When last I wrote in January I was beginning to experiment with a new running program formerly known as Couch to 5K (now known as Ease into 5K). I found the program interesting and for a while I did OK with it. Then in early December, I took a deep breath, looked at all the holiday events coming up during the month and decided to just leave the gym alone for a while. Trying to force the issue and “just go” after work when it was late at night and I was way too tired only served to make me miserable and guilty. So for the month of December I was persona non grata in the gym.
Even though I was trying from September until December to at least run on the treadmill, it wasn’t enough to maintain the fitness level I had attained over the previous 15 months. While the scale wasn’t moving much my body composition changed A LOT! I lost my muscle tone and my jeans became uncomfortably tight. I am a walking example of what our trainers tell us all the time about the number on the scale. Skinny-fat is the real deal, people! I’m still a size 14 but it is a very different feeling/fitting size 14 (or 12 depending on the jeans) than the one I had back in August and it’s getting worse.
In January, I put an end to all the slacking and finally…FINALLY…went back to the gym and ventured into the weight room for the first time in 3 months. It wasn’t quite the fish-out-of-water feeling but it was close. Not wanting to over-do, I only did 2 sets of 12 reps for the 3 muscle groups I chose to work (chest, shoulders, tris). The most sobering aspect of it all was how low I had to go on the weights. I basically had to start all over again at square one.
I went with less sets and lighter weights because I didn’t want to be immobile the next day. I know that was a good move because I’m old and I didn’t want to risk injury right out of the gate. 🙂 But seriously, it was sobering and even a little humiliating to realize how far I had fallen in 4 months. It took me 15 months to get where I was previously and only 1/3 of that time to lose it all.
I also decided to start all over at Week 1 Day 1 with the 5K running program. It felt pretty easy starting there but just like the weights, I didn’t want to over-do after not running at all for a month and I also didn’t want to discourage myself by trying to pick up where I left off and not be able to do it. I felt it was best to give myself the opportunity to work out and finish strong.
I wish I could say that since January I have progressed steadily along and have made it back to my former weight levels but I can’t. While I have made some advances, I continue to struggle with wanting to be in the gym. Even the Couch 2 5K program isn’t motivating for me. I can’t put my finger on it. I seriously do NOT understand it. The passion for it is just gone.
One thing I am finding a renewed passion for, however, is eating healthy. Both diet and exercise are important for good health but about 80% of the battle is diet. Fueling my renewed interest is a book I recently learned about called It Starts With Food by Dallas & Melissa Hartwig. I am about 2/3 of the way through the book and I am fascinated by the improved health possibilities offered by following their diet regimen called Whole30. Whole30 is designed to be a temporary change in dietary habits (for 30 days) in order to reset your hormonal and digestive health. However, sometimes people stick with it for longer than 30 days because they get such amazing results from following it. I’m not just talking about weight loss either. Their testimonials chronicle reduced or eliminated symptoms from things like chronic fatigue, migraines, Chrohn’s Disease, depression, fibromyalgia, ADHD, MS and so many more.
I think what I’m learning is having muscles and a tight physique are not a big enough motivator for me to make changes in my life in order to obtain them. Neither is trying to gain enough stamina to run a 5K. What got me interested in fitness in the first place was being 42 years old and in the worst health of my life. I felt 82, not 42, and I wanted to have a life. So I made drastic changes to my DIET, and the resulting renewed energy lead me to want to be more fit, too. It was how I FELT physically, not how I LOOKED physically that was my driving motivation.
That being the case I have made a decision to improve how I feel once again. On April 21st I am going to start my first Whole30. I am apprehensive and excited because I know from prior experience with the Master Your Metabolism way of eating that this will be difficult. But I also know from that experience that the results will be WORTH IT and I will FEEL BETTER.
I’ll be honest…I’m waiting till the 21st because I am going to a party on the 20th and the person throwing it is a great cook. 🙂 I want to be able to indulge in all that will be offered and not have to abstain because of my new diet. And this will be more of a “diet” than Master Your Metabolism is. The Whole30 is meant to be temporary. It is designed to help you find what is the optimal way of eating for YOU and it is NOT about weight loss like so many “diets” are. It is about feeling better and achieving optimal health.
