For A Healthier Me

Slacking in cyberspace but not at the gym

I’ve been without internet for a couple weeks.  Life is definitely not the same without the internet.

However, just because I didn’t post doesn’t mean that I haven’t worked out.

I’m taking measurements on Sunday.  I’m excited.  Regardless of the results, I know I’ve made some significant changes.  I feel so much better day in and day out.  I’m more energized.  I can walk farther and faster in my day-to-day activities.  I have more clarity of mind.  The weight will drop off.  I don’t doubt that.  In the mean time, I’m enjoying the changes I am recognizing every day in other aspects of my life.  I know I can attribute them to my commitment, dedication, and hard work.


Just the clarity I needed

My roommate was cleaning and rearranging her room this week.  She used game room adjacent to her room as a place to put some of her belongings while she deep cleaned and rearranged.  Fortuitously, she had one single book on the top of her hope chest.  It was Bob Greene’s The Best Life Diet.

I picked it up and began reading.  Only 15 pages into the book, I experienced a paradigm shift.

I created this blog, because I was frustrated.  I needed to express myself in hopes of feeling the feeling and moving on.  Although most of my frustration had fled with that post, I still had lingering doubts and thoughts of giving up.

Bob Greene’s simple statements provided just the clarity I needed to understand what was going on in my body and to help me realize that I was succeeding.

Page 15 of his book reads, “If you’ve been following the basic formula for weight loss–consume fewer calories than you burn–for a week or more, it’s not unreasonable to expect to see immediate results on the scale.  But the way you go about losing weight has a significant impact on how much weight you lose in the first weeks of a program.  If you go on a restrictive diet and don’t exercise, yes, you will see the numbers on the scale plummet.  Diets that severely limit calories are designed to help you lose weight fast; that’s what draws people to them–and what draws them back again after they regain the weight.  But restrictive diets also provide a false sense of accomplishment because what you lose isn’t necessarily body fat, which of course is precisely what you do want to lose.  What’s more, when you lose weight in this quick-fix way, it almost always comes back.

“On the other hand, when you take a more moderate approach that combines diet and exercise, the pounds don’t peel off quickly during the first few weeks.  That doesn’t mean that the diet isn’t working.  When you learn more about what body weight actually is and how the process of losing it works, you’ll be able to take comfort in the fact that you are making progress–even if it doesn’t always feel that way in the beginning.”

He then continues to explain simply what happens inside the body during healthy weight loss.

During his first phase (the first four weeks) he challenges his participants to NOT weigh themselves.  He explains that weight will fluctuate a lot during this time of increased activity.  “No good can come from watching the numbers at this stage–they can be erratic and really are not very relevant to your ultimate results.  Plus, there are other ways to guage your progress.  For example, how your clothes fit is a better idicator of what’s really going on than on the scale.  If they fit the same as before [at the end of the four weeks], you’ve probably lost some body fat…If your clothes feel loose, then you’ve lost even more body fat.”

I cannot explain the relief and the enthusiasm I felt.  I felt inspired and invigorated.  I finished the book last night.  (I recommend picking up a copy or checking it out at your local library.)

It’s already made a difference in my day.  I worked out long and hard at the gym.  I feel great!

I anticipate many positive changes in my body.  I don’t mind if they come slowly.  I’m doing it the right way and the permanent way.  These changes will last my lifetime.

Golden find

I chanced upon this Calorie Counter Database.  The best part is that it’s free!  Yeah.  It has thousands of food and beverage items.  Each item contains nutritional value and a nutritional rating (so I don’t have to try to figure that out myself).  If you sign up for an account, you can log the foods you’ve eaten to track your overall intake for the day and see what nutrients you are lacking.  All of our nutrient should come from food, meaning supplements are unnecessary and a waste of money.  This will help me make wise food decisions and to recognize the little changes I can make to take better care of myself.

With a goal in mind

I realized today that I was working hard, but I was working without direction.

Yes, I had a lofty goal to lose a bunch of weight, but I haven’t broken it down into realistic fitness goals.

This morning I was looking into community events for the town I will be moving to in the next few weeks.  I love going to local events so that I feel a part of the community and get to celebrate and party with my neighbors.  As part of their county fair, they have a 5K run.   I want to start working toward that goal.  I found a number of training plans online, but the shortest I’ve found is 7 weeks.  My 5K is only 6 weeks away.  Despite the fact that jumping ahead is discouraged for beginners, I’ll have to trust that my last 6 weeks of walking/jogging on the treadmill will count as the first weeks of the training schedule.  I’ve decided to go with this training plan.  I sure as heck can’t jog even one mile at the same pace (or at least I haven’t tried), so working toward longer spreads at the same pace will be helpful.  I’ve also read in numerous places that interval training is effective for weight loss, so this plan seems ideal for that reason as well.

