December 23, 2016

Appreciating the Holidays during the Shittiest Year Ever

By Crabby McSlacker

So the holiday season has arrived, and traditionally this is a time for joy and togetherness. Yet for many of us, this year hardly seems time for celebration.

And I know, this is a health blog, not a political blog. But I feel like I have to acknowledge the elephant in the room---the scary mean orange elephant, the angry beast who defeated the diligent, highly qualified donkey and now rules the world.

These are scary times. It feels too fake and weird to just pretend everything is normal.

We have a president-elect gearing up to destroy our democracy. Not out of malice or twisted ideology. No, Trump is not some epic villain for the ages with a sinister grand plan--he's just arrogant. Ignorant. Entitled. Vindictive. Uninhibited. Mendacious. Greedy. Narcissistic.

Every day comes some fresh outrage, something that would have, in times past, shocked the populace, made bold headlines, brought down administrations. Yet there are never any repercussions. Well, we get funny SNL skits and Samantha Bee rants and Facebook petitions. They makes us feel better momentarily, but we're still facing the same horrific reality a few minutes later.

Am I offending some of you pro-Trump people out there? I'm sorry.  But I'm offended you elected this racist, sexist, irrational, authoritarian, hate-filled monster to lead our country.

But hey, if you supported Trump and are somehow still willing to put up with my occasional rants, you are still most welcome here!

So what's the health angle here?  It's this: bazillions of studies have shown that feelings of gratitude and appreciation are good for us. Cultivating appreciation, even in the midst of political shitstorms, improves our physical and mental health, and makes us far less likely to be assholes to those around us.

So I thought I'd go first:  what are a few things that I'm especially appreciating this year as the holidays roll around?

December 12, 2016

Healthy Holiday Gifts: Some Thoughts. Because What the Hell.

Portable music players: always a classic!
photo: xray delta one

By Crabby McSlacker

Holy guacamole, it's been a long time since I've posted on this blog. I kinda thought I might be done forever.

But here I am again! I'm not entirely sure why, it just felt like time to reconnect. And if anyone is actually still out there, it would be lovely to touch base with y'all again. My guess is, posting will still be quite sporadic, but who knows?

One problem with not posting for a long time: there are a million shlabillion gerbzillion things that have piled up in my head that I feel like I should talk about. (Okay, perhaps my grasp of the nomenclature used in advanced mathematics is a little tenuous).  Yet none of them seem all that profound when I start to write about them. And I hate to just throw a bunch of travel pictures at you, which is often my default when I've been blogslacking for extended periods of time. But I do promise an update at some point, if blogging becomes a Thing again.

So in my first attempt at a post, I somehow got sideswiped by a bitter, fury-fueled rant about the horror of our recent elections. I couldn't help it. And I'm not sorry I went through the exercise: like an episode of violent vomiting when stomach flu strikes, it actually made me feel a little better afterward. But I realized that a screeching protest about the surreal state we find ourselves in as a nation might not the best way to begin again after a long hiatus. Especially for a health and fitness blog.

Instead, what makes for a more innocuous, google-friendly, and unvomitlike fresh start than a blog post topic like:

Healthy Holiday Gifts!

(And ok, there's a timing reason for this too:  there's a BIG SALE on one idea that ENDS TODAY. (Although there is still time for a discount, just not as big.)

May 17, 2016

And We're Back! Maybe?

photo: An-e

In response to the thousands... er, hundreds... or, ok three emails I received wondering where the hell Cranky Fitness had gone, I thought I'd attempt a brief update. This is also a test post to see if hitting "publish" will accomplish anything other than exercising my right index finger.

March 31, 2016

When Exercise Plans Go Awry: The Ball's in Your Court

By Crabby McSlacker

Hi y'all!

Yep, as you can tell by my accent, I'm still in Texas. Our place in Provincetown Massachusetts is still undergoing renovation.

And how's that going?

Since our move-in date is fast approaching, we were curious ourselves. So a few days ago some kind friends of ours stopped by the place to snap an encouraging picture for us and...


Still a little work to do, apparently.

Of course there are all sorts of tempting analogies I could draw between home remodeling and fitness. Because home improvement and self improvement projects have a lot in common, right? Both require patience, planning, determination, a long-term perspective, and copious amounts of alcohol.

Wait, there's something not quite right about that list. Something's on there that really shouldn't be. Ah yes, you're all ahead of me here: it's planning.

Screw planning. Whatever you plan for? Some other different shit is going to happen instead.

But this is a health and fitness blog, albeit an aging, whiny, slackerish, meandering, half-assed, bizarro version of a health and fitness blog. And if I don't put up a post soon? It's going to be a dead health and fitness blog with no readers at all. That would suck.

So how about a real life example of Coping When Best Laid Exercise Plans Go Awry?

February 22, 2016

What's Your Inspiration?

