Tuesday, March 22, 2011
I have done it.
I have achieved 100,000 fitness minutes on Spark. One hundred kilo-minutes. Or, in the English system, at least a good 1700 miles, I kid you not, gentle readers.
Well, you see, here's the scoop. Here's how I did it.
I started at Spark in, um, February of '08 (it's on my page somewhere). And I immediately started logging time. And this was (and continues to be) EVERYTHING. When I first started, it took me, no lie, 5 minutes to get to the mailbox around the corner and back. So I would record that, and often it was the only exercise I got, when I first started out. Things are different now, of course, but back then I was over 300 and getting up and down the stairs was not easy and the very act of even buckling my seat belt was a chore and so, dammit, I had EARNED those 5 minutes so I was gonna record 'em.
I joined a gym in, um, 2009 some time, and the minutes started to come more in the form of gym cardio. And I also started running (ha, let's call it somewhat not so slow walking for truth in advertising's sake) 5K races right about then. So some of the time came in the form of 5Ks. A lot of it, too, came in the form of 20 minutes of resistance bands, which I pull on EVERY single morning, without fail, and have done so now for years.
Time also came in the form of frisbee, of house cleaning, of the exercise bike, a smidgen of basketball, some swimming and even in the form of painting, Pilates and lawn mowing. And let's not forget snow shoveling -- I've done just under 21 hours of that this year alone (and hopefully won't be doing any more until, perhaps, October).
But most of the time has come in the form of walking or running. I go run an errand (literally). I record it. We walk to dinner in our neighborhood. I record it. I go to visit my folks and make sure to stroll around the Mill Pond or around their meandering streets. I record it. I go to work and the commute involves not just a bus or a trolley but also some walking to get from point A to point B and I record that, then, too.
I record it all.
And in the middle of '09, I started to really record steps and keep a spreadsheet, because I loved the pedometer I had gotten for a work step challenge (it's an Omron Aerobic and BTW I was nowhere near winning that step challenge) and so I started recording. And I figured out, more or less, that every step is maybe 2 feet. So I started keeping records, and totals and then dividing them by 2640. And that's been a down and dirty way (I don't pretend that it is at all accurate) to try to determine how many miles I have been going.
Now, keep in mind that I have the pedometer on nearly constantly. I went on a job interview today and I wore it. I went to my High School reunion and I wore it. I wear it everywhere but bed and the shower. So the steps don't fully jibe to the recorded times on Spark but, the times also include bowling and whatnot so perhaps it's more of a wash than we think. Anyway, here's the deal.
In 2009, I started recording on the spreadsheet in August. I clocked over 1.77 million steps (yeah, that's a million, kids). This, using my calculation, worked out to 673.15 miles.
In 2010, I recorded every month, and ended up with over 2.26 million steps and 857.33 miles. This is about half the average of the prior year, and I can attribute that to surgery in January and some serious slacking off over the Summer when it was beastly.
This year, I am again recording every month and currently have over a half a million steps and 192.17 miles. My average is even down from last year but I expect it will go up as I go along. My highest monthly step totals are in the 300,000s. I've never been lower than 149,676 and that was January of 2010 -- and I had abdominal surgery on January 15th and was flat on my back for a while there.
Anyway, enough of my crowing, my numbers, and my rah rah. Here are some other facts.
I weigh 204.2, or at least I did as of my official weekly weigh-in yesterday. I have almost 60 more pounds to lose. I love hanging around and doing nothing as much as the next person. I have had my weight go up in the last year -- enough to pull me back out of 10s and 12s and into size 14s again. I looked at a recent picture of myself and thought I looked chunky.
This is not the cure-all to everything.
I have gained some pretty serious, shiny new habits. These include going walking, and thinking, rather than staring mindlessly at a TV, bag of chips in hand. They include going to a gym, even when I don't necessarily feel like it. They include using walking as a means for dealing with boredom and frustration, rather than giving in to a carton of ice cream or the like.
I encourage you to move. I am well aware that this is a daunting number, but it took me over THREE YEARS to get here so recognize that it is, perhaps, more of a testimony to longevity and faithful tracking than anything else, yet the number is still there.
Folks, I encourage you to move.
