Friday, August 31, 2012

Day 49 - Cardio, Yoga and Calm?

Today was strange.  I did two 30 minute bike sessions and one hour long yoga class.  I kept the bike sessions moderate – about 60-65% of my maximum heart rate.  It is a decent, fat burning pace, but it actually felt relaxing.  I was able to zone out and just enjoy the feeling of my legs moving. I wasn’t totally exhausted when it was done.  In fact, I felt pretty good.  I could definitely get used to this!  But, it’s the first day, so I don’t know if it will be effective, but I’m giving it a try!

Then there was Friday night yoga.  This is the one class I look forward to all week long.  It’s a hard class, but it’s so relaxing as well.  If you get past the fact that there are still poses I can’t do, it’s about the most fun I can have exercising.  I really enjoy the feeling of my muscles getting stronger and my balance getting better.  When we got to the tree tonight, my balance was so much better.  I only fell out of balance once.  It was truly amazing.
So, today is the first day I can honestly say I enjoyed my exercise completely.  Most days I get through it and I’m proud of myself.  And there are definitely a lot of classes I enjoy.  But, today was different.  I really want to hang onto this feeling.  It’s a calm feeling and I don’t have a lot of calm in my life.  So, I still have a lot to process, but it’s good.  Very, very good.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Day 48 - Cardio Thoughts

Today was a long day, but a good one.  It took every ounce of willpower I had, but I got out of bed at 5:15 to go downstairs and ride the bike for 45 minutes.  I’m not sure why, but it was so much harder to get out of my warm cozy bed when I knew that I had a lot of work ahead of me.  But, I did it, and I was so proud of myself when I was done.  And, as a bonus, Steve came downstairs and kept me company for a few minutes while I cooled down and had some breakfast.  That was a really nice surprise.  Then, I hit the shower and he went back to bed.

After work, I got changed and went to the pool.  I did half an hour alternating between treading water and water aerobics while waiting for the ‘real’ water aerobics class to start.  It was a great way to get the rest of my exercise in for the day.  It is tempting to discount water aerobics as being less intense than traditional cardio classes.  And, it’s true that your heart rate won’t get as high.  But, some of that is because the water is cooling, so your heart doesn’t need to beat as fast.  But, it’s still a great form of exercise.  Plus, the resistance provided by the water really gives your lungs a workout.  As I’m firming up my schedule in my head, I want to make sure to get in the pool at least 2 days a week.
I was web surfing during lunch and came across an article about why you might not be losing weight on the paleo diet.  One of the reasons listed was something described as chronic cardio, where you are constantly challenging your body with moderate to high intensity cardio workouts and not giving yourself a chance to recover.  That struck a chord with me.  Especially since it’s something Steve has been warning me about for the last week or so.  So, I am going to try doing the same amount of cardio, but at a less intense pace.  I’ll be curious to see if my energy levels pick up and maybe the scale moves a little bit more.  It couldn’t hurt, and it would really be nice to take a deep breath without my lungs aching!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Day 47 - Balance and Perspective

OK, I was all ready to talk about two grueling exercise classes and how proud I am of myself that I made it through them.  But, I was sitting here working on my computer, getting a few things done that needed doing when Michael decided it was time to talk about his day. I guess I wasn’t paying enough attention because the next thing I know he is telling me, “Mommy, I need eye contact.  We’re having a conversation here.” 
For those of you who don’t have a child on the spectrum, you can’t understand how completely this blew my mind.  Eye contact is incredibly difficult for him, and so is conversation in general.  So, for him to want to do both was just awesome.  He continued on to tell me that in speech they are working on conversations and eye contact.  So, he is taking something he is working on at school and applying it to home.  That level of generalization is just amazing.  I keep going back and forth between being shocked and thrilled.  I’m going with thrilled!

But, it does remind me that no matter how hard I am working to lose weight and get fit, he has to work ten times harder every single day just to get through the day.  That level of work and intensity is incredibly inspiring.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 46 - An Epsom Treat

Today was a rest day, and boy did I need it.  I woke up this morning with legs so stiff I could barely walk to the shower.  But, I made it through the day.  I’m writing this early because I have big plans for the evening.  I’m going to soak in an Epsom salt bath for a while, then read in bed and go to sleep early.  That means I need to get all my night time tasks done before the bath.  OK, not the most exciting plans ever, but I’m pretty happy.

During my vacation I managed to get enough regular sleep that the bags that had taken up permanent residence under my eyes mostly faded away.  I want to try and get enough sleep to keep them gone.  That means planning things a little more carefully, but will definitely be worth it.  And besides, there is nothing on TV worth staying up late for. 
I am finding that this journey is really making me focus on my priorities.  I had always assumed that Michael and Steve were my biggest priorities and that work and everything else came second.  What I am finding now is that Michael and Steve are still number one, but that my health comes high above anything else, even work.  So, I am consciously making decisions that I never paid attention to before.  I’m making sure to get up every hour or so instead of staying glued to my computer for the entire work day.  I’m actually taking lunch breaks.  I’m keeping the TV turned off at night.  Little things really do seem to be adding up to a much healthier and relaxed lifestyle.  Not something I expected, but a definite good side trip on the journey!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Day 45 - Reality is Exhausting

