Monday, December 09, 2013
When I last wrote, I was trying to find a way to continue the momentum of the health and wellness program we were having at work. I joined another Sparkgroup thinking it would help as it was already set up as a program...and I tried but failed. Truthfully, I work hard at my job and it takes up a lot of hours per week (certainly more than 40), and was spending several hours a week also working out, meal planning, shopping, preparing, etc. The fact is, I was totally burnt out on all of it. So those new healthy habits went by the wayside, and I began to eat. I call it disorganized eating (when you fail to plan), emotional eating (layer cake and donuts of sadness and stress), tired eating (if I sit and eat I don't have to do the laundry, clean the house, etc.), not getting enough sleep (getting home from work at 8pm, eating dinner then, it's hard to get to sleep by 10), and the bad habits continued to snowball.
There was one major thing missing in all of this. The motivation. I lost sight of my goal. As I began to rack up a grand total of 18 additional pounds found...bah!...I realized that I'd forgotten why I was doing all that hard work in the first place. I will be turning 60 in August of 2014. And I want to be healthy, fit, and at my goal weight. It is achievable through hard work and perseverance.
Okay, phew, back on track...but wait! What really went wrong last time (and all of those other times I fell off the wagon)? I realized that what I was doing was not sustainable. I was tired of having to come up with meal ideas, substitutions, etc. So what was I going to do about it so that I can achieve and maintain success this time? Well, I need a less rigid workout schedule. I am adding short bursts of exercise into my life, mixing up the after work with some early morning short bursts, which I think would be more sustainable. How cool to leave work and just go home a night or two per week, knowing I've pretty much gotten in 45 minutes of exercise?
Also, I bought a new book, by Dolvette Quince of the Biggest Loser. He has an interesting eating plan, which is 3 days clean (about 1200 calories), 1 "cheat" day (about 1500 calories), 2 days clean, and one additional cheat. I've done it for six days now and am loving it.
I'm also incorporating more strength training into my workouts, per Dolvette.
And for an additional motivation and support, my daughter is doing this with me, which helps us both.
We weigh in on Wednesday morning, so I'll be sure to update you all as to how we are doing. I'm excited to see how it goes. Stay tuned...
Tuesday, August 13, 2013
Thanks so much for those of you who commented on my blog from yesterday. I appreciate the early birthday wishes, support and encouragement.
I did want to address a concern that some of you had regarding my caloric intake. I'm one of those people who does not lose any weight at all if I consume too many calories, even though I'm fairly active. I lose best between 1200 and 1350 per day. I can gain on 1500, even though SP tells me it's the top of my range. When I have super active days, if I'm hungry, I will take in more calories than the 1200 - 1350. If I'm not terribly active, I keep it to the lower end of the range. Too many years of yo-yo dieting messed up my metabolism, big time! So this works for me. I can't recommend it for anyone else. I'm a petite (5 1-1/2) smaller boned post menopausal woman. It is what it is. I appreciate the concern though.
Gym Etiquette is a mystery to me. Sometimes people spend a great deal of time sitting on a machine, not working out, and talking to people on other machines who are also not working out. Now I do understand that after doing a set you need time to recover. But to sit and chat when others are waiting? Not cool at all. If I see someone waiting, I don't dawdle. I can't deal with people who talk all the way through a class either. One night at Zumba, this younger woman and her boyfriend were talking throughout the class. Between that, the loud pulsing music, and several new routines, I found myself stressed out. I finally asked her to keep it down. And got a death glare for my trouble. Sheesh.
Lately there is a new trend in the locker room in my club. Several of the younger women prance around the locker room stark naked. One had her leg propped up on the counter near the makeup mirror while she lotioned her body. My eye was drawn to her like a train wreck. I felt like a pervert. And part of my envied her lack of caring what anyone thought. But it made me very uncomfortable. There have been another couple of young ladies who have done the same recently. Is this a new trend? Is modesty a thing of the past?
And for the rest of it? You are all so right. Age is truly just a state of mind...unless you're faced with perfect young naked bodies in the locker room and you realize that age is also a state of body (sigh)! But I hope to be a role model for an awesome fit and strong middle aged woman who went through two natural child births and has lived in her skin.