And, even more importantly, I encourage you to pass me.
But if you think I'm gonna just pull over and stop in order to let you do that, well, ha, you've got another think coming.
Onward to 200,000.
Monday, March 14, 2011
I ran the first 5K of the year yesterday.
Ow. I am tired.
Oh, and Elisel also ran it, so please check out her blog as well: www.sparkpeople.com/mypage_public_jo
Anyway, the 5K. I did okay. This is my 16th 5K, and my time was 8th overall. Which is not bad but not awesome. I weighed 205 (I lost a pound yesterday, apparently, heh) and my time was 43:07.
Hence I decided to do a comparison, and figure out just how much my weight is affecting my times. And here's what I came up with (keep in mind that the old scale broke somewhere in the middle of last year, so some of the pound #s from them are probably understated by 20 or so, I kid you not):
Date Time Weight
6/25/2009 1:04:04 196
7/5/2009 0:43:36 192
9/7/2009 0:43:32 188.8
10/3/2009 0:42:13 184.6
11/8/2009 0:38:12 183.2
12/13/2009 0:41:48 179.4
4/18/2010 0:40:31 181.2 scale may have been broken by now
5/1/2010 0:40:44 182.6 scale may have been broken by now
7/17/2010 0:47:26 173.2 scale was likely broken
8/21/2010 0:43:36 170 scale was likely broken
9/6/2010 0:46:39 170.6 scale was likely broken
10/2/2010 0:43:04 205.6
10/30/2010 0:44:27 204.6
11/7/2010 0:41:17 202.4
12/19/2010 0:45:33 203
3/13/2011 0:43:07 205
What I'm seeing is, the numbers don't change too significantly, and I can even end up with a slower time when I'm thinner (see 12/19/2010 versus 3/13/2011, and that's the exact same course). About the only thing that gets close to consistency is the fact that I tend to do better when it's cooler out.
After that, though, it's harder to tell.
Am I more muscular these days?
In some ways, yes. My measurements are decent, still, and comparable to earlier days although I will admit that I am up a size, fitting more into 14s than 12s. I know I look fine, and my brother, who had not seen me for months, thought I was about 160 or so, and on maintenance.
And that, I think, is a big part of why the last mile is the hardest mile. Man oh man. I feel like I have been doing this forever. I am about to hit 100,000 fitness minutes here. I drink about 40% more water than I'm supposed to. I get enough sleep. I go to a gym 2x/week. I stay within a 1600 - 1800 calorie limit, and attempt to give myself variety. I don't go out to eat too much. I watch the salt intake. I attempt to balance carbs to protein to fats.
I have been kicking around, from about 201 to 205, for months. As in, at least since September of '10 when I finally replaced the scale but, truth be told, it's probably a lot closer to back to around August or even July of that year.
Yeah, I've been kicking this around for a good 6 months or so. I think that's a fair assessment.
And, I gotta tell ya, this time, it's HARD.
It's not that I don't want to do ANYTHING. But I have plucked the low-hanging fruit. That went into the basket a long, LONG time ago. And I do reach and strive for the higher stuff. But right now, it's difficult.
I cannot say what I should do, or where I should go. And I'm not exactly putting this out there in order to ask for advice. Just, more, as a statement.
It ain't easy to get over the last humps.
I know I will get there, at some point.
But right now, it's just tough.
Monday, March 07, 2011
I went to my folks for the weekend.
My parents are downsizing and are looking to get into an apartment/condo. This means clearing out their house, which they've been in since 2 weeks before I turned 10.
I'm 48 years old.
So there's a lotta stuff.
But there's less. They've been clearing out for a while. My stuff was long gone, just a few small things and I already got 'em. I was there for kinda moral support and to see the condo they've picked out for themselves.
My brother was there to clear out more of his stuff (after 14 bags of trash, 3 boxes of recycling and a box of stuff to take home with him, he is now down to just the stuff in his old room -- that was after doing this one time before and going through the cellar. He has a lotta stuff). And he was also there to see the proposed new place.