Since my blog was such a huge help in keeping me on track and accountable when I did my summer fitness challenge last year, I thought I would use it again to do the same thing during my Whole30. I will be posting statistics again but probably not in the same “no holds barred” fashion I did before. I will also be posting pics but not pics of me. I’ll be posting pics of yummy food instead 🙂
I hope you will come along for the ride to offer your comments and encouragement along the way. I hope during the process or at the end I will find myself wanting to get into the gym regularly again. I also hope that this will inspire others to do the same thing and maybe even take this challenge along with me.
Sunday, August 5, 2012
I’m up 4 lbs from my last weigh-in 2 weeks ago. I’m not surprised by that. In the last week I went on vacation for a few days and for the most part, so did my diet. I allowed myself to eat junk that I don’t normally eat. I still exercised on the days I would normally (Mon & Tues) and even did some activities on my “off” days, but it wasn’t at my normal level. I mentioned in my previous post that I was worried about today’s update because I could tell that I hadn’t lost any weight.
What I am surprised by is my measurements. I’m up in nearly every category.
Here’s how my current measurements compare to last month:
Sunday, July 1, 2012 (4 wks) Sunday, August 5, 2012 (9wks)
BMI: 26.8 BMI: 27.4
Weight: 166 lbs Weight: 170
Upper Arms: R: 11 5/8″ L: 11 6/8″ Upper Arms: R: 11 6/8″ L: 11 7/8″
Fore Arms: R: 9 5/8″ L: 9 7/8″ Fore Arms: R: 9 5/8″ L: 9 6/8″
Chest: 35.5″ Chest: 35 1/4″
Waist: 31.5″ (upper) 33 6/8″ (lower) Waist: 31 3/8″ (upper) 33 5/8″ (lower)
Hips: 43″ Hips: 43 3/8″
Thighs: R: 24″ L: 24.25 Thighs: R: 24 7/8″ L: 24 6/8″
Knees: R: 16.5″ L: 16.25″ Knees: R: 16 1/2″ L: 16 1/2″
Calves: R: 15″ L: 15.25″ Calves: R: 16″ L: 15 3/4″
Could some of these increases be muscle? Possibly. The increase in my upper arms and calves could be muscle. I suppose the increase in my thigh measurement could also be muscle. I did get into a smaller size of jeans this month (pictured below) so I know there have been improvements in my body composition but my BMI number doesn’t show that because my weight went up.
I’m glad I am starting a new routine tomorrow but I wish I felt stronger going into it. I am STILL having trouble with my glutes (especially the right side) after the workout I did with my sister a week ago tomorrow. I am starting to think I’ve irritated a nerve or something because the pain seems to come and go. I really hope it is better tomorrow morning.
I didn’t do very well logging my meals last week….especially over the weekend. Sunday was a bit of a diet disaster. I did well in the morning but for lunch I ate Chinese with a bunch of people from my church. I love Chinese but I feel so bad the next day it’s usually not worth it to eat it, even when I try to order something with veggies and no breading like on Sunday. I was also careful not to eat until I was stuffed. Then dinner was a combination of whatever I could find in the fridge….cucumbers, veggie dip, a small piece of shortcake with butter and crab rangoons. Not a lot of protein there and too many carbs! UGH!! Then I crashed out on the sofa at around 7:30 PM and was out for the night…for the most part. We won’t even talk about the lack of water for the day.
Oh let’s just move on, shall we? One thing I know for certain is without this blog, I would have caved by now. It is knowing that someone might read this and not wanting to write a post that says “I decided to wimp out and not go to the gym today” that has kept me going every day. So thanks for being part of my daily motivation. It means a lot that you’re interested.
MONDAY: Upper Body Day 1 for the week which is chest, shoulders and tris. My workout went so well that I had extra time at the end. Just for my friend, MHH, I got on the treadmill and did 10 minutes of cardio intervals instead of heading out the door. I’m still tight in my right hamstring so I didn’t push it too hard. I’ll throw in more cardio at the end of weight days from now on if I have time at the end like today. I’m still of the mind that strength training is more important than cardio…at least for me…at the moment so I’m not willing to cut out sets in order to make time for cardio every day. But….I won’t slack and blow it off when there is time to get it done.
