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Archive for August, 2009

Weigh-in, 167lbs.  Still trapped here due to bad choices.  I will be giving this alot of thought this week to try & figure out how to better stick to the dieting.  Also, holding stronger to the aa hospital signmulti-faceted exercise.  Some of it may be due to frustration.  Some of it may be due to this tremendous depressed feeling that came over me a few days after my fructose test.  Results from all the fun testing I’ve been doing has been slow in coming.  The running stress-test & heart ultrasound with the cardio DR showed nothing wrong with my heart, so far.  Still no explanation of the chest pain when my heart rate goes above 170.  He is pushing, (really hard) for me to have a heart cath done.  I’m afraid, very afraid <<shaking & trembling>> 

aa doctorsLung Dr is refusing to give me understandable info from my chest Xray.  He wants me to see a ENT Dr, because he thinks I have Vocal Cord Dysfunction.  I want him to tell me what the dark stuff I saw at the bottom of my Xray was first.  We’re at a stand-off.  All the other cool tests he ran show my lungs are functioning at 91% capacity, which he thought was great with my age & smoking history.  I’m going today to have an MRI of my back.  Funny thing happened at my internist’s office last week.  I pulled a muscle in my back recently, so we did a back Xray to see what type of damage lifting those boxes caused.  He said, based on the Xray, I probably just pulled a muscle, however

Don’t you just love when that happens.  However… it looks like you have a slipped L5 vertebrae & arthritis of the spine, things that have been going on with your back for a really long time.  So, we want you to go see a neurologist.  The neuro-Dr won’t see me without the MRI  So, after the MRI, I’ll be running off to see the Neuro-Dr.  What fun. 

Just on the off chance that my kids are reading this blog – really consider all the abuse you are giving your bodies right now, little ones.  I know in your 20’s you feel so invinsible and all.  But it appears as though from 45yo – 55yo, you have to spend all your time & energy running around to all these Dr’s, calculating just how much that carefree & reckless lifestyle is really going to cost.  I know you still don’t like listening to me, cuz I’m your mother & all, however

And so I runaa great running

Once we have a clear understanding of how to ease into a training program that incorporates running & how important a role rest & recovery play into it, we are ready to explore being a strong runner.

Let us begin with stretching.  We’ll start with stretching even though it won’t be the first thing you do simply because it will be the first think you think you should do.  Only stretch after the muscles have warmed up (.5 to 1 mile walking, for example)  Be very careful when stretching, you can do more harm than good if you are not knowledgeable about the proper way to stretch. 

Only stretch to the point of mild tension. No stretch should ever be painful.  Stretching exercises are static in nature and should be held for 20-30sec. Do not use bouncing or jerky movements.  Instead lean into the stretch & try not to hold your breath. Normal, relaxed breathing is best.  When done properly, stretching can decrease the chances of an injury but if done wrong, can actually increase your chances of an injury.

aa runner stretchingMuscles should always be stretched slowly, reducing the muscle tension allowing the muscle to be stretched further.  Personally I don’t stretch for cycling, haven’t found a need to yet.  But what I have found with running is stretching is very important.  As I began running I did not stretch & found that my large muscles were way too tight.  I spoke with experienced runners, they discussed why stretching was important.  About elongating the muscle for better performance.

CALF STRETCH

Stand with feet hip-width apart, back straight and stomach tight. Keep the knees slightly bentaa calf stretch
MOVEMENT: Step forward with left foot. Keeping in a straight line from head to the right heel, lean forward but keeping the right heel on the floor. Place both hands on left thigh.
HOLD: Slowly count to 20-30 (repeat twice) Repeat other side. the front leg should be kept over the ankle. Do not hold your breath, breathe gently
SAFETY POINTS: Keep the back straight and the tummy tight. The knee of the front leg should be kept over the ankle. Do not hold your breath, breathe gently.

HAMSTRING STRETCH

Caution:avoid this exercise if pain is felt in the lower back aa hamstring stretch
MUSCLE: Hamstring
LOCATION:Rear of thigh
STANCE: Standing up straight, place right foot slightly behind hips.
MOVEMENT:Slowly bend the rear leg as if sitting backwards. keep the front leg straight with a very slight bend at the knee. Place hands on right thigh. Push buttocks backwards, slowly, until you a feel a slight tension in your hamstring. Keep your neck in line with your spine.
HOLD:Count slowly to 20-30 (repeat twice) Repeat other side.