Monday, August 12, 2013
I have tried a new way of eating that is supposed to be wonderful for us post-menopausal women. It's a plan through Rodale/Prevention magazine and it involves eating fairly clean and every two hours. This is more of a challenge than you might imagine as I get up at 5:15 every morning, which generates an extra snack per day with a calorie allowance of 1200-1300 daily. The snacks are generally fruits, vegetables, nuts and occasionally whole grains. And while I'm at work and not always hyper-aware of the time, I am finding it great to have a snack or two mid-morning. My calories per meal are slightly less than they were, but I made it through a somewhat stressful week without doing ANY emotional or tired eating - AT ALL! I thought about it once or twice, but it was weird. With all of the healthy stuff in my system, and some steady exercise, I had no desire to undo my good work...so I didn't.
In about 11 days, I will turn 59. This aging thing has been tough. I look and feel better than I have in years, with 20 lbs. left to lose. I'm firming and toning, and have great cardio sustainability, of which I'm proud. But there is some loose skin (hello, belly!) and the muscle is sometimes buried under the flab...the hair is almost completely gray (but still a brunette, thanks to hair color). And there are a few more character lines than there used to be....but inside I feel 35! A vibrant, confident, fit and fabulous 35!
It made me think about my grandmothers and how "old" they were in their early 60's. I'm not my grandmother's 60. I'm not matronly. I don't wear housedresses (if they even still make them). I don't play cards or get my hair done weekly. I work out. I craft. I work. Maybe today's 59 is the new 35?
Tuesday, July 16, 2013
I am in the throes of poor menopausal sleep, as well as a sufferer from Restless Leg Syndrome (had a sleep study done and was diagnosed years ago). I've been hot/cold/hot/cold covers on and off, several nights in a row. Last night, I came home from work later than planned and really tired. The rain (it's rainy season here in southwest Florida) hit about the time I was heading home. So instead of the invigorating walk or bike ride, I'd envisioned, I sat my tired achy body down on the couch (the good news is that I'd already put in my hour of strength training first thing in the am). Then I ate my healthy and delicious dinner of grilled salmon, asparagus and carrots....and kept on eating for the rest of the night. I was not eating emotionally, but from being tired, something I've noticed I do over the past few weeks.
I read an article on Sparkpeople today that did state that lack of sleep increases the cortisol hormone in your system and causes you to overeat. It's really an unpleasant feeling. I ate past the level of comfort - just totally overdid it. The good news, is that my calories were low in my range for the day and I didn't eat anything unhealthy. But it did put me way higher than I'd hoped.
So now that I'm on to something here, I just need to figure out some coping mechanisms to combat this. Because when I'm that tired, it's hard to want to get involved in something else. But I'm sure going to try it out. I'm hoping that making jewelry, a quiet but pleasant activity, will help things along.
Anyone have any suggestions?
Friday, July 12, 2013
First, let me say that it was hard for me at the end of this challenge as so many of my co-workers who are new to the ways of healthy eating and exercise had some very dramatic results, while I, who have been towing the mark for six years, had positive results, but far less dramatic. I had to take a moment to think about my journey and all it has encompassed and to realize that much of my "dramatic" progress happened years ago (and in the past 60 lbs.).
Now for the results:
I have shaved 4 years off my "real age" and it is 4 years less than my real age, which is where I was when we started the challenge. Yea!
My blood pressure, triglycerides, and most of my other bloodwork were all down.
My cholesterol was a bit higher, but at about 175, well under 200. My good cholesterol was low, but no different than it was. It always is, no matter what I do.
My eating habits were input honestly and deemed "Excellent".
My treadmill cardio workout test put me at the "Elite" level, as high as it could be. These were both true three months ago. Hooray for consistency!
I dropped 8 lbs. I now comfortably wear a size ten, from a twelve.
I lost inches (again yay!) and gained muscle. Happily, my BMI is almost to the normal range, with 20 lbs. left to lose.
So overall, I am really happy with my efforts and the results.
My company is offering the challenge again, but not to those of us who participated this time. I will be in charge of heading it for the next round.
But I've been thinking about the basis of Sparkpeople and this Wellness challenge. I am going to develop my own challenge to begin on August 1st. I am going to incorporate some new exercise, eat more cleanly and see if I can't get closer to my goal weight at the end of 12 weeks. I will take measurements and do the "at home" exercise tests and see where it takes me. I'm sure I'll be seeing my doctor for blood work in August and sometime again after my challenge.
So if you have any ideas to share that I can incorporate in my challenge or you wish to join me, please let me know. And when I rejoice for my co-workers dramatic results, and wish mine were more dramatic, I think back to the woman who six years ago weighed 205 lbs., couldn't be on the elliptical for more than a couple of minutes, couldn't run a 5K, wore a size 18-20 plus, had no energy, didn't enjoy wearing clothes.....and wouldn't trade being where I am at now for anything in the world.
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