Friday, January 14, 2011
First some background: I found Spark People almost 2 years ago while looking for a way to calculate how many calories were in the foods I ate. I make most of our meals from ”scratch” and I wanted to know the Nutritional Value of the dishes I cooked. While doing a web search, I discovered the Spark People Recipe Calculator. It was exactly what I was looking for. I put in a couple of my favorite recipes. It was amazing to see all that information for something I had cooked together. (One thing was very clear, I cook with way too much fat!)
Intrigued, I started to explore Spark People and immediately became hooked on it. I spent hours looking around and was soon overwhelmed by all the information and activities. I still don’t seem to be able to log on, input my information and then log off.
In the process of getting to know the SP website I decided I would try the program and see what happened. I made my Spark Page, uploaded some photos of my animals and begrudgingly, one of myself. I don’t like to have a spotlight shown on me so a page that wants personal information makes me very uncomfortable. I had a hard time putting information in all the “boxes”, in fact I still do.
Then I started the weight loss plan SP suggested and faithfully followed the exercise part of it for almost a week! (The menu just doesn't fit my tastes and lifestyle.) Then I relapsed. A week later, I got back to work and managed to work my way through Stage 1 of the SP program and “graduated” to level 2. I even followed the plan for a couple more weeks, lost about 10 pounds and was feeling pretty smug.
Then…. I took a day off. Then another, …. and another. Before I knew it spring was here, the grass was getting green, our horses were shedding their winter coats and revealing their amazing beauty for all to see. How could I possibly stay in the house and EXERCISE??
Ed and I do all the work on our little ranch (47 acres) and we divide the irrigation work. I take one side of the creek and Ed works on the other side. I love to irrigate so it is a job that I can spend a long time doing, most days at least 3 hours. There is a lot of walking, digging with a shovel, moving plastic dams, picking up and moving 5-10 pound rocks and other good strength building exercise. I watched what I was eating and by the end of that summer I had lost another 17 pounds, a total of 27 pounds from January through September. Who needs Spark People! It turns out that I DO.
My weight started to slowly come back; 2 pounds this month, 1 pound that month, and so on. The next thing I know, the scale is shuddering when I approach it. Around Thanksgiving 2010, I finally realized I was in trouble. I now weighed 217 pounds! I am only 5’3” and there is no way I can ignore my reflection in the mirror. (Worse yet, my reflection in the store windows while shopping!) I have NEVER weighed this much! I am ashamed of myself, depressed and angry that I have totally lost control of my eating and it is affecting all the other areas of my life. I have to do something!
I made my 2011 New Year’s Resolution with a twist. Instead setting myself up for failure by saying, “I am going to lose weight this year.”, my 2011 Resolution is, “I am going to START to lose weight in 2011. I have realized this is going to be a hard, long, and slow journey. I am finally ready to take that first step.
On January 2, I kept my New Year’s Resolution, I STARTED to lose weight. Now that is out of the way, let’s get to work. I immediately got on my treadmill and started walking.
Now, it is two weeks later. I have lost a whopping 2 pounds and could not be more proud of myself. That scale still groans when I approach, but at least my weight is going the right way. DOWN. The journey is only started, a tiny first step, Here is how I got to this point. It hasn't been pretty.
January 2, 2011 – Day 1: I have all my tools together. My loose-leaf notebook with my SP recipes, SP workouts, SP articles I have printed off and SP worksheets. Getting this together wasn’t difficult; I put it together 2 years ago. The problem was where had I stored it? OK, found it on the back shelf of my closet! Let’s go!
“I hate formal exercises so will just skip them today. Anyway, the program says I only have to do them 3 times a week. Will do them tomorrow.” This is what I told myself.
I love my treadmill. Computerized! It keeps track of speed distance, time, and calories. It is a cross-trainer with 12 different programs. I’ve done only 1 program, the simplest and easiest beginner program, but the programs are there when I need them.
So… I start the treadmill and get walking. I am excited! “A new day is dawning” and all those other motivating cliché’s we hear so much. Like a racehorse, I burst out of the gate at full speed! “ Oh Rats!! That’s way too fast!” 3 MPH nearly dumped me off the end of the treadmill! What is wrong with me? Conditioning! Unlike a racehorse, my physical condition is so poor that there is no way I can sustain a 3 MPH speed for more than a minute.
OK. I can’t do 3 MPH so lets try 2.5 MPH. Managed that for about 2 minutes. Now I am down, but I’m not out. Let’s go for Distance, not Speed. Set speed at 1.5 MPH and get on with it.
After 5 minutes at 1.5 MPH, I am feeling pretty good. My Heart Rate is good (put on my heart rate monitor before I got on treadmill) and my legs are relaxed. Increase speed by .5 MPH and doing OK. About this time, I remember what many of those articles that I have filed in my loose-leaf notebook told me. All exercise should start with an initial Warm Up. Like starting my treadmill at a slow speed and working up a faster speed as my body warms up. “Gotcha!”
