Interested in hearing what goes on in the mind of a life coach/aerobics instructor? While it can be a bizarre place, it's always entertaining...mostly at my expense. Witness my struggle/dance/frustration/celebration with change as I stray out of my comfort zone and encounter other brave and interesting souls along the way.

Friday, May 28, 2004

What's Your Excuse? #2--I'm Not Athletic

I know that many people loathe Nike, but I think they have one of the best mission statements around: "To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete* in the world." *-If you have a body, you are an athlete."

So for those of you who don't belive you are "athletic," here are a few questions:

1) Can you define athletic?
2) Athletes are always... (fill in the blank)
3) I can never be athletic because...

Take your time. Mull it over. I admit I'm fading (rough one last night). I will elaborate more on this tomorrow. So think about your answers. Sleep on it and check back in with me tomorrow.


The Odyssey #6--The One Benefit of the Low-Rise Pant Trend

Did I already mention that I have gained about 5 pounds since moving from northern to southern California 2 months ago? Note that one of the biggest motivators behind the move was the desire to spend more time with my family. However, I've noticed that one of our FAVORITE things to do is eat. And today was no different. In fact, well let me just put it this way...China Buffet. The last word alone says it all. To my credit, I didn't get too carried away and was able to leave the restaurant under my own power. Still, I was ever so thankful that I had the foresight to wear low rise jeans.

I feel like my eating habits are a bit out of control. But how can I turn down a second helping of my mom's home cooking??? Or what about the desserts I cook for my family because I know they love them. Am I really baking for them, or is that just an excuse so I can eat choclate mousse, apple pie, or raspberry crumb cake?

Well, my folks are on their way to France for 3 weeks, so I will use that time to establish good habits again and formulate the nerve to keep it up. This will be a true test...wish me luck!

Thursday, May 27, 2004

The Odyssey #5 (Conflict Negotiation)

Oh the struggle to get out of bed in the morning! Have you ever hit the snooze button and ended up getting TOO MUCH sleep? When that happens, I often fall into a restless slumber filled with dreams about me standing naked in a church while Donna Summer washes the stained glass windows and all of my old bosses stand in a group, laughing loudly in the corner. Or somthing like that. This morning was no exception except I think it was Mel Gibson in a courthouse and I woke in a puddle of drool with horrendous bedhead. Then began the real struggle. To run or not to run? The blisters from that Cardio Torture class had not yet fully healed. And I felt sluggish with a capital S. It became a matter of intense negotiation with myself, much like talking a jumper down off the roof of a high rise. "Just get dressed as if you were going to go running and see how you feel then." Then 5 minutes later as I, in all my bedheaded glory, jogged past the teenagers arriving en masse to the high school, "Just run for ten minutes and then you can turn around a go home." And again, maybe 8 minutes later, "This isn't so bad. OK, just run to the creek and back." And on and on like that until I returned home about 40 minutes later, feeling clear-headed and energetic. And I can report at 7pm that I had a most productive day! So who's ready to shoot me?

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Odyssey #4--The Agony of De-Feet

Cardio Fusion. Those 2 words now conjure up so many images in my mind after taking yesterday's class: the awkward pre-class feeling of being the odd man out, surrounded by a swirl of conversations centered on people and events I had no knowledge of; the utter buoyancy of the instructor who seemed to float independent of gravity; the comedy of my confusion during the latter part of class where the instructor threw in some "old" material that was painfully new to me; the sudden knowing that I would have some HUGE blisters on my feet before all was said and done.

Yet, by the time class ended and I had "survived" I had earned the respect of the regulars (one woman high-fived me, another chatted graciously with me in the sauna), the sympathy of the instructor (he apologized for the fast pace and thanked me for being fun anyway), and if I didn't exactly boost my own confidence, I had the satisfaction in knowing that dammit, I made it to that class despite the inner working of my mind which had tried so hard to keep me at home. Blisters aside, I have to see this as some sort of success.

