In November, after a visit to my doctor for my annual cholesterol check I decided ENOUGH. Enough screwing around. My numbers were both worse and better than the previous two years. My bad cholesterol which I lowered in 2007, shot back up to my 2006 level. The one good part was how my good cholesterol was improving. I left the clinic with a renewed drive to exercise.
Even having my elliptical machine parked in the living room wasn't helping. I would just stare at it, defeated, while I watched TV from my couch. Joining a gym seemed like the only option. So I did. I discovered my recent Masters degree tuition qualified me for a kind of discount at the local university's wellness center and since it's only a couple blocks from work, I went for it.
Since Nov. 22, I've been trying to work out first thing in the morning. Most days I've been successful. What's funny is that NOW I am using my elliptical at home. I guess I'm a numbers girl. I'm very driven by the slightest taste of progress and by daily goals. My goals were steep.
I wanted to go from 0 minutes of exercise to 75 minutes overnight. In 6 weeks I've only managed to reach that goal a handful of times. The 75 minutes was how much time I estimated it would take me to burn about 466 calories a day. I don't like uneven numbers so some days I hit 450 and others 500. My biggest frustration? Getting to the gym and not having enough time to do what I want there because of time crunches.
And speaking of crunches. In all this time I've NOT been lifting weights. It was a slightly foolish move considering how important that is. I was waiting for some elusive "intern" to show me the ropes and finally I pressed the issue and discovered that ANYONE can show me what I need to do, the intern was for a more specialized program (I may still try to take advantage of that). I've done weights twice this week and hope to include that as part of my workout 3 times a week.
Sparkpeople.com is of my biggest allies in this effort to lose weight.This isn't my first time with the site either, but it's the first time I've had the right focus on both diet and exercise and the drive to stick with it.
I've been using the site to faithfully enter in everything I eat each day in the nutrition tracker. At a glance I can see which days have been light on fruits and veggies and that might influence a snack choice. Because I have to take the trouble to enter everything in, I think twice about some of the less healthy options. Or I let myself eat them guilt free now and then if I have calories to spare.
One of the neatest features is their recipe calculator which allows participants to enter in their favorite recipes, determine how many servings it makes, and then it calculates all the nutritional info. It's very eye opening and it takes the mystery out of some of my food choices. The website also has a place to keep track of fitness minutes and calories burned.
Probably the most encouraging thing for me has been the daily weigh in. Here's a glimpse at my progress chart. I removed the actual weights because it's not necessary to know those numbers in order to see the progress. My goal is to lose 20 lbs by the end of Feb. The red goal line is the program's projected weight loss goals at a steady two pounds a week--which is truly as aggressive as one ought to be. As of today, I've lost 12 pounds. I expect the last ten pounds will be a bit more challenging to lose, especially as I build more muscle. And truly, the fit of my clothing and the way I feel about my body and my health is more important to me than the numbers. I am just thrilled that something is happening. It's encouraging.