Saturday, April 07, 2012
So, another type of ad that seems common on one of the channels played on the gym TV is investments. Gold and retirement planning are the two common ones I can think of. One of the retirement planning ones actually made me think of this whole process of change and altering our lifestyle.
In the ad, it starts with one pair of hands on a steering wheel, steady and even. Retirement planning. Suddenly from the side another pair of hands grabs for the wheel. Taxes. Then another pair from the other side. College expenses. Then another pair from elsewhere. Medical costs. More and more hands keep making grabs for the wheel, and it spins this way and that as one side or the other gains more hands / pull in that direction.
The car careens all over the place, making much less progress, even spinning around and going the wrong way at times.
Applying that to our journey to health and fitness, we get on this road, hands on the wheel, and we start to make decisions. We're going to do this, we're going to do that, we've got that car pointed right straight in the direction of all our excess weight lost and life perfect.
And then another pair of hands yanks us off-track. Maybe it's the cookies still in the cupboard or the fast food joint so conveniently close to work. Maybe it's the rumbling stomach or the gasping, wheezing, breaths and aching muscles from our first few efforts at being active.
We fight our way back on course, tugged this way and that.
Then another pair of hands joins in the fray. Maybe this is a family member or a friend who is so helpful about bringing us a favorite treat or telling us we're beautiful as we are. Maybe it's the scale telling us that in spite of all our hard work, we're up this week. Maybe it's some random stranger being cruel because of the weight.
Zig, zag, on and off the road, a battle for control of our direction.
Even more hands jump in. Maybe it's emotional eating or binging or wild cravings we can't seem to control. Maybe it's unexpected life stresses - deaths, divorces, fracturing friendships, loneliness, job loss, financial strain.
Is it any wonder that so many have a hard time and "fall off the wagon"?
Of course, at this point is that the ad's solution to all that is not for the individual to be able to take and maintain control of that steering wheel. However, that's not really an option for those changing their own life ... unless they've got the time and money or connections to be shepherded Biggest Loser-style through every step of the process.
Some things that do come to mind:
1) When steering a car, we learn how to make SMALL corrections. I actually remember Driver's Ed classes and these computerized training sessions in which we "drove" based on a film playing. The natural kid instinct for driving is turning the wheel hugely to correct. The right way is small adjustments. By the time we've been driving a while, we don't even think about those tiny constant corrections.
Our path to a new lifestyle is more easily done in a similar manner. Let's say we plateau for a month. What's the natural instinct? Jump on a severe diet restriction - cut out this food group or that, double our workouts? Sounding at all familiar?
2) When steering a car, we deliberately slow down when we enter a hazardous zone. (Unless we're the Dukes of Hazard and try speeding up instead.) We see brake lights ahead, we drop our speed and examine the road. We don't just keep going full speed ahead, then swerve and hope we avoid every danger. We change lanes, we slow to a crawl, even stop as needed, and eventually we get past and return to our normal speed.
Again, good concept when we see danger points looming. We can slow down. We can examine the upcoming obstruction. We can shift our plan to adjust. (An injury or illness, for example, instead of the end of the world is just a delay of a few days or a need to switch the plan up to continue.)
I'm sure there's probably more, but I haven't cooked my dinner yet. Must do that to have some digesting time before getting to sleep.
Tuesday, April 03, 2012
So tonight I was on the bus heading home from the gym. A woman sits down next to me. I've run across her before and she appeared to recognize me. She started off with a comment about how large my phone is. I agreed - it's a smart phone and I have a pretty sturdy case for it, so it's quite a handful. I was playing Draw Something which drew in the interest of at least two others around, so we all had a little talk on that. (I started playing Draw Something at my DDa's request - but it's certainly easy fun, so I have multiple random games going.)
Anyway, as I finished the games and put it away, she started talking about going to the gym and how all the working out just was't helping her lose weight. (And, yes, she was definitely overweight - probably shorter than me and wider, more apple-shaped.) She went on about something she didn't like about 24-hour Fitness lockers / showers and how she'd switched to the YMCA and was using the pool there for a good overall workout.
Now, all that would have been an interesting conversation. But then she showed off her two purchases in her hand. One was headphones for the gym. The other? A large bag of pork rinds. Large as in 2-3 times a normal bag of potato chips that is already 2-2.5 servings. It's her snack, she says. I give an easy laugh and say that it would certainly undo most of a couple gym workouts, which she simply pooh-poohs. Then she rings the bell for her stop ... next to a 7-11. She needs to go get her 2-liter of pepsi to go with her snack.
I just ... I don't know whether to feel pity or shock or what.
One feeling I have is a bit of shame that I can't seem to avoid judging what she was eating (though I made no other comment besides the indirect one about it undoing workouts). I can't let go of just how WRONG what she was eating was - not so much what it was (though ewwww), but how much she considered normal for a snack.
I think what feels so odd is that from her perspective that is completely normal eating behavior. There was nothing at all wrong with working out at a gym and complaining that it wasn't helping her lose weight, nothing whatsoever connecting what she eats to that issue, in her mind. I'm having trouble "walking a mile in her shoes" to understand how it is possible to think that way.
