The Two Step Doesn’t Work

A few weeks ago, I was having a terrible week at work.  I mean the whole thing was just a waste of calendar space.  That Friday, my boss and I were getting coffee at the same time and he asked how my week had gone.  For about a nanosecond, I considered a bald-faced lie. Confession: lying makes me feel light-headed.  At that moment, I hadn’t even had my first cup o’ Joe yet; so, the risk of passing out or something equally as embarrassing was high.  I opted for the truth.  I admitted that had I been unconscious for the week, it might have been worse, but that was probably the only way I would have cratered more effectively.  To my surprise, he laughed.

Now, this is one of the reasons I have come to like and respect this man: after I told him what I had done to address the issue, he took this opportunity to encourage and instruct me.  He took a crappy situation and used it to make me a better agent and a better person.

Three_Is_A_Magic_Number_cHe pointed out that I had done the three things necessary to truly rectify the problem:

  1. identify and acknowledge it,
  2. develop a plan to correct it,
  3. implement the plan.

As a result, my professional life has improved dramatically.  By now you should know that I just cannot leave well enough alone and that my mind draws parallels between things – sometimes even unlikely things – in this case, between my current professional challenge and my personal weight loss one.

I had identified and acknowledged that I had gained weight – step one.  I had developed a plan to correct it – step two.  But, I had yet to fully implement that plan – misstep three.  Without implementation, the first two steps were nothing more than a mental exercise which is great, don’t get me wrong.  But I can do mental push-ups all day long, they ain’t gonna get me back into a size six, you know what I mean?

Step three renewed my zest for exercise which has lead me back into kickboxing.  I do love that and can already feel progress.  I had to lay out of class on Saturday to rest my fussy knee, but I’ll find the right balance there, I’m sure.  Since my son is home from college, I’m doing some weight lifting with him.  That helps me switch it up, keep it interesting, build muscle and respect the knee.  It’s just all around good stuff.

Bottom line: using just two steps doesn’t work.  As it turns out, Schoolhouse Rock was right – three really is a magic number.

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Kicking My Fanny Into Gear…Literally

I’m actually typing this blog with my nose. It is the only part of my body I can control to any degree right now. It is Wednesday night and I am writing my Thursday blog now because I’m fairly certain I won’t be able to do it tomorrow.

For the first time in about 10.5 months, I attended a kickboxing class tonight.  Before my knee surgery, I attended class with Karin’s Kicking Fitness three times a week.  I. LOVED. IT.  The class is hard, hard work if you really get into it.  You can take it easy on yourself if you like and hardly break a sweat, but I don’t.  I work hard and smell like a goat when I leave.  Here’s the thing: if I’m going to take it easy on myself, I’m going to be on the couch and some beer drinking and hockey watching are going to be involved. If I’m going to pay to attend an exercise class, then, by golly, I’m exercising.

left hand and heavy bagMy first class was on Valentine’s Day 2012.  I attended three times a week until late July when I hurt my knee (not in class, by the way).  During those six months, I missed no more than three classes and became a beast!  I was in the best shape of my life, hands down. My core was strong.  I could do push ups on my toes and first two knuckles. Squats, lunges, planks, mountain climbers, boot strappers, burpies – bring ’em on!  While the classes got easier, they were never easy.  Again, I. LOVED. IT.  And I have missed it terribly.

Fast forward now through those lazy 10.5 months of The Great Regain and we get to tonight. I was so excited to be able to go to class.  I had my knee in a brace and, because Karin is a physical therapist assistant who had worked with me during recovery, I was confident that she would watch me to make certain that I didn’t do anything to hurt myself. My confidence was well placed.  She watched me and suggested some adjustments that would give me a good workout, but that would protect that knee.  The workout was hard – harder than I remember.  There were a couple of times when I was afraid I might have to excuse myself to go “call some dinosaurs.”  I managed to hang on, though, and made it through with my dignity mostly intact.

As you decide to exercise, my advice is:

  1. talk to your doctor to make sure your body can handle it – seriously, a heart attack on the treadmill is just a buzzkill for everybody,
  2. consult a professional (a certified personal trainer, if possible) and ask for their help in developing a program that works for you,
  3. DO SOMETHING YOU ENJOY! If you hate it or just tolerate it, you’ll never stick with it.

