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?



1. Enthusiasm is Contagious!

Sure, there was plenty of substantive information about women's health and fitness, but the real value seemed to be the whole inspirational/motivational thing.  Not only the speakers, but the women attending seemed very psyched to be there and were energized and friendly and fun to be around.

(Fun and friendliness not shown in this shitty photo, sorry.
I wasn't so good at remembering to take pictures).

Even though I was a little foot-draggy when I went in (due to many consecutive long days in an automobile), I was pretty pumped coming out. It seemed to be a common sentiment, because most of the women I met had a great time, and were either repeat visitors or had heard how fun it was from a friend.

So if there's something you're interested in, and you can afford it: consider going to a conference and hanging out with hundreds of other random people who share those interests. Strangely pleasant experience!


2. Dare to Suck at Things


It seems funny that Joan Lunden would be a role model for flailing and failing, but besides talking about her battle with breast cancer, she told some great tales about her early days in television.  The upshot was: when opportunity arises, say yes, even if you aren't all that well qualified or prepared. Don't worry so much about looking like an idiot. Because you might at first! But then you'll get better, and you'll move on to even more interesting opportunities, and eventually you'll be pretty bad-ass at whatever you aspire to and you'll be really glad you weren't too chickenshit to put yourself out there.

Note: That was a paraphrase. Joan Lunden did not actually use the words bad-ass or chickenshit.

Anyway, duh, right? We know this intellectually. And yet Joan gave this advice in such a funny real-life way that it seemed almost fresh.  And she reminded us that women tend to be way less comfortable taking risks than men are.  We want to be perfectly prepared and 100% confident that people will think we are awesome before we take on a challenge. If not? Meh, whatever, we'll just sit on the sidelines, thanks, and let some guy who's half as qualified step in and take over. God forbid we expose our fragile egos to anything less than a rousing chorus of cheers.

It turned out her timing was good, because right as Joan was talking about this stuff, it was time for me to go to the press room to interview a couple of people for spur of the moment interviews, because I'd been too hesitant and disorganized and didn't sign up for anything in advance.  Having no real credentials, nor any clue what I was going to ask them, I felt a little nervous.  But I had Joan's inspiring "get out there and suck" encouragement.

Plus... I had a lanyard!



(Such is my life that I get ridiculously excited by going to a conference and wearing a lanyard.)

But anyway, buoyed by her talk I went and burbled half-assed questions to a couple of nice speakers, and found myself very intrigued by the answers, even if I'm not going to write up a whole long story about them. When it comes to conferences, I specialize in the free-loading part. The whole "reporting" thing is not really my forte.

Hmm, weird isn't it, that I don't get invited to more conferences?

3. Be Authentic


So Bob Roth is a renowned teacher of Transcendental Meditation, and is the Executive Director of the David Lynch Foundation, which provides TM training to at-risk kids, veterans, and victims of domestic violence. Cool, right? He also does a lot of other important stuff, including appearing on TV and interviewing people like Jerry Seinfeld and he brings TM to Fortune 500 companies so their executives can periodically chill out of "grrrr, must conquer world now" mode. He's a great speaker; very funny and persuasive and informative.

We already know that meditation has a ton of physical and mental health benefits, but the research on TM in particular was new to me and very impressive.  And there was a video showing kids in inner-city schools who were pretty much able to change their lives because meditation had become part of their day. Can't say as much about long division or learning state capitals, right?

But part of what made Bob a great speaker was that he didn't try to be slick; instead he came across as authentic and down to earth and even a little nerdy. (Though this doesn't mean I've renounced my geekcrush on Rick Hanson). In person, Bob was so warm and approachable, I felt like I could be a doof and ask real questions, even if some of them were skeptical and lame and possibly annoying. He was authentic, so I was authentic. He answered my questions in reassuring and informative ways, and I came away from our talk really wanting to try TM.

So after I give TM training a shot (courtesy of the generosity of Bob and the David Lynch Foundation), I'll let you know how it goes. Thanks for your generosity, Bob!


4. Do Not Pose for Pictures With Tall Blonde Gorgeous Authors Unless You Don't Mind Looking Like a Hulking Troll Who Wandered in From a Cave Somewhere




Wendy Bazilion is an author, educator and researcher who knows a ton about nutrition. Her latest book is Eat Clean, Stay Lean. Since I was ill-prepared for our interview, I was greatly relieved to discover that she is very sensible and science-based. Her strategies for cleaning up dietary transgressions and eating healthier are effective with all kinds of different diet philosophies. Unlike many diet book authors, she is not at all a looney crackpot or a restrictive diet Nazi.

