Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Weigh-in Wednesday

Happy Wednesday Folks!!

I know you are probably mentally scolding me at this moment for missing my weigh-in post two weeks in a row. But here's the thing. I'm in maintenance mode right now and though I am still working hard, and finding it extremely difficult, probably even more so than losing the weight (have you ever heard a teacher say that its harder to keep and A than to earn one? Same concept), my weight doesn't fluctuate much from week to week. So rather than bore you with a post each week about how my weight stayed the same (yay for me!) I thought I would make it an every other week thing. This way, I am not flipping out and feeling like a failure because I dropped the ball on posting for the week as well as it giving me time to come up with a more interesting discussion for that particular Wednesday. More than, "Hey guess what? I am still 130lbs. Toot toot!" By the way, as I said two weeks ago, I am back up to 130.2 lbs. as of this morning. In case you were at all interested and that is why you continue to read my blog. That said, what I have planned to discuss tonight are my setbacks, my motivation, and my review of a new exercise DVD I started.

So these last few weeks have been especially rough. Scratch that, this whole winter has been especially rough. Once the temperatures dropped below 40 degrees, and stayed there, my running started to dwindle. I don't like to run when my body parts feel like they are going to freeze off, and the treadmill makes me feel like I just downed a whole bottle of wine on an empty stomach. When the forecast calls for snow, ice, or a median high of somewhere in the teens you can bet my little butt is staying inside, unless I have to walk my kids to the bus, and then I bundle myself up like Randy from A Christmas Story. This, my friends, has been the state of affairs here in Virginia for oh, the last three months. It's been miserable. To top it all off, this dramatic drop in temperature led to me developing acute bronchitis, which I suffered through since late November, and ultimately rendered my exercise routine kaput. It was admittedly arduous, this sudden stop in being active after habitually maintaing a workout schedule of 4-6 days a week. I fretted this newfound laziness would undo all my hard work. Dreading the number on the scale each week, convinced it would reach absurd heights. This undoubtedly lead to the stuffing of my face with all the foods I knew would only lead me to the one thing I dreaded. I know that sounds counter intuative but once again we are dealing with a mind that is anything but rational. Just ask my husband. This momentary hiatus with fitness lasted only a few weeks, when finally sometime in January I was able to reintroduce cardio without erupting into uncontrollable fits of hacking up a lung, but the damage was already done. I was used to spending my days sitting on the couch reading; my mornings sleeping in (because the kids have yet to experience an unaltered week of school! Damn snow days.); and my evenings snacking on chips and candy late into the night.  Follow that up with excuses as to why I am unable, or unwilling, to cook a meal while suffering through this ungodly weather, and we were consuming McDonalds on a schedule I should not have been comfortable with. This brings me to my current state of being.

I no longer had a viable excuse to keep from exercising daily. Yet I was petrified that I wouldn't be able to do it without feeling like I wanted to die, and then subsequently give up because that is what I have always done whenever I hit an obstacle. I am the queen of throwing my hands up in the air and screaming, "I give up!" whenever things get too hard. And it had gotten hard. I had let my eating habits run amok and tried in vain to deny the bulge that now peaked over the top of my size 4 skinny jeans. The slow emerging proof that I was a failure. So began the daily tongue-lashing I always manage to inflict upon myself. I manage to beat myself up far worse than anyone else ever could. Stripping myself of any confidence I might be harboring, believing the words I've repeated in my head so often, aware of the power they had to break me down time and time again. I'm my own worst enemy. This time though, I was faced with the plain and simple truth that I didn't want to be that person anymore. Hadn't I proven to myself these last 10 months that I was more than able? That I had the commitment and strength to stick to it even on the days when my muscles ached, my body screamed at me, and I thought I would pass out? I wasn't a failure. Surely someone who could start, and survive, a rigorous fitness routine after sitting on her cushy ass for months, and turn it into a habit which resulted in a drop of 3 pant sizes and 20+lb. weight loss could not be described as a failure. I metaphorically slapped myself across the face and did my best to keep control as I inwardly screamed, "Do. not. give. up."

I'm not gonna lie. It was painful. It was tough. I thought I was going to die. And I had only completed one day of Jillian Michaels 30 Day Shred Level 1. Ugh! I wanted to curl up into a ball, cry, and pass out. Though not necessarily in that order. Only I didn't. I regained control of my breathing and said out loud, to no one in particular as I was was the only one in the house, "I. did. it." Yes, my muscles ached in places they hadn't for months and I could barely get through the cardio without, as Jillian puts it, gargling my heart, but the point is that I did it at all. And then I did it again, and it was a little bit easier.

