Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Hippy-Hippy Shake

Exercising has obvious benefits.  They are spouted on the evening news, in every magazine we read and are basically shoved down our throats at every turn.  On the flip-side, aren't there some drawbacks too?  Maybe not drawbacks per-se, but unpleasant side effects maybe.

I am a 32 year old relatively healthy woman.  Why then do my hips hurt so much lately?  The pain is in the joint itself, not the surrounding muscles.  Therefore today, I walk like I am an 82 year old.  (No offense Grandma)  I'm not sure exactly what I did last night that aggravated that joint.  I have been hitting the cardio hard lately, but I didn't do anything different other than that.  For the pain factor in particular, I try to stick to the elliptical trainer.  The motion of the elliptical is supposed to be more gentle on joints, and my shins and lungs hurt noticeably more when I am on the treadmill.  Yet I hobble.  A pretty picture for sure.  And one of the big questions in my mind is WHY my HIPS??

Undoubtedly, running is a terrific form of cardio and I would love to have a runners body.  But this ol' girl ain't running unless something big and scary is chasing her.  Again.  Or her girlfriends somehow magically talk her into it.  Again.  (See a pattern here?)  Truly, I do not see the attraction other than it is a do-anywhere form of exercise.  Now, I should mention that I do run the Dirty Girl Mud Run once a year.  That's more for the fun of slogging through the mud though.  I mean, how often do you get to body surf though mud puddles and no one thinks you have lost your marbles?  Running is great.  Except for people like me who seem to do more harm than good to themselves.  I have asthma and that limits me substantially.  I can work my fool ass off on an elliptical and not go into an asthma attack.  Jogging around the block?  I sound like someone should call the EMT's and hook me up to some oxygen.

Truthfully, a few times a week, I have trouble getting out of bed and reaching my feet to put socks on.  It's not the muscle soreness or lack of sleep that gets me.  It's my joints and my back.  Truly, I feel my 30's is too early to feel rickety and creaky.  Don't you??  Exercise should make me feel good and limber and younger and give me more energy, right?  So why is it I shuffle into work and groan when I have to sit down OR stand up?  I'm not going to have to start liberally slathering on Bengay and popping Osteo-Bi-Flex before my 33rd birthday, am I?  Nothing screams sexy like getting your man to massage you, but instead of those flavored body oils you used to use... you wink and slip him the bottle of Bengay.  Yowsa, that's hot.  I know, I'm cringing at the thought of it too.  

Monday, February 27, 2012

Is This the Gym or a Runway??

Why is it when I show up at the gym, there are a ton of people walking around in full make-up and clothes that look brand new and match perfectly with their shoes and socks?  Am I mistaken, or is the gym a place to get sweaty and drop the dreaded lbs?  Apparently some of the people at my gym think that it's a fashion show too and that can be intimidating.

Looking your best is definitely a big motivating factor for going to the gym in the first place.  I see it as a place that I don't need make-up to be in public.  I want it to be a safe place where I don't get judged.  Doesn't looking like that's going to happen, but I keep telling myself it can still be that, for ME.  Just last week I strode into the gym wearing sweats that go just past my knees and my winter boots.  Let me tell you, I got more than a couple funny looks.  I go looking like I got dressed in the dark.  For me, the NOT getting ready is part of the joy of going to a gym.  Hell, I'm just going to sweat all over this stuff anyway, right?

Now, I do not intend to offend you if you do your hair to go to the gym.  I just want to know why?  I have often posted on Facebook that I have hit a new personal best and people ask if that means I got more than two phone numbers.  Why is every venue that men and women go to together an opportunity to meet your soul mate?  Do like I did.  Meet your soul mate in a bar.  JUST KIDDING!  Well, we did meet in a bar.

Moving on... I think the gym should be a safe place.  Whether you get dolled up and wear nothing but the newest fashions or like me wear a TMNT shirt, cut off sweats from high school and Christmas socks, the gym should be a place where you are not judged for anything but the fact that you showed up.  Showing up means more than any primping does.

Yea, people- I look funny and I don't match.  But here I am, at the gym, just like you, trying to get healthy.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

40 Days and Nights Without??

As a personal challenge, I always try to give something up for Lent even though I am not Catholic.  I started doing this about 5 years ago just to see if I COULD go 40 days without.  For the first few years, it was fast food.  Hello, my name is Heidi, and I am a fast food addict.  Mind you, I have now switched over to salads and I carefully research the caloric content of every item I order, but I think it's the fast part I'm most addicted to.  No muss, no fuss.  A hot meal instead of all cold cuts and greens.  This year, instead of giving up fast food, I have decided to give up soda for Lent because I want to be able to keep McDonald's salads and Subway in my diet to help me avoid some of the pitfalls of the last couple of years.

Granted, I only drink diet soda, but I have read enough articles saying that just because you drink diet, does not mean you will lose weight.  Well, I am going to put that theory to the test.  I don't really see how drinking zero calorie beverages can cause you to put on weight, but I am willing to try almost anything once.  I should mention that I probably currently drink 4 diet sodas a day.  Yep.  I'm not much about moderation.  Sad, but true.  The idea of going without the flavor and pep of caffeine in soda has me a little worried.  I will try to keep you posted on the challenges and benefits of my little experiment.

