Tuesday, February 28, 2012
So, the reason I wanted to try a Yoga class at all probably wasn't the best. I was noticing (and mentioned in another blog) that I don't get any endorphin rush while doing cardio or right after. Instead, it's about the time I'm doing my stretches and most of the way done that I kind of have my zen moment. I often feel more energized than when I walked in, not to mention having a sense of simple well-being. I was curious whether it was the breathing and stretching - and, hence, Yoga as the experiment.
Simple answer - no, it's not just the stretches and breathing. It's the full workout.
My impression of the Yoga class ... I was the first to arrive other than the instructor and she was good about helping me set up, encouraging two mats for more cushioning under the knees and providing some blocks. The room did fill up by the time it started and it seemed there were less blocks than people who could need to use them.
While she had been helpful setting up, the instructor was also not a native English speaker and more than a few times I could only catch some of the words, having to watch what she did to follow.
Amusingly to me? The biggest difficulty I had was following her concept of "slowly lift your left leg". By the time I'd lifted my left leg, she was two steps further. My concept of slowly is based on weights - slow control of the motion. So after a couple of times, I quit trying to do those motions "slow" and just caught up to whatever pose it was leading to.
Pose-wise, some I could do reasonably well and others I had no hope of even coming close. On the plus side? All the work I've done in the last two months on strengthening my quads and hamstrings has helped - lots of lunge type poses were involved and my knees didn't have any particular complaint.
The class itself ran longer than I expected - over an hour and fifteen minutes. I did some cardio and stretching after, but didn't really have that same sense.
Today, having done my strength-training too, I realized that the days I feel best coming out of the gym are literally the ones that include all three - cardio, strength training and stretching out. There's just something about feeling I've worked every aspect that invigorates me.
So, no more Yoga for me for a while. Maybe in the future, perhaps doing some with videos instead of a class so I can really work the poses right. TBD (to be determined).
Some time back several Sparkers had linked to a NYT article about a medical study on maintaining weight loss. The article wasn't the study - it was a columnist's commentary on that study and how she wasn't ready for that. (Or something to that effect. I often have trouble following links to NYT articles for some reason - the page simply won't load - so I don't get to read them all.
Semi-related, one of the things I sometimes see or hear is people who do 5-7 days a week of 60+ minutes of cardio. I know I've read some interview somewhere with one couple who claimed that if they didn't do that, they'd start gaining again.
All of that led me to wondering. Is it really that hard to maintain a weight loss with a "reasonable" (30-60 minutes 3+ days a week) amount of activity - or even without deliberate cardio, but just being an active person?
And suddenly something clicked in my mind. I don't recall either the article or the study saying much of anything about people who stop exercising so much reducing their caloric intake. Was that simply omitted, or is the supposition that lots of constant workouts are needed based on someone being unwilling to eat at a calorie range appropriate to their ideal weight?
Which made me curious enough to go see what my BMR calculates to be. For 5'7" (I'm actually 3/4" taller than that =P) and 155 pounds (7" wrists = larger bone structure) and 43 years old, my BMR will be 1442. Assuming a sedentary lifestyle (BMR x 1.2), my maintenance calorie range would be 1730. That's actually in the low end of my current calorie range. So it's a totally doable range for me to eat in.
Hehe, I know it might seem that I'm way jumping the gun thinking about maintenance now, BUT a big part of how I'm going about this journey is with the mindset of habits for life - not habits until I reach my health and fitness goals. I'm really enjoying my gym time right now. I'm not sure I envision myself in there 7 days a week - 2 "rest" days of easy cardio, 5 days of more intensity, 3 days of weights - for years though. Which means I don't want to build other habits, such as how I eat, around having a 2500-3000 calorie burn weekly.
Plenty of time to figure it out, of course.
