Extreme Motivators for Exercise

blog post exercise

Exercise is important to me and for inspiration, I rely on a number of motivators and role models. I also have some unusual extreme motivators. Why do I call them extreme? Because the imagined scenarios that encourage me to exercise reflect extreme situations.

Confused? Let’s enjoy some herby barley salad with mushrooms while I explain.

First, let’s talk about typical motivators. Whether you’re in a relationship or not, one of the strongest incentives for exercise is looking good. Improved health is another top reason to engage in physical activity. Related to this, you may have a particular medical condition or issue that responds well to exercise. Activity can make you feel better, relieve stiffness and pain (love those endorphins), sleep better, improve your sex life, and even encourage you to eat better.

All of these benefits inspire me to move. If I need extra inspiration, I might think about 80-year-old bodybuilder Ernestine Shepherd. I like the fact that she started exercising at the not so tender age of 56 and worked hard enough to make it into the 2011 Guinness book of world records as the world’s oldest competitive female bodybuilder. Just check out her impressive physique and you’ll find it hard to slouch away from the gym when you’re due for a workout.

Then there’s 66-year-old pole dancer Greta Pontarelli who is a five-time world pole art master’s champion and a former competitor on America Ninja Warriors. And no, it’s not that kind of pole dancing. Check it out.

As Pontarelli says on her Facebook page, she wants to use her art form “to empower others to believe in themselves and to become the best that they can become…and to not let age or any limitation stand in the way of our dreams.”

All fine and good, you’re thinking, but what are the extreme motivators? Dear readers, these are the worst-case scenarios you see in movies and might experience in real life.

For example, after watching a film in which the main character is hanging on to the edge of a building by the sheer strength of his upper body, I vowed to work on pull-ups. This can be a hard exercise for women so I’m focusing on baby steps. I just “hang out” so to speak for a few seconds from a pull-up bar. Eventually I hope to actually pull my body weight up. Because you never know when you might need to hang from a building in order to escape a bad guy or a fire.

And what if you’re in a boat that capsizes? This worst-case scenario was one of the reasons I started taking swimming lessons. Some might be motivated to improve their swimming technique in order to outswim sharks.

Another scenario: attempted mugging or assault. It’s important to know how to punch and in fact, one of my favorite exercises is boxing. I haven’t done it in awhile but it’s not only good for self defense but it’s also a terrific workout and stress reliever. I’ve never tried kickboxing but I think it would work equally as well.

What if you’re in a situation where a harmful gas is released? That aerobic capacity you’ve acquired from swimming could give you enough breath holding power to get out of the vicinity of the toxic fumes.

Tornado coming? Use those strong arms to pull up the door to the underground safe room.

Is the plane you’re on about to make an emergency landing? If you like to sit in the emergency exit row, prepare to use your upper body strength to open the door.

Forced to walk a tightrope by an evil time-traveling sorcerer? Practice those balancing exercises.

Encounter a sketchy drunk who starts following you? Engage those lower body exercise-enhanced and super strong quads to run like the wind.

You get the idea. Just don’t start getting paranoid that all of these worst-case scenarios are going to actually happen. To excel at extreme motivation, you have to walk a fine line between motivation and crippling fear. I know you can do it if you want to.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating and maybe, happy extreme motivation exercising.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Top 10 Dating Obstacles

dating obstacles

If you follow Olympics-related news, you likely read that obstacle course racing may become an Olympic sport.

Coincidentally – and despite having some romance possibilities — I have recently been thinking about dating obstacles.

Let’s ponder this issue while indulging in a lunch fit for an athlete or dater in training.

To appreciate the variety of dating obstacles, it’s worth a quick review of obstacle course racing (OCR).

According to Wikipedia, OCR is “a sport in which a competitor, traveling on foot, must overcome various physical challenges that are in the form of obstacles. Mud and trail runs are combined and the races are designed to result in mental and physical collapse.”

Note the reference to mental and physical collapse, which I bolded. I find this is a good analogy for the mental burnout that can result from the trials of modern dating.

Listed below, for your reading pleasure, sympathy, and empathy are the top 10 online and app dating obstacles:

*Finding someone you like and are attracted to

To do so, you must wade through a series of profiles with awful photos, poor to nonexistent writing skills, and such descriptors as “married” and “God-fearing.”

