Archive for January, 2009

Hey everyone…I’m thinking now that I’ve gotten back into music, I’m not going to have a lot of spare time to post to this blog. Between making myself practice for an hour a day and making time to hit the gym, along with work and a social life that seems to be developing more for me recently, I’m not going to be focusing as much of my thought on weight loss. Also, I have to admit that weight loss had become somewhat of an obsession to me as of late, and while it’s always good to be focused on your goals, there is a line you can cross where it becomes unhealthy. While I still want to lose those last 30-odd pounds and become very physically fit and stick to a healthy diet, I feel like I’ve said all I need to say for now. Weekends will be easier for me to post, so from time to time I will still probably have something I want to say. I haven’t dropped off the face of the earth or anything, just busy with life is all.

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So I’ve been getting out more lately. I don’t usually touch on my social life in this blog, but to make a long story short, for a few years, especially during my most obese of times, my social life was scant. I would hang out with whoever I was living with at the time, and workmates. That was about it. I had a core group of friends who kind of scattered to the four corners of the globe as what often happens in the years following high school graduation, and thus my little social enclave was disbanded. This was before Facebook became an everyday thing for most people, mind you. I would also argue that Facebook actually can be used to decrease your face to face social interaction because it’s easy to pretend to have a social life on there and not make any effort to see people in person. Anyway, because of a wedding in the summer of ’08, I was reunited with an old friend who is rather active in the local music scene in my town. I am an intense lover of music, and have an affinity for independent musicians. I myself am a musically-inclined person. I played viola through childhood and have always liked singing. When most little kids were picking tunes off the top 40 radio that they liked only because everyone else did and the radio dj’s told them to, I was listening to my parents’ records from their teens and early 20’s. I grew up on the Dead, Neil Young, the Beatles, Janis Joplin, and a never ending assortment of the blues, Motown, and obscure folk artists that my uncle had the privilege to know during an era where the counterculture was referred to as “Beatniks” (very condescendingly by the mainstream media I might add). As I’ve gotten older, my musical tastes have developed to include an eclectic and diverse assortment. I tend to thrive more on the obscure. I will always love my classics, my very early influences. And I love classical music, as my instrument of choice as a kid is a stringed, classical instrument. I’ve always been able to sing well without much practice, but as I get older I find I have to warm up more to keep the voice going strong. Outside of school structured things, I never really performed, and I’m sort of afraid to. Meeting up with this old friend at that wedding was a catalyst for me in regaining my interest in performing music again. I’ve always wanted to play guitar, but I never really committed myself to sticking to it. I realized yesterday as I had an impromptu jam session with 2 people I’d just met on the street at a local coffee shop that I am fully capable, and I’m surrounded to the brim by musically-minded people in this town. My city has a great underground of local musicians, and something clicked in my mind, “I have so many people to ask for pointers surrounding me everywhere I go here. I have no excuse not to pick up a guitar and start practicing.” So it goes, I picked up one of the many guitars we have lying around this apartment (musicians flock together and usually live together) and started playing some chords and strumming. It was nice. I plan to structure some lessons for myself and get my technique to where I’m comfortable singing and playing in public again. I’m an absolute beginner on the guitar, but it’s such a universal instrument, I think everyone can learn to play, and should.

Not only did me and the people I met randomly yesterday have an awesome, Neil Young covering jam session, we also bonded over a lot of other stuff and became new friends. I’ve been trying to push my comfort zone of being somewhat of a hermit and get out more. My friend I mentioned above at said wedding is in several musical collaborations around town, one band in particular is of pretty promising talent as far as songwriting and sound, and I’ve been to a few of their shows. It’s a standard practice for Bohemian kids around my town to have shows at people’s houses so that money is not really an object as far as hearing some good music (although small donations for touring bands are often asked so that things like gas and food along the way are less of a burden, and often the touring bands will be hosted by a local musician so they don’t have to pay for a hotel). It’s been fun for me going to these shows and meeting some like-minded friends. Not only do a lot of them share my healthy food and exercise interests (I’ve already got a confirmed lap-swimming buddy and others who want to taste my healthy cooking sometime!), they also share my love for music, and books, and boardgames, and, well you get it. Social interaction and bonding with others outside of my comfort zone is something I needed in order to grow as a person. It’s part of my “life makeover” so to speak, just as losing weight and getting fit is.

