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Sunday, January 12, 2020

“Le mieux est l'ennemi du bien." (The best is the enemy of the good.)

Voltaire, of course. And something I know full well. But seem to need to relearn. Over and over again.

Before Christmas I'd blogged about how I didn't intend to intensify my morning workout (fours sets of 10 full push ups; 10 full sit ups; 10 mountain climbers alternating knee to chest, knee to elbow; 10 squats: + flowing yoga stretch/balance/stability routine).

I've been working that program for almost a year and just taking the routine deeper and deeper. From knee push ups to one full push up per set to 1 set of full push ups to four sets of full push ups to push ups lowering closer nose to floor. And so forth for the other exercises. Gently.

That December decision NOT to change the routine up and make it harder was part of my recognition that continuous escalating efforting is contrary to my shift towards an attitude of body kindness.

Gentle exercise.

Gentle nutrition including intuitive eating and some intermittent fasting. That program has really served me well, bringing me to a place of greater equilibrium during a tough and challenging 2019: which is certainly extending itself into 2020.

But but but: I received a generous gift of some at-home gym equipment for Christmas: perfect push up handles, bodylastic resistance bands. MUCH appreciated: made me feel seen as an "athlete"!!. And: I invested a considerable amount of time on line exploring videos and seeing how best to integrate the new equipment into my existing program. Where best to set up the equipment in my house.

But but but: despite best efforts, have to say that the equipment imposed a painful stress on my profoundly arthritic hands and miserably arthritic right knee and hip. No matter how I tried. Took longer. Also required setting up (for door-anchoring purposes) away from my favourite calming view into the forest behind my house.

And then . . . I simply felt less like exercising. Also, not coincidentally, felt more like eating without attending to what I really want to eat for optimum nutrition, without attending to my intuitive signals of when I'm almost full and stopping eating. And not starting eating in the morning until I'm actually hungry -- permitting myself to fast until I AM hungry!

That would be because . . . when I'm not exercising, I feel less like me. Less present in my body.

The new equipment created a better work out challenge.

And I can imagine a point in my life when I may get back to it again.

But the best work out is always going to be the work out I can sustain doing.

The best (if by best we mean more and more and more) IS the enemy of the good. The good enough.

And today: back to basic felt really good.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    34 days ago
    "When I'm not exercising I feel less present in my body."
    I never before thought of it that way - but yes, it is so true.
    Thanks for that insight.
    And Happy New Year!


    43 days ago
    It's wonderful to be in a position to honor ones needs.

    Being unable to work for over a year has left me with time for reflection. And, what I see is needs of a body out of sync with the demands / expectations of the society in which I live. The toll extracted has been steep.
    46 days ago
    I'm finding that the dichotomy of what I want my best to be and what my physical body says my best should be are sometimes in conflict. I have learned it's much better to listen to your physical cues for what really IS the best!

    Good luck and so sorry to hear about your arthritis. Here, too. It stinks! BUT have to work with it. No choice.
    46 days ago
    There may come a time when you want the best (as in more and more and more) and that will be the good - but if that time never comes - of if the best wounds you in anyway - why - you will stop wanting it. Honestly - saying you would not "up" your routine... back when you first said it ...seemed to me like another restriction. but I am sure you mean you will not "up" it till it is the right time for you.

    gosh I know - arthritis. LOL - oh my - this reminds me of a physical therapist I had when I was working out an injury I sustained because I was striving for that old Durn Best. I said "but I want to do pushups" and he said "you can - do them against the wall - like this" "NO no no. I want to do REAL pushups" and he looked at me with surprise.

    "Why would you want to do that?" he asked.

    "So I can brag about it" was my answer and then he laughed at me. It was his laughter that did the trick. What an idiot I was, wanting the opportunity to brag even if it did harm. goof. I understood my father so much better. Poor man was always doing damage in his quest to prove he was a strong old man. He ended up a crippled old man instead.
    46 days ago
    You are so right to make decisions based on what you know about your own body.

    I rarely go to classes any more because I got too caught up in the music and I was following the tutor without having time to think about whether each move was good for me. I pushed myself too hard without realising it. I prefer instead to use videos at home. I can view the whole routine in advance, decide which bits to do or avoid, and stop the video if I want to do the move more slowly than the tutor.

    I wonder if perhaps you might want to use that equipment occasionally though, just for a change. I don't know about you but I find I get bored sometimes and like to do something new to get out of my rut!
    46 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/13/2020 3:46:42 AM
    Fantastic insight! Good for you for honouring your truth!
    46 days ago
  • ALICIA363
    46 days ago
    Dear old Voltaire! Right on the money as always.
    46 days ago
    Wonderful thoughts, hope you haven't hurt your self too much.

    The joy of turning on my Zumba is still so great for me. I have tried the more intensive ones too and then put them aside as I smile all the way through my normal ones and really enjoy them.

