Category Archives: exercise

Icing on the Cake

Life Love and Sugar

I’ve told you that my husband and I decided that we needed to do everything we could to get and stay healthier. We know we can’t control everything – by far – but there are things that we can do that will improve our quality of life and hopefully allow us to spend many more years together.

My husband was diagnosed with Type II diabetes a couple of years ago. We adopted a low carb diet and each of us lost some weight, but we needed more help. We decided to try Nutrisystem in April, since they had a program that was geared for diabetics (although my husband denies he has diabetes. He calls it a ‘sugar problem.’) Whatever you CALL it, it had already resulted in pain in his legs and feet and double vision, among other symptoms.  He was turned down for term life insurance. We had to go for the no exam type for low coverage and high premiums.

We had our quarterly doctor’s appointment in August. My husband’s A1C was almost NORMAL. (Isn’t that a lovely word?)  The doctor says if he keeps improving the way he’s been going, he might be able to stop taking the blood sugar medicine altogether in the future! Besides losing weight – since he has tried to cut out as much sugar as possible – the double vision is gone. The pain in his feet and legs is gone.

My blood test numbers were up to 65 points improved in all areas. I had been high in everything, even on the low carb diet, so this was a huge improvement. The doctor was really pleased and said I didn’t need to come back for 6 MONTHS!  My husband has one more 3 month appt in November, and if he has continued to do well, he’ll move to 6 MONTH appts, too!

The icing on the cake – and peace of mind – is that yesterday we found out he had been ACCEPTED by the insurance company for a 10-year level term life insurance policy!!! WOO HOO!  The policy we had was due to skyrocket in premiums in November on his birthday….

So losing weight, watching what we’re eating, and trying to get used to what a normal portion is, plus trying to move more (and in MY case, do some real exercise) is improving our quality of life and our chances for living to enjoy it for several years to come.

My husband is almost to his weight goal. He’ll decide what he wants to do when he gets there, but I’m hoping he’ll stick to the Nutrisystem while I’m on it, at least. I still have a long way to go on weight loss – between the low carb and now Nutrisystem programs, I’ve now lost a total of 35 lbs or so and 24 inches – I have a good start.

Lifestyle changing is no picnic. You have to fight the fight in your head and really want to get healthier. We think it’s worth it.

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Filed under Challenges, Changes, DIET!, exercise, Healthy Eating, quality of life, taking care of yourself

I HOPE We’re Getting Somewhere…

I just finished doing 30 minutes on my elliptical trainer in the garage.  My MP3 player wasn’t working for some unknown reason (probably part of the gremlins that are living in our house right now) but I managed to find an old CD player. Listening to music makes all the difference on being able to put in a reasonable amount of time working hard, but staying in the same place.

Another annoyance is that after 30 minutes, my pedometer doesn’t show any more steps than it had when I got on the machine. Apparently the low impact motion of the elliptical doesn’t register as ‘steps’ to the device in my pocket. :0(

We’re on a treadmill around here for many reasons lately. I’ve told you that neither of our regular computers is working right now and I’m on an old laptop we got out of the shop.

We’re waiting for an RMA# for my motherboard to be sent in for repair or replacement. Meanwhile, my husband called ASUS tech support about HIS computer this morning. The guy suggested that maybe his power supply was bad. My husband thanked him, hung up, and then muttered about people not knowing anything and that he’d never had a power supply die. He got the power supply out of my regular computer and tried it in his. It turned out that the guy in tech support was right. Now my husband is busily trying to put his computer back together and see if we can get it going. There may be light at the end of at least one of the gremlin tunnels in the Lewis household!  All appendages are crossed for a resurrected computer!

Meanwhile, since I’m of no use putting computers together, when I get rested a bit more, I’ll head into the living room to do my yoga for the day.

I hope YOUR day is a good one.

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Filed under Challenges, character-building exercises, exercise

Encouragement

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I’m feeling encouraged this morning in my weight loss efforts. I had gotten to this ‘decade’ on the scale recently – put my hands up in jubilation – then apparently ate some lead that day because I gained a pound. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks trying to get that off again. Finally, this morning, I got that off and a bit more. Hooray!

Losing weight is always hard. Losing weight when you are age-challenged, as I am, is even harder. Getting the lard off when you are overweight, old, and are happiest when you are sedentary is the hardest.

My husband and I are making progress, though. And we intend to keep it off once we get to our goals. People are starting to notice that we aren’t carrying as much lard as we used to, and that’s really encouraging. The fact that our doctor noticed because of significant improvement in our latest blood work is even more encouraging. She said that, at the rate we’re going, we both may be able to stop taking some prescriptions!

My husband isn’t exercising at all. I would like it if he would do something he enjoys to get some, but I choose my battles. He’s almost in the normal range on his A1C now, after a high of over 16. I’m so happy for him and proud of his efforts.

I am pushing myself to keep moving more each day. Today I’m starting with the elliptical trainer in the garage, and then I’ll either do yoga, the firming exercises from my walking video, or both.

The biggest thing is that we’re changing our lifestyle. We are on Nutrisystem for the second time after a whole lot of years. Their program has improved, not only in better choices of food, but also encouraging us to prepare our own meals or eat out in the real world for one breakfast, one lunch, one dinner, and one snack each week. They call these “Flex Meals.” This has given us the most trouble – since we tend to gain weight with these. The whole point of this, though, is to learn how to cook in a healthy fashion, which foods now fit with our lifestyle, and most of all, portion control in our controlled environment at home and then out in the real world.

