Hitting the Wall and More…

This week I have stayed on track and have exercised every day. I haven’t had any ice cream and just a bit of chocolate here and there. I tried Zumba again and it was fun! I was a sweaty mess by the end, but I did it. I felt pretty comfortable with the group of women and everyone is so out of breath there is no chatter. One annoying woman keeps picking up hand weights and going all out. This bugs me and I don’t know why? Some women have this cute coin scarf that jingles when they shake their bum. It could be an optical illusion, but I am somewhat lacking in the shaking hips move. Today I purchased one of the scarfs online. The whole $8.00 I spent will force me to go to at least a few more Zumba classes–ha.

The aqua aerobics class is either hit or miss. One instructor gets in the pool and helps me make the most of my time in the pool (discreetly- without being a smarty pants like the gal with the hand weights). Did you know some of those pool noodles are designed to give more resistance? I am using the purple noodle since it is stiffer and more difficult to manage. If I am going to get wet and exercise I may as well get the job done! The other instructor is a snooze. She does not get in the pool and my classmates chirp and chatter because the “workout ” is not working. I stay after her class to get in a few laps to make up for the less than inspiring teacher. Oh well.

Today I have hit the wall and woke totally exhausted. I can’t exercise and just want to sleep. Hopefully this is just my body demanding a rest. The demand is met but my mind spirals into the cra cra area of maybe I’ll gain weight today. What’s up with that? So I am eating right and if I stop exercising does that mean I gain weight that day? I still haven’t weighed myself because I am afraid that the original number that challenged me to exercise will appear. Or worse it will have increased. It has only been 2 weeks so trying on that ill fitting dress won’t tell me anything. I am scared that if some slight loss is not achieved I will exercise and eat nothing. Ok maybe an apple and a coffee. I know that is the monster in my closet.

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Getting my Bum in Gear……

Well, after the Zumba class I did not feel so great. For now I will blame it on the intense heat and humidity.  I will try it again next week when it is cooler. Despite feeling crappy I know I have to keep trying. I found an aqua aerobics class and given the heat index, it seemed worth a try. I ended up arriving late so I just jumped into the pool. Since we were in the water, I could not see the various body types. There were about 8 people of both genders bobbing in the water. Except for the instructor everyone from the neck up appeared older than me. Do I have rose-colored glasses and just think I look younger? I knew the instructor; she was in shape and  was a life raft for me. Ok, here was a woman my age and while not skinny she looked fit. The class seemed fairly easy and if I was perspiring I did not notice it. Post class I spoke to Diane, the instructor, and she offered me a couple of exercises that would increase my heart rate. An additional 20 minutes passed as I did some laps in the pool. Following that I showered the chlorine out of my hair that I had attempted to keep dry. I splurged for a Keratin treatment a month ago to keep the frizz away and chlorine and sodium will strip it away. Oh well.

As I drive home I continue to wonder if any of this will work. I ate my snack of a boiled egg and had the urge to weigh myself. I know that if I do not see any improvement after a week of exercise and diet change I internally will freak out. I’d better wait for my weigh in.

So for the remained of the week I am doing water aerobics in combination of 3.5 power walks. My friends and family know about my new exercise routine and caution me to go slowly. A vegan friend counsels that if I give up all dairy I’ll drop weight fast. Dairy? Oh no I can’t give up my greek yogurt. How would I add more protein to my diet and give up yogurt? Right now I am not at a place where I can give up a healthy food I LOVE. I only eat plain no fat Greek yogurt with a stir of fresh berries. Could that be possibly packing on my pounds?

I wish, wish, wish that I could have a formula for weight loss. W amount of  X exercise + Z food = weight loss. I was lucky to be thin all of my life. This recent thickening of my middle part has enabled me to be more empathetic for those who have struggled with their weight. I guess that must be part the lesson I am meant to learn. With age, I have learned to try to understand there is a lesson to be learned with  every success and every struggle. So far this has been a struggle.

