Melting away excuses

I talked a while back about getting into a good groove with exercising, starting with walking. Alex and I started doing a 1 mile walk around the neighborhood everyday, and when the oppressive Georgia summers (you know, the one that started in March this year…) kicked into high gear, I transitioned to walking/jogging a mile indoors on the treadmill. Life started back up again, and it was getting harder and harder to make the time in the evenings to do the walking, and I really did not want to let that get in my way again.

The one single thing that has held me back time and time again as I have tried diet after diet, each one as unsuccessful as its’ predecessor, is simple: making excuses. Of course the excuses themselves are as many varied and different as the days are long, but the constant has always been excuses. That is what I was trying to avoid here. 

So I guaged my days, really looked at where my time was spent, where my time was wasted, and what exactly I could do to make sure that I didn’t let excuses get in the way again, not this time. Not when I’m making lifelong changes, not when I’m making progress, not when I can see the light at the end of the tunnel (albeit a very long, tumultuous tunnel, the light is there nonetheless.)

Last week I started walking on my lunch break. I always bring my lunch to work with me anyway, and between preparing it, and eating it, I usually have between 30-40 minutes leftover to do whatever I’d like. I typically use this time to play read articles and do some networking on LinkedIn, and I’ll occassionally use it to catch up on my Words with Friends turns that I neglect each night. Why couldn’t I use this time to walk?

And so I did.

At first I just walked, I had no idea how far I was going, how fast I was going, I figured something was better than nothing, and I kind of discounted it anyway because it was typically only a 20 minute endeavour. How many calories can one really burn in 20 minutes?

But then last Friday, I stepped on the scale. And in 1 week, I had lost another 4lbs. Just walking 20 minutes a day.

I know that this is not enough, and to get all the way to my goal weight (still another 100+lbs to go) I need to do more. But this works for me right now, and it’s still something. It’s still moving. Until I am back in a situation where time is a bit more normal and less luxury, I am moving.

Today I crept perilously close to more excuses. It’s a dreary, rainy day here in Georgia. Just before my lunch, there was a lull in the rain. I told my co-worker that I was worried about walking because I didn’t want to get caught in a downpour 1/2 a mile out and have to walk back in it, not to mention spend the remainder of the afternoon soaking wet. And then I stopped myself. Mid-sentence I told him, “Nevermind! I’m walking!”

Like most everything in my life, exactly what I was worried about happening did. The second I stepped out from under the stoop over our office door (like a perfectly timed percussion entrance, really) the rain started. Not hard, but constant. It rained the entire 20 minute mile, did not stop or slow one time. But you know what? It was exhilerating. I felt energized with each chilly prick of a rain drop. I was excited.

Today I walked in the rain. And, despite popular belief that I am, in fact, the wicked witch, I didn’t melt away. As I pumped my arms in harmony with the stride of my legs, breathing deeply first in, then out, as I walked the 20 minute mile through my office park I not only didn’t melt, but I felt accomplished and whole for the first time in a long time. While there is still work to be done, still a long way to go, I didn’t make excuses today. And as I walked around in the rain, a little part of my cheered victoriously as I watched another excuse melt away around me.

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I never knew

A big part of this journey to a healthier me is learning things about myself, and teaching myself how to live my life to the fullest. Each day I spend a lot of time thinking, reflecting, and working towards my goals. And sometimes, I learn something new.

I learned that exercise can be fun. I learned that you don’t always have to do the hardest workouts and the trendiest exercises. I learned that when I take it easy, and do something that is fun for me, I actually look forward to exercise.

No joke. I woke up this morning, and literally my first thought was “I get to get back on the treadmill today!” And then I finally got through the day and got home, and boy did I get on the treadmill! I realize that this may not be impressive to the more athletically inclined among us, but for me- please trust, this is a major breakthrough.

Today I learned that I could run.

I couldn’t tell you the last time I ran at more than a bouncy, brisk walk. The last time I had a PE class was freshmen year of college, and the most physical exertion required there came from walking laps around the gym. Before that was freshmen year of high school, and even then I really only ever jogged slowly, really just walking quite fast. Like those Olympic speed walkers. Have you ever seen them? Their feet move like lightening.

Anyway, I increased my walking pace to a fast, steady 3.5, bumping down to 3.2 for a little break. I walked the first 1/4 of a mile, ran the next 1/8 at 5.5, and finished out that lap back at 3.5. The next 1/4 mile I walked entirely at 3.5, and jogged the last 1/4 mile at a steady 5.5.

My heart was pumping, the sweat was pouring, and I felt…free. It’s honestly not a feeling that I have ever experienced before. I don’t want to push myself too hard, but I definitely want to keep incorporating more jogging into my daily treadmill routine.

What gives you that crazy proud feeling of accomplishment?

A surprisingly good workout!