An example is that I cooked scrambled eggs for breakfast this morning – our flex breakfast for the week.  Before we changed our lifestyle, we would have eaten 7 or 8 scrambled eggs between us, two pieces of toast and jelly each, some bacon, plus orange juice and coffee. This morning we shared 5 eggs (my share 2, my husband 3). He had sugar-free hot apple cider. I drank a bottle of water with breakfast and am now having a cup of coffee.

We won’t get any prizes for fast weight loss, but we are slowly getting healthier. We feel better as we shed the lard. I am having less pain in my joints and am working on strengthening my core and improving my balance.

One day at a time.

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Getting the Lard Off – Report 9/7/2018

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As of today, September 7, 2018, I’ve lost 23 pounds and 23-1/2 inches. I’m really trying to get to 25 pounds of – as my next interim goal – since the round number sounds so much better than just 23.

The 23-1/2 inches off has resulted in much more comfortable clothes, and – in some cases – giving REALLY too-large clothes to the Veterans Thrift Store in Fort Smith.  This is mostly jeans and slacks, since I really like loose tops, and a LOT of the ones in my closet were too tight for my comfort level. Now most of them are feeling roomy, and that’s a good feeling. Most of the time I can simply pick a top I’d like, not having to worry about whether I can get it on at all or feel comfortable in it. :0)

 

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My exercise is going better now, too. If I can get out to the garage early enough, I am doing 20-30 minutes on my elliptical trainer. I’m looking forward to the change of seasons, breaking the back of our still-too-hot-and-muggy weather so I can try to do the elliptical every other day.

I’m doing yoga every day because I’m beginning to feel a difference in my flexibility. I am now finally able to touch my fingertips to the floor when bending over – after breathing into it and giving my body a chance to ‘give.’ In a seated position, leaning forward and the soles of my feet touching each other, I can ALMOST touch my head to my feet. One day it will come. Best of all, when I finish all my stretching, I FEEL BETTER. My muscles aren’t cramping and there is much less pain in my joints.

When I can stand it, I either walk one mile or two, and do some firming exercises with my “Annoying Leslie” DVD. This is Leslie Sansone, who looks really good and know of what she speaks, but is annoyinlyg bubbly, too enthusiastic, doesn’t stop talking for 2 seconds in a row and has a terrible laugh. Working with her is doing me good and I’m grateful I have the video.

I find I stiffen up if I don’t do some exercise each day, so that encourages me to keep on keepin’ on. There is no way in the WORLD I can keep up with my sister-in-law in Charlotte, who routinely walks and dances her way past 10,000 steps a day, but she is kind, as well, encouraging me to move my lard each and every day.

Hopefully, I can report a nice, round number of loss next week!

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The Big Picture

Those of you who have been following my blog for a while know that my husband and I have been trying to lose weight and get healthier.

We were on a low-carb diet for quite awhile. We both lost weight, but we decided we needed more structure to attain our goals. We were on Nutrisystem years ago, and decided – due to the changes in their program since then – that we would try them again.

My husband is a Type II diabetic. Through our weight loss efforts (and cutting out as much sugar as possible) his A1C has gone from above 16 to 6.2. He is almost to his goal weight, unless he changes his mind for some reason.

I look at my progress 2 ways: The loss from my highest/largest on the low-carb diet and the loss from Nutrisystem so far.

Nutrisystem loss:

  • 22 pounds and 17-1/2 inches so far. (my triglcerides, etc. are significantly better, as well)
  • From my highest/largest:  37 inches and 35 pounds

I have a long way to go, but I’m feeling good that there is a positive improvement.  The fact that Nutrisystem teaches you to make healthy meals on your own while you’re on the plan with access to counselors, recipes, etc., make this a lifestyle change, rather than a diet that we will go ‘off’ at some point.

I’m also doing a bunch of exercise for an old, sedentary broad, trying to build my strength, stamina, muscles, and flexibility.

  • I’m doing a session of stretching via yoga daily.
  • I’m either walking a mile (or maybe 2) with Annoying Leslie Sansone. (Even though I find her perkiness and laugh quite annoying, I have to admit this is really good for me.
  • I am also taking advantage of some toning and firming exercises she offers on the video, so I’m walking one day and doing the exercises the next.
  • When it’s not over 100 degrees in our garage, I’m walking on the elliptical trainer
  • I’m also doing over-the-door shoulder pulley exercises, plus a weight exercise that is supposed to ease the pain in my neck and shoulders.

I figure if I just keep on keepin’ on, and hold my mouth right, I may meet my goals before I croak from old age. I would like to be in good enough shape that I can do whatever I want and not have to limit activities unnecessarily.

I’ve also told you several times in my blogs that I’m trying to continue learning new things in order to keep my poor brain going as well as possible. The trying to keep going on the laptop computer while my regular computer is waiting for a motherboard necessitates so much concentration and learning how to get around problems that my brain is getting a fine workout. We also changed Internet companies and went back to DirecTV this morning, so my husband and I are trying to leap through hoops together to make everything work and cancel all the services we don’t need anymore.

I hope you’re not having quite as much drama in your life as we have, and that you’re getting closer to achieving your goals.

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Motivation

I’m feeling good that I got my exercise for the day accomplished. I received the gold stars (really!) that I ordered in the mail today and caught my calendar up with my activity, adding another one for today.

