On Exercise, Injuries, and More on Patience…

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Since I was writing yesterday about patience in the weight loss process, it flows that I touch on another connected topic that has to do with exercise:  the exercise injury (pain; soreness; etc.).  The reason being, for the past couple of days I’ve had a very sore muscle in the arch of my left foot that’s been slowing me down going to the gym and walking, two key areas of my current regular exercise routine. 

I started this latest weight loss adventure at over 300 lbs, and from the beginning I wanted to incorporate exercise.  I want to say first off:  (1) I was a big baby and did want to exercise, heh heh; (2) I was in HORRIBLE shape and almost any exercise felt like a big chore; (3) I had never been an exerciser or sporty person, in fact I’d actively avoided sports (I’ve been heavy since I was a kid), and had a certain mindset that I was too big to do most exercises.

I began walking in my neighborhood, and at home doing routines like marching in place, side bends, leg lifts, etc.  As to walking, I didn’t have to go far before I’d suffer from lactic acid build up in the muscles of my legs.  Painful and discouraging!  Marching in place, after a time, made my knees sore (to the point I had to stop for a while).  Plus, I grew to the point where I hated marching in place.  I think it’s a good exercise, but man, I got so sick of it!  I moved on to other exercises that I enjoy more, and I since joined a gym.

So let’s talk about the gym! 

I signed up at my neighborhood Y when I weighed 270 pounds (mid 2005).  I was a big scaredy cat about it, dragged my bf with me the first few times.  I thought I’d be the hugest person there, that everyone would look at me, that I’d embarrass myself, etc.  Wasn’t true, and didn’t happen.  Despite my exercising at home and my walks, I still was not in very good physical condition.  I could barely do 3 minutes on the elliptical, and after a short work out on the treadmill and some resistance machines, I’d feel ill walking home (even called bf to walk me once).  I started going one to two times a week, upped it to three.  Slowed increased the time on the aerobic machines, tried different machines.  Learned how to use the resistance machines and slowly increased the weights there. 

I was too self conscious to really ask for any help with it (luckily, bf has a good knowledge, I relied on him).  Over time, I dropped about 20lbs.  A little aside, I thought the fat would melt because I was GOING TO A GYM.  Au contraire, since I didn’t have the diet consistently where it needed to be.  My stamina increased, my body toned, I felt mentally better.  On the one hand, going slowly I have stuck with it and still enjoy going after all these years.  On the other, I’ve had to be patient about the fact that I’d been going all those years and wasn’t closer to my goal. 

In January 2009, I made the decision to hire a trainer, since I’d been in the 250s for about 3 years, up and down with the same 5 lbs or so.  I didn’t lose weight at first, since I still wasn’t cutting out the extra eating, but I got into better shape, increased my upper body strength, learned new exercises and how to build my core, increased my confidence and motivated myself to do better with my diet.  I’m 242 now, and feeling very positive.

Back for a sec to the original topic, I’ve had physical and life setbacks that have kept me from going to the gym from time to time, and I do have to push myself sometimes, in those instances, to get back into it.  Sometimes I’ve gone to another Y just to have change (plus, the other Y has a nice pool). 

I can’t express how nice it is to feel these physical differences, less weight, better stamina, better shape, built up tone and muscles.  Wow, and my work did it.  I need to acknowledge that, and stop criticizing myself for not doing more faster; maybe, too, I can be less afraid to challenge myself.

Patience and the Weight Loss Process

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Ok, so today I get on the scale, and I see the number I’ve been waiting for for about a week now:  242.  Yippee! says I.  In fact, I could hardly wait to log onto 3FC to change all my stats, on my ticker, on my profile, on my Fall Equinox Challenge countdown.  I hit “preview” for my ticker, see 9 lbs down, and my big grin fades a little as I think….only 9 lbs?  Geez louise, how many times have I written encouraging posts to women here like “ONLY X lbs lost?  you’re doing great!  keep up the good work!  go pick up X pounds to see what that feels like, it’s significant amount of weight!” etc., etc.  Ok, Margie, time to live by your own words! ha!

Nine pounds since the beginning of June is about one pound per week, which is a good weight loss.  Believe me, I’d much rather be without that 9 lbs.  I have a pair of pants, with shorter legs, made of a lighter fabric, that I only wear in the summer.   They were a little large on me last year, I have them on today (just to wear in the house, since it’s so uncomfortable weather wise), and I can pull them down without unbuttoning them(!) 

