sluggo zone. Although I had always taken care of myself, exercised regularly, competed aggressively on the tennis court, become a faithful yoga practitioner and generally watched what I ate, I entered another dimension when my weight bearing joints began to hurt beyond endurance.
Degenerative Osteoarthritis was the diagnosis and it describes the degeneration of the weight bearing joints of the body. I had my first total hip replacement in 2001 and the other in 2005. By the second hip replacement, I needed a knee replacement too but was unwilling to go through more surgery, recovery and loss of body parts. Instead, I stopped playing tennis. After I stopped, the insidious yet subtle deterioration that had been creeping along seemed to exponentially take off at hyper speed and I added another 20 lbs to the 10 I had gained after the first hip replacement.
So here I was, thirty pounds and twelve years later, disgusted, disappointed and embarrassed by my lack of control. After a number of aborted attempts to diet and exercise on my own, I joined a really nice, really serious fitness center. I'd been going to a drafty old gym, wearing old tees & baggy pants, working out on old machines that would often break and using the same equipment as the thick necked loud mouthed guys that frequented the place. My husband referred to me as a "gym rat" because I didn't care what I looked like. Unfortunately, this had extended to my work out ethic too. I didn't much seem to care.
It sounds trite, but joining the new place gave me a new attitude. It's a brand new, sunny, state of the art fitness center. I began working with several of the physical trainers, all women. I was asked my goals and, instead of saying I wanted to "lose weight", I said I wanted to "lose inches". Instead of asking to be put on a diet, I said I wanted to "eat better and gain strength". A total needs assessment was done, including measurements, top to bottom, a BMI (body mass index), an overview of my existing diet and exercise regimen. I was then given a full hour's training followed by a massage and facilitated stretching. It was exhilarating. Before I left the first day, my trainer had drawn up a simple nutrition plan with suggested portions and types of food: protein, complex carbs, lots of veggies, little or no alcohol, simple sugars, simple carbs, no bad fats. Good fats, like avocado, Omega 3 fish, olive oil, were okay.
That was March 2nd. On that day, I committed to going to that gym four days per week with a 30 minute regimen, two days of weight training and two days of cardio. I committed to the nutrition plan and keeping a diary of both the food intake and exercise.
I've kept my commitment. I have been going 4 days per week. I have been exercising 45 minutes to an hour or more each time. I have altered my diet to more closely approximate the nutrition plan although I did not cut out alcohol or mayo and I occasionally binge on french fries and pastrami sandwiches. While the visual progress is slow, the feeling I have about myself is not. I see the improvement; it's happening slowly but it's happening. I can see the change in my body even though it doesn't register on the scale. Today I was weighed and measured and while I had lost only 3lbs, I have lost 8 inches! EIGHT INCHES! That's so incredible to me! My strength is coming back. My PT says I am truly losing the weight and burning fat and the weight is redistributing as muscle which speeds up my metabolism and allows me to burn more calories. She was so encouraging, so complimentary. I am truly overjoyed by the success.
It ain't easy, the work is hard, my body aches after every workout, and I take a lot of acetaminophen. But, I'm moving more easily, I'm getting stronger, I'm extending my endurance and I may actually enjoy buying a new bathing suit in June. My goal is to get back to a size 10, then an 8 and then buy all new clothes.
I'll keep you posted.