Saturday, March 13, 2010
I was laid off from job #2 at the end of October 2009 and, aside from the significant impact on cash flow, getting used to having weekends off has been slow in coming. I have worked 2 or 3 jobs for most of the 20+ years I've lived here. Recently, I have found myself looking forward to the weekends, even though nothing else has changed.
That may be attributed to the influence of SparkPeople! I find myself waking up early to get on the site and start my day right. I look forward to the opportunity of getting in good exercise time. Today was a gorgeous blue sky day and very cool, which made for great walking weather.
This morning, I logged on with my cup of coffee and my Maine Coon, Juneau, decided to be very cuddly! I spent a while with her which I loved! In the past, I have sometimes been so zoned in on what I needed to accomplish because time is of such a premium that I have not, as the saying goes, taken time to stop and smell the roses.
I didn't get everything done that I wanted to do, but, except for an odd period in the afternoon, it was a great day! I had my usual breakfast (Kashi cereal!) and then we headed out to do the errands. I meant to grab a piece of fruit and water to take with me, but forgot. I bought a bottle of water at the store (only 50 cents!) and we had Subway sandwiches for lunch. I had suddenly gotten very hungry and knew I would not last for the drive home and time to prepare something. This week, I've noticed that immediately after eating, I am exceedingly tired. Today was no exception. I came home and immediately headed for a nap.
When Bill came to wake me up, I lay there thinking that I did not want to move. I was so tired that I had the thought I could just die right there. Not sleepy, just so lacking in energy. I thought about going far over on my calories just to see if my energy level improved and, as I lay there, thought there was no way I could take a walk.
After a while, I did get up. One of the things I bought this morning was a new pedometer. Wanting to try it out made me get out the door and start walking. The pedometer works! 1.7 miles and over 5,000 steps! I love the charge that I get out of seeing those numbers! I marvel at that - I bought a pedometer years ago, could not figure out how to use it and gave up.
In a continuing quest to figure out what I should be doing, I read some of the posts on the nutrition fitness board. Coach somebody suggested I change something in my exercise and nutrition so that the site would recalculate the amount of calories I should be consuming. I made those adjustments and no recalculation occured. I think I will have to experiment. That has elements of being out of control (maybe just between my ears) and I am unaccountably uncomfortable with that. When I was on diets, there were all kinds of creative reasons and ways to game the system. This, however, is not a diet, so I am not interested in essentially cheating myself. But, the stronger element is the need to figure out why that fatigue happens, not just for myself but for my employer. I am a borderline hypoglycemic, so maybe I should make some adjustments along those lines. Interestingly, the walk revived me. Ahhhhhh!
During the walk, I encountered one patch of rough pavement that almost made me fall. I did not fall! My balance IS improving! Not only that, the lower back pain was very slight and only towards the end of the first half of the walk. I sat for about 30 seconds and we continued. It did not recur on the way home. We walked the longer way home and, as we walked, I reminded Bill that when we used to walk, I would reach for the nearest fence or light and hang on while my lower back protested. I am SO glad that is in the past!
I absolutely cannot wait to weigh in and pull out the tape measure tomorrow morning!
Friday, March 12, 2010
I was born early, due in early June, born in March, back in the days when premies had less of a chance of survival than now. I was born early because of an attempted illegal abortion. I am blessed in that the damage was minimal and physical. I learned to walk when I was four years old and wore a leg brace practically from birth until just before my 10th birthday. When I was 14, I had surgery to stretch my left Achilles tendon so that I could walk with my feet flat on the ground. (I'm repeating that part, I know.)
For most of my youth, I did not let the minor handicap slow me down. I loved to run even though I knew I looked funny doing it. I wanted to play like the other children, but there has not been a sport invented (that I've tried) where I succeed. Years of physical therapy gave me the idea that exercise was a four letter word that got stretched. After the surgery, I wore a leg brace until Valentines Day just before my 16th birthday. Fortunately, I was not exempt from PE while in high school, so I was forced to remain active.