I don’t think I have been this completely exhausted since I started this journey.  Today was my first day back at work after vacation, and it was beyond busy.  I had so many emails and tasks to manage I barely got a break for lunch.  Then, when the work day was over, it was time for exercise.  I went to a muscle challenge class followed by a yoga class.  I really wasn’t sure I’d be able to finish.  Somehow I did.  I think the combination of mental and physical exhaustion is going to make this a very early night.
On one hand, I’m really proud that I made it through.  I pushed myself really hard in the muscle challenge class, doing many, many reps with medium-heavy weights.  That class finished with lots of ab work, and I was so glad to have a couple minute break between classes.  Then, the yoga class started.  It was an active night with a lot of sun salutation sequences.  I don’t think I’ve gotten up and down from the floor to standing so much in the last year as I did tonight.  I am definitely going to feel this in the morning!
On the other hand, I get so frustrated with myself.  There is still so much that I can’t do.  I can’t support my weight on my wrists, so I can’t hold a basic down dog pose for more than a few seconds.  My stomach gets in the way of a lot of poses, so I can’t get as deep of a stretch as I’d like.  And, my balance stinks.  But, I think I did more tonight than I did last week.  And, I hope I will be able to do more on Wednesday than I did tonight.  So, even though I get incredibly frustrated, I still have hope.  And, hope is what keeps me going.  Hope, and all of you following along and supporting me.  That does mean the world to me!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Day 44 - Vacation is Over

Today was the last day of summer vacation.  Tomorrow is back to school for Michael and back to work for me.  It’s been a really nice break.  But, I’m probably more nervous than Michael.  He is so happy to be going back to school and his friends and his routine.  Me, I’m worried about what’s lurking in my inbox.  For the first time since I’ve been at this job, I didn’t check email for an entire week.  I don’t know what to expect tomorrow morning.  But, I guess I’ll be finding out.

Today was a good day exercise-wise.  I did an hour of water aerobics this morning, half hour on the elliptical, and half hour on the bike.  All of the workouts were really good.  I have a plan in place to keep up the exercise around my work schedule, but I am nervous.  I really don’t know why.  I did four weeks before vacation, so it just shouldn’t be a problem.  But, I guess once I get through tomorrow and the week, I’ll be more confident again.  Wish me luck?

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Day 43 - Six Week Results!

Well, today was the day.  I’ve been on this journey now for six weeks.  I’m not sure why, but I’ve had the idea in my head that six weeks is a magic mark.  Maybe it’s because it’s about the time to set a new habit, or enough time to build some muscle, or maybe I just made it up to motivate myself.  But, I do know that I’m really proud of myself for making it this far.  And, where am I?  I am 14 pounds down, and noticeably smaller (at least according to the pictures).  I had been hoping for faster progress, but, I am really happy with what I have achieved.

For qualitative results I have a pretty big list:

·         My energy is definitely improved
·         My appetite is down
·         My cravings have disappeared
·         My stamina lets me work out for two hours straight
·         I am sleeping like a rock
·         I’m finding that I actually enjoy trying new classes at the gym
·         I’m developing a new confidence in my body and what I am able to do
·         Some of my clothes are starting to get really loose

Overall, I couldn’t be happier.  Well, there is one small exception.  I am very sad that my summer vacation is coming to a close and I will have to go back to work on Monday.  I have really enjoyed being able to plan my day around my family and my exercise plan.  I am definitely going to miss that.  However, the sadness is tempered by the sheer joy that Michael has for going back to school.  Even though he only got one week off, he is already talking about going to bed early tomorrow night to prepare for Monday, and how much he has missed his classmates.  It is such a huge turnaround for him; I can’t help but be happy.
As for today’s exercise results, I went to the gym first thing this morning and did a 30 minute stretch class, followed by an hour long intervals class.  I know the stretch class sounds pretty easy, but I wore my heart rate watch and realized I was getting quite a workout just keeping up with the instructor!  Then, during the intervals class, I had to tone things down a lot because my heart rate was getting way too high.  I do like having the watch to make sure that I am not too high and not too low.

This afternoon was a pre-season football game, so it was really nice to watch the game and ride the new bike.  I did thirty minutes on the bike before I even realized it.  Because it’s recumbent and also has a reclining seat, it’s actually comfortable.  And, with a heart rate monitor built in, it was great to see that I was keeping well above 65% heart rate but was still able to follow the game.  Every time I think I have my ‘program’ figured out, I give myself another new wrinkle to figure out.  I like that.  A lot.

Now, I guess I should set a goal or two for the next six weeks. Most people know that I tend to go overboard on things fairly easily.  One or two people have even commented on this whole journey that it is exactly my personality fit into a project.  So, for the next six weeks, I think I want to tone down the adventure aspect just a bit and settle more into a routine.    I know I want to keep my diet pretty much the same – paleo based but aiming for about 2000-2200 calories.  I also know that I want to keep with the six days a week of two hours of exercise.  But, I think I am going to try to get myself into a semi-regular exercise routine for a bit, instead of constantly mixing things up.  I like the idea of strength classes three times a week, yoga three times a week, and mixing up the rest.  That seems like a nice, balanced approach. It is a bit of a departure for me, but I do love a challenge!



Friday, August 24, 2012

Day 42 - Thank you Dan!

Today I am really grateful for my brother-in-law, Dan.  With Michael home from school this week, it’s been a little bit of a challenge to find two hours of alone time to exercise.  This morning, Dan volunteered to take Michael to the pool so I could do a 4 mile DVD.  I really appreciated that!  And, it was great to get the first hour of exercise completed early.
The second hour of exercise was even better, though.  I went to the gym for my favorite yoga class.  All the classes are good, but this one, I can do about 90% of the workout.  (The other yoga classes I can manage 60 and 75% respectively.  Yet, I still love them and look forward to going.)  And the instructor really makes sure that anyone who needs to modify a pose knows how to do it.  I really appreciate that.  So, it was definitely a challenging workout, but it felt so good at the same time.  I love the feeling of having all my muscles working, and really love the feeling of deep relaxation at the end. 

