Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fitness Tuesday Update on Wednesday -The Last 10

A day Facebook status yesterday (which was my birthday):

Thank you all for the lovely happy birthday energy! One of my Fitness Project goals was to give myself the birthday present of being 20 lbs lighter - halfway to my ultimate weight loss goal. Well, the gift turned out to be even greater - I'm 3/4 of the way! At the end of Week 19, I've lost another 1.8 lbs, for a grand total of 30.4 lbs lost!

So, I'm heading into that infamous Last Ten Pounds to Goal.

Or is it? My plan was to get to a weight of 135 and assess how I feel and move, how my clothes fit and, yes, look. So it may not really be the Last Ten.

In any case, I've just gotten through a major project (a booth at the 3-day Arts Fest) and I have some temporal space in which to breathe and focus again on my fitness.

I am still not exercising or doing strength training as I want to be. As I should be. That is the toughest thing for me. How many times have I written this here?

I am much more consciously active now, and I do my Tai Chi regularly. But the minimum 30 minutes of cardio 3X plus strength training 3X a week is eluding me.

I've got all the Stuff to do a variety of workouts and exercising: my pedal exerciser, resistance bands, weights....I finally ordered a pump to firm up the 55cm exercise ball that's hanging about the living room. And a book from Amazon:

And yet....I... am... not...... exercising....

Obviously, I am slowly and steadily losing weight doing just what I'm doing. And I feel, well, fabulous! Better than I felt in my thirties!
But if my ultimate goal is fitness and moving into my crone years with health and strength and stamina....then I've got to get more exercise.

I've got to stop saying, "I hate to exercise to exercise."

I think I need to approach this the way I approached changing how I eat - a holistic approach from a variety of directions. I think I've got a good start on that, but one thing I haven't done is use guided imagery/visualization/hypnosis tapes. So that's where I'm going next!

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fitness Tuesday Update - Underwear, Cupcakes

Today's Facebook status:

Tuesday Fitness Journey update: A little scary week, as I didn't log food at all. Didn't look up a single calorie. Didn't use the measuring cups or spoons. In the circus of my weight loss journey, that's walking a tightrope without a net. I'm happy to report, I did not fall. Lost another 1.2 lbs for a grand total at the end of Week 18: 28.6 lbs. Taaaa daaaaaa!

It’s a little scary not counting every single bite and toting it up, but I know I need to be able to judge what and how much to eat without that. I think I got a little more exercise this week, with the emphasis on the “little.” Still...there is the “more.” I’m feeling physically quite well.

I got some new clothes last week - mostly flowy jackets, just ‘cause I love flowy jackets and also because I’m not wanting to get too many new clothes now with nearly 15 more pounds to lose. I believe my flowy jackets will still look nice on me when I reach my goal.

And finally bought new underwear, yes! Lucked out on my favorites: Jockey Elance with covered elastic waist and legs. Original price: $18/3 pair - marked down to $12.99 + an extra 30% off, $9.09 + 20% more off with a store coupon - Final price $7.27 for a package of 3. And I got 3 packages.

Of course, I had no choice about the color (red patterns) and they were French cut, which I probably wouldn’t have chosen. And they are size 6 - which I probably wouldn’t haven’t chosen either. But that was all they had on that sale table - red French cut size 6. At the beginning of this journey I was wearing size 8 and they were feeling tight. I’m not sure I believed that I could comfortably wear just a size larger than I used to wear when I was thin-thin. But I can.

That brings me to the issue of knowing (or not knowing) what size I am. I’m wearing size 8 jeans right now, jeans with a button and zipper. That’s down from size 16...with an elastic waist. I couldn’t even get into a 16 with a waistband. But with the bulk of my fat around my middle, if I put on a pair of pants with a waistband that fit, there would be billowing fabric around my (relatively) skinnier legs.

I’m used to picking sizes with lots of X’s. It was weird to go into the store and bypass those sizes, actually try on an M or two. Mostly I’m comfortable with L’s. And knitting pattern sizes and yarn amounts? That’s a whole other learning curve for me.