*shakes head and lets it go*
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Three months of 2012 completed, so I am reviewing where I've gotten to:
Height = 5' 7.75" TO (67.75" TO ) TO 5' 7.75”
Weight = 221 pounds TO 200 pounds (21 pounds down)
Body Fat % = 45% or 28.23% TO 42% or 27.89%
BMI = 33.85 (Obese) TO 30.63 (Obese)
BMR = 1737.375 TO 1641.325
Forehead = 23.75" TO 23.75"
Neck = 15" TO 15"
Shoulders = 45.5" TO 44"
Chest = 41" TO 40.5"
Bust = 48" TO 46.6"
Ribs / Strap = 38.5" TO 38"
Bicep = 15" TO 14"
Forearm = 11.5" TO 11.25"
Wrist = 7" TO 6.75"
Waist at Navel = 42" TO 40"
Hips = 51" TO 48"
Seat = 48.5" TO 46.5"
Thigh = 26" TO 26"
Calf = 17" TO 16.75
Ankle = 10" TO 9.5"
I can definitely tell hips have been going down. That's the big key to the smaller pants. Everywhere else they can be somewhat loose, but in the hips I start getting an inch then two of material loose.
** See www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
urnal_individual.asp?blog_id=4648619 for my original comments on taking those measurements.
Resting Heart Rate = 56 bpm TO 61 bpm
Target Heart Rate = 125 - 151 bpm TO 124 - 150 bpm (lol, I'm a year older)
Blood Pressure = 109/71 TO 115/75
NOTE on Resting Heart Rate and Blood Pressure - first number of heart rate was done in bed with watch, second was done on blood pressure machine after being up and out, but not having worked out yet. Both are nicely in ranges, so no worries.
t.htm for instructions and scaling)
Situps = 20 (Average) TO 31 (Good)
Modified Pushups = 3 (Poor) TO 4 (Below Average)
Squats = 15 (Average) TO 22 (Good)
Step = 132 bpm (Below Average) TO 145 bpm (Very Poor)*
Vertical Jump = 7" (Poor) TO 8" (Below Average)
Sit and Reach = -3" (Poor) TO +1" (Average)
Aerobic fitness check (2 miles total)
Heart rate before walk = 59 bpm TO 90 bpm
Time for 1 mile brisk = 14:57:58 TO 15:10
Heart rate after 1 mile brisk = 128 bpm TO 127 bpm
Time for 2nd mile brisk = 15:07:72 TO 14:45
Heart rate after mile 2 = 140 bpm TO (whoops*)
Time for 1 mile normal = 18:02:97 TO 17:02
Heart rate after 1 mile normal = 120 bpm TO 109 bpm
* Comment on the step test. I did this after doing the miles test, where in January I had done the step test first. In addition, I had just finished getting the aerobic step all prepared which had my starting heart rate for the test 112. So even though this one dropped in the good/average/poor scale, I actually think I would have done better if I hadn't skewed my results unintentionally.
** Comment on the mile 2 heart rate. The treadmill will not measure heartrate when I'm walking at 4 mph or faster. So as soon as mile two ended, I dropped the speed to the normal mile. Except that by the time I'd recorded the time and went to check the heartrate, it was down to 118. So I don't know what the true heart rate was for the end of mile 2, BUT on the plus side it shows just how quickly and easily my heart rate can drop. And it likely was lower than the past number given how low it dropped quickly.
Pushups: Holy mackerel ... that 4th modified pushup was deadly. I was determined to do better than 3, but upper arm strength has definitely been slower to build.
Squats: I possibly could have done more. It's supposed to be until exhaustion and I didn't push that far. HOWEVER, big difference from beginning of January was my knees. In January it hurt my knees to do the 15. Today it didn't hurt, but the tendons did start to pop (make a noise, slide a little, whatever), so I stopped when both were doing that. Huge improvement really.
My legs have always had more power. I remember doing a seated leg press in high school at 300 pounds, full set of reps. Arms .... I couldn't even manage the modified chin-up option (hold at the up position for some number of seconds).
Physical / injury comments:
My left foot has been okay with walking. I've been doing some treadmill work, but not a lot. It's not 100% but neither is it hurting. More like I can regularly feel the tightness, and calf and achilles tendon stretches ache more on that side. BUT, stretches have kept it from getting any worse, and even with doing 3.2 miles today for the test and walking for groceries later, it only had some residual ache. (Iced it just for a precaution.)
I haven't mentioned it in a blog, but back when I was working out 15 or so years ago, I'd run into some issue in my upper left arm doing certain motions (such as a pectoral machine). I never had it checked and had forgotten about it. It is definitely still there. I have no idea if it is tendon or muscle or bone. I am very aware of and working with it careful doing shoulder presses and arm extensions.
When I worked with the Personal Trainer the first time, that didn't show up, but there was some pain in my right elbow with some overhead arm extension with a strap he had me do - he asked about Tendonitis. That has not been an issue for me using weight machines, but I did notice it once lifting my duffle bag loaded with stuff, so I suspect that's where that one came from and it is healing/healed.
