Friday, March 23, 2012

So I think I've lost my mind.

I'm sure for most of you who know me, losing my mind isn't really that newsworthy. My sister, especially, will tell you I've always been a little crazy. But that aside, this may officially make me a lunatic.

deep breath

I'm going to run a 5k.

I didn't stutter, but I'll hold on a minute while you catch your breath from the hilarity that statement caused. Go ahead. Take your time. I'll wait.

I've never been a runner. EVER. In gym class when we had to do the mile, I would jog, maybe halfway around the track, then get a stitch in my side and limp the rest of the way. I'd be the last one huffing and puffing my way into the locker room. My boobs bounced too much, I got shin splints and we won't even talk about the fire I set in my undies by the friction of my thighs rubbing together.

My thighs still rub together, but the boobs and the shin splints aren't a problem anymore and since I've decided to make this fitness thing stick, I decided that having a goal in mind would help me find purpose in all this working out. Not that "not dying" isn't a purpose (trust me, it is!), but what's the point in being fit if I can't show it off, right?

I decided in August, when my hometown does it's annual Prairie Fest, I'll be a part of it. The race begins at the park next to the house I lived in growing up. As if that won't have enough emotional bearing on me that day, I will be doing this race by myself. My bestie and I do a lot together, but because of her knees, she can't run long distances. We walk the shit out of stuff, but there's no running for the two of us together. And that's okay. Sometimes you just have to do things yourself.

So, as the song I go again.

What are you doing??

I was asked today to share what I'm doing to lose weight.

"Using common sense," was the first response that popped into my head. But the more complete answer is diet and exercise.

I'm working out 4-5 times a week. Not because I can't do more or don't want to do more, but because I'm being realistic and I'm still recovering from a pretty major surgery, so I don't want to overdo it. In my workouts, I'm doing HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) every other day and weight/circuit training on the opposite days. Of the workouts in the link, I'm currently warming up with a 30 second workout. In short, that means, I'm stretching (always!!), then doing a 5 minute warm-up on the treadmill. Then I "sprint" for 30 seconds. After that 30 seconds is up, I slow it down to a more leisurely pace for 1 min 30 seconds. I repeat this 6-8 times. Then I cool down for five minutes to get my heart rate back to normal, then stretch out again. I put "sprint" in quotation marks because right now, I'm FAR from sprinting, but ideally, that's where I'll be when all is said and done. I have a LONG way to go to get back to where I want to be, but for now, my heart rate is in the cardio range and I'm okay with that pace. On days when I don't have the time for 30 mins on the treadmill, I'll switch it up and do a Tabata workout instead. Essentially, that's a 30 second sprint on the elliptical and 30 seconds at a slower pace. I repeat this four times. Add in a warm-up and cool-down and my workout is done in under 15 mins. On the alternating days when I do weight training, I go through almost the entire circuit in my gym: leg press, bench press, arm curls, leg curls, ab curls...whatever is available, I'm on it. The whole circuit, not including stretching takes me about 30 mins or so. I lift the weight that's comfortable for me and instead of increasing the weight just yet, I increase the number of reps I do. If it starts to hurt at 15, then I push to 20 and stop. I believe in endurance, not building bulk.

As far as my diet goes, it's just eating smarter. I don't really deny myself anything (although, I have cut out soda for the most part...I might have one once a week or so), it's just a matter of cutting back on portions. Instead of having a 12oz steak, I might have an 8oz instead. Or a 6. Instead of a double-burger and large fries, I cut back to a single and a small. My body still craves always will, I I pacify it with the smaller portions. In the past, I've even ordered that small fries and thrown half of them away before I even sit down so I don't eat the whole thing.

One thing I absolutely REFUSE to do, however, is use artificial sweeteners like aspartame or Splenda. The dangers to chemically-enhanced sweeteners is SO much worse for me than real sugar. I'd rather go without entirely than poison my body with those things. I think I've blogged about them before, so scroll back if you want the scoop (or Google "side effects of Splenda" or "dangers of aspartame" sometime). I do, however, use Stevia sometimes, which is a natural sweetener and is becoming more popular as the dangers of the artificial/chemical sweeteners are being talked about more frequently. Overall though, my recommendation (and what I'm trying to do myself) is just cut back on the amount of sugar I use.

The rest is just like I said: common sense. Bake instead of fry. Steam instead of boil. Eat less red meat. Use oils sparingly and if you can,  Eliminate processed foods, artificial flavors/colors/dyes and incorporate as many natural/whole/organic foods as you possibly can into your diet. Our bodies weren't designed to digest all this boxed and frozen food. It simply doesn't know what to do with it.

As time goes on and I'm feeling more and more energetic, my workouts will increase and my diet will become more regimented. But, for right now, even just these few changes has yielded me some AMAZING changes. I've lost 17 lbs, 2 inches in my waist and I'm down two sizes so far. I know the weight loss won't always be this rapid, but for now? I'll take it.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Weekly Update

Hey kids!

