Balance Isn’t Nothing

I’ve noticed something new recently. In the last month or so, I’ve been able to do the standing quad stretches at the end of my Jillian workouts without stabilizing myself by putting a hand on the wall or a chair.

Also I’ve been able to hold the warrior three pose for longer than before.

My balance is improving, which means the little stabilizing muscles are strengthening. It feels nice to be slightly more stable.

Also today one of my friends posted this article:

5 Things You Should Do Every Day

I’m going to try to do these starting today, mostly they are things I can do while on conference calls (nobody can see me on webex!), or during a short break in my work day.

Dealing With Changes to My Routine

It’s been several weeks of odd schedules for me in a row. I’m a creature of habit, so I get thrown by strangeness in my schedule. First it was my out-of-town coworkers visiting for a whole week. Problems with that: I had to be in the office every day for 5 days! 1) Putting together that many professional outfits was a challenge! I never go into the office anymore so I’ve let my “professional human” wardrobe wither away, but I managed it! 2) I couldn’t exercise every morning after logging on but before doing the real work of the day, which is how I normally structure my workouts. 3) Food – I had to pack some, and plan my lunch selections because there is a lot more variety in the cafeteria than in my kitchen.

I managed all of those things, and a couple of days I even planned with my co-workers to meet up at the office around 10am, so I could still get my workout done in the morning.

Then the next week I had Jury Duty! Dun dun DUN! Which meant I couldn’t exercise in the morning, and I’d have to pack my food in. Monday morning early I trundled down to the courthouse (which is about a 30-minute train ride away), but I forgot my food. And all I could find for my mid-morning snack was a donut. My kryptonite! I ate it. It was good. They released us around noon, with directions to come back Thursday. I dutifully put that donut into MyFitnessPal and I still managed to have a deficit day by controlling my intake the rest of the day. Also, walking home from the train station, and doing my workout in the evening. Thursday I was better and brought my snack with me, so no donut decisions had to be made! And I was released from Jury Duty as they filled the jury without even talking to me. Whew!

This week I was pleased to be getting back in my regular schedule but my boss asked me late Friday to attend a Web Services Technology summit on Monday morning in a nearby city. Ok, fine, messes up my routine, but fine. The site for the summit had a lovely park nearby with a trail, so I went for a couple of walks throughout the day during lunch and breaks. The catered lunch was pretty healthy – a salad and half-sandwich. Oh and a cookie. Dammit. Every meal doesn’t need a dessert!

Yesterday I decided not to go back for day 2 (it wasn’t particularly applicable to what we do), so I was able to do my normal Jillian workout, and today I went for a run.

I saw a flock of turkey-lurkeys on my run this morning! They were crossing the road, like proper urban birds. First they looked both ways and waited for a break in traffic, ran across to the median strip and stopped until everyone was there, watched for a break in the traffic going the other way, and crossed all together. I stayed to make sure they got there safely, because if any had gotten hit I’d have had to pull a driver out and do a beat-down.

Speaking of driver beat-downs…Dear Drivers: You stop at the FIRST line of a crosswalk at a stop sign when there’s somebody already in it. Or anytime. Then, after stopping at the FIRST line, if the coast is clear, THEN you can creep forward for a better view of oncoming traffic. You don’t just roll up through the crosswalk when there’s somebody already in it. RUDE. I see so many bad, dangerous drivers when I’m out running. It makes me want to carry a crowbar or tire iron or something. I seriously hate them all.

Longer Than I Was Ready For

I got up and went for a run this morning. The route I had intended to run mapped to about 3.1 miles, but as I got started I thought, “Hey, it’s Sunday, if today’s not the day to do a longer, extended run and really go for it, what is?”

So I went for a longer run, however it’s a run longer than any I’ve done in over a year. I ran up to the park at the top of the hill, and then back home. That’s about 5.5 miles with a pretty good elevation gain in the middle. But…I’ve been running 3.4 mile routes at most this year! So my body was kind of shocked that I’d elected to do this out of the blue.

You know what happens when you run 2 miles longer than you’re accustomed to? You have to recover. Heh. I got home, showered, had a snack, did some sewing, then sat down to watch some football with my husband and I was OUT. Guess I needed the rest!