Left shin has had some very slight pain the last couple of workouts. I definitely don't want to add shin splints to the foot issue, so I'm paying very close attention to it. I will probably head back to the running store mid-month for a review of my gait and a look at the state of my shoes. (I wouldn't be surprised if they need replacing. I wear them daily, most of the day, so they've got 6 months of constant use on them.)
Sunday, April 01, 2012
Whew! So having missed keeping up with friends at all on Friday, I planned to do so this morning. Then I got up and decided the gym and shower would be a better start to my day. Then decided to go to lunch and get some new pants to go with the new shirts. And finally home around 6:30 pm set myself to the task of catching up. Four and a half hours later, 8 pages of friend's feed, and still some thirty blogs to read and catch up on, I'm ALMOST there. I'll finish it, but wanted to get my blog done before the witching hour.
So the big thing today is the end of March and a look at my March goals followed by some setting of April goals.
== March goals ==
1) Weight stably at or below 205
-- Today's weigh-in actually surprised me with a 200. I had bounced between 203 and 203.5 for over a week and a half (I weigh daily), so I was already meeting the goal, but the last couple of days have seen some dropping again.
2) Sodium intake kept below 3050 every day of the month
-- Highest day was 2,897. My monthly average for March was actually 2,153. Definitely improving in this area.
3) Protein powder (once received) tried in a variety of ways and blog about goods and bads
-- Definitely did this and have a current favorite of an 8 oz apple juice, some cut up strawberries, and the powder. (Adding banana is even better, I find, because it reduces the tendency to get all foamy, but I've been having bananas at work and the powder at home.) Blogged about this a couple of times - several of the experiments were not as successful (... V8).
4) Call at least two doctor's offices and find out their uninsured prices for a routine checkup and get details on what that includes and what more might be wanted.
-- I did call one clinic. I was not able to get details on what a routine checkup would include or get a clear price. No, for a first time patient there is an "initial consultation" that costs from $80 - $200 during which they decide what you need. Which, to me sounds like I'd be paying for a minimum of three visits plus all lab work (first visit = consultation, second = do the tests and lab work, third = review the results.)
-- In addition, I talked with a coworker and our finance person about our medical insurance. I remembered it being set up some years ago. The finance person has emailed the insurance guy to find out what my damages would be and whether the November opt-in is the only time I can sign up. What I did learn is 1) it's with Kaiser, 2) company actually pays a small part, 3) it's as expensive as I'd expect Kaiser to be, but 4) all preventive care is "free" or copay only - not part of a deductible. All of which means ... if the U.S. individual mandate crud doesn't get nixed, I at least won't feel like I'm being forced to pay thousands yearly for absolutely nothing AND that if I get it, I'll be getting every single preventive care checkup I need very routinely.
5) Read up on planks and see where I'm at - as it sounds like they can help me build strength for a pushup
-- Well, I read up on them and learned how to do a basic plank. I've tried it three times. Typically I can hold it for 30 seconds without too much issue, but I really don't know how to measure results from it separate from all the other strength training and core work I do. Probably going to just leave them until I want a change-up in my routine.
6) Up my fruit and veggie consumption by at least 2 per week over my current averages
-- While I'm saying goal met, this was not as consistent as I'd like it to be. There were at least four or five days in which I had no veggies at all. And I ~LIKE~ veggies. Sometimes the only fruit I had was the juice in the morning, fruit bar for snack, and juice and cut strawberries with my protein powder. But at least I now have a baseline idea of where I'm at.
Summary: All in all a job well done, though I definitely let my procrastinating show when it came to calling doctors. I literally made the clinic call and the insurance questions ... on Friday. I did try walking to the Doctor's office next door to where I work a couple days before, but they were closed ... at 3 pm. (Gone golfing?)
Moving forward to APRIL!
(While I'm vaguely tempted to put absurd goals for April Fool's, I wouldn't be fooling myself.)
1) Weight stably at or below 195.
2) Sodium intake kept below 2800 at least 90% of the month, average ideally in the 1800-2200 range.
3) Eat at least 1 veggie a day - baby carrots, veggie platter, stuff like that to work for snacks so I'm not procrastinating.
4) April 1st do fitness testing and measurements to compare against 1 January.
5) Log my sleeping habits. Nowhere near ready to change, but it's time to track it.
Saturday, March 31, 2012
So glad it was Friday. If this had been Monday and I had to think about work tomorrow ... blech. That's all I have to say about that.
Sweet was that today was the first day a coworker suddenly noticed I've been losing weight. We didn't really talk about it - she just asked if I had and I said Yes and then Thank You when she said I was looking good. She happens to be the one who lost quite a bit of weight herself quite rapidly and, in my opinion a good thing, kept attention off me doing my thing because of her diet talk.
Didn't do my weights tonight. I had to really push on Wednesday to do my usual weight amounts and reps, so I decide to give myself another rest day. If that's still the case tomorrow, time to back off and rest a bit longer - I didn't think I was overtraining, but I have been pushing more for the exhaustion on some muscles.
And that's all folks.
(I'd say shortest blog ever by me ... but I'm not about to paw through .......... almost 200?! blogs to find out.)
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