Fun things happened along the way. Coach Kerr helped me "walk" across the monkey bars when I was about 10. He lifted me up and stayed with me, making sure I did not fall. I was not allowed to go on them without supervision. I did not understand that that was because I did not have the arm strength or the reach to grip one bar and then another. I ignored the rule one day when he was home sick and fell from the bars. I was winded, believe you me!
In high school, I could run very, very, very fast, but only for a very, very, very short distance. I challenged my PE teacher that I could beat her back to the lockers, She accepted the challenge and I ran my hardest and fastest. I could hear her with me most of the way. In retrospect, I think she let me win, but I was completely euphoric at the time!
I got smacked right between the eyeballs with a basket ball. I was watching it fall through the net, not even thinking that I would get hit. That was the end of my playing days. I could not keep up on the court, so I became the scorekeeper.
I loved tennis, but was, as usual, not good at it. As Billie Jean King said, it was just fun whacking the yellow fuzzy ball! Tumbling was not fun - flexibility was not and is not yet a word one would use to describe me! I loved the trampoline, but was eventually barred from that for safety reasons.
I love to watch baseball, but I could never play it or softball. The eye-hand coordination or lack thereof made it impossible for me to connect bat to ball. I did connect ONCE when I was about 11 and I was so shocked that I stood stock still, forgetting to run to first base! I think they let me take that base!
I love swimming, but I am not good at it, nor am I strong. When I was a senior in high school, we got to go swimming at a public pool. I had done some low dives but it was not until our last day of swimming class that I screwed up my courage to climb the high dive. (fear of heights). I had visualized making the dive, but I had not visualized walking out to the end of the board, feeling it move, prior to the dive! It took me a long time to walk out to the end. My teacher would not let me turn around. I dove and, midway down, decided I was going to do something really fancy. What happened was the world's largest, longest belly flop! I was completely winded! My teacher dragged me to the edge of the pool where I clung until air returned...I was red from head to toe!
After high school, through the Youth Conservation Corps, I had the thrill of working on an archaeology dig in southern New Mexico. We slept in WWII army tents, cots, blankets, ate K rations and had to build the camp even before we could start the dig. Digging post holes for a fence in kalichi (gypsum) in New Mexico summertime was one of the hardest things I did. Even today, all the things I did that summer made it the most physically challenging job I've ever had, but I loved it! My grandfather was an anthropologist and then THE premiere expert on New Mexico natives, so the archaeologists let me do some things that other students did not.
During the two week gap between the end of that job and the start of college, I visited my best friend and stayed at her house. One night, running through the house as your mom always says not to do, I made a wide detour around where the footstool should have been and fell right over it. The lights were off and the fall shattered my right elbow, split a bone in my upper arm and broke my wrist. And, yes, I am right handed!
I started college with my arm in a cast, not the thing a music major double majoring in voice and piano needs. To make a long story short, it took more than a year and 5 operations to repair the breaks. I ended up having to change majors and my dream of being a music therapist was over.
Through the years, I liked to think of myself as a stubborn Norwegian (I am of Norwegian+almost everything else extraction) and that I did not concede any physical limitations.
The truth is something different. While I have long known that I have limitations, I have railed against them in small ways. Visiting a friend years ago, she took me to her church and, proud of the new equipment, offered to let me ride the lift from one level to the next. I declined. She was proud of me. I have been afraid that, with advancing years, natural aging would start to narrow my abilities even further. Fear of one day having to use a cane, a wheel chair, have haunted me for a long time. I used to visit my grandparents in Santa Fe. When I first met them, we would go out to eat, run errands, go to the opera (they decided to expose me to all kinds of culture that I would not have otherwise experienced). As the years went by, they cut back until all they did was sit in their recliners. Sometimes they even slept there because it was too much effort to go to bed. It broke my heart and I determined that I would not concede that much.
However, it did not help me overcome my long held attitude about exercise. I have always hated doing anything, even the things I can do! That is changing.
That is changing!
I don't love exercise yet, but I miss my lunchtime walks if I don't do them. I even want to do more. Tonight, I used my new weights. Not for long, not for a lot of exercises, but my arms and shoulders feel worked out. Not sore, but tired in a good way. I KNOW someday those "batwings" will be gone! WOOHOO!
