Monday, October 20, 2014

Jumping over molehills


I had a bit of dilemma this morning. Yesterday's rowing session had left sore patches under my arms again, and they weren't better by this morning. Even wearing a bra around the house hurt, let alone exercising in one. I don't believe in pushing through pain of this kind - I would likely only make it worse, tear the skin, make it even harder to exercise - but I couldn't not exercise today either!

With no bra I couldn't go to the gym or out in public (um, headlights) and I couldn't do any jumping (overweight 44 year old who has breastfed two children, bouncing is not a comfortable option) so I procrastinated for a while but with no intention of avoiding exercise altogether. A bit of abraded skin wasn't going to stop me.

I ended up doing an hour of Just Dance 4 and really enjoyed it. I had to modify some moves a bit but not as much as I'd expected. I avoided tracks I knew included a lot of jumping around. JD4 is a couple of years old and contains such gems as "Call Me Maybe" by Carly Rae Jepsen and golden oldies like "Never Gonna Give You Up" by Rick Astley. Lots of fun, actually. Cheerful. In the past I'd earned 5 stars on every dance on this disc and I still remember a lot of it so I didn't have to concentrate on learning the steps. I just danced along and enjoyed myself.

I'll have to cut out or cut back on the rowing for the moment.

My other perceived "molehill" today was that I had a terrible sleep last night. For some reason I tossed and turned for several hours (with my CPAP on for a couple of hours then without it, unfortunately taking it off didn't seem to help). And then I woke at dawn, also for no reason I'm aware of. I think I got 4 hours sleep. So I fully expected to be exhausted and sleepy all day. But as usual my perception of how my night went has no relationship - or perhaps an inverse relationship! - to how I feel the next day. I was fine. Didn't need a nap.

A friend of mine, whose kids are also close friends with mine, came over this afternoon. They have been overseas for a month so we had a lot to talk about. So that was lovely. And aside from the general catch-up, there were several other good things. I had a chocolate bar before they came (that's not the good thing) and I wasn't at all hungry so I didn't eat any of the snacks we put out for us and the kids. I could easily have eaten some snacks, it was all right in front of me the whole time we were chatting. But I had nothing other than my cup of tea. I was proud of myself for keeping the calorie damage limited to the chocolate and not make it worse.

Another good thing is she can probably babysit for an upcoming event, which will be very convenient for us. And thirdly, she asked me a question about the name of something that she said she'd asked a couple of people about and they didn't know. I did know. She said she knew I would. And I felt all warm and fuzzy inside, not just that I knew something but that my friend had confidence that I would.

Tuesdays are our busiest day, we still have dance class and dinner (chicken casserole already in the oven) then Dungeons and Dragons to get through. D&D is the trickiest, health-wise. I am offering grapes. But other people will bring junk. And I think I've had as much as my calorie budget can allow for the day, unless I spend my daughter's dance class doing calisthenics on the sidelines! Maybe I can do surreptitious isometrics.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Climbing the mountain


I knew I wasn't going to lose weight this week. I hadn't quite anticipated gaining a whole kilogram. It is a strongly worded reminder that I can't eat whatever I like, even if I am exercising a bit. So I'm back to restricting my eating from today.

Restricting. Now there is a word. I have quite a vivid mental image about dieting. Me not dieting - I have big doors in the front of my body open to the world. Fresh air, bright streamers, freedom, all flow in and out of my body. It's a warm spring day with a light pleasant breeze. Me dieting - the doors are shut. I am cold and rigid and hunched over like the Tin Man without his oil can. Nothing gets in, nothing gets out. Gloomy.

Probably not the best frame of mind to bring to a diet. I need to work on that just as much as the actual eating.

I have a big motivation at the moment, one that speaks to vanity. I just realised my cousin's wedding is just under four weeks away. I have talked about my mother's family before. Aside from me and my mum, they are all very slender, tanned, athletic. My aunts in their 60s all still play competition tennis and look fabulous. I definitely feel like the ugly duckling amongst them. I'm the smart fat one. Now we are all adults I only see them at Christmas and the occasional wedding or other big event. And every time one of these occasions looms I feel despair about my weight. I even avoid going sometimes. I am not exaggerating when I say mum and I will likely be the only overweight women at this wedding. Actually, what with the cancer mum has lost a lot of weight so it will just be me.

Just thinking about it makes me feel depressed. I'm so short and dumpy, like a hippo in a giraffe colony.

Four weeks. How much can I lose in four weeks?

So I wasn't in the best frame of mind when I went to the gym. But I went! I started with 30 mins on the elliptical. I put the resistance up to 5 (up from 3 last week) and it was much harder. It felt like I was climbing a mountain. No speed intervals today, I just slogged on. With my eyes closed some of the time. Pushing, pushing. Not giving up. Not feeling very happy about it.