One of the boys I jammed with yesterday is in one of my other, long-established favorite local bands, which I had never seen live before but they’ve been around for nearly a decade. He hasn’t been with them for the whole duration, but is part of the current lineup. It was fun and happy to sing with someone in one of my favorite bands. I’m going to keep being more social. I of course can’t stay out late at too many parties since I work and also need to make time to devote to health-practices for myself (exercise), and I still want to have a positive balance of time to myself to read and do my thing. But I can see my weekends from now on becoming a lot more interesting and fulfilling. 🙂

One thing I wanted to say about my weight loss in relation to this is that I do feel like my weight limited my social life. Many people would say that this doesn’t have to be true, and no, it doesn’t. I know plenty of obese individuals who are outright social butterflies. But I was not one of them. I withdrew more and I think psychologically the fat was there to put up a wall in a way. I never lost touch with my dearest friends, but as far as meeting new people I didn’t initiate it, and I used my weight as an excuse to stay home and hide from that. Also, being that fat made me get tired faster, made me more sluggish, made my body ache and hurt to where I just didn’t feel like exuberant and social. I just wanted to go home and lie down. Being more physically well in general makes it easier to be more comfortable socializing for me. Also, to put a bit of a vanity spin on it, I feel prettier. Not everyone who hangs out in this group of friends is stereotypically hot, but I think the majority of these kids are comfortable in their own skin, and it shows. Since I feel more comfortable in my skin, I think it makes me more attractive to others for friendship and other things (hehe). I’m not really looking for a dating experience at present, but at the same time I’m not entirely closed off to the idea.

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Well, it feels like my house is falling apart! I’ve had nothing but problems since I moved into this place…ugh. Anyway, this week I’ve been sickly. But luckily the sick hasn’t turned into anything bad. I’m certainly uncomfortable, with a stuffy nose, swollen lymph nodes, minor sore throat, and occasional coughing, but I’m not down enough to not be able to function. I feel run-down by the end of the workday, but I feel energetic enough to do what I’ve got to do until then. I haven’t had a fever, either, and I’ve still been enjoying some exercise. Monday I did some light aerobics, Tuesday (Inauguration day!) I went for a long walk, Wednesday I made it to the gym and did the stationary bike, a rowing machine, pushups, situps, and walked on the track. Yesterday I had to stay home and wait for someone to come fix my furnace (brrr) so I didn’t get to go to the gym, but I did some light aerobics again. I’ve been cautious enough with the exercise to make sure I’m not taxing the energy my body needs to fight this, but doing enough to make sure I’m keeping the conditioning I did last week and that I don’t lose any strength while I’m fighting this bug. I’m also trying to get plenty of sleep every night and using a clean diet and my natural healing stuff I mentioned earlier to help me along. I’m way less sick than those around me and I know it’s because of how well I’ve been taking care of myself. But it still sucks to be sick, even if it’s minor. I hope it goes away soon. I also haven’t missed work, fortunately.

I had been hovering at 155 since before Christmas, and this week I finally lost another pound, and I’m down to 154! It’s exciting, in another 5 lbs. (which I’m hoping will take 5 weeks) I’ll be down in the 140’s, a weight range I haven’t seen since early high school! My willpower as of late has been amazing lately. I think the holidays make me forget how to be unemotional about food, and now that they’ve been over for nearly a month it’s like a switch flipped in my head.

