Thursday, November 05, 2009
You know what they are - those moments when you realize you can wear that pair of jeans - buckle that belt around you - look good in dangling earrings - hear a compliment. It's not something you were expecting but it fills you with triumph. And I had one this week - which is a good thing since I did NOT have a scale victory.
My triumph? Ahh well. I have a favorite jacket - it's orange corduroy, fitted, short, and it is my all time favorite piece of clothing. Because it's fitted and shaped I can toss it on over almost any garment and turn it into a serious, if casual business look. I can wear it to a department head meeting and feel professional in spite of the bright color and relaxed fabric. I am a library director - I'm supposed to be sort of arty. But because it's corduroy, I can wear it over jeans and still look sporty. And because it's cotton, I can wear it throughout our upper south fall and winter and spring as outerwear, yet keep it on indoors most of the time. It is the most versatile piece of clothing I own and sometimes I wear it every day of the week.
And sometimes I have to wear it unbuttoned because it is too small for me. It's fabulous cut means you can't tell if it's too small for me when I don't button it - but if it's chilly out and I can't button it, ahhh. Then I don't feel fabulous in it. Then I feel fat-ulous and somewhat miserable. And I know about what weight I am when I have gotten too big for this jacket - which is within a pound or two of where I am now. So, though I'd brought it out of summer storage a few weeks ago I hadn't yet put it on.
"It'll be too tight and I don't want to feel bad right at the beginning of my spark people journey" I told myself. "I'll wait till the scale puts me back in the 'fit' zone" I thought. "Not yet"
Only yesterday I really did need to look professional at the department head meeting. So I pulled it on over my skirt and blouse.
And then I buttoned it -easily.
And I let out a whoop of joy because this was a real victory. One month of working out, 3 weeks of fitting in weight training twice a week and 2.5 weeks of getting serious with the SP meal plan and nutrition tracker and look at me. That scale may have not moved a hair this week but this body is definitely taking up less space in the world and that favorite jacket fits me like it was made for me and buttons up with a little wiggle room to spare.
A True Non Scale Victory! Yippee!!
Wednesday, November 04, 2009
A day off from exercise, that is. In my great rush of enthusiasm for all things Healthy Living I did rather vigorous workouts, especially lower body workouts, 3 days in a row. Two longer sessions with the elliptical machine at the gym and a 30 minute step session at home left my thighs complaining. I know the rules - especially when it comes to strength training - give those muscles a 24 hour break. And though step and elliptical are both cardio exercises, they're also lower body weight training. At least, in my book they are. Those thighs are basically doing the same thing they do when I use the leg press machines and Tuesday they told me they needed a rest!
So they got their day off and today they feel better for it and ready to jump back on the ... well, the track or the elliptical or just back out there exercising. But there is still this niggling bit of guilt. This nagging sense of "oh ho - so you're slacking off now, are you? Quitting already?"
Now, the good wise sane part of me knows that I needed a rest and I ate sensibly and drank plenty of water yesterday. In short - I had a healthy day of rest yesterday. More importantly - this time I chose to rest, I didn't choose to skip exercise. But my recent history of slothful non-exercise is enough to bring on Mr.Doubt to taunt me.
Well. I hear him but I refuse to believe him. I will show him that past digressions notwithstanding, I am at the beginning of a long life of healthy living. I'll be back out there today, getting some good, steady cardio exercise. The blood will course through my body, sending all those rich nutrients I'm eating to the places that are hungry. Endorphins released from my brain will wipe away guilt and lift me to a nice runner's high. And while I'm moving I will remember that the whole point of this is to feel good as I live the second half of my life - not to feel unjustified and worthless guilt about some artificial setting, number, level or standard.
The true goal is a fulfilled life. So there. I have banished guilt today!
Tuesday, November 03, 2009
Several years ago I took off a substantial amount of weight following WW. In typical modern American fashion I have put about half of it back on again and the resulting discomfort, sluggishness and unstylish shape have at last combined to get me up and doing something about the situation – At Last!
I run a public library. I probably have ALL the current and former popular diet books on my shelves. Some I bought because they were the hot titles. Some because people asked me to. Some I bought because I had faith in them. But all of them share one thing in common. Though they may feel like little miracles in hardback, they are just books. Each one is like a new boyfriend – full of promise, sleek looking, telling you how wonderful it will be if you just trust him. And like boyfriends, some w"ill prove to be faithful supporters and some will ... shall I say, "Not respect you in the morning.
In the beginning of October I flirted with some of those restrictive diets, reading the books and pondering if I could ever follow those plans. No fruit for 2 weeks? No red meat? No milk in your coffee? A little draconian here, me thinks. Yet although I'd had success with WW, this time around I needed - I craved - a little more structure. Alas, the diets that promised the most were way too restrictive and my old faithful was just too familiar. To continue the boyfriend analogy, WW was more like the boy next door. WW is like a husband, who tells you all the time that you are as beautiful as the day he met you (maybe decades and decades ago - lord love failing eyesight), that you're as slim as a breeze (cyclone breeze, maybe) and that he likes you just the way you are. Nice. Wonderful, really, and exactly what a HUSBAND is supposed to say. But we are talking boyfriends here, so we are looking for something a little unfamiliar, something new, with a few surprises – but with true potential.
It took me till mid month to finally give SP a chance and it had just the right blend of "hey, you live in the real world" flexibility and "this is what you ought to try today" structure. One of the things that is a strain on a woman of a certain age, who has cooked somewhere around 14,000 dinners so far, is coming up with one more interesting meal. When everything I know how to cook seems as boring as death, the thought of What to Cook for Dinner is utterly depressing. That is when take home pizza or barbecue lures me over to the dark side. And that is where the SP meal plan steps up to the plate like a really great date with a brand new boyfriend. I can pull up the day's meals, see if they sound good, swap some dishes out for others that match whatever's in my kitchen already, and then dine in comfort knowing I'm within a nutritious and calorie controlled range – without all the chemicals of frozen diet meals! In short, the SP suggestions leave me confident that I'll still respect myself in the morning.