I don’t mind, I didn’t have anything major planned for today. And I’m a firm believer that if I want to go for it, I should. I don’t think I’ve ever injured myself adding distance to a run, and there’s no time like today if I want to increase the distances I’m capable of!  I know I’ll be a little sore tomorrow. That’s nothing new though. The workouts I’ve been doing since February have pretty much guaranteed that I’ve felt soreness somewhere in my body almost every single day since then. I like that kind of soreness, it reminds me I’m alive and using my body for what it’s made for.

Genetics Are Out To Get You

I’ve been extremely inspired this last week or so by this story I saw on Facebook about Mirna Valerio. She’s a true inspiration, and evidence that you can be extremely fit and still not look “traditionally” fit. This is something that’s really been resonating with me lately because I’ve been doing kick-ass strength and circuit training workouts since February yet if you look at me I look no different now than I did when I started.

I have friends who take up strength training workouts and within 6-8 weeks start to look cut and defined and start gathering the compliments. I do it for 8 months (and counting) and…nothing. Oh, if I point out a specific part for you and flex it really hard you might nod and smile and agree that I look great, but if I don’t point and flex it’s not obvious at all.

That’s genetics. I simply don’t build big showy muscles. There have been other times in my life when I didn’t have a job and I’ve gone for broke with weight lifting, with a heavy schedule and formal workout rotation and personal trainer, and despite putting in the same level of effort as any bodybuilder…nothing. If I point at a muscle and flex it you can kind of see that there’s something under there but without pointing it out…nothing. I don’t get ripped, I don’t get shredded. I may get a little bulkier but there’s still a layer of fat and extra skin over the bulkier muscles that will always be there. (OK, that last part’s not genetics: I have a lot of extra skin from when I was 200 pounds heavier. Barring cosmetic surgery on my arms and legs to remove it, it’s always going to be there.)

I guess if I were a different kind of person this might put me off. I might think, “Well, I’m not getting any visible results, why bother putting in all the blood, sweat, and tears for not much of a result?”

And here’s my answer: The longer I’ve been at this weight maintenance thing, the more I’ve come to the realization that fitness, for me, is ultimately about what I can do, not what I can fit into.

Routine Maintenance

I’m a member of a Facebook group where several ladies share about their exercise activities. Everybody is positive and the more experienced ones recommend workouts or ideas for the ones who are newer to regular exercise. It helps to motivate everyone. And I noticed one other thing: Those who are accustomed to regular daily exercise help to normalize the idea for the newer ladies that YES, this is something we do every day, 5-6 days a week. It also helps to reinforce for an old hand like me that YES, this is something that everybody has to do, not just Big Losers like me.

I think sometimes people who don’t have an ingrained sense of how much work weight loss or maintenance can be need to see how much of a daily chore it really is. Just like brushing your teeth or going into work, it’s something that needs to be done, and it’s something that those of us who are doing it regularly often don’t bother mentioning because well, it’s a habit. I don’t come on here every day and tell you what I did, but if it’s a week day you can be sure I did something. Yesterday I ran a 5K route, today I did a 30-minute circuit training workout. Tomorrow I’m going to run again, the day after I’ll do another circuit training bout. Like clockwork.

I guess I’m like a broken record these days, but this is really working for me. Work hard, sweat, get out of breath, face red, feeling like I’m gonna die, for 30-60 minutes a day, 5-6 days a week. And eat sensibly, keep it under ~1600 to 1700 calories a day, most days.

So, what do you do regularly for exercise? If you haven’t found the thing yet that you can keep doing forever, how are you looking? When’s the last time you tried something new, or something outside of your comfort zone?

Yes! Confirmation!

Good news everyone! I just put my jeans on for the first time in more than 3 months (yes, I only own a single pair of jeans because generally speaking jeans aren’t my friend). Summer’s over and it’s time to put on the long pants again. Anyway, despite swearing off the scale in January and flying blind for 9 months, my jeans fit just fine! Not even tight or anything, they fit exactly as they did the last time I wore them!

I’ve successfully cut the cord! Finally! I am now able to manage my body without getting on a scale every week and beating myself up or sabotaging my efforts, depending on the result. I’m doing it – the promised land of long-term weight management! No scales, only occasional food journaling on MyFitnessPal, and working out hard for 30-60 minutes 5-6 days a week, eating sensibly. I’m staying the same size! I’m so pleased!