    Loving me is great.
    46 days ago
  • GABY1948
    emoticon emoticon emoticon

    You are one AMAZING woman!!!!
    46 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    46 days ago
  • HOLLYM48
    We must do what is best for us even if the equipment looks great, it doesn't make you feel great and if it is causing you pain, then for sure it is not the right thing for you!
    Do what you know works. You know your body and what it likes!
    46 days ago
    You absolutely have to do what is best for you, no regrets. Its not good to initiate pain in arthritic hands as it could lead to a flare. Listening to your body is so important. It tells you what you need. And that view would be heavenly, so peaceful, would not want to give it up.
    I exercise facing my windows and enjoy watching the pigeons go through their acrobatic maneuvers. Saw a striking one I hadn't seen since summer -half the wings on each side snowy white, the rest all black except a patch on its head. Indeed when I first spotted it I thought it was a different bird altogether so striking it looked. But I guess he was just a 'guest'!
    47 days ago
    Your comfortable workout sounds ideal for you. Wisely, you figure out what you need. Gently.

    I absolutely understand how you feel more like you when you are exercising regularly and being present in your body, aware. I feel the same way. If I'm not connected to my body it is far easier to overfeed it.
    47 days ago
    I think we must focus our energy and ideas on what works. Sure, try new things, but if it doesn't work, you know what does! Great thinking!
    47 days ago
    Yes! emoticon emoticon
    47 days ago
    I am so glad you were able to recognize what was going on! Good on ya! emoticon
    47 days ago
  • PHOENIX1949
    47 days ago
    Oh, my. I so feel you issue. I've take a step back for multiple reasons and will start anew this week by starting from scratch. No need to try to "show off". I can get back to my full workout when my body is ready, not my brain!
    47 days ago
    emoticon Quite a contemplation inward...will benefit the outside as well. Mind and body together.
    47 days ago
    O yes." le mieux est l'ennemi du bien".

    Applies to everything. When I have this feeling that I do not do enough, fast enough, well enough (be it cleaning my kitchen or walking, or exercising), it only puts more stress on me.
    And when I catch myself at it (unfortunately not often enough), it actually helps me relax and strangely , often, accomplish more.

    You are so right to listen to your body. It will give you the answers (can you see that I am also talking to myself ;-) ?)

    P.S. hope you can find some more relief for the arthritis.(Some of the foods that are supposedly allowed can still be bad for you, as I have learned with quinoa for instance)
    47 days ago

    Comment edited on: 1/12/2020 1:51:00 PM
    P.S. "the work out I can sustain doing"... sometimes is just getting the chores of life done?
    47 days ago
    Stick with what works better for you, I fell off the wagon bc of stress this week and weekend😡 we can do better! Good luck this week!
    47 days ago
    Winter: time to hibernate! Hang in there and stay warm!
    47 days ago
  • BJAEGER307
    emoticon emoticon your body knows best and it definitely will tell you. Thing is you just have to listen, which I find hard to do. Got to get better at that.

    Have a great day.
    47 days ago
    Absolutely stick with what works best for you; many of us are of an age where out various joints don't function as they once did OR as Leonard Cohen sung many years ago "I hurt in the places where I used to play". I would dearly love to run again but my hip surgeon said NO, why jeopardize a hip replacement and face another major surgery somewhere down the road. Walking is good. Weights? Pushups? Pullups? Light weights only with a focus on ROM and nix to the other two. Why mess up my damaged shoulders by pretending I am an athlete. BASIC is perfect, keeps us moving, gets our heart rates up and in your case offers a lovely view out a window. emoticon
    47 days ago
    so true!!
    I've had to "adjust" or modify my exercises too, arthritis is the bane of my life but....but....but......I do more stretches custom made for those affected joints and, to date, I'm still pretty active.

    The trick is knowing what you can do, what helps and what makes a POSITIVE difference to you (both physically and emotionally).
    In my head I am an athlete emoticon especially when I achieve a new personal best..........even if it is one more rep.
    47 days ago
    I learned awhile ago that I do not do well with bands. They pull in a way that my body dislikes.
    47 days ago
    I'm with you about harder is not necessarily better. On a parallel track, one of the holidays today is Work Harder Day, the concept being to put more effort into the task, job, or whatever. I almost didn't post it because it triggered my "this isn't really true" sense. Like you, I've always figured all I had to do was "work harder, do harder, put more time" etc to accomplish my goals. All it did was create stress, burnout, fatigue and injuries that would come evident later in life.

    Most people are already doing the best they can and that is the good for the moment.

    47 days ago
    When a great lesson is learned, everything was worth it!
    47 days ago
    SO absolutely true!!!!

    All that is required of us in life is to do the best we can - and if something precludes us from doing any better than that, then that means we can't, and it isn't OUR best. So, your arthritic hands aren't comfortable with the new pushup handles - are they okay with maybe one pushup a day? Then that would be their use, one pushup with the handles per day, the rest of the pushups with hands flat on the floor. Not a problem. That is YOUR best for NOW.

    My best has definitely changed with my new metal knee, and some ongoing issues with my asthma. Can't manage to walk 5 miles a day. Not even 4 miles. But I can walk 2 or 3 miles a day, with stops. So, fine. That is my current best. For now. Might get better. Might get worse.

    But my current best is good. YOUR current best is good.

    So, do that. And a personal best doesn't necessarily mean you have to keep doing more. Do what you can sustain. (And compared to times of having done nothing, doing something is always your best!!!)
    47 days ago
  • NEPTUNE1939
    47 days ago
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