A Great Workout and an AMT Review

My posts tend to get pretty heavy and pedantic. I don’t really write to delight or keep the attention of my readers (although I appreciate all of you!). But I also don’t like keeping a negative focus. So, I have good news and a much shorter post this time around.

Last night I watched my heart rate climb, felt sweat pouring down my brow, coached myself through two cramps, and ran my heart out on an AMT for 20 minutes. I gave it my all! There was something gratifying about being the heaviest person in the little line of machines and going faster than all of them with my head in the game. I stepped down and the pay off was immediate- my legs felt like they weighed a ton each but I was so pumped.
Have you seen an AMT? They are like ellipticals 2.0. but so much more. It stands for Adaptive Motion Trainer and the beauty of it is a more fluid motion and broad range in strides.

 

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                          The AMT-885 from Precor                             Photo Credit: amtfitness.com

 

Imagine a machine that allows you to bounce so that your movement isn’t rigid and isn’t guided by a track or wheel. You can bounce up and down like skipping on a jumprope or swing your legs far apart and feel like prancing gazelle. You can change your stride length from zero to thirty-six. You get a full range that feels like you’re running on air without the pounding of a treadmill or the stiffness of a crosstrainer or elliptical. You can go up and down like climbing stairs or do big large ovals like treading water.

I like that this is much less impact than running on a treadmill or on concrete but still gives enough bounce to get the benefits of some impact. Impact is a friend and foe to one’s body, especially with obesity. I know that some impact on my bones and joints is a way to keep them healthy and strong but I also know that high impact exercises work against my body since I’m carrying way more weight on my frame than I should. When I first tried this machine at my gym, my knees were not happy. I was dealing with knee problems and so I approached this machine carefully and tried to limit my time on it to 10 minutes initially. I found the impact really helped and feel my knees to my knowledge are benefitting from it!
I typically do 20-25 minutes of cardio followed by weight machines and then wrap it up with another 5-15 minutes of cardio at a more leisurely pace for cool down. I’d like to increase that number to 35 minutes of cardio, some weight machine, some free weights, and a 10 minute cool down.

I have a book coming my way to help me learn more about the machines and exercise moves so I can confidently do them with the right form and knowing what muscle areas they target.

If you have this type of machine available at your gym but have been intimidated to try it, I say give it a go! It’s so much fun!

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Fitbit Bits #4

I still haven’t strapped my fitbit back on since the whole cord fiasco. I’ve gotta eat crow for that. But moving on…

I’m moving!

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That’s a screen capture from yesterday. I use an app called Swarm to privately log in my workouts. Only my friends on the app see my check ins.

My boyfriend is on board with the gym too and that makes keeping the commitment so much easier because on nights we see each other we plan it into our schedule. We do our own thing at the gym but it’s still nice to have a buddy go with you. He lives too far to work out consistently with me but we usually get a gym workout in on Mondays and Wednesdays.

My parents made some hurtful comments last night about me being too busy and that I should focus on myself and my health. Well, yes, I should keep my health a priority, but what the heck guys, what do you think my gym stints and passes on your junk food offerings are? Chopped liver? It makes me upset because it negates all that I am doing and makes me feel like all they see is my outer self. Yes, I don’t look like I’ve lost an impressive amount of weight, boo-fricking-hoo. If they’re going to just judge me by appearance than I will never have their approval. Which is why at this point, I don’t care what anyone thinks, except that if they don’t have words of encouragement, I don’t wanna hear it. It hurts me more because blog-as-my-witness, I’ve told them that after the event this Saturday and my bible study wraps up 1&2 Thessalonians, I am keeping my schedule more open for organizing, cleaning, working out, eating right, etc. They know my intentions and yet keep ignorantly commenting.

On the plus side, I feel better in my clothes even though the scale isn’t moving much. I’m dealing with water retention problems after hard workouts and still haven’t found a good solution. And my event this Saturday is going to be awesome and all the work everyone is doing behind the scenes is worth it. We’ve raised nearly 30K so far for foster youth and that’s before  event day of donations and our silent auction!

Keeping Quiet and Short Term Goals

I like that I have some anonymity here. Sure, I’ve got close friends that read my blog, but they are inner circle people that I don’t mind a little soul spilling to. I’ve been in a funk this month and haven’t been faithful to diet and exercise. But I feel like now that visitors and memorials and other hard things are over, I can better refocus. I know that’s a common theme here and one of my setbacks.