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

The Odyssey #3--Must...Fight...Urge...To...Watch...Emeril

I told myself yesterday that I would take a Cardio Fusion class tonight at 5:30pm. I was actually kind of excited about it, even though I suspect that anything with the words "cardio" and "fusion" slapped together might be hazardous to my health. How about a little Asian Fusion instead? Nevermind.

Well look, it's only 2:50pm and I just heard the faintest whisper, suggesting to blow the class off. Wouldn't it be nicer to stay home and vegetate while watching the Food Network? Hmmmm?

No! Must fight evil voices. Must get my butt out of the house! 90 minutes before I have to leave and I am afraid that I might still talk myself out of it. Gulp.

Monday, May 24, 2004

The Odyssey #2--Wake Up Call

Ugh. I had an appointment at 7am this morning. (The drawback of working with folks who live several time zones away!) To prepare, I dragged my butt out of bed around 6am and went for a short run, maybe 3 miles. I took it easy because it was my first time running since I mildly twisted my ankle two minutes and thirty seconds into a run last Thursday. The old me would have continued running on the injured ankle, thus assuring that I would not be able to walk the next day. The new me took it as a sign and dutifully limped home. Progress! So back to this morning...I have to say that it was nice. No traffic, rabbits and squirrels running everywhere, dogs barking vigorously at their gates. By the time I reached my appointment, I was wide awake and energized. And thank God I didn't let myself off the hook because it has been an extremely long day (note the time of this post.) A rough, or should I say, sluggish start that nevertheless propelled me through another Monday.

Sunday, May 23, 2004

The Odyssey #1

What a heavy title to burden myself with! But the journey to stay healthy can often take on epic proportions. I am going to chronicle my quest to stay fit under this title. Witness my battle with the elements, my diet, and the local gym.

A little background: I have always enjoyed being fit and am grateful that working up a good sweat is fun for me. I taught group exercise (step, kickboxing, cycling, body sculpting) for more than 12 years and have only recently given that up. In short, this is the first time in my adult life that I might have to actually pay for a gym membership. This is daunting. I also had a short bout with bulimia back when I was in college (nearly 20 years ago) so food and I have a tenuous relationship.

My goals for the remainder of 2004: stay fit without having to teach 12+ classes a week, try not to over-eat (I have gained 4 pounds since I stopped teaching classes and moved to LA in April), possibly train for the Honolulu Marathon in early December.

Wish me luck or witness my struggle. It's your call.

What's Your Excuse? #1--I Hate Exercise!

You're perfectly welcome not to love it. Look at the intimidating atmosphere that some gyms can inflict on us. Loud music, unwritten etiquette rules, impossibly fit co-eds, and mirrors...mirrors everywhere! Or how about the egos that many professional athletes display? It sort of takes the fun out of recreation for the rest of us when the notion that "winning is everything" is blasted loud and clear. Or maybe you had a traumatic kickball or tennis experience as a kid. (Who didn't?) But isn't hate a strong word? How about dislike? I'll even let you have "I strongly dislike exercise."

If you employ this Excuse then here is a short exercise. Write a list of 50 things you dislike about exercise. Have fun with it! (sweat, my two left feet, that perky aerobics instructor, grass stains, sheer boredom, etc.) Next, write a list of 50 things you LIKE about exercise. Impossible, you say? C'mon now, I don't think you're trying. Here are a few to get you started: walking on a beautiful spring day, playing with my grandkids, sleeping better, getting to eat dessert and not feel guilty, playing frisbee, swimming in Hawaii, being a great role model for my kids. Keep writing until you get 50 things. Ask others for help if you must.

Now, look at both lists and try to see how you can accomplish what you like about exercise, while avoiding what you dislike. Hate to sweat, but like swimming in the ocean? Move to Hawaii! OK, just kidding. But how about swimming in general then? Wow, and what about promising yourself a trip to Hawaii if you can get into a regular swimming routine and maintain it for 6 months? Can you say, "Mele Kalikimaka"? That's "Merry Christmas" in Hawaiian! I'm thinking big here. Or can't stand that aerobics instructor (I can keep saying that, because I am one, you know) but still like the social aspect of group activity. Poke around. Look for groups of people that meet to take walks at lunchtime, practice tai chi in the park, or train together for a run/walk/bike ride to raise money for breast cancer or AIDS foundations. They're out there, but you have to open your eyes and look.

