Friday, May 7, 2010

Working Out

Quite a few years ago, I fell into that zone where so many middle-aged people go...the sedentary 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.

12 comments:

Blissed-Out Grandma said...

Wow, good for you! That's precisely what I should do as well. I'm going to reread your post every day in hopes of moving my brain toward acceptance!

California Girl said...

Bliss: If I can inspire anyone, I'll be thrilled. It IS getting easier.

Deborah said...

My hat is off to your honesty and your commitment! Today I was very conscious of not being able to move like I used to but after reading about your issues with joints, I will complain NO MORE. That's a tough thing to have to deal with at a relatively young age and I don't blame you for not wanting to go through more surgery.

Your goal-setting and achieving is wonderful, really. The way you're going about it sounds very reasonable and realistic and something that you could continue for the long-term. Way to go for considering yourself important and for making the effort - I'm really delighted for you that the physical and psychological benefits are so evident.
Yes, you are an inspiration. I am lucky enough never to have had weight issues but the lack of flexibility, aches and pains and fatigue is due to my not looking after myself very well, but that's going to change.
Congratulations, Deb. Keep us posted!!

P. Xtreme said...

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.

California Girl said...

PX: does this mean I'm too wordy? I'll check your blog when I get back...from the gym! LOL!

Susan Erickson said...

It takes discipline and you seem to have found the right combo.... I know a good gym is the answer but they are intimidating sometimes....

Judy said...

I'm so happy for you! That is inspiring to hear!! It's never too late to get healthier. Keep up the great progress!

Grandmother said...

Good for you! I started at a top notch gym 2 years ago, watched my body change together with my self image and stayed with it for a year until I moved. To this day, I run 3 times a week, maintain my desired weight and feel great. Keep with it when it gets tough- you'll be grateful you did.

Holly said...

Congrats! That is a great accomplishment. We all get so caught up in the lbs. number but inches make a huge difference.
Holly
504 Main

evalinn said...

That´s great to hear! I need to make some lifestyle changes too...

Susan said...

You are an inspiration, D. Now if I can just translate that into actually doing it myself! ;)

California Girl said...

Susan E: Joining this new, clean, beautiful gym did make a significant difference in my enjoyment of attending.

Judy: Thanks. I'm workin' it!

Grandmother: Yes, I was in good shape for so long and maintained it consistently. Never thought I'd fall off the wagon so to speak. Once you're back on, it's hard to stop.

Holly: the inches are key. I'm learning that.

evalinn: I've had to make myself go and make myself go and now I'm beginning to look forward to it.

Susan: Thank you. You really hit up my posts today, didn't you? xo

Christina

Christina
by Cole Scott