*Finding someone who also likes you

Hopefully your retooled, now excellent profile and carefully chosen photos serve you well.

*Connecting

Perhaps you view Mr. Z’s profile. Mr. Z then views your profile and photos. Does he write to you? Do you write to him? If neither one of you reaches out – even if someone has “favorited” or “winked” at the other person, call it a lost cause.

*Moving beyond the emails and texts

If you start corresponding with someone, will you get beyond this form of communication? Will you speak on the phone or arrange to meet? Or, will he or you just stop writing?

*Having a phone call

If you end up having a phone conversation, will it be good and balanced or will one of you indulge in a monologue?

*Moving beyond the phone call

Assuming you have a phone conversation, does he initiate an in-person meeting? Do you want to meet him or did he say something that turned you off?

*Scheduling

If an in-person meeting/date is proposed, can you find a day and time to meet? Does he live an hour away? Can you both find a convenient time and location?

*Follow-through and waiting

Perhaps you have a tentative date scheduled but lately he’s been online quite a bit and you start to wonder if the date will be finalized. You worry that he’s window-shopping for his best option (as he sees it).

Do you hang in, keep busy, and keep looking (the old “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” cliché)? This is a particularly challenging obstacle. With any luck, your date will be confirmed and finalized.

*In-person meeting

If you are finally on an in-person meeting/date, is there chemistry and connection? Does he look like his photos? Do you? Is there give and take during the conversation? Flirting? Real listening?

What’s his body language like? Does he dive into inappropriate topics such as the terms of his divorce, previous relationships, or recent surgeries?

Do you want to kiss him? Is he a decent kisser?

*Second date

Was there enough good in the first date to consider a second one? Does he text you after date #1? When/if will he ask you out? Will you go out with him again?

If everything fizzles at this point, and there is no second date, sit down and rest. You may be exhausted from running and leaping over obstacles. But don’t give up. Keep at it.

Eventually (and it might be a long eventually), you’ll ace this almost Olympic event and go on that second, third, fourth, and fifth date….

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

 

 

The Great American Dating Profile

Woman writing her dating profile

Many writers dream that one day they’ll write the great American novel. I dream about writing the great American dating profile. And why not? I have a few writing chops. The question is: Can I translate those skills into the greatest dating profile of all time? Sit with me and let’s discuss over some crostini with pea pesto ricotta spread. Pair with a crisp pinot grigio.

A couple of weeks ago I realized my dating profile needed retooling. I’ve written 4 or 5 different versions of my profile since I started online dating. In some cases, I approached the task as a profile tear down, building it back up in a new way; at other times I did a modest renovation. I like to think that the latest one is always the best so far.

Side note: More minute changes such as updating “last book read” should be done biweekly or monthly. I know from personal experience that when I make a tiny change in my profile (sometimes just changing a comma to a semicolon), the dating bots highlight my effort to their male subscribers and I get an uptick in views and messages. Try it and see if you notice an increase in interest.

I decided it was time for a tear down followed by all new construction. As with most challenges, I began with some quiet thinking time. I asked myself, what are the most important qualities that I seek in a man? I then thought about my attributes. Both inquiries turned into lists. I then reviewed a dating profile of a 60-something woman who had great success with online dating.

It was time for research and my friend Google. You can easily pull up between 5 and 7 million hits by searching for how to write a great dating profile or how to write a great dating profile for a woman.

One of my best resources was actually a scientific study published in 2015 in the British Medical Journal. This study was a meta-analysis, a study of studies, on online dating. My favorite part of the paper, other than the findings, was the Acknowledgements section: The authors would like to thank the potential dates who turned down one of us repeatedly, encouraging us to think about the effectiveness of online dating.

Ha! You’ve got to love scientists with a sense of humor.

This study, combined with several articles, and some reflection on articles and books I’d read in the last couple of years led me to identify some principles of the written portion of good profiles that I wanted to capture in my new version.

Second side note: I’m not focusing on dating profile photos in this blog post, but they are critically important to your dating success. Make sure your main pictures are current and consider having a professional photographer. Read about my photo shoot.

Good Dating Profiles (for women):

*Use a playful, positive screen name. Try to make it similar to the screen names of men you find attractive.