Write "I love what exercise does for my body, mind, and spirit" on an index card and post it on your bathroom mirror. Say it to yourself at least 5 times a day. Still find yourself hating exercise? Then maybe you haven't hit on the right approach for you. Keep reading about other Excuses and see if they apply to you as well. Think this whole thing is bogus or a waste of time? Email me and tell me why.

Happy trails!

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Diet Another Day

It's coming! I will add a new series of musings to the blog very soon on diet and exercise. Witness my struggle to maintain a healthy weight. (This will greatly amuse those of you who know me best at the take-no-prisoners cycling instructor.) Also, if these thoughts have ever flown through your mind...

1. I hate to exercise.
2. I'm addicted to fast food.
3. I have no will power.
4. Food is love.
5. We're all going to die, so what's the point? will find sometimes good company, other times a slap in the face. Plus delve into the mystery of what's good for us (does anyone REALLY know?), the difference between the diet "flavor of the month," and other fun (haha) stuff.

It's on my mind. My personal vision is to change the way America thinks about food and exercise. A daunting task, you'll agree. Impossible? Once again, I urge you to read the title of this blog.

LA Story: Troubled Waters

I have to admit it...I do not love the taste of the tap water here in LA. As I stand at the kitchen sink, contemplating a glass, I can't help think of the aquaduct that snakes its way down California. If you've ever done the road trip along the barren I-5 corridor you have seen this canal next to billboards that say something like, "Produce grows where water flows." Kind of catchy, but a little like the friend who always tries to put a positive spin on situations, like, oh say, dropping your sandwich on the floor (The 5-second rule or even better, "Dirt's good for you.") Despite the slogan, every time I take a sip of water here in the Southland, I see that billboard superimposed on an image of the cattle yards at Coalinga. OK, maybe not every time. But still, it's not a pretty sight.

Am I a water snob--the equivalent of a foodie, but purely in a h2o sense, doomed to wrestle with those huge water cooler jugs and pallets of smaller versions from Costco? Nah. Iced tea, anyone?

Friday, May 21, 2004

Hi. Can I Speak to Ms. Nahsheyeda, Please?

I am disturbed to hear that someone, somewhere is planning to publish a directory of cell phone numbers! Is there no mercy in this world? Get set for cellular spam messages and that perfectly timed telemarketing call, poised for just the right moment. Expecting a call from your pregnant wife, signalling the dash for the hospital? Negotiating a one-lane bridge on the road to Hana? Slipping into something more comfortable? Isn't that the PERFECT time to hear about the top 3 reasons why you should switch your phone service to XYZ Wireless? Ugh! And who's going to pay for those minutes? This idea just seems so wrong, so very, very wrong.

BTW, for those of you who are trying to make heads or tails out of the above title, that's how most telemarketers pronouce my last name. It's Nishida. That's knee-she-da. Thank you.

Thursday, May 20, 2004


OK, OK, so I haven't blogged in quite a while. Chalk it up to blogger's block. Well that and let's see, 4 year old's birthday party at Disneyland, unfortunate yoga class, Korean dinner, banking hell, pre-production video meeting, checking out local gyms, masochistic bike ride, twisted ankle, rabid dogs, pigs flying....Not a very convincing argument is it?

I will say that developing a new habit can be a struggle. Falling out of the habit is, unfortunately, a snap. Now what? A deep breath and a glance up at the title of this blog once more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Lessons Learned from a 4-Year Old

Today is my nephew, Colton's, fourth birthday...what a whirlwind. That kid completely personifies living in the moment. He puts his full attention and effort on whatever he is doing: eating, playing, sleeping. And he is an intensely curious individual. What a great role model!