My mom is a bit overweight right now. She’s going through menopause. She’s probably about 20 or 30 lbs. overweight and would probably feel better if she dropped a few pounds. Her primary doctor is telling her to drop some weight, but the nurse practitioner she saw in his place (doc was absent that day) recently said her weight is fine. I think certain medical professionals have different standards for what they consider dangerous weight, and I think this makes it confusing for some patients when they don’t always get to see the same doctor and they get conflicting information like this. My mom has not spent a lot of her life being overweight. She was pretty thin until she had me. She gained some weight with her pregnancies (me and my sis), basically, but managed to get most of it off fairly quickly each time. I think she considers her current weight a natural part of aging, which is a common misconception. While the metabolism may slow down a bit and a person may become less active as a senior, that doesn’t mean that it’s “normal” to pack on the pounds. I’m all for people being active well into their old age, just slowing it down a bit obviously. I do know this guy in his 70’s who bikes 80 miles a day (he comes into my store to buy Clif bars to keep from bonking out). He could be full of shit and really only biking 30 miles, but even so, that’s a great fitness level for someone that age regardless. He’s retired and he likes cycling, so he’s spending his retirement doing what he likes. Can’t say I blame him.

That was a good segue into a topic I find interesting because for me, even when I was very unfit and very fat, I’ve always wanted to be an active senior when I get to that age. Not only do I want to be active, I want to still be able to outrun and outwalk people younger than me. Maybe that’s a bit ambitious, but hey, I like to set my sights high. I know that man who bikes every day that the weather allows, and some people would think he’s crazy, but I think he’s awesome. I also think that Marjorie Newlin, the senior body builder, was also amazing. I want both my mind and body to be sharp when I get up there in years. I watched both sets of my biological grandparents have their health completely deteriorate and become bedridden and senile. I get intense fear of that happening to me and I want to do what I can to prevent it. I know that starting with my fitness now, fostering healthy eating habits, and also taking care to stimulate my brain on a daily basis even though I’m no longer in school (some people stop reading once it’s no longer required of them, how sad!) are things I can do now. Not everything that happens in the future is within my power, but I do have some things I can do now which are. I want to be able to spend my golden years really living, not sitting on the couch watchin’ my stories. Certain parts of aging are inevitable (wrinkles, grey hair, menopause, ear-hair), but not everything that happens to aging people is inevitable (osteoporosis, muscle atrophy, weight gain). Some of us are more genetically predisposed to dementia and Alzheimer’s, but why resign yourself to getting it if you can do a few things now, in your youth, to prevent it from at least getting as BAD?

So my mom is kind of stubborn. She doesn’t feel like she’s overweight enough to worry about it. I mean, if she feels fine maintaining where she is, that’s all good. It’s her body. But at the same time, her and my stepdad also both smoke (and have a hard time quitting as they’ve tried many times and always failed) and they don’t eat the worst diet, but it’s also not the best. They regard their various ailments as a part of aging, when a lot of it can be prevented. My maternal grandmother was obsessive about her own weight to an unhealthy point (we’re pretty sure she had an eating disorder in a time before people really started getting diagnosed with them) so I think my mom is defiant about that sort of attitude. But losing a few pounds for her health isn’t going to make her be like my grandma. Honestly, though, I’d be happy with my folks if they would just stop smoking. I feel like once the smoking goes, a lot of other bad habits they have will go with it. I worry the most about health consequences related to smoking than I do about their weight.

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Well, today I’m glad I don’t have to be at work til 4 pm, because that means I can be home to watch the first Inaugural ceremony I’ve ever been actually excited to watch in my lifetime. I’m hopeful and optimistic about Barack Obama’s potential to help lead our country in a new direction.