*Pick a screen name that starts with a letter early in the alphabet so it pops up earlier in a dating site search.

*Choose simple language for your headline.

*Your profile should be 70% about you and 30% about your ideal match.

*Emphasize character traits and hobbies that are people and value-centric. Focus on likeability, not academic achievement. (As I had to tell one guy, this is a dating site, not LinkedIn.)

*Use words such as romance, heart, and love (even if love is in reference to an activity you enjoy).

*Show emotional availability.

*Show your passion and what excites you.

*Make your first few sentences stand out.

*I like to have a theme for each profile (e.g., music, cooking, outdoor activities, etc.).

*Men prefer women whose physical fitness activities are yoga, aerobics, and the gym. (Scratch that reference to power lifting – but continue to power lift since men will love the result.)

After internalizing all of these principles, I crafted a new profile and screen name and rotated my primary photo from my last professional shoot.

I’m on several sites so I’ve been working my way through each of them, deleting the old profile and inserting the new one. The sites always take a little time to approve any revisions so each time I update my profile, I patiently wait for my “rebirth.”

The result of my effort? I have received more views and more emails. Unfortunately, it’s not a magic fix.

The key is to have that new and great profile available online when the “one” joins the site or happens to be searching and finds me.

I’m ready to be found.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Resources:

The Daily Beast

British Medical Journal

DoctorNerdLove

Match

Zoosk

Business Insider

Huffington Post

Practical Happiness

 

 

 

Anatomy of a Brief Encounter with a Catfisher

cautious-heart

The Bumble alerts provided the first clue that something might be fishy (as in catfishy) with my new Bumble match. Although his profile said his name was Bill, the alerts referred to him as Evans. I filed that away in my increasingly dating- weary brain while I juggled playing “let’s get to know each other” with impersonating Nancy Drew.

Let’s chow down on some shrimp scampi while reviewing the evidence.

As soon as I matched with Bill last Saturday morning, I followed the Nadia Standard Operating Procedure (NSOP) – a reverse image search of all of his photos on my phone using the Veracity app. There were no matches but that didn’t mean Bill/Evans was legitimate.

We texted and I learned he was a widower. As I’ve written before, catfishers/scammers often say they are widowers. I filed this second piece of evidence away.

After I got another Bumble alert announcing a message from “Evans,” I decided to ask this guy for his last name.

Side note: Lately I have been asking for the last names of any guys I suspect might have a false profile. The men always give me a name (real or not) that I can then research. So far, every suspect dude has turned out to be a scammer that I then report and unmatch.

Dear readers, if you’re unsure about a guy and decide to ask for his last name, here’s a suggested script in case he asks for yours: I’m asking for your last name for safety and security reasons but I don’t give out my last name until after I have met someone in person. If the guy makes it an issue, I say good riddance!

Back to the story: Bill gave me his last name – and it wasn’t Evans. I now had a full name to search. I was particularly motivated since Bill wanted to know what led to my late-in-life divorce. This is not a question to be addressed via text before you have met someone.

I searched Bill’s full name and immediately found his Facebook page – with one of his Bumble profile photos as his main — and only — photo.

Here were the final pieces of incriminating evidence: Bill’s Facebook page was virtually empty except for the one photo, which was loaded a week ago. Where does Bill live? His Bumble profile said Arlington, VA (a suburb not too far from me). Facebook, however, showed his location as San Francisco. The only personal information about Bill was his marital status – widowed — and his employment — “self employed.” There was no mention of the job listed on his Bumble page. Bill had only one Facebook page like – a media company called, Faith, Family America (this would be enough to turn me off regardless of his status as a catfisher).

My work was almost done. I reported Bill to Bumble and unmatched him (after taking a few screen shots of our exchanges to use as notes for this blog post).

It was only 1 in the afternoon but I felt the need for a glass of wine.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

Post-Valentine’s Day Blues

meeting-men-dating-in-a-coffee-shop

Are you feeling the post-Valentine’s Day blues? I am and perhaps it’s because I didn’t follow through on all of my Valentine’s Day Resolutions to meet men in real life.

Let’s enjoy a blues-appropriate lunch of Southwestern black bean quinoa mango medley. Keeping it light for the approaching bikini season.

