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...

Fitness

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.

Cardio

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)
Strength

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.

Diet

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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