It’s been about two weeks since I last posted, so I thought I’d give an update on my progress in the fitness area. It’s mixed. The good thing is that in the last week, which is when I really got serious (I spent the week before dilly dallying around mostly until about midweek), I lost a kilo, which is just over two pounds. Last Monday, I took measurements and set goals and one goal is to try to lose a kilo a week. But when you are over 50 and your lifestyle involves food and social events that are not conducive to furthering your fitness goals, it’s tough. I blew it a lot. But I did one thing well and that was to workout or be active every single day. And I tracked my progress.
Fitness is always an internal journey as well as a physical one. We win or lose the battle in our heads long before we see the results on our bodies. It’s about being consistent over time, more than it is about being really good at anything we do. I’ve mentioned in earlier posts that I’m in the worst shape I’ve been in, in recent years. Walking is tough for me and I’m not fast. I can ride my bike, but the bike I’m riding these days is much heavier as am I, so I’m pushing hard when I have to climb even the slightest of inclines. It’s easy to look at how much fitness I’ve lost over the last two years and become discouraged. It’s a mental battle before it becomes a physical one. On October 21st, I just decided to get started. I set a goal to get out and walk every day for at least two miles. On some days I was just under that goal, on others I was well over it. By the following week, I logged a couple of days where my walking distance was six or seven miles. Last week I exceeded my weekly walking goal of ten miles after only three days in. Since the weather was nice, I added bike riding into my activities and I headed back to the gym for some strength training. I took two days of rest after ten straight days of activity. Now, I won’t keep that up, but I needed to force a daily exercise time into my schedule. I had to be okay with the fact that it wasn’t at the gym every day but that I was getting out and doing something for one hour a day. I hoped I’d lose weight. I wasn’t holding my breath about it though, because like I said, I really didn’t modify the eating too much. My big goal was the exercise, and I’ve got that underway. Now I can continue that progress and add in another small goal. Mental determination translates into physical fitness success. Read the rest of this entry
And then there was the evening when I finished off the last of the whiskey, drained the vodka, emptied the tonic and ran out of ice. The gin had been ingested and digested a week ago. I was determined to stop with the evening cocktail or glass of wine and get up the next morning and complete a full workout. I was going to do it. I wasn’t in the mode of telling myself “I should do this for me.” I was in the frame of mind (which is difficult to muster artificially) that “I was going to do this thing.” That “I could do this thing and I could start whatever I needed to start, change whatever I needed to change and I would not quit until I had achieved it.” So, after finishing off a very small whiskey on the rocks, I went to bed determined to get up and get started on my new life.
This, after completely gorging on dinner that evening.
This, after saying a thousand times I was going to start only to start and fall off the wagon or skip the exercise or eat the pasta again and again and again.
But this time it was different. There was no mental waffling or fear of failure. It was a solid way of thinking. It was going to happen, and I was going to do it. Read the rest of this entry
Transitions have always been difficult and often turbulent for me. In my last position, in the last two years before I ended up on what amounts to an extended (maybe permanent?) vacation, I remember it taking me a good month before I felt like I had control of my schedule so that I knew when and where I needed to be at what times and could make arrangements for the kids. Since the children were older, these arrangements largely meant making sure I had food in the refrigerator for them and that they knew what time to expect me home and where to reach me in an emergency. It just always seems to take so long for me to feel like the transition is finally our life. But we made it through that transition and before I knew it I was busier and more stressed than I ever imagined possible. There’s a point to where trying to achieve too much is just…too much. Read the rest of this entry
Eleven more days until payday and miraculously I have more money in the bank than I had at this time last week. It isn’t much more, I got a rebate check in the mail, which helped. Twelve days. Most of the month is behind me. This has been tough, but not nearly as tough as it would have been had I not had the money in the bank when those big bills hit. While, I hated, and will hate, for quite some time the fact that my work money from this summer evaporated in ways that were not of my choosing, I am glad I bit the bullet and paid them in full rather than opting to pay them over a few months. The payment plan deal would certainly have made my financial life easier this month, but would have made it more difficult down the road and for longer. At least, after these next twelve days, I can move on and don’t have extra bills to pay. This is certainly a good thing.