Overcoming my attitude about exercise is still not accomplished fact. I know that I need to move in order to achieve my goals, but there are daily reminders and limits. An unexpected pain, inability to execute or reduced result - it's very hard to be patient!
Looming over all this thinking is the knowledge that I lost only 2/10ths last week. I've pledged to lose 30 by the end of June and I want to lose the entire tonnage by the end of September. Nervous about hitting a plateau, I have mixed feelings about my upcoming weigh in, EVEN THOUGH the scale does not rule me. I also dare to hope once in a while that the number will be great because I feel thinner this week.
I'm wondering if I should move out my goal date and dial down my expectations of X pounds per week lost and approach my exercise with an also dialed down approach. It is out of the question for me to consult with anyone - money is just not there. I can but try. Exercise will continue to be an experiment in the short term. At the same time, I am resisting old thought patterns. "Are you nuts even thinking about running a half marathon next year?" "You haven't even started running!" "You can hardly handle walking and stairs." "You'll fail at this, too." Those messages do not boom through my brain as they used to, nor are they constant and automatic. Progress.
But, if I dial all this down and back, is that more realistic? More than anything else, I want to succeed. I truly do care less about dates than the end result. By the same token, the spectre of becoming my chairbound grandparents is also there.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
After yesterday's turmoil over whether or not I was on target, on track or even eating the right amount of food, today was calm with moments of joy and euphoria. My self-talk on the drive to work was reiterating my concluding thoughts from last night - that I was just going to take it one day at a time.
I parked on the other side of the complex of buildings at work and walked the long way around to my office. My left knee told me as soon as I woke up that stairs would be out of the question, but I did not let that deter me from the hills, I just took the elevator when I had to. The slopes actually seemed to ease the pain of the back of my leg and knee, which validated my decision not to be a potato today.
Lunch time was my now usual walk followed by a prepared meal that tasted better because of the walk. It was a very cool day - the cold front is coming from Alaska (where I used to live!), but the blue sky was absolutely exhilarating!
A coworker stopped me in the hallway this afternoon and asked if I've lost weight! I was floored! I answered affirmatively. I had been walking around all day just feeling thinner which was a great novelty. Last week, I had a day when I felt as if I blew up in about 5 minutes for no reason (No, it was not salt!) So I reveled in the novelty of feeling as if things were happening...
I talked again to my friend about SparkPeople. Someone else had told her about it a year or so ago and that seems to carry more weight for her than my testimonial, but I can also tell from her comments that she is not ready. I told her I am not going to push her, but I will be a cheerleader or offer other support when she's ready. I'm back to being a living example and not much else for her. It hurts to see her so unhappy, so unhealthy and so much younger than I am!
But, if SparkPeople and the internet were around when I was her age, I don't know if I would have been more ready...No judgment, just wishing my experience could shortcut some of her lesson.
The 1 Day Challenge for today was to get 30 minutes of continuous exercise, but I didn't achieve that. I hit 17. But I ended the day with 48, a new personal best. That was all walking. I still need to do more strength training...
I ended the day just under the top numbers nutritionally speaking. I would prefer to have a little more room, but I had less hunger through the day, so it worked.
I stopped at a store on the way home, looking for the exercise DVD that SP advertises and the pedometer that I really want. The store, advertised to have both, had neither. It was not an essential purchase, so I shall survive. On the way home, I found myself thinking about some interpersonal issues in a new and stronger vein of thought. Who knows how broad the SP influence on my life will be? What an exciting journey today!
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
Several Sparkpeople commented on my blog posting from yesterday, which I always appreciate! One says she has increased her calorie range and is losing weight, another said that, because she is short, Sparkpeople's site doesn't calculate all that stuff correctly. I am under 5 feet tall, so I immediately started looking at calories 101.
It involves math! My head hurts! Seriously, by my calculation (which must be wrong), I should be eating far below the 1200 calories a day threshold! I am confused, deflated, uninspired and almost, not quite, but almost, feel like throwing in the towel! (Some kidding and some grains of truth here.)