As far as fitness goes today, I’m definitely getting the sick. I find that natural remedies help me feel more relief from the symptoms than the over-the-counter Nyquil/Dayquil crap. Coughing is a very important function of the immune system, and most modern medicines suppress coughs, which can make your illness last longer. I tend to try and heal myself with rest, good food, tea, and a few supplements. I find elderberry, zinc, oil of oregano, garlic, ginger and goldenseal to be very helpful whenever I’m sick. Those, along with a little bit of ibuprofen and and antihistamine usually help me better than nyquil or dayquil (or their other counterparts). I also really love spicy food and I like it even spicier when I have a stuffy nose and sore throat. As far as exercise goes today, I’m still feeling up for a little bit. Yesterday when I did the aerobic tape I still had to do the moves faster than they did on the tape, and it felt good to get my heartrate up. Today I’m feeling more groggy, headachy, etc. so I’m thinking a walk is more my speed. I’m going to suit up and go do that before the Inauguration starts. It’s a bit warmer out today than it’s been, and the sun is shining. And I’m happy today.

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Well, I woke up with a head full-o-snot and a sore, scratchy throat. So much for not getting sick. I have decided if I have something infectious, I’m not going to be a jerk and go to the gym and spread it around. But that doesn’t mean I get to slack off! I have a bunch of chores I should have done yesterday that I’m going to do this morning. I’ve already got the garbage and recycling out, and I have a kitchen that needs to be gotten into shape, as well as laundry going. And that aerobics tape that’s normally too easy for me? I’m going to do that today. I still want to exercise even though I’ve gotten the yuck, just take it down a notch so my body can still heal. Since I don’t feel any lung congestion, I feel like some cardio will still be safe to do today. I’m still optimistic that I won’t get as sick as others around me since I’ve been taking good care of myself lately, so I shouldn’t be absent from the gym too long. I just don’t want to spread my illness to others.

Yesterday I had a “cheat day” of sorts, but I still ordered one of the healthiest things on the menu where I went to eat w/ my folks. My parents like Jimmy Buffet (I don’t, haha) and recently one of his chain restaurants opened up in my city. They wanted to eat there. Most of the menu consisted of, well, cheeseburgers (“Cheeseburger in Paradise…” is one of his songs and the name of the chain). But they had some healthy stuff on the menu. I ordered the “chicken satay” skewers with terriyaki broccoli on the side. It wasn’t too bad. The chicken was the white meat marinated and grilled on skewers kabob style, and the broccoli was steamed w/ garlic and such. I couldn’t eat all the chicken, there was just too much for one meal (obviously) so I only ate 2 of the skewers and saved the other 4 for later (yep, there were SIX skewers of chicken, probably amounting to about 24 oz. of meat for one entree!). I plan on using the rest of the chicken in some sort of stir fry dish later. Anyway, I was proud that even though I was allowed to “cheat” I went for the healthier option anyway. The real “cheat” was the ice cream I had, which I couldn’t even finish because it was so sweet.

OK, I have 2 hours and 20 minutes til I have to leave for work, so I’m going to finish up the kitchen, do my exercise, prepare food, and get cleaned up for work. I hope everyone has a great, productive day!

In other news….I am a little worried. My housemate works for a small business which is suffering due to the poor state of our economy. He’s one of the upper managers, so I’m hopeful that his job isn’t in jeopardy, but it still worries me. If he’s out of a job, we won’t be able to afford our apartment – I can’t make enough money at my job to float both of us without some kind of assistance. So if everyone out there in blogland could think happy, positive thoughts for his business to stay alive, I’d really, truly appreciate it ever so much. Thanks, all! Peace and love!

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Last night I was watchin’ a little bit o idiot box before I decided to turn in for the night, and I saw this gem of an exercise product.

If you’re gullible enough to buy this, go ahead!

The commercial was absolutely hilarious, because they kept showing women using it, their boobs bouncing up and down. My first thought was, “Who is this commercial actually for? The women who want bigger boobs and think this is the answer, or the men in the room with said women?” My second thought was, “The women in this commercial did not get the bodies they have by using this.” My third thought was that the terminology they used was stupid. They kept saying how it works the “bust muscles” and the “breast muscles.” Your boobs don’t have muscles in them. Your pectorals are below your breasts. Were they afraid to use the real muscle terminology for fear that us little womenfolk just wouldn’t understand? It also promises that you’ll have a beautiful bustline in just 5 minutes a day! Anything that claims you can look like the built people in their commercial in “minutes” per day is guaranteed to be bogus.

I bet if I picked up one of these things and tried to use it, it would break after a few tries. I’m sure if it actually works, you can work the pectorals a little bit, but for most people who are serious about strength training, women included, it’s a laughable device. It’s also got PINK grips on it for GIRLS. Cause we all know how much little girls love the color PINK. *facepalm*

I’m waiting for the day that all TV commercials for these dumb devices start with the tag-line, “Hey, STUPID, buy THIS!” and people will go, “Yes, master…”

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Another day, another workout. I went with the elliptical again today instead of swimming to avoid the swimmer’s ear. I had time to relax in the sauna today, which was great. Went and got lunch and saw a friend after, home now relaxing. Mind trying to convince the body not to get the sick that everyone around me seems to have. I feel a little congestion coming on, but I feel like I won’t get as bad as my roomie or my friend I saw today (the latter is already feeling better than he did before). I feel my workouts and healthy diet and vitamin-regimen will help stave it off. I just have to keep getting lots of sleep. That’ll be no problem tonight. My muscles are sore and it feels good because I know they’re getting used to the new routine (hence not wanting to get sick, not wanting to slow down the process of getting in shape). I think I can use the power of mind over matter to keep myself from succumbing fully to the bug going around. That combined with common sense (getting sleep, good diet, taking vitamins), I shall overcome. Sorry if I’m boring people. I actually do have a point to posting.

People always freak out when they found out that you’re pushing your body physically. Not seasoned fitness folks, mind you, but just everyday people. They’re the people who tell you that you shouldn’t push yourself, and you shouldn’t feel any pain whatsoever from exercise, and that building muscle will make you “bulky,” do pilates instead because it’ll give you a “long, lean” look…the people who say that taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking far away from the building you’re entering, and playing with your cats is enough exercise for anyone. The body is made to do a lot more than that, and with the insane portion sizes people eat these days, they should be doing more. Furthermore, I want to be super fit. I want to be able to lift heavy things without asking a man to help me. I want to be able to clamber around mountains and climb up rocks with grace and ease. To me, having a very strong body is my ticket to seeing the world in a very unique way. Why shouldn’t I push myself? If I just go for a nice, little walk every day, I can keep from gaining more weight maybe, but I won’t maintain actual fitness. Fitness requires cardiovascular and muscular exercise. Fact.

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Well, with the windchill making it feel like it’s -17 degrees, I’m not so eager to go outside today unless I have to. I do have to go to work later, and I work earlier than usual today, giving me way less time to get to the gym, work out, stretch, yada yada. Thusly, I am going to skip my gym trip today and go tomorrow. That doesn’t mean that I’m allowed to slack, however. I plan on working out in my own home here in just about 45 minutes (I’m having a little spot of coffee, drinking some water, and I’ll be warming up as soon as I finish writing this). I dug through my videos and found a highly amusing, but highly effective 80’s aerobic tape. A couple years back, my mom dug it up and asked me if I wanted it. We both laughed at the hairstyles of the women on the box, and the fact that it promised you a “great body” that the women on the box obviously didn’t achieve by doing this workout alone. However, it does get the heart pumping, and that’s basically what I aim to do. Its downfall is that it’s only a half-hour long, so I plan on rewinding the more challenging part of the tape and repeating it, because I thrive better on more of a 45-minute to an hour cardio session. If I’m up for it after, I plan on running up and down the stairs in my apartment.

My housemate is really sick, like coughing up his whole lungs sick. He’s quarantined in his bedroom and has pretty much been keeping to himself except to hang out with me for a little while when I get home. I’m hopeful that my “free immunization” of touching money all day at work has made me more resistant to things like this and that even if I do get it, it won’t be as severe as his. Also, I did my sick-time at the beginning of the season, fighting a near-constant sinus infection for what felt like 2 months…ugh. Anyway…

I’m off to get warmed up and stretched before I start my 80’s workout odyssey. I’m bummed about not going to the gym, but dangerous cold (and no car to boot!) and time constraints make it a task that would cause me more stress today, and tomorrow there aren’t any phys. ed. classes going on, so everything will be open for much longer and I’ll have way more time to devote to getting there safely on a bus as opposed to freezing my ass off in the bitter cold. Also I won’t have to worry about going to work tomorrow since I’m off. I’m thinking since the pool is open all day tomorrow it’s going to be a lap-swimming day. The black bathing suit that I bought that was too small at the end of the summer now fits! 😀

POST WORKOUT EDIT: Ugh, that tape was so EASY I had to do it TWICE, and I had to do the moves 3 times as fast as the ladies in the video to get my heartrate up to where I wanted it to be, AND I still wanted to run up and down my stairs. This tape is for absolute beginners and not for anyone who wants to push themselves. So I’m going to buy some Gilad tapes (high impact aerobics) for those odd occasions when I can’t make it to the gym.

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So I went to the gym for a second time yesterday. I walked a half mile on the track to warm up, stretched, then hopped on an elliptical machine for 45 minutes. My heart rate increased tenfold, and it felt really good to get into that “zone” again. This time I had more time than I did the other day, so I went for it. I found that I liked it better when I cranked up the resistance and incline, which shows that I have some inherent muscle tone in my legs from all the walking I do, and in my arms from my daily pushups and incidental lifting at work, and that I can handle pushing myself. After my workout on the elliptical, I stretched some more and walked another half mile on the track to cool down. Then I stretched again, rinsed off in the shower, took a quick sauna, and took an actual shower after that. Then I walked to work where I purchased lunch and ate it, just in time to clock in for my shift. Again, an indication of how out of shape I’ve gotten. You have to be in decent shape to do my job well as it requires a lot of physical activity. But I realize when I was “working out” at home, I wasn’t really challenging myself the way you get challenged at the gym. And I’ve also learned that you can lose a good amount of weight and still be pretty out of shape. The gym combined with working an 8-hour shift after really kicked my ass, and my muscles are complaining today. That’s ok, though. I know it’s all a part of it. It’s a “good sore” really. I found that I felt like I had a lot of endorphins released and that I felt cheery and in a really good mood the rest of the day, despite being as tired as I was. I also found that I had a ravenous hunger and had to work really hard on my mind to resist eating more than I should. I made sure to eat quality protein to help my muscles. I’m not going in to the gym today, as work today will be particularly intense since it’s one of our more heavy delivery days and I’ll surely be running up and down the stairs with heavy boxes today. While I want to push myself, I also need to bear in mind that I need recovery time as well. I do plan on going in tomorrow early afternoon before work, though. And the pool is open for a long time on Saturday so I’m thinking a nice lap swim is in order for then. My housemate is really sick, and I feel a little sniffly, but I get exposed to everything by touching money at work, so I feel like I always get a lesser version of the bugs that everyone else gets. Call it free immunization. When I do get really sick, it’s usually always a sinus infection. From what I’ve read, it’s okay to keep doing cardio if you’re sick, as long as you aren’t running a fever and as long as the congestion is primarily in your sinuses and not in your lungs. So if you’re constantly coughing up green globs, perhaps hitting the gym isn’t the best thing to do, but if you’re sniffly, you’re okay. And I practice common courtesy when I do have something and always wash my hands and sanitize after myself to keep others from catching my yuck.

One thing that kind of sucks is that my apartment doesn’t have a bathtub, just a standing shower. I have a huge bucket that I can soak my feet in with epsom salts, but I miss my old house where I could soak my entire BODY. I’m thinking it may be time to invest in a heating pad for the rest of my muscles. I have some nice ice packs, but it’s nice to be able to ice, then heat. I have always had weak ankles and pain in those and the insteps of my feet. Running shoes are expensive, but another near-future investment will be some new shoes. This time instead of using the same pair for everything, I’ll be getting two pairs, one for working out and one for work and walking around. That way they’ll both last longer and support my body better. I also need to head for my chiropractor and get fitted for some new orthotics (mine are on their last legs, or feet as it were, and I was much fatter when I was fitted for em), but those are UBER expensive. Rent is due next paycheck, so we’ll see what happens.

My housemate and I were hanging out last night when I got home from work, watching some boob tube, and he noted my newly forming biceps and triceps. He felt my arm and went, “damn, that’s some definition there!” That was a nice compliment 🙂 Today, despite my arms being sore from the elliptical machine, I did my daily pushups anyway. It’s weird, I used to be afraid of muscle pain from working out. Now I can handle it. I think my pain threshold has increased a lot in the last 2-odd years. It’s also good motivation to know that this kind of pain isn’t forever, that this is just part of me getting used to a new routine. I know the body adjusts. In 2-weeks’ time I should be feeling tons better. I of course won’t be stupid and overdo it, but I’m going to push myself to a reasonable level.

A note about elliptical machines…a close friend of mine who has inspired me with her own fitness journey over the years told me that when she was dropping weight, the elliptical was a great tool because you can get a great cardio workout and burn a lot of calories on it. However, when she was done dropping weight and was ready to take it to a new level, she found that actual RUNNING was a whole lot harder than running on the elliptical (same goes for stationary bikes versus actual cycling). Since I want to train for a 5k this summer, this is good food for thought. But the elliptical is a good start for me, I feel, because it’ll get the job done to get me less fat. It’s a means to an end. The excess weight is a huge reason my foot and ankle pain persists, I think. Once I’m less fat, then I can most likely focus on getting used to REAL running on actual ground (much more impact on the body and takes a much more in-shape person to do).

Also, I need to learn how to manage my time at the gym so I can give myself more time to chill out, eat lunch, etc. before work and let my brain “reset.” I found yesterday that I didn’t have much time after completing my workout, sauna, and shower in time to give myself enough time to eat slowly for one (I had to wolf down my food really fast in time to clock in). I found that my mental functioning was impaired when I first started working. I was easily distracted and felt mentally “fuzzy.” This subsided after an hour or so, though. What I need to do is time it so that I can still get my hour-long session done, have that relaxing sauna and shower, and have a whole hour to devote to eating and relaxing/refreshing before heading in to work. Because of the nature of my work schedule and the hours at my gym, it makes it tricky. The cardio room and track are open from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, and then close for classes (college gym and phys. ed. classes happen there), then reopens again after I’m already at work and closes before I get off work. It’s tricky timing since I don’t have a car and have to take the bus to get there, but I can do it! I just have to really be on top of my shit.

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Well, my gym finally re-opened, and I went and had my I.D. card made for my membership. I am officially a member now, with a shiny, plastic ID card with a silly picture of me, still wearing my coat. I look fat as hell in it because my winter coat is huge on me. But also because I’m still fat. I even quipped to the woman who made my ID that I hope I look drastically different from that ID pic later in the year. She was pretty encouraging. I told her that I’ve been exercising at home for awhile now and that I’m ready to take it to the next level.

Since it’s a college gym, and yesterday was the first day back at classes, it was pretty crowded. The gym I’m at is where there are a lot of phys. ed. classes going on, and the college does require that you take a minimum amount of phys. ed. You could tell that some of the people there really didn’t want to be there, and you could tell the ones who DID. I was one of those people. But I must admit, there were a lot of really fit and attractive people there of all ages, and it was a little intimidating. It’s easy to think while working out at home that I’m so bad-ass and getting in shape, but when you’re surrounded by muscular and hot people, it can be easy to let it play to your self-conscious side. Also, I could feel some stares. People thinking, “oh look, another New Year’s resolutioner,” those kinds of looks, but I suppose it comes with the territory. I won’t let it scare me away or stop me. I actually want to keep going and see how many people I saw today actually keep coming in regularly. I also talked with a staff person about personal training options. I have dabbled in strength training, but I want to take it to a new level and have someone with more expertise coach me. You have to pay out the ass to have multiple sessions, and I’m a quick learner so I’m thinking I could do the package where you just have 3 sessions for around $100.00, then have it all squared away and take it from there myself. The weight room was of course completely male-dominated by hulking body builder types, not a female to be seen. I’d love to break that barrier. More women need to lift weights. The guy I talked to seemed impressed that this short little fat girl was interested in becoming serious about lifting. He also commented that it was good that I’d lost as much weight as I had and noted the muscle tone in my arms. I do pushups daily which has helped, but I haven’t yet gotten serious about lifting.

I did 3 miles of running, varying the intensity from time to time a la interval training, with a bit of an incline on the treadmill. Because of the time it took to get me processed as a new member, I didn’t have as much time to work out as I would have liked before I had to shower up and get ready for work. But when I go again tomorrow I’ll have way more time. I’m pretty sore today because I admit I haven’t been working out as hard or as much over the holidays, and I got more out of shape than I thought I did. I was really feeling it, but it felt good. I love when I’m doing cardio and I finally get into what I like to call the zone (not to be confused with the high-soy Zone diet plan, yuck) where I’m really feeling it, that “runner’s high” thing, feeling my heart pumping, starting to sweat, etc.

I felt wimpy doing 3 miles on the treadmill and getting so sore from it (it was a reality check to how out of shape I let myself get, as I didn’t push myself as hard over the holidays when I worked out), but a friend of mine who works next to me and frequently comes into the store for lunch said that she was impressed by my 3 miles and that she can barely jog a block before she gets tired of it and wants to quit. So I suppose I’m not in terrible shape compared to others, but I’m also not in the BEST shape either. I chalk it up to the fact that I don’t drive right now and do a lot of walking (even when I take the bus, I have to walk to the bus stop from my house and I get off 6 blocks or so from work so’s I don’t feel completely lazy), and that I have to be in enough of decent shape to perform my physical job (lots of lifting of boxes of stuff, going up and down stairs [we have stairs in my store, yes], store stocking, running to and fro to grab things for customers, cleaning, etc.). If the weather is decent I often elect to walk home from work instead of taking the bus to avoid the crazy bus people. So I’m in way better shape than a lot of Americans, but I always want to get better. I also want to be able to run away from crazy people, and sprint to beat dwindling traffic lights when I’m crossing the street (which I can do the latter way better than the former). I also want to run a 5k later in the year. And I want to be able to lift a lot of weights and be insanely strong compared to most women. I don’t want to ever have to ask a guy to lift something for me anymore. I want to be the chick that guys at work ask to lift something for them (hahaha). I have some big fitness goals and a long way to go, but I suppose we all have to start somewhere. I’m glad to be starting young.

Tomorrow I’m going to the gym before work. I’ll have way more time to try more than just the tread. I’m thinking for the cardio I’ll do the elliptical for an hour or so since my ankles and insteps of my feet hurt pretty bad today, and I do work on my feet and would like them to be reasonably comfortable. I think I may hit the equipment room for some boxing gloves and try my hand at the giant punching bag. There was a really cute boy practicing high-kicks and punches on it yesterday, and it looked like a very gratifying exercise. I want to beat the crap out of a punching bag, too! Today I’m going to do my Abs of Steel tape. While my legs, feet, and ankles hurt pretty bad, I can at least flail about on the floor and do some toning exercises, better than nothin’. The weather here toady is pretty stinky, lots of snow. So I’ll probably have to shovel later, which will be more exercise. I also have to work today, which inevitably means exercise. Yay exercise!

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