Fitness Update – A Recap of April 2014

So as I mentioned the other day I have started working out on my lunch break everyday with my friend Jane from work. I started this journey on April 7th. My goal when I started was to work out 5 days a week, Monday through Friday. Out of 18 days, I worked out 16 – the two days I didn’t work out consisted of a holiday (Good Friday) and a day when I spent the morning at the doctor’s office and didn’t take a lunch break. All in all, I’d say I met my goal… and I’m quite proud of myself!

So, how’d I do you ask?

April Total

April Miles

Here’s how it broke out:

April Breakdown

I have a graph I’ll get to show you next month (when there’s a month to compare it to) that will hopefully show the total time spent working out increasing (or at least staying the same) but my average mph decreasing in each activity. We shall see!!! On Tuesday I got on the elliptical for the first time in almost 6 years. Honestly, I wasn’t even sure I could finish 30 minutes. I tried to set a pace of 100 strides per minute but every time I looked down, I was going faster than that. So, I decided to stop trying to force it and just let it happen organically. Turns out, I averaged about 120 strides per minute when I just let it come naturally – and I went much farther in less time than I do on the treadmill. I was also more sore the next day – not painfully so, just noticeably so. To me, there’s no question that the elliptical works you harder than the treadmill, even if you maintain the same pace. How am I feeling overall you ask? Awesome! A tad tired, but awesome. Mostly, I’m tired because I’m getting less sleep than I normally would (~7 hours as opposed to 8-9 hours per night). However, I fall asleep faster and I sleep sounder than I did before. I’m also more energized and motivated to work out. For now, I’m loving this new lifestyle!

take pride in how far you have come
Found via Pinterest from this original source.

I’ve been thinking about what my goal should be in May and I think it’s going to be this: I want to bike for 30 minutes each weekend in addition to spending my 5 days (M-F) in the gym. So… there are 5 Saturdays in May which means I should add an additional 2.5 hours of exercise time this month. I’ll let you know how it goes!!



So this morning was the first day that I got up an hour early to do the Couch to 5k program.  Really – I’m not even doing the program yet.  I’m just tying to ‘find my groove.’  What I mean by this is that I’m just trying to get in the habit of getting up an hour earlier on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday to walk for 30 minutes to an hour.  As I’ve mentioned previously, I loooove my sleep.  We’re very good friends and losing what amounts to a half nights sleep over the course of a week does not appeal to me very much but I’m trying. 

Anyway – I was feel pretty good on my way in to work this morning and doing a fairly good job of patting myself on my back for getting up early and walking.  I came to a stop at a light and noticed a bumper sticker on the car in front of me.

It said ‘140.6.’ Have you ever seen those bumper stickers that say ’26.2’ or ’13.1?’  Well those are for people who have completed a marathon (26.2mi) or a half marathon (13.1mi).  I thought to myself ‘there’s NO WAY that someone ran 140.6 miles.’  So, I did what any normal person would do… I Googled it. 

Here’s what Urban Dictionary has to say: Popping up like weeds recently on little white bumperstickers belonging to egotistical masochists, this number represents the number of miles triathletes traverse in their feat of insanity. (For the mathematically challenged, that’s swimming 2.4 miles, biking 112 miles, and running 26.2).

For those who are wondering 140.6 is what constitutes an ‘Iron Man’ distance.  It’s not necessarily an Iron Man race (or sanctioned by them) but it follows the same distances. 

Talk about taking a giant needle to my self-congratulatory balloon.  140.6 MILES?!?!?  Are these people insane?  Scratch that.  Of course they are!  Now I realize that I’m just getting started.  As in literally – day one for crying out loud.  But still, good grief.  140.6 miles.  I just can’t get that out of my head.  I keep repeating it over and over and over again.  I’d be happy to run 140.6 feet without wanting to fall over and cry.  Please don’t misunderstand – I have absolutely no desire to be a triathelete and I totally realize that this journey that I’m starting is going to take a long, long time.  Perhaps you’re wondering what my goal is and if you are, I hate to burst your bubble but the truth is that I don’t really have one.  The only goal I have right now is just to do it.  To make it a habit.  To not hate every single minute of it (I didn’t hate it this morning honestly).  To be strong enough not to give up again for the zillionth time.  That’s my present goal.  Once I’ve gotten there, then I’ll work on something more specific and measurable.  But not 140.6 miles – that’s definitely specific and measurable but I’m not an ‘egotistical masochist [in search of a] feat of insanity.’

What are your fitness goals right now?  I’d love to know.

Anything above zero is progress

Sometimes it’s really hard for me to take my own advice. The other day, I wrote a post entitled ‘get moving’ and although at the time I wasn’t writing about anything health related this post keeps coming back to me.  The quote “no matter how slow you go, you’re still lapping everyone on the couch” keeps reverberating in my brain. 

You see – I’m fat.  I know it.  I’ve written about it before.  I even wrote a post entitled “if you’re stick of starting over, you have to stop quitting.”  Well the truth is that I am so incredibly sick of starting over – but yet again I find myself in that position.  I quit.  AGAIN.  And if I’m honest I’m pretty disgusted with myself. 

