Tag Archives: exercise

Weighty Management

My sister and I have challenged each other to lose 15 pounds by April 1.  She’s smaller than I am, but we’re both rotund little women, of a type that might turn into prototypical Italian grandmas.  In her case, the weight loss is for a wedding.  In mine, it’s just garden-variety being sick and tired of my physical self in its current state.

A couple of years ago I lost about 30 pounds, but I’ve slowly but surely let the pounds creep their way back (as I have been prone to do all my life).  My blood sugar numbers were under control, but now my endocrinologist has had to increase my medication, with the next dreaded step being daily injections.  I also hate catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror (I try to avoid it most of the time), or being bombarded by my multitude of chins when I take a rare selfie or Face Time with my daughter. Spring is coming, the weather is getting warmer, and the layers of clothes will need to be peeled away before long (especially given the recent unseasonably warm February days). It’s long past time to kick-start some serious weight loss – 15 pounds for me would be just a drop in the bucket, but at least it would be a beginning – and better health, to emerge from my hibernatory sludge and shed those excess layers.

Exercise is a huge part of it.  I’ve written about my attempts to start and sustain a walking regimen on multiple occasions (starting way back in one of my earliest posts, “Breaking Bad (Habits)”, 4/1/15).  That’s key.  In addition to the power walking, I’ve also been thinking about buying one of those twisty balance boards [the Simply Fit Board, $44.99, which seems like an awful lot for a curved slab of heavy-duty plastic – perhaps I can find a cheap knock-off, although I wouldn’t mind paying more for something as long as it was made in the USA] that the Shark Tank lady financed and also advertises on late-night TV infomercials so I can start using it when I get back in my house* (I shudder to think of the disturbance it would create for the lady downstairs if I did it here!!) when I’m  watching the Rangers or catching up on my shows.  Instead of sitting on my expanding ass, I could be twisting my fat away.  I also kind of miss my yoga classes with the weird instructor at Long Beach Adult Ed, with his long stringy hair and bald pate. One thing is for certain: I must get more mobile.  And once I do that, I’ll see an improvement on all fronts.

But the biggest issue for me, by far, is my obsessive eating. I’ve been trying to do some self-analysis to get to the root of the problem so I can hopefully break the cycle.  Why am I an obsessive eater, completely unable to stop when I start?  Well, I usually start eating out of boredom, or as a distraction, or procrastination.  But I believe the obsessive part of it comes about because I like the taste of things.  After eating something delicious, I just want that deliciousness to continue until my head and my stomach (or both) tell me it’s time to quit.

I’ve tried all the tricks, like, don’t have the “bad” stuff (really, the “good” stuff, you know what I mean?) in your house at all, or, if you must have it, put the healthy items up front and easily accessible and hide the naughties.  But every time I go into the kitchen, I’m soon chest-deep in the fridge, completely ignoring the healthy snacks to dig out the hidden stashes.  Or I’ll make up proper-serving-sized snack baggies with trigger foods – and then eat five of them, which defeats the purpose entirely.

Alas, despite my efforts at self-analysis, I don’t know why I do it, and I don’t know how to fix it.  I’m just weak when it comes to delectable foods of all types:  salty, sweet, savory – but mostly sweet. They just taste so good, I just don’t want the yumminess to end!! Perhaps the extra pressure of the competition with my sister, plus more activity in milder weather, can serve as an effective impetus (although it hasn’t so far, I’m afraid!).

* Update on moving back home:  Inspections for the certificate of occupancy from the City of Long Beach and the balance of my grant from New York Rising are scheduled for this week.  This is a huge relief.  My contractor actually told me that, as far as he was concerned, I could move in any day.  True, my boiler blew an electric circuit when they tried to install the thermostat incorrectly, but once that’s fixed, I’ll have heat, electricity and water. So what this means is: I am FINALLY going to hand in my notice to my landlord and leave as of the 15th of March. And then we’ll be home and we can make as much noise as we want!!

