Sunday, January 27, 2008

Keep It Keepin' On

It's been a few days since my last blog. Last year, when I first had the notion that I was going to finally do something about losing the weight I'd gained back, it went like this as well.

I didn't have time sometimes this week - I'm pretty busy during the week now, exercising. I have a son who likes to see me from time to time, but he also had injured his arm last week and couldn't exercise, so I exercised at home. I don't work out at home as well as at the gym, tho I did work up a sweat!

Excuses you're familiar with? These are why I didn't sit down and write a blog. PLUS - and I hate to admit this - I was a little intimidated by you guys. What if I didn't write something that made sense, or I let my thoughts just scatter across the board? I surely don't want to be laughed at, up here at the "front of the class" talking about how I lost weight!

Have any of you ever tried (or even seen) a Zumba class? I didn't see one until March - late March - 2007. So, in January, I at least didn't have that intimidation. But I did have the knowledge that I was out of shape. No way could I exercise for an hour.

To be honest, I had ridden a bike for 20-30 minutes before, but no one I rode with rode very fast, so that was hardly exercise if I had company. I could get 20 minutes of rollerblading with the boys in IF I sat down after the first 5 minutes. I have weak ankles and that hurt! But after the 5 minutes, then I could go for another song. And sit down. And drink some water. And then after awhile, do another 5 minutes. Eventually, I could get in 20 minutes of exercising this way, and lots of good water.

If you're not drinking water, start now - find a temp you like and a way of tracking how much you drink. Back then, I was going with the common admonition to drink 8 glasses a day. I wasn't always doing it, but I knew I should drink more than I was. I like the 32 oz Gatorade bottles. Even then, I'd already discovered this from buying them for the boys. Now I buy them and empty out the Gatorade if I lose mine. The wide mouth is great for guzzling; the size fits in my minivan's cup holders, and I don't have to count past 2 to get 8 cups in. Drink one; refill it once. Drink it. I can manage to keep track of that during the day - usually.

But exercising. It's like this blog. I'm starting slow. I'm learning. And one thing I knew about me and exercising - even last January! - was that I will not do anything for long if I don't love it. So, no jogging for me. Same for walking - I just get bored. I get bored easily, too.

So, I made a list of things I like to do, and that is why I had started bicycling and rollerblading. I like ice skating and am not very good at it, but my oldest son had nixed it completely early on. So, he has "quads" for rollerskates, while I and his brother have rollerblades. We just don't get out anymore (their choice, not mine). I also don't get much exercise bicycling with the younger one who has smaller tires which require a lot more work to pedal. That takes about as much energy as walking, tho it is a bit less boring.

So, what else made the list? Dancing! I've always liked dancing, but I realize this might not be your cup of tea. Find what works for you!!!

What did I do for dancing? First, and this was when the boys were babes, I requested (and was gifted from my Mom) a clock-radio for the kitchen so I could "dance" while I cooked and spent time in there. (Also keeps me from wandering away when I'm bored and letting something burn - oops!)

In January 2007, I used my love for dancing while I was out of town on a business trip. I played a song on my computer (but could have been the radio in the room) and tried to dance to it - joy de vivre and all - for the entire song. Guess what? I didn't quite make it! I thought it was 5 minutes long; turned out to be 3-1/2, but I'll round up and say 5 minutes, who cares?

But it was fun! And a bit of a point to me to say - Hey! Despite all the fun in your love life, you need to get back in shape for other things, too!

Yep, was not having trouble attracting men with the extra 30 pounds on, nor any of those bedroom activities which at our age goes on for hours, but couldn't go full-steam on a dance song for 5 minutes. I knew I had some blood pressure problems with stress the year before (my doctor had wanted me to come in and get it regularly checked, but I was nixing the idea of any BP meds. I knew how it affected men's sexual "abilities" and did not want the same effect on my own libido. (There are some aspects to blood pressure that I enjoy!)

I also knew both my Dad and my sister have diabetes and have sleep apnea. My Dad had also had a heart attack within the past three years, tho minor. His Dad had had triple-bypass surgery (no heart attack) in his later years, and one of my grandmothers had had a lot of strokes, particularly in the year before she passed away. These are the things I knew I was in danger of succumbing to, if I didn't get my health back.

How many of us have NOT seen a relative (usually male) who is out-of-shape then gets a visit in his 50s or 60s or even 70s from the death-doctor - a big scare that usually does something to cause him to finally lose weight and become thin again? I decided I didn't want to wait and do it later. I wanted to do it now.

But for now, I just decided that I would try another day to try and dance to the song and maybe not try to do it like a teenager next time.

And so, I am writing a blog a week later, and perhaps the next one will be in another week, or maybe I'll write tomorrow. I'll try not to let you readers intimidate me. Maybe I'll tell my family I'm writing a blog, but probably not yet. I won't tell til I really feel like I'm doing it. For now, it's my secret, shared with those who lose weight with me (and are my support network) and with those other zumba enthusiasts who understand how doing something we love really helps make it a lot easier! (As Beto says, "Ditch the workout, join the party")

For me, it is finding whatever YOU like to do so that you know you enjoy these things that help you get into the healthy shape and state you want to be in....and that too is personal for you. And then, don't give up just because you weren't successful the first time you tried, or even if you waited a week and you're tired and don't feel like doing it, just go try it a little bit. Do half a commitment. See if it makes you feel better. See if it makes you smile.