I’ve never been a skinny-mini as I call it.  Even in high school I was about a size 9.  That’s not “skinny” by the world’s parameters.  I was ‘healthy’ though.  Like most teenagers I ate a lot of junk food but I was getting at least an hour of aerobic exercise 5 days a week thanks to competitive swimming.  Then, after my accident in college I became rather sedentary due to chronic back & knee pain.  Unfortunately – that led to weight gain (as a sedentary life is prone to do).  Now the pain in my back and knee is compounded by lots of excess weight.  It’s a vicious circle.  I can’t tell you how many diet plans and exercise plans I’ve tried.  I’ve done Weight Watchers – it worked, I lost about 25 pounds… and then I got sick and freaking tired of tracking my points all the damn time (I hate to eat the same things repetitively so every day I would have to figure out the points for something).  I started jogging in college when I got a dog and that worked great until it got cold – and then I quit and never got started again.  Since college I’ve joined three different gyms and eventually cancelled all of my memberships.  I’ve lost a few pounds here and there but in the end, I’m still at the heaviest I’ve ever been.

It kinda makes me want to cry.

In truth – I’ve been overweight so long that I can’t imagine ever not being this way.  The possibility doesn’t really seem real.  It’s sort of a fantasy.  Like unicorns. 

I’m in no way making excuses but let me give you a snapshot here:  I’m seriously overweight; classified in the ‘morbidly obese’ group.  I have chronic back problems.  My right knee is practically shredded and needs surgery but the surgery honestly wouldn’t do much good with all the weight I’m carrying.  I have thyroid issues (bad enough that the original doctor who treated me told me I could subsist on a diet of celery sticks and work out 8 hours a day and I still wouldn’t lose a pound).  I have a very busy schedule and am usually blowing and going all day long.  My dad’s side of the family (which I’m basically genetically identical to) is all overweight – every single one of ‘em.  Like I said, no excuses, I just want you to have ‘the facts.’

A few weeks ago my husband and I started slowly working on our diet – we started a program called the Raw Food Detox Diet.  I placed a lot of emphasis on starting it s.l.o.w.l.y.  I didn’t want to overdo and I’m also not willing to toss all of the food in our house that’s already paid for.  Sorry Charlie but we’re on a limited budget over here and we’ve gotta work with what we’ve got.  Anyways, the whole concept of the detox is this:  if your body uses or eliminates everything you eat, then you don’t gain weight.  Sounds simple right?  You should read the book.  It’s enlightening to say the least.  I even tried sprouted grain tortillas (not a fan, btw).  For the most part, I agree with the book.  I’m not certain that I’m willing to go to the lengths that some people are (regular colon flushing anyone?) but still, I think the premise is sound.  Both the Hubs and I felt SO MUCH BETTER for the whole whopping three weeks that we did the detox.  Then we had a crazy weekend and I didn’t have time to grocery shop and instead of making shopping a priority or just going off the plan for one day and then going to the store, we ended up blowing off the entire week.  Pretty lame huh?  And let me tell you – my body can tooooottally feel the difference. 

I know what I need to do.  I know that I need to go back on the detox plan (it’s something I honestly feel like we could stick with long-term… it’s a ‘lifestyle’ not a ‘diet’) and I need to start getting regular exercise.  I’m seriously considering taking up the Couch to 5k program again.  In fact, I’ve already set my alarm to wake me up an hour early two days a week.  The idea of me giving up an hour of sleep for anything less than a catastrophic disaster is gut-churning to me but I’m going to try it. 

I feel like I approach health (dieting/exercise) with an ‘all or nothing’ attitude.  The moment I screw up just once and realize that I’m not going to get my ‘all’ then I completely default to a ‘nothing’ mentality.  I’m not really sure how to change that.  I’ve been operating this way for so long that it’s become second nature.  And I’m afraid.  I’m afraid of screwing up, of failing AGAIN, of making a public announcement (ahem) that I’m probably going to back out on (quietly, so as to avoid all the pointing and laughing).  There’s this blog that I read from time to time called 300 Pounds Down – it’s exactly what it sounds like… this overweight lady blogging about her weight loss journey.  Sometimes, if I’m being 100% honest here, I find her stuff a bit depressing.  However, sometimes (like today) she’s totally right on.  Here’s what I read on her blog today:

I immediately think in my mind if I can’t do it perfectly the first time
Then clearly I suck!
When in fact I just had a success
Because I tried
So what if it was 17 seconds?
Tomorrow it might be 18!
Anything above zero is progress
No matter if you’re on day one of this journey or day 365
The concept is the same
Start somewhere
Do it again
Do it some more
Keep doing it
You’ll get better
For some reason, my brain always wants to say
‘You’re not good at this so stop
Go do something else and then come back when you’re better’
But how am I going to come back better
If I quit??
Don’t expect my brain to give you logic
When it’s busy giving lies!!
Because the reality is I can’t get better if I give up
I’m only going to get better
If I’m continuing to try
Because progress is not made in a day
It’s made over time
And the best way to get better at push ups
Is to do more pushups
Just like the way I got to 5 miles
Was by adding 30 seconds every day until I got there
I may have started out at 30 seconds of walking
But now I’m going to Crossfit
And I got there one step at a time
Now that I’m there I can keep going
Keep working harder
Keep progressing

Somehow, someway, I have got to find this same mental fortitude.