This time I’m keeping quiet in real life. People know I try to eat healthy. People know that I need to lose weight and WANT to lose weight. In fact, there are ladies from my previous church who have seen me at THM meetings and while they whittle their waistline, they probably wonder why I’m not improving dramatically. And that’s when shame sets in. It’s a little bit of progress comparison but mostly realizing that I’m the one that effs things up because I don’t stay focused. From the pinterest posts and fitness memes that shout YOU HAVE NO EXCUSES, to jaw dropping before and after pictures on my THM page, I feel a bit bombarded. In my head, even though they’re positive pictures, they translate to ‘YOU KEEP FAILING YOURSELF and LOOK WHERE YOU COULD BE NOW.’

So mum is the word. No one needs to know what I’m doing because they don’t understand my struggle. And I don’t need positive posts that end up tasting sour in my mouth. I’m letting my diet group go dark and keeping away from fitness posts. I’m not going to talk about weight loss journey with others for a while. I’m just going to push myself and go lalalalalala when I see some crazy 50 lb loss in 6 months or hear my mom blabber on about some new breakthrough weight loss research. I just need to listen to me.

I did something I’ve never done before – I succumbed to weight fear and paid an extra $80 to upgrade my airline seats for a trip. I was fearful, literally, fearful, that I wouldn’t fit. I thought about the shame of being told I’d need to buy another seat and how it would melt away all the self-confidence I’ve worked on building. I’m fearful because I know I’m that big. I’m the end-of-the-airline-seatbelt big. I’m hold-my-shoulders-in-so-the-flight attendant-doesn’t-bump-into-me big. Since I’m flying on a budget airline with smaller everything, I just couldn’t risk smaller than industry standard seats.

So now I have a 2 month goal. I have something to look forward to and fight for.  Sure, I still have upgraded seats, but I’m determined not to feel like I’m spilling out of it with what little time I have to work towards it. The upgraded seats are only 2″ wider. It’s not going to make a huge difference. But, I can work on toning my flabby body to help. And I can eat good on plan foods that will dramatically improve any bloat or water retention I’d have otherwise from bad eating. And feel good from diet and exercise, I can use that energy to play with my nephews and not sweat the homemade meals my friend makes that do not fit my diet.

Ideally, I’d like to aim for a 15-25 lb loss and hit the gym 5x a week until my flight. I won’t say anything outside of here though. I’ll just push myself and hope results speak for themselves one day. The race I’m helping with is late April, and I figure that even though I’m not running, since I’m helping with the event, it would be great to show up with lots of energy and endurance for a full day of running around and interacting with people who run and are fit. It’s like an armor of confidence I can wear knowing I’m working hard at my goals even though I’m not where I want to be yet.

Let’s see how far I can go. Let’s see where I am in late May from pushing myself and listening to myself.

Fitbit Bits #3

So yeah, this fitbit bit doesn’t really involve my fitbit, it’s just here for accountability. 

My poor cord to charge my fitbit is missing (confession: messy room problems) and I haven’t worn my Charge in nearly 2 weeks. I’m not a watch or bracelet person, but I have grown pretty accustomed to my Charge. I feel a little naked without it. Not only is it a good visual cheerleader, it’s an awesome fidgeting device when my anxiety rears its ugly head. If I don’t find it this week, I am going to buy another cord so I can keep chugging along.

I lost my uncle the night (early morning) of my birthday and that week was very trying. I gave into some stress eating during that point and was too emotional to care but too rational to not mentally note it wasn’t okay. I’m giving myself grace and moving on.

Here’s how I’m doing in the weight department. You can see where I let myself go during the holidays and that while slow, I’m steadily declining again. I probably gained 2-3 pounds my birthday week but I didn’t track it and I’m back where I was before the stress eating. Screen Shot 2016-02-23 at 2.36.12 PM

Each horizontal line above is about 10 pounds. So if you’re looking at the first week of December onwards, no I didn’t put on 50 pounds. LOL. I think what happened is that in November I stopped tracking (on myfitnesspal) and then got honest, thus the jump, too. And then a gradual decline as I got my fitbit and refocused.

I have one large commitment coming to an end today. That frees up an afternoon to be a gym day. And, beginning in May, the non-profit I help’s big event will be done for the year. So yay, sleeping in on Saturdays and more time to work out!

I haven’t followed up on my commitment to exercise at all. So I guess you could say, I haven’t committed yet. I do a lot of conscious walking but I haven’t added workout tapes or gym stints to the mix. At this point in time, I’d rather focus on toning and getting back into shape than seeing the pounds drop. I just need to make it a bigger priority.