TUESDAY: Today is an all cardio day. I did the full amount but I decided to take it a little slower today. My right hamstring is better but still wanting to give me grief so I decided it was best not to push it. I went 45 minutes on the treadmill at 3.5 mph. I was able to do that with hardly any tightness in my hamstring until after the workout. Tomorrow is lower body so we’ll see how the hamstring feels on Thursday when I have to do cardio again. It may just be a light cardio week this week.
WEDNESDAY: Another morning thunderstorm at the gym 🙂 Not like the last one…less thunder and lightening. Today was lower body and it all went fine. I didn’t have extra time at the end to get more cardio in today. My right hamstring is still tight but feels a little better. I’ve been in a perpetual state of soreness since I started this new routine. It’s good because it means I’m working my muscles but sometimes it just makes me tired. Today is a tired day.
THURSDAY: What I’m learning this week is that it’s as much psychological as it is physical…maybe more. Not long ago, cardio was my favorite part of working out. I had no problem jumping on the treadmill after 45 minutes of weights and doing 15 minutes or so of cardio. It’s not that I don’t like it anymore but I sure don’t love it like I used to. Since I’ve increased my time to 45 minutes, it’s been a real psychological battle to get through it all. I find myself watching my time a lot. After the first 4 minutes I’m thinking, “Great! I’m 1/10th of the way through this!” At 10 minutes I’m trying to talk myself into switching to a different machine (today it was elliptical to treadmill) at the 25 minute mark. At 20 minutes I’m coaching myself through the next 5. At 25 minutes I’m telling myself to suck it up and stay where I am. At 30 minutes I’m berating myself for not switching. At 35 minutes I’m telling myself that it’s only 10 more minutes. When I get to the end, I’m not sure if I’m more exhausted because of the physical stress or the mental stress!
FRIDAY: Wow….where did the week go? I am amazed to wake and discover it’s Friday already. Today’s workout was “routine,” I guess. Everything went well and I had 10 extra minutes at the end so I did some walking at 3.5 on the treadmill. I met a nice woman who just started coming with her son in the mornings on her way to work. Her son is 11 and he’s a little chubby. I wouldn’t call him obese, exactly, but he does have a weight problem. She said it was his idea to start coming to the gym. She thinks he’s getting teased.
We humans can be so cruel to each other. I was not very nice to some people when I was his age and I had it returned to me in spades in junior high. What a waste of time and energy. I am glad to see this boy reached out to his mom and asked if they could do something constructive about his situation. Too often, kids who are teased or bullied keep their pain hidden inside until it manifests itself in violence against others or themselves (or both). Maybe this little boy’s experience of finding something positive in the gym will allow him to positively motivate someone else down the road who is getting teased about his weight.
This week marks the midway point of my summer workout challenge. Time sure is flying by! I really feel like I have to make the most of these next 6 weeks. I am trying to remind myself that this isn’t about the number on the scale but after last week’s diet disaster, it’s hard not to focus on that. I didn’t set a particular BMI goal level…only to reduce it. If I’m honest with myself I have to admit that what I really want is to be out of the “over weight” category…which will require a 16 lb weight loss. But do I want to focus on that? I know from past experience that if I get fixated on a number on the scale I will not be able to enjoy the progress I do make if I don’t make that one goal. I don’t want to do that to myself. So what is the answer?
MONDAY: Today was chest, shoulders and triceps day. There was nothing really remarkable to speak of during my workout except the gym seemed crowded this morning with 2 other people there besides me. I’ve gotten used to having the place all to myself this early in the morning. I also had a little bit of an issue with my left shoulder but nothing that made me think I should alter my workout in any way. Aside from that, it was fine. My mood and hormones, however, were NOT. I can’t wait for the next couple of days to pass so I can get back to feeling more like myself again. Sometimes it really stinks to be female.
I still have no food in the house so finding a good lunch & dinner today is job #1. I am going grocery shopping tonight so tomorrow will be a better nutrition day.
TUESDAY: I can already feel the hormone fog beginning to lift. It is amazing what hormones can do to how I feel, think and act. I am beginning to get a better perspective on what happened last week and how to move forward from here. It also helps to have a new supply of food in the house to make better choices with.