QUADRICEP STRETCH

MUSCLE: Quad/Quadriceps Femursaa quad stretch
LOCATION: Front of thigh
STANCE: Two feet together, bend your left knee and with your left hand take the left foot towards your buttock.
MOVEMENT: Slight bend on the supporting leg. Keep the knees close together. Tilt the pelvis forward and keep the back straight.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30 (repeat twice) Repeat other leg.

THE CHEST STRETCH

MUSCLE: Chest muscles/Pectorals and Deltoidsaa chest stretch
LOCATION: Chest and Shoulders
STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent
MOVEMENT: Grasp hands together behind your back.  Ease your arms gently up behind you.   This should give a feeling of the chest ‘opening’.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30 (repeat stretch twice)

THE LOWER BACK STRETCH

MUSCLE (S) WORKED: Erector Spinaeundulatingspinestretch
LOCATION: Lower back
STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart, knees bent with hands on thighs.
Shoulders should be slightly apart.
MOVEMENT: SLOWLY pull stomach in and curl upwards (similar to a cat)
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30 and return to original position. Repeat twice

UPPER BACK STRETCH

MUSCLE: Trapezoids and Latissimus Dorsiaa back shoulder stretch
LOCATION: Upper back
STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
MOVEMENT: Clasp the hands over head with the palms away from the body. Gently push the palms away without locking the elbows.
HOLD:Count slowly to 20-30. Repeat stretch twice

DELTOID STRETCH

MUSCLE: Deltoidaa deltoid stretch
LOCATION: Shoulder
STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.
MOVEMENT: Take the right arm across the body at shoulder height, keeping the shoulder relaxed. Place the left hand on the right arm slightly above the elbow and gently bring the right arm towards the chest.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30.Repeat stretch twice. Repeat with left arm.

ALL OVER STRETCH

STANCE: Stand with feet shoulder width apart and knees slightly bent.aa all over stretch
MOVEMENT: Raise left  arm overhead.  Slowly begin to stretch upward.  Lower left, raise right & repeat, stretching upwards.
HOLD: Count slowly to 20-30. Repeat stretch twice

Next we’ll go into actual training drills to make you faster & stronger.  Now,  I don’t know anything about running, I am a cyclist.  The information I am providing is different things I am learning as I start running.  If you are new to exercise, it is very important to work with your doctor to begin a successful exercise habit.

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Weigh-in this morning was frustrating.  166lbs.  I wanted to be at 160lbs, but I didn’t make it happen.  Made some more poor choices.  Friday was my ‘fructose sensitivity’ test.   Go to aa css mmmmhospital starving, drink 8oz of pure fructose, breath into this capture bag every 15 minutes for 1.5 hr, then every 30 minutes for 2 hrs.  Leave with your stomach cramping with a ‘I am going to starve to death’  feeling.  Race into gift store on way out of hospital, grab 2 cookies & some chocolate.  Drive fast to Chick-Fill-a’s for not one, but two chicken salad on whole wheat sandwiches.  Race home, while eating & pass out for a 2.5 hour nap.

So, no riding Friday.  We did ride 24 miles & ran 2.75 miles Saturday.  Sunday I used some other riders as an excuse to short my long ride, to give my back a rest.  I did 28 miles.  That was probably a good thing.  Joined everyone after the ride & had a large blackberry cobbler with ice cream.  That was definitely a bad thing.  I am 32 days away from the surf/spin event.  Having trouble being positive, but I will do it any way.

And So I Run

runners 7Running is an excellent way to get in shape & lose weight.  For me, it’s a great way to cross-train & burn extra calories.  Having a definable goal makes training better.  It gives you a more finite feeling to your training as well as something to look forward to.  So, The Guy & I are beginning to run.  (no, that is not me or him in the photo)  Actually we’ve been at it since June.  We began with walk/runs, and gradually worked our way up.  I am comfortably at a point where I can run a half mile without stopping.  I do 3 mile runs, walking for 3 minutes at each half mile point.  I don’t include the walking in the distance measured.

