Friday, January 25, 2013
I had grown bored with my fitness routine to the point where I was dreading another day spent on the treadmill/bicycle/elliptical. My new gym offers Body Combat classes and I just took my second one yesterday. It's a combination of kickboxing, tai chi, karate and self-defense moves. Lots of kicking, punching and "controlled aggression." My instructor is fit, friendly and knowledgeable and she really pushes the class. My classmates are diverse and many of them are helpful and friendly. Plus, I estimate I'm burning about 500 calories per class.
I plan to attend these classes 3 days a week and supplement with two days of strength training. I'm glad to have a fresh workout routine in place. Now I can look forward to going to the gym instead of dreading it.
Thursday, January 24, 2013
As I continue to look back on my journey, I've started re-reading some of my earlier blog posts. It's a good way to remember where I was. Thought I'd share a blog I posted a few years ago before I had even started losing the weight. Notice how I still had that black and white thinking about "dieting."
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
It is often said that the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. My first step will start with my official weigh in on Saturday. In the meantime, I continue to prepare my mind and my spirit to begin this journey. I spent the day in prayer and meditation and asked for God's guidance through this time. I consider myself a spiritual person, not overtly religious, so for me a higher power is necessary. Dieting is a mental struggle and requires the sustained ability to give up today's little pleasures for a bigger, more meaningful reward tomorrow. In today's instant gratification society, dieting is especially difficult. I know a lot of experts prefer the euphemism "lifestyle change', and it is. But anytime you are modifying your eating habits to lose weight, dieting is what I call it.
Today, I announced to my friends and family my plans to lose weight. Usually, I'm so private about stuff like dieting, but I need all the accountability I can get. For now, I want to review all the reasons why I'm doing this.
10 reasons I want to lose weight in 2010
1. So I can look nice in my clothes.
2. So I can look younger (black women don't wrinkle as we age; we get fat).
3. So I can feel attractive and confident.
4. So I can be more attractive to men.
5. So I can raise my self-esteem.
6. So I will have more energy.
7. So I can look good in a swimsuit.
8. So I won't be the "big girl" at parties and social events.
9. So I won't wanna hide when someone pulls out a camera.
10. So I can feel a sense of accomplishment.
I'm sure I can think of more reasons but this is a good start. Although I haven't weighed, I like to break up my efforts into smaller "baby steps", so I intend to focus on 10 lbs at a time and build in some non-food rewards along the way. I also need to focus on how I will get my exercise. Should I join a gym? Buy a stationery bike? Move to some DVDS? Walk outdoors in frightful, 20 degree and snowy weather? I need to make up my mind, for real. Also, what time of day? I think mornings are best. I hate gettin' up early, but I think I'll work out more consistently if I do.
I also need to write down what I eat. I don't care for that either, but I need to put my big girl panties on and quit whinin' about what I don't like doin' and focus on my passion for gettin' to goal.
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
How many times have you read that losing weight is not a sprint but a marathon; not a quick trip but a journey. Lots of times? Well, me too. Problem is, I haven't done a good job of internalizing this knowledge on an emotional level. I've wanted all of this weight gone since day 1.
But 385 days later, I'm finally settling down. Sure, I know there's still 12 pounds to go. I'm realizing though that I'm the only one who cares. If I were 5 feet tall, maybe a 12 pound change in my weight would be noticeable, but since I'm taller I know from life experience that people don't notice a weight change on me unless it's 20 pounds or more. What does that mean?
When I was 55 (yes, 55!) pounds heavier, I fantasized about how different my life would be and how all my problems would disappear. Today, while sitting in my office at work, a new self-talk script "clicked" in my head:
Q: How will your life change once you're 12 pounds lighter?
A: I will be proud of myself for achieving a healthy BMI and finishing something I've started.
Q: Good. And then what?
A: Then I'd have to MAINTAIN the loss.
Q: Maintain your weight doing what?
A: Pretty much what I'm doing now.
Q: So what's the hurry?
Isn't that silly; I've been HEARING this message for a long time. Now I'm LISTENING. Finally, I get it on an emotional level.
