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Mission Accomplished

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The summer has gone by quickly and my challenge has ended. At the beginning I stated my goal as follows:

My challenge is to be in the gym every morning before work Monday through Friday. The only reason I won’t be in the gym is if I’m too sick to be there. Otherwise, no excuses. My goal is to gain more muscle mass, shed more fat and reduce my BMI.

I was in the gym every, single morning this summer except for when I traveled for and was on my vacation. While I battled a couple of “bugs,” none of them were ever bad enough to keep me out of the gym. I did gain more muscle and shed fat. I also reduced my BMI. MISSION ACCOMPLISHED!!

I’m glad I said early on that I wasn’t going to focus on the number on the scale or set a specific weight goal for myself. Even without that goal, I was frustrated numerous times by the scale. I worked harder in this last week than I ever have in the gym and the scale didn’t budge. I weighed in this morning at 166 lbs. That has been my weight for the last 2 weeks…even during the week of crazy hormones.

But the rubber met the road when I measured. There were a couple of areas that didn’t change much or actually got slightly larger. Where I found the biggest improvement was in my abdomen. I lost 4 inches around the lower part of my waist. I lost nearly an inch in the upper part. You’d have to see my abdomen to understand the size differences (and no, I’m not posting pics of that…sorry) between my “upper” waist where the curves are and my “lower” waist where my belly button is (and where the waist in the style of today’s jeans sits). I can visually see the difference in my abs since before I started. That alone was reward for all the hard work I put in this summer.

Here are my final stats as measured this morning and compared to June 3:

September 2, 2012                                                    June 3, 2012

Weight: 166 Lbs                                                          168 lbs

BMI: 26.8                                                                       27.1

Upper Arms: L 11 5/8 R 11 1/2                             L 12 1/4 R 12 1/4

Forearms: L 9 7/8 R 9 7/8                                     L 9 7/8 R 9 5/8

Chest: 34 7/8                                                               35 6/8

Waist: (lower) 32 (upper) 30 7/8                       (lower) 36 (upper) 31 3/4

Hips: 42 7/8                                                                 43 7/8

Thighs: L 24 3/8 R 24 7/8                                      L 24 3/4 R 24 3/4

Knees: L 16 1/4 R 16 1/8                                         L 16 R 16 1/2

Calves: L 15 3/8 R 15 5/8                                       L 15 1/2 R 15 1/2

I want to thank God for helping me do this. I talked to Him a lot in the gym and throughout this journey. I am so grateful to have the Lord in my life, not just for times like this but always…no matter the circumstance…no matter the significance…He is my Rock and my Salvation every single day of my life and without Him I can do nothing.

Next I want to thank my friends and my family whose support and encouragement have meant the world to me. I love you all. Thank you to those of you who have told me you’ve read my blog. It is always humbling…and a little embarrassing…to know you’ve read it because I’ve been pretty detailed and honest in the things I’ve talked about here. But the support you give me in telling me you read it is something so wonderful. You will never know how very much it has meant to me.

Finally, I want to thank my readers & subscribers. I don’t know who most of you are but your numbers show up in my stats on WordPress so I know my blog is being read by others. The kind comments and encouragement I have received from total strangers is so amazing to me. Knowing that you are even interested in what this average woman in her 40’s decided to do with her summer is overwhelming. Thank you for your interest.

I haven’t decided what to do with my blog now that my summer challenge is over. My journey certainly hasn’t ended. I will still be in the gym every week but not with the intensity I was this summer. I will be “striving for fitness” for the rest of my life. I may continue to use this blog to document my ongoing journey.

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Weight Update 7.0

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Weight:  167
No change.  I did better on my calories this week, too.  I was only over on 2 days and not by very much (59 calories on Monday and 160 on Wednesday).  At least I didn’t gain anything this past week.

This next week will be the last full week of my second workout for the summer.  On August 1st, my nephew is giving me a new workout that is designed to last for 4 weeks.  That will take me through the end of August and be my last workout of my summer challenge.  I’ll post details when I have them.  It will be a grueling and challenging workout.  I’ve already done a modified version of it at his house.  It kicked my butt to be sure!  I was sore immediately and stayed that way for about 3 days.  It’s an all over body workout that incorporates weights and cardio combined into one workout.

