been known to be a little self absorbed at times, and when I'm eating would definitely be among those times. Being a better eating partner, aesthetically at least, is taking some work on my part, but then isn't that point of this thing? Me working on things like that?

So, I continue overall trying to slow my eating down. I have made some progress recently. I have got in my head, at least partially, that eating is not a race, and besides beings able to say "I win!" at the dinner table, there is no prize for finishing a full meal in under 10 minutes. I am seeing that enjoying the tastes of food over the course of a meal is a nice thing, and while I can't see taking as long as say an hour to eat as some people I have known are able to do, I do now see that it makes for a more relaxing and enjoyable eating experience.

So I'm going to chalk "Eating" up to a positive change experienced by me. Go me! I'll have to continue to work at it, but being aware of it is a big thing.

Next up - Drinking

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Pacing Myself

I've decided to accept a challenge from my lovely, brilliant wife. She's been recommending that I blog about pacing myself. You see, I have a problem with charging blindly through things. It's not as if I am not enjoying them, I am. I really, really am. I suppose I should back up a little and give examples of what I rush through.

Eating, drinking, shopping, driving, walking, running, playing games. Well, I am hoping that you get the picture.

So, my brilliant one suggests this challenge; try to learn to pace myself and I should document it here on this blog. I don't really have anything else going on here. I've had a few good entries, but seriously, there's nothing much here to hold the attention of many people. I resisted for a long time. I'm still not even completely sure I'm on board. I move fast. I don't know why. I used to move slowly and methodic, well, let's not be silly, I have never done much methodically, but I remember my older brother and a friend of his talking about how I use to walk so slowly and coolly. I guess you could say cocky. Yes, I used to be a seriously cocky kid. I'm not sure what gave me the attitude, but I had it. I don't know when I lost that attitude either. I don't know if there was some traumatic event that I have buried deep in me psyche or it was puberty, or what, but one day I was slow moving Joe Cool and the next day I was in Full Time Fast Forward (FTFF).

As I said, I don't know what prompted this change, but it happened, and I just accepted it. Here's an example of my FTFF. Eating Oreos. I am not a pull them apart, lick the icing, eat the cookies kind of guy. I go for the whole cookie in one bite. CHOMP. Gone and gone. Good and good. Right? Right. So, why would I want to pace myself with this?

I think I got my first taste of pacing and how it could be beneficial this summer. I was "training" to run the Peachtree Road Race. Training means going out and trying to run so I wouldn't die while doing the actual event. Every time before this summer that I have tried to go running I have tried to run like I did when I was a junior in college and could go for several miles at a good pace. Needless to say I never made it far, and I always felt like my heart would bust out of my chest from beating so hard. So for some reason this summer I decide to slow down a little and just, you know, jog. Well low and behold, I was able to run for 20 straight minutes without stopping, and when I did stop I didn't feel Death was tapping me on the shoulder asking me to dance. I ran several times during that outing and when I got home I was amazed. AMAZED I tell you. So I begin to think that maybe there was something to this pacing thing afterall. I'm not sure why I doubted the idea. My life would generally be easier if I just went along with her ideas.

So, here's my plan; I'm going to try some experiments over the course of the school year on pacing, and I will post those experiments and the results here. I am going to try once a week, every other week at most. I think I can make it entertaining enough for you, but if not just think, you won't have wasted any money, just time.

First up - Eating.