Things are going well, legs feel good, increase speed. After 10 minutes I am walking comfortably at 2 MPH. Now, was that so hard? The articles tell me that I should exercise for at least 30 minutes. 20 minutes to go. Heart rate is good, but I have walked only ¼ of a mile. “ Oh boy, I’ve got to go faster if I am going to make a mile in 30 minutes”. I’m going for distance now. Increase speed by .1 MPH each minute, and now my speed at 15 minutes on treadmill is 2.5 MPH. I’m cruisin’! What is that high-pitched beeping I hear? It has been going on for a couple of minutes. Oh, it is coming from my heart monitor. 113 beats per minute! My heart-zone is 99-110 so I had better slow down a little. I take some deep breaths to relax and the heart monitor immediately stops beeping. That’s cool! Don’t have to slow down after all. Just keep breathing!
To shorten and already too long story, I continue walking at 2.5 MPH for another 25 minutes, total 40 minutes on treadmill. Walked 1.5 miles, burned 161 calories. Heart monitor reports my exercise was 41 minutes long, burned 157 calories, average heartbeat was 92 and maximum heart beat was 108. Time to hit the shower!
January 3, 2011 – Day 2: When I got out of bed this morning I noticed my feet hurting. No problem, just sore from unaccustomed exercise. Right? Wrong. The balls of both feet have blisters. I put on extra heavy socks and changed to the new pair of cross-trainer shoes I have been saving until my current shoes wore out. I think that time has come. The new shoes are very comfortable and my feet aren’t hurting. I get dressed in shorts and light shirt. (I wore jeans yesterday.) I put on heart monitor and started walking on treadmill.
Treadmill workout was much the same as yesterday, managed to reach 3 MPH as my top speed but couldn’t sustain it more than 5 minutes. Walked 1.6 miles in 40 minutes and burned 164 calories. Heart monitor has 35 minutes exercised, 164 calories burned, average heart beat 101 and maximum heart beat 110.
My feet are sore. The blister on my left foot broke. The blister on my right foot is still intact. I take my shower, get dressed and get on with my day.
I threw away the old shoes!!
January 4, 2011 – Day 3: My feet hurt! I get dressed in shorts and light top, heavy socks and new shoes. I put on heart monitor and get on treadmill. (Notice the lack of strength exercises. I still haven’t done any.) Start the treadmill at 2 MPH and work up to a sustained 3.1 MPH in about 10 minutes. I am doing something new today. I am going for Calories Burned! I have averaged 162 calories burned the past 2 days, 200 calories will be a snap. Oh yeah?
Fifty minutes and 233 calories later, I have walked 2.4 miles, and both feet are killing me. The blister on my right foot has now broken, I have a new blister on my second left toe that has also broken, and I forgot to wear my heart monitor.
As if that isn’t bad enough, it is snowing hard outside. We already have 12” on the ground! I am tired of winter.
I take my shower, get dressed and get through the rest of my day
January 5, 2011 – Day 4: No exercise today! I can hardly walk. Both feet hurt like crazy. Spent all day working at my computer.
January 6, 2011 – Day 5: My feet are still sore but are better. Heavy socks and my new shoes are working.
I finally did my Strength Exercises! It took 20 minutes (supposed to be 10 minutes) but I got through them. I’m not sure I am doing them correctly though. I put my heart monitor on before exercising and I went over the top of my Heart Rate Zone a few times.
I started walking on the treadmill at 2 MPH, worked up to 3.2 MPH and finished at 2 MPH. Walked 2.3 miles in 47 minutes. Burned 222.8 calories. Heart Monitor stats: 63 minutes, 295 calories burned, average heart beat 100, maximum heart beat 118.
My feet are feeling better but I now have a new problem. The inside of my thighs below the edge of my shorts have are rubbing together. My skin is now abraded and sore. I put on lotion on the sore areas after my shower.
January 7, 2011 – Day 6: My feet are tender. The heavy socks and new shoes are working well. I did my strength exercised and walked on treadmill for 22 minutes. Feel pretty good except the inside of my thighs are worse than yesterday. I put first-aid cream on them after my shower and got dressed.
I had a dentist appointment today. It was for a cleaning only but the hygienist found a small cavity. Surprisingly, the dentist had time to put a filling in my tooth so we didn't have to make another appointment. Following our appointments, Ed and I went grocery shopping. Since we live in another town than our dentist, we stock up on groceries at the large supermarkets when we go to the "city". We ended up shopping for over 4 hours. Lots of walking. By the time we were back home, my feet were hurting again and the inseams of my jeans had rubbed the inside of my thighs nearly raw.
