Monday, March 29, 2010
Well, last week was definitely a mixed bag as far as healthy living was concerned. I'm still trying to get back on track, and there are still lots of areas with way too much slippage--unacceptable levels of slippage. But I did well or at least better in other areas.
So I have decided to borrow an idea I've seen elsewhere on sparks and give myself a report card of my goals for the week--both to remind myself of what I did right as well as what I did wrong and to hopefully inspire me to do better next week.
* Blog at least twice (preferably uplifting blogs, but really I'm okay if I just blog):
*Welcome new folk to sparks 3 times a week:
*Post on someone's spark page or blog at least once a week:
Heheheh, and then some. It's one of the team goals for the Sparks Leadership Team, but it's not a hard one for me to meet!
*Post on the stress relief forum 4 times a week:
* Write in my journal every day:
*Listen to a get-up-and-go song every day:
Though, really I think I have a lot of get-up-and-goal song lists that I listen to constantly. All my work music--whether that's exercise, household chores, writing, or whatever--is get-up-and-go music. So is that cheating?
*Work on Vision Collage a little every day: Goal NOT met, didn't even look once (may need to rethink how this goal works).
Healthy Living Goals:
*Drink 8 cups of water every day:
Sometimes it feels like cheating to say "I did this right!" when it's a little thing, but I still don't like drinking water and I've had at least 8 cups of water every day for 341 days. So that has to count for something!
*Get 8 hours of sleep every night: Goal NOT met: got at least 8 hours every day but Sunday.
* Work out for at least 10 minutes at least 5 days a week: Goal NOT met. I worked out for a total of 205 minutes, which isn't too shabby, but didn't quite meet my goal, either.
*Work out for at least 130 minutes every week: Worked out for 205 minutes
*eat at least one fresh produce every day: Goal NOT met. I just plain forgot on Saturday. I did really well the rest of the week, though.
*Eat within my calorie allotment every day: Goal NOT met. Not even close. I haven’t yet recorded my data for the weekend yet (bad Zannachan) but every other day I was over. I made some healthy food choices—but every day I was either overly hungry and just couldn’t get full, or I caved and had junk food, and a few days I did both. Normally I do a lot better with food than I did this week!
Thursday, March 25, 2010
I'm really blessed with friends! Thank you all so much for being so supportive--I did not mean to worry you. It's just sometimes I have that annoying little devil--you know the one, the one that sits on your shoulder and whispers "you're not good enough, it's not worth the effort, you're not worth the effort, it's not working...." Most of the time I do pretty well at tuning him out, but somedays it's harder than others. Just because I know that I can do this, that it is worth the effort--*I'm* worth the effort--and that yes baby steps do matter and it is working, that little voice still sometimes gets through and I have my doubts.
And then I have all of you who smack me (kindly) upside the head and said, "don't listen to him! Look at how much progress you've seen already! At how far you've come!" If you are doing the right thing most of the time, a few slips--even fast food (and wow I can't believe how many calories I can get in a fast food meal if I'm not careful--it's like they inject it with extra calories somehow!)--aren't going to undo months of good practices. You haven't failed so long as you don't give up. There is no failure here; there is just life. And life sometimes comes with speed bumps; we just have to roll with them and keep going.
I may not have seen a lot of weight loss--in the last 6 months I've seen a net loss of 1 lb, at most (though at least that means I've lost the weight I put on over the holidays)--and I'd stalled on the cardio (probably overdoing it after I got so sick last fall, which wouldn't surprise anyone who knows me) but I have PROOF that I still have made progress, that this healthy lifestyle thing is making a difference.
I just got the results from my yearly bloodwork for my physical, and everything--EVERYTHING--is within acceptable boundaries--blood sugar, salts, protein, liver enzymes, thyroid, etc. My blood pressure at the time was a little higher than I'd like, but still within the healthy range (I can't remember the numbers now, but it was something like 124/80). But best of all, my overall cholesterol was down significantly. My HDLs were still not high enough, but much higher, and my LDL and triglycerides were all a little higher than ideal but lower than they used to be. Whoo hoo! Take THAT, little devil!
I come from a family with a history of high cholesterol, despite careful, low fat diets. Even though I have never had high cholesterol myself, I had the same pattern of too high "bad" cholesterol and ridiculously low "good" cholesterol, which to me at least was a concern. I never want it to reach a point where the only way to manage my cholesterol is with pills, or, worse, to have a heart attack or a stroke because my arteries are clogged. So I'm very pleased to see progress there, and healthy numbers all around.
