Teaching yourself to learn new things

For a while I’ve been not so much avoiding but not enjoying belly-dancing as much.  I started swimming and then with classes and work and part-time work and some stress; perhaps the joy in the dance just sorta waned.  But the other night my joy for the movement and fun returned as I found a new set of moves that I am trying to combine: hip slides AND shimmies*.

Along with trying to layer a handful of other moves on top of shimmies I have been working this week on getting not only my shimmies back up to par after a month away from seriously practicing them; but also I’ve been learning.  I’m learning that sometimes we get bored of the same-old same-old thing.  Even if it is something we love to do.  Or eat.  Or watch.  Or whatever.  Sometimes you need that little bit of “new” to make an old hobby or favorite food have a little “rebirth” in your mind.

For me it was finding out there was a whole world of move layering that I could start working on that revitalized my interest in belly dancing in earnest again.  (Also helps that I haven’t felt like swimming in all this gray weather for some reason!)

On a mostly related note: Last night I did a calorie count-up of what I eat in a day.  Just to spend a moment of curiosity looking at whether keeping away from intense counting of said calories really meant I was somehow allowing myself to overeat with wild abandon or some such nonsense.  Turns out that what I eat in an average day is less that I need even if I were SEDENTARY (by which they mean less than 30 minutes of “moderate” activity a day) to maintain my current weight according to online calorie needs calculators.  Verily, using the measurements given I should (if Energy IN = Energy OUT) be losing a pound every 9 days.  Not even counting the exercise mind you.  Just some more “learning” food for thought there.

So on this morning I say to you: teach yourself to learn something new today.  Whether it is finding that there is a new aspect of your old hobby or trying some new combination of foods just to shake things up a bit or looking at old information that has always just been part of “How Things Work” and reevaluating if those “rules” really apply to real life: you are never too “old” (read: set in the ways of the habitual) to learn something new!

*Oh, for those interested, this is the move I’m talking about:


13 thoughts on “Teaching yourself to learn new things

  1. April, the last time I got caught in a diet trap was because of one of those online food diaries. I started keeping track one day in order to try to reduce my sodium intake because of high blood pressure. Since I was tracking sodium, I decided to track calories as well. I didn’t restrict; I ate whatever and whenever I wanted. On an average day I consume about 1800 calories. That diet diary told me I should be losing about a pound a week. So did I think to myself, “I’m not doing so bad after all”? No, I thought, “It’s not working–maybe I should reduce more.”

    I got all the way down to 1200 calories a day for about six weeks (without losing an ounce, I might add) before I got pissed off and quit. And I gained a pant size almost immediately after quitting. I had also cut my sodium intake in half, which did not affect my blood pressure at all–when combined with my bp meds, it just gave me leg cramps.

    But on the bright side, that was when I truly become committed to FA and decided that hey, maybe I really do know my body better than other people think they do.

    • Fantine what’s sad is that your story is so familiar! So many of us (myself included) don’t trust that “Hey, if I’m doing everything ‘right’ and it is STILL not working; why am I still blaming myself and not the diet concept?!?” Truly, maybe we DO know our bodies better than we think we do…if we’d just stop trying to “control” them and start to live WITH them instead! 🙂

  2. April – How fun!! Thank you for posting this.

    I am a fire-dancer. 6 months ago, I started learning belly-dancing to help be a better performer, and then stopped. You have renewed my interest again.

    Again, let me say I am so proud of you for dancing. I feel it is very important if we are ‘larger than what society accepts’, that we not forget to embrace the ‘woman’ in each of us. Enjoying being a woman is not size related.

    In case you wonder what fire-dancing is:

    (and no, that is not me)

    • Veronica one of my friends spins fire and also started some bellydance (or maybe the dance came first?) but I know she definitely combines the two in great ways 🙂 I’m thrilled to inspire renewed interest! Indeed “Enjoying being a woman is not size related”. Maybe even a good logo for a t-shirt?