Eat More to Lose Weight….Really?

One of the major parts of this new lifestyle is my food plan. For the past several years I have tried to limit my daily caloric intake. Perhaps in the back of my mind I thought limiting what I ate would enable me to maintain my weight without exercise. Basically what has been happening is that I am putting my body  in starvation mode. Restricting calories during weight loss lowers metabolism because the body becomes more efficient, requiring fewer calories to perform the necessary daily functions for survival. Consequently, this can slow the rate of weight loss.

I have been told, to make training a part of my lifestyle and train sensibly, but train hard. This supposedly will allow me to eat more, and more of what I eat will likely to be partitioned into muscle and not fat. What to eat is also important apparently. I have been eating loads of fruit and homemade low fat granola and fat free, sugar free Greek yogurt.  Apparently this is wrong because the result has been weight gain. I was trying so hard to be skinny again only to gain weight. It is scarey because I fear if I eat more I am afraid I will gain weight. What if I eat more and I enter a cycle of weight gain that takes off like a speeding train? Today I am afraid to step on the scale. Perhaps I will wait a couple of weeks to see if this exercise- eat more- eat healthy works?

My diet now consists of lean chicken, a  small amount of lean beef, turkey, boiled eggs, yogurt, organic jerky, beans and nut butters, I discovered the almond butter I purchased had sugar in it so i just made my own. In addition I eat unlimited vegetables and a moderate amount of fresh fruit. Fish has to be added somewhere, but I haven’t found one both my husband and I like. I am limiting white carbs like potatoes, bread and white rice. So far, going into week 2 I do not feel deprived yet. I occasionally eat 1 square of dark chocolate to curb the desire for sweets. I was really tempted last night when I had the choice of cheesecake, carrot cake or key lime pie. Savoring a bite of each worked for me, though truth be told, I could have eaten the whole key lime pie! Binging would make me feel guilty and am really trying to remain positive and not deprived.

Now Stir In A Big Heap Of Exercise.

Like many other times in my life I threw myself into the deep end of the exercise pool. Never do I gradually start an activity, I just jump in and I am beginning to realize I am very hard on myself. Am I too hard? I started my exercise component with a fitness circuit workout.  The instructed was beautiful, tan, fit and appeared to be in her 30’s or early 40’s. I joined the class of five grey haired ladies who appeared older than myself. Who knows, maybe they were my age?  None of them appeared to be fit which led me to question the effectiveness of the exercise. Several people were casually chatting throughout the circuit but I chose to just concentrate. I went all out and can report with certainty that I am totally out of shape. Almost everything that was thrown at me was difficult, including squats, rowing, lunges and pull downs. I gritted my teeth and completed every exercise to the best of my ability. It was warm and I am glad I had my new workout gear on since it wicked away the perspiration. The best part came when the class ended. Yea!

When I returned home I ate my protein snack and felt I had given my best. The nagging question of whether this is going to work at all popped into my head. It is a scary thought and made my stomach turn. It is funny that considering the recent heat wave my appetite is not there which is somewhat of a blessing. The craving of sugar has ceased and I find that eating lean is not too difficult, at least yet. The fact that I removed all sugar treats from my home may be the reason.

The next day I decided to try the Zumba class. It started at 6pm and it was blistering hot. When I arrived at the studio there were about 15 other women there of various ages and shapes. Hmm maybe this class is the one for me? Unfortunately there was no air conditioning and the room temperature was 95 degrees. I signed a waiver that if I croaked it was not the instructor’s fault. Zumba combines Latin and International music and was fun. There were a lot of confusing dance steps but the instructor was very nice and said ” Don’t worry about the steps, just have fun.” It was a lot of fun, but the heat was too much. I perspired through my clothes and could have cried when the instructor gave out frozen wash cloths!