I measured my hips the other day, 45″.  I think when I said 47″ below I might have been off by an inch (meaning I was actually 46″).  I keep all this stuff in a written journal, my inches over time.  I measured my hips at the beginning of this journey:  55″.  I’ve lost 10″ off my hips.  Kind of amazing to think of that.

The end thought for this post, YES, it takes patience and perseverence.  I’m so happy I’m doing it, the results are slow for me, but wow, what results!

Thoughts on Body Image

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I’ve been reading lots of posts about body image lately.  I find the topic interesting, since emotionally I can be so all over the place on how I feel about my body.   Probably with the exception of the first few years of my life, I’ve been overweight, then obese. 

Here’s me, in the blue, at age 5, a little chubby…



Looking at the BMI calculator (which I personally believe has it’s limitations and only should be used as a general guide) at the at the NIH site, to be classified as overweight, I need to be 200 or under, to be in a normal weight range, I need to be 170.  So, once I’ve lost a little over 40 lbs, I will be “overweight.”  I wonder what my mind will think of that body?

Sometimes I look at myself now, at my obese 243, and I think I look hugely fat (probably during times of PMS and when I’ve gained any weight).  Other times I feel I look attractive, even sexy (when I’ve lost weight or bought something new to wear that I think looks cute on me).  Other times like a large woman working on losing weight (when my brain is in a calm place).  I don’t know how much change in my mental image of my physical self from being over 300 to now has really taken place.  I know I feel different physically, tremendously different.  And socially I feel much more comfortable, I’m much less sad/depressed too.  I feel calmer and more centered.

I’ve read posts by woman who say sometimes they still see that woman in the mirror they were at their heaviest, will that be true for me?  I do take pics, and have one posted here on my blog, of me at a much heavier weight.  I really do want to know what it feels like to be at a normal weight, and to have my brain go there with me.  It will be new territory for me, which is exciting and scary.  I wonder if I’ll ever get to the point where my feelings about my body, and how I see it will take more of a back seat in terms of my life focus, which I think it should.  The whole weight loss process takes so much effort, and work, and mindfulness (at least for me now), that I really have let it become a big slice of what occupies my brain.  I think as I go along, I would like to work away from that.

The Backward Completion Principle

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Funny, when I graduated college, oh so many years ago…, heh heh, I had started to gain weight, and no, I was no skinny chick, I was 240.  Now, I’m about 3 lbs away from that and I feel so absolutely….thrilled about it!  It’s like the backwards completion principle, seeing the numbers going back down.  Even though it’s a little embarrassing to admit that my college weight was that high.  Seems like women like to quote their college weight as being when they were young and svelte, ha.

A strange thing, I feel much bigger now then I did at the end of college.   At least that’s how I’m remembering it.  And truth be told, I must have less fat because I’m definitely more muscular now.  I also have more lose skin, sigh.  That I can deal with, because getting the weight off is a golden gift to myself. 

At my lowest in college, I think I must have been around 200.  Here’s a pic of me around then, looking much fresher, ha.  At least I’m eating healthily, a yogurt!  I may have been 210.

July and Independence

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This is pre-TOM week, so I’m not sure I’ll see a loss.  I have seen losses for the past 3 weeks which is most excellent.  It’s such a head game, not letting the ups and downs get to me.  I have to admit, with the new gym routine I’m doing since I worked with the trainer, it has been a little harder for me to feel as excited about going as much, the routine is more rigorous and longer.  I know a bit of burnout is involved.  I think after I keep doing it for a while, it will get better.  There have been weeks I’ve done it 4 times per week, that’s a challenge, especially in the summer time when it’s nice to go out and have fun.  So I increase my walking and activity, do a little less gym, and eat out more.  The gym 4 times usually has me see good losses.

I’ve picked out a couple of fish recipes to try too, that I got from 3 Fat Chicks.  I really want to start eating more fish.

Here’s a shot of me about 7 lbs heavier, in April 2009.  Boy, do I look tired!  I wasn’t get a lot of sleep then!  My measurements are about 42″ bust, 37″ waist, 47″ hips, on the pear side.