I did my first 45 minute cardio workout on the treadmill this morning. It has been several weeks since I completed an entire workout on the treadmill. I forgot how hard it is. It amazes me that I can get so breathless and feel so exhausted by the end and I only burned 3 more calories than I do on the elliptical for the same period of time. That just seems patently unfair, doesn’t it? I did go a slightly shorter distance but really it’s basically all the same. Several times I wanted to give up and only go 30 minutes. But instead of doing that I backed my speed down a little bit from 7.0 running to 6.5 running for about 4 or 5 intervals. I also added about 7 seconds to when I switched from walking to running. That seemed to help. At the very least, it allowed me to finish my full workout and not succumb to the difficulty.
I noticed some pretty major tenderness in my upper left back today. I had some shoulder difficulty on the left side on Monday so I wonder if it’s connected. It actually itches it’s so sore and it feels like I got hit with something and there’s a bruise back there.
WEDNESDAY: Today was lower body. Again, nothing remarkable to speak of regarding my workout. The tenderness in my upper left back is still there but better than yesterday. I also feel like I’m walking funny today and I wonder if it has anything to do with yesterday’s treadmill workout. My right foot feels “off.” I can’t put my finger on the problem. It just feels like it doesn’t want to work right and I’m slapping it down on the floor when I walk. It doesn’t hurt but I’m definitely walking funny. Hmmmmm…….Maybe it’s my shoe. I have a pair of Birkenstocks I’ve had for about 6 or 7 years. I LOVE them! I know my feet are smaller (or rather thinner) than they used to be. I have adjusted the straps. Maybe I need to adjust them again. I have one hole left!
THURSDAY: I decided this morning to split my cardio workout between the elliptical and the treadmill. I did the first 25 minutes on the elliptical which was pretty uneventful. I stuck to the 15 minute mile pace (or slightly under). When I switched to the treadmill, however, I encountered problems. First, my left ankle felt like it needed to crack and I couldn’t get it to. I even got off the treadmill for a minute to stretch and still nothing. The sensation made me feel like my footing wasn’t sure. In addition, my right foot was still flapping away on the treadmill whether I was walking or running. I did 2 running intervals and decided that was enough. I walked the rest at a 3.5 pace (approx. 16 min. mile). I still managed to burn a total of 345 calories between the 2 machines but I was unimpressed with my treadmill performance. It was during this ordeal that I realized my foot flopping issue has nothing to do with my Birkenstock shoes (I wasn’t even wearing them!) and EVERYTHING to do with my rapidly tightening right hamstring muscle. My leg doesn’t want to fully extend which causes my foot to “flop” about mid-stride. I guess I need to spend some time doing hamstring stretches tonight.
FRIDAY: I am always glad to get to this point in the week. Workouts on Friday are much more motivational because I know I get 2 days of blissful rest after this. 🙂 Today’s workout went pretty well. I didn’t slack and I tried a new bicep exercise my nephew suggested. It’s called a French Curl. You use a barbell with lighter weight than you would use for a traditional bicep curl and place your hands on the bar palms down. I can already feel some soreness in my arms because I worked muscles that rarely get used. I love trying new things and seeing/feeling the results afterward.
I also want to give a shout out to my friend, MHH from Sustainable Health and Fitness (http://sustainablehf.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/the-journey/) for helping me with my wretched hamstring muscle. She reminded me how to stretch it and I spent about 20 minutes rolling around my living room floor and putting my feet on furniture trying to stretch that sucker back into the proper size. I felt like my leg was slowly shrinking on me! It is MUCH better today and I am grateful. So, thanks, MHH! I love you to pieces! xoxo
I asked at the beginning of this post what the answer was to my dilemma with the scale. The answer is proper perspective. I have to regain the perspective I had at the beginning of this. I know I am making positive progress because I can feel it in my body and others have commented on it. Forward motion…no matter how small…is the goal. Progress….baby steps in the right direction. Any weight lost will result in a lower BMI which is what I want. I might not get out of the overweight category this summer and that’s OK. That doesn’t mean I won’t eventually and when this challenge is over, it gives me something to continue to strive for.