Lastly, a webcomic I read had a link to a video of Dergin Tokmak dancing. For those who have not heard of him, it's worth looking up some of the videos. He contracted polio at a very young age, losing all control of his left leg and some control of his right. Having seen the movie Breakin' in which a breakdancer with no leg control performs, he was inspired and developed his own style. He has performed with Cirque du Soleil .
What impresses me about that is the unwillingness to let crutches and an inability to control his legs completely stop him. For me it is something else to see that and then think about saying I felt sore and might not do my ST today.
I have to think that if I was willing to really dedicate myself to something and put that kind of effort into it, I'd be able to achieve a lot.
Monday, February 27, 2012
It is so easy, sometimes, to use absolutes - particularly ALWAYS and NEVER. I can't say that I never say never, but I do try very hard to avoid it.
One example? I really really dislike fish or any form of seafood. (Well, technically I do eat tuna / albacore, but that's it.) I dislike liver. I dislike brussels sprouts and cauliflower and lima beans.
Will I say that I would NEVER eat any of those? No. If I had a choice between starving and eating something that would normally be a no-go for me, I'd eat. I might not look delighted, but I would eat. I'm not sure if there's any edible item out there that I would absolutely refuse to eat if the circumstances were dire enough.
The words ALWAYS and NEVER often concern me when I see them used with respect to health, fitness and weight loss. There really isn't much place for ALWAYS and NEVER in a lifestyle change. ALWAYS and NEVER depend on things not changing, so change is in direct opposition to them.
"I ALWAYS give up around this point."
Okay, so? This time is a new time. Don't give up and you can immediately say you didn't give up around this point.
"I ALWAYS blow my diet on the weekends or in the evenings."
Are you sure? Can you go back and prove that every single evening and weekend have involved excess eating? Even IF you can, this time is a new time. Make this ONE weekend or evening not a blown evening and poof, the ALWAYS is defeated.
"I'll NEVER get this weight off."
So ... if you start to lose, you'll be wrong. Since internally we know that being wrong is bad (if not deadly), we're now likely to unconsciously sabotage ourself. That just sets us up to fight our own best efforts.
"I'm NEVER able to stop my bingeing or emotional eating"
This one is kind of interesting, actually. How likely are we to remember the times we overcame an urge to binge or eat because of overpowering emotions? If we didn't do so, it isn't going to be remembered. There's such an interesting way that our minds remember a few key episodes (probably the worst ones mixed with the most recent ones) rather than all the potential situations and a ratio of times we didn't to times we did, not to mention a comparison of really bad to not so bad.
If there's a trigger food, try thinking back and see if there has ever been a time you didn't binge around that food. Or recruit someone to help you by providing a single serving or less of that food and be there for you to prevent that expanding into more. Bingo, now you've stopped one binge (with help) and proven it can be done. Similarly, with emotional eating, try to think of times you've felt particularly strong emotions and done something other than eat. Crying until you felt sick? Screaming at the top of your lungs? Curling up under the blankets? If even once you've responded to that emotion without eating, then NEVER isn't the right word.
Instead of ALWAYS or NEVER, try to put things in a past tense (that acknowledges the frequency without claiming the absolute) and a present to future tense (that expects improvement over time).
I've often had trouble keeping myself motivated at certain milestones, but I'm almost to this one and I know I can keep going. I look forward to beating more of these milestones.
I'm slowly gaining more control of my binges. With my best friend's help, I was able to limit myself to one bag of chips. I look forward to being able to enjoy a single serving and actually appreciate the flavor.
Sunday, February 26, 2012
Didn't actually end up buying much, though.
I knew I was wearing an 18 in plus sizes from heading to Lane Bryant a couple weeks ago, but for once I decided that I refused to buy jeans or slacks that were wide enough to pull all the way up to my upper thighs. That has been one of my major peeves wearing "fat" clothes - and seems to be LB's favored style.