I am still struggling to understand how much I have bonded with the gym.  Anyone who knows me knows that I have always feared the gym, and avoided it at all costs.  Now, I find myself looking forward to going to the classes, and really enjoying them.  I don’t really think that I have changed that much over the years, so I am guessing that I have found a great match for me.
And, as I have been saying all week, tomorrow is the six week mark.  I am beyond excited.  I cannot wait to get on the scale tomorrow, and I am even more excited about the pictures.  Dan has volunteered to get Michael in the morning so I can go to an early stretch class followed by an intervals class.  Then, it will be picture and update time.  Stay tuned!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Day 41 - Home is Where the Magsoothium Is

Today was supposed to be a fun day.  To celebrate the fact that I have stuck with this for almost six weeks, we bought a new toy, an exercise bike.  I was going to take it easy and just try it out.  But, it didn’t quite happen that way. 

I don’t know if you read yesterday’s post or not, but in the muscle challenge class, I was doing shoulder presses with ten pound weights and bicep curls with fifteen.  That’s pretty hefty for me.  So, as the day wore on, my arms were aching more and more. 
Before I got on the bike, I wanted to get in a 4 mile walking video.  I knew that my legs were going to be tired from the bike, and I wanted to make sure that I got in both hours of exercise today.  To be honest, it felt great to do the DVD.  I hadn’t done it in almost a week, and it felt new again.  I loved that my legs felt energetic and I was really enjoying the movement.  Then, I got on the bike.

I was really excited that the bike came with a heart rate monitor and a program to keep your heart rate at a set number.  I thought I was being gentle by setting it for 125, not fully comprehending that that was 70%.  Yes, I should have known better. It was probably not realistic to expect the bike to keep me at 70% for an hour, even though my DVDs probably keep it higher.  So, at one point, it had me at level 12 for about ten minutes.  By the time I got to 45 minutes, I called uncle and did the last 15 minutes in manual mode.  Still, when I got off the bike, my legs barely worked.  I have a feeling I am going to be feeling this tomorrow.
Between my arms aching from yesterday and my legs aching from today, I have a feeling I will be taking a bath in magnesium spray before bed tonight. Is it really sad that I’m starting to like the subtle aches and pains that mean I’ve really been working? (The more persistent agony of certain muscles, not so much!) The cool thing is that the spray really does work, and eliminates most of the pain, fairly quickly. Of course, if I didn’t have Steve to pamper me through it all (and spray on the magnesium), this entire journey would be totally impossible. But, one more day down, and a new toy survived!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Day 40 - Home Again, Home Again, Back to the Gym!

Today was the last day of vacation.  It was great to sleep in, spend a relaxing morning with my family, and then come home.  I really enjoyed my mini-vacation, and feel rested and ready to go again.  So, what did I do when I got home this evening?  I headed straight to the gym, of course!  It felt so good to be back at my own gym, and really pushing my muscles.  I did a muscle challenge class and a yoga class.  I came home feeling like a wet noodle, but so good at the same time!

I have a couple days left on my vacation from work, so I am hoping to get a bunch of exercise in these last few days.  This weekend will mark six weeks of this journey, and I am so excited to see where I will be.  It’s been really exciting to try new things and let my body surprise me.
One thing I have to say is that I really appreciate your comments, feedback and suggestions.  If you hadn’t encouraged me to try free weights, I’m not sure I would have tried both the barbell class and the muscle challenge (hand weights) class.  I am already feeling stronger after just a few classes.  And that feeling is more than just my muscles.  The more I do this, the more confident I get that I can keep doing it.  So, thank you!


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Day 39 - An Amusing Day

Today was another fun day.  And, I was so happy I’d been exercising so much, just to keep up with it!  Basically, we took Michael to Knoebel’s Grove amusement park for the day.  It was a lot of fun walking around and watching him go on the rides.  It was sad though, too.  He wore out really quickly and wanted to go home long before anyone else was ready.  I am always happy with the progress he has been making, but sometimes get blindsided by how far he still has to go.  He is so strong in so many ways, but a ten year old should not get so tired, so easily.  Especially when he is surrounded by fun.  But, he did.

But, as far as my journey goes, it was a good day.  It was a rest day, so there was no pressure to do anything specific.  I was able to walk around the park and not get tired.  And, I even fit on a ride.  I only attempted the one ride, since Michael was in a hurry to leave at that point, but it was still a big milestone for me.  Hopefully, by the time we go back next season, I’ll be able to fit on all of the rides and he’ll have the energy to try!

Monday, August 20, 2012

Day 38 - My Vivid Imagination

I am so excited.  This has been an amazing day.  I woke up and went to water aerobics at the community center.  It was pretty good.  And, it was nice to have an hour class instead of just 45 minutes like at home.  I forget how much I love being in the water.  My flexibility and range of motion just seems so natural in the water.  If only I could find a way to defy gravity out of the water!

Then, this afternoon, we took Michael bowling.  It was a lot of fun to just hang out and bowl as a family.  It’s not something that we get a chance to do very often.  And, I even got a couple strikes.  We only played one game because Michael got tired, but it was still nice.
But, the very best part came this evening when I visited a local gym.  Every time we come to visit, we pass a place called Hazleton Health and Wellness Center.  The building looked a lot like the gym I go to at home, so I was thinking it would be a good place to visit.  I looked them up online and then called to ask about guest passes.  They said the first visit was free, and after that, it was ten dollars a day, or six dollars to take a class.  Very reasonable!

But, what I was so excited about is that they had a recumbent stepper, like I see all the time on the Extreme Makeover:  Weight Loss Edition show.  I’ve always been curious about the machine, but didn’t think I’d ever get a chance to try one out.  The lady who checked me in to the center helped me set the machine up and made sure I was doing everything right.  So, for thirty minutes, I got to pretend I was actually on the show and doing the workout in my living room.  Yes, I have a vivid imagination!  But, it really was fun to try it out!
Then, I used their recumbent bike for another half hour.  It was really comfortable, and even had arm rests with heart rate monitors built in. I don’t think I’ve had so much fun working out on cardio equipment.  Plus, everyone was really nice.  When I had questions about coming back, or the class schedule, they took their time and answered all my questions.  Even though I was just visiting, they made me feel welcome, and I appreciate that!