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Up and down the weight roller coaster we go! That “skinny feeling” was no where to be seen this week. I know the reasons, too. They aren’t excuses but facts that made up a week of bad decisions. Bad hormone levels and a mid-week holiday provided an atmosphere for low will power that lead to an entire week of bad eating.
I have been pretty diligent about filling out my food diary on MyFitnessPal.com but not last week. I didn’t even bother with last Sunday because we had a church cook out. No…I didn’t make good decisions about my diet on Sunday. On Monday, my choices weren’t bad, I just ate too much and went 469 calories over my 1540 allotment. Tuesday was a good day. The only day I was legitimately under my allotment. Wednesday…the day started off good. I was in the gym on a holiday! But my lunch and dinner came from 2 different 4th of July parties. Again…I didn’t make good decisions. On Thursday, my husband and I arrived at work to find our office had flooded in a storm on Tuesday night. We spent the day getting it cleaned up and came home to a house without a lot of healthy food in it. I allowed my fatigue from the day to rule and I made a poor choice at dinner and ate 993 calories in that one meal alone. That put me 314 calories over for the day. Friday wasn’t horrible as far as types of food but I still went 336 calories over due to the amount I ate. Yesterday, was OK. I didn’t log all my food but I think I stayed within my allotment or maybe went slightly over but I did a lot of walking with a friend at Frankenmuth so I’m not too concerned about yesterday.
That brings me to the weigh-in today and I knew it wasn’t going to be pretty. I’m honestly surprised I didn’t gain more than 4 lbs. This week was a perfect storm of hormones, holiday parties and unhealthy choices. If we’re honest, we know that we all have weeks like this. The good news is I had my butt in the gym every, single day and I did the workouts without slacking even though I really didn’t want to…especially on Friday. I am going to feel good about that. Not long ago, I would have eaten like this (and then some!) and not done a single physical activity to counter act all those calories. I may still make bad diet decisions occasionally but it is not a constant way of life any more.
It’s a new day in a fresh, new week. I’m looking forward to advancing in my new workout schedule for the month and to seeing progress at the end of this week. No looking back…just moving forward.
This week was the beginning of my new workout for the next month. As you’ll see, I thought I might be taking it too easy at first. But after each day I experienced a decent amount of soreness so I know I’m on the right path and I’m challenging myself sufficiently.
MONDAY: When I sat down last night and determined what my new workout would be for the next 4 weeks I thought I may have been too easy on myself. I thought I’d whip right through it and have plenty of time at the end for 15 minutes of cardio. Looking at it on paper it just didn’t seem like that much. Then I went to the gym this morning and did my first day of upper body (1 of 2 days in my new routine). I added weight to my shoulder butterflies, power clean and tricep kick-backs. I no longer think I’m being too easy on myself! The workout was still approx. 40 to 45 minutes long and not only did I not have time for cardio, the muscles in my arms were quivering when I left the gym. If soreness follows tomorrow, I know I’m on the right path.
TUESDAY: This morning I did my first 45 minutes of cardio and I did it on the elliptical machine again. I didn’t go at the fast pace of 6.4 at all during this workout. The fastest I went was in the low to mid 5’s. I did this on purpose because I was adding an extra 15 minutes and I wanted to be able to finish the workout. I finished and went a total of 3.25 miles so I was still at or under the 15 minute mile pace for all 3 miles. I also burned 376 calories according to the display on the machine. It was hard going for that long. I’m glad it was hard because if it was easy I wouldn’t be challenging myself.
It was also hard to recover from. It’s been 3 hours since I finished and even with coffee, I’m feeling more fatigued than normal. It could be because that lovely female gift is going to arrive again this week. More likely it’s the additional cardio. I also noticed in the middle of my workout my heart rate dropped to 125 and stayed there for a couple minutes before it suddenly popped back up to 172. Not sure what that was all about. I hope it was a glitch in the machine and not in my heart! I have had issues with my heart rate spiking before. I’ll have to keep an eye on that. I am also sore from yesterday’s workout which is a good sign regarding the difficulty level.