Today I went to Torrid. Not much in the way of selection, BUT they did have jeans. More importantly, they had jeans that were "skinny" in the calves and ankles. Wow, so very very nice. And they even had a pair of slacks that weren't huge on the bottom. So I wound up with one pair of each.
Next weekend I think I'm going to hit up a few second-hand stores and see what I can't do about replacing shirts. Neither LB nor Torrid has anything I'd be willing to wear in public or private. (Half the problem is they're into spring colors now, and the shades of pink and green and lavender ... just are not a fit with me. The other half is ruffles, frills, long past the hips, deep V-necks, off-the-shoulder, and other styles that aren't agreeable.)
Last "shopping" I did was to get an eye exam and look at frames. Vision-wise, I'm beginning to lean toward needing reading glasses. I have had a mild astigmatism, but it isn't enough to make me need lenses. But lately I've found that I can't hold the phone less than about a foot and a half from my face or it gets blurry. And I can't bring small print closer to read it. Decided that frames and lenses are priced such I'll get them in a few weeks.
Doctor told me my eyes are looking wonderfully healthy (did retinal scan and all) which is a good thing. Hehe, they even did a blood pressure check - 73/123 - very nicely in a normal range, especially given this was mid-mall wandering. (Pulse of 72, which is just fine for same.) So WOOHOO for that.
I can choose between reading glasses only or progressives. I'm thinking to go with the latter because while I can see fine in spite of the astigmatism, it has made my left eye slightly lazy, probably makes me strain just a little, and I'd really like to look at the moon without the blur.
So I've already got plans to go back in two weeks to pick frames and lenses. I've invited my daughter along for her artistic input on which look best on me. (Being 17ish years since I've had glasses, I need that.)
Saturday, February 25, 2012
Well, I've found a protein powder to order and try out. It fits my requirements:
1) Whey (milk based)
I actually found two. One was from concentrate. The one I'm ordering is an isolate. Concentrates tend to be about 70-80% protein and still contain things such as lactose (for whey-based). Isolates tend to be almost pure protein. That also makes isolates more expensive.
The tricky part with the one I'm getting is that whole unsweetened and unflavored aspect. If I were to simply add it to water, it might not be particularly palatable. (While not really the same, powdered milk is what comes to mind.) However, I have thought about the possibility of adding MY choice of sweetener (cane sugar or honey, for example) and conceivably add flavorings such as cocoa or drops of pure vanilla extract. If that doesn't work, mixing up a fruit smoothie or adding it to yogurt or fruit juice or milk are certainly options.
Since the smallest available is a 2 pound jar (about 30 scoops / servings), I should have plenty of chances to try it in a variety of forms.
More to come when I actually get it ordered, delivered and start trying it out.
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Feet part one:
My foot, the one that had me ease up on walking in late December, and swap completely to gym cardio (bikes and elliptical), is taking considerably long than I'd like to heal fully. At the same time keeps feeling improved, so I'm not worried as yet. After all, there's no way I can completely avoid walking on it and it doesn't end up notably pained even with a day at the mall wit my kids.
I think I need to revisit my shoes. I bought the ones I wear when the plan was lots of walking - and they are running shoes. Now more of my activity is bike (and some elliptical) at the gym, neither of which really need the heel-to-toe roll. For all I know, those could be slowing the recovery, which would make me feel silly.
Feet part two:
I finally remembered and went online to look it up. With doing the elliptical, I've noticed that my feet start to get that tingly numb "asleep" sensation after a while. I end up lifting my feel up off the step, or changing position (more toward the inside, more toward the outside, front or back), or rolling my foot rather than just keeping it flat. The last makes me think I'm being silly because I might as well be on the treadmill.
Turns out it is fairly common reaction. Because the feet aren't lifted and moved, all of the body weight is on them very constant, much like standing still. The very things I already do are some of the ways people have dealt with it. Other options seem to be wiggling the toes every so often, using one with an incline (possibly because body center of gravity changes), switching between a forward and backward pedaling cycle, keeping the time short.