I feel a bit silly for “working for the gold star” each day – rather than working just for the loftier and more mature goals of better health, less pain, easier movement, better balance, and more – but there it is. I feel GOOD when I add another star to the calendar, and get up off my duff and exercise if I haven’t, so I don’t ruin my new record, now 5 days and 5-1/2 stars…

I’m still having to push myself to get to the 1 mile marker on the Annoying Leslie walking video, but I’m hoping by the end of next week I can at least START Mile 2. I’m doing half an hour of gentle yoga, stretching, twisting, and breathing. My husband even noticed I was touching my toes with my fingers after less stretching time today, plus ALMOST being able to bend forward in a sitting position, soles of my feet together and touching my head to my feet. (I hope this description makes sense. I don’t know any name for it. If it’s just a bunch of words, just picture me tying myself into a pretzel shape.) :0)

My ‘extra’ for the day today was an hour this morning weed whacking and leaf blowing to finish trimming the grass my husband mowed yesterday. I’ll try to do a bunch of bug spraying and weed spraying tomorrow.

Now I’m looking forward to taking my cup of coffee into the living room, stretching out in my recliner with my “Creation in Death” Eve Dallas book. I’m having such a good time re-reading the 45 books in the series by J.D. Robb/Nora Roberts before I read # 46 “Dark in Death” that came out recently in paperback. (Number 47 “Leverage in Death” will be out in paperback in December of this year. I’ve pre-ordered it. )

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As You Grow Older…

Yvonne Dowlen via GrowingBolder

 

Today is Day 4 of trying to make SURE I make it to the 1 mile marker on the Annoying Leslie walking video each day and also do a half hour session of yoga, trying to really stretch every part of me and relax.

As I told you last week, I’m also trying to add at least one OTHER activity to this, starting today.

Today’s added activities:

  • I’m going to work in the yard, cutting back and/or pulling out tomato plants, composting what I can and pitching the rest, plus
  • we’ll hopefully go bowling with our good friends tonight.

Being a child at heart, I’ve ordered gold star stickers to add a really surface – but tangible – motivation to do this every day. I haven’t received the ones I ordered yet, so I’m using a highlighter to make the star and adding a bold black line around it each day on my desk calendar. So far I have 3-1/2 stars. (I got an extra half star on the day I did the Annoying Leslie video twice.) :0)

I’m feeling a difference since I’ve been doing the walking video. Even though I wish Leslie Sansone would just look good, lead us, and not talk my arm off,  I AM feeling a bit looser in my hips – a big area of concern for me. When I walk in real life, instead of in my living room, my hips start yelling way before I’m tired otherwise. It’s aggravating. I stop, maybe sit for 20 seconds or so, and then am happy to continue. I’m not sure why my hips yell so much, but I would like to get this to stop.

To this end, I’m listening to my hips, but not trying to coddle them. I’m making the 1 mile marker in the video, but stop there. If I can do it again later in the day, I do. If not, that’s okay. I figure my body will gradually get used to this.

On my way outside to attack dying tomato plants!

I hope you have a fun day.

 

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Who Knew?

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Today I made it to the 1 mile mark on the Annoying Leslie Walking video – hips talking to me loudly – but not screaming.

My husband then watched a movie, so I delayed my yoga until the movie was over.

Who knew how stiff, tight, and sore an old broad could get? I feel okay, but my wonderful massage lady tells me how tight I am, finding multiple knots to get rid of with her magic hands. I get down on the floor and lie on my back. It takes me a minute or so to be able to lie there without my back cramping. Then another minute or so to put my hands over my head and actually get them to lie on the floor and then relax. I’m doing my own thing these days, mostly just concentrating on stretching out and RELAXING, if possible. I keep talking to myself, saying the things my DVD yoga instructor said, “Relaaaaaaaxing jaw. Relaaaaaaaaxing face…..”

Today I bent over and just simply hung my arms down, breathing into it. Eventually, my fingertips touched the floor!  I also have trouble with the position where you’re sitting up, knees bent, soles of feet facing each other, and leaning forward. Today I leaned into it, taking my time, breathing, and I ALMOST touched my head to my feet! A third position that kills me is when I’m on my knees and then ‘sit down’ on my feet. I’ve been bending over and then pushing back, trying to get myself to loosen up, breathing, breathing. I’m feeling my hips finally starting to ‘give’ a bit. I may never be able to actually sit that way, like I did a hundred or so years ago when I was young, but it’s good to stretch in that direction. I had a good session of stretching and then put my stuff away….

Then put the walking DVD in again and did Mile 1 AGAIN. My hips still protested, but I made it through twice today – a definite improvement!!!!

 

 

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Gold Star for the Day

My husband and I agreed that I should get a Gold Star for effort today.

He watched me as I kept up with 1 mile of the “Walking with Annoying Leslie” video this afternoon. I was holding my hips a couple of times, but it’s almost like someone had hit a half-mute button.  As annoying as she is, with her perkiness, non-stop talking and pretty awful laugh, she’s helping me slowly overcome the problems with my hips.

 

He then watched me as I went through a series of Yoga positions. At one point, when I bent over with my arms hanging down, he said, “You may have touched the floor recently, but it doesn’t look like you’ll do it today, as my fingers were at least 4 inches above the floor. I just held the position, trying to breathe and relax into it, and after a couple of minutes, I said, “Look at this!” He had to admit my fingertips were, indeed, just touching the floor.

theawesomedaily.com

These two things, combined with vacuuming the first floor carpet and tiles, plus doing two loads of wash, have qualified me – the old broad of the Lewis household – for a gold star. (I might actually see if I can FIND some. I need all the motivation I can get. There’s a calendar on the wall beside where I’m typing this now, that could be my ‘record’ of the days when my movement effort merits one…

 

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I’m Making Progress

Progress Report:

  • Down 20.6 pounds
  • Down 20.4 inches

I made it through the 1st mile on the Annoying Leslie walking video today. My hips were talking to me, but not as badly as yesterday, and I didn’t have to walk in place a couple of times while the people on the video did the more challenging (kicks and knee lifts). I’m still having to force myself through it, holding my hips at times, but I’m getting there!