Small Steps

Well, I’ve officially begun my walking regimen, and now that I’ve written it publicly, I have to stick to it!  I’ve started small, with 20 minutes a day, but I’ll try to quickly ramp up in intensity.  Ultimately, I’d like to keep it around 30-40 minutes, five times a week.  With the upcoming hockey season in mind, I’ve determined that I will walk the dogs at 5:15 p.m., watch the 5:30 p.m. local news, and then walk on the boardwalk from 6:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. on game nights.  That way, I can get organized and prepare dinner during the pre-game show and then settle in to enjoy my favorite way to spend three-plus hours on a typical weeknight:  New York Rangers Hockey.  (It’s their 90th anniversary this year.  I’ve been following them for a little more than half that time, going on 50 years, which is pretty damn scary when you think about it.)  I can’t wait for the season to start!  This World Cup of Hockey exhibition being put on by the NHL as sort of a pre-training camp warm-up is just a tease; bring on the real stuff!  Less than a month to go!

My sister had given me a Fitbit last Xmas.  It was NOT on my list – the only thing on my list, EVER, is iTunes and Amazon gift cards so I can buy music and sometimes books – but my generous sister always manages to get me something extravagant for which I have no real need or desire.  (Believe me, I am ashamed of my ungratefulness.  I’ve actually proposed that we forego Xmas gifts entirely, but she won’t go for that either.)  The Fitbit was still in the box when Darian asked, in August, if she could take it with her to school.  She belongs to a cross-fit gym in Morgantown and really enjoys the program, and she thought it would help her keep track of her progress.  It also measures her sleep patterns.  To her alarm, the Fitbit has indicated that she’s a fitful sleeper and wakes up multiple times every night.  I know the same is true for me as well (see “To Sleep, Perchance to Dream”, 9/16/15), so perhaps it’s a hereditary affliction.

In any event, my friend Carole showed me that my iPhone has been keeping track of my steps and certain other movement factoids all along without my even being aware or inputting any information – provided, of course, that I carry it with me, which of course I have immediately started doing.  So far, I’ve managed to walk more than 5,000 steps a day, but ideally I’d like to aim for 10,000 daily steps, which I have heard is an optimal daily allotment.

This is not the first time I’ve undertaken a fitness plan, but hopefully this one will stick.  I recently had a lovely dinner with an old school friend, and she recounted how, feeling creaky and out of shape, she had gone to the local gym but was utterly daunted by the prospect.  When she told her trainer that she couldn’t possibly lift X pounds of weight, or do X number of reps, or walk X minutes on the treadmill, the wise trainer (who I’m sure has faced this challenge from many of his trainees) proposed that she aim to do HALF-X, or even QUARTER-X, if that’s what it took to get her going, because the important thing was just to GET GOING.  I’ve taken that message to heart.

She also said that she eats half of each meal at one sitting and then saves the rest for the next day.  That’s another good idea that I need to put into practice, in conjunction with the flexible 1,500 calorie diet that my doctor gave me today.  Small steps will get me where I need to go, if I can just stick to it.

While I’m encouraged about my increased physical activity, and I’m optimistic that I can better control my food intake (I’ve done it before, I can do it again – I may even meet with a nutritionist so I can learn how to replace all the CRAP I eat with more healthy alternatives), there’s still an area of my life that I’m having a harder time gaining control over.  As I mentioned a few weeks ago (“My Life in Journals”, 8/17/16), I was going to try to wake up earlier every day so that I could better utilize my limited life hours.  While I’ve been forced to get up before I really want to on a few occasions over the past few weeks, given my druthers – in particular over Labor Day weekend, which I considered a huge waste of potentially pleasurable time – I stay in bed as long as I possibly can.  I don’t even sleep!  I just like to lie in my comfy bed with the boys (and usually Raven poking me in the face looking for attention), close my eyes and try to avoid thinking about all the things I have on my agenda for the day.  So that’s something I’m still working on.

But here’s a small step I can take to start my day on a more positive note:  In at least three separate “daily advice” posts I read this week, the message was that, if you wake up smiling, you improve your outlook on the entire day.  So even if I can’t rouse myself at an early hour, at least I can try smiling when I finally do get out of bed!