A 5K is a good choice for a first race because of its relatively short distance and because it is the most common race distance. There should be no trouble finding a 5K race in your area at most times of the year.  You can race at any time of the year, but for your first one you may want to consider a race in the spring or fall, when the temperatures are mild. Begin training with at least 6-8 weeks of time prior to the event. (If you are starting with walking, add an additional 4 weeks to your training time.)

Try to pick a large race for your first one. A larger field will provide a “party atmosphere” that will help motivate and encourage you. A large field will also make new runners less self conscious about where they finish. The large field will provide plenty of runners in the front, middle and back of the pack.

Easy Runsrunners 2

Beginning a new discipline is most successful when you start easy & plan for long-term success. For those of us learning how to run, we’ll start with easy runs. Easy runs should be run at a pace that feels fairly comfortable. You should be breathing hard, but should be able to carry on a conversation. If you are breathing so hard that you cannot talk, you are running too hard. If you can sing, you are running to easily.  (that is definitely not me in the photo)

You will determine your starting point based on what you have been doing fitness-wise. If you have not been doing any physical activity, you may need to consider walking at first. If you need to do this, use the same mileage distance as what you will be running. Walk briskly to increase your heart strength. As the walking becomes easier, and your ankle ligaments stronger (from the walking) begin to perform walk/run/walk/run training. Every week make the walking portion shorter & the running portion longer.

You will reach a point where you are running most of the way, then finally the whole way. Once you are able to run the entire distance, you can begin speed & hill training. Make sure you don’t move into the speed/hill training before you are ready. This will cause an injury or a weak area in your body that will continue to cause you problems.

Starting out, listen to your body. If you start to experience minor muscle pulls, you may be increasing your distance too fast. By taking it easier in the beginning, you will become a stronger runner in the end. At the same time, make sure you push hard enough to see a slow, steady increase in strength, skill & distance. Don’t be too easy on yourself. Once you begin to feel stronger, you’ll be able to push a little harder.

runners 6All work and no play makes Jill an underperforming athlete.

Build rest & recovery into your training program. Doing a modest amount of good-quality work during an extended rest period can totally prevent fitness fall-offs. Because the intense work preserves fitness or nudges it upward, while the added rest permits the repair of muscle cells and the synthesis of new enzymes, mitochondria, and capillaries – things which make you a better athlete! 

Rest and recovery is not the same as skipping a workout. Successful athletes and fitness enthusiasts on every level build this crucial component into their training programs. While you already know that you have to progressively challenge your body with activity if you want to build your fitness, here’s a surprise: the actual physiological gains occur during rest and recovery!

Use rest and active recovery along with proper exercise training, and you will take your workout efforts to new levels and produce greater results than if you concentrate on working, working working. We aren’t talking skipping training, just find a balance and work out at the right level of effort so that you enhance your training results. We’re talking quality training, rather than quantity training.

Note there are 2 types of rest. Complete rest and easy rest. Both are important to increasing your fitness levels and both are very different. Complete rest is just that. The day you do no physical activity at all. Rest. Period. No matter what your fitness level, you need one full, complete day of rest from training each week.  Then there is easy rest, or active recovery. This is also sometimes called an easy day. You still want to spend the usual time training, but perform at an easier intensity than normal training.  It’s good to follow hard days up with an easy day, giving your muscles time to recover.  So easy days once or twice a week.  Make them scheduled easy days, not “I feel wimpy, so it must be an easy day“.runners 11

While effort is 50 percent of the training equation, restoration and recovery is the other important 50 percent. To see results, you have to work out at a level of effort that challenges your body, whether you’re doing cardio, strength or flexibility training. However, this does not mean that you have to hurt your body or always work out harder to get results. Without rest, both types, you will not reach your true fitness goals.

So there you have it.  The first part of Run Training.  Next we’ll go into stretching properly.  Keep in mind,  I don’t know anything about running, I am a cyclist.  The information I am providing is different things I am learning as I start running.  If you are new to exercise, it is very important to work with your doctor to begin a successful exercise habit.

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Weigh-in today was an exciting 163lbs.  This means that I have worked my way below the 165lbs plateau I had been at for a few weeks.  This is due to my paradigm shift from “just enough to get by” to “just whatever it takes to get it done“.  Rode hard all week last week.  This Sunday, a 46 mile ride.  This morning 20 miles on the bike & 3 mile run. 