By the time I got home I was dehydrated and slightly nauseous. I was just pleased I did not pass out and make a fool out of myself. Despite drinking another 1/2 gallon of water I could not get rid of the headache. I didn’t eat much dinner because I felt lousy. Skipping meals is bad since not eating enough lowers my metabolism. The body perceives starvation and will hang on to the fat reserves.  Sleep could not be achieved until 2 AM.  It was a long day. Does everyone have these problems? Am I being a wimp? Why is it so darn hot? I forgot to mention I am in menopause and having nightly hot flashes. Oh joy!

Must We Accept The Middle Age Spread?

Throughout my entire life (excluding pregnancy) I had a thin body. In fact as a child it was difficult to maintain a healthy weight. My Mom used to buy cream puffs, add eggs to milk shakes and beg me to eat more. I remained skinny, a string bean, bean pole, chicken legs throughout the rest of my life  with no effort- until now.

People who know me know I do not weigh myself for many reasons.  After all it is just a number and my theory is that if my clothes fit me I must be doing OK. However my favorite dress must have “shrunk” at the dry cleaners. So I took it to a seamstress to let it out a bit.  As I put on the dress, she looked at me and said” How old are you?” After I answered her she said “Oh that dress is never going to fit you, you have the middle age spread. You just have it accept it as a part of life. Give that dress away to someone it fits.” To be honest, I am smaller than the average middle aged woman. However I really don’t care how others look, as long as they are happy and healthy. This is my own journey into my middle age years. Maybe some reader might relate or not.

Really? Me accept the fact that I will continue to gain weight and I no longer have any control of how I will look? Am I just imagining I will have no control?  I guess she does not know how I react to a challenge. Realistically, my body may never look 21 again and probably not 31 either but I truly believe if I change my eating habits and exercise I can not only be more fit, but fit into the dress I wore only one year ago. I hope so.  As soon as I stepped on the scale at home, a number on the dial appeared,  a number I had never seen. Oh my!  I’d like to blame the scale, but nope,  the combination of the weigh in number and the ill fitting dress were giving me a message.  It is time to make a few changes. Immediately I  joined the gym, bought some lean meat, vegetables and some work out clothes. I am not a huge exercise fan, in fact I usually avoid the gym. So my plan is to trick my body into being active, while at the same time having fun. The local athletic center  has a Zumba class that sounds like a combo of dance and aerobics that could work for me.

Next I need some cool workout gear that will work for my body, not against it. I started with some basic bottoms Patagonia Pliant Knickers. They are synthetic yoga pants are made with a highly technical nylon/spandex knit that holds its shape and wicks moisture. A gusset increases flexibility and a flat, color blocked, double banded waist provide compression and hides a small pocket. I went with black in hopes that my backside might appear smaller. My next purchase was the NorthFace Bounce B Gone Bra. With a name like the Bounce-B-Gone Bra,  it’s pretty clear what the idea was behind this garment’s creation. Made from stretch elastane compression with with a razor back, it provides  support necessary for me. For some reason much of my new weight is in my boobs. Some women want larger breasts, but those with large breasts will understand the problems big busted women encounter.Now that my boobs we firmly anchored, I chose  the Patagonia Draft Tank. It  combines lightweight Capilene 1 fabric in the body with breathable Air Flow mesh panels, for the ultimate in moisture management and fast dry times. The racerback design has a streamlined fit with delicately scalloped trim at the neck and arms for extra softness against sweaty skin. It is quite pretty.

My old footwear was shot so I opted for Merrell Mix Master Move Glide. The Mix Master Move Glide is a womens minimalist shoe designed for a softer ride on those long road runs. This shoe is surprisingly lightweight and supportive with a minimalist design. The 8mm of heel cushioning dropping to 4mm under the ball of the foot creates a cushioned platform–so comfy.   The easy part is done and the challenge to exercise and eat nutritiously is on! To tell you the truth I am a bit nervous about the next few weeks and the challenges that need to be conquered for myself and only myself.