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Woman using a Nordic Trac Exercise Machine

Nordic Trac Cross Country Ski Machine

Yesterday, I kept tugging at my pants.  These are the work pants that feel most comfortable on me when I’m heavy. They have some give to them, so I’m not tugging at them, or feel like the button will burst off if I breath in too deeply.  But yesterday, I kept fidgeting with them, and by late morning I finally realized why.  I felt like they were falling.  It’s the first time since starting this journey that I’ve actually felt changes in how my clothes are fitting.  Mind you, I’m still a bit nervous to try out other pants in my closet. Pants that don’t fit me well, but these pants actually had to keep being tugged higher. That’s a start.

Its been a weird month, it’s the first month I’ve been able to exercise regularly. My feet no longer give me problems, but I am still struggling mentally. Part of the issue seems to be that I expect my body will react at 49 (yes, I had a birthday) with the same resilience that it did in my 20’s and 30’s.  And that hasn’t happened.  So mentally, I keep beating myself up about how I’m making no progress.  But that isn’t true.  My measurements are changing.  And I have both data (measurements below) and anecdotal evidence to prove that (pants fitting differently). So why do I allow my psyche to try to beat me up?

Part of it is change. I’m changing the way I live my life.  Exercise is taking up more and more of my time. I’ve gone from not exercising to spending 8-9 hours a week exercising and that means I’m spending even more time on it since I have to set up my exercise area, take it back down, and track everything. I’m thinking that I’m spending at least another 2-3 hours extra a week just doing all that.  Its cutting into time I could be doing other things. And my brain wants me to do those other things and not exercise, because it’s not something I’ve ever wanted to do. So I’m fighting brain weasels that are urging me to just quit. It doesn’t help that earlier in my life, I would have seen much more dramatic results in this time. (And I need to keep reminding myself that the first two months of this journey was not really part of it because I was injured). So I fight the urges that just tell me to give up.

Case in point, I substituted a workout a few weeks ago. Instead of doing the C25K on my Nordic Trac, I did a Cardio Boxing routine instead. I burned about the same calories. But because I didn’t do the C25K, and then had my regular 2 rest days (I workout Tues/Fri/Sat/Sun) the brain weasels kept telling me that I failed, that I didn’t do enough and I should just give up. On Friday I was about to just chuck it all, admit I couldn’t do it and just stop. But since I keep all my exercise data in a spreadsheet, I sat and looked and realized that I was well within reach of  my goal for the week and that I hadn’t messed up. So I was able to continue going.

I’ve talked with people who do exercise, particularly the ones who are my age or older.  They tell me the same thing. “It takes longer the older you get”. Real results can take as long as 6 weeks. So the biggest favor I can do for myself now is to just keep going.

How did I do?

I’ve made my goal of 3,500 calories burned each week this month. I’m also seeing changes in my stamina and my step. I read up on metabolism this week and discovered that weight-bearing exercises help boost metabolism, so I made some adjustments on my strength routine, adding in more strength exercises and sets, but toning down the repetitions. Each workout (2 legs, 2 upper body, 2 core) now burns between 450 – 590 calories.  My yoga game has promoted me, so I’ve gone from the beginner class to the novice and am now at standard. I hope it keeps me here for a while because I am not able to spend 60 seconds doing either a straight-arm or a side plank yet. I’ve also upped myself from 30/90 intervals on C25K to 45/90 and now am starting 60/90. I notice that every time I up the intervals, it goes from impossible to challenging then to something that I can do easily.  So I’m seeing real progress in both strength and stamina as well.

I’m still tweaking things. I decided that my goal of burning 3,500 calories a week should not include the calories I would burn if I were just sitting around. (This actually has a name called the Basal Metabolic Rate or BMR). Rather than calculate it like the books said, I strapped on my heart rate monitor, lay on my couch with the television and after 15 minutes in which my heart rate was hovering between 69 and 72), let it run for an hour. At the end of an hour I had burned 111 calories or 1.85 calories an hour.  So I now need to burn more calories to actually make my burn.  It’s the little head trips like this that help me up the exercise.

I also realized that after years of not eating much in the way of grains at all, that my diagnosis of gluten intolerance for some reason gave me the idea that I could eat lots of grains again that aren’t wheat, barley or rye. I’ve never done well on grains so I’m trying to cut them out more. (Not all the way, I did throw some brown rice into a chicken soup I made this week), but I don’t want to eat them as often as I have been doing.

I actually write these updates earlier in the month than you read them. Because I have a busy life, I tend to only post once a week. By the time you read this, I will have completed a food challenge I’ve set up for myself in March. During March, I plan on doing a Milk Cure. My only source of nutrition will be raw, whole milk. I plan on doing this for at least a week, maybe more. At this point I don’t know how I did, but there is a possibility you have followed along with me while I’ve done it.  If you haven’t you can read about it at:  Milk Cure 2012 – Trying Something Old.

I think I’ve done pretty well this month. I’ve met my exercise goals this month and while I’m still not seeing any weight come off, my body is changing, both my pants and my measurements are proving that. I’ve  lost more on my measurements from last month or stayed the same (my hip measurement is the same from last month). I’m able to do more and feel better.  I’m giving myself an A this month.


March 2012 Measurements

Measurement Starting Current Difference
Weight 200 lbs  200.6 lbs + 0.60 lb
Chest 39.00″  37.75″ – 1.25″
Waist 36.50″  33.00″ – 3.50″
Stomach 43.00″  36.50″  – 6.50″
Hips 45.00″  44.00″  – 1.00″
Thighs 25.25″  24.75″  – 0.50″
Biceps 15.50″  15.00″ – 0.50″

Fitness Report Series

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