Bathing suit/ surfing at the beach countdown  is at 39 days and counting.  I did not do my core or surf workout Friday or Saturday.  Yesterday I did part of it.   I have scheduled time for later this evening, but if it’s like last night… I was so drained by the ride, I was way too tired. 

I made a huge mistake last Thursday.  I lifted & moved 6 heavy boxes.  While I was moving them, I kept thinking “you’ve gotta stop picking up heavy stuff like this”.  Sure enough, at about mile 32 of Sunday’s ride, I was faced with the most excruciating pain in my back that I have ever felt.  I have a really strong back, and I’m usually careful to take good care of it.  As a result, I never have back pain like that.

Sometimes on longer rides, my back will get a little sore, so completing the ride becomes a little uncomfortable.  But, OMG, this was totally different.   My back felt like it had seized up, and something was pinching sharply back there.  Not fun.  So I’m going to have to include some lower back strengthening moves each day this week.  I didn’t feel it riding & running this morning, but I’m starting to feel it now sitting at my desk.  Lucky for me, I dropped below 165lbs, which means I can treat myself to weekly massages starting today.

How to do “Good Mornings”:

Place your feet approximately shoulder width apart, directly under the bar. Maintain the lordotic curve in your low back with your chest up. Look straight ahead or slightly upward. Do not look down. The body follows the head.aagood morning

Take a deep breath, and slightly flex your knees. Under control, start to bend forward, maintaining the normal curvature of your lower back. As you lower your torso, keep looking straight ahead. This will help keep your back in its proper position. Lower your torso until it is parallel to the floor and then reverse directions and raise your torso to the starting position.  These can be done with dumbells held at the top of your shoulders, or you can do them with no weights.  If you are new to cycling, this is one of the best exercises you can do to strengthen your lower back. 

Wow, in an hour, I get to have a massage, I’m so excited.  I’m going to have her do a combination of Swedish & Deep Tissue.  It’s always scary having a regular massuese do a deep tissue massage.  Your muscles are very vunerable to the skill of the massuese.  If they don’t really know what they are doing, they can damage your muscles.  I’m hoping the weekly massage begins to detoxify my muscles.  

Here is some info:  Swedish massage –  uses five styles of long, flowing strokes to massage. Swedish massage has shown to be helpful in reducing pain, joint stiffness and improving function in people with osteoarthritis or with poor circulation. 

Deep Tissue Massage – is designed to relieve severe tension in the muscle and the connective tissue or facia. This type of massage focuses on the muscles located below the surface of the top muscles. Deep tissue massage is recommended for individuals who are involved in heavy physical activity, such as athletes. It is not uncommon for receivers of Deep Tissue Massage to become sore or even bruised over the next few days, though there should be no pain to the client during a session if the therapist is doing the work correctly.

A detoxifying massage can help to purge the body of toxins, improving your physical and mental wellbeing. It increases the strength of your immune system, improves circulation and reduces stress!  I’m using this as part of my weight loss efforts, along with cleaning my diet.  This should help me overcome my metabolic resistance that much better.

aadetoxmassageA detox massage is a deep tissue massage & can remove toxins like artificial additives, pesticides and other foreign nasties that are stored in your muscles. Massage of any sort helps to perk up the circulation, sending the blood pumping around the body with renewed vigour. With it go oxygen and the fuel we need to function in the form of nutrients, which are turned into energy once they reach our muscles. Our organs benefit too – improved blood circulation encourages them to do their best work, particularly those concerned with the elimination of toxins.

The lymphatic system, along with the liver, is your body’s natural detox system, acting as our own internal waste disposal unit. Having no natural ‘pump’ of its own, the lymphatic system is dependent on strong muscles, efficient breathing and exercise for its function. An overload of toxins can prevent the lymphatic system from working properly, leading to lethargy or illness, but a detox massage stimulates your lymphatic system so waste can be eliminated more easily.

Off to go eat 200 more calories & get massaged….