My mom tried very hard to talk me out of giving up soda.  She said just last night: "Maybe you should reconsider.  How else will you get through your days?"  That may sound dramatic to some of you.  To help you understand her concerns, let me tell you about me.  I have 2 jobs, I go to school and I try to hit the gym 4+ times a week.  Sometime in there I find time for my family, my boyfriend and myself.  Am I concerned that the pick-me-up from soda is going to be a detriment to my sanity?  Oh yeah.  But why go through the pain to give something up if you won't miss it?

Have you given up anything that you love, completely, in an effort to lose weight?  What are you giving up for Lent?

Monday, February 20, 2012

BMI (Blessed be My Ignorance)

Taken from the CDC (Center for Disease Control) Website:
              BMI Formula: weight (lb) / [height (in)]2 x 703

Call me crazy, but isn't BMI calculating simply a new-fangled weight-height chart?  Why has this become a standard?  They say it is accurate, depending on the person.  Well what is that supposed to mean??  How do I know whether I am the person it is right for or not?  I know plenty of women who carry their weight differently.  Often, when I confess to people what I actually weight, I am told that I do not look like I weight that much.  Small consolation when people still balk when I tell them I weigh 165-ish lbs.  I try to take their shock as a compliment that I look better than what a woman of 165 lbs standing only 5' 3.5" should.  Wait one cotton-pickin' minute!  What the hell is that supposed to mean?

I told you I would be honest and in that vein I am publishing my weight.  EEK!  I squirmed a little when I typed it.  Why?  It really isn't anything to be ashamed of.  I am a work in progress and that's ok.  I think that may become my new mantra.

None of us fit into a neat little box like BMI's and height-weight charts would like us to believe.  I guess that is the bane of my existence AND a blessing.  How about that for "deep thoughts"?

Now, I am trying to find a way to better measure my health.  What's in a number?  I'm hoping that judging by how my clothes fit and how my body feels will be an accurate measure.  I am hoping, of course, that the scale cooperates eventually.  I just don't want that to be my ONLY measure of success of failure.  Honestly, I am going to try to celebrate the small things.  Skipping that ice cream sundae, getting in an extra workout, being more active in my everyday life.  Baby steps.


Friday, February 17, 2012

SCALE it down

I have an almost daily battle with my scale.  I know that the numbers aren't always an accurate way to monitor my progress.  But it sure as hell seems like it should be.  If I didn't work out at all before other than one night of volleyball a week (sometimes followed by copious amounts of beer and fried foods) and now I work out 3-4x a week for an hour each session, shouldn't I be losing weight?  Maybe my math is off, but to go from 45 minutes of physical activity to 180 or 240 minutes... shouldn't I be coming out on top?  Even if I didn't change my eating at all, shouldn't all of the additional calories I burn show up in my favor somewhere?  Apparently not.  The weight loss math, I do not understand.  I never have.

What is the best way to determine my healthy weight?  Should I look at a weight-height chart?  I sure hope not because it tells me I should weight 50-60 lbs less than I do now.  Sheesh!  That seems like an insurmountable task!  And what would I look like at that weight?  In my head, I picture a skeletal version of myself.  Please understand that I do NOT want to lose all of my curves!  They make me, well... me.  I just want to be a healthier, more svelte version of me.  A version not brought to tears by the thought of wearing a bathing suit.  Am I right, ladies!?  Damn instruments of torture is what they are!  Men get to wear baggy, board shorts and we get stuck in string bikinis.  String, people. As in hiding nothing.  Ah yes, all the ways life just isn't fair.  let's face it though, it never will be.

I'd like to know what the best weight is for me to be healthy, not to be a stick figure.  This journey really is about being healthier and happier, not just thinner.  If there is an equation out there that can help me find what my true goal weight should be- I'd like to know it.  Wouldn't you?

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I will be better someday, but as for today? I'm just me.

This blog is going to be all about my crazy struggles with weight loss and all the chaos that ensues.  I promise to try to be 100% honest and show my warts and all.  I'd love for this to be a place where I can stop sucking it in, finally breathe normally and 'let it all hang out.'  Just be me.  I will be better someday, but as for today?  I'm just me.  I have attempted this journey multiple times and this time, I feel like I am doing more and seeing less results.  I am getting older.  I know.  BUT, that can't be the sole reason I flounder because I have several close friends that are older than I and seeing amazing progress.  The idea of a blog is recent, and I confess that I don't know a whole lot about blogging.  Today, that all changes.  Not tomorrow, like I so often promise myself about my eating habits.  Just last night I allowed myself to have a handful (or 2) of Doritos saying "it's ok because I have crazy cravings this week because I have my bleepin' period."  Yeah.  I'm the queen of rationalization.  I have MyFitnessPal as an app on my phone.  I track my calories!  Well, up until I derail so badly I want to cry.  Then I pretend that tomorrow is a new day and that no matter what, I'll be better then. Fingers crossed. I have started going to the gym (truthfully, I started almost exactly a year ago and have lost 3 lbs.)  I go faithfully 3-4x a week.  I watch what I eat and make healthier choices most of the time.  I hope this blog will be what my sis-in-law Britt (she gave me permission to use her name) and I wanted to start with the women in our family just a few months ago.  Almost everyone struggles with losing weight.  Trust me, it isn't JUST you.  It's me too.  Here I hope we can comiserate, celebrate each others triumphs and lend support.