I did not get to take my wonderful lunchtime walk. I had planned to attend the company Toastmaster club meeting, but work kind of exploded on me and I did not leave my desk except for meetings today. That's not entirely true - I walked as much as I could in between tasks, but I did not get dedicated walking time.
In an effort to combat the crashing lack of energy during the work day, I ate little snacks throughout the day. That did help, did not solve it, but it sure left me with next to nothing for dinner. And, it was the usual very few calories left, need lots of protein, need fat and close to the top on carbs. What to do with that? I really try to keep things in balance and just can't seem to get it, either with my physical body or with all the rest of this. Inside joke -my balance is actually improving!
Tuesday, March 09, 2010
I had other thoughts on my mind for today's blog as the day slowly worked its way to evening. When I came home, logged in and started posting activities, I was surprised to receive a comment in my friend feed that I had gone over 1000 fitness minutes. I had not realized that! What a thrill! (For a minute - ha!) It was nice to have the comment in the feed - I am still not used to the level of support found on this site.
When I started, the idea of doing any exercise was just a boat anchor of thought in my mind. I have not arrived, far from it, but I actually regret it when something prevents me from my lunchtime walk. Imagine! I just marvel at the idea. I am still amazed at the things SparkPeople do and still wonder if/when I will do those things. Running? DVDs with scary-sounding titles? (meaning they sound hard to do and painful!) Weight training? Still dabbling.
Last week, I got a message for about 3 consecutive days in red letters advising me to change something about my calories because I was over for the week. I have not done so because I don't feel secure in the idea that this really is going to stick. With my pedometer difficulties, I am about ready to give up on that idea, even though I did enjoy seeing the numbers climb. (it's kind of like getting instant Spark points for walking!) I lost the first one, the one I bought seems to be possessed and the current one fell apart today after losing my steps. Before noon, I was almost 5000 steps and the next time I looked, I had two! The cover of the pedometer came off while I was looking at the 2 in amazement.
I was also thinking about switching to soda from coffee in order to save the calories from the 2%. Then, like a lightning bolt - I have not been recording my soda (always diet, one or two cans a day) and what that impacts is the sodium. The next thought was, perhaps cutting out the 2% is not a good idea. I have tried to cut below 2% and just can't cope with the taste. On the other hand, I do need calcium. I am not sure what to do and did not find a solution online today. I LOVE cheese, but that's a food I have to be very careful with because it calls my name.......So I had some lowfat yogurt in the afternoon.
I still find myself far too tired. I wonder if I do need to eat more. but the 1200-1550 range seems more than enough. The red letter notice last week seemed to say that my activity level requires more calories. That's counter-intuitive to me because I am not losing much weight. Adding more calories after losing only 2/10ths of a pound? I am not sure about that!
The other side of that coin is, if I did raise my calories, I MUST exercise and I am still skittish about that commitment!
I shared with a friend at work today about SparkPeople. She said she's been using a nationally known program since August and has lost only 15 pounds. I did not share everything I think about why she's stuck because this is the beginning of what I hope to be an ongoing conversation. She does not want to go to the gym with her boyfriend. (She works fulltime, goes to school and has a munchkin) I suggested she put her little boy in a stroller and walk around her neighborhood for 20 minutes. She said there's a park nearby and I said that the walk and park time will do two things - give her some exercise and some quality time with her son. Whether she does anything along those lines remains to be seen. I am not going to pursue her about it, but I did share my success in just over a month - just over 10 pounds gone and about 7 inches gone. I will continue quietly setting my example by walking around the campus, carrying my water bottle and using my food scale. She has seen me walking and doing those other things, so I hope the seed is being planted. I could tell by her reaction that she has not seen the weight change and that's ok. I am not doing this for recognition, I am doing this because I believe the alternative is a shortened life and a less-than-acceptable quality of that life.
So I will keep exercising, even if it is "just" walking and the occasional set of hip flexors, push ups and other moves that I cannot name! Yes, I am still a rookie! I am still amazed and still reluctant to call this a permanent change. I know my past! For now, I am taking it one day at a time. Today, I drank the water, have eaten within range and actually liked my walk. Tomorrow, I hope to do the same thing...And Thursday and...
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