I won’t win any prizes for speed of weight loss, either, but I received my purple bear with “20” on it in the mailbox recently, and that’s 20 lbs gone so far, plus a happy, tangible reminder every day that I’m taking better care of myself.

My husband is 5 or 6 pounds from his weight goal now. If I weren’t addicted to him, I would slug him for making weight loss look so easy, while NOT drinking the water he’s supposed to be, NOT exercising, and just waiting for me to bring him his meals and snacks each day, along with making pulled pork for him, since Nutrisystem discontinued the item and teed him off.

We’re both still delighted that our blood test results were SO much better. There is a chance that my husband’s blood sugar number (A1C) will be NORMAL next time, and the doctor says he might be able to completely stop the blood sugar medicine in time. My lipid profile was the thing most improved this time, with each part dropping 60 to 90 points. My husband goes back in 3 months and I go back in 6 months. Here’s hoping our results will be even better!

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“Walking to New Orleans…”

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I started using the walking video the day before yesterday. I made it through about half of the first mile (of two) on the Annoying Leslie video before I had to quit, due to my hips screaming. Yesterday I made it (barely) through the 1st mile. I’m going to continue doing this daily – listening to my hips, but considering this a character-building effort in addition to good exercise.

I’m surprised that with all of the exercise I’ve been doing at different times – yoga stretches, upper body stuff, elliptical trainer, and 0-6 Packs Ab video, NONE of these seemed to work the same muscles as the walking video and the dance as exercise video I just received.

When I get to the point that I can just consider the walking video “good exercise,” rather than my character-building trial for the day, I’ll shake things up, adding one more thing each day.  I wish Leslie would quit telling me how GOOD it feels….

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Reach Up! Reach UP!

I just did 3/4 of the first mile of a two-mile “Silver Walk” DVD with Leslie Sansone. I find her annoying because she talks all the way through the video non-stop and is SO happy and energetic. She keeps telling me how GOOD it all feels, while my hips are screaming.  This DVD is in conjunction with Nutrisystem. I got it several years ago when my husband and I were on Nutrisystem for the first time.  (The picture below isn’t the DVD I have. Mine is two miles for old ladies. ) It gives you an idea, though, of how perky Leslie Sansone is. Add a non-stop loud, enthusiastic voice and laughter to this picture and you begin to understand why I call my DVD ‘Annoying Leslie.’ She DOES get you moving, though, and she has been successful for many years, so I’ll just have to be annoyed.

 

 

Since my hips yelled yesterday when I did the warm up of my new ‘Dance to Walk’ or ‘Walk to Dance’ (or something similar) DVD, and again, today, with the Annoying Leslie walking DVD, it’s getting through to me that I need to do SOMETHING like this every day.  We have an appointment in Fort Smith this afternoon, plus other errands, but when I get home, I’ll try the DVD again and see how I do.

I should slowly loosen up in my hips and then start to build some much-needed muscle. I find it amazing that, with as many ways that I’m trying to move every day, each thing seems to use different muscles….

 

 

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Dancing My Lard Off?

I got this DVD set in the mail this morning and tried out the first DVD.     I have my work cut out for me.

This is advertised as a “Low Impact Walking Workout Pack, including two 5000 step DVD workouts. This should be a good addition to my yoga stretches, elliptical trainer, 0-6 Pack Abs DVD, and the 5-Minute Per Day DVD moves that are supposed to make me look like Julia Roberts. :0)

I’m doing my yoga stretches daily, and then mixing in the other stuff in on various days during the week, trying to do at least two different things per day.

I have to tell you, I did the ‘warm up’ today on the new dance DVD and my hips were screaming. I know – pathetic – but I figure if I try to do JUST the warm up every day, my hips will finally quit screaming. I think I’ll be able to move on to an actual workout sometime soon. The workout got me warmed up and breathing harder, so I think it was a good thing. I’m going to try to put my workout schedule on my calendar today and see how it goes….

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Quarterly Progress Report

My husband and I went for our quarterly checkup by our primary doctor this afternoon. We got blood tests last week and were hopeful that we would see some changes for the better.

I’ve told you my husband is a Type II Diabetic. His A1C last quarter was 7.6. (This was down a bunch from his original count of 16+, but still wasn’t normal.)  Today it was 6.2 (the goal for diabetics is <7). HOOORAAAAAAY!  We had essentially given up ever getting a normal reading again, and were just concentrating on eating right and getting the numbers as low as we could. We practically danced around the room!

The big difference in my numbers was in Lipid Profile (Fats in the blood, I think)

  • Cholesterol was down 107 points
  • LDL down 57 points
  • Non-HDL down 70 points
  • Triglycerides down 61 points

She said that since my husband and I are essentially eating the same foods, my exercise was the cause of my improved numbers!

She was so pleased she said I could wait to come back for SIX months. I’ve been going quarterly for YEARS, so this was super good news. If my husband keeps his good numbers in November, HE can go to every six months, too!

Tonight we’re going bowling with our good friends and having our FLEX snack for the week, a scoop of  ice cream from Braum’s. We celebrated by having a FLEX lunch, as well, enjoying a couple of pieces of fried fish from our local grocery deli. We haven’t had that for almost five months now, so it was a joyous celebration, even though we’re supposed to spread the flex meals out – one per day.