First, I'd like to give a big, fat shout-out to Mother Nature for this AMAYYYYYYYYYY-ZING weather! It's March and I have my central air on (to kill my allergies and the humidity...don't judge me. lol). The sun has been shining, we've got part of our garden in the ground. It's GORGEOUS!

Secondly, my surgical health is going great. The incision wounds are completely healed and are a lovely shade of purple. (Okay, there may have been an eyeroll there.) In all seriousness though, that surgery could've been a LOT worse and had a much more morose outcome, so I'm thanking God for how it turned out. I'm down an ovary and up a period, but isn't cancer, so I'll take it. I'm still taking it easy when it comes to bending over and wearing pants that cut across the incision too tightly, but overall, I feel good. It's been a LONG time coming, that's for sure.

Thirdly, I'm back at the gym. We joined our old gym again last Monday and I've been four times to work out. I'd like to do more, but again, I'm easing into it. Too much, too soon will burn me out and I could still risk injury, so I'm not pushing myself very hard at this point. I want to just get my cardio back where it was in 2009 and go from there. I'm excited to know that my body still has what it takes to get healthy and in my struggles to get my cardio system back to an even keel, I'm realizing how far I let myself slip these last two years. I don't like how it feels.

I teetered the scale at 270 at the end of February. This was 8lbs higher than my highest high. This? Is un-freaking-acceptable. It's 75lbs more than my mom was at her highest weight and while I adored my mom, I was well-aware that she was "big." I didn't want to be that size. Unfortunately, thanks to two pregnancies, lousy eating and a lifetime of not exercising, I've ballooned up to much higher than her size and would give anything to be that "big" again. Soon. As of today?  

I'm down SEVENTEEN POUNDS and lost TWO inches in my waist!

Seventeen pounds in 18 days. Yes, I am aware that this is not how quickly I will continue to lose weight and I realize I've also only been at the gym for the last week. But, I have been eating differently and other than a Coke here or there to keep my caffeine withdrawal headaches at bay, I've cut out soda. I also cut out sweet tea. Instead of bacon and eggs for breakfast, I'm opting for a fresh fruit & yogurt smoothie instead.

I did enjoy a large plate of pasta the other night at Cheesecake Factory, but besides that, all I ate that day was a smoothie. Today, so far I've eaten six pierogi (yes, with melted butter), but will be working off those calories tonight at dance class.

Oh, did I tell you I joined a dance class? I did. I'm so excited about it. It's my bestie's adult hip-hop class and I can't wait to get started.

I met with a trainer yesterday at my gym and she'd like to see me even out my daily routine so I've got a regular pattern of being awake, eating, exercising and relaxing. I agree that things need to balance out and I need to get my eating habits under control. One meal a day with a smoothie isn't going to get me where I want to be, so I'll be working on that over the next few weeks.

The best news of the week, however, is that my blood pressure checked out PERFECTLY at my doctor appointment yesterday. We're back to the normal range again and, as he tells me, working out and eating right will help it stay there. He still insisted that I eliminate as much stress as possible, so I will still be avoiding those situations and I'm also still debating on joining a yoga class, but for now, I know I'm on the right path and I'm okay with where it's at right now.

How are things in your world?

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Another update (Overshare risk: HIGH)

I figure it's easiest to catch people up here on my health situation, but I also realize that some people are squeamish about female body functions, so this is your warning that I'll be talking about vajayjays and all that stuff, so proceed at your own risk. :)

Five years ago, I had an endometrial ablasion due to extremely irregular/heavy periods. I was told that It may not stop my periods, but for me it did. At least until last night. I would spot from time to time, but as far as what I was used to before my ablasion, those were gone.I did have a heavier spotting last October, but it lasted only a couple hours, so for the most part, I've been happy with the results of my surgery.

Fast forward to February when we discovered the tumor and had it removed along with my ovary, which I'm sure you're aware of. My doctor didn't tell me to expect my periods to return, so it's my assumption at this point that these two things have nothing to do with one another.

Long story short, I woke up this morning to bloody sheets and clothes. At first, I thought something broke loose from my surgery and I was hemorrhaging. Thankfully, that wasn't the case, though the dial-a-nurse did feel that this sudden change in my cycle was enough to warrant a visit to ER or urgent care within a few hours. So, after spending 3 hours in the ER, they determined two things:

1) At around the 5-year anniversary of an ablasion, periods are most likely to begin returning (which means either another ablasion or a hysterectomy -- I vote for ripping out the plumbing entirely. I'm sick of dealing with this).

2) My blood pressure is HIGH. Not borderline high, not watch-and-see-if-it-gets-better-high, not try-some-Yoga-high. We're talking stroke-level-high. NOT good. I'd already planned on returning to the gym as soon as I healed fully from my surgery, so I suspect between exercise, a better diet and learning how to fucking relax once in a while I'll be in a MUCH better place. I've also got plans of going for regular massages to help with my tension levels.

So there we go, kids.

In the meantime, if you see me bowing out of conversations, avoiding confrontation or just burying my head in the sand, this is why. Don't take it personally. I just kinda don't wanna die of a stroke or heart failure.