WEDNESDAY: Happy Independence Day! It might be a national holiday but I was still in the gym this morning to do my lower body workout. I did sleep in for an hour though so that was nice. 🙂 I have to admit, I’m not really “feeling it” today. I think I might be fighting another cold bug (gggrrrr!). For now I plan to ignore it and go on as usual. I pushed through and got it all done without slacking. I reintroduced myself to pop squats today. My trainer showed these to me a few months ago as part of a cardio workout. They are pretty fun and they really work the thigh muscles.
I plan to spend the rest of the day having some fun in the sun with friends and church family. I will probably indulge in a few treats, too, but I’m not going to worry about it. Life isn’t much fun if we deprive ourselves of treats…especially on holidays. If you’ve worked hard and “earned” the treats, there’s no reason to feel guilty about eating some.
THURSDAY: Today is a cardio day. I started off on the elliptical machine but about 25 minutes into my workout I started getting a twinge in my lower left back in the area known as the sacrum.
Last summer I injured my sacrum by running on uneven pavement. The result was a shooting pain down my left leg that was so intense, I initially thought I had pulled a hamstring muscle. I spent about $130 over the course of a month at the chiropractor fixing the problem and then had to nurse my leg for another month or so afterward. A friend of mine who is a physical therapist showed me an awesome stretch that completed the healing process of my injury. You stand in front of a chair and place your foot in the seat of the chair with your toes toward the back of the chair. Then you turn the foot that is on the floor so your toes point to the side. In this position your feet look like they are making the letter “L.” Then you turn your body in the direction the foot on the floor is pointing and “hang” by bending at the waist and letting your arms dangle. This action stretches the sacrum. It is awesome! I am so grateful to her for showing me this stretch. It made all the difference in the world to my recovery.
When I felt that familiar twinge yesterday, I finished up the minute I was on and then switched to the treadmill for the last 20 minutes of my workout. I’m glad I did because the twinge subsided. It is important to listen when your body speaks so you can avoid injury and a long set-back from reaching your fitness goals.
Over all my workout was pretty good. I haven’t run intervals for a while so it was nice to do something different for cardio. I will likely run intervals again next week on Tuesday and Thursday and give the elliptical a rest for a bit.
FRIDAY: Aahhhh…..Friday! Today I did the second day of my new upper body workout. It went well. I didn’t push too hard doing the barbell curls today. I am doing 2 more biceps exercises than I was doing last month and I didn’t want to push it where weight was concerned. I’ll see how the next week goes and increase it if I don’t seem to be challenged.
I’m not looking forward to my weigh in on Sunday. I indulged on the 4th and that lovely monthly female thing is going to make an appearance this weekend. Along with it will come extra water retention. I think I’ll be riding my 5 lb float in the upward direction this time. We’ll see what Sunday brings.
Sunday, June 24, 2012
Weight: 170 lbs
Yup…you read that right. I GAINED 3 lbs last week. This is my struggle. I gain and lose the same 5 lbs over and over again. I have done this since my weight settled around 165 lbs back in February or March of 2011. I would not be at all surprised to see it come right back off again this week. I guess I’ll find that out when I get to next Sunday.
I don’t think the “getting skinny” feeling I was experiencing last week was a mirage either. There are definitely some changes happening and I’m getting stronger. There is no question about that.
I didn’t spend any time over the last 3 days obsessing over my diet and making sure I get everything entered into my diary on MyFitnessPal every day either. I went “off the grid” and spent the weekend doing something much more important and fulfilling than that.
My family spent the weekend with another family that we have grown to love more and more every time we are with them. God brought 2 of our children together as friends when they met in college a couple of years ago but only recently began to knit the hearts of the adults together. We only met these folks 6 months ago but it feels like we have known them for a lifetime. Have you ever met someone like that?
During this weekend we had the privilege of playing an active roll while God was blessing this family. The interesting thing in being involved in something like that is God also finds ways to bless us when we are helping Him to bless others. The gift doesn’t return void. The blessing for us was in the giving.
Fitness is an important goal and it is good to treat our bodies well and to get into shape so we can be strong and healthy. But it is also important to take time out to nurture relationships and be willing to move when God says He has something He wants us to do. I couldn’t have spent my time any better than how I spent it this weekend.