We knew we had lost weight.  We knew we had lost inches (though my husband won’t measure, he’s losing his tummy)

It was wonderful to have the doctor confirm with objective numbers that we’re improving our health. She said, as we were leaving, “I wish all my patients took an active interest in their health and worked as hard as you two have.”

A wonderful pat on the head! :0)

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OK, My Day is Made

This is my husband. He would HATE it that his picture is on my blog or that I’m talking about him (though he’s very supportive of my blogging efforts – treating me to lobster tail dinners when I hit landmarks on numbers of subscribers.)

I told you earlier that I was able to shed a size in my jeans, and that it felt good that it was something TANGIBLE in my efforts to get the lard off. I told my husband, of course, feeling really encouraged.

When we were going through the day’s mail later, standing by the dining area table, all of a sudden he looked over at me and said, “You ARE looking slimmer.”

If you knew my husband, you would know that this is rare, indeed. I could shave my head, or change the color to blue and orange stripes and he wouldn’t notice. He’s a wonderful guy, but he’s not very observant. Plus, living together and seeing each other every day makes it less noticeable when there are changes.  And, to be fair, he says “he loves me no matter what size I am,” – but NOT something I want to hear NOW…

To have him say this quiet statement this morning made my day.

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Something Tangible!

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I’ve lost almost 20 pounds now (not officially yet) and almost 18 inches down so far with the help of Nutrisystem and exercise.

I’m a ‘pear-shaped,’ ‘no-spring chicken’ (a kind description) and have been way too sedentary in the past several years. I have a long way to go in my efforts to lose the lard in order to be as healthy as I can be, but today I enjoyed another TANGIBLE sign of progress.

I like my clothes loose. This has always been my choice, even when I wasn’t trying to cover my lard. For the past several years, my sizes of jeans have increased as my “pear-shape” increased. I would have to unbutton or unzip my jeans in the evenings to be comfortable watching TV or a movie. My husband did, too.  I also wear pretty large, loose tops. This has always been comfortable to me, and the same clothes I’ve had in my closet are the ones I’m wearing now, so no changes there. In fact, some of the ones I have  are STILL too tight.

Today I put on a clean pair of jeans and noticed that they were definitely baggy. I rooted through my stack of  jeans and finally found a size smaller. I grit my teeth, thinking this was an exercise in futility, but not only could I pull them up, I could fasten them – EASILY!  I’m sitting here typing and am completely comfortable. No wanting to give myself ‘breathing room’ by unfastening them!

So, today I’ll gather up the size I had been wearing (please don’t ask WHAT size) and will take them into the guest room closet. I’m not confident enough yet to actually put them in the donation bag for the Disabled Vets yet, but if I continue to get positive signs, they’ll go there soon!

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Long-Term Goals

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I’m about to hit another milestone in trying to get the lard off – almost 20 pounds gone. I’ve lost almost 19 inches overall.

A good friend asked me what the next goal was – and I immediately responded, “40 pounds off.”

But that’s not really what my long-term goals are.

One quote I love says, “Old age is always 15 years older than you are.”  

I don’t want to live forever, but I would really like to feel good enough to do most anything I would like to do until I croak. Since they haven’t come up with pills that do it for you, it’s up to ME to try to

  • get my excess lard off
  • exercise to strengthen my muscles and bones
  • do whatever else I can to become/stay as healthy as I can

I don’t really know how much weight I want to lose. I would like to be in the normal range according to BMI charts. If I keep on keepin’ on, eventually I’ll get there. I’ll see how I feel when I get there and then make more decisions. I have high blood pressure that is now finally reading normal WITH medication. I would love it if I can one day stop these. I would like my blood test numbers to be all in the ‘normal’ range one day. (I never really appreciated what a delicious word “normal” is before. We’ll see the fruits of my efforts so far at our quarterly appointment with our primary doctor Monday.)

 

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After better health, it would be really nice not to have to avoid clothing stores that don’t carry clothes large enough for me, having to head for the ‘fat lady section’ in the limited stores that do. It’s not really a vanity thing. It’s emotional. I would like to be able to choose something I like off the rack and know it should FIT, but only to be concerned if I like the way I look in it. When I have to avoid stores altogether, or have to only be concerned about it being ‘large enough,’ it chips away at my feelings of self worth. I will enjoy feeling much better about myself.

SO –

  1. Good health
  2. Feeling normal about finding clothes without taking a hit emotionally.

Anything else is gravy.

First short-term goal is getting the 20 off officially so that I can get another ‘bear’ from Nutrisystem – hopefully in our next order!

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Feeling Encouraged

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I had a bit of trouble reading Tia’s writing, but she’s saying what I’m feeling – “I feel comfortable & empowered & strong. It’s encouraged me to work out – a pretty incredible feat. And it’s helping me lose weight & feel better.” – Tia.

It’s a day early for my progress report, but I’m feeling like I’m finally making a difference with the help of Nutrisystem and exercise. My husband and I went for blood tests this morning and our quarterly appointment with our primary doctor is next Monday. I’m hoping that those tests will also show we’re serious about trying to get healthier.

I’m down almost 19 pounds this morning. And down almost 18 inches. 

I don’t think I’ll ever be a ‘workout person,’ but I AM trying to do the abdominal exercises for pear-shaped people (0-6 Pack Abs DVD) every other day, yoga stretching every day, and either the elliptical trainer or the ‘annoying Leslie’ walking DVD the days I’m not doing the ab exercises. When I get comfortable with these, I’ll see what else I want to add to the mix.

taolife.com

 

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I Did It!

 

I’ve been trying to do two things each day: my yoga stretches and the 0-6 Pack Abs DVD abdominal exercises.

