Thursday, October 31, 2013
It's lovely having gotten this far in my weight loss, but it seems like I have now been camping on this plateau for a long, boring time. I love the fitness and weight release I've achieved so far, but I'm only half way to where I hope to be. It's time to shake things up and get moving again.
One of the ways I intend to do this is by joining DOGLADY13's 3 week blog challenge www.sparkpeople.com/mypa ge_public_journal_individu al.asp?blog_id=5527780 and do some introspection and cogitation publicly on my goals, motives, and motivation. As you probably realize, I'm a very intermittent blogger, so daily blogging will be a challenge and shakeup in itself.
You're welcome to join, too. Just take the link over to check it out. And watch this space--see you tomorrow!
Sunday, August 25, 2013
For a long time I've been interested in trying an activity monitor, but as I get most of my exercise in the water, I wanted a waterproof one and none seemed to fit my requirements. Then I saw the Fitbit Flex. Perfect!
Not only is it waterproof, but I love the discreet bracelet design with the minimalist display of a few tiny lights in the black strip. And even those don't show unless you tap the bracelet. It's really a triumph of design. It's flat and thicker on the display side, which makes it always stay right-side up and not twist around the wrist. Watchmakers could take note. And the clasping device is completely flush with the surface so it never catches or scratches.
The bit itself is a little bug that comes out of the back side to plug into its charger, and it charges very quickly. Mine's charging while I write this blog, and it will probably be done before I am.
I was curious to see how the Flex would handle water exercise. The web site warns that it doesn't convert swimming into steps very well, and I can report that the same is true for water aerobics. That's ok. I'm used to exercise being calibrated for landlubbers rather than mermaids, and I've grown used to ignoring underestimates of calories burned. (You're lucky to burn anything at all when you're all wet, right? ) I can handle it. Everything's different in the water. There still is no better gauge than perceived exertion for intensity of water exercise, because heart rates are different in water. So no surprise that for a half hour of intense interval training in the pool, I am awarded only 9 "very active minutes".
That's all fine, because although I want to wear my monitor in the pool, that's not what I got it for. I wanted motivation and feedback to help me be more active in the rest of my day, and the Flex fills my bill admirably in that department. I need to get up from the computer more often, go up and down stairs more often, park further from my destination, and it definitely helps with that.
I deeply dislike being constantly nagged by numbers, and that's why the 5 little lights on the Flex please me so. I can tap it at any time to find out the proportion of my step goal for the day accomplished so far, but I would hate to get obsessive about how many steps I got walking the dog just now, or which area of the grocery store parking lot gets me the most steps. Nor do I want to share any of my data with anyone. This is just for me. If I want numbers, I can go to the web site and sync, but once or twice a day is enough for me.
I was intrigued by the sleep mode, and it has been interesting to use it and see that my sleep is very regular in quantity and quality. There's a calculation of sleep "efficiency", and I'm happy to note that I'm apparently a very efficient sleeper--96 - 99%! It's great to find out that I've been doing this so well! And even more interesting to let my husband wear it for a night and find out that in spite of his perception that his sleep is lousy and intermittent, he sleeps about as long and efficiently as I do!
So all in all, I'd say that the Flex is the right monitor for me, but it probably wouldn't suit everyone, especially the data-driven. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to get my bit out of the charger, strap it on, and get MOVING!
Friday, August 09, 2013
I have a group of friends I meet with approximately monthly, and last month someone noticed and commented on my weight loss (40 lbs and counting!). Suddenly the one comment turned into a flurry of "Omigosh you look so great; how much have you lost; how long have you been doing it, etc. etc. etc." And then the big one: How Did You Do It??
I launched into the list of changes I've made over the time I've been sparking: changes to the way I eat, increasing my exercise, the attitude shift I had at the spa, and being accountable on the web site. Bla bla bla bla.You can see the details on my spark page and other blogs, I won't get into it here. The point is that I've changed a lot of things over time, thoughtfully, intentionally, and worked hard to make them the habits of a new lifestyle. I didn't just put them on like a new pair of shoes and stride away 40 pounds lighter.