So since I am scared and frightened and refuse to return to Jillian just yet, Alex and I have started walking. The route we take around the neighborhood is just over a mile (right around 1.2) and we do it in about 20-30 minutes, depending on several factors. We take a fairly brisk pace which, coupled with the unseasonably HOT Georgia weather, has left me feeling pretty well exercised after a relatively short and easy work out. The temperature climbed even higher today, and hit the high 80s today.

That being said, I knew the importance of continuing the momentum that we got with our walks last week (we took the weekend off) but I could not fathom the thought of walking in that direct heat and sunlight. Since my parents have a relatively unused treadmill, I decided to give it a go. Let me say, this was my first time on a treadmill since my freshman year of college, and WOW- what a surprisingly good workout. Walking on the treadmill eliminated the slowing of pace that naturally happens walking around the neighborhood. When we walk outside, we have to slow in places with no sidewalk and areas where the side of the road slopes dangerously into a ditch, and there are two areas where we have to wait for traffic lights to cross a fairly busy street, which definitely gives time for rest.

When I got on the treadmill I was able to adjust my incline to make it a bit more challenging, and maintained a steady 3.2-3.5 mph throughout the walk. I immediately felt that I was actually working my body, and even pumped the speed up to 4 for a jog during my last 1/4 mile. I still only did 1 mile, but I did it in under 20 minutes, and felt my body working throughout the entire workout. Afterward I walked slowly and cooled down for another 10 minutes. I felt so good afterwards, I think the treadmill is exactly what I need right now. I still plan on returning to my own personal Hell the 30 Day Shred soon, but for now I want to work myself up to more miles, and more jogging.

I can’t explain how good I am feeling since I have been working out! I knew how important it was from the beginning, but I am glad that I made the decision to just work my way up slowly rather than continuing to jump in too deep and end up scared and sedentary for several weeks.

Baby steps

So after my miserable 2nd attempt at Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred, I have been timid about exercise. Hesitant to jump back into it and risk the third failure. But at the same time, I hate the stagnation- I know I’m not going to keep moving in the right direction if I don’t get my body moving. It’s time to stop being lazy, and start getting active.

This weekend, rather than committing to exercise, I committed to yard work. It got me up, outside, and doing work. And boy, did we work. 7 straight hours on Saturday, and at least 2-3 more on Sunday. We moved, raked, pruned, clipped, and pulled weeds. When all was said and done, we had a 10 foot long pile parallel to the road (we get free pickup inside the city limits) that was at least 3 feet high and 4 feet deep. It was huge.

Let me tell you- Jillian Michaels has nothing on my yard. 5 days later, I am still feeling the burn. But for once, I avoided the excuses and committed to working through the pain, in a safe and proactive way. After work Monday, Alex and I began our first of many daily walks. From our house once around the block is just a little over a mile. Everyday so far this week we’ve walked it once, and our goal is to move up to twice tomorrow. We’re moving at a fairly brisk pace, but nothing too strenuous. The days have been warm with a forgiving breeze, and we definitely feel the “workout” when we get done, without me feeling incapacitated for days on end. It may not yield the huge results that 30 day shred ultimately will, but every single day since Sunday I have seen the scale drop 1 entire pound.

This is huge after 5 weeks of steadily losing no more than 1lb in a week!

I am officially down 17.2lbs, weighing in today at 257.8lbs.

These numbers are not huge, but they are going in the right direction. I’m feeling refreshed and reinvigorated. I finally feel like I am back on track, and ready to speed things up. Thank you all for continuing to support me, follow my progress, and share in my experience. Thanks for sticking around, baby step after baby step.

Getting back to the roots (and I don’t mean vegetables…)

I have been struggling lately.

There, I feel better already.

You can almost bet if I have an absence from the airwaves, outside of being crazy busy, I’m most likely struggling. And no matter how gung ho I appear about sharing this journey and making my struggles public both so I have an accurate catalog of my journey, and to garner support, advice, and positive thoughts…part of me is still that timid girl who keeps to herself. That nervous first-time writer in her first creative class who nearly breaks down at the thought of having her writing read.

No matter how much talk I talk, it is always harder for me to walk my walk. But today I read one of Mark’s posts over at A Fat Man’s Journey, and I was just so inspired. I’ve been following Mark since I began my journey, and have always found him to have some pretty profound things to say, and I’ve always related with both his struggles and his triumphs, but today just really shook me awake.

Today he talks about the guilt he felt taking a day off from working out, and the panic he feels if he forgets to log something. These are the exact same feelings that I struggle with. But when I start to struggle, I get scared. When I get scared, I hide. I hide from my support network, I hide from my blog, I hide from My Fitness Pal. I run, and I hide, but at the end of the day, I can’t hide from myself.