This was definitely another great day.  Tomorrow will be a rest day, but not really.  We are taking Michael to an amusement park, so I am sure that I’ll be getting in a ton of walking.  It should be fun.  I just hope that all this exercise will pay off and I’ll be able to keep up tomorrow!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Day 37 - Outside my Comfort Zone

My first full day away from home and I managed to get two hours of exercise in.  I am so proud of myself!  I woke up with a splitting headache, so I was really uncertain how the day would go.  But, the headache got better and I got on with the day!
It takes exactly 15 minutes for me to walk to or from my parents’ house to the clubhouse.  So, I walked to the clubhouse, rode the exercise bike for half an hour, and then walked back.  Half of the exercise was done before noon.  Not bad!

Michael was excited to go to the pool, so after lunch we went to the pool.  Michael practiced his swimming and I did water aerobics in the pool.  It was a little crowded, so I couldn’t move around as much as I’d like, but I definitely managed to get a workout in.  It was really nice to know that I could be away from my comfortable routine and still exercise.
I am thinking that this whole journey is about getting outside my comfort zone and learning exactly what I am capable of.  There was a picture going around the autism community a few months that pretty much said that the area outside your comfort zone is where the magic happens.  I’m guessing that applies to a lot more than autism.  And, I am going to find out!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Day 36 - Back to Basics!

Today was a weigh in day, and yet another disappointment.  I stayed exactly the same as last week.  But, given the fact that I had two extra rest days this week, plus the sedation, I’m not overly surprised.  So, this week is really going to be back to basics – strict adherence to my diet and 2 hours of exercise, the more intense and sweaty the better!

This morning started out great.  I went to the gym and started the day off with a 30 minute stretching class.  I know the intent is for it to be a low key class, but for me, it was definitely sweaty and intense.  Then, as soon as it was over, the intervals class started.  Now that was beyond intense!  The entire hour was alternating between heavy (but low impact) cardio and strength training.  Even though it was definitely hard, I really enjoyed the class.  I like using the weights, and was happy that I was able to use five and ten pound weights today.
After the gym, I had to call my orthodontist.  One thing I wasn’t expecting was that the dental work this week affected my tooth shape and now my retainer doesn’t fit properly.  I’m really disappointed because the dentist promised that she would make sure that this didn’t happen.  Even through the sedation, I remember trying on the retainer and telling them that it didn’t fit right.  They sent me home anyway. 

I spoke with the orthodontist over the phone since they were closed for the weekend.  I am now out of town for a couple days, and then he is going to be out of town.  I explained to him what happened and we came up with a plan.  So, tonight Steve is going to cut off the non-fitting part of the retainer so I can use it partially at least.  Then, when I get back, I’ll go in for a new mouth mold (yuck!) and a new retainer.  I am really not happy about this!
After the dentist, I went home and it was time to pack for the trip and get in the car.  Three and a half hours later, we were at my parents’ house and Michael was extremely happy.  After we said our hellos and settled in, Michael, my Dad, and I went for a walk.  It was nice to actually walk outside for a change.  Although, a couple of the hills were steep!  But, it was a great way to stretch my legs after the long car ride.  And Michael loved walking with his GrandPop.

After all that, I’m really exhausted.  Of course, I say that every night.  I have noticed a couple things pretty consistently since I started this program – I sleep really, really well, and my lungs are constantly sore.  I am guessing this is a good thing.  And, even on vacation, I am doing this!

Friday, August 17, 2012

Day 35 - Day Two of Recovery

Apparently, yesterday’s anesthesia took more out of me than I realized.  I was all set to go to the gym and exercise today when I realized I had no stamina and no coordination.  I double checked with Steve and he validated that I wouldn’t be wimping out to take an extra rest day to recover from the sedation.  So, please don’t be annoyed with me for listening to that and spending another day getting back to myself.

The cool thing is that I am really, really happy I did the whole metal filling removal thing.  I normally don’t like to spend time and/or money on myself.  But, this one was important.  The fillings were getting old and I just felt like it was a bad idea to be letting all those mercury vapors run loose in my head.  So, since I’m putting in all this effort to eat right and exercise, it seemed like a really good thing to round out the process.  Yes, it cost me an ‘extra’ rest day.  But, I gained a level of peace that I wasn’t expecting.  That makes me happy.
Tomorrow, I will be back in the gym first thing.  There is a stretch class followed by an interval class, and I’m really looking forward to both.  After that, my program is going to get another big test.  We are going to visit my parents in PA for a few days, and I am going to be exercising while traveling.  It will be a challenge, but definitely a good one.  Steve had a wonderful idea to look and see if my gym has a reciprocal agreement with any local gyms, and I found one.  So, if I run out of things to do any my parents’ house, I’ll have a whole new gym to explore.  Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Day 34 - One Big Step Toward Better Health

Well, today I took another huge step toward advancing my health.  I found a dentist to remove all my metal fillings safely.  So, I am now mercury free.  But, due to my terror and the sheer volume of work to be done, I needed a lot of sedation, and I’ve been sleeping on and off since I got home.  My mouth is still in a lot of pain.