Here’s a picture of a cinnamon cupcake I got at a party on Saturday night. It was made by my friend, Susan Tingley, who has a sweet little business called Caboodle Cupcakes. She makes delicious, interesting cupcake flavors: blueberry, rhubarb.

This picture was taken last night. Yup, I can’t eat it. It’s too sweet. I took one sliver Saturday night and opted to have a different sweet snack:

2 of these snack toasts each spread with a tsp of light creamcheese comes in at about 105 calories (okay, I’m still AWARE of the calories!)

So, Susan, I’m sorry I can’t eat your cupcakes anymore.
But I’m not terribly sorry....

the unrepentant ex-sugar-addict,


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fitness Tuesday Update - Broken into 140s

Here's my Facebook status today:

Fitness Project Tuesday Update: Feeling especially fine the last few days. I have a constant sense of gratitude for that. At the end of Week 17, I've lost another 1 lb (have just moved into the 140s) for a grand total loss of 27.4 lbs.

So...I have not seen the 140s for a very, very long time.

About 10 years ago, when my panic disorder resurfaced in astounding strength, I weighed close to 180 lbs. I started walking as part of my program to deal with the panic attacks. (And that's hard, physical exertion effects are very much like panic attack symptoms.) While I hadn't originally intended to lose weight (though I certainly needed to do so), I found that I was indeed losing and then began to consciously work towards more weight loss by counting calories and walking more (I used to walk 4-5 miles a day in two sessions.) I lost about 30 pounds.

What I've just lost recently is pretty much the same weight I lost in 1999, most of which returned during the last 5 years as I dealt with all the family sorrows...and did not take good care of myself.

In any case, ten years ago I never pushed to lose more once I reached 150 or so. Occasionally, my weight dipped into the 140s, but it wasn't coming off as easily and I didn't make the effort to overcome the plateau I seemed to have arrived at.

So I'm determined that this time will be different. I'm certainly going to go for 140, probably for 135. Then it will be time for assessment - will I want to drop 10 more pounds to be at 125? I know that in my long-ago past, I felt wonderful at about 127. That was during the time I was losing the weight I'd gained after my second child. But I didn't stay there for long - back then I was generally underweight and, unless I was pregnant or just post-partum, it was a struggle to keep my weight up at 105.

But I sure wasn't really healthy then!

And right now, even with more weight to lose, I feel physically great. Stronger and more limber. Better than I remember feeling in my 30s - and it seems like an extraordinary blessing to me, to feel this way at just 2 years shy of 60.

Awesome Cronehood - now that's a good goal!

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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Fitness Tuesday Update - Stress, Exercise

Today's Facebook status:

Fitness Project Tuesday Update: Discovered I can do my pedal exerciser and: knit, read, play iTouch games, do some computer work,make phone calls. This bodes well for getting in at least that 30 daily minutes. This week's weight loss: .6 lb...grand total at the end of Week 16: 26.4 lbs

Notes from my Fitness Log 09.05.09:
Obviously I haven’t been keeping this log up in detail, logging every single thing I eat, adding up each calorie. But it’s okay. I think it’s good to not do this at this point. Kind of practice for maintaining my weight and healthier lifestyle. I am certain that I have been eating within my calorie budget, though I know I’m probably not eating as well. By that I that I’m still eating lots of whole, unprocessed foods, but I’m not cooking as much or making the many-ingredient salads as I did in the earlier days of my fitness project.

I have been extremely stressed by my other (mostly volunteer) project commitments of late. Extremely. This is something I must get a handle on - how to do these (ultimately) fulfilling and worthwhile things and enjoy the whole process - the planning and organizing, the preparation. I need to take a very mindful approach - and consciously center myself in the work. If this work is my life, it needs to be reveled in and enjoyed throughout. If it can’t be, then it is not work worth doing.

In regard to my Fitness Project, while I have maintained my healthy diet very well, and continue to lose little by little, I am not keeping up regular exercise goals. Even my Tai Chi practice has fallen off this week. I must do something about that for sure. Yesterday I did 30 minutes on the pedal exerciser for the first time in a long while. I felt so good afterwards. That’s what always happens. Why can’t I remember how good it feels after (and, at a certain point, once I’ve started, during) and be motivated to begin?