The highlight of the week was a trip to Fashion Bug yesterday afternoon to spend a couple gift cards I had.  By the way…if you have gift cards from there I suggest you go spend them.  Fashion Bug is closing in January.  The store in my town is already liquidating (I assume because profits are too low).  Anyway, the highlight wasn’t the sale, although that was an added bonus.  The highlight was trying on jeans.  Fashion Bug has a sizing system called Right Fit jeans.  They come in 3 different cuts:  yellow square, red triangle, blue circle.  The cuts are based on your type of figure:  straight, moderately curvy or curvy.  I tried on blue circle 14’s and 12’s yesterday.  I couldn’t believe how big the 14’s were!  That was the last size jean I bought at that store about a year ago.  But the 12’s fit!  They might be a little tight after I wash them but they fit in the store and they were 50% off so guess who got a new pair of smaller jeans! 🙂

I hope you have a good week and accomplish the goals you set for yourself in the gym.  Don’t give up even when you get discouraged.  I had a lot of excitement going into this adventure back in June and it has waned a lot since then.  But I am not going to stop trying to progress and strive for fitness.  It is worth it!  Every day isn’t going to be like the one I had on the elliptical machine back in June.  Most days are going to be average and low key.  But every day I’m in the gym is a day moving forward toward my goal of being fit and trim.  So I won’t psyche myself out doing cardio or when I’m laying in bed and I really, really don’t want to get out and go to the gym.  I am going to keep pressing toward my goal.  Don’t you give up either.

Week 7

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.

Week 6

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.

Week 5

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.

My Workout Sched 2.0

This week I will change up my routine and focus more on muscle groups.  I will still do 3 days of weights and 2 days of cardio.  On Mondays I will do chest, tris and shoulders.  On Wednesdays I will do all lower body but I will add some more exercises.  On Fridays I will do back, biceps and abs.  I am still doing 3 sets of 12 reps for each exercise but I will also be adding weight.  For cardio, I will still use the elliptical and treadmill, however, I will bump it up to 45 minutes of cardio instead of 30 and still do this on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Hang on to your hats, folks….this is going to be challenging!  But…that’s what this journey is all about.  When it starts to get easy, it’s time to add more weight and switch things up.  My new workout routine is below:

Upper Body – Day 1

CHEST – push-ups, pulley flies and one of the following:  pec-dec, incline dumbbell presses or flat dumbbell presses

SHOULDERS – butterfly, power clean and one of the following:  shoulder press, forward raises or lateral raises

TRICEPS – pull down extension, kick-backs and one of the following: skull-crushers, dips or overhead raises)

Upper Body – Day 2

BACK – seated rows, lat pulls and one of the following:  dumbbell rows or bent-over barbell rows

BICEPS – dumbbell curls and one of the following:  seated or standing barbell curls

ABS – revers sit-ups w/weighted ball, leg raises and extension

Lower Body

Dead Lifts and one of the following:  squats w/dumbbells, squats on bosu ball or pop squts

All 4 leg machines

CALVES – standing and seated calf raises

Low Back extension

Week 3

MONDAY:  Much as I wanted to just stay in bed this  morning, I dragged myself out and got to the gym to do my upper body workout.  It went pretty well, all things considered.  I didn’t push to add more weight but rather maintained what I added last week.  I can definitely tell my body is still fighting off this bug because my muscles don’t feel as sure as they did on Thursday and Friday last week.  I am trying very hard not to be deterred.  I don’t feel any worse this morning so I’m taking that as a good sign.  No sign of infection either so I hope this is just a virus that is going to have to run its course.  I also think this is something different/additional to what I started off with nearly 2 weeks ago because the symptoms are slightly different.

Let this be a lesson in making sure you clean the equipment when you are done with it at the gym and even BEFORE you use it.  I’m not saying that I caught this in the gym although it is possible.  I got exposed to enough illness outside the gym this past month to know it likely came from somewhere else.  However, I am in the gym using the equipment with this illness.  I’m not sick enough to stay home.  No fever, no chills or muscle aches, no chest congestion, no abdominal symptoms.  I DO try and make sure I clean the equipment when I’m done for the sake of others who will use it after me.  I need to remember to also clean it before I even start.  Unfortunately, not everyone in the gym cares enough to clean up when they’re through, sick or not.  There are all kinds of germs lurking in the gym.  Just be careful for yourself and courteous to others by remembering to clean the equipment.

TUESDAY:  Back on the elliptical machine today.  This time I did the “manual” program so I could see how many calories I burned.  I think it said 250 when I was done.  That’s better than what I get on the treadmill…another reason to love the elliptical machine.  I kept the 15 min. mile pace on the second half so that was good.  I need to get the 15 min. mile in the first half, too, though.  Something to shoot for. 🙂

I really have to take the time to put music on my ipod for my cardio workouts.  I’ve had it with the gym music from Pandora.  I thought you were supposed to get variety with that program?  I just keep hearing the same 4 songs when I’m in there.  I know, I know…I’ll get sick of my ipod, too, but at least it will be music I like.