Tonight, I drove home with my knees, can’t lift my arms and had to pretty much fall out of the car when I arrived at the house.  The four-inch step to the stoop required a Herculean effort.  Thursday, I may have to pay someone to apply my make-up, brush my teeth and do my hair.  Friday, I’ll likely start crying the moment I wake.  Saturday, class is at 8 AM and I’ll be there because, yep, I. LOVE. IT.

First World Exercise

“Kentucky Fried Movie,” “The Meaning of Life,” “The Gods Must Be Crazy” – I can’t remember which movie has a scene showing a person driving down a short driveway solely to get their mail.  Absurd!  Preposterous!  Who would do such a silly thing?!

Friday, I got home earlier than usual and was walking to my car in preparation to drive to the gym to walk on a treadmill.  During the day. When the sun was shining. When the cool temperature held no humidity.  Huh.  I’m a big fan of the absurd – even when the absurd is me.

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Ultimately, I opted to go for a walk in the real world.  It was a trade-off, really.

Treadmill: I would have caught up on some inane television show.

Sidewalk: I was able to review and order my thoughts after a chaotic week. Plus, I saw a bunny!

Treadmill: I would have smelled a whole bunch of sweaty people (including myself).

Sidewalk: I enjoyed the perfume of honeysuckle and privet. The breeze ensured that someone else smelled the invisible goatherder that was apparently walking with me.

Treadmill: I could have stopped anytime I wanted.

Sidewalk: I was forced to cowboy up since there was no one to carry me home.

Treadmill: I would have been listening to my playlist.

Sidewalk: I connected with my world.

Since my bias is so cleverly hidden, I’ll just tell you that the sidewalk was the better route.  I got to enjoy the sunshine, feel the breeze, see where the Walgreens kitty really lives, hear the birds chirping and the leaves tapping together in the wind. I ended up walking 6.2 miles (thank goodness for the Cardio Trainer app on the phone) and I enjoyed all of the 93 minutes…..well, except those last five.

A Calculated Walk in the Park

My exercise yesterday was shopping.  I know.  That doesn’t count.  Actually, it does.  I walked around the store for over 90 minutes.  For 90 minutes I was walking, not sitting,  While it wasn’t strenuous exercise for me, it would have counted had I been at the part; so, it counts when I was in Target.

Now, my walk in the park with the pups on Monday was considerably more strenuous.  We walked 2 miles at 3.7 mph.  Now, you know that math is not my best subject; so, how do I know that’s how fast we walked?  I have an app on my phone called Cardio Trainer.  The free version tracks how far and how fast I go using my phone’s GPS.  It gives me updates along the walk or run to let me know how far I’ve gone.  Using the weight I’ve input, it also tells me how many calories I burned and it equates those calories to something I can relate to.  The walk on Monday burned two pears’ worth of calories!

614501_10151061091178197_789753595_oIt allows me to input all my workouts manually to track everything I do.  It will also keep track of all my walks over time; so, in a month or so, it will tell me how far I’ve walked in total and how that relates to my region.  By the end of summer, I will have walked to Chattanooga and back, two or more miles at a time, without ever leaving home!

Cardio Trainer has an associated food diary app called Noom.  I downloaded that free version last night and will let you know how that goes.

As I told you earlier, I used LoseIt to lose weight before and I’ve been using MyFitnessPal this time.  The more I use MyFitnessPal, the less impressed I am, actually.  The food diary seems really random and disorganized.  That’s such a shame!  I had such high hopes for it.

I know there are tons of these programs out there.  What are you all using and what do you think of it?

Monday Morning Blues

Treble clef bike stand in NashvilleSo, I weighed in this morning expecting at least a pound lost and….no. Nada. Nothing. C’mon!  As long as I’ve been doing this and as many real causes as my mind can give, this still frustrates me, particularly at 5 AM.