I did the twelve exercises on the DVD first, then rested a bit on my mat before starting my yoga stretches. I use a really good cervical pillow that my massage therapist showed me that allows me to really relax – after concentrating hard.

I went through my routine, slowly stretching, breathing into the positions and trying to get my poor stiff body to let go. I ended it with simply bending over with my arms hanging down. And that’s when it happened. I felt my body letting go, letting go, and I TOUCHED THE FLOOR WITH MY FINGERTIPS!

You may not think this is all that great, but for an old broad who couldn’t lie on her back and put her arms over her head onto the floor at ALL, and then, for a long time, without causing spasms in her back, this is HUGE!

I can’t remember the last time I bent over and touched the floor. I’ve been bending over, trying to relax, trying to breathe into it, with my fingertips about 6 inches or so from the floor for a really, really long time. The yoga DVD instructor, Cat Kabira, said that even if we couldn’t really get into the position, if we tried as much as we could and held it, trying to breathe into it, eventually our bodies would give. I think she’s a wonderful teacher, but I really didn’t believe I would EVER touch the floor.

I’m beyond happy. I’m making progress!

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No Good Deed

Goes Unpunished.

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Since it was overcast all of a sudden, I decided to add to my “keep moving” list for the day and went out to do as much weeding as I could in the flower planters.

I saw some ants on the side of the planters (there are three planters – each 8 feet long – in a line separating our front yard from the driveway) I went back in the garage and got the EIGHT bug killer spray and hosed everything down.

I got one side of one planter weeded and pruned. I emptied the basket of weeds and was setting up on the other side of that planter when I felt a really sharp pain on the inner part of my right upper arm. A large red wasp was unhappy with me and was stinging me as if his life depended on it.

Moving quite rapidly for an old broad, I leaped up, yelling and swatting at the wasp. I got him off me, but he was coming in, ready to sting me again. I ran to the house and got an ice pack from the freezer. I held it on my arm until the pain subsided a bit, and then got up and took some Benadryl tablets, since my arm is pink and pretty swollen. I then got a tissue and dipped it in bleach, because I THINK my friend Laufrain said that would take the pain away.

Since I’ve calmed down a bit, I looked at the back of my right hand. When I leaped up, throwing things in all directions, I hit the back of my hand on the palette of bricks we bought a while back to rebuild two of our planters. Apparently I rapped it quite smartly because I have two small bruises plus a pretty big lump.

I guess I should have quit while I was ahead earlier, rather than trying to add one more activity to my day.

Maybe I can enjoy reading my book without hurting myself….

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A Little Here, A Little There…

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Progress Report to Date: – I’ve lost 18 pounds and 17.3 inches.

I still seem to be off my weight loss plateau, so I’m happy about that.

I mailed Nutrisystem Customer Service yesterday, asking what can be done about them discontinuing my husband’s favorite lunch (and dinner) item – BBQ Pulled Pork. I also mailed a letter to management in Pennsylvania, hoping that if customer service can’t or won’t do anything, maybe someone at management cares and can. Things are calm for the moment, but we may need to make drastic changes after the next order. We’ll see.

I did the 12 Phase 1 exercises on the 0-6 Pack Abs DVD this morning. Today I must have been doing better about breathing and position because I definitely felt my stomach muscles trembling! It seems to me that that means I’m getting the attention of some of my core muscles. I did several reps of each of the 12 exercises slowly and carefully, watching them and listening and then trying to replicate. I plan to do this same level daily for the next couple of weeks before trying the Phase 1 Workout session. I want to concentrate on doing each position as correctly as possible.

I also did my yoga stretches for another half hour of exercise, so I’m happy with my efforts. Tomorrow I’ll do both of these and try to add something else.

It looks like it MIGHT actually rain this afternoon! Because it’s now overcast, I’m going to head out and see how much progress I can make on weeding the flower planters.

My mantra is ‘KEEP MOVING!’

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Abdominal Exercises

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I tried the new abdominal exercises DVD called, “0-6 Pack Abs” yesterday. It’s good for everyone, but especially for pear-shaped old broads like me who really need to build the LATERAL core muscles. There are 12 positions that are put together to make up 4 exercise routines in Phase I. Once I master these, I can move to the next group, hopefully getting stronger as I go. They emphasize that once I get to the 4th group, I should continue the the 4th workout at least once a week in order to keep my core strong.  I have the DVD so that I can listen to and see what I’m supposed to be doing, plus a book with pictures for reference.

What I wish is that I could afford to go to California where the doctor who created the DVD is, so I could make sure I’m doing the positions correctly. Not being able to do that, I’m going to go slowly, reviewing the 12 positions, listening and watching carefully, trying to do what they’re telling me. The way I’m breathing and holding holding stomach muscles while I move is key.

I’m hopeful that I can make this work for me. I’ve done sit ups and crunches in the past. The result is that I achieve only a backache and aching neck and still have a belly. These exercises in combination with my yoga stretching, in combination with other stuff during the week should help me get stronger.

Other things I’m planning to add in some combination to the every day abdominal exercises and yoga are

  • my elliptical trainer or
  • “Annoying Leslie” walking DVD or
  • and another DVD, called, “5 Minutes to Look Younger – Anti-Aging Follow-Along Workout” that promises to make me look and move like Julia Roberts (just kidding).  and
  • I have a pedometer in my pocket that encourages me to walk more
  • I’m using an over-the-door shoulder pulley system that is supposed to help with my neck and back pain
  • I’m doing an exercise with a 3-lb weight for the same

Otherwise, I’m doing short sessions of yard work in the yard or in my garden, trying to go through my house to get rid of more things (that necessitates a lot of bending, hauling, cleaning, reorganizing), and just downright cleaning (mopping, vacuuming, etc.

