Tag Archives: exercise

Happy New Year – and good riddance to 2012!

30 Dec

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I won’t bore you with another recap of 2012 – let’s just say that I am overjoyed to close the door on the year and have a fresh start. Of course, that must come with a brief caveat, which is that there were a lot of great things in 2012 (writing, publishing, travel, Uganda, my daughter’s engagement, among others) and I am grateful for all those things, and see God’s faithfulness in them. But physically it was awful. It was the terrible, awful, no good, very bad year. But now it’s almost over – the end is in sight! Whoopeeeeee!

So what does 2013 hold? At least, as far as depends on me? For my writing/publishing goals, you can check out my writing blog here. There’s a lot more to life than writing, and the writing goals also dictate certain things about my life — you know, the interconnected, circle of life, uh-oh I’d better get a schedule kind of thing. So here goes. I’m going out on a limb and putting my hopes, dreams and goals for 2013 out on the internet for all to see. Nothing like a little pressure to keep you on track!

First and foremost, I want/need to get some control of my body back. I’ve come up with a schedule for my days that should allow me to get to the gym 4-6 days a week, even if I end up with a migraine that day (80% or more of my migraines start in the afternoon, so a morning workout should work most of the time). I’ve always been strong, even when I’ve been less than ideally fit, but I’ve lost a lot of strength along with fitness this year, and I want to reverse that. I’ve actually been working on this already, but I’m going to keep going in 2013, and not let any setbacks do more than be a blip on the radar.

Secondly is eating. I eat healthfully… Except when I don’t. I love potatoes. I crave potatoes in all the salty, fried, delicious forms. I know where the best french fries in town are (Coquette), and where the best french fries in towns I don’t even live in are!  And when I’m feeling physically weak, I eat way too much sugar without realizing it – my body is saying “give me energy!” and so I reach for the red hots. So… Back to the free day concept. Free days work really well for me; I did it for years in the past. So I’m going back to that, which keeps me from feeling deprived, but also keeps my body fueled properly and healthfully.

I am also using My Fitness Pal, an iPhone app and online free site, to track calories and exercise. When you’re 47, your body just doesn’t respond to these things like it did at 35, so this keeps me on track. Since my daughter is on it too, we’re “friends” and can see each other’s workouts and how we did with each day’s eating. It’s easy to use, free, and motivational, and helps keep me on track.

Next, as I’ve said on my writing blog, I’ve decided to trick my brain by treating my writing and publishing like a “real” job. Meaning a job I’d go to somewhere outside of my home, and so have to organize my life around it. I have made 2 different schedules which should accommodate everything I want to get done during the week and still allow for some flexibility and for the gym. I’ve moved my drafting table from the sunroom to my office and set it up like a desk. I’m going to make a sign for my door, and I’m letting my calls go to voicemail. After having homeschooled and been self-employed for so long, I need, and my family needs, to see physical barriers and delineations of “home” and “work”. So far, everyone’s on board. I don’t start until the 2nd, though, so we’ll see how it goes!

While it doesn’t seem like a big deal, I’m going to go to the grocery only once or twice a week. Currently I go almost every day. Seriously. Somehow, with only three of us most of the time, I’ve let any sort of planning go by the wayside, and we have 2 groceries within a mile of the house, plus Costco, so it hasn’t seemed like a big deal. But I’m sure I spend more money, and even a quick trip is a half hour by the time I drive, park, shop, load, and unload. And I have the added benefit now of my son working at Harris Teeter, so if we need something, he can get it after work!

Mostly that’s it. Anything else would just be an expansion of these themes, and I know I’ll have to tweak things at first. I am leaving for Uganda on February 15, so I have a built-in “six week trial” to see how it’s all going. Plus, that’s long enough to build some habits that I can jump right back into once I’m home.

How about you? Resolutions? Goals? Let me know – we’ll try to keep each other on track!

Returning to health and fitness – here I go

8 Oct

If you’ve been reading this blog (as sporadic as I’ve been at posting!) you know that 2012 was a seriously crappy year for me healthwise. Here’s the breakdown:

  • January  –  started 2 months of physical therapy for plantar fasciitis. At this point I could wear sneakers. The longest I could wear anything else is 2 hrs.
  • February  –  diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia. Leading up to this was 2 years of chronic sinus infections and bronchitis, and crippling exhaustion.
  • March  –  increasing migraines. I went from 3 a year to 2-3 a month at first. By July I was having 20 a month.
  • April  –  finally have some energy, and iron levels good.
  • May  –  great trip to Uganda, but one of the worst migraines of my life.
  • June  – migraines increasing. Otherwise doing ok.
  • July  –  tested positive on a blood test for celiac disease. Can’t do a biopsy until August.  Also in July, I saw a neurologist and got meds for the migraines. Hallelujah.
  • August  –  have the endoscopic biopsy for celiac. 10 day wait to find out I don’t have it. Same day, I find out I have a “monster” cataract.
  • September  –  have cataract surgery. I can’t read for a week, they think I might have a retinal tear (I don’t) and it takes awhile for my eye to adjust.

Now, in light of this list, you might think it’s stupid for me to assume that this cataract saga is my last 2012 health issue. And you might be right, but I’m an optimist. I’m also just tired of the whole thing, so I’m going with the “I’m done with all that crap” approach to my life at this point. Fall is here. I can wear boots. I’ve been enjoying my gas stove for the first time today. Call me crazy, but I’m moving forward.

So what I discovered today is that this year has left me woefully out of shape. I knew it. I felt it. I’ve felt uncomfortable in my skin for some time, not because I’m “fat” but because I knew I was losing muscle and gaining fat, even while staying about the same size. I’m now cleared for exercise (2 weeks post op and things are going pretty well, thankfully!), so today was the day. Today, I started my “get back in shape” quest. And boy, was it depressing.