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Weigh-in 165lbs. Today, I set a new priority.  Although I’m doing well with the biking & the running, I have put off the weight training & core work outs for as long as I can.  I am 44 days away from the ride/surf trip.  And we know what happened last time:  <Cass & I haven’t surfed in a long time.  Last time we went, I couldn’t get up.  My arms weren’t strong enough to hoist my weight up to stand.  [whine alert]  It was a sad & dismal day.  I remember standing on shore, watching her out in the breaking waves, thinking ‘why did you let this happen, how much more are you going to give up because you have no self-control’.  I was 15 lbs lighter than I am now.  Sad.> my new board

So, here I am today, 15lbs lighter than when I wrote that.  At the same weight I was when I couldn’t get up on my board.  What is going to make it different this time?  I am going to have to do my weight training & core work outs EVERY SINGLE DAY.  So, every day, after posting my weigh in, I will post that I either did or did not do the weights & the core w/o.

I want to start by learning about my core.  Your body core is the midsection of your body, from your groin to your shoulders. This includes the pelvis, abs, back and chest muscles. It is this core that offers stability, balance and flexibility.

Transverse Abdominal (TVA) is a very important stabilizer of the lower back. It is the deepest of the abdominal muscles and the only one that runs horizontal.

Rectus Abdominisis located along the front of the abdomen, this is the most well-known abdominal muscle and is often referred to as the “six-pack” due to it’s appearance in fit and thin individuals. Erector Spinae is the group of three muscles runs along your neck to your lower back.

Multifidusis located under the erector spinae along the vertebral column, these muscles extend and rotate the spine. External Obliques are located on the side and front of the abdomen. Internal Obliques are located under the external obliques, running in the opposite direction.

Hip Flexors are located in front of the pelvis and upper thigh. The muscles that make up the hip flexors include: psoas major, illiacus, rectus femoris, pectineus and sartorius. Gluteus medius & minimus are located at the side of the hip. Hip abductors are located at medial thigh.

I find it helpful to know about all the muscles so when I’m preforming exercises so I can isolate better.   Working your core effectively uses isometric force.   Isometric exercises are important because they solve several problems. Weak muscles will not contract with most strengthening exercises because dominant muscles will compensate, and muscle imbalances may occur through repetitive use of the same muscle causing the body to go into “protective” mode.aacrossover situp

The first exercise is critical in re-establishing good communication between the brain and the key stabilizer muscles (TVA). Lie on your back and cross your left leg over right leg. Your left heel should be next to the right knee. Rotate right approx 30 degrees your left hip will come off the ground several inches. Push knee into the wall 6 times for 6 seconds. Start lightly and increase pressure each time. If you feel cramping in the inner thigh you are pressing too hard. This exercise will activate the TVA and should be followed up by regular abdominal exercises.

aabicycle crunchBicycle Crunch is the best exercise for strengthening the Rectus Abdominus. Lie flat on the floor with your lower back pressed to the ground. Put your hands beside your head. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle and slowly go through a bicycle pedal motion. Touch your left elbow to your right knee, then your right elbow to your left knee. Breath evenly throughout the exercise.aareverse crunch

The Reverse Crunch is great for strengthening the Obliques. Lie on your back with knees bent and feet on the floor. Place hands on the floor or behind the head. Bring your knees up towards the chest so they bend about 90 degrees. Contract your abs and lift your hips off the floor in a very small movement. Lower and repeat.

aaplankThe Plank exercise is effective for developing static strength to hold the body in a straight line posture. The value gained from doing the plank exercise is specific only to holding the position. This is what we need to hold our stomachs in & our backs straight.   Start in the plank position with your forearms flat on the floor and your toes on the floor. Keep your torso straight and rigid and your body in a straight line from ears to toes with no sagging or bending. Your head is relaxed and you should be looking at the floor. Hold this position for 10 seconds to start. Over time work up to 30, 45 or 60 seconds. Then increase the repetitions.

Leg Lifts are great to isolate your quadriceps but they also strengthen your hip flexors while increasing your balance. You can do a full set of these, or you can aaleglift 2alternate between front and sideways to mix it up. Start by laying flat on the mat and lift your legs up.  Bring back to start and repeat many times.  Inhale on lift, exhale back to start.  Push your spine into the mat.  Stabilize your back & ab muscles.  Only do a few at fisrt, this is taxing on your back muscles.  An alternate move is to do this standing, holding onto a chair.