Along with my Nutrisystem plan to make sure I’m eating healthy, I’m hopeful that in time I can shed the pain and embrace doing more, relishing it, rather than ever taking it for granted again.

taolife.com

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Get the Lard Moving Day

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My 0-6Pack Abs video came yesterday afternoon – FINALLY – so today is the day I’ll get started with it.

These are several levels of exercises to strengthen your core muscles. They are designed by a doctor of physical therapy especially for people who are trying to flatten their bellies, get rid of back pain, and more. Especially for old, overweight, sedentary, pear-shaped women like me! It seems like I’ve been waiting forever for the DVD and book to arrive, so I’m excited about getting started.

Since we don’t have anywhere we HAVE to go or things we HAVE to do today, I’m devoting the day to sessions working in the yard, followed by some rest and water, then exercise of one type or another, then rest and water – and REPEAT.

I came in a while ago from half an hour or so in the yard. I finally got our rose bushes pruned and some really healthy weeds pulled out of our flower beds. I’m almost back to regular temperature now, and am drinking a bottle of water.

I’ll do my yoga stretches for about half an hour, and then I’ll drink more water while I watch the first part of the 0-6 Pack Abs DVD and read about Phase 1 workouts and exercises.

I’ll do another session in the yard, and then come back and actually try to DO the Phase 1 exercises with the DVD.

I’ll keep going, hoping to have a good, healthy day – keeping the lard moving.

 

taolife.com

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Getting the Lard Off – A Bit Afraid to Hope

The Little Engine That Could said something like, “I THINK I can, I THINK I can,” enabling him to get to the top of the mountain. I’m feeling cautiously confident that MAYBE I’ve broken through the plateau from Hell I’ve been on for a couple of months now.

The chat counselor was helpful, looking at my NuMi log. She said, (I’m paraphrasing and putting a bit of my own spin on what she actually said) –

  • It didn’t look like I was eating enough (I had skipped the Powerfuel serving at breakfasts, for example)
  • My snacks didn’t have enough calories many times, giving my body the message that it “needed to store fat for the winter”
  • It might be a good idea to switch lunches and dinners – giving me ‘heavier meals with slightly more calories earlier in the day

I did these, and they helped a bit, but didn’t actually impress the scales or the tape measure much.

The message I’ve gotten is that I need to shake things up some, since doing the same thing each day expecting different results is stupid.

I’m changing WHAT I’m eating for snacks, thinking that the variety will cause my body to take notice, rather than acting like a slug. I’m doing my yoga each day, but I’m also changing some of what I’m doing for exercise, thinking that will also get my body’s attention for the better.

I started these changes 3 days ago and I’ve lost weight the past two days. It’s early to think I’ve found the answer, but at least it seems to be PART of the answer for me. I’ve been old and sedentary for a long time. I’m still old (and hopefully getting older!) but I CAN do something about shaking things up and moving more effectively.

“I THINK I Can….”

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Encouraged

I lost a pound yesterday. I don’t know what happened, exactly, but I’m smiling today, happy that I seem to have broken through the weight loss plateau on which I teetered.

I’ve lost 17 pounds and 17.3 inches – definitely a good start.

My husband is doing well, too. He’s on the diabetic plan for men.  I don’t really see any difference in our plans, since Nutrisystem cuts out salt, fat, and sugar, still making things that taste good. Our choices each month seem to be much the same – all healthy.

My husband is to the point that he’s taking his blood pressure medicine every other day. We take our blood pressure daily, so we’re monitoring that – plus his blood sugar numbers – carefully. Since we’ve been trying to cut his sugar (before, but also continuing now with NS) he’s gone from having double vision for a scary time, shooting pains in his feet, having to have TUMS with him at all times, headaches, and high blood pressure and cholesterol, to good vision, no pain in his feet anymore, no TUMS in about 8 months now, lower blood sugar numbers and much lower blood pressure.  We’re hoping his A1C test will be normal, or very close to it this time.

We have our quarterly appointment with our primary doctor in August, so we’re hoping that our tests will show good improvement in all areas. I’m hoping that our doc will confirm that we’re on the road to better health now. A pat on the head would be nice! :0)

 

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Heat Index Square Foot Gardening

Our actual temperature is forecast for 102 this afternoon. (Heat index will be “105-110+”. ) In the southwest, the denizens say things like, “But it’s a DRY heat” – as if you don’t fry in that. In Arkansas, right now it’s NOT a dry heat, and it’s pretty awful. Even with our irrigation system, flowers and the remaining tomato plants are just barely hanging on.

I cleaned out my square foot garden last week, and am now spraying weed killer on the floor of the garden under the chest-high raised wooden boxes of our garden, as well as around the perimeter of the garden, around the trash cans of the components of Mel’s Mix (the alternative to native soil), etc.

I’m getting good exercise from weed whacking and cleaning up our concrete areas with a leaf blower, toting a 2 gallon container of weed or bug spray, and trying to weed my flower planters without croaking in the heat.

I’ve given up trying to work outside ‘in the morning’ or ‘in the evening’  like sane people do. Something seems to always come up, making it impossible, so I divide my day into

  • ERRANDS – trying to be clean and reasonable presentable
  • HOME – where I just try to stay alive, doing as many sessions as my energy will allow outside (taking breaks and drinking lots of water), and then going up for a shower, clean clothes, and lots of rest the remainder of the day.