I’ve run into this several times during this last couple of years.  Here are some possible culprits:

  1. The fact that I’m a woman in child-bearing years.  Girls, you know what I’m talking about.  Did you know that we can retain as much as nearly five pounds of water? I feel like a camel.
  2. Too much wheat.  My first week at my new job saw me eating about 10 meals of Cheerios and a couple of meals that involved mini bagels.  While my calorie counts were okay, too many of those calories were supplied by wheat.  I don’t know if all the studies are valid; so, I don’t know that wheat causes weight gain.  I just know that, for me, too much wheat makes me feel bloated.
  3. Too much fruit. When I first switched my food choices and when I’ve had to pull myself back onto the wagon, I found that eating a lot of fruit during those first weeks was really helpful with cravings.  I had quite a bit of refined sugar in my diet, which just wreaks havoc with my blood sugar.  To help me stay with healthful food choices, I replaced the refined sugars with fruit, then decreased the amount of fruit to cut overall sugar consumption.  It’s time for me to cut my fruit consumption down to two servings a day.  I’ve seen diet plans that recommend that you not eat apples.  Apples are actually VERY helpful for me.  They are sweet, colorful, crunchy, and full of both fiber and flavor; so, they satisfy my appetite in several ways.  You just have to try it for yourself and see how your body does with them.
  4. No enough exercise.  I have pretty much been wiped out when I get home at night and have not been getting any movement in.  That simply won’t do. For my weight, for my heart, for my muscles, for my bones – I must exercise.

So, what are my solutions and goals for this week?

  1. Nothing much I can do about that whole girl thing but wait it out and drink a lot of water to keep my system flushing.
  2. I have to reduce my wheat intake. This week, I will have no more than two servings of wheat.  I will satisfy my grain requirements with oats, brown rice and quinoa.
  3. I will have no more than two fruit servings per day.
  4. I will get in at least four hours of exercise this week that will include at least five days.

If we are connected on MyFitnessPal, you can hold me accountable for my exercise – and I EXPECT YOU TO! If you don’t see me moving during the week, send me a little nudge.  If we are not connected on MyFitnessPal, why aren’t we? Connect with me and let me know your goals and how you’re doing. Let’s help each other.

The keys to breaking through this stall are:

  1. modify my behavior.  To get different results, I must do different things.
  2. (and this is most important) DO NOT ALLOW OLD, NEGATIVE THINKING PATTERNS TO DEFEAT ME.  

I have been my own worst enemy.  It is long past time I became my own best friend and defender.

Move It

Black Labrador

Our Lab Trey

If you have a fat dog, you’re not getting enough exercise.

Doctors always tell you that to lose weight you have to change your diet AND exercise.  Now, let me let you in on something here: I hate to break a sweat.  Seriously.  Hate. It.  I don’t mind so much once I’m sweaty, but crossing that barrier just grosses me out something awful.  Plus, I would really rather just sit on the couch.  The sitting on the couch routine was killing me; so, it was time to adjust.

The truth is, my Labrador was a little chunky.   So, my exercise started with walking my dogs three times a week.  I started walking for 30 minutes at a moderate pace.  As the days passed, I added distance.  Then I added speed until the pups and I were walking 5 miles in 70 minutes.  The Lab and I were dragging at the end of that.  The Soup Hound was grateful for the warm up.  Nobody likes it when one of the party is that perky after such a workout.

I bought some yoga discs that I did at home once or twice a week.   I started slipping more accidental exercise – parking further from the door, taking my shopping cart all the way back in the store, that sort of thing – nothing particularly strenuous. Before I hurt my knee, I ran one day a week – 2.5 miles on the last time, I went to kickboxing three times a week, I used yard work as exercise one day a week and I went to the batting cages and driving range one day a week.  That day was a light exercise day; but, movement is movement.  It counted and it was fun.

As I told you, after I hurt my  knee, I went sedentary again.  However, I’ve joined one of those 24 gym places now and had my first workout with a trainer.  I couldn’t move afterwards.  It was discouraging.  BUT – I know that as I keep going and keep working, I will see results.

Walking, cycling and using the elliptical machines increase endurance.  Sit-ups, push-ups, and planks strengthen core and upper body.  Squats strengthen legs and rear.  These things will work.  I know they do – they did before.

The biggest challenge then – and now – is making myself go.  I can find a million reasons why I should do something other than exercise.  To be honest, I’m still struggling with that right now as I am more mobile.

What do you use to motivate yourself?