WEDNESDAY:  It was really hard to get out of bed this morning.  After waking to take my thyroid meds, I ended up back in a deep sleep cycle and couldn’t shake the fog when my alarm went off.  I got out the door late and that set me behind at the gym.  I did my lower body workout and added weight to the hip abductor and adductor.  I couldn’t do all 3 sets with the additional weight but I did the first 2.  I also added 10 lbs of weight to my dead lifts and 5 lbs of weight to my low back extensions.  I didn’t have time to get both of my abs exercises in so I added 8 reps to each set and on the 2nd and 3rd set I added a 4 lb medicine ball.  I think I will continue to use the ball because the reverse sit-ups are no longer a challenge just using the weight of my legs.  I have nerve damage in my neck from my thyroid surgery so I shouldn’t do a normal sit up.  It requires too much muscle strain in the front of my neck and it causes tightness and restriction.  I’ve been seeing a massage therapist to help alleviate that and he recommended the reverse sit ups to work my abs.

THURSDAY:  I thought I might have over done it yesterday by adding weight to my dead lifts AND the low back extension because a knot developed in my lower left back during the day on Wednesday.  I’m happy to report there is no sign of it today. 🙂

Oh what a difference having your own music to listen to makes in the gym!!  Now I completely understand why 90% of the people in there have ear buds stuffed into their ears.  My son was kind enough to load some music on my ipod for me earlier this week and this morning was my first time using it in gym.  It was nothing short of AMAZING!!  Not only was I able to go on the elliptical at better than a 15 min. mile pace for both miles (just over 13 mins or so ea.) but I had about the best workout ever.  I felt fantastic when I was done!  It was so nice not to have to find a rhythm on that machine while listening to some schmuck drone on about how he’d like to cheat on his current girlfriend with his ex who has lips like an angel.  Give me a break!  I was motivated today by Five for Fighting, Adelle, ELO, The Monkeys, Journey….stuff an old lady like me can relate to!  Haha!  Who knew I could get going so fast on the elliptical to Mr. Blue Sky?  It was exhilarating!

I can also tell my body is starting to respond to the changes these last 2 1/2 weeks.  I’m starting to get that “skinny feeling.”  You may know what I mean.  It’s this sensation I get when my body is starting to shed weight.  It’s hard to describe.  A friend told me yesterday they knew what I meant and that I wasn’t crazy…it’s a real feeling.  Glad to know I’m not crazy in my head.  But after this morning’s workout….crazy in my attitude can sometimes be a good thing.

FRIDAY:  Went a little later to the gym this morning.  I took the day off from work because friends are coming in for the weekend.  I had a lot to do today but I didn’t let that deter me from making sure I got to the gym.  My workout was good.  I’m mostly just looking forward to spending time with our friends.  I hope you have a good weekend, too.  I’ll update my weight again on Sunday.  Oh!  That nasty cold is gone, now, too.  😉

Weight Update 2.0

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Weight:  167 lbs

I’m down 1 lb this week.  Not too bad.  I’ll gladly take whatever weight loss that comes.

At the advice of my friend, Jill, I tweaked my diet profile on MyFitnessPal to a lower weight loss goal of .5 lbs per week.  It gave me a larger calorie baseline of 1540 per day but I was still over on Mon, Tues, Wed, Fri and Sat last week.  The margins are much less though so I’ll take it.  Again, weight loss is not my goal here but that is what the calorie limit is based on with this app so I have to play the calorie game.

To quote one of my favorite movies, the improvements in my health I felt on Thursday and Friday “up and vanished like a fart in the wind” on Saturday.  I’m back to feeling crappy with coughing now.  Everything is still “from the neck up.”  The coughing isn’t in my chest (yet) but rather my throat.  If this stuff isn’t gone by Wednesday, I think I’m going to take a trip to the doctor and get some antibiotics.  I have a big weekend coming up and I cannot afford to be sick.  Not to mention the set-backs in the gym if this persists.  It’s going on 2 weeks…enough is enough already!

Happy Father’s Day to all you awesome dads out there.  Father’s Day is a little bitter-sweet around here.  I lost my step-father to a stroke at the age of 53 in September 2005, my dad to colon cancer at the age of 61 in March 2010 and my father-in-law to an aortic aneurysm at the age of 80 in December 2010.  Celebrate your dad(s) while you have him/them.  As my father-in-law used to say, “when they’re gone, they’re gone for a long, long time.”

Hug the ones you love.  Tell them that you love them.  Don’t wait for tomorrow or a better opportunity than right now.

