One of the things I’ve “stolen” from the knitting community is the idea of being process vs product oriented. A process oriented person does things because they like the DOING of the things – they knit for the pleasure of knitting. A product oriented person knits for the END RESULT, and while they might enjoy knitting, they enjoy having a finished object more than they do the actual process of making it.

Most people are a little bit of both.

I have discovered that, in many aspects of my life, I am primarily product oriented. I don’t have any love for following a process, for the step by step doing of a thing, for the repeated effort of working on something. I get my fix from finishing stuff.

I do this at work (so much so that my boss knows that if I’m having a week where I’m bogged down in the process of five or six big proposals, she’ll assign me something small and quick, just so that I can have FINISHED SOMETHING DAMMIT that week). (My boss is awesome!) I do it with crafts – I like projects where I see the actual process quickly – big knitting on big needles, or small projects, or mandalas that only take a few hours to complete. The majority of the craft work that I do takes hours – not days, weeks, or months – to finish. I even hesitate to START big projects, because I know I’ll burn out on the process and they’ll sit, unfinished, for years.

And, I’m noticing, I do this with exercise.

Weight lifting is the first exercise program I have stuck with for more than six weeks (other than walking). The difference? I see real, measurable progress. I love doing yoga, but seem to have motivation issues to do it long term, because yoga doesn’t have any real markers for progress. Sure after months of work, I might notice I can go a little bit deeper in a forward bend, but it’s extremely slow, and yoga itself is essentially noncompetitive (which is part of what I like about it). With weights? I see progress – or not – every time I pick up a dumbbell. I have a little log book that tells me that in October, I could deadlift 35 lbs, and that this week, I can deadlift 90. While it’s not “finishing” something (I don’t suppose I’ll ever be truly finished), it’s giving me a real measure of accomplishment and results. (It’s also making the product about something I can DO, and not about how I LOOK, which is a good thing too.)

I know that I’m still in the “honeymoon” phase of lifting, where I’ll see fairly rapid gains in strength. I’m told that lasts 6 months to a year, and then the real “slog” begins. We’ll see how I do at that point. I am hoping that by then, this will be enough of a habit that I won’t be as bothered that I’m not adding weight every few weeks. For now though, I’m going to continue to pick up the heavy things and put them back down.

Here’s what’s on the reading list right now:

Kevin Crossley-Holland The Norse Myths – in this introductory text on Norse Mythology, Crossley-Holland combines myth retellings with strong scholarship on the original texts for each myths. This book is extremely readable, and I love flipping back and forth between the myth retelling and the scholarly notes on each myth (which includes the original texts the myth is derived from, and any modifications that C-H made, as well as alternate ways of telling the myth).

Seanan McGuire Rosemary and Rue – Haven’t started this yet. This is the first book in the October Daye series. If it’s as good as her InCryptid series, I’ll be thrilled. I’ve been saving the second book of that series for later in the year.

Jim C Hines Libriomancer – Another book I’ve purchased but haven’t started. Magic and books, what could be better? Oh, also a fire spider. I am looking forward to the fire spider. This is the first in another series (the second book has been published already). I loved The Stepsister Scheme, so I’m hoping I will like this one as well.

J. K. Rowling Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – listening on audio book. This is month 4 of the Harry Potter re-read I’m doing with Tami and her blog readers. (I haven’t actually finished Prisoner of Azkaban yet, but I’m almost done)

Diana Paxson Tranceportation – a book on meditative trance. This was recommended to me when I mentioned that I do a lot of meditation and was looking for some different ways to approach it (since “blank mind” meditation is hard, especially with anxiety issues). I’m about two chapters in, and it’s interesting so far. Supposedly there are guided exercises later in the book.

I have major issues with anxiety sometimes. Often, when I get really anxious, I am repulsed by food and don’t want to eat.

This is a major issue if I am lifting heavy, since I want to build muscle, and that requires calories and protein every day.

Last night I got home from work and the anxiety settled on my shoulders like a blanket, and I couldn’t stand the thought of food, even though I’d only eaten about 1500 calories so far that day. I know I need more food than that, but it was just gross to think about eating. I mentioned this on a weightlifting group I’m in, and they suggested I try having some pure sugar – just a spoonful of honey or a sugar cube – and waiting 15-20 minutes to see if I felt like eating.

I figured it couldn’t hurt. I mean – it’s honey. Either it would do nothing, or I might feel better. And sure enough, I felt better – and hungry – after about 15 minutes. I probably ate half a tablespoon of honey or so, not a whole lot, and then within 15 minutes I felt like I could handle some food. So I made myself a chicken quesadilla (since SSH had already eaten by then), and felt MUCH better.

So if you’re ever in a mind space where you know you need to eat something, but are not really able to convince yourself to eat, try giving your body just a little bit of sugar. I’m not sure WHY it works, but it sure did work for me.

Putting this below a cut, so you don’t have to read it if you don’t want to – this is me talking about, thinking about, and deciding to retell the narrative I have about my body. If you are uncomfortable about bodies, or are triggered by discussions of weight, restrictive eating, or other related topics, you may want to skip this post.

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Hi! I'm Anna.
I ramble, have too many hobbies, and post anything that strikes my fancy. On any given day, I might be knitting, sewing, working on my house, presenting a recipe or discussing something deeper. Though maybe food can be pretty deep too.
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