Lastly, the only concentric exercise to strengthen the TVA. It’s called The Beach Ball. Use a 13″ diameter beach ball and a about a 6″ piece of 1/8″ diameter plastic tubing (gas aabeachballline)inserted into the valve of the beach ball. Now attempt to inflate the ball with as few breaths as possible. Blow till you can’t exhale anymore.

The narrow tube and the ball create resistance, especially on the last breath. The longer the tube, the more resistance also. Each exhale takes about 15 LONG seconds. So for 4 breaths (inhale plus exhale) your looking at about 75 seconds.  This exercise will change your life.

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Weigh-in 167lbs.  Well, at least I’m consistant.  And at least I’m not whining about how I “just can’t lose the weight, no matter how much I do“.  My ride schedule is going well, now I need to get control of my eating.  However, I am not going to sabotage my efforts thus far by not holding myself accountable for the bad choices I’m making.

I want to talk about training.  Training starts by building a strong mental foundation.  It starts by making a shift in our thinking.  In my mind, I have to go from being a fat woman to being an athlete with a weight problem.  Somewhere in proverbs the Bible states “As a man thinketh, so he is“.  Our minds are powerful, we can use them to achieve more than ever before or allow them to hold us captive in our bad choices for a lifetime.  It is always our choice.   That is what people mean when they say being fat is a choice.

I wish many of you that struggle with exercise could believe me when I tell you that where you are mentally determines the success of your workouts – EVERY SINGLE TIME.  When I ride my bike, it takes me about 1hour, 15 minutes to do 20 miles.  Some days, it is the longest hour I’ve ever felt.  Other days, the time goes by & I don’t even notice.  I figured out what was bothering me the most about FA last week.  It’s the language.  They consistantly feed themselves negative language, making the actions of losing weight that much harder.

I see this all the time while training cyclists to climb hills.  It isn’t the hill that takes them out.  They defeat themselves long before they get to the hill.  The moment they have the hill in sight, all of them say “ugh, a hill, I don’t think I can make it“. (or it’s going to hurt, or I hate the hills, or a hundred variations of that statement.)  Then they ride on & struggle tremendously with the hill.  Now, when I get them to the point where they approach the hill & think “it’s going to be hard, but I know I can make it”, that is when I have a trainable hill-climber.  [let me take a minute and give you some insight to who these cyclists that I train are.  Many of them are middle -aged, struggling with weight & hormone problems, several are recovering from serious illnesses like cancer or heart desease.  All of them have very busy lives & demanding jobs.  But every week, they gather all their biking gear and become athletes.  They show up.  They get the work done.  I love each one of them!]

The reason for the defeat is you can’t achieve what you don’t believe you can achieve.  That’s it, bottom-line, every single time.  So achieving my weight-loss goals becomes all about my belief that I can.  Removing the negative & increasing the positive in thought & action.  I’m not talking about spewing a bunch of meaningless “Positive Mental Attitude” statements.  I’ve been in sales all of my adult life & I always disagreed with making blanket positive statements over & over & over again as a means to improve your mental outlook.  Your statements have to be real, and have some meat on them.

I’m talking about visualisation.  This is a truly powerful tool that is used for everything from sports to business success.  To make it more effective, I’m going to focus it very specifically.  Visualisation is the process of  creating detailed visual pictures of yourself being what you want to be.  For our example, I want us to visualise ourselves as an athlete.  When I do this, this is what I usually see:

lance 1 crop

You imagine yourself doing that thing you visualise, and your brain then knows exactly what you want and finds a way to make it happen.  Now, I don’t want to be Lance Armstrong.  But I do want to be strong – a hard rider – an athlete – cancer free.  Seeing this image in my mind, I can feel his strength in my legs, his lung capacity in my chest, I become the amazing hill climber that he is, in my mind.  And I start to believe I am healthy!

The down side of the “My life as a fat woman” blog was that I let it turn into me visualising myself as a fat woman – a victim, instead of using it for accountability.  I embrace it differently now.  I have lost 15 pounds, so my life as a fat woman is talking about a past event, not something I am now.  I still have weight to lose, but at 167lbs, I am no longer fat – just overweight.  And I move on from here, reaching forward, striving to achieve my goal.