Some hurtful comments were made and I did some crying last weekend. I’m shaking it off, however, and not letting it become a disappointment. When people say judgemental things, even when well meaning, they hurt.  But if I let their words fester it does me no good.

Short Term Goal:
Gym 2x a week, home workout 1x a week, 8-12 pounds lost by the end of March. 


Long Term Goal:
Gym 3x a week, home work out 2x a week, 25-30 pounds by end of May. 

Fitbit Bits – Post #2

I kicked butt yesterday/last week!

Average workday steps: 3500-5000
Average weekend/days off steps: 7000-10000
Gym Routine: Not established yet but going when I can
Badges:  5k steps, 10k steps, 26 miles, 70 miles, 10 floors, 25 floors – New!
Short Term Goal: 3 gym days, tone up and lose weight/inches for flights
Long Term Goal:  5 workouts/week, fit into a size 14/16 and set second/final size goal
Weight Lost: 3 Pounds – New!


I’m not good at syncing every day but it keeps track anyway so when I synced yesterday I earned the 10 Floors that morning and went on to earn 25 Floors and 70 miles late that evening!

Take a look at my floors yesterday. The step count looks meager but that is because the stairmaster is a monster and 30 steps = 1 flight!

I’m suffering a little jello leg syndrome but my goal was to uncomfortably push my endurance. I activated some awesome leg muscles and pushed my lungs with the incline and not resting between several floors. I didn’t do 37 back to back. That WOULD be crazy. But I did about 7-10 and would rest.

I finally saw some scale victory this week – THREE pounds! I tend not to lose at all, but when I do, it’s usually a cluster and then nothing. We’ll see how it goes this week.

My dad hit a long plateau with his weight loss and I offered to help him do my eating style with him to see if it helps. That is going to keep me extra accountable and may even encourage me to try some new recipes now that it’d be for more than me! And my boyfriend went out a few weeks after I got my fitbit and bought one for himself [that was the plan all along, mwhahaha, to get him to want one] and so I have an accountability partner in a sense with us both owning trackers. He’s more active on the job than I am but less active outside of work. With his tracker he is now going out of his way to fit in walks. I love that we’re both working towards better health.

On Monday nights, my boyfriend comes over for dinner. I usually make a trim healthy mama dish and he doesn’t mind. Now we’re adding in walks and hopefully as it warms up, hikes to the mix.

I have a lot more to improve, especially in gym routine, so I’m excited to see potentially more progress as I work on my goals.

 

Waiting for a Congratulatory Vibration

I like my fitbit. It’s like a metaphoric little red string that tells me “Don’t forget to move around!” I need this visual reminder and instead of viewing it as a manacle for movement I see it as a helper – that red string that gently reminds.

I just synced myfitnesspal with it so now I can be more on top of my food tracking too.

As someone who gets tense easily and nervous around people, I also like that it’s a thing I can fidget with.

I haven’t had a chance to get the gym ball rolling. It’s Christmas this Friday and I have a family of four spending a few days at our house. There is no time for the gym. Excuses? Yes. Valid ones.

On a minimal activity day (aka wake, work, computer, sleep) I get as little as 2500 steps. On days where I spend some time shopping or take a  short walk with the dog, I get about 5,000.

I still have yet to obtain the IDEAL minimum – which is 10,000 steps. I heard that at this number your fitbit vibrates and tells you good job for meeting that requirement. Like a little pat on the back. I want a pat on the back. I’m still working on my congratulatory vibration. 🙂

Heavier Than Ever. Literally.

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This has been a rough end of the year. I’ve had many good things come out of it and can’t say there hasn’t been happy times, but overall? Rough.

Moving.
New Commitments.
Depression and Anxiety.

I can’t use these things as excuses, but I can say they’ve played a part.

I have a big confession.

I’m the heaviest weight I’ve ever been my whole life. And I’ve given into emotional eating the last few months.

I’ve got to change. And not half-heartedly. This is an all time high for weight and emotionally an all time self-esteem low.

I got invited to a 10 week challenge and I can’t even do it. I can’t take a picture of my weight where it is. Even if it’s only that person knowing where I started.

I need to sit down with my household and let them know I can’t keep going on like this. I need their encouragement and accountability.  I need to schedule time to make food on the weekends and during the week. I need to define a workout schedule too.  And I need to be true to my desires and ACT on exercise and eating right rather than just acknowledging it.

First Ideal Goal: 28 pounds by my birthday in February.

