Friday, March 18, 2011

March 18: I'm a Gladiator!

                As a public service, I closed the blinds on our windows a little while ago in anticipation of trying the American Gladiators Ultimate Workout.  No need to subjec the neighbors to what I'd be doing to my body (they might bust a gut laughing).  I'd checked the DVD out from the library a couple weeks ago, but been a little reluctant to try it.  I mean have you seen what they look like and what they're capable of doing? 

            Since I did a full body weights workout yesterday, I decided to skip the strength sections and only did the cardio portion of the Gladiators workout.  It started out deceptively easy, all the gladiators in costume looking kind of awkward leading an exercise class.  Next thing I knew, I was on the floor doing mountain climbers!  I haven't done those since grade school, and with good reason.  With a bad back and a bad knee, what kind of stupid would I have to be to try mountain climbers at my age?  But I tried 'em and I did 'em.  I sweated through several sets of the suckers (and they might just have the potential to be fun).  And just a few weeks ago I stunk out loud at jumping jacks, but I did 'em just right today.  My knee held strong!  Or rather, the muscles I've been strengthening around my knee held strong.

                It was a pretty good workout, fun & silly, too.  But it wasn't long enough.  So after this brief writing pause, it's time to pop Bob & Jillian's workout into the player and sweat some more.  No star sticker for me today since another poor night's sleep left me too wiped out for an early morning workout.  But just because I usually like to work out in the morning doesn't mean I'm off the hook for a workout.  We make time for what's important to us.  Getting myself into shape is important and now's my chance.


Thursday, March 17, 2011

March 17: Silver

                Out for a walk last night, I ran into several neighbors along the way, and I noticed that I'm not the only one with freshly baggy (not sagging) pants.  I've received little notes from friends near and far telling me that they're reading my blog and becoming inspired and losing weight, too.  It's nice to know.  I wish I could add their pounds lost to my total.

                This morning I overcame my own protests and got to the Y.  I'm really not usually so down on working out – I normally love it.  But yesterday I pulled my back and this morning I was feeling overwhelmed and sorry for myself.  Nonetheless, I wanted another sticker for my chart, so I went to the Y.  And as always with WOW class, I'm so glad I went.  David had a host of new exercises for us – I had muscles shaking all over the place and can't begin to imagine how sore I'll be tomorrow.  Little by little I started to feel better, even laughing.  Even though my back is still stiff from yesterday's pull, my spirit feels better, so I can cope.

                If there's a moral to today's blog, it's this: as long as I'm capable, I need to have an exercise plan and stick with it.  Not only do I become physically and mentally stronger, but I build confidence in my ability to persist, and I'm better able to keep my eating in check.  And I get another sticker.  In case you were wondering and didn't get it from the title, today's star is silver.


Wednesday, March 16, 2011

March 16: Whatever it takes

            This morning I wanted absolutely no part of getting out of bed and going to the gym.  There are days when I go to sleep already knowing what sort of workout I'll do the next morning, already feeling the excitement and the movement.  And there are days like today.  Even with my weekly dose of BL motivation last night and having read my favorite blog this morning, I didn't have the fire to go to the gym, let alone think about what I'd do when I'd get there.  I didn't want to spin.  I didn't want to use the cross trainer or the elliptical or the treadmill.  What I wanted to do was somewhere between a home exercise DVD (either doing or watching) and walking outside (but not in the dark morning by myself).

            And yet I went to the Y. 

            How did I do it?  I searched for motivation (motivation doesn't always leap in our paths and say "here I am!" – sometimes it plays hide & seek) and found it in the form of a bit of adhesive on the back of some foil.  At the Euclid Y right now, there's a program called Y-Stars.  I don't know all the ins and outs of it, but what I do know is this: Each time I go to the Y between now and sometime, I get to put a star sticker next to my name on a chart (woohoo!).  At some point in time when I've accumulated some number of star stickers, I'll get a t-shirt.  And as my loved ones know, I'll do almost anything for a t-shirt: donate blood, walk for cancer, swim for diabetes – whatever.

            At the Y I still had no interest in any machine, so I let myself do shorter amounts of time on several of them.  I burned more calories than I would have at home with a DVD, I got a little shot in the arm from some of my morning friends, and I earned a sense of accomplishment.  This morning I'm grateful for foil stars which got me to where I wanted and needed to be, and I'm hopeful that I'll be able to enjoy an outdoor walk a little later.


