100. And Counting.

100.  I swam 100 lengths of the pool!  A mile and a half.  Three-fifths of the way to my goal of swimming 2.4 miles.  I can’t believe I wasn’t shouting this on Sunday night.  Maybe because my arms were too tired to type?  Anyway, on Sunday after church I went to the pool to swim.  I didn’t have a plan to swim 100 lengths.  I was just going to swim for about an hour I thought.  Or until the pool got crowded and I got irritated.  But I did have in the back of my mind that I needed to take advantage of days when the pool was not busy to get some longer swims in.  And it just turned out that the pool was very quiet that afternoon.  So I just kept swimming and swimming.  And I thought about what a nice even number 100 is (like Mr. Monk–the detective, not the dog!)  It wasn’t really that hard while I was doing it, except I got a little cold.

And of course you know I thought about how fun it would be to write that on my blog.  Which brings me to the other part of this post–counting.  Why do we count?  Why do I count?  I’ve been thinking about this for a couple of months, ever since I stood in the store comparing two bags of baked chips, comparing the calorie count and how many chips you get in a serving.  I mean, I spent a ridiculous amount of time trying to decide which one was a “better deal.”  (side note–the answer is “neither.”  They didn’t even taste like what they were represented as.)

But that set me to thinking about why I count and what I count.  A lot of the time I count to see what I can get away with.  As in, if I am counting calories and I see that I have not reached my daily quota, I am happy that I can eat something else even though I am not hungry.

I count when I am exercising to make sure I “do the right thing.”  Do the number of reps and sets that are recommended.  Sometimes I count so I can brag about it  (see first paragraph.)

I’m not saying counting is bad.  After all, it is the root of the word “accountability.”  (I made that up, but doesn’t’ it seem like counting and accountability are interrelated?)

But sometimes it seems like I swap counting for common sense.  Stop eating when you aren’t hungry.  Exercise hard but don’t injure yourself.  Stuff like that.

I’m probably not going to stop counting.  I like math.  But I am trying to pay a little more attention to what’s behind the numbers.

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14 thoughts on “100. And Counting.

  1. For me, the counting is a part of reaching goals if in a situation where that is the only way to track progress. Sometimes, the counting is simply a way to pass the time if it’s something I don’t particularly WANT to be doing, but find necessary. I do think for us weight conscious folk, there will always be a certain amount of counting. It’s just the way it is. I tried applying this to hiking, an activity I totally LOVE and one of the few things in which I completely lose track of time while doing. HOWEVER, it remains important (and also a safety factor) not to lose track of progress always having a general idea of how far you’ve come and how far you’ve got to go. So technically, you are still counting. (Love posts that make me think – thanks!)

  2. I don’t like math, but some numbers impress me – like doing 100 laps in a swimming pool!!! That is such a fantastic feat and you are right to be extremely proud of yourself for doing it!!

  3. So this is the real issue I have with counting calories: even when I’m not hungry, if I perceive that I have x-amount of calories “left” for the day, I’ll usually eat something anyway. So, so dumb. And that is why I am trying to trust myself more and count calories less, even as I try to lose weight!

  4. Congrats on your 100 lengths. I really applaud you in doing this. I think swimming is the answer for a lot of people. Very good way to get cardio and overall tone with no impact. When you post these, I share them with my husband and he is rooting for you too. He is a swimmer and he knows about dealing with body issues (because he lives with my knees and lower back). Good job. Always glad when you post about swimming.

    I hadn’t thought about the numbers thing. It was interesting to read all that you mentioned. As I applied what you wrote to myself – I work with my habits. And I guess my habits were originally tied to numbers (food). It was thought provoking, glad you posted.

    • My hubby is interested in your times as you swim these long distances. He is NOT expecting you to be fast, he understands, but is still curious. He is looking at the times as dedication and focus.

      • I am a slow swimmer! The 66 laps took about an hour. And the 100 took about 1 1/2 hours. I am working on a few things to increase my speed. Yesterday I did a pool version of Tabata intervals!

      • my hubby said to tell you that you are very consistent.

        When you added more distance, you kept the same pace. And that is a real achievement.

        He said speed will come over time.

        And he said to be very proud of the distance, because that is something most people can’t do.

  5. Wow! You are so awesome, Debby! That is some swim!

    I like numbers and counting. I like to compartmentalize things or group stuff (which really is what counting is anyway). The only thing I don’t like about counting is when I portion out a serving of something and think “that’s it??”

  6. This post really stopped me. Wow. I do this. I eat more when I’m not hungry because I still have calories “left.” I will have to think about this for a while before I say more because this is big.

  7. Kudos on the swimming milestone! That is seriously awesome!

    I’m big on tracking, which means counting, but after my mini-meltdown over a 32-calorie overage a few years ago, I have found a balance between counting and obsessing. Usually. :)

  8. I’m terrible at counting my laps. For some reason I count my strokes, I don’t know why I do this, it’s very annoying. I don’t even think I count all of them I’m just counting away in the silence of swimming. I’m somewhere in the 30s at the end of the pool. I wish I could count the laps, that’s a good measure of how well I’m doing and how much I’m improving. The food counting, that’s another issue I have as well, I spend forever just staring at things comparing. It should be easier.

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