Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Why I Need Jillian...

Well, maybe I don't actually need Jillian. I'm pretty sure the whiner in me would come out, and if she didn't completely wash her hands of me, she would kill me on the treadmill. I don't really like to be driven. I don't like to think of myself as a quitter, but I certainly could be in the running as the Excuse Queen.

However, I would definitely benefit from a trainer. I've tried to convince myself over the last few years that I can do this by myself. Actually that's just an excuse to be cheap (so I don't have to pay for one) and lazy (so I can pretend I am pushing myself when I'm just trying hard). The obvious truth is that at the rate I'm going, I will stay where I am; better than when I started but not where I wanted to get to.

Sometimes it takes a smack upside the head to drive a point home. I was watching Extreme Makeover--Weightloss Edition recently. The girl on the show was doing her workouts, but she wasn't losing weight. Chris Powell pointed out she wasn't working hard enough. She would have to do more to get her heart rate up to where it needed to be. It was an uncomfortable truth.

That is me. When I work out on my own I take breaks and I slow down when I get out of breath. But when I go to an exercise class the sweat is running down my face, my hair is soaking wet. The driving beat of the music keeps my speed up, but more importantly the trainer keeps us moving. And of course I'M not going to quit when all those other people are still going.

Group Therapy. And a trainer. That's what I need. But I'm more comfortable staying in my comfort zone.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

My Scale Lies, but Sometimes, I Love It.

So... I get up this morning and I get on the scale. For weeks, months, it has been stuck between 144.5 and 145.5. Nothing makes it move. It just bounces between those two numbers. My Fitness Pal .com promises me I'll be 138.1 or 140.3 in 5 weeks. But nothing changes. 144.5 is my scale's favorite number.

Until this morning. I check the scale and it says 144. That's nice! It's not a big change, but it is a change. I don't believe it. I know when I check it again it will go back to 144.5. (This is part of my morning ritual. Pee, Weigh, Get off the scale and let it reset itself, Weigh again. It either goes up, or maintains it's position.I take the best out of 3. My scale is a fickle beast.)

I re-weigh myself. 143. Huh? Look again. 143! I wait a few minutes and try it again. 143!!!

I don't believe it. I did not behave myself over the weekend, and yesterday I just plain indulged myself. 143? It's lying. Tomorrow, when I check the scales again, it will be back to 144.5. But for today, I see a glimmer of hope.

But it's just a glimmer. I won't except a weight as the real thing until I see it 3 days in a row. Consistency.

It's the key to weight loss. It is also the key to understanding the way my scales work.

They are fickle, but today they made me smile.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Silver Sneakers and Golden Girls

I've developed a problem with my feet. My feet are not my strongest feature. For years I've worn orthotics in my sneakers. I never wear truly flat shoes (like the ones in vogue right now... with all the support of a ballet slipper). I rarely wear sandals, and only for a few hours at a time, like to church or out to dinner. And those heels every one wears on TV. Really? No way. I have flat feet and they tire easily when I am on them for hours at a time. All that being said....

This summer I have added a new problem. I don't know if it is because I am working out more, but the toes next to my big toe have learned how to scream when I've exercised a lot. For years, yoga was not a problem. Suddenly, this summer, after a yoga class I would find I couldn't do my traditional 2 mile walk around the township building. Then one day after an aquatics work out, they said the same thing.... YOOWWWW!

I imagined turf toe. I suspected arthritis. I hoped for a bandaid or toe pad that would make it feel better. What I got was the diagnosis of a 'neuroma', and a cortisone shot. The pain in my toes diminished, but the bruise from the cortisone stayed for days. In a way the good news was that the doctor didn't tell me I had to cut back and stay off my feet. I've worked hard this summer. I don't feel like losing the gain.

But the doctor also said there wasn't too much that could be done. The cortisone was the first step. The verdict is still out as to how much relief it will bring, but it has put a definite crimp in my workouts. Hopefully it will take care of the problem and I can get back to normal.

The rules are simple. Shoes feel best. Slippers even work. Barefeet (Yoga) bring on the pain. Although the doctor didn't feel as if I needed to take it easy on my feet, common sense says cutting back can't hurt, (no pun intended).

I hate getting old. A few years ago I started walking and exercising hard, pelvic tilts were my new focus. I ended up with shooting pains in my butt and down my legs. It felt like electric shock! Fortunately it was short lived. After 2 weeks it stopped. But so had my walking workouts.

Bad ankles, worn out knees, arthritic hips, sore feet. It's a wonder any of us over 50 can get out of bed in the morning, let alone get into an exercise maintenance program. If this keeps up, I'm going to have to head over to the Senior Center and join the Silver Sneakers gals. I'm not ready for that. I may have a lot in common with the Golden Girls, but in my heart I just see the GIRL part.

Until I get up and walk.


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Excuses Don't Net Results

I haven't posted in awhile and I have an excuse. Nothing has happened. Hmmm, what does that mean?

Well, for one, it means I haven't lost any weight.
And it means I haven't been really good about watching those calories.
It also means I haven't been driving myself to work out.

What it means is that when I know I haven't done my best, the easiest thing to do, is not blog. Not think about it. Not own up. Not fess up.

Just get on the scales each morning and see the same number pop up... and know it's the number I've earned.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Keep On Keepin' On

Small steps.