Needless to say, today was a planned rest day.  To be completely honest, I don’t know what tomorrow will be.  But, in order to give tomorrow the best possible shot, I’m going to take another set of pain meds and go to bed early tonight.  Hopefully, I will wake up back to myself in the morning.
Thank you all for your support and prayers.  I really appreciate it!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Day 33 - True Decadance, If Only Temporary

This was a strange but great day.  I woke up at normal time and got Michael ready for school.  But, as soon as he was on the school bus, I did something really, really decadent.  I went back to bed and slept for more than 2 hours.  When I finally got up the second time, I felt absolutely wonderful.  I was rested, recharged, and ready to go.  I hadn’t felt that good in a long time.
There were two classes that I wanted to take today, one at 5:30 and one at 6:30.  So, it felt like a rest day, but I knew what was coming.  I loved the muscle challenge class.  It was all done with 5/8/10 pound dumbells (but you choose your own sizes) and a step.  It was extremely challenging, but fun too.  Of course, I finished the first class totally exhausted and drenched in sweat.  I would have been fine if I was only doing the one class.

I knew I was in trouble when the yoga teacher started off by explaining that she alternated between focusing on relaxation and active yoga, and that tonight was an active yoga night.  My legs, which had finally felt ‘normal’ for the first time today, got another huge workout.  Class has been over for over an hour now and I still feel wobbly.  Is that good?
I need to get to bed early tonight.  I am having some major dental work done tomorrow, so it will be a rest day.  I am not supposed to do pretty much anything until 24 hours after the sedation has worn off, so Friday is up in the air, too.  Can you send some positive thoughts my way tomorrow?  I am normally afraid of the dentist, and this appointment has me pretty terrified.  But, like everything else, I will get through it.  Right?

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 32 - My legs, my legs, my legs!

Another day, another new ache?  I knew that my butt was going to be really sore from the spinning class yesterday, but I didn’t quite realize that my entire legs would be in pain today.  In fact, I think my legs are planning a full out revolt.  I have often been told that my stubborn streak is not an attractive trait, but right now I think it’s the only thing that is keep me going.  If I wasn’t so stubborn, I would have left in the middle of spinning class yesterday, and I certainly wouldn’t have finished the 4 mile DVD this afternoon.  So, for all the times I’ve been called stubborn, thank you!

Today, being Tuesday, would normally be a rest day.  But, since I took off Sunday, and I am going to have to take off Thursday for a major dental appointment, I decided to work out today.  I did a ‘fit for life’ class this morning, and I really enjoyed it.  Although, I have to admit I was drenched in sweat and totally exhausted after class.  I thought I had recovered enough when I put in the 4 mile DVD, but I was terribly wrong.  But, even though I worked at a much lower level of intensity than normal, I did finish.  There’s that stubborn streak!
On the other hand, I am having a really hard time stringing words together tonight, so I think I’m going to keep this to a short post and get to bed early.  Tomorrow is going to be another long, long day!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Day 31 - I Like the Gym???

Today was a painful but great day.  It was a nice relaxing morning getting Michael ready for school without having to check emails and get work done at the same time.  The slower pace was definitely appreciated by both of us!  Once he was off to school, it was time for me to get to the gym for a spinning class.  I was really afraid of this one, but curious, too.  A very nice lady helped me adjust my bike to the correct settings, and then the instructor saw that I was new and helped me get my foot into the cage and all buckled up.  She made eye contact with me several times during the class to make sure I was doing OK. I really appreciated that!
The good news – I survived the class.  That bad news – my butt may never recover.  According to the schedule, it was a 45 minute class.  However, it turned out to last an hour.  Since I had been pacing myself for a 45 minute class, I was so far beyond exhausted by the end I was close to tears.  And my butt was completely numb.  In fact, if it wasn’t for the pain of the seat, I know I would have done a lot better.  But, just the agony of sitting on that tiny, hard seat pretty much convinced me that spinning is definitely not for me.  Not for a long while at least.

I had intended to go to another class after spinning.  There was supposed to be a fifteen minute break, and I thought I’d have time to recover.  Needless to say, it didn’t happen.  I wouldn’t have been safe to lift my arms above my head, let alone use a barbell.  So, I went home and did some chores around the house and ran some errands with Steve.  It was actually kinda nice.
Since I still needed another hour of exercise, I went back to the gym for a yoga class this evening.  I think I am starting to love yoga.  Even though it’s harder than any of the other classes I’ve taken, I always leave with a feeling of calm and accomplishment.  Tonight was no exception:  there were many poses I just couldn’t twist into, but there were more that I could.  And, by the time the deep relaxation was done, I was recovered and ready to take on the world.

One thing I just really have to say is that the personality of this gym is so different from any other co-ed gym I’ve ever been in.  Every instructor has been supportive and encouraging.  Before, in my prior gym experiences, I had felt so out of place and looked down on by all the fit, healthy people.  Here, I feel like people look at me and are proud of me for trying.  People I have talked with after class have suggested more classes.  And the classes they have suggested have been challenging!  They have all said the same thing:  “You do the best you can.  No one is competitive, and everyone wants you to succeed.”  Never in a million years would I have believed I’d get a warm fuzzy feeling walking into a group strength class!
So, once again, it’s the end of the day and I’m really sore, but really happy, too.  I am trying new things and opening myself up to experiences I never thought I would.  I’m having mixed results, but I am so proud of myself for trying.  And, the good parts are really, really good.  Today, I am glad that I am doing this!

Sunday, August 12, 2012

Day 30 - A New Level of Pain

I had to take today as a non scheduled rest day.  The group strength class really kicked my butt yesterday.  My legs, my arms, my shoulders, have been screaming in pain all day today.  I was hoping to take the class again tomorrow morning, but at this point, I’m not so sure.  I’ll definitely exercise tomorrow, but probably won’t be up for a strength class.  I guess it’s good that I know I worked a lot of muscles really hard.  It’s scary that it hurts so much.
On the other hand, it was nice to have a relaxing family day.  My Mother-In-Law’s Birthday is tomorrow, so we were able to have her over for the afternoon and have a nice dinner together.  Michael even did the yoga DVD so she could watch.  It was really nice to just hang out together and chat.  And I love it when Michael shows off for company.