Then I got on the rowing machine and did my 20 mins there. I put that up to 5 as well, but it didn't feel much different to 3. I used to row on resistance 10 and I don't know that it feels much harder. But I'll move up gradually anyway. While rowing, I started trying to turn my point of view around. First I thought about changing my picture of me "not dieting" to being bloated and sickly and sad. But then I decided not to. I don't want to demonise any kind of food. I don't want to link having a treat with feeling horrible. So instead I worked on my image of me "dieting", changing it from the very negative deprived unhappy picture I had to something more positive. Here is what I came up with:

I am standing on the top of a mountain, which I have just climbed. It is sunny and fresh with a magnificent view of nature. I am pleasantly tired, but not exhausted because my fit healthy body can climb a mountain without feeling like I'm going to die. I feel happy and calm. I am a bit hungry, and there is a picnic laid out with delicious healthy food. The fresh fruit is especially appealing to my well-deserved thirst. There are no artificial restrictions on what I can or can't eat, because I will enjoy eating the right amount of healthy food to nourish and replenish my body.

So, that is what I am trying to picture when I think of myself being "on a diet". Not restricting, but nourishing and nurturing my body so it can do the things I want it to do.

I finished at the gym with 10 mins on the treadmill, not fast but on an incline. Another mountain to climb! But by this time I was feeling quite cheerful. And they had an old repeat of a sit-com on the nearest TV and it was quite funny. So I ended on a high.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

Sunshine and afternoon nap


This morning my children were taking turns wrapping themselves in a double doona and "evolving" then emerging from the cocoon. Cute.

Despite apparently snoring all night I am feeling much better today. It hasn't been a bad 24 hours. You know some illnesses make you feel miserable, either from pain/nausea etc or because somehow they depress your spirits. This one didn't affect mood at all, my husband said the same when I mentioned it. Despite a sore throat and aching body and fatigue, I just felt like myself and was able to enjoy various non-active things instead of sitting around feeling sorry for myself like I often do when sick.

I weigh in tomorrow after a week of starting back at the gym. I don't expect to have lost weight, my eating has been pretty bad. A few hours of exercise can't compete with that. But my current focus is getting back into an exercise rhythm.

Quiet day today. I at least got out into the backyard and did a bit of weeding, cut back the huge rosemary shrub and watered a couple of dry plants. Lovely sunshine. The vegetable garden is looking good, most of the seedlings survived their first couple of weeks. The strawberry plants are covered in little white baby berries. The pansies are still blooming. The gardeners came a couple of days ago so the lawn was all neatly mown too. We've been here for nearly ten years and I probably spent the most time I've ever spent in our backyard this past winter, when we had the puppy. It's nice to be out there when it isn't freezing, or raining, or pitch black!

After being outside for ten minutes I came in and had a nap. Afternoon naps are awesome.

Back to the gym tomorrow, and I'll start tightening my food intake.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Excuses and Lessons


I didn't go to the gym yesterday. I could give you my list of excuses (which would not stand up under scrutiny) but the real reason was that - as I planned to walk around the lake and go on to other things straight from there - I was wearing normal clothes not my exercise gear. And in my normal clothes I just didn't feel "in the mood" for exercise. I skipped the walk and was busy all morning. I was not busy in the afternoon. Various times throughout the day I told myself to get changed and go to the gym, but I never did. Too much effort.

I bought myself new hand weights, 3 kg each, and did about 15 minutes of various moves with them. So I guess that was something. But there was no reasonable reason why I didn't do a lot more. Gym, walking, dancing, a whole array of choices. I told myself I would make up for it on Saturday morning, so I would still have done four sessions this week.

My husband called me at lunchtime as he was feeling sick so I went and picked him up from his work, he spent the afternoon sleeping. He feels better today but I feel like crap. My body aches and I feel like I'm trying to swallow a golf ball. Bloody germs. Hopefully just a 24 hour thing that I will fight off.

I can turn this into a learning experience. Two lessons. Firstly, like many people I need to do my exercise first thing or it won't get done. (For me first thing is after I get the kids to school.) And I need to set myself up for exercise, not make it easy to avoid it. Get into my exercise gear when I get up in the morning! Not allowed to get changed or take off tight uncomfortable sports bra until I have exercised!

And secondly, don't assume that tomorrow will somehow be easier than today. Or even as easy. Do what you need to do when you get the chance because tomorrow might not be what you expected.

Yes I am cranky with myself for not exercising yesterday. But on the bright side I did three good sessions at the gym this week. That is a decent start.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Twenty kilometers an hour


I had a really good session at the gym this morning. As usual I woke up today feeling like rubbish - if I went by the first hour of every day I'd assume I was close to death with some horrible illness - but also as usual felt much better after a while.

I read a great quote today: Hold onto your dreams - stay asleep!