Here is what you can do to build that strong mental foundation:

Follow through your actions. Tell yourself through-out the day, every day, that you are an athlete, that eating is just fueling your body. That healthy food intake is what keeps you, the athlete, strong.

Focus on what you want to achieve.Give it details, give it life. Later in the day after a run, when I stand up and my legs are sore, I make myself smile, feeling the sensation in my quads & hamstrings – and think to myself “you are getting stronger”. I do this instead of getting up and thinking “omg, I am so sore from this mornings run, gosh, I am weak”. (or old, or fat or out-of-shape or whatever negative thing used to pop into my head.)

Adopt a specific, clear vision of how you want your body to look. Spend time imagining how your new body will look, imagine that body, going through the activities you andrea ms croppedenjoy – riding, running, dancing, etc.  Be optimistic. Be realistic. Be empowered.

Practice in your mind.  Athletes practice their success in their minds. They see themselves achieving their goal. Rehearse overcoming temptation. Rehearse not feeling like working out, and mentally overcoming it. Picture yourself working out at a moment of enjoyment, experiencing the positive feeling that occurred. By regularly focusing on successfully accomplishing your goal, you greatly increase your potential to make it a reality.

Guard your mind. You are the gate-keeper. You choose what you think. (and if you are fully, mentally embedded in your excuse for not losing weight, you will never lose the weight. Like I discussed before, the excuse is irrelevant. Example: “I’m genetically obese, all the women in my family were fat.” This is not a scientifically accurate statement.  Barring a metabolic disorder, obesity is 100% choice.)

Every time a negative or defeating thought comes into your mind, speak out loud a counter statement.  My mind says “I’m too old to be a competitive athlete”. I say, out loud “There are competitions for athletes in my age group, I am strong, I will train for it.  I can do this” My mind says “I will always be fat, there is nothing I can do”. I say, out loud “my poor choices got me where I am, every day I am making healthier choices, I will lose this weight”.

What you eat, what you drink, how you train, what you do with your body and your health – your whole life, really–is all in your power. The most important factor is in what you think. 

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Weigh-in this morning- 167lbs.  I am holding steady at this weight.  This is due entirely to my not eating the right foods, which causes me to eat too much food.  My stress reaction to the pulmonary Dr visit was greek pizza for dinner.  Guy bought us each a 12″, with plans of enjoying some the following day.  Ha!  It came home at 6pm & was gone by 11pm.  So much for that plan.  I need to find something else to stress with instead of food.

I am a passionate person, I give of myself 100% to everything I do.  Like I explained to the good Dr on Friday, I am very intense.  It is a painful admission that it applies to everything in my life EXCEPT diet & weight-loss.  I am such a weenie.  So, last week, when I decided to take a new outlook, my half-ass attempt at losing weight was done.  I am happy to report that Saturday we rode 24 miles & then ran 2.5 miles & did 20 minutes of stair climbing.  Sunday, 42 miles on the bike with a 2 mile run.  Today 18 miles biking & 3 miles running – AND I DIDN’T DIE.

My paradigm shift is from “just enough to get by” to “just whatever it takes to get it done“.  When I started this back in October, I had an undiagnosed slow thyroid.  I fought hard to find out what the problem was.  We have removed that obstacle.   I CAN do this!  I WILL do this.  I WILL NOT spend another year being fat!!  I am SO excited!

Here’s some advice:  There are 3 real things that may be preventing your weight-loss.

1.  If you really have been dieting & exercising to lose weight, but the weight has stayed on – find out why.  If you’ve spent 4 weeks doing a regular diet & exercise plan & haven’t seen results – YOUR METABOLISM IS SLOW!  Period.   Have your thyroid checked by a DR that knows how to check it.Fight for an accurate diagnosis so you can get the treatment you need.

2.  If you still have problems, LOOK AT WHAT YOU ARE EATING!  Some overweight people cannot eat wheat-based or starchy foods and lose weight.  They have an imbalance that causes an over-production of insulin, causing their bodies to store too much fat.  Do some food experimenting to find out how your body reacts to certain foods.  Also give some real thought to statements like “oh, but I just can’t give up my bread”.  Do you want to eat bread or lose weight?  If you’re anything like me, you can’t do both.