  3. I’m an avid baker, but I was startled the other day to realize I was making my first tart of the entire year! I’d been baking more cakes and breads for a while, and it felt wonderful to be rolling out pie crust again.

    Oh, and the tart was incredible. Nectarine/raspberry on a bed of cinnamon creme fraiche with a bittersweet chocolate drizzle. Yum.

    Also, after a hiatus of more than a year, I’m writing fiction again. It feels wonderful.

    As for physical movement, Mr. Twistie and I are going to spend much of this summer fixing up the garage turning it into a combination laundry room/office for me. I can’t wait to learn how to hang drywall! If the time and money holds out, we’re also going to build a deck off the back of the house.

    • Twistie I’m glad you’re writing again and the tart sounds fab 🙂 Good luck with the drywall hanging. Oh, and a deck would totally be the perfect place to taste that awesome-sounding tart of yours!! 😉

  4. Hiya! How the heck do you get that shimmy going? I think I’m too uncoordinated. But maybe learning how to do it would help my coordination? Curiouser and curiouser.

    And that calorie-counting crap? Don’t do it. It’s from the devil.

    • Hi Kathy! I forgot to mention that the ladies in the video aren’t me!! But as to the shimmy I do bend my knees and keep my feet flat on the floor and just start slow and (as they do in some of their other videos on shimmies) build up speed a bit at a time. Then I’m trying to slowly learn how keep that shimmy while moving in a slow hip slide. I’ve been practicing a bit. When I have it more I’ll do up my own video to share! It might help with balance but individual results may vary of course! I just find it fun and thinking about it; I do feel a bit more centered when I get “up to speed” with a good shimmy. That’s how I can feel that it is going well? I don’t feel like I’m about to fall over is what I’m saying! 🙂 Not sure if that helped…

  5. Indeed, no calorie counting, that is on the road to hell; in fact, I think it is what the road is paved with. It is nearly impossible to consciously keep track of what you eat without falling into the diet mentality. Also, as we know by now, the whole calories in-calories out thing is nothing but BS. What & how much we eat has very little to do with the size of our bodies; there are people not much more than half my size who regularly eat twice as much as I do & others who are twice my size who regularly eat about half what I do. Your body will be the size & shape it is supposed to be &, yes, they have indeed pretty much determined that, for purposes of whatever health benefits exercise can offer, 20-30 minutes daily is all that can be shown to be beneficial. As a recovering exercise addict & an aging disabled woman with increasing mobility issues, it is reassuring to know that. I also know that I personally cannot feel at home in my body & stay a good fat activist if I track what I eat.

    As for the belly dancing, I have always wished that my CP had not deprived me of ANY agility, coordination, balance, so that I could do anything at all athletic, be able to dance, or whatever, but that is not the case. Enjoy & appreciate all the things your body can do & please don’t take them for granted; even if you are not born with a disability, you can develop one at any time. I am glad that you have found way of moving you love, April. You are very exuberant, warm, & joyful & I hope that the world never takes that from you.

    • ((Patsy)) Thank you. I do in deed feel blessed for what I am able to do; regardless of what limitations I already have. And I hope I will still count those blessings as time passes and those limitations increase. And calorie counting, I had done it for so long I could pretty much list the WW points conversions at one point on command. That time in my life has passed (though I was amazing just in the course of my curiosity experiment last night just how MUCH I still remember! *shudder* So much time and brain power, wasted). I have so much better things to spend my time on. Like conversing with the wonderful folks who stop by here and working on getting that shimmy to continue while doing a hip slide! 😀

  6. It is amazing to realize how conditioned we all our in this culture, women in particular, that even someone like me will myself thinking of the approximate calorie count of something I am eating just in passing. They make it nearly impossible NOT to know these days; I liked it better when everything was not labeled to within an inch of its life.

  7. I find it interesting how we allow ourselves to be labeled according to other people’s expectations. Fat? According to who? What we view as “fat” today, our grandmas thought of as “healthy” in the wee ole’ days.
    We are humans and that makes us amazing creations, regardless of the size/shape/color.
    Kudos to you for loving your body.

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