Week 2

Like the first week, this week had it’s own set of challenges.  My summer cold hasn’t quite departed but is getting better so that was good.  The week began with some lovely female issues (that we won’t get into here but I’m sure you get the idea) and that added some additional physical challenges early in the week.  Most alarming, however, is the revelation that I am consuming WAY more calories than I initially thought I was.  I have gone over in my 1290/day allotment according to MyFitnessPal every day this week except Thursday.  I am trying to take this with a grain of salt because this app is by no means perfect.  For one thing, I am using a database that can be added to by users of the app (much like Wikipedia) so I have to take into account that some of the info may be bogus.  Also, the app gives me absolutely NO calorie burn credit whatsoever for all the strength training I do.  They explain it on their website by saying there are too many variables that go into strength training which makes it hard to be accurate in the amount of calories burned (ie, number of reps, amount of weight used, the speed with which each exercise is performed, etc.) so their answer is to not count it at all.  So I’m trying not to freak out too much about the whole caloric intake bit.

Here’s how the week went:

MONDAY:  Nothing like starting this week out with a bang!  I’m still feeling a little “off” from the illness that developed last week but I think it’s on it’s way out now.  Once again, Sunday night was not a good night for sleeping.  I think I overstimulated my brain with my new fitness app and the schedule app on my ipod because I couldn’t stop the thought train from running full speed ahead all night long.

I got up and into the gym on time and jumped right into my upper body workout after 5 minutes of warm up time on the treadmill.  I had completed 2 back and 2 chest exercises and used up 30 minutes of my time before I realized that today I’m supposed to be doing my LOWER BODY workout.  Really!?!?!?  So after a few moments of indecision, I made up my mind to do as much of the lower body stuff as I could.  I did dead lifts, leg presses, hip abductor and adductor, leg curls and abs.  I had to skip the leg extensions, low back extension and both calf exercises.  To say I was mad for my lack of attention was an understatement.  However, after a shower and some time to think I decided I would just do the ones I missed on Tuesday in addition to my cardio workout.  Problem solved!

TUESDAY:  Woke to a thunderstorm on Tuesday morning.  I love thunderstorms 🙂  Got to the gym on time and made up for Monday’s mishap by doing the low back extension, leg extension, calf exercises and a 5 minute warm up on the treadmill.  I wimped out on the cardio though.  I just didn’t have it in me to do a whole 30 minutes so I only did 15.   Cardio is usually my favorite part of working out but not today.  I felt weak and light-headed (thanks to the “issue” I mentioned at the top).  I left and determined to do better on Wednesday.

WEDNESDAY:  Another night of lousy sleep…what is up with that?  I was tired before dinner around 6 PM on Tuesday night and then at 9:30 PM when I should be off to bed I got this burst of energy and cleaned my kitchen for 30 minutes.  At 11:30 PM I was STILL wide awake….mind racing.  My workout went pretty well, however.  I got going on the CORRECT one this time so that was an improvement 🙂  I also pushed and did heavier weight on my bicep curls (15 lbs instead of 12) for half of my sets.  I had to drop back to 12’s for the second half but that’s ok.  It is progress!  I also added a little more weight on the last set of my tricep extensions (30 lbs instead of 25).  Baby steps but I’ll take them.

Unfortunately, my diet took a nosedive at dinner time.  I came home to make another great recipe from The Skinny Rules only to find that my salmon hadn’t defrosted enough so I succumbed to being over tired and too hungry and did the easiest thing which was take-out.  I blew 500 calories on a Slim Jim from Big Boy.  No fries.  I think the lesson here is the importance of preparation.

THURSDAY:  ELLIPTICAL!  I’m in a budding romance with the elliptical machine.  I find it more challenging than the treadmill but I also find I can do more on it which is strange to me.  I can’t go for long periods of time at a fast pace on the treadmill.  I get winded too easily.  But on the elliptical, I can go at a 15-minute mile pace and keep my heart rate elevated in the high 160’s to mid 170’s for extended periods of time.  I went for 30 minutes this morning, which was my intention, but I’ve never done it that long before.  I always wimp out at 15 minutes and head over to the treadmill to finish the last 15.  Again…progress!  Today was one of those days when I felt really strong in the gym.  I hope to see more days like this one.

I had trouble again Thursday evening diet-wise, unfortunately.  I didn’t pack an afternoon snack.  I resorted to unsalted dry-roasted peanuts about mid-afternoon.  That wasn’t horrible but it wasn’t enough either.  I had to run errands on the way home and ended up stuck in this ridiculous traffic jam.  The result was a 2 hour commute home.  To say I was famished by the time I arrived at 7:30 PM was an understatement.  I ditched my plans to have a healthy Skinny Rules salmon dinner and instead ordered tacos, refried beans and rice from a local Mexican family restaurant.  I split it with my daughter though so I didn’t go completely off my rocker.  Then I made the salmon for Friday’s lunch.

FRIDAY:  Aaaahhh…..Friday!  My lower body workout went well this morning.  No problems or complaints.  Got in and out on time and felt pretty good afterward.  That’s 2 weeks down.  Only 10 more to go.  Looking forward to my weigh-in on Sunday!

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