Thursday, June 9, 2011

Mad Muscles and Good Old Fashioned Willpower

In my last post I was excited after my first visit to a gym in probably at least a year. The next morning I wasn't so excited. Ouch! Mostly my legs hurt but my abs were also letting me know they weren't happy. I remembered that these things are always worse on the second day so I set my mind to dealing with the discomfort and walking funny for a couple of days. I'd gone to the gym on Monday and today is Thursday. I'm starting to get back to normal, but not there yet.

So since Monday I've been focused mostly on my eating habits. My willpower muscle was just as weak as the rest of 'em so I've been strengthening it this week by resisting temptation at every opportunity. I've resisted deserts and snacks at work almost daily. I've eaten bananas and apples instead (I kind of forgot about apples if you can imagine that). I had a chance to have oatmeal when I wasn't hungry and passed, even though I love it. Tonight we went out to dinner and I subbed roasted veggies for french fries. I tried to order something that wasn't too bad, but with restaurants these days you never know.

I've also had a few things I regret. I ate a handful of chips today at lunch that I didn't need, I had coffee with cream mid-morning when I usually stick to only my morning cup and I...wait, I can't think of anything else. Don't get me wrong, there have been a lot of less than good choices but nothing else I actually regret. I am going easy on myself at this point. I know if I get crazy now I won't last. I'm in for the long haul, despite not being able to think about the long haul without wanting to give up before I start. So my mental muscle, willpower, is getting some work. Will + Power. I like that.

Back to the physical. Tonight I took a walk after we got the kids to bed. Very leisurely, maybe around 40 minutes. I just mapped it and it looks like it was 1.8 miles or so. Anyway, the walk was really nice. The summer evening and some good music made for a great mental break too. It's easy to forget all the psychological benefits of exercise. My legs were hurting a bit and I got a weird pain in my foot that went away after a while, my shins also let me know that I'd better not push my luck. I didn't care how fast or slow I was walking, it was just about getting out there. Oh, and also about hoping I could somewhat offset what was probably a high calorie dinner.

So my first "weigh-in" is tomorrow. I'm tempering my expectations. I hope not to gain but have tried to prepare myself for that. The body can be a weird thing, I could be retaining water due to my sore muscles or who knows what. I think I would be ok with staying the same, and of course a loss would be nice. But if I learned anything in my losing 75 pounds it's that what happens on the scale is really a small part of the story. Let's hope I'm singing this same song tomorrow!

'night all!

Monday, June 6, 2011

The Plan - as it stands today

I went to my new gym today for the first time and had my complimentary training session. I got there a little early so I had time to warm up on the treadmill. I tell you, I was feeling quite scared about what I would be able, or not able to do. I started out at 1 incline and 1.5mph. Ok, that was slooooow. I worked my way up, over about 5 minutes, to 3.2mph and that felt comfortable for a start. "I can still walk!". I know that sounds silly but that was what I was thinking. I feel so very out of shape that I was afraid my legs would cramp up or my heart would beat out of my chest after just a few minutes. Nope, all was fine. I felt good enough that I think I can start the Couch to 5k Running Plan right away. Just like the last time I did it I plan to go slow and repeat weeks as many times as needed until I feel ready to advance.

But the truth is I can't think much past where I am today. If I start down that path I end up with a negative feeling of "I can't do it," so I just stop. Anyway, back to the gym - I ended up walking about 11 minutes before trainer guy arrived, we'll call him Ken (he looked like a Ken, can't remember his name).

He asked me what I wanted to do so I gave him my thoughts. A 45 minute workout, all cardio to start and mix in weight training down the road. After a very brief discussion that plan was out and a plan of both cardio and weight training was agreed upon. I probably knew all along this is the way to go but was scared, quite frankly, to lift weights after so much inactivity.

Next was I told Ken about my past fitness feats but didn't feel the need to tell him the whole story right from the start. So I just started at "I used to be fit and then I had two kids." Which is true, right? I didn't need to go over the whole 75 pound weight loss and my psychological issues related to food and exercise, etc. It felt good, like I'd moved on from the fat person identity, as if, "I'm a fit person in a temporarily un-fit body, help, please."

We went around the gym and he showed me various exercises I could do that would be good for a 45 - 60 minute workout. I had a few favorites, one was on a stability ball.

What I really like about this is the dual attention to the chest press and core fitness as well. Being under a time crunch (no pun intended) means any multi-tasking is a good thing.

The other thing I like were these bent knee raises that you do while you are sitting on the very edge of a bench with your back leaned back. They were tough but felt good in that, "Oh, that hurts...let's do more of those" sort of way.

So, there you have it, I think I have a plan for the gym. I'll go 3-4 times a week and do cardio (c25k) followed by weight training (different areas each visit). Ken was very encouraging, told me my body would come back faster than I realize and that I still have a lot of strength and my weight lifting techniques are very good. It was a very nice confidence boost. Let's see if I can follow through with action.

I've been changing my eating, day by day, nothing drastic, just trying to nudge my brain and behaviors out of some new (old) bad habits. When I want to pick up a candy bar at checkout I tell myself, "All that's over now, we're getting back on track." Or something like, "You're going somewhere and that candy bar won't help you get there." The resisting of urges, exerting some self control, it feels familiar, feels good. Not as good as cheesecake feels, of course, but good. Today at lunch there was cheesecake and I think I missed half of what my colleague was saying resisting that cheesecake with a barrage of self talk. I resisted it at the counter (we eat lunch cafeteria style and it's free!) and then I really wanted to ask my colleague for a bite of hers but I didn't. Small victories, right?

I think my stomach is shrinking some, I'm not hungry 24/7 like I was when I first started to scale down the food intake but it's still bigger than I'd like. Still no plans to return to Weight Watchers, though that too may be in my future. I'll just have to see how things go and what feels right.

Ok, finally - the big news. My weight. Oh how I'd like to pretend that tracking my weight was never part of this blog and that I don't need to post how much I weigh. It's bad but with a bit of good. Are you ready for this? I weigh 199 pounds. In the morning. With no clothes on. My weigh-in day will be Friday. If you haven't already figured it out the 'small bit of good' is that I am under 200. Staying that way is definitely motivating.

I could go on and on about all that lies ahead and all that's swirling around in my head but it's late and I'm pooped. I did two sets of squats at the gym. Please send positive thoughts my way that I can walk tomorrow! And, as always, thank you so much for your support. This blog, I think it's become an anchor for me. If you weren't here I think I'd still write but it would be nowhere near as helpful. Thank you!!!