Monday, 29 December 2014

*dusts self off*

Photo by Patrick Dockens, licensed CC-BY-NC-ND
As I always say, it's not how many times you fall down, it's how many times you get back up.  Consider this me getting up and dusting myself off.  Again.

December well and truly kicked my progress in its proverbial ass.  The combination of 5 lunches out, 6 dinner parties, 3 large family festive meals, numerous cocktail hours, and eating approximately all of the sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, chocolates, and bourbon balls (i.e. literally dozens of these damn things) have led to me being a full 17.1 pounds higher than I was at my lowest before the holidays.  This puts me essentially where I was last year at this time strangely enough, so in a twisted way it's a kind of maintenance.  Bad maintenance, but maintenance nonetheless.

Let that be a lesson for me.  As if I didn't already know this (duh!), December's debauchery has taught me that if I simply eat whatever I want whenever I want, and if I combine this with skipping workouts for a week and a half in a row, I will put on weight.  I know, I know, this is not exactly earth shattering news.  Some would call it "glaringly obvious".  Some would also ask "didn't you learn this the last time you went off the plan"?  Sometimes it's nice to be reminded, however, especially when one is a slow learner.

Simply put, I allowed myself to get lazy and undisciplined this month, and I gave myself permission to break routine.  By doing so, I also gave myself permission to gain 17 pounds.  That's my choice, and now I get to deal with the consequences of my choice. 

I am not despondent about this little setback.  I know it's hard to look at 17 pounds as a "setback", but it's really only that.  Now that the holidays are over I have Mr. Fitness coming over to kick my ass tomorrow night in a return to my weekly sessions with the personal trainer.  The Nerd and I have recommitted to eating healthy and have thrown out all the leftover holiday chocolates that we received at Christmas.  I worked out this morning (for the first time in more than a week - gack!), and I received wonderful new workout clothes and 2 kettle bells (20 lb and 25 lb) for Christmas.  I feel reinvigorated and ready to get back into my healthy routine.  As part of this recommitment, I have restarted my MyFitnessPal calculator to my current weight (!) and reset my "days logged in" tracker to 1 - - although I was logging in during December, I was barely tracking a fraction of all the food I was consuming, so it's really day 1 of the new routine.

The key to success of course is to shut my piehole.  As in, to stop snacking on all the things.  We have cleared out all of the junk food from the house and by the time I next set foot in the office I will have 4 days of healthy balanced eating and workouts under my belt to help get me over the initial craving stage while my body readjusts to healthy calorie levels.

I am actually quite looking forward to seeing how my body changes and gets stronger with the personal trainer.  I will take a "before" photo tomorrow and do measurements to set the starting baseline, and over the coming months I will see what happens as I push myself and improve my fitness with the new routines Mr. Fitness will show me.

My objective is simple: lose the final 40 pounds by this time next year.  Since I am setting this goal before New Year's Eve it does not count as a resolution - - it is merely a redefined goal.   The distinction may seem a fine one, but it is critical because most people do not follow through on their resolutions.  Goals, however, are a different story.  And this one is totally attainable - - I have a great support network and a solid plan along with the resources to accomplish it.

So let's face 2015 recharged and ready for the challenge!  Bring it on!

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Breaking new territory - - had my first session with a personal trainer

A few things combined for this new step in my fitness training. 

The first is that this month I have been systematically eating all the bad (yet delicious!) foods, like the Nerd's bourbon balls and sugar cookies, and all the baking that people have been bringing into the office.  When you combine the holiday baking with the sheer volume of social engagements - - festive lunches, dinners with friends, coffee dates, and potlucks, it's a wonder that I can still fit into any of my clothes. 

Now that I have released the Kraken, as it were, it will take about a week of eating properly without snacking to get my cravings back under control.  One day at a time will be the key. 

The second and bigger step is that I have hired a personal trainer.  I received a small inheritance from my grandmother, and rather than blowing it all on hookers and cocaine I thought I would actually turn it into a long term positive by taking the next step in my fitness and hiring a trainer. 

I have been working out on my own for almost 3 years now and I have lost 144 pounds (well, at least I had before blowing my brains out on cookies and lunches this month!).  But it is too easy for me to get settled into comfortable routines, and even tools like the heart rate monitor that are intended to help me push myself only can go so far.  Plus, as a self-taught exerciser, I have all the bad technique of the amateur, and no one to correct me.

As it happens, one of the marketers here at the Company is married to a personal trainer.  I looked him up and he seemed reasonable, so I booked him to come in and meet me last week at my office.  He was just as reasonable in person, so I booked a session. 

I was terrified about the whole thing, because what if he asked me to do things I couldn't physically do?  What if he pushed me so hard I threw up?  What if we just didn't work together well?  And, most concerning for me and my dark subconscious, what if he laughed at me?

Of course those of you who have trainers will know that all of my concerns were groundless - - the trainer (aka "Mr. Fitness") listened when I was having problems with a particular exercise and changed up the routine, he worked within my limits and pushed me, but not to the point of injury or projectile vomiting, and he did not laugh even a little bit.  The Nerd laughed at my struggles to do sit-ups whilst punching Mr. Fitness' hands, but I only found out about that this morning, and anyways, the Nerd is entitled to tease me. 

Mr. Fitness and I had discussed my cardio workouts last week and he recommended that I try high intensity interval training, which I began incorporating into my routine this week.  My pattern right now is a 5 minute gentle warm up followed by 10 sets of 30 seconds at high intensity (going around 220-230 strides/minute "as if being chased by a lion") followed by 60 seconds of low intensity.  These workouts are shorter - around 20-25 minutes rather than 30-45 - so  I don't get the same calorie burn as my previous elliptical work, but they certainly get my heart rate up and push my body. 

I did a HIIT session on the elliptical right before Mr. Fitness arrived, so I was warmed up and ready to go when he got there.  While that worked pretty well as far as a warm up, my legs did get wobbly later in my session so I might not go full HIIT on my personal trainer days in the future, just to make sure I have legs left for the actual training bit. 

We did pushing work last night, with bench presses, nose crushers, and shoulder raises alternated with swinging a kettle bell between my legs and up to chest height along with some squats.  We finished with some core work on the Swiss ball, sit-ups where I hit Mr. Trainer's hands as I came up, and then some jab/cross/duck routines (my favourite part of the whole night) with the boxing gloves and target pads. 

I was well and truly thrashed after my workout and I learned a lot about technique (especially on the squats and shoulder raises which I have apparently been doing completely wrong for years), and overall I had a good time so I consider it money well spent.  With the holidays we won't be able to meet again until the 30th, but that may be the interval I need to recover from last night's ass kicking!