Thursday, March 25, 2010
Sometimes I feel like I'm some how a fraud, that I'm not living up to the promise of the healthy lifestyle--especially the last few weeks. This week I've sort of gotten back on track with the fitness. I went to the fitness center on Monday and did 30 minutes on the treadmill (apparently WAY overdoing things, oops) and then 40 minutes of strength training. Tuesday I went back and did another 30 minutes on the treadmill (which went a lot better, by the way. I still need to play around with the settings to find the optimal one for my pace, as I'm not sure the work out was quite intense enough, but I didn't feel like a wet noodle when I was done, either). Today I was supposed to do 30 minutes of treadmill and 40 of strength training, and I just couldn't make myself do that. I ended up doing about 25 minutes of my Bollywood dance cardio instead and am wrestling with the feeling that I somehow cheated.
On the upside, the Bollywood dance cardio is a serious workout for my thighs especially--it's a fun work out but leaves my thighs burning, and that's with me skipping the hopping maneuvers which I'm still not allowed to do. So it feels a lot more intense than the treadmill, though I don't know how it compares in terms of calories burned. Still, I didn't strength train.
Even that wouldn't be so bad except that I've also been way off on the food this week, too. Ironically, when I wasn't working out, I did really well on food--I ate within my calorie limits, I had fresh fruit and vegetables and whole grains, etc. I start hauling myself back onto the exercise wagon, intending to work out at least 5 days a week instead of 2, and suddenly I'm hungry All. Day. And making unhealthy food choices--I got into cookies, and chips, and candy. Today I caved in and got Taco Bell, which I've been craving for awhile now--and ended up eating 2,500 calories today as a result (that's really easy to do whenever I eat fast food, unfortunately).
. :2, Zanna: 0
It was my decision. I knew it was going to be unhealthy and I did it anyway because I wanted tacos and I didn't want the healthier option. And I think, in the long run, I can live with that decision, just as I can live, even if I'm not entirely happy with it, that the fact that I was hungry Monday and Tuesday meant I ended up eating more than my calorie budget. I am working with accepting the fact that I'm not perfect and I still am balancing my craving for sweet, salty, and fatty foods (though usually not all at once like this week) against being healthy. Once I get more used to working out regularly again, I'm hoping that my appetite etc. will get more manageable again. Getting my routine solid will help, too. Working on that.
I have this negative, nagging voice in my head that keeps telling me "you're just fooling yourself. You aren't making a difference. You aren't good enough. Who are you to give advice or support or even claim to be making a difference in your life? You had Archway cookies this week. Today you had Taco Bell and skipped your strength training." I feel like a fraud because I read about people who ban trans fats (guilty, this week--I had 2 archway cookies, at 1 gram of trans fat each) and I don't eat a lot of trans fats but they aren't banned, either. I read about people who have cut soda from their diet and I still drink about one can of sugared soft drink a day--lately I'm trying to cut back again from 2. I read about people who don't eat processed foods, which I'm definitely guilty of. I read about people who eat only whole grains, while I still eat a lot of refined grains. I only do about 30 minutes of cardio a day on average, with 40 minutes of strength training 3 times a week (at most, seeing as I skipped today), and I know lots of people who routinely do an hour or more. And so forth.
But you know what, I'm not a fraud. I'm not fooling myself. So I skipped strength training--I still did what was, for me, a demanding cardio workout. I may have had Taco Bell, but I still had whole grains and fresh fruit and drank my water and so forth. It wasn't perfect, but it was still better than it might have been. I'm making a difference.
Nextyear posted a quote in her blog from a man who first ran a marathon in his 60's--when asked how he did it, he said "Start slow, and gradually slow down." His argument is that most would-be marathon runners start out really enthusiastic and then quit because it's too much. The trick is to pace yourself so that you don't burn out.
Well, I think that's what I'm doing. Pacing myself. So white flour isn't banned from my house--I'm still eating more whole wheat than I used to. I've even found some whole wheat foods I like, though I still find plenty I don't (the whole wheat crackers I had for my snack today, for example, I won't be buying again. Bleah). I'm drinking more water, drinking less soda, and eating more fruits and vegetables--even on the days when I made other, less healthy choices. I never stopped working out, just slowed down, and now I'm working at being more consistent again. It's been slow, with a lot of trial and error, but baby steps do make a difference.
But I'm not a fraud, so long as I'm upfront about it, right? I'm not perfect, folks. I sometimes make unhealthy food choices. I sometimes skip work outs. I'm losing weight, but very slowly, and I'm struggling to find my balance between healthy and not feeling punished, deprived, or just having it just take up so much time it's not sustainable, and sometimes I slip and even backslide. But I'm still plowing ahead, working on those two steps forward for every step back. And from what I've read, that counts a lot. I have made real progress and maybe I slip up sometimes, but I'm still doing better and living healthier than I was before I started on this journey.