Lessons I learned from a 4-year old: put your heart into everything you do; appreciate the little things (did you know that old cardboard makes great cargo for a dump truck?); don't be afraid to ask questions (over and over and over again); believe that you deserve all the love in the world and are worth every bit of it; sleep like a rock so you can start all over again tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Ice Cream Would Be More Fun

OK, I've got major brain freeze today. I am working on setting up key aspects of my business and it's all so new to me. It gets to the point where I feel like I've got the worst ice cream headache. A fellow coach cheerfully suggested a mantra to chant during those moments when I contemplate pulling my hair out by the roots, "I enjoy the wonder of uncertainty." Try saying that 15 times without laughing your head off. Enjoy uncertainty? Me? As a recovering control freak, I must admit that uncertainty and I have never been close. We are on nodding terms at best. And then I glance up at the new title of my blog. Haha. What was I thinking when I borrowed that quote from Mary Shelley? OK, OK. Let me take a deep breath and try it again. "I enjoy the wonder of uncertainty. The beginning is always today. I enjoy the wonder of uncertainty. All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy..." Ohmigod, brain freeze!

Monday, May 10, 2004

C'mon? Is It Really THAT Difficult?

It seems there is a city in Florida whose city council voted to change a street name after Martin Luther King, Jr. However, the newly posted signs apparently created this huge brouhaha and the issue divided the citizenry. Now the city council is voting again and it appears they will vote to repeal the earlier decision.

OK, I am not going to get started on the issue of racism. But can I just mention that many of those who own businesses on the street in question use this as an argument against honoring Dr. King in this way, "It's too hard to change the address on our stationary." Really?

Yes, I realize that I just balked (a bit) in my previous post about the changes on my blogging tool, but "It's too hard to change our address on our stationary???" Even if that was their final answer (does anyone still watch that show?), how can they not be embarrassed to admit it?

Have you ever missed out on something really great because you were unwilling to make the changes necessary to move forward? What did it cost you? Just something to think about.

Brave New Blog

Whoa. Just logged on to update the blog and lo and behold, my blog tool is updated with a spiffy new look. Very inspiring how change is all around me these days. But of course, with change (which we often resist), comes the challenge of the unknown. Will I still know how to post my message? What are all the new dohickeys up above and what do they do? Well, let's take this thing for a spin...

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Thoughts from Dyer, Ford, and Kiyosaki

"Change the way you look at things, and the things you look at change." Dr. Wayne Dyer says this many times in his bestselling book, "The Power of Intention." For those of you who are saying, "huh?" take the time to go back and read that sentence again. At a simplistic level, it's about your attitude. Kind of the glass half empty vs. half-full thing. (I once heard the story of the man who said that his glass was neither half full nor half empty, but completely full! Half is filled with liquid and the other half with air. Talk about an optimist to the nth degree!) Dr. Dyer talks a lot about how your intentions, more than anything, influence your life. If your thoughts dwell in the land of failure, you're not likely to pull yourself out. Decades earlier, Henry Ford said something like, "Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right." Lastly, Robert Kiyosaki says in "Rich Dad, Poor Dad," (also a bestseller) that people who are rich, believe they are rich even when they clearly aren't. "There is a difference between being poor and being broke. Broke is temporary, and poor is eternal." Believe you are poor and you put out the intention that you wish to remain so.

What intentions or attitudes could use a tune-up today?

Friday, May 07, 2004

Mental Diva

This will amuse those who knew me in my former incarnation as an aerobics instructor/director to no end. You must understand that I have taught classes for over 12 years and that, until now, I have never gone more than a couple of weeks without setting foot in a studio with a sprung wood floor, floor-to-ceiling mirrors, and the thumping bass of (some would say) annoyingly cheerful music rattling the walls. In my defense, I can at least say that I do not fit the description of the typical aerobics instructor. In many cases, I would say, that I am the black sheep of the group exercise family. ANYWAY...I finally broke down and took a step class at the local gym. What might have been an enjoyable workout was spoiled by my inability to turn off the mind of the exalted, holier-than-thou, mighty Group Ex. Director. That poor instructor had no idea that I was mentally picking him apart and having him for dinner. He wasn't the worst instructor I had ever seen and most of the other people in class seemed to be having a decent time, although they did look rather grim. But, whooeee, I would say that he had a lot to learn but that he was alarmingly clueless to the fact that he had A LOT to learn.