(Feel free to use that as a cover blurb, Wendy!)

Anyway, she was delightful and very smart and you should probably buy her book.  Just don't stand next to her if there is a camera nearby.

So have any of you been to any gatherings or conferences you've enjoyed?  Anyone else not sleeping? Experience with TM? Or hell, how's your week going?

33 comments:

  1. Crabby, so glad to read you again. I have not-sleeping issues with the full moon, but I am happy to report no extra hair or howling. That I remember.
    About sucking at things? Best advice ever. If I feared it I would never do anything.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hmm, never thought to check the phase of the moon, Leah! But glad you haven't gone all werewolfy on us!

      Delete
  2. Welcome to Texas! Glad you and the Lobster made it here safely. I can't wait to hear about your Austin impressions. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Shelley! We're loving it so far, annoyances have been mostly minor. Fun town!

      Delete
  3. Austin! I've wanted to visit, and will have to get there at some point.

    I listen to a lot of comedy podcasts, and TM seems to be a thing a lot of Hollywood types do, but they uniformly seem to have good things to say about it. In general meditation is one of those things I'd like to do more research on and try out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. OTF, yeah, I do get the feeling that hollywood types are particularly drawn to TM, so maybe if I get the training I'll become a celebrity?

      Wait... it doesn't work like that?

      Delete
  4. Sweetie keeps waking in the middle of the night to look for the cats, concerned that if someone let them outside, they will freeze. So far, all he's found is that they are always inside, and he that if he wakes me at 1am, i don't get back to sleep until it's time to get up.
    Hope you get a good night's sleep tonight, and thanks for the reminder to try stuff even when i know i'm not good at it!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh dear, the possibly-escaped cat scenario would be hard to sleep through messymimi! Because you're right, once awakened, sleep can be mighty elusive again. All my old tricks ain't working, but I'm hoping whatever's going on will right itself eventually. It did before, anyway.

      Hope you get some good sleep too!

      Delete
  5. How exciting to be in Austin for the winter!

    Hulking and troll are words that would never be used to describe you. I will offer up fit and fabulous for any future pictures.

    If I had known about the free toothbrushes, I believe I could have been enticed to attend. There is nothing I love better. It is the only reason I go to the dentist.

    I am a member of the insomnia club and one of my resolutions for 2016.1 (I am breaking the year down into mini-years) is no more sleeping pills. I have been successful with no pills and although sleep can still be elusive, I just remind myself of how wonderful it feels to be in a safe, warm bed and try to enjoy that experience.

    Daily meditation is also part of 2016.1 and I am winning at that too. Please update your TM experience... I will be interested to see how it goes for you.

    Big announcement. Today I received a job offer. Yay me!

    Is this a comment or a dissertation? I will stop.

    Hope you are able to get some sleep!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So cool about the daily meditation and YAY!!!! on the job offer! That's great news!

      And feel free to write a dissertation any time Kimberley, love hearing what you're up to.

      Delete
  6. LOVE LOVE LOVE Austin!!! We lived there for 12 years and I loved it all!!! It is indeed a fit town!

    Of course, I can tell you about all the good restaurants!!!

    I hope you and Lobster fall in love with Austin...though the traffic sucks big time. Where are you guys?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Traffic indeed sucks LuckyMama; fortunately we are in Clarksville and can walk to a lot. (Including movie theaters that serve beer and wine and dinner and bring them to you while you watch the movie, gotta love that!)

      Restaurant recommendations welcome, really appreciate it! We live close to whole foods and have been hitting their food bars pretty heavily. :)

      Delete
  7. The snow is gone, and not coming back anytime soon, so my week is looking good.
    Yay for swag! I agree with your first three points, but not the fourth.
    Wishing you well in the sleep department, and commiserating on long car drives. I drove forty-five minutes yesterday and could hardly walk when I got out of the car. I think my traveling days are over.
    Mary Anne in Kentucky

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yay for clear weather, and thanks Mary Anne! But sorry about the car thing, sounds most unpleasant! Hope you got all stretched back out and comfortable again.

      Delete
  8. Good stuff, Crabby!
    Love the comment about 3rd person! I spoke about myself in the 4th person once, and it sent me into a black hole where I suddenly weighed 8 quadrillion tons! The only way I managed to get out was by clicking my heels 3 times and saying, "There's no place like home!" I found myself in a field, but at regular weight!

    Sorry you're not sleeping well. That's a tricky one to solve that I have now and then.