If you ever did this before, or if you give it a try now and it works for you (maybe it takes a month to see that it worked), please post a comment (where it says "comment" below, it is really a link to how you can post a comment to this particular blog post) and let me and the other readers know about it!

Monday, January 21, 2008

Losing Track

Yesterday I said I would tell you how I regained 30# after losing it 3 years ago. That's important because if I don't identify the habits and triggers that I ignored before, I am going to repeat that, right?

Initially, I started the Atkins diet because my boyfriend had wanted us to do it, so I dutifully got the book and read it on the plane flying to see him. The relationship last one more week, the diet continued - because the weight loss was amazing!

I spent the second week of induction at my Mom's. It turned out she had almost all the books, so it was an easy thing to do. Generally speaking, other people are what will turn your plans upside-down. Mine started out well, but other people's influece is part of how I let the 30# lost start to creep back up.

"Creep up" is another way it gets us. A pound or two here or there, clothes still fitting, and we think we're still okay and we're busy.

We're busy. That's another way it gets us. We become too busy to take care of ourselve first. Pretty much that is how I gained it the first time after my sons were born. There was no time for me, so I just left it there and called it "baby fat" and tried to laugh it off. (That method of dieting obviously didn't work.)

Back to the thread of regaining. I had been dating someone regularly and that did not affect the weight loss (I was still losing) as he worked out quite a bit. Although he and I didn't do workouts together, the support for doing so was still tacitly there. That relationship ended and I next had a boyfriend who had boys the same ages as mine and we started spending time together, taking the kids on bike rides.

Even before this time, I tended to spend a lot of exercising time with my sons - taking them to the rollerskating rink, teaching them, then also skating. Teaching them to ride bicycles, then going bicycling. One son finally decided he didn't like riding the bike paths because they were straight. When he got roller skates for a gift, his brother got jealous and refused to go skating. This was part of the demise of my personal exercise plan.

The other part of the plan was with the new man in my life. We would stay on Atkins pretty easily when we went out - chicken wings with a caesar's salad, blue cheese, and celery, are pretty easy to find in most sports bars nowadays. Then he would have beer and I would have wine. And again, that would creep up in how much we allowed ourselves. Then as most couples do, we would have "special" meals where we ignored the dietary rules. Eventually, we were eating a lot more "normal" food, and I had stopped counting carbs for the day and had no idea how many I was eating.

Occasional "special" meals normally would work okay, except for two things: I had stopped counting my carbs (and therefore didn't know how many I could eat and still maintain the weight loss) and the exercise plan was under attack as well. Because I was only about 5# higher than where I had gotten, I felt I was okay. Yet I did not know what I had to do to stay there (how much exercise? how many carbs?), and I was slowly moving completely back to the previous lifestyle and I didn't know it. I thought I was just maintaining at 5# higher. I could live with that.

The next thing is that I had no back-up in case of an emergency, and work provided the emergency. I suddenly had a lot of work and a lot of stress at work, which made me MORE busy and had me calling the local pizza place for deliveries of calzones for dinner. And while they were delivering, might as well bring a pizza. I'd eat one of them now and save the other for another day. I felt efficient. I'd also avoided the vending machines in the building which were the only other way I could get food without leaving. I should have brought something for the fridge, but I'd get caught up in work and want to keep working until I finished something, and I was starving by then. I should have checked the number of carbs in pizza, but I was eating other foods with carbs in them, so why bother?

The pounds went on quickly then. So I capitulated, took out the safety pins holding my pants to a smaller size, appreciated that I didn't have to buy a new wardrobe, and kept doing my best with work, my love life, and my sons, but let my personal needs go - once again.

Warnings to look for:
1. Exercise level dropping
2. Excuses (yours)
3. Increased straying from diet
4. Not knowing how far you can stray from diet and recover
5. Not adjusting so you do recover
6. Stress at work
7. Effects of being around people who are not exercising/dieting as you are (creeps up on you as you give in more and more as part of the socialization needs in our lives).

Have you seen any of these signs in your life? How did they affect your ability to take care of yourself first? Post your comments below.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Fresh Starts in 2008

Today is the first day of the rest of forever, right?

Well, guess what! So is tomorrow!!!

No, not trying to encourage you to procrastinate - it's easier not to forget to do things if you do them right now - but you need to know that mistakes today don't mean you give up tomorrow!

Every once in a while we all fall off the proverbial horse and get told to pick ourselves back up. I kind of like the image of the donkey stuck in the hole with all the crap from his life. And more crap was being shoveled in on him. He just shook it off and stepped right up, using the pile of crap to build the hill that helped him climb out of his hole!

Each day, I'm going to try and help you learn how I climbed out of my hole and lost 40# last year, when I really thought it would be nice to lose 30, since I knew what that looked like after having done it 3 years before. So how did I get it all back that fast? That will be tomorrow's post!