I know what my goal is. To lose weight, to be skinnier (not skinny--old people don't look good skinny. They just look skinny...frail...old), to be fit, to be in good health. It ain't easy and it's not happening fast, but if I look closely, it may actually be happening.

One of the keys to a healthy lifestyle is having a plan. Recently I realized I was trying to do too much. At the end of the week I wanted a break, a day off. I needed to pace myself.

Motivation. I think I did better this week. I didn't do as much, but I carried through better. On Friday morning I got up and headed to the gym for my workout, followed by a 2 mile walk. This morning I got up and headed to the park for a 3 mile walk. I made it through the week with enough motivation to keep going. Small steps.

Energy. I had planned to spend the afternoon reading. But as the day wore on I kept doing tasks; laundry, another coat of paint on a table I'm refinishing, cleaning up a desk, washing out a cupboard... tasks. Trips up and down stairs as I put things away and straightened up little piles that had accumulated through the week. Even that 3 mile walk this morning on a hot and very humid day didn't wear me out. I did read, but I did much more.

Shape. The scales show little difference, but the mirror suddenly does. Today I wore a ribbed tank top that was on the Goodwill pile. It didn't look great, but it did look better than at the begining of the summer and for a long walk on a hot day, it was fine. Small steps.

My body feels tighter. At the end of the day, my gut that looks like I swallowed a balloon in the afternoon, today looked like the balloon had lost a bit of air.

Small Steps.

All I can do is keep on, keepin' on. Someday maybe I'll reach my goal. Thinner. Fitter. Lighter. Hopefully around 130. Keep on....

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Recognizing Progress

I've just gone back and re-read the last several posts. In each one I have lamented problems, admitted excuses, described frustrations and failures, but never recognized progress.

In one, I complained that I had been stuck at 146 lbs. That caught my eye because lately I've been frustrated that I am stuck at ..... 144!

I am not a fast loser. Many years ago I did the Atkins diet. It worked very well for me. I felt good. I lost weight. And I was able to maintain on it for a number of years. (A very frustrating year at work sent me scurrying back to the comfort foods and you can fill in the rest of the story.) Even though Atkins worked well, I lost weight slowly. My saving grace was that I measured and recorded my body each week and I saw progress. But the weight seemed to stay the same until one day several weeks later I would lose 5 pounds. Maybe I had insensitive scales that couldn't pick out small changes, but whatever it was, I learned that I don't lose weight quickly.

If Atkins worked well before and I felt good on it, why am I not doing it now?? Practicality. In Florida where the weather is always warm and fresh produce is available year round, meat, salads and veggies were fine. But now I live in Pittsburgh...the equivalent of Pasta World. Just tonight, we had dinner at a local resturant. I did have the steak salad, no dressing. It was excellent! But my husband had the stuffed shells. IT was to die for! Oh my gosh! I had one bite and wished I had gotten that for dinner. They really know how to make a great red sauce around here!

Enough about food. Talking about food is not conducive to staying on a diet. Back to the topic...recognizing progress.

The whole point of this post is that because I lose weight slowly I feel like I am stuck at a weight forever and that I am not making any progress in spite of all my hard work. The reality is I am making progress. I would love to lose a pound a week, but I'm more likely not to lose anything for a few weeks. I will bounce between a 2 pound difference for days on end, but as long as the bounce is between the weight I feel like I am stuck at (146) and the lower weight that just won't hold for more than a day or two (144), I am making progress.

The next step?? I am hoping to start the bounce between 144 and 143. At first, it will look good. I'll feel like I've made a breakthrough. But after a few weeks, even that step will start to feel like I'm stuck. Will I ever make my goal?

This whole weight loss thing is probably good for developing patience. But so far, that hasn't worked either!

Monday, July 23, 2012

Last Friday, I took off and skipped my favorite yoga class because I was tired after all the classes I attended through the week. This week I was hoping to pace myself better, because the truth is, Friday is not a good day to take off. I don't usually work out over the weekend. THOSE are my days off.

The gym I workout at is a bit unusual. They have classes called TBC for Total Body Conditioning. Their policy is to mix up the workouts each day which means you don't 'go to yoga, M-W-F' or to a cardio class at 10:30 every Tuesday and Thursday. Sometimes yoga means 'yoga flow--a movement class. Sometimes it means Pi-Yo which emphasizes core conditioning. Sometimes it is on Monday, sometimes it is on Tuesday.

The pros of this method is that your body does not develop muscle memory which weakens it's conditioning. (It never learns what to expect.) The difficulty with this system is scheduling. I may have something planned on a day I could really use the yoga class and I may be free on a day when a class I need isn't offered.

Another thing they do that seems new to me, is that at the beginning of each month the routine for each class will be a bit easier as new moves are introduced. By the end of the month the moves are intensified as we grow into them. Muscle memory outfoxed again.

When I first tried attending this gym I was turned off; annoyed that I couldn't get a simple schedule. Over the years, I've learned to embrace the system. I plan to go 3 days a week and I take what is available that day. It is working. Now that I go with the flow, I've learned how much stronger I am getting, and that makes me feel good.

I still like taking Fridays off, though. By the end of the week I'm ready for a day off.

I guess I'm still working on that whole pace thing.