Oh, yes, those resolutions. I’m afraid I didn’t attempt all of them…and in one case, I tried to game the system by combining three in one day.

Among my resolutions were plans to write in a coffee shop, have dinner at a bar, and go to a “social” grocery store in the evening. As mentioned above, I mistakenly tried to cram all three actions into a single afternoon/early evening.

Here’s how the day went: One Wednesday afternoon, I decided to try writing at a local Starbucks. I arrived about 3:45 p.m. Although there were a couple of solo men working on laptops, the venue was sparsely populated. I selected a table where I could see one of the guys but it was too far away for conversation. Had it been more crowded, it might have been less awkward to sit fairly close to one of the laptop guys. However, it wasn’t a great loss since neither man was age appropriate or particularly attractive.

Since not much was happening in the possible romance department, I decided to focus on writing. This became a challenge in concentration as a man and a woman sat next to me and carried on an annoying conversation. I should have followed the advice of one of my teachers who suggested taking notes on the conversation of strangers in order to improve one’s dialogue writing skills.

Lesson learned: Late afternoon may not be the best time to meet men in a coffee shop—though this could vary depending on the venue.

Continuing my experiment, I walked over to a nearby restaurant/bar with the intention of having a happy hour “dinner.” Although some happy hours are lively at 5 pm, this popular restaurant’s bar area was practically empty when I arrived. A couple of people sat in one of the nearby booths but virtually no one was sitting at the bar. I ordered a drink and appetizer in hopes the venue would fill up but only a small group of work colleagues sat down. I decided to cut my losses and head to the Whole Foods across the way.

Lesson learned: Some bars ARE busy at 5 pm so it makes sense to try different venues at different times and on different days of the week.

It was about 6 pm when I arrived at the Whole Foods. I was a little too buzzed from the afternoon’s competing libations – a Starbucks cappuccino followed by a generously poured glass of wine. Needless to say, I wasn’t in prime flirting form. I failed to go to the produce aisle where imaginary men could ask for my help in selecting vegetables or to the prepared foods counter where more imaginary men could ask if I have ever tried the General Tso’s Vegan Chicken.  Instead, I shopped for things I actually needed or wanted to try (e.g., Halo Top ice cream).

Lesson learned: Don’t do a grocery run when you’re tired or tipsy. Do stroll to the best meeting locations within the store (after you select whatever you really need).

Aside from the 3-in-1 disaster, I made progress on some of the other resolutions: I signed up for a free introduction to improv class to be held this weekend, registered for more meet-up events, and made a resolution action schedule (promptly ignored).

It’s always worth celebrating the small victories. Without my list of resolutions, I might not have done any of these things. Plus the benefits extend beyond possible romance –  friendship opportunities in the meet-ups and improv class and pennies saved via a produce sale at Whole Foods.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

 

The Edge of 65 vs. 17

blog-pix-teenage-girl

As I laughed, cried, and cringed at the follies of high school junior Nadine in The Edge of Seventeen, I wondered why I love movies about the angst of teenage years. I enjoy a good story but could there be other reasons?

I started thinking about similarities between adolescence and single divorced middle age-essence. It must be time for another compare and contrast blog post.  As we ponder this question together, let’s enjoy a riff on a teenager’s lunch: veggie cheeseburger, sweet potato fries, and an adult “to hell with calories” milkshake.

Spoiler alert: I give away some of the plot developments in The Edge of Seventeen so if you’re interested in the film, read this post after you’ve seen it.

*Struggling to Define Yourself

A teenager like Nadine struggles to define herself. She wonders who she is and whether she’s on the right path in life.

A middle-aged single divorced woman also grapples with identity and the transformation that can go along with a major life change. However, with more life experience under her belt, it may be somewhat easier for her to go through this process compared to a teen’s journey.

Rating: Somewhat similar 

*Figuring out Timing and Sex

Nadine stumbles while trying to balance her desires and interest in sex with her need for real connection. Her passion leads to a sticky situation. A middle-aged single divorced woman has similar conflicts though the issue is not whether to lose her virginity but whether she should consider purely sexual relationships or focus on finding her “soul mate.”