Anyway, I got to the gym and jumped on the elliptical. I increased the time to 30 mins but kept the resistance at level 3. After 5 mins warming up I started high intensity intervals, increasing intensity to as hard as I could push for 30-60 seconds then back to a much slower recovery interval. Mostly I was going up to 14 km/h but once I got up to 20 km/h (12.4 mi/h) for about 10 seconds. I thought I was going to vomit after that one! I can't run anywhere near that fast (I think 11 km/h is my record on a treadmill) but the elliptical is different to running. And no impact, which is great for my shins. Recovery was at a rather slow 5 to 6 km/h. At the end of the 30 mins I had gone 3.24 km. It's quite a long way below my target, which is fine because I'm giving myself a few weeks to get there! I plan to gradually increase the number of high intensity intervals and also go a bit faster in my recovery intervals, while also increasing the resistance level.

I was pretty tired after that, but got on the rowing machine. I had thought of doing 30 mins there, too, so I could cut out the stationary bike entirely; but I just wasn't ready for 30 mins. 20 was enough! I tried to keep my pace up, but also amused myself my watching a PT training his client nearby. One thing he did was put a wide band around her waist and got her to pull him along while he held on to the ends and leaned back. It looked hard. He probably weighed a lot more than she did.

I finished up with 10 minutes, fairly easy, on the bike.

I really felt like I spent a lot of that hour pushing myself really hard, which is great.

I had an awesomely delicious lunch. I picked up some corn chips on the way home and made nachos with pulled pork left over from dinner. Cheese and jalapenos and lots of fresh salsa on top.

Apart from the corn chips, all real food. And so yummy!

I haven't had the ravenous hunger I experienced on Monday, it seems to have been a one-off confused physical reaction to me actually exercising hard. I'm also not getting any muscle soreness or stiffness. On Monday I had both, almost straight away, but that has all passed. It didn't take my body very long to at adapt somewhat.

The only negative I'm getting from the exercise is general fatigue for the rest of the day. I'm spending more time napping than writing. But hopefully that too will pass as my body acclimatises.

I have lots of options for exercise tomorrow, but what I am thinking I might do is walk around the lake. It's all manicured lawns around public buildings, hopefully no Capeweed (which the kids and I now call Deathweed), and I feel like I am missing out on Spring stuck inside like this. I need a bit of sunshine and fresh air!

Day off


I had a day off from exercise today, even though I've only done two days so far. I don't have the car on Wednesdays so couldn't get to the gym, but also it's a good break for my body. Not so much my muscles, they were all ok today, but other things like the spot under my left arm where my bra rubbed when I was hot and sweaty on the rowing machine (that particular rowing action often gets me there) and the palms of my hands were not used to 20 mins elliptical and 20 mins rowing, grasping the handles. I know it sounds kind of silly, but I've talked before about my girly feet and I also have girly hands! I'm a writer, ok? my hands aren't used to anything tougher than floating over the keyboard. Once I tried to mow the lawn and got blisters on my hands. I need to toughen them up a bit, but not all at once. One day off will be enough, then back into it tomorrow.

I did do a tiny bit of weight lifting in the lounge room. I need some new free weights. Mine are only 1.5 kg each, too light, and my husband's are 5 kg each, too heavy. I need some that are just right! It was funny when I bought the 5 kg ones for my husband for Christmas, just getting the 10 kg home was so hard! Then wrapping them and getting them to the hotel as we were away that Christmas, and lugging the parcel from my suitcase to the little travel tree. I was so glad when they passed into his possession and were his problem.

I did some more revising on my novel today, and also finished re-reading a book in one of my favourite series ever, by Robin Hobb. There are several trilogies set in the same world with some of the same people. I was finishing the second trilogy about Fitz and the Fool, and I cried and cried. Some happy tears, some sad. I can never write that well, but I am going to give it my best shot. My work will be the best I can make it.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Setting goals


I wasn't too sore when I woke this morning, the main pain was in my triceps (backs of my upper arms). I guess I don't use them much in daily life so the rowing machine was a bit of a shock for them.

Last week was like a taste of summer, but this week we are back to winter. Freezing and pouring rain. I dropped the kids at school and got to the gym quite early (and damp). I could have done some exercise then gone to the Zumba class but decided to just stay with the equipment. And when I was leaving I saw the end of the class and it was the same teacher I used to have. She does all the tracks I don't like, she prefers the hip hop aggressive type dances whereas I like the more Bollywood flowing type. So I'm not sure if I'll ever go back to her classes or not. Maybe when I get sick of the elliptical.

Taking the treadmill out of the equation meant 20 mins each on the elliptical, the rowing machine and the stationary bike. It seemed harder than yesterday. But I got through my hour. I also spent some time learning what the different buttons/programs do. And I like having goals, so I've set myself a goal for the elliptical (I already conquered the rowing machine in the past). Today I was moving at 6.6 km/h on level 3, my first goal is to do 4 km in 30 mins (8 km/h) on level 6. I will move the difficulty level up each week as well as increasing the time and my speed, so I expect it to take me a month. After that I'm sure I can find more goals to conquer.

I wasn't as hungry after the gym today but I did struggle a bit with negative feelings which I think is because of my blood glucose imbalance. I often feel depressed shortly after exercising hard. I felt better after eating. I made some bad food choices, I still need to do a lot of work on that.

Tomorrow is a rest day. I think my body will be grateful.