Not that long ago (2 1/2 years) I did Insanity. It sucked, but I did it. I’ve always been strong. Today I did the “Intro” workout on a Bob Harper workout DVD and learned a new fact: I’m really not very strong anymore. I’ve done the 1 hour workout on this DVD before, a couple of years ago. The whole one hour. It was hard, and I didn’t do every rep, but I did it. Today, the 20 min workout using 5lb weights was hard. No lie. I couldn’t do all the reps. 90%, but not all. And my heart was beating hard, and I was sweating. Not good.

Obviously, looking at the stupid list of ailments from the year of 2012, none of them were anything I could have prevented. (I eat an iron rich diet, I just don’t absorb it well – my kids have the same problem, we learned.) I haven’t sat around eating bon bons all the time. My calorie count was down from usual because I knew I was being sedentary, both because of the ailments and because I’ve spent this year writing. So I’m not mad at myself like I would be if I just “let myself go.”  That is not to say that I’m happy!

I’ve got a long row to hoe here. It’s going to suck, because, unlike the only other time in my adult life I was really out of shape (post baby, bed rest, etc), I’m not 31. I’m 47. I’m perimenopausal. My hormones are screwed up, my metabolism is in flux, and the things that always worked before aren’t going to work the same now as they used to. I’m in “mid life” now, and whether or not I feel it emotionally/mentally, it’s a reality in my body. I don’t want to look like the Crossfit competitors on Pinterest, I just want to feel well. I want to be strong enough to go to Uganda and get through long days of working and stress and not die. I want to enjoy my family and not have any physical complaints (wow, would that be awesome! Probably for everyone… It’s been a year of complaints, I guess.)

So this isn’t about “I’m going to be a fitness model in 90 days.” It’s not about jumping into P90X or Insanity or any other intense program. I’m going to work my way back to fitness with DVDs and walking, probably some gym time as it gets cold (I don’t like the gym much, I like “real” stuff). I’m tracking calories for a little while until I get my metabolism jump started (my daughter found a great app called MyFitnessPal, and I’m using that). I’m not obsessing (although if I can’t walk down the stairs in the morning, I may have a moment of magic words). I’m just trying to put the “year of ailments” behind me and embrace the other theme of 2012 – the year of God’s faithfulness.

Because ultimately, that’s what it’s been. Through all that crap (I tried to think of another word, but honestly, the others were worse!), I’ve written 4 novels and a screenplay, published 2 with another a week or so away, and will be doing NaNoWriMo next month. I’ve edited 4 books. I’ve had a hugely successful trip to Uganda. I’ve had great family memories. God has carried me through all these problems with, really, only about 3 short freak-outs. I think that’s pretty good! He is faithful. Always. And that will be my memory of 2012… God is faithful, always.

What will be the legacy of your 2012?

 

The “joys” of aging

11 Jul

Have you noticed how, when you are younger (say, under 40) you don’t say things like “women of my generation?” There is apparently some magical age where all of the sudden you are separating yourself out from the pack. Mentally and emotionally and spiritually I feel great and, other than (thankfully) more mature and stable, not much different than when I was younger. But physically things change, and the promise of ovary transplants in the future does nothing to change that.

I’ve posted previously about my last few years, so we won’t recap that (thank goodness!), but I think the thing I notice most consistently is that I don’t have the long-term stamina that I used to. For instance, on Sunday I got up at 4:15am and flew to Florida, changing planes in Atlanta. I spent the afternoon with family, then slept poorly on the mattress I had my entire childhood (so that mattress, having been purchased before I started using it, is probably over 50 years old!), and woke up at 6am. On Monday I drove 9 hours and 45 minutes back to NC from FL, on the long and boring I-95, by myself. That night I got either a bad headache or mild migraine, and went to sleep early, and slept 10 hours. Yesterday I did back to back to back (etc) appointments and errands from 9:30-5:30, and by the end of the day was really exhausted. It’s not that what I did was so tiring, on any given day. It’s just that, after 3 days of go-go-go, I had used my energy reserves.

This was a lot worse when I was diagnosed with iron deficiency anemia back in February, and these 3 days would have put me down for another 3 or 4 days. But now that I’m doing so much better, I find it discouraging. I don’t have a super active life, by design. Maybe it’s just that this type of on the go-ness is unusual for me now. But I suspect it has to do with being 47, also. And that stinks.

The other bummer is how hard it is to maintain my usual weight. I’m not heavy by any measure, but there is a range in which I feel comfortable, confident, and healthy, and that used to be easy to maintain. Now… Not so much! And while I used to gain weight in my hips and behind, now it’s all waist and weird back. Admittedly, when it’s 106 degrees my first thought hasn’t been “Exercise! Yay!” so I haven’t done much in recent weeks. But that’s happened in the past and I could get away with it. Not now. Now, it seems to be about vigilence, and making very careful trade offs to indulge in the slightest goodie. It’s depressing.

On the other hand, I don’t want to look like a 25 year old, have six pack abs or a rock hard butt. OK, I wouldn’t mind looking like that, but I don’t have any interest in doing what it takes to get there. I learned a couple of years ago that, while my brain enjoys exercise that kicks my butt (like Insanity), my body doesn’t. I get injured. I get sick. I get obsessed. And I don’t want to be obsessed with the physical – I’ve got a lot more important things to do! But I do want to feel healthy and strong, and I guess that’s what I’m a bit south of at the moment.

So today, starting back counting points with Weight Watchers online (a great program, btw, even if it’s only 5 lbs you want to lose, or just maintain), and walking/paddleboarding/the gym. Bummer.