It’s been weeks of almost no exercise, combined with far too much food/snacks. As a result, the blog has been sorely neglected – I’m not good at dealing with things not going exactly according to plan, far less actually writing about it. I’ve had headaches for nearly two months, which of course meant that there was very little I had the energy to do, and being a comfort eater, I lost most of my self-restraint in the food department. And being that I didn’t know what it was, I guess I didn’t really dare to work out a lot either. It turned out to be related to my vision, and after a couple of weeks of adjusting to new glasses and de-stressing (it’s been quite stressful at work these past few months), things are improving.
I haven’t really gotten my bad eating habits quite under control yet. However, I am turning over a new leaf and doing one thing at a time instead of doing absolutely everything at once. It would perhaps be more sensible to adjust my diet first and THEN start exercising, but I know from before that if I don’t exercise, my mind won’t be in the right place to be able to keep up good eating habits. I’ve got a plan and everything:
1. Get into the habit of exercising again, but without overdoing it (it will be a new experience!)
2. Start tracking everything I eat, no matter if I go over my limit or not. Aim for a calorie amount that will keep my weight where it is, at least not gain weight.
3. Adjust the calorie limit down a bit, but not too much at a time.
I’m already working on step one. I went to both dance classes last week, plus the weekend class with our instructor from London (she comes over about six times per year to have classes with us). I almost did not go, but it turned out to be a good experience. I’ve hardly danced since the last competition in November, and for quite a few weeks I didn’t exercise at all. I can’t really keep up an entire dance class at the moment, but the teacher said I hadn’t really lost that much. I got good feedback on my first few dances as well, before my lack of stamina made my technique worsen.
I think doing ballet, even if it’s only via videos and rather sporadically these past two months, has helped a lot. My extensions and pointing are better, and I’m working on improving them further. I tend to forget to point here and there (still a vast improvement from the super-flexed back foot I used to have), particularly during changes and skips.
I’ve followed Kathryn Morgan’s beginner video classes, which are really helpful. I’ve never done ballet before, and I’ve never really consciously worked on my technique – since I’ve been absent from a lot of dance classes over the years, because of various illnesses, most of the time has been spent learning and practicing steps, not technique in general. I really like her ballet classes, and they’re a really great substitute for actual classes (which are faaaar to expensive for me). While Irish dancing and ballet is quite different in the way it looks, a lot of ballet technique is extremely useful.
Yesterday I tried one of her strength and stretch for dancers videos. Ouch! I don’t think my ankles/calves/feet have gotten such a workout in a long time, at least not when not actually dancing. I have problems keeping my heels off the floor, particularly when dancing in hard shoes (which have heels on them), and it seems these classes will really help. I think my running will benefit from it, too. I wish she had more stretching though – I’m not very flexible and find that even 10-15 minutes after class isn’t really enough. I could easily have stretched more on my own, of course, it’s not that I don’t know the necessary stretches. But I have very little patience for things like stretching when not actually following along with a video. It’s not really any excuse, I should stretch far more.
I’m thinking of doing the strength and stretch videos once a week, at least nowadays. Perhaps the Les Mills Combat workouts will have to be put on hold for a while, because I simply don’t have time. Or perhaps I can do them as warmup before the strength and stretch – I do love doing them. But with a half marathon coming up (why couldn’t my health have cooperated so I was at least somewhat prepared?) I have to focus on running in addition to dancing. I really, really, really want to move at least one or two of my dances from primary to intermediate this year, and for that I really need to improve my technique and fitness. I won’t really be in shape for the half marathon anyway, so I might as well focus on dance first.