    Good advice from Joan, if not original - as a non-alpha, I need to build my confidence, and it's getting there. And I like Wendy's last name. :)

    Meditation sounds like a great idea, which I've also been pursuing.

    Thanks! Dave

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dave how much do I love the geeky 4th person joke? You are a multi-dimensional guy that's for sure. And good luck on the insomnia, confidence, and meditation--sounds like we have a similar "to do" list!

      Delete
  9. Sounds like fun! And if you're a troll then sign me up for troll school, because you're looking pretty good! :) Am a little jealous of you living in Austin. What a great town! Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gaye, great to hear from you, hope all is well in your neck of the woods? Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Delete
  10. Bahahahaha. Man. I just laughed and laughed. You looked totally cute, but I have SO had photos like that. Snort. That was awesome. Loved the write-up. Considering I vowed to never go to Texas again after my last experience you are definitely painting a better picture.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. QD, thanks! And Austin may be technically in Texas, but, well, it's kinda Texas for people who don't do Texas. :)

      Delete
    2. Were I live in Florida is like that. Not really like Florida.

      Delete
  11. Stress & hormones are not good for sleeping. :)

    Very cool you got to go & hoping you are loving your new home!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Jody! Our temporary rental is nice enough, but our fingers are crossed big time about our new place in Ptown. Demolition has commenced, and we just got some pictures--right now it's looking pretty funky. Hope it all gets put back together by spring!

      Delete
  12. Giggling!

    I would love to try TM. I guess I should probably get around to regular meditating on a consistent basis first... :)

    And OMG bet it would be so good for sleeping issues. My nightmare disorder is rearing its ugly head and coming at me with a vengeance these days. Really need to do something about that...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh no, Sagan, sleep is so important I hope the nightmare thing leaves you alone, that sounds awful!

      Delete
  13. This looks like a great conference Crabby.

    I am also struggling this week with sleep, and I too thought I had solved this problem. I did an online cognitive behavioral therapy course which was helpful. One of the best takeaways for me was sleep scheduling like I did for my child, and reducing the amount of time I spent lying in bed but not sleeping. So I was going to bed later and waking up earlier. And it was working. I was falling asleep quickly and staying asleep. But then this week it's not working.

    Coincidentally, after years of trying to establish a regular meditation habit, I went to an introduction to meditation class this week. I don't know how different TM is from other meditation methods, but this class was good. I have successfully meditated for all of 2 days in a row and enjoyed it. Hopefully, I can keep it up. For the first time, it feels sustainable. We'll see.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kate, thanks for the reminder about not spending so much time lying in bed not sleeping! I don't mind if I can also get meditation credit, but if I ain't drifting off and start either worrying, planning, or thinking recreationally (don't laugh, I love to think) then it's probably time to get my butt out of bed.

      Hope your meditation keeps going well, sounds like you're off to a great start!

      Delete
  14. This is certainly one of the most interesting stories we've read today. Thank you for sharing and we hope you enjoyed Austin. We volunteered there for a month last year and we absolutely loved it(especially the Carver Museum!).

    Sleep is definitely important. It can even be a part of weight loss diet! For example, along with our detox tea, we recommend our clients to maintain a healthy and balanced diet with plenty of fruit and veggies, at least two-three workouts per weeks and enough sleep.

    Of course, it's hard to say how much sleep is "enough" since everybody is different, but we've found that most researchers agree on at least 6-7 hours per day. The interesting part is that more sleep is not always, better. In fact, sleeping more than 9 hours per night is actually more harmful than 5 hours per night.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Sounds like a fun time! I really enjoyed attending a talk by Robin Roberts!

    ReplyDelete
  16. Havent been to these conferences but great read this is.But i know from experience that such gatherings are a lot of fun and worth every minute spent.

    ReplyDelete
  17. I'm hearing that "don't fear failing.. fear not trying" message a lot lately. Perhaps it's time I began listening to it...

    And sleep? What's that?

    ReplyDelete
  18. I loved your post. I actually laughed out loud for real. Usually when I say LOL, I'm not really laughing, but simply acknowledging that something was indeed funny. I actually laughed out loud this time. It's been a long time since I've been to a conference for anything, but I get what you're saying about enthusiasm at conferences. I even got excited about garbage when I went to a conference with my husband. I wasn't supposed to go to the meetings, but I had no interest in going shopping with the wives, so I hung out with hubby. It was oddly fun even though the subject matter was of no real excitement for me.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting, Cranky Fitness readers are the BEST!

Subscribe to comments via RSS

(Note: Older Comment Threads Are Moderated)