They took me seriously.

With Christmas not even being over for a full 24 hours, it is easy to look at yesterday and know that I am blessed. While I haven’t spent a Christmas with my family in more years than I can remember, my husband and his mother have made it so that it’s not that big of a deal that I’m here rather than up north with my family. As a trio, we have made our own Christmas traditions and every year, I am excited to spend the day with them, leading to a very difficult time sleeping on Christmas Eve.

And though my husband has always been the most amazing gift giver, knowing exactly what I want and exactly what I like, this year, the gifts he gave me were incredible in a different kind of way. Prior to Christmas, he had already given me the awesome pair of hot pink running shoes that I asked for, but yesterday, I opened gifts that showed me just how much faith he has in me.

Aside from two very cool t-shirts relating to my love of the show “The Golden Girls” and my love of knitting, and the wireless, bluetooth speaker I had also asked for, he got me two pairs of very nice running shorts and a Fitbit. Upon opening the gifts that my mother had sent us, I also received two name-brand sports bras, and an armband to hold my phone while I run. The fact that so many of my presents were related to fitness, made my heart swell. Not because I had asked for some of these items, and not because they are good quality, probably expensive products, but because it showed me that my husband (and my mom) believe me when I say I’m going to do this. My husband told me himself that he’ll support me no matter what, and it’s not that I didn’t believe him, but by him giving me these wonderful gifts, it shows me that I’m being taken seriously. They really think that I can do this, and that I’m going to stick with it.

Yesterday was definitely a rest day on my calendar. A rest day and an all-around break from my diet. With the McDonald’s for a quick breakfast, the indulgent brunch at my mother-in-law’s house, a trip to a Chinese buffet for dinner, and all the candy in my stocking in between, I’ll be surprised if I’ve lost anything this week. I’ll be perfectly happy if I simply haven’t gained anything when I weigh-in on Monday. But now that yesterday is in the past, and today  is now the 23rd day of my routine, I am filled with love and contentment with myself for the first time in a long time. I have already done my exercise for the day, going out and completing week 1 of the Couch to 5K program while wearing my new shoes, shorts, armband, and Fitbit. I was a little self-conscious walking/jogging up the side of the busy street our apartment is on, but instead of putting my head down so I couldn’t see the cars and wonder if the people inside are chuckling at the overweight woman running up the side of the road in tight running shorts, I kept my head high. I know that I’m doing the right thing, I’m trying my best, and there are people in my life that know this because they take me seriously.

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What day am I on anyway?

They say it takes 21 days to make a habit. The box of nicotine patches I bought in college said it would take 10 weeks to break the smoking habit. I did it in two. This diet and exercise habit of mine is not at the 21 day mark yet, but it has felt like a habit nonetheless. I’ve lost count mentally of what day I’m on, which makes my daily calendar notes meaningful (today is day 16 by the way). Every day I write down what I did in terms of exercise for that day, along with any other helpful information, including the tip I just discovered this week. If I wear uncomfortable shoes at work all day and my feet hurt when I get home, I shouldn’t jump right on the elliptical. Even with my fancy new running shoes on, the comfort of the shoes couldn’t mask the pain in my feet from wearing shoes that really became painful by the end of the day.

fitness calendar

I decided that Monday would be my day to step on the scale. I realize that being an obsessive weight checker might become discouraging. So, every Monday, I wake up, spend a few minutes in the bathroom to clear out my system and then step on the Weight Watchers scale my mother-in-law gave us for Christmas last year. This past Monday, I stepped on and prayed that the number would at least go down and not up. To my incredulous surprise, I had lost 6.3 pounds in a week! Granted, I do take a water pill to help lower my blood pressure, so some of that weight loss could be the result of that, but I’ll take it!

People at work have been commenting on my weight loss. They have insisted that they can tell I’ve been losing weight. The next thing that always gets asked after, “Have you lost weight?” is, “How?” or “What have you been doing?” There’s actually a whole variety of things I have been doing. I have exercised on the elliptical for 30 minutes nearly every day. I drink water over tea or soda. I eat smaller portions and a lot less carbs. Though this week I haven’t stayed away from as many carbs as I did the week before, so I suspect that if I have gone done any weight this week, it won’t be as significant as the 6 pounds from the first week.

This is really not as hard to do anymore. It’s feeling a lot more natural. The program that I use on the elliptical is getting easier to do. I don’t have to stop and rest as often. I’ve downloaded the Couch to 5K app and I plan on beginning it this week. The program requires 3 days a week. I think I’ll still get on the elliptical on the days that I don’t run. In fact, when my mother asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I immediately asked for athletic gear.

While I am still in the infant stages of my lifestyle change, it is all beginning to feel very possible. I realize that it’s going to take a while to get to my goal weight, but that’s o.k., because I have started, I have gone 16 days and I don’t feel like stopping now. I have no hesitations, no excuses, and best of all no anxiety and guilt about knowing I need to do it and not being able to motivate myself to begin.