There really isn’t a lot else going on tonight.  Steve found a massager that we had bought from Costco several years ago.  He gave my legs, arms, shoulders and back a nice massage this morning.  And, if I ask him nicely he’ll probably give me another before bed.  Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Day 29 - House Arrest is OVER!

Today was weigh in day.  I have to say that I’m really disappointed with the scale.  I’m at 336.5, only one pound this week.  But, when I look at the pictures comparing today to two weeks ago and today to four weeks ago, I can really see a difference.  So, I am choosing to ignore the scale and focus on the changes that I am seeing.  I really like the small changes in the mid-section.  Loosing belly fat is always a good thing!

The first picture is starting vs. now:

The next picture is two weeks ago vs now:

I wanted to really see the differences so I changed shirts for the second picture!  Since I've only managed to lose two pounds in the last two weeks, it does make me happy to see the differences in both pictures!

Steve is finally finished with his meetings and house arrest is over!  So, since I was finally able to get back to the gym, I think I might have overdone it today.  I started out the day doing a group strength class.  It had been highly recommended by someone from another class and I had been looking forward to trying it.  It was hard work – lots of lifting and squatting and crunching.  But, it was actually fun.  It was an hour class and the group kick class was immediately after. 

A bunch of people from the strength class were staying for the kick class so I thought I’d give it a try.  I only made it twenty minutes.  I thought I was going to pass out right there in the back of the classroom.  I did make it out the door and onto a bench before collapsing in a little heap.  So much for two back to back classes.

I’ve been thinking about getting an exercise bike just so I’d have something different to do at the house.  So, we went and tried a couple bikes at the store.  I definitely got a workout trying the different bikes.  But, by the time we got home I was completely exhausted.  The thought of doing anything else was totally out of the question.  So, I don’t know that I made the whole two hours today, but I was pretty close, and it was honestly the best I could do.  Tomorrow is another day.  Of course, I did promise Steve that if I felt this exhausted tomorrow I would take an unscheduled rest day.  Right now it feels like a good idea, but I will wait and see how I feel in the morning.

So, I can’t believe that I’m four weeks in.  I’m trying to remember how long they say it takes to develop a habit, but I have to be at least halfway there by now.  And, I have heard that things magically get easier at six weeks.  It might be a fairy tale, but for now, I choose to believe.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Day 28 - Endorphins and a Miracle!

I finally got to experience the rush of endorphins at the end of a workout!  At lunch today, I did a long, 5-mile DVD.  It was really intense, and I was tired.  But, I noticed that I was in an incredible mood and really happy I had done the workout.  It was a great feeling.  I was hoping it would come back after the second DVD of the day (just a 3 mile) but no such luck.  Still, it was amazing, empowering, and just really reinforced that my body is starting to like the exercise.  (Except of course for the fact that my thighs are screaming in pain!)
But, what was even better had very little to do with exercise.  Michael has seen me do the yoga DVD many times.  Usually, when I ask him if he wants to do it with me, he’ll follow along for a few minutes and then just watch me do the rest, or he’ll wander away.  Tonight, he asked me if I was going to do yoga.  I told him I was too tired from the other videos, but asked him if he wanted to do it himself.  He said yes!  So, he set up the mat all by himself, and needed help getting the DVD set up.  Then, he actually followed the complete workout!

I was so amazed!  So many times you hear that kids with autism have trouble with imitation and following directions.  He listened to every direction and followed it.  And, when he noticed that his body was different from the instructor, he modified.  The level of processing and imitation blew me away; let alone the sheer amount of coordination it took for him to do the poses.  I think family yoga is going to be a new tradition around here.  Or at least cheering him on when he wants to do it himself.  I am STILL beaming with pride.
I can’t believe that tomorrow will be my four week check-in.  I don’t know what the scale will say, but I am really looking forward to the comparison picture.  I think there is going to be a bigger difference this time.  I am really excited about the changes I am seeing, physically and emotionally.  Today I can honestly say that I am so glad to be doing this!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Day 27 - Great walking, great strength training

Today was a much better day.  I guess I slept on the right side of the bed, or something.  I still woke up pretty tired, but after my first cup of coffee, I felt alert and happy.  A very good omen for the day!  It was a really busy day at work, but I still managed to remember to take a break at lunch time and do a four mile video.  Then, when the day was over, it was time for a 3 mile video.  I love the three mile video because it adds some strength training with a theraband.  It really changes up the workout!  Then, after dinner, I went through my yoga poses, just to round things out for the day.  I really feel like it was a great exercise day.
We are done with our current round in the hyperbaric chamber, so that takes one level of stress off of me.  It’s hard to get everything done after school and still make the time for an hour at pressure.  Not to mention the stress of keeping Michael from getting too bored.  (He normally loves going in the chamber, but on days when it’s hot, or he’s bored, my sanity gets a real challenge!)  But, I am going to see if I can find some time for a couple solo dives during the week.  I think the extra pressure and oxygen will do my muscles a world of good.  Not to mention the relaxation of an hour of alone time.  Yes, being locked in a cylinder for an hour can be very relaxing.  Good music, a good book, or just a good imagination can do wonders.

It’s hard to believe that I am almost four weeks into this program!  I am so proud of myself for really falling into a good routine and finding ways to make it work.  I do get frustrated with myself for not being able to do more.  But, someone told me that what I was doing is equivalent to taking a car that had been in storage for twenty years and driving it across country.  There are bound to be bumps along the way!  (But, I did at least get a check up and make sure that it was safe.  So that’s one point in my favor.) So, as I get stronger, my exercise choices will get better and the workouts will get better too.  That is definitely something to look forward to!