Rating: Somewhat similar

*First/Second Date Problems: Nowhere to Go

The car often becomes the go-to make-out venue for a teenager with parents at home. Similarly, single divorced daters who aren’t prepared to indulge in a night of at-home between the sheets passion may find they are in a high school reenactment of lust between the bucket seats. Tip: Always keep breath mints in the car.

Rating: Oddly similar

*The Importance of Girlfriends

Nadine is fairly miserable as a young girl – until she develops a strong friendship with Krista. They become inseparable until Krista starts dating Nadine’s older brother. Nadine can’t accept this development and the friendship suffers. The loss affects Nadine deeply.

For teenage girls and women of all ages, girl/women friends are essential ingredients in the recipe for life happiness.

Rating: Similar

*Dramatic Mood Swings 

The title alone – referencing age 17 – is enough for you to anticipate the main character’s dramatic mood swings, often influenced by hormonal triggers. Single divorced women of a certain age have also been known to experience hormonal shifts and mood swings. It’s part of our fabulous nature.

Rating: Somewhat similar

*Family Challenges

Nadine, like all teens, struggles with her relationship with her family – in this case, her widowed mother and her more popular older brother. Her difficulties are fueled by her search for independence and identity.

Divorced or widowed middle-aged women may have conflicts with their children as they all navigate life following the death or divorce of a spouse. In the case of the divorcee, she also has to contend with her often-difficult relationship with her ex-spouse.

Rating: Similar

*Bold, impetuous Behavior

It’s no surprise that Nadine demonstrates bold, impetuous behavior – it’s one of the hallmarks of the teen years. She takes her mother’s car keys and drives off (without a license) and later accidentally sends a sex-themed text message to her crush.

Bold, impetuous behavior by older women is more likely to be of a positive nature, rather than actions that often seem like a cry for help. The mature woman, for example, might boldly ask a man out – or over – but unless she has been drinking – her actions are more likely to have been carefully thought out.

Rating: More dissimilar than similar 

Can you think of any other teenage vs. middle age comparisons?

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia

Wavering after a Breakup

blog-pix-wavering-after-breakup

We’ve all been there – that limbo place after a relationship has ended but before a new one has yet to be found.

Sometimes our resolve wavers. We wonder: Did I break it off too quickly or without a good enough reason?  Perhaps the question is: Why did he break it off and can we go back to being a “we”?

This is not an easy topic. I recommend indulging in comfort food as we ponder the issue.

Let’s focus on scenario #1 in which you broke off the relationship. Perhaps you had a good four-fifths of a partnership but the other poor quality fifth was too damn important to ignore. That fifth could be a major difference in outlook on life, sexual compatibility, the role of family, or for a certain age group, whether to have children. Whatever the reason, the fact that this aspect of your coupled life was seriously inadequate ate away at you until you finally realized it was time to move on.

So, you broke it off. And it was damn hard because that other four-fifths was good. And nothing is perfect, right? So should you swallow and go back to Mr. Almost Right?

Here’s a suggested game plan for your wavering, quivering heart.

*Recognize that it’s going to take time to heal.

*Remember what it felt like to not have that important one fifth. Ask yourself, “Do I really want to live with that situation?”

*Rely on your trusted friends for companionship, moral support, and a bigger picture outlook

*Revive your independence and explore fulfilling activities that bring you joy.

*Reach out to expand your social network through Meetups, social clubs and activities, online dating sites and apps.

*Reflect on your ideal romantic partnership. Realize that although you can’t have everything, you should strive for having the most important things.

*Restrict any desires to reconnect for at least 6 months. Distance and time will help you to see more clearly.

*Relish a new relationship if you are lucky enough to find one.

*Rev up your support system if the new relationship is short lived.

*Realize that if you are not in a new relationship – and you want to be in one — you are vulnerable to returning to Mr. Almost Right.

You should follow a similar game plan if Mr. Almost Right called it quits. Although you didn’t choose to end the relationship, it’s important to think about what worked and didn’t work from both of your perspectives.

If Mr. Almost Right gave you a reason for the breakup, ask yourself whether the relationship met your needs. As hard as it is, try to critically evaluate your time together. Talk to people, including therapists as needed. Read about relationships. Ask yourself: Are there things you would have done differently?

You can’t make someone love you–or vice versa, but you can learn from a breakup.

Until next week, happy dating or not dating.

XXXOOO

Nadia