Some of my last posts on here talk about starting the 30 day shred. Well, I started! And, once again, I made it through two days. TWO DAYS. And not because I couldn’t do it! Because once I stopped and felt guilty, I fell into my same holding pattern of excuse after excuse. “I’ll start back on Sunday, so that I have a full week…” then Sunday comes and goes. Rinse and repeat. Or, “I’ll start walking instead since the weather is so beautiful! Then I’ll work back into the shred…” Then I sit on my ass and watch tv all night.

If I miss logging my food once, I freak out about missing it and stop logging altogether. Excuses, for me, are like Lay’s. You can’t have just one. Before you know it, you hear yourself oink, look down, and the whole bag of chips is gone.

I guess that’s part of what’s bringing me back here today. My bag of chips (excuses) is empty. I physically can’t make anymore. The weather is divine. The basement is clean and has plenty of indoor workout room. Our internet connection works. I’m not sick anymore. I even have a new 7:00 a.m – 3:00 p.m schedule at work. NO EXCUSES.

So, I’m back on the air, and I’m looking for you. I’m looking for every single one of you. The occassional readers, the loyal favorites, the strangers, family, and friends alike. I’m asking you to be on high alert. I’m at the tipping point. I’m at the tip of my mountain where I usually fall back down the other side. I can’t start back at square one. Despite the excuses and the clumsy lack of moderation I’ve had over the last few weeks, I have managed to maintain and continue losing in very small amounts.

I started my journey at 275 lbs, a number that I have never shared with anyone, but one that you all deserve to know (I’m asking you to hold me accountable, afterall…) Today, I weigh 258.6 lbs, a total loss of 16.4 lbs. Today I shake it off. I shake off the excuses, the struggle, and I get back to basics. I stop the snacking, and start the movement again.

All I want from you is a little extra encouragement. Throw a like on my post. Leave me some kind words. And for goodness’ sake: if I don’t let you know how I’m doing, give me a shout! Yell at me! Jump up and down and wave your hands in front of my face! Give me a cyber-slap of reality. And remind me that I CAN do it, and that the only thing standing in the way of my success is my own fear of success.

Later I will catch you up on some of the things I have accomplished, including a few new recipes, but for now…it’s time to get to work!

Cheers!

Stronger…than yesterday

Shout out to Britney, bitch. I’ll be honest, the only proof I have that I’m stronger than yesterday is that I very much feel as if I should have been dead today, and yet I am not only still alive, but I made it through day 2 of level one. I am still miserable, I still feel like I may throw up at any moment, but I made it through.

I wanted nothing to do with exercising today, nothing at all. My throat felt all sore and scratchy all day, and I may or may not have had a little bout with the dreaded “d” word. (Just sing the Pepto song, you’ll figure it out real quick) today, so I really was primed and ready to make some excuses. I noticed this early on and tried to pump myself up for the idea of maybe going for a nice walk at Central Park, because it has beautiful walking trails and is only a few minutes from the house. I figured since the thought of Jillian was making me want to cause physical harm to those around me, I could at least be proactive in making sure I did something else.

In the end, I decided to stop letting myself backslide into excuses, and force myself to power through. I am absolutely miserable, but I did it. I feel accomplished and miserable, instead of just miserable which typically leads me down the path of depression, over-eating, loss of self-respect and all of those other horrible habits and emotions that I am working so hard to shake.

Tomorrow is another day, and I’m putting my faith in a crazy, bitchy home workout coach and the big guy upstairs because Lord knows I’m not getting through the next 28 days on my own.

If you’re the praying kind, lift me up if you remember.

Cheers!

Day one, level one

Today marked the beginning of my on again/off again, love/hate relationship with a one Ms. Jillian Michaels. Yes, friends, I have officially begun the 30 day shred. The mere fact that I’m sitting here, at 10:40 p.m, writing this down is nothing shore of a miracle.

My initial plan was to do it in the morning, before work. Unfortunately, Alex failed to prepare everything that I needed him to, and so I had to wait until after work for him to hook up the xbox on the basement TV. A few choice words, and several apologies later, I finally re-determined myself to do it, and completed my first workout this evening.

I have to say, I am thoroughly disappointed. Having started 3ds once before, I knew a little bit about what to expect. I had hoped, though, the since I’ve spent the last 30+ days eating healthy, hydrating, and getting moving a little bit more than normal I wouldn’t completely feel like death. That absolutely didn’t happen. I made it through all of most of it though, and that’s something. Tomorrow will be even worse, because I’ll be repeating her torture circuits on sore and newly-awakened muscles, some in places I didn’t even know had muscles.

But I will power through it. I have made it through worse and come out on top. I’ll show that evil, evil woman who the boss is here. Have any of you fought through Jillian’s cruel and inhumane workout? It would definitely help to know you survived…

Here’s to hoping that I can still move tomorrow! Cheers!