Saturday, May 19, 2012
i've seen my fellow sparkpeople talk about "plateauing" before, but have never experienced it before myself. i weigh myself every morning before breakfast and my weight always moved in a sort of scatterplot with a gradual downward trend. i never minded if i weighed a bit more the next day because i knew i was still making progress.
the last couple of months have come as a bit of a surprise to me. every day i was exactly 132.5. every. day. that's a great weight, but it makes me a bit sad. losing weight this past year had been fun for me--i'd think my weight had plateaued, then look back a month and realize i was down three pounds and feel a sudden rush of glee. but now there really is no progress. or at least not progress i can track with a number.
but here's the other thing: i might be gaining muscle weight. my endurance on the bike is way up, i get exhausted less easily, and i've been increasing my reps in my strength training. when i do yoga i can feel the improvements in my back and wrists, and my balance is greatly improved. i guess my fear now is that my motivation for working out will wane now that the fun part of weight-loss is gone--that is seeing my weight move down and high-fiving myself in the mirror. it's a bit irrational, but i'm just saying. i miss it.
Monday, January 30, 2012
remember the first time you experienced the "second wind"?
i had never even heard the name of it until after i experienced it. i was in seventh-grade, which was a year of "firsts" for me, foremost being my first year of middle school. which i hated.
puberty renders a shock of changes to the body. the development of breasts was to be expected, but i wasn't expecting to start developing a pudge. Now that i'm older i've come to realize that's not uncommon, but it hadn't happened to my sister or my mother when she was my age, and all of my elementary-school friends went on being skinny, so i had no precedence.
that was the first year i fibbed my weight on a form (while renting skis for ski club, i wrote i was 110 though i was 113).
that was also the year i didn't wear jeans. not once. it was 2001. remember 2001? around the time britney started going bad? when girls were expected to sport low-riding hipster jeans and the whale-tail thongs? they were simultaneously uncomfortable and obscene and my 13-year-old self was highly aware that she was not sexual enough to pull them off. especially the whale-tail. and yet that was all the stores had for sale. instead, i wore the same khaki pants every day, with a tear of nostalgia for the bygone years of the comfortably slouchy cargo jeans (o backstreet boys, why have you forsaken me?)
my mother was concerned about the weight-gain. perhaps she thought i was going to stumble into obesity (luckily, i've never come close to that milestone), so she started taking me to a personal trainer. somehow she managed it so gracefully that i never thought she was making me go because i was fat. she, too, wanted to lose weight, so she was going to the gym with me. i remember thinking ten minutes on the elliptical or treadmill would kill me. i was super out of shape. it was not here i experienced the second-wind. like i said in my previous post, there's nothing like the gym that discourages me from exercise.
at school we ran the mile in gym that winter. it was 27 laps around the basketball court. i had never "run the mile" before. i had no concept of whether that was a great or short distance. as a kid you didn't run distances--you just ran. you played tag. you ran for no reason. i had run on a treadmill, but that wasn't "how far" as much as it was "how long."
after 15 laps or so i thought i could die. i had that nagging stitch in my side. the athletic types were about to wrap it up, but at least i was nowhere near last place. (that said, "last place" was a kid named ben who casually chose to walk the mile, coming in at 25 minutes.)
then, something miraculous happened: the stitch was gone, and my body was surging with energy. the pain vanished, and i was speeding up. i ran the last few laps with no trouble, feeling like i could keep jogging into infinity. i described the sensation to my mother, who told me this phenomena was called my "second wind."
i've come to love that second wind. i get it quite often when i exercise. i was thinking about it today because today was one of those sad occasions when it eluded me, and i had to cut my biking venture a bit short. i think my body goes through energy cycles, because last week i was surging with energy. the last two days have been relatively sluggish, but at least i managed to talk myself into going out in the first place. i'll make up for it in indoor strength training tonight.
on that note, here's a couple of updates on previous entries:
-i can now do lunges with very little discomfort or soreness, and i've upped the reps for the first time last week.
-my weight is now down to a cool 131.5 lbs. a couple of months ago i actually brushed below the 130 mark, but i wasn't able to keep my weight down that low. i don't mind since i wasn't working out as much at that time, which means i've possibly gained some muscle.
-i don't really work out on the wii anymore. technically it belongs to the whole family, and since i'm no longer at home it stays with the parents. that said, i've pretty much out-grown the wii. it was the perfect tool for getting me to commit to the path of weight-loss and exercise, particularly in those first six months, but now i'm ready to pass it on to my mom. hope she's taking advantage of it.
-it's been over a year since i started working out and improving my wellness (i started dec 26, 2011--easy date to remember) and this time last year i was about 20 pounds heavier. here's to sticking to my boxing day resolutions!
Wednesday, January 25, 2012
one of my greatest dilemmas in getting myself to exercise is...well...i'm kind of high-maintenance.
1. i hate exercising in public.
working out in the gym, running on the sidewalk--i feel like a spectacle. which, essentially, i am, since people in the gym zone out and watch each other. it can't be helped. they're not necessarily judging each other, they're just distracting themselves from their own exhaustion by people-watching. either way, i hate it. the sidewalk isn't much better, since other joggers, walkers, drivers, etc. are zoning out and watching you.