Seems to me that I should try very hard for 30 minutes of cardio every single day. AND my Tai Chi daily. With strength training 3X week. Or also daily, but doing upper body one day, lower the next. So that would be a total of an hour and a half a day. Which seems like a lot. But if I spread it out into periods of time as breaks from the sedentary work position....a thought.

But I don’t need to pressure myself, to stress about this on top of everything else. I’m just holding the thought and knowing it can manifest in my life.

It's three days after that entry. As you can see from the Facebook update above, I've decided that one possible solution to my exercise dilemma is multi-tasking. Multi-tasking is something I've tried to stay away from in general in my life. But in this case, if it helps me to get in the exercise I need, I'm trying it!

And stress - ah, that is a worthy topic for several entries and I'm sure I will write more on it. What's interesting is how I know so much about stress, what it can do to one's body and mind...and still often find myself in A State. I guess that perhaps my knowledge helps me to recognize bad stress (there is indeed good stress) early on, before it results in physical illness or panic attacks. Then there's the stress/cortisol/belly fat trio...yup, a future entry here.

Meanwhile, I'm breathing and taking steps to shift my perspective about all that I'm doing, as well as taking a realistic look at that and letting go of some things. And of course, trying to remember the amazing power of exercise in handling stress!


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Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Fitness Tuesday Update - Changes

Today's Facebook status:

Tuesday Fitness Project Update: I can't believe I'm actually still doing this, that I haven't missed a week and that I'm starting Week 16. I believe it's because I completed NaPoWriMo, writing a poem a day for a month. It set me up for success! This week's stats: 1 lb lost for a grand total loss of 25.8 lbs.

An odd thing has been happening - my appearance is (to me at least) so dramatically altered that it's a bit disconcerting, even a bit frightening. Sounds weird, doesn't it?

I lie in bed at night and when I fold my hands across my's not the stomach I've had for years. I move and it's not the way I've moved for years. The physical sensations, the way I occupy space in the world, in my clothes....all different.

Visually, I look in the mirror and see...not quite a stranger, but it's not quite the face I've been seeing for years, nor is it quite my young thinner face. It's not my mother's's a bit like her mother's face, though.

And then this makes me think of my late son Patrick - 16 months before he died, he was in a terrible wreck with serious facial fractures. The surgeons did a fantastic job of putting together the jigsaw puzzle of his facial bones - only a tiny scar near one eye, and he still looked handsome. But his face...was different. Not until he was able to wear his contacts again did he really look in a mirror, weeks after the accident. He said, "I look different." And that was all he ever said to me about it.

If I'm having such an odd time with the changes in my face and body, even though it's on purpose and I know I'm moving towards better health, I can't help but think about Patrick at 18 and how difficult that must have been for him to just wake up one day to his new face. He felt like he couldn't complain because he survived, because the accident was entirely his fault and he was driving impaired. And he continued to drink and use drugs until he overdosed.

I know it's all done and past, but still I often wonder if he had been able to talk about his face and the trauma, had been able to acknowledge and grieve that loss instead of self-medicate....

Maybe I'm thinking about this too because I'm in the thick of planning for the annual workshop held partly in Patrick's memory: Creating a Path Through Loss / The Arts as Healing Tools. Maybe that's why I do this every year, and why I'm working with the local integrative health center on programs that focus on the healing power of expressive art.

I didn't expect this entry to move to these places. It feels melancholy here. But I am at a melancholy stage in this weight release/fat reduction journey. Most of my favorite clothes no longer fit me. Even my used to fit snugly around my 8-inches bigger waist. Now, well, as my daughter says, I'm wearing "granny panties" - either they're sort of....billowing...around my mid-section or pulled up practically to my chest!

I know, I know. These are good problems to have. Still these are profound and fundamental changes in my life and my Self.

It's going to take some time and inner work (and certainly some new underwear) to adjust to them.


edited to add a Before / During picture (not ready to call it After yet!!)
(mysteriously, I don't seem to have too many full-body photos from before...)

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