That gives me 7 weeks. That means 4 pounds a week. Probably not ideal for long term loss as the aim should be 2ish pounds a week and I lose slow anyway. But I know I have some holiday and carb weight that should drop fairly easily (about 10 pounds) and will figure a tapering after that.

I don’t want to seem like a hypocrite. I don’t want to share health advice and seem like I’m doing great when I’m not. But I do know better and need to follow what I know is good for me.

First hurdles – 10 pounds gone

I’d like to pretend losing the first 10 pounds is a big deal, but while 10 pounds may be half, or a quarter even, of someone’s goal, 10 pounds is a measly tenth of mine and if I’m completely honest, I’d say I have more than that to ideally lose.

10 pounds is about all I lose when I try, and so instead of feeling accomplished, I feel trepidation and worry that’s as far as I’ll get. That’s where I cap off…that’s where my focus strays as the pounds get harder to peel off.

So, I’m scared. But I’m confident even though I worry. Instead of seeing a long line of hurdles ahead of me, I’m going to see myself as a person jumping each hurdle ten pounds lighter at a time…I can do this, and each time, there’s less of me going forward.

I’m ready to prepare for leap number two. I’m ready to stop feeling stuck. The truth is I’m comfortable with my body but my health is showing me that I’ve reached a point I can’t handle. I’ve had more breathing problems as of late and know dropping as little as 25 pounds might make a big difference. Can I get past the next hurdle and halfway to third for better blood pressure and breathing? I’m going to try…

Being Obese at an Age of “Good Metabolism”

I was an overweight kid, fat teen, and am an obese adult. I won’t sugarcoat my condition with “nicer” terms. Weight has been a struggle all of my life. I believe it’s a combination of things: hereditary (thanks, Dad!), poor exercise habits, a penchant for sweets, and underlying health issues. I’ve always eaten healthy – let’s be clear on that. My parents made sure to incorporate copious amounts of veggies in each meal and they were balanced. I had a tendency to overeat meals I really enjoyed, while other times I ate a very reasonable portion. We did not bake cookies and keep sweets around the house nor did I get processed snacks in my lunchbox. We hardly ever ate out.

As a working teen, I had the money and ability to drive myself around and eat/buy junk. Sugary coffee drinks and smoothies became a popular way of hanging out and catching up with friends. In college, starving student me sometimes cut corners and picked fries and a burger over the salad at the student cafe because frankly, I wanted to stay full and a burger+fry combo was $4.50 and a salad was $7.00. Add to that many sleepless nights attributed to projects and studying, and you have obese Laura.

What I didn’t understand as tween and teen was that the sluggishness I felt and intolerance for cold were tell-tale signs of a thyroid condition. It wasn’t until 20 that I was officially tested and found out I had hypothyroidism. That was the missing piece to the weight condition puzzle. Beyond weight, I need help with function to help my body work better. I was on medication for a few years and got to a point where my thyroid levels were about right. It’s been two years since I needed medication, but I feel signs that it is low again, so I will be testing my levels again.

This is my story. I understand that maybe Erica grew up getting McDonalds every day after school, also couldn’t care less about exercise, and enjoyed sugary drinks like me and made it into adulthood with a svelte figure. We’re built differently. I possibly even ate much better than her and more nutritiously, but we still have a 100 pound difference between us.

It’s rough having to be more conscious about your body at an age where many of your peers are able to eat whatever they want and don’t need to focus on weight loss. It’s rough when ads for your age group are for stores you don’t fit, and styles don’t flatter your body type. Sometimes it feels unfair knowing that having a burger and fries will affect my weight more than my friends. But I get it – I get that we are all different. I get that being conscious now means I will be making better body choices now as a quarter-lifer that hopefully save me from health problems midlife.

I’m glad that there is a plus size movement encouraging overweight women to be comfortable with who they are at their size. I have been grateful for the stores selling plus size fashion so I can wear flattering styles like my peers. I’m happy that people are taking a message of body positivity – to be happy being you at any size. And while certain bloggers and exercise gurus are wagging their fingers at a movement that encourages acceptance of an unhealthy weight, remember that I was eating chicken and broccoli while Erica was piling her plate with pasta. We each have a journey of health. Mine is losing weight and continuing to better portion and find what works for my body while maybe Erica’s is incorporating a more balanced plate but not needing any portion restrictions. I’m finding a new confidence in myself as I own who I am and see myself as more than just my weight. I’m making better food choices, making most of my meals at home, trying out new exercise techniques, and more committed to self-improvement as a whole.