3.  Once you’ve done all that, THINK ABOUT HOW YOU ARE EXERCISING!  This was a huge problem for me.  It doesn’t matter that it seems unbelievable that I can ride my bike every day & am slow to lose weight.  What matters is finding the inner strength to do enough exercise to lose the weight.  Then, making your health a priority & GETTING THE WORK DONE!

No longer will I sympathetically listen as someone I care about goes through a litany of EXCUSES about why they can’t get it done.  Especially from MYSELF!

“The only one who can tell you ‘you can’t ‘ is you. And you don’t have to listen.”

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Weigh in today:  167lbs pre-ride & 165lbs post ride.  I am weighing post ride to encourage myself.  It’s been a really hectic week in the business world for me & although I have kept up with most of my riding, my eating has not been good.  But it’s reassuring to see that I can eat my way through any & every difficult moment.   ; )

My  last word on Fat Acceptance.  I m glad I found out about FA, but I am done.  I learned some good thindancehappy1gs.  Online I met some really special people whom I hope have blessed & happy lives.  [April D, keep up that beautiful dancing, you are a truly special spirit.]  But as a whole, I just will never get it.  In visiting their sites, I’ve seen too much aggression & what I can only call almost hatefulness.   I’ve been ignored, attacked and argued to death to the point of hilarity.  For the most part, what people warned me about is accurate, either you are with them… or they’re against you.  Or, they just have a very narrow view of things and are not welcoming to anything other than what they agree with.  It amazes me how so many of them demand acceptance from others, but think all thin people are hateful bigots, regardless if they know them or not.  It takes way too much energy to work through not offending them when you try to openly & sincerely share your thoughts & feelings.  (please notice I said feelings… that is what I tried to share.)  I walk away a little enlightened but exhausted & drained completely.

I am coming to the end of a very stressful month of productive work.  I need to get into an especially positive place with this blog, my training and my mental outlook.  I ran across some running blogs & some foodie blogs that talk about & promote great food, enjoyable exersize and wise training.  It made me feel good to hear the diffirent stories & lives of people just like you & me, but at the same time, so different. 

Positive energy flow, positive energy flow, positive energy flow…

I go onlineto learn, share and exchange good energy.  That is just what I found at these new blogs.  I will be adding an additional blogroll to these great blogs next week.  I ran across one where the woman talked about her different faces as she’s losing weight.  She’s photo-logging the changes.   She was truly beautiful & that got me thinking.  So many times over the last 10 years I have spoken with overweight people about the person trapped inside them.  Today I remembered that I am one of those with a beautiful woman trapped inside an excess of adipose tissue.  I want to show her to you:

me again

Isn’t she beautiful.  (Please keep in mind as you read, I believe all women are beautiful, it’s not a comparative statement.)  I saw her in my face today, in a reflection in a store window.  As I was walking up, I looked in the glass & there was her face.  Then I realized it was me.  It made me happy!

Something else happened today that hasn’t happened in a really long time.  As I was walking up to another store, a man ran to get the door for me & said “Wow, you’ve got beautiful calves… oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t trying to be rude.”  I wanted to tell him: Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!  But I’m a happily married woman, so I just smiled a little and walked inside.  It has been almost 2 years since anyone has given me a sincere compliment, it was cool. 

andrea legFor all of us who have gained a little too much weight,  I know there is someone deep down inside you.  She’s exactly like you – only without the issues & problems brought on by the weight.  Not only do others view me differently with the extra weight, I view myself differently as well.  Maybe you do too.

Onward.  I am removing as much negativity from this blog of mine as I can.  I use this blog for personal reasons, I’m not trying to build a following.  But having someone stop by & comment has been very enjoyable & insightful.  It helps me to keep my perspective open & fresh.  Lately, I’ve been so busy with work.  That’s why I haven’t been posting that much.  Time to change direction!!

On Monday, I will start adding different information to keep me (and maybe you, too.) motivated.  I’m going totally Zen & happy, and will refresh my energy to continue my success.  Hey, I’ve lost 15lbs, I’m at a success point!!  I’m going to keep that positive feeling going…

Have an excellent & blessed weekend.

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