Thursday, 2 August 2012

Thoughts on passing the six month mark...

Photo Courtesy Kerry Lannert, Licensed CC-BY-NC-ND
It's hard to believe that I have been exercising for 6 months now.  Working out feels like such a part of my routine now that I can't imagine not doing it - - not because I love it, but because I have so many little things that I track and do related to working out.

My typical morning is to get up, measure my blood pressure and blood sugar, work out for 35 minutes on the elliptical machine, and then weigh myself.  Then I spend a few minutes updating my various fitness apps with the new data, and internalize the new figures, enjoying the progress.  Throughout the day I track and diarize what I consume, with the objective of coming in between 2000-2500 calories and < 200g carbs each day. 

I try and become a little more active each week, either through walking to or from work more, or stepping up the time on the elliptical, or both.  It's not a struggle to walk to or from work any more, and it can even be enjoyable.  I don't dread walking places as much as I once did, because it's not as painful or physically difficult.  Knowing that I can do 35 minutes on the elliptical machines makes a short walk easily do-able. 

I took some time to look at some of my first posts, and I am struck at the difference in what I can do and how I feel, physically and emotionally, compared to when I started. 

Back in January I could not do 7 minutes on the recumbent bike without difficulty, nor could I walk to work without stopping in pain.  To say that I ate unhealthily is an understatement - I would regularly make a large pot of popcorn with 1/2 cup of melted butter and an entire 300g package of shredded cheese on it and call that "dinner".  I could eat an entire box of Kraft Dinner and still have room for dessert.  My binge eating was truly of epic proportions.  I occasionally drank water, but generally my liquids consisted of 6-8 cans of Diet Pepsi each day, plus coffee or a long island ice tea or other drink in the evening.

My Fabulous Self Before Working Out - Fall 2011

I was a size 26 and weighed more than 330 pounds.  I could not fit in a standard movie theatre seat comfortably, nor in a standard airplane seat.  It has been literally years since I have been able to do up my seatbelt on a commercial flight without a seatbelt extender (which I never ask for), so I have to pretend to do up my seatbelt.  God forbid I should actually get in a plane crash, as I would be completely unrestrained and hurtling about the cabin. 

For all that - - the poor self-image, the sloppy appearance, the discomfort, I did not take steps to change things.  I was too big to comfortably work out, and I begrudged the time I would need to spend, preferring instead to sleep.  So what motivated me to begin exercising?  One day I went to a dinner party at a friend's house, and I actually had one of her dining room chairs collapse under my weight.  Sure, it was a cheap IKEA chair purchased more for looks than for strength, and sure, she did a crappy job putting it together, so it was a timebomb waiting to waylay the unwary...but it broke under my ass, no-one else's.  And it was humiliating.  I cried all the way home in the car, and resolved to begin working out.  And for the past 6 months I have stayed true to my vow, and have worked out 5 days a week, then 6 days a week as I became more fit.  It has been a couple of months now since I have even missed a workout.

More Fabulous, but less of me, August , 2012

It seems like every week I am doing something a little bit more healthy for me.  Last week is was discovering carbs and my blood sugar.  This week it was stepping up the workouts to 35 minutes each session, and reducing my alcohol and empty carb consumption.  Who knows what it will be next week? 

I can never tell the effect that my workouts is having on my body, because I look in the mirror every day.  But I can see by looking at the before and after photos, above, that I am definitely losing weight in my face, and elsewhere.  No cheekbones yet, but less jowly.  Perhaps fewer chins.  Same unmanageable hair. 

Tomorrow I will get back on the elliptical trainer for another 35 minutes, and then comes the official workout for the week.  We'll see if my new-found discipline will have a positive effect on the scale. 

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