The place is, eh, it's okay. It's important to recognize that this is, by definition, going to be smaller and have far less character than the old house. And a lot more stuff will have to be deep-sixed. As in the living room and den couches are probably toast, the dining table may never have its leaves in it again, etc. The kitchen is oddly configured and, unless they put a freezer into a kind of satellite area, there will be no freezer. This is odd for two people who lived off freezer food (and frozen food) for decades. It's a big adjustment.
But the area seems fine, the people are friendly and the place is kept up pretty well.
It is a life transition. And they are often hard.
I also spent time with my mother. Because I didn't need to clean anything out, I figured I'd give her a break, so we went out clothes shopping for me (I needed some interview/work clothes) and to lunch. This left my Dad and my brother to clear stuff out and hammer or whatever it was they were doing.
And my mother told me that, well, if things turn out a certain way, I will be doing their finances. Don't want to get into details, of course.
Anyway, for those of you following at home, I live in Boston. My parents are on Long Island. My brother is in Maryland. If I end up doing the books, it will be, shall we say, a challenge. This is a downside to living away.
I was also asked -- what's your fondest memory of the house? And the truth was, none of us could think of one. Not that it was an unhappy place, it was more, I think, we were kinda put on the spot, plus we were tired. And, well, nothing leapt out. I remember a less than optimal Sweet Sixteen party. I remember years as an isolated, depressed teenager -- if it had been now and not the seventies, I suspect I'd've been medicated.
It's a transition.
Not unlike the ones we are voluntarily attempting to do to our bodies right now.
Life changes. We adapt as well as we can. We move on. Or we cling, and we cry and we wail against the inevitable. But it doesn't matter what I think about aging -- it's still going to happen. My views on death are meaningless -- it is still everyone's fate. What I feel about weight loss isn't, truly, vital -- it's going to happen, or not, and not because of my mind.
Or will it?
We talk about attitude here, and about feelings a lot. And there is an enormous emotional component that goes along with this. What we feel DOES matter -- but the truth is, it does matter less than whether we move our bodies, and make good food choices, yes? All the happy sunshiney thoughts will not will the pounds off us if we're not working out and eating right, and eating less.
Last weekend, there was very little exercise unless I made it happen. The eating was generally abysmal and done in restaurants. Out of six meals (Friday dinner, Saturday all day and Sunday first 2 meals), I had them either in restaurants or composed of leftover restaurant food for all but 2 of those -- and those were the 2 breakfasts. Exercise was resistance bands and maybe 10 minutes of walking/day, unlike the usual 60.
And yeah, I've gained, although some of that is also TOM.
And I see how my life was, and what my teen years were like and, perhaps, a part of why I was such an isolated and depressed teenager.
I am no teenager. Isolation, if it happens, is my own doing. I take full responsibility for same. And I don't blame them.
Every now and then, I suppose, I need a reminder. But I don't look back there. It's not the house that made me happy (and it didn't).
Look forward, or you really will fall down like a domino.
Monday, February 28, 2011
In order to provide more or less maximal contrast to last week's song, I offer Billie Holliday. :)
So, I attended a Spark gathering last night. W00p! Here is one of the photos taken:
Don't we clean up nice?
There were six of us -- Lab-Lover put it all together. Also attending were -- eek, I am gonna get userids wrong -- Malcontention and aaaccckkkk I am totally blanking on the user name of this lovely gal.
Oops. Totally my bad. I blame the ahi tuna.
Anyway -- we did have a blast.
And yanno, the funny thing is, no one gave us any kind of weird stink eye of -- oh, that's a buncha dieters and they should not be doing whatever, or eating that, or whatnot. I doubt anyone cared, or batted an eye. Would you? Would you care what we ate, or talked about, or wore, unless we were somehow bothering you?
Would you even notice?
I think we can all get caught in this rut of -- I don't deserve this -- or, one of my faves (and I have been on SP for a few years and have seen this in a few separate guises -- everyone will be watching while I'm exercising, pointing and laughing.
No, they won't.
Really, they won't.
And here's where the tough love comes in.
We need to get over ourselves.
Unless we are honest-to-God celebrities (God help Oprah Winfrey and Valerie Bertinelli and Kirstie Alley and all the others who've had rather public struggles with their weight), no one gives a damn.
So go out there.
Exercise. And do it in whatever way works for YOU.