January 18th I joined my first, Moms Run This Town group run. I was nervous and wanted to back out, especially when I walked out the door. This would be my first run since my bronchitis diagnosis and it was cold. Frost covered the ground, and not just the grass. Parts of the sidewalks were slippery with it. I wanted to turn around and go back inside with every step I took and every puff of white cloud that emerged as I breathed. I didn't. I walked all the way to my neighbors where we rode together to the coffee shop to meet the group. The more women that showed up the more relaxed I felt. Before we ran they made sure everyone had a running partner for their pace and off we went. Starting off slow, unsure of how fast I would be able to run, and slowly realizing I could do more. At the halfway point (15min.), I had made my way to the small cluster of women out front. We talked about the different races we'd run, the best place to purchase workout gear, and our goals for the year.  When I lagged behind a bit near the end, one of the ladies stayed with me encouraging me the whole way. By the time we made it back I felt on top of the world. Thirty minutes of running in the books for 2015, a total of 3.2 miles at a pace of 9:34/mi. Not my fastest, or where my average was the previous month, but not bad by any means. I am so glad I went. I did much better than expected, proving to myself that even though I took a month off to heal, and stuffed my body with crap, I still had it. It didn't hurt that I got to enjoy a warm cup o' joe while sitting down to chat with everyone who stayed. On the way home I mentally noted to make these Sunday morning Coffee Runs a regular occurrence on my future fitness schedule.

While I have yet to attend another group run, they keep getting cancelled due to arctic temperatures, I have continued to stay on track. I even sucked it up and have run on the…dun dun dun…gulp treadmill. Ah! I know, but my god it is way too cold and I just need to run somedays. A few weeks ago, after one of my circuit training days with Jillian Michaels, Fred mentioned that I should look into getting some new DVDs to try out. You know, so I don't get bored. He had a point. I was coming up on the one year mark of having started my fitness regimen and though I switch up my cardio somedays by having started to use our elliptical again (thanks again for the machine Mike and Dani), I haven't changed my circuit training to anything but the 30 Day Shred.  While I was sure I wouldn't get too bored as I still had not come close to being able to do level 3 for more than a day or two, and not in succession, it had me thinking and one particular trip to Target I found myself perusing the fitness aisle for a new DVD. Having stood there for what seemed an eternity to my kids based on their whines of, "can we go home now?" I took the advice of my son and purchased Jillian Michaels Kickbox FastFix.

This workout consists of three 20 minute kickboxing routines: the first focuses on your upper body, the second tones your lower body, and the third zeroes in on your abs. I started with the first workout, choosing to focus more on my upper body, as I had lost the tone and definition in my arms. I found myself getting frustrated during the routine, sometimes even stopping to rewind and try the move again. By the end I was huffing and puffing as I always seem to do with a Jillian Michaels DVD, though I didn't feel like I had received a satisfyingly hard workout. I moved on with my day having only 20-30 minutes to devote to exercise and didn't think too much about it. That was until I woke up the following morning and went to get dressed. I pulled my arms above my head and, ouch! My muscles were definitely sore. Apparently I had received a decent workout after all, it just took a day for it to hit my body. The next day that I decided to do the Kicbox DVD again I first watched the tutorial video that is included on the DVD intended to get you familiar with the moves and perfect your form. Funny how when I took the time to learn the moves and practice them before doing the workout I performed much better. These workouts are not so much a, feel it at the time hard core cardio type of workout but more of a, that was decent enough and I'm gonna feel it tomorrow type. If you are looking for a less impact workout I totally recommend this one. You get to tone your muscles without all the jarring to your knees, which comes in really handy for someone like me who has runner's knee, also known as patellofemoral pain syndrome. I think this is one I will work on perfecting and ultimately use as a supplement to my regular routine.

For now though, I'll grab my regular morning cup of coffee, bundle myself up on the couch while checking email and maybe sneaking in a chapter of two before its: Did we get our homework done today? Put on warmer clothes its only 15 degrees outside, are you crazy!? What would you like for lunch? Juice and Pirate Booty OK for snack today? Did you hear that? The alarm went off.  Let's go, let's go. Shoes, socks, backpack… and somehow hope that I don't freeze to death before this winter is over.

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