Saturday, April 9, 2011

Working It Out

On December 28 2010, I signed up for a gym membership and personal training. I have committed to a pattern of training two days a week, water aerobics three times a week and one or two independent workouts per week. It is a commitment of time, energy and mental work. I have always eaten a pretty healthy diet of home prepared whole foods, so the dietary changes for me have been more about increasing a good thing than cutting out bad choices. I have chosen to skip some treats, but I’ve had a few slices of birthday cake over the past few months.

My goals are to increase my strength, stamina and of course weight loss. I have accomplished these goals to some degree. I have seen the added benefit of more restful sleep with less apnea (according to James). I began my journey at 222 pounds, a weight that has been stable over many years. This morning my scale read 202, a big wow for me. I know ladies don’t usually share their weight numbers, but it’s not like it’s a secret to anyone who looks at me. Just like fibbing about my age won’t really make you think I’m 29. I always thought lying that I’m older would be more sensible.

As I have reached the grand old age of 52 ½ years, I know that my aging body needs to be strong and healthy to carry me successfully into the golden years. I prefer to avoid diabetes, osteoporosis, cardiac weakness with associated risk of heart attack and stroke, respiratory problems and injuries from falls. I don’t know my desired goal weight because I hope to build enough lean muscle to be quite dense and compact, so my weight number may not be low. Having never been successful at weight loss in the past, this journey is a thrill to me. It amazes me to see results from my efforts, and while the work is hard, it is fun at the same time.
This is my year. I am diligently working on myself and re-creating my lifestyle to endure for the rest of my life. I hope to be of service to my family and the community for many years to some.

Some things I have learned:
Don’t go hungry. Some favorite bits that have helped me on this journey are: Laughing Cow Cheese, RY Vita crackers, apples, apples and more apples, kiwifruits, herb salads, lots of homemade soup, homemade whole wheat low sugar low fat muffins, deli smoked turkey, Lara Bars, Kids Cliff Bars, and dark chocolate squares, peppermint tea, chamomile tea, Crystal Pure (stevia sweetened beverages [I don’t use artificial sweeteners].

Stand and sit tall, always be aware of body alignment. Keep your shoulders up and back, tummy in, tailbone tucked. My chiropractor told me to keep my jaw back and my head against the headrest when I drive. These practices have helped me be more aware of my body and to feel the real me inside the accumulated fat.
To burn past a plateau, increase the intensity of your workout (reach farther, do less weight and more repetitions, jump or step higher etc.), increase the duration of your workout (40 minutes instead of 30), or increase the frequency of your workout (more times per week, or even more times per day)

Reward yourself for hard work:
Special shampoo and conditioner (Paul Mitchell Lavender Mint YYUUMM), new pretty underwear (mine was falling off) a new book, note cards, new swimsuit, out to a movie (Jane Eyre!!!)

I love my journey and feel hopeful about my healthy future. I choose not to compare myself to others. Everyone has their own way of accomplishing their goals. I do however, find joy in encouraging others on their healthy journeys.

I did have one thing happen that was enlightening about my inner self. As the numbers on the scale began to drop, I developed a negative attitude and sense of foreboding. I felt like something bad was about to happen to me. I started to hold back thinking I might injure myself during my workout. I began to pray about this strange sense and came to a realization that the last time I engaged in a health change program, it all came to a screeching halt when our family experienced what we refer to as “The Boogie Man.” We had a drunk and drugged man break into our home and threaten our family with a gun. Even though the break in was resolved (after 11 minutes) it paralyzed us. We were shaken in many ways and all of us were changed forever. Healthy living, exercise and careful diet were exchanged for counseling, fear, sleeplessness and troubled children.

That was then and this is now. Receiving this answer to my prayers helped me realize, I can press forward without fear. Our family is strong. Our children are happy and we do not need to live in fear. I can turn to my Savior for help on any journey I choose and He will be there for me.

James and I are going on a cruise to Hawaii this spring. I look forward to the ideal opportunity to have great food choices (cooked by someone else) and access to a gym, a pool and exercise classes with no other responsibilities.
I thank all of you who have offered your support to me on my journey. Every kind word really helps me. Thanks for helping me “work it out.”