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I got this!

Last Friday I wrote about the new day 1 of my fitness journey. Today, I didn’t even realize that it’s already day 5. This marks the point that my last attempt ended. It’s not ending this time! For the past 5 days, I have watched what I have eaten very carefully. I have gone 30 minutes on the elliptical for four out of the past five days. My only excuse for not getting to it yesterday is that I didn’t get home until it felt way too late to be exercising. The children at my school put on their annual Christmas musical and teacher attendance was mandatory.

In these past five days, I haven’t struggled to put on my tennis shoes and hop on the elliptical for that gruelling 30 minutes. Though I dread the part in the pre-programmed routine where the resistance gets up to a 7 (out of 10), the time seems to go by very quickly. Before I know it, I have worked up an intense sweat, prompting the obligatory sweaty, post-elliptical selfie that I have posted on Facebook several times. The thumbs up I give reminds me that I’ve got this!

For the past 5 days, I have chosen my food with an eager desire to eat only what is good for me. I have eaten a salad nearly every day for lunch and have chosen to drink water instead of soda or the sweet tea that my husband keeps in the refrigerator. I do have to indulge in a very small helping of the tea each night so that I can take my handful of medication without my stomach becoming upset, as it tends to do when I take it with plain water.

I have since gotten the blood work back from my doctor. I had an appointment the week before Thanksgiving and an extensive work up of my blood was done. The results came in the mail last week, complete with a prescription for yet another pill, this one to control my cholesterol. I debated getting it filled. This new lifestyle of mine is beginning to feel very natural to me. Surely I won’t need all these pills after a while. But in the meantime, I’ll take them and hope for the best possible numbers when I go for my physical in February.

Some of the benefits I have noticed from this change in my eating and exercising  habits:

I’ve lost 3 pounds already! Granted, this could be attributed to water weight that has been lost. One of the new pills that I have been prescribed is a diuretic to lower my blood pressure.

My stomach feels good! Eating junk food on a daily basis made my stomach feel very uncomfortable at times. I never felt nauseaus, but I did feel a heaviness and an all around feeling of “ugh!” that could have been compounded by my feelings of guilt and dread for having eaten food that I know is not what I need to be eating. I had almost grown to accept that “stuffed” feeling after overeating as something normal–as the way I should feel after eating. How else was I supposed to know that I had eaten enough? I don’t have to rely on that feeling anymore.

In fact, what I’m feeling now, is a sort of freedom. A freedom from the frustration of feeling that I will never be able to do this successfully. I feel energized and ready to keep going. Tomorrow will be day 6…I’ll have made it farther than I ever have. One small victory tomorrow will lead to so many more in the future. I know this, because I know that I’ve got this!

 

 

Day 1

When you obsess about something long enough, there comes a time when you just have to do something about it. There has not been a single day when I haven’t thought about changing my unhealthy lifestyle. The motivation is there…every possible reason to change is there, right in front of me. What am I going to do about it?

A previous post of mine talked about that five day stretch when I started my fitness journey with a sincere intensity. That same post described my lack of ability in gaining back that same drive that saw me through those initial five days. Here I am, some time later from that false start, and I am done with day 1. Day 1. Only one day of dieting and coming home to get on my elliptical for a strenuous 3o minutes, and yet, this day 1 feels much different. It feels significant. Like this will be the last day 1 that I experience for a while.

In reflecting on today, I am not fully aware of anything special about this particular day that caused me to be focused on my goal. It might be that I finally realized today that I CAN get to school at 7:30 instead of 7:00 and still have enough time to prepare for the day. That leaves me more time at home to eat breakfast and pack my lunch and snacks for the day. Ordinarily I would look at the clock and feel a need to grab something from McDonald’s on my way to work because I felt that I was late and didn’t have time for a healthy alternative.

Perhaps it’s the new running shoes that my husband gave me last night. I had asked for them for Christmas and although the holiday  is weeks away, he gave them to me early to ensure a good fit and they were what I wanted. I have always wanted to be a runner, and the first tangible thing you need is a good pair of shoes, and now I have them. My school hosts a 5/10K every March as a fundraiser and every year, since its inception, I have volunteered at the race and either helped the runners sign-in, or recorded the runners as they came across the finish line. Every year though, I was on the sidelines, and every year I vowed that next year I would run. It’s not too late to rule me out of this year’s race. I have about three months to prepare and while I may not be hitting the actual pavement for a few weeks, given the fact that I am a true beginner and a significantly overweight one at that. I need to work my way up to donning my new hot pink shoes and build some stamina on the elliptical first.

So tonight, with funky colored knee-high socks that I’ve always admired on the race participants each year, and a lightweight fleece pullover still in the store bag I brought them home in this afternoon, I will carefully plan out my fitness goals for the next month. I’ll write them on a calendar, a checklist of sorts–I’m a teacher, I do well with lists–and I will look forward to tomorrow, when day 1 will be behind me, for good.