July 3, 2016

Health and Fitness - An Update

So much for "best laid plans!" Yes, my plan to lose 20 pounds and get into shape fizzled along with the cool spring weather. It is July 3rd, and I am sitting here feeling unwell, and thinking to myself that I am feeling miserable in part due to my lack of health and exercise. And, rather than just commiserate about my condition, which I did earlier today, I decided to sketch out a plan that is more reasonable, moderate and hopefully, do able for the long-term. I am starting on Tuesday since tomorrow is the 4th of July and we will be celebrating along with picnic foods (not the most healthy).

Here goes...


I started out strong this spring when I discovered Jillian Michael's fitness DVDs. I loved them right off, but after a couple weeks, I got seriously sidetracked and never picked them back up again. I have a lot of fitness gear here at home, thanks to impulse buys over the past year or two. So in rethinking my approach, I decided to do what seems more workable given my schedule for the rest of the summer and into the fall. I am still committed to losing 20 pounds. Yes, that is my target goal. My average weight over the course of my adult life has been around 145 pounds. Yes, I have weighed less than that and more than that, but consistently I settled somewhere around 145. The picture of me in the pink was taken in March of 2015. I was at 145 and felt good (looked good too). Lately, I have been 10, 15, even 20 pounds heavier, and I am miserable at this weight. My clothes fit tightly around the middle, and I seriously do not like my thighs and butt. I know, vanity.

My goal then is to return to "average" and maintain that average weight from this point on. If I can dip below that number, hurray! If not, I will be happy so long as I am fit.

My new summer plan is to put off Jillian in favor of regular cardio and strength training. I like her approach which consists of HIIT in a short amount of time. But, I think this will work better. I can do cardio every day in some form or another, and then alternate days with specific weight or strength (bodyweight) exercises.


Right now, it is hot outside. Like, desert hot. I can stair step inside with my mini stair stepper and work up a pretty good sweat. I think I will do stair stepping during the day, especially if I missed getting out early. If I can get myself up and out the door, I will bike. I mapped my run, so to speak, and I can take a nice ride through my local neighborhoods and rack up close to 2-5 miles easily (one-way). My goal will be to bike ride three days a week, when not too hot. I can easily do 10 miles round trip (eventually). I can also jog/run, but I am so weak right now that I think I will save that for winter time.

  • Stair Stepping - 20 to 30 minutes to start, working up to 45-60 minutes
  • Biking - moderate pace for 2-3 miles, working up to 5-6 miles
  • Running - moderate pace about the same as biking (maybe that is too adventurous for me)

For strength, I am pretty content to continue with squats with/without weight. I have been doing squats now for a couple weeks, and I like the results. I need to increase the depth and count, but overall, my quads, hammies, and glutes are starting to look better. They will look a lot better once I drop 10 pounds. I have been wall sitting, doing planks, push-ups too, so now I will focus on being consistent and using my free weights every other day. I need to work my entire body, and I am not looking to be a body builder, just sculpt and tone some. I want to look and feel better, that is all.


Yes, none of this will work if I don't alter my diet. My plan now is just to do Atkins for two weeks to start. Then I will do natural/clean eating (as they say it), and reduce my portions. I will also not eat when not hungry (aka, not eating when sad or bored). I will drink more water, and make good choices for food consumption. Overall, I am looking to eat foods I like, but not without limits. I cannot give up pizza, for example or skimp on desert. I can, however, limit how often I have these foods and the amount of each. I don't have to be legalistic, just realistic.

That is it, really. Just small changes that I can do realistically. I didn't get in this shape overnight, so I am not going to panic and try to fix my body in two weeks. I am giving my self until January, when I propose my defense to be 20 pounds lighter and a whole lot stronger. If I can surpass that goal, great. If not, then I will work toward it in a slow but steady fashion.

Update - July 25, 2016

I thought I would update this post since a couple weeks have past since I posted my “fitness” ideas. I started out pretty strong, but quickly was derailed by thoughts of eggs and salads (alas, two foods I can only tolerate for a short time!) After I failed on Atkins at the first of the month, I decided to follow Weight Watchers using the old points system (from years ago). I started my diet on July 11, and I actually lost 2.8 pounds the first week.  Unfortunately, by day 12, I had gained back 1.8 pounds without changing my habits at all. I stuck to my target zone, ate 22-23 points per day, and only cheated twice, but used a small amount of my “extra points” that are allotted for special events. Needless to say, I was disappointed. I realize that I lost some water weight, and an almost two pound loss is really very good. However, I had hoped to see the continued drop of weight each time I weighed in. Instead, I saw the scale creep back up, and well, that just knocked the wind out of my sails, so to speak. Furthermore, I struggled to maintain my hunger, and I found that I was always hungry, especially late at night.

Yesterday, I made the decision to return to Atkins. Yes, Atkins has worked before, and with renewed determination, and with the hopes of burning more fat, more quickly, I made the switch. For me, while Atkins boasts a 10-15 pound weight loss on induction, my typical weight loss has been closer to 6-8 pounds after two weeks on the program. After that time, the weight seems to come off at a steady rate of 1-2 pounds. But, the initial boost of big loss always cheers me up.  So, I am going to give Atkins another go for the next two weeks to see if I can jumpstart my weight loss, and break this cycle of metabolic resistence. I have made it through two days of eggs and salads, and my prayer is that I can stick with this program for the two weeks of induction. Afterwards, I will moderate my carbs to see if I can continue the loss toward my goal of 20 pounds by the time school gets into swing (5 weeks now).

As far as fitness goes, I have been stalled. The heat is taking its toll and frankly I am not interested in working up a sweat when it is 114 outside. Yuck! My goal is to start walking again, as soon as the weather cools. Until then, I will change my eating habits, and let the fitness plans rest. For now, I mean. Lord willing, with some weight loss, I should feel more inclined to get moving again. We will see, we will see.

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