Eat what works for you. Hell, make sure the server gets it absolutely right, and fight for your right to better food in the supermarket (or take your dollars and vote with your wallet at some other place if they are more accommodating to your needs).
Sleep as much as you need -- TV schedule be damned.
Drink the water, even if someone comments about you heading to the bathroom or that they think it's weird.
Who asked 'em, anyway?
Do what YOU need, with who YOU like and love.
The rest will follow.
PS We split a humongous dessert. And I'm down 2.6 lbs.
Monday, February 21, 2011
For those of you who don't remember this one-hit wonder (or, gulp, you weren't alive then, eek!), the song is called Driver's Seat.
And, well, we all know what that means. It means having control.
I think a lot of us got here because of a lack of control of some sort. Or, someone took it from us. Or we gave it away.
How many of us have sat down with a full bag of chips and then, suddenly, miraculously, it was gone, or half-gone? And there was no one there but you. So unless you've just violated the laws of physics (you know, matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed, only transformed), well, you know where those chips went.
Or you went to a party and they had all sorts of stuff. And suddenly your plate was full of that stuff, whether or not it was good for you, or you wanted it, or you were hungry, or you even liked it. And then that plate was empty and, again, unless you were pulling Einstein's leg, there was only one place where those hors d'oeuvres could have possibly gone.
Or you were over at your inlaws and they were serving whatever, and you were told -- either directly or indirectly -- that to refuse would be a grievous insult. So you took whatever you were given, and you smiled and said please, may I have some more? And maybe it got you brownie points although those were forgotten a lot faster than the consequences lasted and, once again, somewhere that stuff disappeared and it wasn't the dog who was responsible.
Or it was raining. Or, like today, snowing. And you just couldn't get your stuff in gear. So you didn't work out, and didn't find the time and it slid away and just as surely as E = MC2 you let the day go by without seizing it.
Or you were late, and couldn't find the time. But it wasn't a one-time thing which could certainly be understood. It was an all-time thing. Oh, I've gotta care for the kids. Oh, I've gotta do the wash or whatever. Oh, my favorite program is on and I must see it, even though it's a repeat. And midnight comes and you've lost another day on the way to, well, we all know where the road eventually leads, now, don't we?
Or you allowed someone else to dictate your life to you, long after you turned eighteen and were legally capable and responsible for it. You let your man tell you to not lose your curves, even though your curves included a 55" bust. And lest you think I am pulling that figure out of thin air, I'm not. for that's what my own bust measured, three years ago this week. I see this kind of manipulation more times than I care to enumerate. It is one thing to not want someone to turn into a stick figure and be malnourished -- it is another thing to be actively sabotaging someone's efforts. And, sorry, guys, but I see men doing this to women far more often than I see women doing it to men. And whether it's through love or fear or inertia or whatever, it doesn't really matter, for those women have allowed someone else into the driver's seat.
What I am asking of you, today, is -- shove the other drivers out of the way. Yeah, you don't have to be sweet and cutesy-pie polite about it. This is YOUR life, YOUR body, YOUR health I am talking about. No one should be driving the ultimate decisions that you make when it comes to those things. Perhaps I am a Boston driver after all, but no one -- and I mean NO ONE -- sits in my driver's seat. Not anymore.
Pull over, and switch.
Don't let things just happen to you anymore, no matter what they are.
You are a grown-up. You have far better judgment than you may think. You have the right to your own selfhood. Don't let anyone else take that away from you.
And I think you'll find that the inhaling of chips slows down, if it doesn't stop altogether, for you have become mindful and you are beginning to understand that the brake pedal is under YOUR foot -- and it's been there all along.
And the exercise will start to happen more, too, because you'll begin to thumb your nose at the weather, no matter what it's doing outside, and you'll become better organized and you will fit in exercise because it's become important to you, and you wouldn't miss it anymore than you'd miss a dental cleaning. Because the gas pedal is under YOUR foot -- and it's been there all along.
And you'll find that, as your bust goes down to 39" (what mine was this morning) or lower or wherever YOUR comfort and health levels are, that you're still desirable and still beautiful and still awesomely curvy and sexy. Because that steering wheel is in YOUR hands -- and it's been there all along.
Just take your place in the driver's seat.
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