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

March 15: A little advice

        Due to muscles beyond my control, today's blog is shorter than usual.  I offer you a lesson I learned today.  Never, and I mean never, say to your trainer, "I'm ready to work now!"  When I did that today, David's eyes took on a wicked gleam, and within moments my clothes were soaked (still no dripping forehead), my legs had turned to jelly, and my heart was pounding.  Barbell squats, dumbbell dead-lifts, medicine ball wall-sits, you name it!  (And I loved every minute of it.) All this, and he promised us an extra long workout next time.  J

Monday, March 14, 2011

March 14: Next!

            Yesterday I finally earned my 50-pound loss award at Weight Watchers!  Actually, I think I've been earning it for quite a while now, but yesterday the WW scale agreed with me.  What an awesome feeling – I even got a high five at the scale.  I thought I'd have tears of joy streaming down my face.  I thought that after I showed my hard-won prize to my family, I'd sit around oohing and aahing over it. 

            Nope.  My brain looked at the number in my weight tracker, and immediately found a new number to want.  What is that about?  I'm supposed to want to rest on my laurels a while, maybe celebrate with a shamrock shake since they're in season.  J

            I'm delighted with my 50-pound award.  I've earned it through tremendously hard work and a persistance I never dreamed I possess.  I've earned it with the encouragement and support of my family and friends, and by the grace of God.

            But I've got more I have to lose.  Pound-wise, I'd like to lose four more pounds before Lighten Up's March weigh-in, and I'd like to earn the 75-pound  WW award by the July weigh-in.  I hate putting numbers out there, because then people will mistake them for my goals.  Those numbers aren't my goal, they're just arbitrary benchmarks. 

            I loved receiving my 50-pound charm yesterday, but more than that I loved the interactions I had with my family and friends.  They're what my real goal is about.  I want to be healthy for a long time so I can have many more days with my loved ones.

            To quote one of my favorites, John Denver

I want to live, I want to grow

I want to see, I want to know,

I want to share what I can give,

I want to be. 

I want to live.



Sunday, March 13, 2011

March 13: The Year of Karin

The Year of Karin

                Ever since grade school I've been giving away things I want in order to make others happy.  I'm not sure if it's because I took Catholic education about caring for others too far, or because I didn't know how else to get people to like me, or because I just liked to make people happy.  It was probably a combination of the three. 

                For some of us, it's easy to put the needs of others before our own needs, then play martyr and cry "Poor me!"  Waiting for a rescuer to come along, we tell ourselves how unloved and helpless we are.  We turn to food for solace.  Pounds come on, skin breaks out, and we sit helplessly by, wondering why we feel insecure.  I was like that for a long time.

                Powerlessness and insecurity.  The chicken and the egg.

                Kari is a great person to know (I would be remiss if I didn't say that I met her through her mom,  my dear Friend Kathy).  Trust me when I say Kari's plate is full.  She and her husband have four children; she makes beautiful cards; she's involved in her church and is connected in her community.  My very favorite thing about Kari is how she celebrates her birthday.  I use the term birthday loosely here, because for Kari, it's a birthday season.  If I've got it right: from the final birthday before hers until the next birthday after hers is the time dedicated to Kari's birthday season.  Were I to do the same, my birthday season would trump all the others in my household, running from Sept. 23 – July 10!

                Last fall I celebrated my 10th cancer-free anniversary about a month before my birthday.  As a part-time library employee, a freelance worker, a mom of three, wife, PTA president, volunteer and stuck in that challenging "between generations" position, I was at my wit's end of how to manage my life.  Building on Kari's birthday season idea, I decided I needed to do something drastic.

                I declared a Year of Karin, which would start on my birthday.  For one year I would put my needs on the list and not let them get shoved off.  It meant looking at what was necessary, what was life-giving, what was draining, and what was superfluous.  What a difference these past few months have been.  I've gained confidence and knowledge, lost 20 pounds, and tried new things.  Rather than feeling resentful about other people making me uncomfortable or walking all over me, I've made my needs known, spoken up, and asked for help.

                The Year of Karin continues till early October, but there's no reason this can only be the Year of Karin.  I invite you to make this your year, too.  Make yourself a priority, and watch what happens.