This is part of the painful transition. How to leave behind the glamorous life of the diva instructor? How do I gracefully become a face in the crowd? This is my learn to let it go, for chrissake!

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Silicone Valley

Every once in a while, I pause to consider the multiple differences between Southern and Northern California. I feel that I am uniquely qualified to do so since I have lived an almost equal amount of time in both places and I have much affection for both the Bay Area and the Southland. I don't have much patience for folks who speak only in generalities about whole regions of the country or who are cursorily dismissive of a city without experiencing all it has to offer. As I prepared to leave Berkeley and told others of my intentions, I heard much LA-bashing. One women simply grimaced and said, "What a wasteland!"

Ah well, everyone has their opinion, of course. However, I personally delight in both places and also have criticisms for both. Note that I am not here to compile a list of complaints, but merely want to chronicle my observances of LA now that I am the prodigal daughter, come home.

On that note, can I just say, "breasts." I spent much of the weekend in Orange County and could not help but notice them wherever I went. And I'm not talking about what nature intended, but those obvious implants that hover here and there, defying gravity and crying out for attention. And again, I'm not criticizing. I'm not judging these women for their choices. Really. I'm just saying that I don't remember seeing so many of them in the Bay Area. Think of me as a child, looking everywhere with wide-eyed wonder and seeing...towering palm trees, immaculate city sidewalks, implants. The world is a strange and fascinating place.

Wednesday, May 05, 2004

Missouri or Bust

I just read an article today about a man who went through most of his life with the reading skills of a first grader. He dropped out of high school in his senior year, making it that far with the help of friends and relatives. At one point, he described a misguided road trip with 2 other friends, both of whom were also illiterate. They saw a sign in Los Angeles that they thought said St. Louis and decided to head for Missouri (hmmm, I'm wondering how good their geography skills were). Imagine their surprise when they found themselves crossing the border into Mexico! Eventually he became a drug dealer because, he said, you only needed to know how to count, and landed in prison for many years.

Why am I retelling this man's story? Because instead of spiraling into a life of crime and despair, this man worked up the nerve to walk into a public library at the age of 44 and learn how to read. I find that kind of courage so inspiring and it makes me examine my own life. What assumptions do I make about my life that are just that...assumptions? If a former drug dealer can learn to read, what possibilities are out there for the rest of us? Oops. I think I need to sit down. My head is spinning!

Monday, May 03, 2004

Death by Dodgeball

I don't know why, but the above title has been stuck in my head for several days now. I think I might use that as the name of my memoirs or at the very least, a new blog. Maybe this has to do with the natural feelings of nostalgia I feel now that I am living in the neighborhood where I grew up. And not to say that I was traumatized by the playground as a child. I LOVED dodgeball! I excelled at the dodging more than the throwing. What good training experience for life; run from the axe as long as possible and watch your friends and enemies alike get mowed down by uncontrollable forces. The last one standing, wins. Ah, what a cruel game. But yet, as we get older, many of us don't seem to become wiser since the corporate boardroom often mimics recess. Look out, behind you! Duck!

Sunday, May 02, 2004

Generation Gap

I was playing a word game with my mom the other day and it's got all kinds of crazy tasks like anagrams or that category on Jeopardy, "Things that begin with the letter S." (For "body part" my mom wrote "shin" and all I could come up with was "sphincter.") And BTW, these tasks all have a time limit. We were on "things that begin with the letter P" and had to come up with a Shakespearan character, gem or mineral, nautical term, hockey player, singer, etc. Well the nearly 30 years separating us became quite apparent when we read off our answers.

Question: "Singer beginning with the letter P." Mom: Pat Boone. Daughter: "Puff Daddy."