Oh, and one more option I really need to try - keeping shoe lacing relatively loose so the top of the foot isn't constricted. Why? I have a high arch and I ~KNOW~ the top of my feet are ridiculously sensitive. (My reaction to even light things hitting the top of my foot is much like hitting the funny bone in the elbow ... and subsequent ache like a bruise for some time.)
Feeling part one:
I have noticed to my amusement that when I hit the gym, I never get the "endorphin rush" or whatever one wants to call it during a workout. If I push myself, I'm internally cussing at the machine or myself. (Cardio level on the bike ... the amount of resistance is just too much to keep up any length of time. I'm working on it.) Maybe for that I'd need to do longer stretches or higher intensity, but I'm happy where I am.
But, I do find when I've finished the cardio and the ST on those days and I do a little walking for final cooldown then settle down to stretch, each stretch brings me closer to a feeling of well-being. That is the point at which I feel freed of stresses, like everything I've just done has totally been worth it.
I swear I have a springier step at that point walking to the lockers than I did when I walked in the door.
Yes, I really do need to try a yoga class someday just to see if it's purely the stretching that brings that on or if it's the combination of the good workout ended with stretching. Doesn't matter which, I love that feeling.
Feeling part two:
I nearly injured myself again recently (almost two weeks ago, I think). This one was a strain at the back of my right knee toward the outside. I look it up and see stuff like "LCL injuries, IT band tendonitis" and the like. Ugh.
I head to the gym like normal, though, since it isn't really hurting walking - only certain motions. It was my ST day, and I took care to pay very careful attention to all my actions and movements. By doing so, I believe I discovered what change a few days before was at fault.
See, I've been reading different articles about weight machines. Some of those articles claim certain machines are bad for you for one reason or another. The seated ab machine, for example, and hence my recently mentioned swap to a prone one ... that is DEFINITELY more focused on the muscles doing the work.
Well, the machine in question that had warnings about it was the inner and outer hip abductor - specifically the ones where you sit with pads at about your knee area and pull your legs in or press them out. (warned against even in a SparkPeople article: www.sparkpeople.com/resource/fitness
_articles.asp?id=1097 ). So in their place I tried using a multi-hip machine which sets up more like the "standing abduction" exercises.
I probably can blame my form. I use the machine for front abductors and sometimes glutes if that machine is tied up, so I know how to set the height and resistance. But obviously I did something wrong. And once I realized the cause, I swapped back to the "risky" machines which have yet to give me issues, perhaps because I don't overload on weight.
While I felt the pain of it for a few more days, R.I.C.E. helps a lot, especially when we're able to identify the particular motion that exacerbates it.
Feeling part three:
One thing I've usually been good about is listening to my body and identifying pains. There's a very distinct difference in the pain of a sprained muscle, a strained tendon, a well-worked muscle, an over-extended joint, a pinched nerve, and so on. However, when I was up near my top weight, I had begun to "stop listening" because some aches were just expected. My feet were going to be achy from being walked on a lot or stood on for long periods, my knees were going to dislike long flights of stairs, my upper back and neck would generally ache from the front pull on them.
It's funny how often I can and could say I was quite healthy for an obese person. Sure, on a relative scale compared to others, I was "healthy". On a relative scale compared to me at other weights? Not a chance. I was declining and simply accepting each small change for the worse as "normal". Some I even, at 42 going on 43, could blame on aging as well.
Going in the other direction, I've started listening again and realized I don't have to settle for some not very good level of overall health and fitness that I temper with that "for an obese person". I'm aiming for healthy and fit PERIOD. It is NOT acceptable to me that I can't lift my own body weight. It is NOT acceptable to me that I hurt my foot walking - because I have all this excess weight pressing down when I tried to walk faster.
It IS acceptable to find myself feeling better and better, physically and overall, to walk out of the gym feeling satisfied and both energized and relaxed.
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