I used to be like the picture above, loving to bake in the heat of the summer, preferably beside a swimming pool, but not a necessary thing. Now I barely step outside and I’m wet from head to toe and avoiding the heat as much as I’m able.  I love working in my garden and with my flowers, but NOT when I’m frying like an egg.

“What a man needs in gardening is a cast-iron back, with a hinge in it. ” ~ Charles Dudley Warner

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Holding My Own, But Not Blazing Trails This Week

This picture makes me laugh. I love the creativity of the person who thinks like this AND the expertise of the person who did the photoshopping to create it.

I had a stagnant week, ‘getting-the-lard-off-wise.’

Progress to date is 16 pounds off and 17.3 inches off.

I’m frustrated that I can’t report any improvement this week, but I’m pleased that I ate three of the four FLEX meals we’re supposed to eat and didn’t gain anything. I enjoyed a FLEX SNACK of a scoop of chocolate ice cream from Braum’s after bowling with friends; a FLEX LUNCH of the salad bar with “Breakfast Bunch”; and a FLEX DINNER of chicken fried rice from our favorite Chinese place. (I got a ‘small’ portion, but I ate the WHOLE thing.)

I can report that I AM doing yoga every day, but the bulk of my ‘exercise’ has been sessions of working in the yard. With our heat index above 100 (our actual temperature will be 102 today!) just walking around in the heat is work for me, much less the weed whacking and spraying of stuff toting 2 gallons of liquid – several half hour sessions per day.

I have become a camel, glugging down water to a fabulous degree, over and above the 64 oz I’m SUPPOSED to be drinking.

So – I didn’t lose, but I didn’t gain – holding my own. I’ll ‘keep my head down’ and ‘keep on keepin’ on,’ and will hopefully be able to report some progress NEXT week.

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The Wicked Witch is Dead

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I just came in gasping and weaving, from getting the garden cleaned up – making a check to make sure I harvested all the onions yesterday – pulling off the demarking strings (most of them snapped the minute I touched them) and re-spraying the bug killer in the boxes again.

The last step will be when I can get my breath back and my temperature down below ‘WAAAAAY – too – hot.’  I’m going to mix up weed killer and spray it on the floor of the garden, and all around. At another time I’ll do the weed eating of what I hope will be dead weeds around everything and then I’ll be ready for fall, hoping that we don’t go directly from lethally hot summer into way-too-cold fall.

We have GOOD air conditioning in our home and in our vehicles, so we can insulate ourselves from it, unless we’re determined to get yard work done.  I’m counting the sessions working in the garden as most of my exercise for the day. Once I’m finished with that, I’ll do my yoga and then head for the showers.

I hope that if it’s hot where you are, you have somewhere to go to give you some relief.

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Progress on the Garden

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I’m making reasonable progress, even though I’m melting into a puddle.

I sprayed everything in the yard with the EIGHT bug killer. I have two of the six 4’x4′ raised garden boxes cleaned out. (I had to stop, go into the house and wash my arms and hands because I ran into another bunch of fire ants in the garden when I pulled out a plant.) I didn’t get stung or bitten, and went out and hosed that box down again with the bug killer. I’ve put in three sessions so far today and am about to go out again. Getting lots of exercise, a reasonable number of steps on my pedometer, and am still alive. :0)

 

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I’m Getting My Exercise Today – Cleaning Out My Garden

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I’m inside, trying to catch my breath, drink a bottle of water, and relax a bit before going outside again for another session on my weekend project – cleaning out my raised bed square foot garden boxes.

The heat index is now 97 degrees (90 degrees with 55% humidity). Our forecast temperature is 98 today. Unless the humidity drops drastically, that will be a heat index of 117 this afternoon. UGH.

Mother Nature has pretty well killed off my spring garden. The plants are no match for her, even with daily irrigation, so I’m throwing in the towel and cleaning things up for next time.

I’m going to do this in SEVERAL sessions during the weekend, trying to stay hydrated and not get heat or sun stroke.

(My husband is smarter – tackling a project where he can work inside our shop. He turned on the A/C this morning and has just gone out there soon to start work, refurbishing a roll-around chair for our wonderful hair stylist and friend, Michael.)

Since the outside work needs to be done, the garden and flower planters are my domain around here, and it’s not getting any cooler for the foreseeable future, I’m just going to be careful and get it done.

  • I’m half way through the first part – spraying the garden, tomato planters, and flower planters with bug spray so I hopefully don’t get stung/bitten/ or otherwise assaulted by our hostile insect population. (My ankle is still puffy from the last fire ant attack.)  I’m using EIGHT, a spray that isn’t supposed to affect the plants at all, won’t hurt our pets, and will JUST give me some relief.
  • The second part of the project will be pulling out the dying plants in the garden and harvesting the onions, spreading them on a screen we have on a trailer out by the shop to dry in the sun.
  • The third part of the project will be mixing some weed killer and spraying the ground under the raised bed planter boxes in the garden, around the perimeter of the garden, and around the trash cans of the components of Mel’s Mix along the back of the shop.

If I can finish this by the end of the weekend, anything ELSE I do will be gravy.

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Yoga Therapy

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I told you yesterday that I was having pain in my lower back. My massage therapist made it feel better for a time, but by afternoon I was moving   V E R Y  slowly, hurting again. I took some Aleve and used the heat pad in the evening and at night and that seemed to help.

I’m just stiff (not in pain, thank goodness!)  As soon as we get back from “Breakfast Bunch” and errands, I’ll do my yoga stretches  S L O W L Y , plus my new “Oyster” abdominal core exercise, hoping to ease up the stiffness while strengthening my old-but-still-kicking core.

 

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