So now, I'm feeling more at ease. Yes, I still want to lose the 12 pounds in 3 months. I'm not going to lie; but I also know that the habits I've picked up during this long and winding road to better health are habits I'll need to maintain FOR LIFE. What choice is there? Go back to what I was doing before? I KNOW where that road leads;
THAT road leads to...
high blood pressure
hip or knee replacement surgery
needing a scooter to shop at Walmart
covering my stomach with a pillow when I sit on the couch
standing in the back of a group picture so I can hide my body
avoiding swimsuits or swimming
dropping out of the dating scene
lack of energy
shopping in plus size stores
wheezing after climbing a few flights of stairs
Instead of agonizing over these 12 pounds, I am following the advice of my SP friends and really reflecting more on how far I've come. Thinking about it calms me down and helps me understand that losing the weight is a by-product of my healthier habits. Since I intend to maintain these habits for the rest of my life, the 12 pounds will come off when it's time.
Onward and downward.
Saturday, January 19, 2013
As I continue to obsess about being so close to goal, I realize I've reached familiar territory. During my teens and 20s I agonized over being so "fat". Looking back, I only had about 15-20 pounds to lose, but they might as well have been 100.
I understand now, why that weight was such a struggle. We now know that losing the last 10-15-20 pounds is NOTHING like losing the first 20-40-50 pounds. It's a totally different battle because it's harder to create a calorie deficit when you're close to a healthy weight. So, to continue losing weight you either have to eat less, move more or a combination of the two. And figuring out what combination of behaviors is the most effective and sustainable is tricky.
My 2 week stint on the South Beach phase 1 diet taught me that at this size, there is little room for error in my eating habits. I was averaging 1,000 to 1,200 calories a day and the weight just "fell off." But I can't sustain a diet like that. I like to eat dessert on occasion and I'm addicted to barbecue ribs. So how can I eat less/move more long enough to get to goal? That's the $64,000 question.
When I communicate with other maintainers on SP, they advise me to remove the deadline and focus on a healthy lifestyle because I have the rest of my life to lose the weight. I understand the intellectual argument, but emotionally, I need a goal that has a realistic deadline. Otherwise, I'll procrastinate and meander. Goals and deadlines are motivating and keep me focused.
So, here are some goals:
1) Lose 15-20 pounds by memorial day weekend. (That's less than 4 pounds a month)
2) Run a 12 minute mile by memorial day weekend. (Right now, I am jogging at 4 MPH)
3) Find a 5K race in my community that will take place in May/June and SIGN UP with a friend.
I am going to close this blog so I can google some local websites and find a 5K race.
Onward and downward!
Friday, January 18, 2013
Was my former childcare giver’s death preventable? I pondered this question during her funeral yesterday. No one plans to die at age 54. “Connie” left behind a loving husband, three grown children and a grandchild. Was her cancer inevitable or could something have happened to prevent it? Being the curious person that I am, I started googling for information and found the following statistics from the National Cancer Institute:
• Caucasian-American women have the highest rates of breast cancer, but when African-American women get cancer, we are more likely to die. For every 100,000 Caucasian women diagnosed, 25 will die. For every 100,000 African-American women diagnosed, nearly 40 will die.
Risk factors associated with breast cancer are: smoking, physical inactivity, obesity, and excessive alcohol intake. Factors associated with higher death rates are: lack of medical coverage, barriers to early detection and screening, unequal access to improvements in treatment, and a higher prevalence of aggressive forms of breast cancer in African-American women.
I don’t have all the details that contributed to Connie’s death. I do know these basic things; her husband had health insurance, Connie did not smoke or drink, but she was morbidly obese for many years and did not exercise. She was also an excellent cook and ate a traditional soul food diet.
During the funeral service, feelings of frustration mingled with my sadness as her friends and family raved about her cooking skills during their tributes. The question that lay heavy on my mind was “Would Connie be alive today if she had changed her diet and started to exercise?” I’ll never know. But there is scientific evidence out there that says it would have removed some of the risk.
I am starting to grow tired of hearing about African-American women becoming disabled or dying in their 40’s and 50’s. I’m tired of opening the community newspaper and seeing all these tributes to middle-age women who’ve passed away, leaving behind broken-hearted families and friends. At some point, whether we’re black, white, American Indian, Latino or Asian, it’s time for us to reach out to the family and friends in our lives and our community and “Spread the Spark” of a healthier lifestyle. We have to find a way to do this without seeming holier-than-thou or preachy. No, it won’t prevent all deaths and disabilities, but it can put all of us on a road to better health.
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