Better yet – if I print out the weekly meal plan and shopping list and follow the plan for a whole week, I find I'm actually saving money. Where I'm often tempted to pick up just a little treat, while shopping, with the SP list in my hand I can just fill in the kitchen gaps and get away.
Really good boyfriends, the trustworthy, interesting, kind hearted types, usually become permanent fixtures in your life. Really good boyfriends turn into husbands. I am thinking that a really good eating plan might just stick around and support me and compliment me in the same way.
I just gotta say it. Heart you SP. Heart you more and more!
Monday, November 02, 2009
So here I am on the first fresh Monday morning in November and the one thing I am thinking about is - my gym visit after work today. After work, a meeting with the CPA and the dr.'s office. That's right. Exercise has taken over my life. At least - it's creeping up there into first place and I am glad. Lots of other things have had their turn at Pride of Place in the Life-0-Bess. It's time my muscles, bones, and stamina got their turn.
Yup. I am SPARKED!
Exercise was deeply frowned upon by my darling, but misguided, mama. To her, sweat meant manual labor and she struggled too hard to get away from a childhood of that. Her values all clustered around intellectual and artistic activities and in our home nothing was spared when it came to art classes, music, or academic activities. But sports? Movement? Exercise - even dance - was just that nasty thing that made you sweaty - and we all know that sweaty means .... low class. Yes. For mama, sweat was a cultural and social marker that her girls were not going to sink to.
I myself don't care for sports, preferring to compete against myself and what I did yesterday than to win over another. But moving my body is truly something I love doing. It makes me happy. It makes me feel powerful. It makes me feel like I could soar above the clouds with just a single leap.
So why am I coming BACK to exercise?
Well, at least I am coming back and not staying away. I live the same life everybody else does. I have calm periods when life opens up and lets me do the things I want to do. I have stressful periods that suck up time and energy. I am always amazed that I drift away from exercise because I love it so and I love how it makes me feel but I am always amazed at how quickly you can get out of the routine, out of the habit of feeling great and into the habit of feeling slothful.
The past few years had added issues. I took a terrible fall some years ago and did some serious damage to my neck and shoulder. It took forever to get some sort of diagnosis from any of our local doctors but when I finally did, there had been enough healing that surgery seemed like overkill. The Good Doctor I have now says "let me know if it starts to bother you and we will take a different tack". I can see that one shoulder is lower than the other now, but the pain issues are gone and I believe (and so does the dr.) that stronger muscles everywhere else will support the weaker places. I may never need surgery.
OH la - is this too much information? hmmm.
Well. anyway - a month of almost daily activity - starting slowly and growing both longer and more intense every day, has suddenly kicked me back up into a an old familiar fitness level. Now my body is craving exercise. It hungers for the rush, the heat, the glow of sweat. Last week I got off the elliptical trainer and my thighs had that wonderful warm pulsing feeling that tells me they hit their maximum effort. Saturday I got in that full body strength training session and felt like I could fly home. And yesterday I pulled out my old friend - my soft step - a hard foam block for doing step routines, I put on my favorite Brazilian Foro CD and did an old step routine I learned back in the early '90's.
Today I am full of morning energy - granted I always have morning energy - but I know it'll stand by me all day long. And already I can feel my body sort of going back into place - not all fluffing out in soft rolls, but kind of packing back into my torso the way it's supposed to be.
Oh mama - you were soooo wrong about sweat. It's not a sign of low class - it's a sign of high health!
Sunday, November 01, 2009
On October 1 I decided it was Time To Change Things and I began looking around for ways to do so and make it fun.
The first thing I did was to eliminate sodas from my life. I was drinking a minimum of 1 22 oz bottle of diet soda a day. The worst part of it was - they didn't even TASTE good any more and still I'd scoop one up and glug it down. Sodas had to go and I went cold turkey on them. In their place I added water - glorious delicious wonderful water. I live where the tap water is delicious and even at work our municipal water is good. A minimum of 8 glasses a day has been marvelous switch and it showed up first in my face. 57 year old boomer skin (lots of sun time, no sun screen all throughout my teens) isn't the freshest dewiest skin around, but if it's well hydrated, it looks a LOT better.
The next thing I did was join Spark People. At first I lurked, but after a week or so I was jumping in with my own spark page, my own spark blog, some posts and questions on a few teams and even some spark friends. I love the nutrition tracker and I'm finding my way around the fitness tracker. I've mapped out some rewards for reaching mileposts on the weight loss journey. I even found a goal to strive for - maybe even two!
Third on my list of Things To Do to was to exercise daily. My husband walks 2 miles a day and if he has to miss a day, he just extends his 2 miles every day till he's caught up. I have joined him - though we don't always walk together, I like gyms (he hates them - shades of high school) and I also work in town, close to the gym. Plus - my boss will pay half my gym membership fee if I just go twice a week!! The benefit of this regular exercise is that I really do sleep better at night and have more energy throughout the day. I love feeling energized and active and like I can jump up and do something instead of wishing the world would go away and let me sit here with my knitting and my books.
Best of all, the scale is begining to move downward. There were some missteps at the begining of the month but after 4 weeks I've lost 2 lbs - which is half a pound a week and that is a healthy way to lose weight. Sure I'd prefer to see it move faster. I believe there will be weeks ahead when it does. But I have always claimed that Down is Down and should always be celebrated.
October has been a wonderful month for my health and I really look forward to November. Who knows where I shall be a month from now.
Happy November to you all, my spark friends.
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