Guest Post by Dee

Hi all, it's Crabby McSlacker, and yes, I'm still alive. Doing great actually!  Just a bit too dithery and preoccupied to do much on the blog lately. So I'm thrilled to bring you another great guest post from Dee over at Break out the Skinny Girl.  Remember not that long ago, she'd just started her blog, and was taking baby steps back into fitness? Well, I guess I'm not the only one who thinks she's hilarious and inspiring, because she's already made it as a finalist in the UK Blog Awards. Yay! Anyway, please welcome Dee back, and don't forget to stop over at her place too on your blog ramblings if you get the chance. --Crabby

In October 2016 I will be trekking 90km across the Escambray mountain range in Cuba to honour the memory of my Dad. Given that just six short months ago I would have struggled to trek from my armchair to my refrigerator, this is going to be a personal challenge for me on a whole other level.

You may remember we first got acquainted way back in September last year, when I’d been blogging for just a matter of weeks. Crabby very kindly let me loose with a guest post, and offered me a moment in the Cranky Fitness spotlight, which was awesome.

I’d been dieting for a couple of months by that point, and whilst my diet was going really well, my thoughts on exercise were kind of still kind of…well, thoughts really. I’d taken a few baby steps but it seemed such a mammoth task you know? I still weighed over 300lbs, and everything hurt when I hauled it around.

But I’d gone and done it…on this very site I opened my big mouth and told the world that I was going to get fit. Fortunately for me, the one thing bigger than my arse is my pride, which point blank refused to let me off the hook.

January 27, 2016

Crabby Goes to a Conference and Learns Four Things

By Crabby McSlacker

Crabby and the Lobster have at last arrived in Austin where they are spending the winter. Lots to love about Austin, it's a fitnessy town! And a few things to grouse about as well, but more on all that in a future blog post.

So one of the first things Crabby did in Austin, even before unpacking, was attend the  Prevention's R3 Women's Health Summit.

(And why is Crabby sudden speaking in the third person? She has no idea. Perhaps it has to do with insomnia, a problem she thought she'd seen the end of. Lately it's back with a vengeance. She hasn't had a good night's sleep in five days and it's fucking with her head). But ok, enough. Crabby shall hereby transform from a "she" to an "I." Ready?

So yeah, I'm a little late and sketchy reporting on the conference. I went in on Friday feeling harried and I had to leave before it finished on Saturday, so I missed some of the speakers. But despite my distracted and slipshod mindset, I actually came away with a lot! (Including two tote bags stuffed with swag and the enjoyment of a ton of free food and beverages. And everyone knows that free food and beverages do not contain calories. It's a rule.)

But aside from the cans of tuna and the pound of coffee and the vaginal moisturizer and the hemp bars and soaps and supplements and toothbrushes, what were some of the take-aways?

January 11, 2016

One For the Road

photo via James Vaughan
Guest Post by Jan Bono

Crabby McSlacker and her intrepid spouse, known here as"The Lobster," are currently on the road. Regular readers may recall that they are heading from Provincetown Massachusetts to Austin Texas to spend the winter.  They are not flying (or walking or biking for that matter), so they find themselves spending many, many, many hours every day scrunched up in their perky but diminutive Honda Fit. Alas, it takes quite a bit of unscrunching at the end of the day to be able to walk again.

But anyway, it seems fitting that this week we have a car-related excerpt from Jan Bono's inspirational book, Back from Obesity: My 252-pound Weight-Loss Journey.” Enjoy! --Crabby

Singing the car buying blues

My car was nine years old and had over 130,000 hard-earned miles on it. The trips to the repair shop had become alarmingly frequent. On Thanksgiving eve my vehicle had refused to restart after I shut it off at the gas station.

It was time to buy something new, but I was dragging my feet. I had purchased my Honda Accord in 1991 simply because it was the only car I could find at the time I could fit into. Now I was 30 or 40 pounds heavier. I was terrified I wouldn’t be able to find anything I could safely drive and stay within my budget.

“Get a Toyota,” said my friend Pat. “You’ll fit in a Camry, I’d bet on it.”

I didn’t want a Toyota.

January 01, 2016

Resolution Realization: The Only Trick That Really Works. (For Me).

By Crabby McSlacker

So I used to think the whole idea of New Year's resolutions was stupid and arbitrary. But now I'm more like: "hell, why not?"

I'm always working on some sort of goal anyway. So why not take advantage of the timing? If I undertake a delusional quest for behavioral change at the same time everyone else is similarly psyched up, we can all pretend together that there is something magical about a date on a calendar!

Will it help our motivation? Who knows? But the fantasy of a fresh start is pretty darn enjoyable in itself.

This year, however, I cheated and started a while back, working on something I wanted to change.  I tried an approach that is anything but new, and you've already heard it a hundred times. I know I've written about it many times before. It's so simple and obvious you'll feel totally cheated when I remind you of what it is.

Yet if you actually use it, instead of saying "I know that" and ignoring it--well, damn it if it doesn't totally work. Could be very handy for use as a new year's resolution tool.

At least the results for me have been pretty amazing. Using this method I went quite quickly from Wishful Thinking to a full-fledged Sustainable Behavioral Change! And I felt the difference almost instantly. I'm actually pretty confident that as long as I keep applying this principle, I will continue to be successful.  And conversely, I suspect that as soon as I go back to "knowing it" but not "doing it," I'll be back daydreaming about accomplishments rather than having any.

Are there major drawbacks to this method? Of course there are! More about that later.

Meanwhile, here's your simple recipe for New Year's Resolution Success: