Posts Tagged ‘working out’

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, I hope everyone had an awesome Christmas! I sure did! I enjoyed some really fun times with my family and my housemate who came along for some of the celebration since his family lives pretty far away. Christmas eve I spent at an uncle’s house doing the family reunion bit, and Christmas day me and the housemate spent over at my folks’ with them and my sister, and one of her friends who came by for awhile. They got my sister a Wii, and those things are fun as hell! I thought it was funny that the person who played with it the most was my stepdad, who got really into the Wii sports, and was kicking butt at the boxing game! I’m thinking he’s going to be addicted to it enough to buy one for him and my mom to use, since my sister will be taking hers to school with her. He was actually joking, saying, “well, we’d better keep it here and not send it to school with her, she’ll never study if she takes it with her!” haha. The boxing game is actually a pretty good workout if you play it long enough – my stepdad was sweating after an hour or so of the boxing game. I liked the tennis and golf ones, too. I used to pretty much be annoyed with video games since I’m such a dirty hippie and like to run around outside all the time and I view video games as a lazy person’s recreation, but Wii is respectable because it gets you up off your butt out of your chair and actually physically engaged in the games. I could see how a person could have a lot of fun with a Wii.

I got some lovely gifts. My mom and sister gave me cute clothes and some much needed socks, underwear, and long underwear (I am outside a lot and need it to keep me warm in the winter, and my long underwear from last year was falling off me). My sister gave me this gorgeous, purple hippie skirt with a drawstring so I can keep wearing it as I shrink. The underwear my mom got me is the girly version of kids’ underoos but in women’s sizes. They’re very comfy but adorable at the same time. I work on my feet and walk everywhere so I wear through socks quickly, so the crew socks I got were much appreciated. I use a pre-paid cell phone and the folks got me the ultimate minutes card, which gives you 800 minutes, a year of airtime, plus double minutes for the life of your phone. I refuse to get a cell phone contract, so this is the best deal. I was grateful for that. Also, my mom and stepdad got me something really awesome: a gift certificate for a year long membership to the gym I like to go to! It’s close to work and it’s a really nice facility. I’d been going sporadically and buying day-passes, but this way I can get more bang for my buck and go more often. They have a really nice natatorium, and I LOVE to swim for cardio, so I win! In addition to that they have a running track, a lot of other really nice equipment, and a SAUNA! So I’ll be going in to redeem that ASAP. I can’t wait, it’s going to be fun 🙂

All that being said, it’s about the love, not the stuff. I feel truly blessed that I have an awesome family and set of friends who love me. While I love the gifts I got and appreciate it all, what I appreciate most is the people in my life, they are the real gifts 🙂

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I told myself I’d only do a post a day, but I’ve decided to discuss something more today which has been on my mind. I notice a lot of fat people will tell thin people that they don’t need to exercise because they’re thin, that they should “eat something” because they’re so skinny. I actually feel ashamed because back in high school before I knew anything about how this thing called the human body actually works, I would say stuff like that to my thinner friends. But the thing is, most thin people do not get that way by having a “fast metabolism.” Now, my housemate really does have that kind of metabolism, as does a previously mentioned very thin friend of mine who really can’t help her fast metabolism either. But not everyone has that, and those people are not the norm. Most of us have to move enough to create a caloric deficit from the food we eat in order to maintain a good ratio of muscle to body fat, or at least move enough to “break even” with our caloric intake. The FA says “Why bother?” to this and decides that if your metabolism isn’t fast, you shouldn’t even try to be lean and muscular because you have to work too hard at it! This attitude really annoys me. So if someone who doesn’t have a fast metabolism wants to work out regularly and eat a portion-controlled and balanced diet, they have something wrong with them?

Look, I love being active. I love what working out has done for me. I get sick less often and for a lesser amount of time, I have way more energy to get everything done that I need to, I have almost no more back pain and I’ve become strong enough to lift things I couldn’t even dream of lifting a short year ago. I enjoy everything about being thinner, except for the fact that I have to drop money on new clothes every few months when I drop a size (if they were free, that would be a different story, lol!). But I have to work to maintain a thinner shape. And that’s fine. I actually enjoy intense exercise! It’s fun, it’s a great way to blow off steam and release stress, and quite frankly I think more people should do it! I love especially the fact that it’s time to myself, and I listen to music I love and get some time by myself to let my mind wander while also moving my body. I’m not talking a little walk around your block or taking the stairs instead of the elevator or playing with your cats, I’m talking intense workouts! The human body was made to be a machine, and if you put the right fuel in it (like a car) it can run so well! Oh, did I mention I sleep better? Like anyone I battle with the occasional night of restless tossing and turning, but these days I’m getting way more rest than I used to! So why should I submit to the philosophy of “my genes make me fat, so I shouldn’t even try!” when I could enjoy my high level of activity and clean, healthy diet? It feels GOOD! I will NEVER go back to being fat, because it sucks!

That brings me back to “it’s not worth the effort.” It bothers me that people think this way in general, not only about body weight, but also pretty much everything. I mean, if one is very depressed I can understand, people go through these low-points sometimes, but I would hope that the vast majority of humanity could muster the ability to take inventory of their blessings, realize it is worth it, get off their ass, and change things up for the better. But I guess I’m wrong. A common theme in my obesity was the fact that I was generally unsatisfied with life and grew apathetic. I’m so relieved that I got my head out of my ass! I saw the light at the end of the tunnel and realized that changing my life for the better in ALL ways would be the best path to take. Emotional, Mental, and yes, even PHYSICAL. It’s all important and all ties in together. Your body is your vehicle to get you around life, why wouldn’t you want to take the best, possible care of it? And why should I, as a health-conscious person, be accused of having a disorder because of it? That’s just nonsense! No, I don’t have orthorexia, damnit!

Of course, FA followers swear up and down that they do try really hard, they exercise and eat healthy, but they’re still fat! So what do I say to that? I say, to 99.9% of obese people, it is your fault. There are a rare few that have specific disorders and ailments that make it impossible to be thin. But they are so, very few of our population. It’s easy to get stuck in that cycle of denial and think you’re doing the right things, or just have a lack of knowledge about how the body works and think you’re doing the right things. I was initially guilty of that myself. I was also in intense denial of my weight gain and how bad I’d gotten. Look, practicing self-discipline and control around food does not make you a candidate for an eating disorder, and it does not mean you hate yourself or your body, and it does not make you feeding into the diet industry! Neither does working out, even pushing and challenging your body. Getting sore muscles will not kill you. Most of us sit on our ass at a desk for 8 hours a day, when our bodies are capable of such a higher output of energy, so running every day is not going to hurt anyone! In fact, it can help rid you of ills and prevent them as well! Lifting weights won’t make you look like Arnold Schwarzenegger unless you take ‘roids and spend hours a day lifting! Women who lift weights have an easier time with everything, including menstruation and childbearing. Having a body fat percentage on the lower end of the spectrum (not to the point where you’re a stick, mind you) will also help prevent a myriad of disease. Having a highly nutritious AND portion-controlled diet is the best way to fuel yourself. “Intuitive Eating” is not an entirely invalid concept, as recovering anorexics and the like can employ it for good, but for those of us without an eating disorder, it’s a recipe for a lot of weight gain. Following my “feelings” and “intuitions” I became pretty obese! Nobody’s body “needs” any kind of processed food. Whole foods are what our bodies work best on. Eating something that has more than a few ingredients in it on a regular basis is not generally good, even if your “intuition” says it’s what you “need.” Wants and needs are very different. Now, I definitely want to eat my mom’s Christmas cookies, and her version of my grandma’s persimmon pudding. And yes, I will have SOME. But it’s a rarity and a special treat (the rareness of these goodies is what makes them special). But some in the FA would say that I’m being too “strict” with myself. Well, I’m sorry people, but if I’m not a little strict and I don’t practice some restraint, I turn into fucking SHAMU. And as I’ve made it abundantly clear, being fat is not an option anymore! 🙂

Peace and love! ❤

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