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Day 26 - Cranky and Grumpy

OK, a warning.  I’ve been grumpy, cranky and irritable all day.  Keep reading at your own peril!  So, maybe it’s not so bad, but wow, I just don’t feel like myself today.  I had a meeting for work first thing today, so that threw off my schedule a bit.  And, it was really hot and humid.  Maybe that has something to do with it.  Or, maybe it’s just an off day.

But, no matter my mood, I did force myself to get the exercise in.  I did an hour video at lunch time.  That did help some.  It was nice to let out my aggression by stomping, I mean walking.  Then, when work was done, I did half an hour on the elliptical and then my yoga DVD.  I actually think the workouts were good.  They were intense, and focused.  Just everything around them seemed off.
But, I got a nice surprise and was able to spend some time with Steve this evening.  I cannot wait for this week to be over so we can go back to our ‘normal’ schedule.  Of course, him being gone so much lately probably hasn’t helped my mood any.  But, the week is almost over, and we’ll get through.  Is it too early to be looking forward to weekend?

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Day 25 - Surprise Family Support

Today was a great day.  My Aunt, who absolutely hates computers signed up for facebook just so she can follow the blog and support me.  I can’t express how happy and loved that made me feel.  I know how much my family loves and supports me, but that extra step was beyond impressive!  Thank you Aunt Joan!
Other than that, it’s been a pretty quiet, restful day.  I got home from work a little late, and went right into the hyperbaric chamber with Michael.  I think I dozed on and off for most of the session.  When we were finished, I noticed it was just slightly easier to get out tonight.  My legs are getting stronger, and my stomach isn’t getting in the way of my legs as much.  That’s real progress.
Tomorrow will be another busy day.  I have meetings in the morning, so I am hoping to be back in time to work out at lunch time, and then again after work.  Michael has a swim lesson in the afternoon, so I’ll have the house to myself for a little while.  That’s always good for an extra intense session!

So, another rest day finished, another 6 days of working out ahead of me.  I’m sad that the rest is over, but really excited to see what I can do tomorrow.  Sweet dreams!

Monday, August 6, 2012

Day 24 - Physical Exhaustion

I think I overdid it a little bit today.  I did 20 minutes of strength training, 45 minutes on the elliptical, and 4 miles of walking videos.  I don’t know why it seems like too much today.  Maybe it’s the heat and/or humidity, or maybe it’s just been a week since my last day off.  No matter what the reason, I am just really, really beat tonight.  Everything is sore, and my body temperature still hasn’t come down after the last exercise session.  So, I think I’m going to keep this post super short and just rest and recover.  Hopefully, I’ll be back stronger tomorrow.  And, since it’s a rest day tomorrow, I have great hopes for Wednesday’s exercise.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Day 23 - A Quiet, but Busy Day

This weekend seems to have flown by.  Today was a really busy day, but a good one.  Michael woke up this morning and decided that his hair was too long and he needed a haircut.  Now, this is a child who has severe sensory issues and has been terrified of haircuts since he was a toddler.  But, we’ve been taking him to the same lady ever since his second haircut.  She understands him, and he trusts her.  About as perfect as a relationship as you can have with a hair stylist!  So, off we went for a haircut.  I’m sure he’s a lot more comfortable with his hair out of his eyes and off his neck.  And, of course, he looks adorable.
After the haircut, we came home and I did a five mile video.  It seemed easier yesterday.  But, even though I drank about 40 ounces of green tea during the walk, I did manage to finish.  I was really tired, but I had promised Michael that if he let me exercise w/o interrupting, I would give him a bubble bath – one of his favorite treats.  So, up the stairs with my sore knees.  But, while he was in the tub I managed to fold one load of laundry and get another one into the washer.  Not bad!
After the bath, we came back downstairs and ha some quiet time.  Michael played on his tablet and I played on facebook.  We had some lunch and just relaxed for a while.  Then, it was time for 45 minutes on the elliptical.  As good as it is to listen to a fiction book on tape while you exercise, it’s even better to listen to an exercise focused book.  I’ve been reading “Younger Next Year, For Women”.  It really fits in well with the program I’ve already started, so it’s really motivating.  The idea of being in better shape at 45 than I ever was at 25 is definitely appealing!

Now, I haven’t been complaining as much about my knees lately, but they still do get sore and tired – even with the magnesium spray.  So, I asked Michael to go upstairs and move the laundry from the washer to the drier and turn it on.  He did!  Then, later, I asked him to take it out and put the laundry basket on my bed.  It took him two trips to do both tasks, but he did it!  As wonderful as it was to save two trips on the stairs, I was so proud of him for learning a new skill.  He’s watched me and Steve do laundry millions of times, but it was great to see he was actually paying attention and could do it himself!  Now, if only I could teach him to fold!
So, overall, it’s been a great day.  I got my exercise in, tracked my food on My Fitness Pal, got several chores done, and had some quality time with Michael.  Pretty soon, I’ll be spending quality time with my pillow.  Have a great night!

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Day 22 - Week 3 Results

I woke up this morning excited to do my weekly weigh in.  Then I got on the scale and saw 337.5.  I was so disappointed.  An entire week of diet and exercise, with only one pound to show for it.  But then, I did something smart.  I turned to my friends on facebook and they really helped me get over myself.  I’m still down over ten pounds since I started, and ten and a half pounds in three weeks isn’t bad!  Another friend was kind enough to point out that it’s like getting rid of two 5 pound bags of sugar.  So yeah, that’s worth celebrating.

Another friend wanted to know if I was eating enough.  Since I’ve been eating to hunger, and following the Paleo plan to the letter, I hadn’t been tracking calories.  But, she got me curious.  So, I recorded everything I ate today, which was a pretty typical day.  It came in right at 1500 calories.  For my size, I think that’s fairly respectable.  Not too high, not too low.  I’ll probably chart another couple days just to see if I really am as consistent as I think I am.
Another voice in my head reminded me that the scale isn’t the only way for me to judge progress.  I really hate tape measures (probably because I can’t find one big enough to measure my hips), so I specifically did not take starting measurements.  But, I am anxious to see what my next progress picture will look like.  That should tell me for sure that my hard work is paying off.  I am also going to keep a closer eye on my clothes and see if/when they start to feel looser.