I just need to remind myself that this isn't a competition--it doesn't matter that one person I know eats no refined flour or another person eats twice as many vegetables or that another person runs/walks 40 miles every week. I'm doing this for me; what matters is that I'm doing the best I can within my limits for a healthier, fitter me. And that includes accepting that I won't always make unhealthy choices--what matters is that I make healthy choices more often than not.
But I do hope that I manage both food and exercise better tomorrow!
Monday, March 22, 2010
Well, I went to the gym. I came very close to not going, I confess. I really didn't want to go. I could go tomorrow, my inner brat said (to borrow the term from 41HealthyCindy); I'm tired. But really I just really, really, really didn't want to go. But I made myself go anyway.
I did 30 minutes walking on the treadmill, including about 5 minutes of warm up and 5 minutes of cool down. I have never used the treadmill before, but I'd read that you should raise the incline and even though I was aiming for a more relaxed workout (so that I wasn't over doing it) I still wanted it to be a decent work out, so I set the incline at 9 and the speed alternating between 2.5 and 3.0, trying to find a comfortable but brisk walking pace. But 2.5 didn't seem quite enough and 3.0 seemed to be too much, because my heart rate hit 180 and I was exhausted before I was half through, even though I wasn't actually breathing all that hard. So I'm a bit confused. I guess I need to experiment with it some more. I also wasn't sure how to enter it into sparks--there all sorts of things like percent incline and how many minutes a mile you go and stuff--but I'm not sure how level 9 translates into % incline. I did 1.3 miles, which wasn't great, but is better than having spent the afternoon on my couch.
I feel ridiculously out of shape for someone who's been working out regularly for over a year.
Then I did strength training, a mix of some new exercises (because I thought it a good time to mix things up) and some old ones. That part went okay.
And, hey, I went to the gym. I really didn't want to but I did anyway and that has to count for something.
Friday, March 19, 2010
I confess, I'm getting really discouraged when it comes to cardio. With strength training, I see progress--fairly quick progress at that, as I have been slowly increasing the amount of weight I can lift etc. With flexibility training, I can see progress--again, gradual, but not so gradual I can't tell. I can stretch farther than I had when I started. But cardio? That's a lot harder. Last summer, I saw progress, but since last fall when I got so sick, I got set way back and I'm still not even back to where I was last spring. In fact, I've been doing the exact same routine now since before Christmas.
Today I hit a new (since last fall anyway) record--2.1 miles, 271 calories. But my heart rate was way too high (190's--I know the machine isn't terribly accurate, but I was also struggling) and I felt terrible and couldn't breathe and in general was miserable. I should never have pushed it that hard. I was trying something new and on the one hand I hit a new record but I don't think the pay off was worth feeling so lousy. And while I was thinking of my time on my elliptical as "running" (though I knew it wasn't as serious a work out as running for real) I was disappointed to realize that I've been averaging only 4.6-5.1 mph. That's more like a fast walk or slow jog than really running.
I don't know what's wrong with me. I don't know why I can't seem to break past this, why I'm still struggling with exercise induced asthma (which wasn't so much a problem last spring, summer--I didn't start having real problems with that until last fall when I got sick.) I talked to my doctor about it and he wasn't concerned--he says just use the rescue inhaler. Which I will, if that's what it takes, but I don't like taking it. Maybe come summer, when the air isn't so dry, I won't have as many problems. But in the meantime, I'm driving my heart rate up much too high, having trouble breathing, and often feeling wobbly and ill by the time I'm finished. I'm really struggling at finding that sweet spot that gets the heart rate up (to healthy levels) and burns fat and yet isn't too much. I read about how working out is supposed to make you feel good--energized, etc. I don't feel good when I work out; I felt terrible. And it's making it harder and harder to get back.
So. I think I need to try something different. I wish I had thought of it earlier this week, because the weather has been so lovely but a cold front is supposed to be on route, but I'm going to stop using the elliptical for a bit---or at the very least cut back on it--and try just walking for awhile. It doesn't burn as many calories and I'm not allowed to run or even jog still, but maybe that will help break through this stamina/heart rate issue. Maybe it's time to lay off on the intensity and worrying about how many calories I burn in a week for awhile. If the weather is nice out, I'll try walking outside. If it's not, I'll try the treadmill, or run dance cardio DVDs at home. Because when what I'm doing feels like I'm just constantly slamming myself at a wall, it's time to try something different.
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