Not, unfortunately, what my friends wanted to hear. They joked and smiled about it, but they wanted me to have one simple solution to hand them: I went on the X diet; I do the Y exercise video every day; I joined Fatwatchers Anonymous; I became a vegan Buddhist. Eventually I joined the joking, "I was taking my cow to market and traded her with a stranger who gave me a handful of magic beans. I ate the beans and my hips instantly melted away!"
There isn't a simple solution, not even "eat less and exercise more." Healthier body size is a very individual thing. Different for different people. We all have to work out what makes us succeed and then persist with it. If there are magic beans, they are Keep Doing What Works For You. Don't quit; don't give up. Experiment some more, tweak your program, but keep going through plateaus, through injury or illness, through the changes that life throws at us.
Spark on, brave sparkers!
Wednesday, July 10, 2013
Sitting here on the other side of the 2 - 1 landmark, I have realized that various things have changed while I was preoccupied with the scale.
#1--I don't snore any more. I sleep very soundly, but apparently my husband didn't for quite some time. Now he gets his beauty rest, too!
#2--My "bad" knee feels just fine now. There is still some arthritis there, I'm sure, but I don't get any complaints from it, not even when I teach a class completely from the pool deck. I only realized this when I carried a 30 lb sack of dog food up the stairs and felt some discomfort. I had been doing the equivalent of carrying that dog food everywhere every day!
#3--My blood pressure is better and steadier. No more dramatic spikes, and a small amount of medication now keeps it where it should be.
#4--I am more flexible and agile with less chub in the way. I can cross my legs more easily, hop out of the pool quicker, sit on the floor more comfortably. Still creaky getting up from the floor, though.
It's been a real boost that people I see every day have started to notice and comment on my smaller size. It's amazing that these changes have occurred with the weight release to date. I'm very excited to see what will come with my next goal, moving my BMI out of the obese range.
And I WILL get there, with patience, persistence, and consistency. One pound, one day at a time.
Wednesday, July 03, 2013
This is epic. This is amazing. Pardon me while I celebrate with a few fireworks.
For at least 20 years my number on the scale has always started with a 2. There have been gains and losses, ups and downs, but never during that time did I make it past that 2 barrier. Pushing through just now wasn't easy. For weeks I have been at a plateau that made me wonder if my scale was capable of going any lower. Turns out that with patience, persistence, and consistency, it is!
I've been working on this a long time. I joined the site in 2009 and got to work first on the exercise. Tracking my exercise, building streaks, getting rewarded for something positive I was doing for my health was very reinforcing. The streak just flashed on my page: 230 weeks of at least 90 exercise minutes per week.
The food part of the equation just lurked in limbo. I hate counting calories. I hate tracking food. I hate feeling like there is a ticking meter in front of my jaws. Nonetheless, by the beginning of this year, I was ready to get to work on the food angle. Soon after I got started, a spa visit reformed some of my attitudes and expectations. (See previous blog post) It wasn't easy, but suddenly it was do-able. I had already changed some of my eating habits for the better; I changed a few more and strived for better consistency. And, of course, nothing succeeds like success. Trite but true. When the scale shows a lower number, when your pants get loose, when you can feel those beautiful muscles better under a shallower layer of fat, you want to keep up those good feelings.
The sparkpeople web site has doubtless been an element of my success so far. It has infinite patience with my slow pace, recognizing my positive achievements while not hounding me about my deficits. I help other people; they help me; we are all in this together. It takes what it takes, which is something unique for each one of us.
I still have a long way to go to where I want to be. My BMI is still well into the obese range. But my belief in my ability to get there has increased massively with the crashing of that stupid 2. Patience, persistence, and consistency. On I go.
Thanks, fellow sparkers, for all you do!
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