Friday, September 23, 2011

I Lunge You Very Much

This is a good week! I went to the gym on Sunday and Monday.  Day off Tuesday and then back at it Wednesday and Thursday.  More on that in a bit.  First, I want to share a few pictures from my beach outing Wednesday.  The weather forecast was for HOT, darned HOT, and I love going to the beach on those super hot days.  When we first arrived at the beach the fog was still holding on tight but it wasn't cold.  Besides, the kids probably wouldn't have cared if there was snow on the ground!  They dug in and started having fun immediately.  Myra ate a bunch of sand and Marek loved playing in the waves so much that I had to carry him out screaming and crying when it was time to go.

How cute are they?!  We had so much fun. It was a little hectic trying to contain the two of them myself but thank goodness my mom friends were there to help keep an eye too (Thanks Sara and Monique!!).  Notice the sand around Myra's mouth?  She had some beachy poops at daycare yesterday.  :/

After the beach we grabbed some food, despite my already having eaten a PB&J for lunch on the beach.  I ate a BLT and fries.  I wish it was a bit more peaceful so I could have enjoyed it more, but it was still good.  To balance that out I had a bowl of Special K for dinner.  Speaking of Special K, I only lasted a few nights on my plan to eat it for dinner for a week.  I made some bean soup and I had to have that for a couple nights.  On Tuesday we went out and I had a hamburger (side salad, no fries!) for dinner.  Even with all that, I was still hoping for a loss this week.  I felt I was doing a decent job balancing high calories meals with lighter ones.  Speaking of that, I went to lunch yesterday and made unnamed horrible choices (hot dog with chili and cheese, onion rings).  I planned to have Special K for dinner but a friend came over and I couldn't feed her cereal so we had black beans, zucchini (fresh from her garden, thanks Catherine!) and brown rice. Aside from a dollop of cream on the beans it was a very healthy meal.

Let's talk about an area where I'm having more success - the gym!  Wednesday I did c25k Week 6/Day 3, a 25 minute run.  I did the run outside in the evening and boy was it nice.  I even crossed paths with a deer who very slowly moved out of my way and then stood stone still as I passed, "If I don't move, she won't see me".  I tried to run up The Hill but only made it about halfway before I turned around.  If I didn't have legs/shoulders due up for strength training I might have pushed it.  The run felt really good and, bam!, Week 6 is done, which means no more walk breaks.  Weeks 7, 8 and 9 are 25, 28 and 30 minute runs respectively.  And with these "longer" runs I burn more calories, which is good too.

Back at the gym it was time for legs - I skipped the butt blaster and went straight for the lunges and damn if I wasn't good!  My balance could use some work but I felt plenty strong to do the lunges.  I did 3 sets of 8 walking lunges.  I gave them up for a time because they were too darned hard.  It felt really good to accomplish them again. On Thursday I only had about 40 minutes at the gym.  I did my full 25 minutes on the bike but I could only do 2 sets of my back/biceps workout and skipped one exercise altogether.  Got my core work in though, and a lightening quick stretch before I left.

Regarding my back, I have been purposefully tightening my abs whenever I do something that I think will stress my lower back, mostly when I pick up kids, but also if I bend over or anything.  I figure it's probably helping on some level.  My back has been doing alright, not all good but no serious pain either.  I still need to call my doctor to see what's involved in maybe seeing a chiropractor.  Also on the health front I have been taking Vitamin B complex and iron now and then when I feel my energy lagging.  I can't say I've noticed a big difference but it seems like I'm not having as many of those tired days I was having.

And, finally, the really good news!!  I have finally LOST 10 POUNDS!!!!  I had a feeling I would be down in spite of all the food, I just felt lighter.  189.0 and 41% body fat.  Weeks like this make me not mind so much about the one step forward, two steps back plan I seem to be on.  This week I have a possible champagne tasting, a definite date night and a couple potential park picnics so I'll have to be somewhat disciplined with myself if I want to hang on to the 180's - and I do.

A big thank you to my supporters.  I really do appreciate each and every comment of support, encouragement, tips, etc.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Won't Back Down

I feel like I'm joining the ranks of nagging pain sufferers.  Throughout the day I find myself wondering things like, could it be my mattress?  am I sitting too much at work?  this or that exercise?  picking up the kids?  weak abs?  abs too strong?  In reality it could be a bit of all these things to varying degrees.  I wish there was a simple thing I could "fix" to make it all better.  One thing I am starting to suspect is that exercise mainly helps.

Oh, and another thing, sort of a "duh" moment.  I need to lose weight.  I am carrying around an extra 40 pounds and that has to be hard on my back.  I think it was all the thinking about the back pain and what I could do to fix it that led me to realize losing the excess weight will help a lot.

So I went to the gym on Sunday.  I was doing Week 6/Day 2, two 10 minute runs with a 3 minute break in between.  I dreaded the treadmill so I almost immediately decided to run outside.  I ran outside and man, it was hot!  At one point I decided to go up a hill, whew, that was a challenge.  I meant to take my garmin and wear it during the run so I could see what my pace was but I forgot.  Hopefully for my next run, a "long" run, I will remember it.  After the run I did back and biceps.  None of the exercises were particularly painful for my lower back but I did do more stretching than normal between exercises.  The stretching actually felt really good.  I did the five minutes of stairs.  I was feeling strong so I upped the pace to 50 steps per minute.  After 2.5 minutes I dropped it down to 45 steps per minute.  I left the gym feeling pretty good and I was glad my back was holding up.

Today, Monday, I went to the gym and did 25 minutes on the bike, followed by chest and triceps.    My back felt pretty good throughout.  It's still hurting a fair amount during the day but getting better each day.  I really believe that if I didn't go back to the gym when I did my back would have gotten worse and worse.  I don't know what the answer is but I'm pretty sure inactivity isn't it. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Day 4 of Back Pain

Three days in a row with no gym was making me downright grumpy.  When exercise is also your main stress management tool, not exercising gets stressful.  So yesterday (Saturday) I decided I had to go to the gym regardless of my back.  I planned to stop doing any exercise that irritated my back.  I walked on the treadmill for a few minutes and my back was hurting a bit but it was tolerable.  Then I did the upright bike for 25 minutes on Level 5.  This didn't seem to hurt my back at all.  I started on my strength training routine, legs/shoulders/core.  I thought maybe the reverse hack squats would hurt my back but they didn't.  What did hurt my back was the "butt blaster" machine.  I can't say I was disappointed to skip this one, I hate it anyway.  I might have to stop doing it altogether.  Maybe I'm ready to go back to lunges.

The main thing I got out of going to the gym was a mood boost. I felt so much better leaving than I did when I arrived.  Three days in a row and I start to worry I'll never get back to the gym, will gain a bunch of weight and end up on the couch and depressed.  One gym visit and I'm back to feeling optimistic about the future.

The Special K for dinner experiment is interesting.  One thing I'm finding is that I enjoy eating my biggest meal of the day at lunchtime. I also think it's helping to break my evening snack habit.  Though last night I was feeling hungry a couple hours after having the cereal.  I convinced myself that my afternoon snack wasn't big enough (a banana) and ate a string cheese to compensate.  I also ended up eating part of a dinner roll.  Hopefully by the end of this week-long experiment I will have stopped snacking altogether after dinner.  

Ok, it's off to my day.  I'm taking Marek to a birthday party today.  It's a pool party so another bathing suit.  Hopefully that will keep my eating in check during the party :)  My back is still bothering me but I'm pretty sure I'll go to the gym later anyway.  Just stick with the plan to stop doing anything that hurts.  Hopefully running won't hurt!