Once I got over myself and decided that I wasn’t a complete failure this week, it was time to get started on the exercise.  I am really enjoying the walking videos, so I decided to do two of them today.  I did a total of nine miles!  Me, who could barely make it through a two mile video without collapsing.  I am beyond proud of myself. 
In addition to the obviously increased endurance, I found another pleasant surprise today.  During the hamstring curls, I realized that the range of motion in my knees was much, much better.  I could actually kick back further without a sharp pain in my knees.  That was totally amazing, and a complete surprise.  I don’t think I will be ready to move up to the really intense workouts anytime soon, but I am actually able to increase the intensity of the workouts I am doing.  That just makes me smile.

So, I am three weeks into the program and getting really excited.  I’m not in as much pain as I was when I started, I’m seeing results in several areas, and I am realizing just what wonderful, supportive friends I have.  Not only can I do this, I AM doing this!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 21 - Fabulous Friday!

Fridays are one of my favorite days!  When it is so hot and humid, I really just want to stay in the house and enjoy the air conditioning.  I was lucky that it was a pretty low key day at work, and I was able to get a great four mile video done at lunch time.  Then, I was able to do 30 minutes on the elliptical after work, and 30 minutes of yoga before dinner.  All in all, a successful day!

I had halfway hoped to get to the gym and go through the trainer assisted circuit, but they are only there until noon on Fridays, and that just didn’t work.  But, there is enough strength training in my videos, yoga, and water aerobics that I’m not worried.  I’ll need to add more focused strength training as I get more into the routine.  But for now, I’m happy with how things are.
I am so excited for the weekend.  Steve will be gone most of the weekend, so it should be fairly quiet.  Michael is like me and has no desire to go outside when it’s hot.  So, we will probably stay home and play video games together most of the weekend.  I know, it’s not good for either of us to hide inside, but sometimes, it’s nice to just hang out and enjoy a quiet day.  And, since he’ll have lots of time with my brother-in-law, I am going to hope for another 7 mile day.  That would be quite an accomplishment for me.

My best tip of the day is to always keep iced green tea in the refrigerator.  We buy loose tea leaves and brew it in an iced tea brewer.  It’s so much better than buying tea bags!  I have drunk over a gallon today and still feel thirsty.  That probably means I’ve gotten a little dehydrated this week, but I can’t figure out how.  I’ve been drinking water and tea all week, but somehow it just doesn’t seem like enough.  Then again, it really has been especially hot and humid this week!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Day 20 - Getting Creative, and Stubborn

Today was definitely a challenge.  I knew that it was going to be a full day, and that if I wanted to get my exercise in, I would have to start before work.  So, I got up at 5 am and did a 4 mile walking video.  I was really sleepy, but still managed to work up a good sweat.  Then, I showered, got dressed and got in the car.  I had a full day at work, then picked up a friend from the airport and brought them home for dinner.  I felt really bad that I was watching the clock at dinner wondering how I was going to get another hour of exercise in before bed!   It was a huge rush to get another 3 mile video in, and then get into the hyperbaric chamber with Michael, but I did it.  I finished off with some deep yoga breathing in the chamber to round out the day.

I am really proud of myself for planning ahead and getting everything in.  The ‘old’ me would have thrown up my hands and said it just wasn’t possible; that I needed to make choices, compromises.  The ‘new’ me figured out a way to make it happen.  It wasn’t perfect, but I am so proud of myself and my new priorities.
That said, getting up at 5 am and exercising for an hour was HARD!  Really, really hard.  But, once I was done, I felt like I had crossed a huge bridge.  If I really am committed to this goal, then some days are going to be hard.  If it was easy, I would have done this twenty years ago, right?

So, I don’t really have a tip today.  But I did realize that while there are going to be times when I truly can’t get everything in, there are going to be just as many times (if not more) that I am just going to have to get creative.  Who knows, maybe my stubborn streak will finally pay off!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 19 - Mixed Emotions and House Arrest

I am so glad I went to bed early last night.  Today, when I was exercising, I actually was able to enjoy the movement.  Instead of counting every minute in the first video, I was actually smiling and listening to the music.  That is a huge milestone for me.  I vaguely remember enjoying exercise before, but this is the first time since starting this project that it hasn’t been pure torture.  Now, the second video I did was a lot harder, but I got through it.  Then, I finished up with a quick fifteen minutes on the elliptical.  That was actually kinda fun.  I am really excited that my body might be starting to get used to the exercise again!
I’m a little bummed that my husband has a lot going on for the next couple weeks, so I am stuck at home in the evenings, and probably over the weekend, too.  That means no evening classes at the gym.  I’ll survive, but I was just starting to enjoy the variety.  But, it’s only a couple weeks.  I’ll live.  Anyone want to come sit with Michael so I can go exercise?  I didn’t think so.
One thing I will highly recommend is seeing if your library has digital books on tape.  I can go to a website, check audio books out with my library card, and download them right to my phone.  Then, just set up with some earphones and time on the elliptical just speeds by.  Well, at least if the book is interesting.  I never really thought I’d like audio books, but they do keep my attention more than listening to music.  Although, the music does let you zone out easier.  Just another option!
I guess that’s about all for tonight.  I am picking a friend up from the airport tomorrow after work, so I have to get at least an hour of exercise in before heading in to the office in the morning.  That means getting up before 5am.  So, I am going to see if I can get to bed before ten and get at least seven hours of sleep.  Fun stuff.  Good night!