2. i hate doing cardio indoors.
sure, i enjoy doing weight lifting, stretching, yoga and pushups in my room. but i don't like doing cardio. just spent three weeks at my parents house where they have a lovely new elliptical machine, and i didn't use it once. i just get bored. and when i'm bored i feel tired and find an excuse to quit early.
so i found a couple of solutions to my cardio dilemma. i like to hike. and i really enjoy jogging in the woods (i guess that's cross-country running). jogging in the woods is incredible: if it's a bit too warm outside, the trees provide a cool canopy. i never get bored because the terrain is constantly changing, and the activity requires a sort of focus that distracts me from my fatigue (otherwise you'd trip on the terrain). and the ground is less strenuous than pavement. the roots and creekbeds create a sort of obstacle-course, and i'm leaping as much as i'm running. it's just fun.
and, let's be honest. i'm a child of the 90s. in my head as i'm running through the woods, i'm pretending i'm pocahontas.
the other form of cardio i'm really starting to get into is biking. now that i'm back in the piedmont and out of the appalachian plateau, the terrain is a bit more suited for my level. also, i'm in a community that's...well, pseudo-biker-friendly. it has a lot of bikers and some bike-lanes, but that hasn't stopped some drivers from irately honking their horns at me. anyway, the weather has been nice enough i've been able to bike both yesterday and today. and even though it's been cool out, i've found a solution to one of my last two high-maintenance dilemmas:
3. i hate exercising when it's too hot (above 80°)
4. and i get physically winded when it's too cold (below 60°)
yeah, if i do any sort of cardio outside and it's below 60, i start having asthma-like symptoms: my chest starts to hurt and i can't catch my breath.
the first time i realized i had this problem was as a kid. we were running the mile in elementary school (i think i was in fourth or fifth grade), and it was a cool morning outside. i remember i could see my breath. we started running laps around the field and i started to feel that pain just one lap or so in. i felt humiliated that i couldn't go on, and no one else seemed to have a problem. mostly i was afraid of being scolded by my gym teacher for not finishing the task. i never thought about whether i was un-fit before. i knew i was no athlete, but i wasn't chubby either, so why couldn't i keep up? it felt like the cold air was strangling me. when i stopped and went to the coach i think he must have known what was the problem. probably he'd seen it before. he didn't diagnose me, he just told me i should go inside and drink some water. which really helped. and, thankfully, he didn't make me finish the mile. and none of the students seemed to notice or comment, so it wasn't a traumatizing situation. maybe they thought i was sick.
i started biking to class last fall, and as the weather got cooler i started to feel it again: that strangulation. on my way home there's a bit of an incline and i'd sometimes have to push my bike to the top. by the time i got to my apartment i'd collapse onto my couch, gasping and clutching at my throat.
but i've found the solution:
it's called a Buff. it's essentially a tube-shaped piece of fabric that i can wear as a scarf, and, when i need to, pull up over my mouth and nose. i bought a wool one (they have a variety of different buffs, i bought the wool for cold weather), which allows me to breath in fresh air while keeping the moisture i need to keep my lungs from hurting. i've biked on a sunny day in the 40's and still my chest didn't hurt.
so as long as it isn't raining/snowing, come summer (cross-country) or winter (biking) i have a cardio-solution.
Saturday, October 29, 2011
while i haven't been on sparkpeople since i stopped working a full-time job to move back into academia, i have surprised myself by not backsliding! from january through april i was losing about five pounds a month--i knew that slope would begin to gradually level out at some point, and, as i should have expected, by the time i dropped below 140 it became more gradual.
granted, i'm still not working out like i was then. and i'm not quite so faithful to those stricter eating habits. but as i had hoped, i have had a long-term change on my eating habits: i don't mindlessly graze, i'm conscious of the amount of energy i'm taking in and putting out, and i have more wholesome foods in my diet. as a result: my morning weight, when i step on the scale before i've had breakfast or done anything, is now 133.5. the other day i was actually 130, but the trend is 133.5.
the funny thing was i thought i was backsliding. but once again the scatter-plot is there to keep me straight. the minor fluctuations of my weight sometimes lead me to think there's no progress being made, but when i zoomed out from the nonsensicals i realized: that scale has NEVER said you were 133 before. even back in february when you had the stomach flu and dropped (i.e. vomited) a lot of weight, you were still 140.
an hour ago i was wondering to myself: what was the last weight i entered into sparkpeople? 134? 136? nope: 139. i can't believe i've lost so much since i stopped writing here. so i've entered my new goal weight--just a measly four pounds by the end of the year. sounds pretty doable, right? i'm optimistic.
Saturday, March 26, 2011
it's late (i'm tired!) and i don't have much to say right now about my diet or exercise progress.
just had to say i am officially below 140 pounds!
for the first time in four years! it's pretty amazing. my progress has been so constant and steady i feel rewarded just about every day, and i often look forward to stepping on the scale first thing in the morning and first thing after work. i swell with joy as the wii graphs my progress and i see the scatterplot trickling lower and lower. i have a better understanding of my weight now than ever before, and i know that in approximately another month, sometime early may, i shall be another five pounds lighter (i have no doubts about my self-discipline anymore). then come june quite likely i'll be down to 130. it takes patience, but i've changed my eating habits and i don't miss my old food indulgences. perhaps my stomach is shrinking with my portions, but i expect good nutrition is making up the difference.
there's still work to be done. though i have been losing weight, i haven't worked out much in the past two weeks. i owe my fat dog a couple of jogs every week and i haven't lived up to that promise. but this all feeds back into my weight-loss philosophy (which is working pretty well for me so far) -- there is no failure for backsliding, just phase in good habits as you're ready to handle them.
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