Workout WednesdayJune 22, 2011 at 9:02 am | Posted in getting in shape | Leave a comment
It’s been a while since I’ve posted here. I’m not going to apologize or make excuses. The reason I’ve not written here is simply because, until just recently, I’ve not had much to say that fits the theme of this blog; most of my focus has been on my job and my home life, and they both have blogs of their own.
I’m firing this site up again, though, because I’ve finally decided to make a commitment to getting back into shape. Because I know myself and I know that I need A) accountability and B) to work through my thinking on the page, I decided that I’m going to document my progress (and yes, my backsliding, as I’m sure there’ll be some) here. I have no idea if anyone’s still reading – do any of you have this blog on your feed reader? – but I’m not sure how important that is. For now, I want this to be mostly about keeping myself focused and on-task.
I come from a genetic cesspool. No, really; the only thing I don’t check off at a new doctor’s office is Alzheimer’s disease, because no one in my family lives long enough to develop it. I check off everything – and I mean everything – else; high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis, mental illness, cancer, diabetes – you name it and someone in my family has had it (and probably died from it). I’m 42 this year, and though I’m in significantly better shape than either of my parents were at this age (mostly, I think, because I do exercise now and then, I don’t smoke, and my diet doesn’t come entirely out of cellophane), I’m not in the kind of shape I WANT to be in.
Around the holidays last year, I enlisted the help of Success Warrior in making some adjustments to the ways I eat and move in an effort to get myself more in line with habits and behaviors that would benefit my physical body. He recommended, among other things, significantly reducing my intake of grain-based foods while increasing the amount of protein I eat every day. As a consequence of his advice, I replaced my morning Ovaltine (the first ingredient of which is sugar) with a protein shake, I became much more conscious of how much bread I was eating, and I nearly quadrupled the amount of water (well, green tea) I drink every day. I also focused on changing not only what I eat, but how I eat; I’m eating far more smaller meals than I did in the past and am including protein-rich snacks – mostly nuts or yogurt – in between meals.
Changing my diet wasn’t enough, though, and despite the fact that SW gave me a quick exercise routine to do every day, I never picked it up. I’m not sure what flipped my switch – perhaps it was the onset of summer in New England and the cold hard fact that I was going to start wearing tank tops and shorts that did it – but I’m committed now to working out. Even though I have a gym membership, I know myself well enough to know that if there’s ANYTHING else I can do around the house as an excuse for not driving 15 minutes to go to the gym, I’ll not go. In fact, the only time I’ve gone to the gym in the last 5 years is because I’ve had to, either because I’ve been teaching a class or because the girls have had tennis lessons. I didn’t trust myself to get to the gym 3-5 days a week, so I went to Target and bought myself a workout video.
I’m two days into the week 1 routine. I can’t say I love Michaels’ style, but the workout is good; it’s challenging enough to make me sweat, but not so difficult that I feel I can’t get through it. In fact, I felt today like I should have done more and I briefly considered adding a 2 mile walk to the end, but then I looked at the time and realized I was going to be cutting it too short; I had a time commitment today that I couldn’t make work if I’d tacked on the walk. If it’s not pouring rain tomorrow, I’ll walk then.
I’ve also logged myself on to a calorie tracking program. I’ve done this before, but I never really stuck to it. I’m expecting that my new-found commitment to my body will make this time different, at least until I get a really good feel for what a good nutrition day looks like for me. The site I’m using is myfitnesspal.com and, so far, I like it. It works like every other tracking program – you enter some vital stats, then log in everything you eat and all the exercise you do, and it keeps track of your general nutrient intake and figures where you are at any given point in the day. I confirmed something I suspected in the first week I used the program – I was actually UNDER eating; I wasn’t getting enough nutrients/calories and, as a consequence (and with my already slow metabolism) was likely putting myself in “conservation” mode. I was able to remedy that with one yogurt smoothie, so I think I’m back on track. As I’m someone who doesn’t mind eating the same six or seven things all the time, figuring out a day’s worth of good food is pretty easy; I have the same thing for breakfast every day (since I don’t like breakfast in general, this is easy; a glass of protein-powdered milk and a protein-heavy meal bar), lunches are now meat-based (something like cold chicken on a mess of baby spinach salad or an ice cream scoop of tuna salad with carrots or Triscuits), and dinners, especially in the summers, are light, grilled things, usually chicken or lean steak, with as many veggies as I can eat. Once I get into a habit, I’ll be able to stop keeping meticulous track of everything I eat, but until then, I think that logging is a good idea – it keeps me conscious of the choices I’m making.
As of the last time I stepped on a scale (last Sunday), I was 152 pounds. That’s 3 pounds lighter than I was when I first consulted SW, but still about 30 pounds heavier than I really should be given my height and frame. I’ll take a “before” picture in the mirror today and post that the next time I update, and I’ll be checking back in, probably once a week, to track how I’m doing (though I may skip next week as Mr. Chili and I will be second honeymooning in Bermuda and I’ll likely be too busy to get much other exercise, if you know what I mean).
And away I go…..