I’ve started another countdown this week. 135 days till I achieve my weight loss goal. I have started this countdown a million times over the last five years, but somehow, I never quite had the determination to carry it through. I’m not sure I have the determination even now.
Here’s what I do know. The Monday after the Full Pitcher Of Beer Day, I reluctantly stepped on the scale, fully expecting it to register an all-time non-pregnancy high. I was stunned to discover that since the Gone Boyfriend left, with no effort and plenty of drinking, I was actually down five pounds. Weird.
After finishing off the last ounce of gin in a very weak cocktail Monday evening, I have had nothing alcoholic to drink since. I started walking the track during my daughter’s volleyball practices, and while I haven’t significantly changed what I eat, I have changed how much of it I eat. I’ve recorded a loss every day. I’ve now lost a total of eleven pounds since mid-August. This put my total weight loss yet to achieve at under 40 pounds, which is psychologically motivating and completely doable.
In the past,I have tried to motivate myself by thinking I’d love to be wearing smaller sizes and wouldn’t it be great to look and feel sexy back in skinny jeans again? Somehow this motivation wasn’t strong enough to keep me at it. This might be because, even at 50 pounds overweight, I still get looks from the opposite sex. I still have people hitting on me in the grocery store and on the bus (leper colonies, but still), and, honestly, I was having too much fun hanging out sipping the calories, enjoying the atmosphere and copping a beer buzz on the sunny Saturday afternoons…and every other afternoon besides. This changes last Monday. For some reason, after that afternoon with the mammoth beer pitcher, something changed.
I haven’t sorted all of it out quite yet. A big part of it, to be sure, is that I have come to dislike myself once I’ve had too much to drink. I also, don’t like how uncomfortable I feel most of the time. Lately, though, I’ve been dealing with the eventual and current reality of aging. When I was in my twenties, the second half of my life seemed so far away. As I moved through my thirties and early forties, it was easy to ignore the fact that I was getting older. I didn’t look older, and other than a few aches and pains I didn’t feel older. Lately, the fact that, I hope to live until well into my 90’s has “weighed heavily” (ha.ha.) on me. Thinking about life then, forces me to consider what I want my life to be like next year, in five years in ten years, etc. watching aging people struggle to get on the bus, or battle with weight to the point that they are relegated to a wheelchair or scooter, is not a lifestyle that seems easy nor enjoyable.
Of course, we can never tell the future, but we can certainly do our best to put the odds in our favor. My body might develop another more serious case of cancer, I could have a stroke, I might have a heart attack, I could die in an automobile accident, my lung could collapse. (This last actually did happen recently to a friend of mine who is nearly a decade younger than I.) on the other hand, my medical history is good. I have been active and involved in some sport most of my life. My body tends to withstand illness and heal quickly. If I get myself back in the best physical condition I can be in for my age, eat right, get plenty of rest (the last one is going to be tough), there is no reason to believe that the last half of my life can’t be better than the first half. Packing the extra weight around, certainly lessens my odds of aging well. In addition, it’s bad enough that my extra weight slows me down when I’m out cycling. It will really be bad when my aging, weakened body has to struggle to cope with the extra weight. This is not the future I want for myself.
Weight loss for women becomes now difficult as we age, so the time is definitely now if I’m going to lose this weight I gained when I got pregnant with my youngest child. That child is now 11. My life is now stable. There’s not the chaos of an abusive, dysfunctional marriage or relationship. There’s financial challenge, and while worrisome and annoying at points, things are not declining and will improve. My kids are older and don’t need me to manage them every minute. Now is the time to focus on me. After all, old age is not for weaklings. I fully hope to make the second half of my life a marathon rather than a sprint to the finish. In order to do that I need to drop the weight and get in shape.
50 more years of quality, healthy, strong living…I hope.