January 8, 2011 – Day 7: Get out of bed. My back, legs and feet are sore, and the abraded skin on the inside of my thighs is weeping. The top layer of skin is so thin that lymph is coming to the surface. I put first-aid cream on both thighs and get dressed. I am walking like a crippled duck! I put a gauze pad with antiseptic cream on my right thigh. It has a 2-inch area that is raw and a small area where the outer layer of skin is actually gone. I now have a Second Degree Burn on the inside of my right thigh!
I put on sweat pants. Maybe the soft material will protect my thighs. I do my strength exercised without any problems. The sweat pants and bandage are working well. My treadmill workout went well; 30 minutes, 1.16 mile, top speed, 2.5 MPH, 121.9 calories burned. Heart Monitor (worn only while on treadmill): 28 minutes exercise, 146 calories burned, average heart beat 105, maximum heart beat 110
Happy Day! I have made it through the first week!
January 9, 2011 – Day 8: WEIGH IN DAY! I approach the scale with trepidation. I gently sneak up on it (as it groans at the sight of me), carefully step on the scale with my right foot, and then carefully put weight on my left foot. Slowly I look down to see the verdict. 215 Pounds! I lost 2 pounds! I quickly step off the scales the step back on. The weight is the same. I bounce lightly on the scale, no change in final weight. I really have lost 2 pounds in the past 7 days! I haven’t been this excited about 2 pounds in my life. Even the snow starting to fall outside can’t dampen my good spirits! (We ended up with 7 inches of new snow.)
Now the dangerous time starts. ALWAYS in the past, I have fallen off my diet when I started to feel good about losing weight. I still don’t know how to get through this, as you will see in the next 7 days.
My feet are feeling OK. The sore on the inside of my thigh is still open. I change the bandage, put on my sweat pants. I do my strength exercise. Manage 39 minutes, 1.8 miles, 179.3 calories burned and a top speed of 3.1 MPH on my treadmill. The heart monitor (worn during strength exercise) reports 55 minutes of exercise, 200 calories burned, average heart beat 98 and maximum heart beat 110.
January 10, 2011 – Day 9: Gave myself a “Rest Day”. After all, the Spark People program tells me that I need a rest day once or twice a week, doesn’t it.
Went to my first Web Design class this evening. Another challenge, this time to my brain. I need to learn this stuff but I am having a hard time getting things sorted out. (Not to mention converting a Windows Classroom to a Mac Home Office.)
January 11, 2011 – Day 10: Get up feeling much better. Both feet are only “tender”, as opposed to “sore”; the wound on the inside of my thigh has started to heal. I keep the bandage on and do my exercises.
Strength exercises took only 15 minutes today. I walked on the treadmill 36+ minutes, walked 1.77 miles and burned 172.4 calories. Heart monitor: 55 minutes, 200 calories burned, average heart beat 98, maximum heart beat 110. In my Heart Rate Zone for 26 minutes.
January 12, 2011 – Day 11: Here it comes ------ Remember what I said on day 8? I gave myself the second Day Off allowed for this week. I have been working hard, haven’t I? I lost a whole 2 pounds. I hurt my feet. I injured the inside of my thighs. I deserve a day off! I probably justified this day off with more excuses but I don’t remember them.
I was able to take the bandage off the inside of my right thigh. It has healed enough that it doesn’t need to be covered. I still need to be careful about rubbing against my other thigh or rough clothing. I am wearing my sweat pants.
January 13, 2011 – Day 12: DAY OFF! No excuses given, none will apply. I spent all day feeling guilty while sitting at my computer until I had to quit and prepare dinner for Ed. Then I sat in front of the TV until time to go to bed. Just before going to bed, I sneaked up on my scale and weighed. Gained 1 pound! Not as bad as I had feared but bad enough.
January 14, 2011 – Day 13: It’s a new day. New snow fell last night, about 2 inches. Everything is pretty and clean. (Notice the upbeat tone.) Put on heart monitor but only to show heart beat, no recording during strength exercises. Started heart monitor recording and walked on treadmill for 30 minutes. My top speed was 3.2 MPH and I was able to sustain this speed for almost 10 minutes. That is progress. I was also able to stay in my Heart Rate Zone for 75% of the time I was on my treadmill. That is great! Now wait for tomorrow to see what I weigh.
So far, I have learned this in the past two weeks:
1. Start slowly. I am older, fatter and in worse physical condition than ever before in my life.
2. Listen to my body. When it hurts, STOP! It is stupid to continue exercising to satisfy my ego and injure my body in the process. My body heals a lot slower than my ego, and it hurts a lot more.
3. When I exercise I feel better! That is a surprise to me. I have really been able to tune in to my body and mind (in that order). I have been so “down” the past few months that I feel even the smallest upbeat changes. On the days I exercise, my overall mood is better, I am not as hungry late in the day and I sleep better. My feet may ache but my arthritis isn’t quite as bad.
I am very encouraged and ready to tackle another week.