I’m psyched.  I’m going to change my clothes and go to the gym to use the treadmill.  Unfortunately, I’ll have to use the machines in the open area since they are the only ones with the easy interval switch.  Otherwise, I might be tempted to slow my jogging pace if I have to increase the speed one-tenth of a mile at a time.

But first, I need to create a quick playlist on my iPod of alternating fast and slow songs to reflect what I’m trying to accomplish.

I’ll see you at the gym in 45 minutes!

Current Mood: A Little Frustrated

I started working out at a local gym with a trainer on May 7, 2009.  I have always enjoyed physical exercise, so going to the gym was a logical step.

However, I have signed up for the gym and even paid for a personal trainer before.  I had great success a few years ago with a trainer, but then I had a bout with illness that kept me out of the gym.  Not long after that, I moved back to my home town trying to avoid a romantic situation that I just didn’t want to confront.  I never even told my trainer that I left town.  I wasted hundreds of dollars, because I was too scared to have a conversation.

I signed up this last year at the local gym.  I was slow to get consistent until my good friend started working out with me.  She signed up with a trainer, and I decided to do the same.  I couldn’t afford the weekly visits she had chosen, so I signed up for a bimonthly appointment with a trainer.  My trainer and I decided we would spend the two days together in the same week, so she could show me the program I would follow for the rest of the month.  This worked for four visits.  Then, I let my life and tasks keep me from achieving my fitness goals.

Well, I finally made it back to the gym.  Since I continued to pay for my trainer and not schedule and appointments, I had a bank of 33 training sessions paid for in full.

I’ve been working out with my trainer twice a week for the last month.  I’ve worked very hard.

The first two workouts with my trainer left me sore for almost two weeks.  I was grateful that my body adjusted quickly and was no longer sore after workouts after those first two agonizing weeks.  (I do my cardio before my weight lifting.  I had been leaving after my last set, but then I thought about how the body functions.  I didn’t want the lactic acid building up and staying in my much fatigued muscles.  I still do my intense cardio first, but I always end my workouts with at least 10 minutes of a lighter cardio workout to get the blood flowing in and out of my muscle fibers.  I believe whole heartedly that this is the reason why I haven’t been sore.)

I’ve seen enough weight loss shows and read enough testimonials to know that the first weeks of working out usually result in a higher number of pounds lost.  After that the weight loss steadies and a healthy loss is 1 to 2 pounds per week.  I had hoped I would lose 10 pounds in my first month.

Part of my training session today was measurements.  I anticipated little weight loss since I had been checking my weight occasionally at home, but I still had high hopes.  I shed four pounds.  I should be happy these four pounds are gone forever, but it almost felt anticlimatic.

Next we measured inches lost.  I hoped that this would make up for my disappointment.  Measuring my neck, shoulder, waist, hips, thigh, calf, and arm, I lost 5 1/2 inches.  Two of those inches came off my waist.  It was something to celebrate, but again, I couldn’t help feeling a little disappointed.  I wanted more dramatic fruits for my labor to give me the incentive to go on.

In my mind, I was going to have a dramatic first month and then taper off to something more realistic after that.  If my next months prove to follow the pattern I imagined in my mind, then progress will be really slow.

In my frustration, I came home from the gym to make a breakfast of grits and eggs (a comfort food).  I was starving, since my workout had been first thing in the morning.  The most accessible food was a bag full of cookies on the counter.  As many times as I looked at them, I didn’t partake.

That is, until after I had eaten my comfort food breakfast and still felt unsatisfied.  I was unsatisfied with my results and hadn’t yet process those feelings.

I couldn’t fight it anymore.  I took two cookies.  Then two more.  After cookie five and six, I decided I’d better take a nap before I emptied the bag.

With my blog new today, I don’t think I’ll get much exposure.  I’m hoping, however, that someone out there will find this and help me to recognize my successes and celebrate what I’ve achieved.

Until then, I’ll be searching the internet to try and find what is normal in regards to inches lost.  I will avoid the product testimonials and look for real people losing weight in a healthy manner.  (If that person is you, please comment or leave your blog address and I’ll add you to my blog roll.  I’d love to do this with someone else.)

Getting Started

I enjoy writing and find that sharing my feelings in written form help me to progress.  It helps me especially to move past negative feelings and situations.

I hope that by posting on this blog, I can hold myself accountable and progress on my weight loss journey at a steady and healthy pace.