Saturday, September 17, 2011

The battle of the bulge, redux (don't call it a comeback)

I'm back, and am prepared for full less than two months I will be 37 years old. I am 5 feet, 4 inches tall, and weigh 180 pounds. And I am 35 (40?) pounds overweight. I've had so many epiphanies about my health in the past two years that they can hardly be called epiphanies. I've had false starts with exercise, eliminated carbs, stopped drinking, and so on and so on. There are reasons and reasons for this, but I'm focused on looking forward at this point.

I really feel as though I am poised on the brink of something. There are changes for the better lurking around the corner, hiding shyly in the shadows, and I just need to be brave enough to meet them, to introduce myself. I want to record it all- every trip to the gym I don't want to make, the sore knees, the soul-searching, the job hunting, the ways in which I push back against the hamster wheel to carve out what *I* want out of this life of mine.

To begin....I started out on a good stretch of exercise, for me. Last Wednesday and Thursday, I did 1/2 hour of cardio (elliptical on Wed., treadmill on Thurs.) right after work. I slept well, drank lots of water, and avoided the scale. (Let's not torture ourselves any more than we're due, right? Right.) Took a day off on Friday, and figured I'd take a couple of classes over the weekend.

Was the beginner level step class fun? Absolutely. And honestly, rather than feeling defeated by the fact that women 20 years older than me were rocking it while I struggled, I let that buoy me up: they can do it! they try! I can try too! Afterwards, I got a high five from one of them and felt amazing, although sore. I accomplished something....then I went for a swim and lounged by the pool for a bit.

Then there was Sunday. Two thoughts about the Bosu class:
  1. I am carrying around wayyyyy too much weight. I wish I could temporarily remove it while I work out, then put it back on like the lead apron it is.
  2. Bosu might not be the best idea for people who have problems with their knees.
Ouch. By Monday, I was hobbling. I persevered- cardio Monday before picking Charlotte up at afterschool, and I actually felt better- but by Tuesday I was just worn out.

Nothing went according to plan Tuesday. I got to the gym after work, and in the cardio room I managed to pick a wonky treadmill. Although I tried to focus on the running/walking and the music, I kept getting distracted by the TVs, and paying more attention to the utterly ridiculous Michelle Bachman than my workout. And I kept getting static electricity zaps. AND one of the gym employees was washing equipment down with a bucket of what smelled like Murphy's Oil Soap right next to me.

By the time I got home, I was in tears, and couldn't really explain why. I had a bowl of cereal and some water and went sadly to bed.

I did some thinking before heading to work Wednesday, and remembered reading Anne Lamott's description in one of her books (Plan B? Grace (Eventually)?) of how she began to evolve her perceptions and opinion of her own body...she writes about treating her thighs, a least favorite area, as revered old "aunties" instead of cursing them for what they are not. I thought about that a lot, about having reverence for my own physical self, and working to make that self stronger out of that reverence and not some weird self-loathing. I talked to a friend midday who reminded me of how hard I work, and that there is time, time, always time. Time to work on it, time to take for myself. Time, the one thing I never feel I have enough of. She's a wise woman, my friend, and I am lucky to have her.

I need to be as patient with myself as I am with everyone and everything else.

I've taken some time off from the gym at the end of this week. Instead, I went to a Daisy parent meeting with Charlotte, did some shopping, and spent some time catching up with friends at a party last night. I scrapped the plan to hit step class in favor of sleep and vegging out this morning, and for once I don't feel guilty. There is tomorrow.

Soon: my adventures in personal training, gluten-free baking, and trying not to hate on pictures of myself.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Bird bones

Despite Sunday, I got back on the treadmill yesterday. It's never going to get easier if I don't keep trying, right? And it was definitely much better than the last time, although I still needed to elevate and ice my shins, ankles and right knee afterward. I have some persisting soreness/achiness, similar to Sunday.

I was talking to Beth about the "bad run", and it occurred to me: I have these teeny little bird bones. There are children with bigger wrists than mine! So the bird bones are supporting all this extra weight, poor things. No wonder they hurt. I will help them by eating more cheese. Wait, no....

Today is a day off, which is a relief. I'm starting to think that the amount of ibuprofen that I consume cannot be a good thing, so I'm going to try to muddle through without it today. Tomorrow I'm going to brace my knee and see if that helps- maybe my gait is off because I'm protecting the knee.

In other news, I'm currently procrastinating. I have an immense list of Stuff To Do today, both on the homefront and at work. I should be getting dressed. Guess where I am instead? Here's a hint: it begins with a C and ends with an H, and there's coffee. Those beautiful days last week really got me excited for spring....and now there is cold and wet snow and that chilly damp that gets into your bird bones.

I did laugh, watching it snow sideways out my office window the other day. Flipping New England.

Friday: lunch and downtown with the girl....and playing outside

Yesterday, waiting for the bus

Sunday, March 20, 2011 which I face off against the extra 25 and my rut in the couch

I've started that couch-to-5K program. Well, I've started it twice. My first attempt was fine until I sidelined myself for a week with some weird leg swelling thing. After babying my ankle for a couple of days and realizing that I didn't feel better, and after talking to some runners, I figured I was dealing with shin splints.

Okay, so this was discouraging on a couple of levels. First, I had to take some time off. Had to. I had swelling in my calf the likes of which I haven't seen since I was 7 1/2 months pregnant with Charlotte (not 9 months; I was much more swollen than that then). AND it hurt to walk.

Here's the other thing: has it really been so long since I've run regularly that I don't recognize shin splints? Damn.

A week (maybe more like 10 days?) off. Friday on the treadmill was painful, but just because I was sort out of practice...the first week of this plan is intervals of 60 seconds jogging and 90 seconds walking. Now, I hate the treadmill. I had convinced myself that the treadmill was to blame for the leg, that if I could just get off the revolving belt of DOOM, it would be easier.

I woke up this morning at my usual spoiled-girl-weekend hour of 8:00. The sky is that brilliant blue that you only get when the sun is shining, and it's the first day of spring! Why not get outside?

Because pavement is evil, that's why.

I decided to do the loop, which is about 2 miles. I figured that once I got through my 20 minutes of intervals I could walk the rest of the way home. It would be great! I would see birds, feel the sunshine on my face and breathe fresh air....

About 10 minutes in, the pain in my legs was just awful. My right knee, the one I sprained in high school track, ached with every step. I pushed further, egging myself on...childbirth hurts worse than this...nothing worth doing is can totally do this...listening to one of my high-energy iPod playlists.

Finally, cursing Ian Astbury for mocking me and cursing me for putting Fire Woman on the iPod in the first place, I figured I shouldn't hurt myself again. I could just walk! yeah. I'd be home in no time. What's a mile, really?

By the time I made it back here (wishing that there was a way I could crawl on my hands and knees), there were five things I needed. I couldn't decide which to go after first:
  • the bathroom
  • ice
  • water
  • advil
  • stretching
I got all the things on my list, plus a banana, and felt a bit better. I made breakfast, and as I ate my homemade toast, I thought about the things I do that are challenging, and that I haven't always been able to do. Things like baking bread, and knitting, and writing.

I might not be ready for the road yet, but I'll be back on the hamster wheel the day after tomorrow. And maybe I'll be ready to run a 5K by May 7th, and maybe I won't. But trying is far better than hiding under my blanket on the couch and wishing I felt better.