June 9, 2013

Stops, Stalls, & False Starts

Howdy friends!
As you know, I've been reluctantly getting used to my new title of "power walker", as opposed to "runner". This has been an interesting transition for me, to realize that my body (after gaining 60 pounds from birth control) simply cannot run anymore.

But I've been power walking since December, and I've lost 10 pounds of fat so far. But I've also been gaining loads of muscle and toning up, even though the number on the scale has not dropped in several weeks. How do I know I've been toning up and gaining muscle? There's lots of ways: I'm able to fit into a few articles of clothing that I've not been able to wear for about a year, and my wedding band fits once again! Now my husband can no longer joke about me not looking "married" when I'm out in public. And my watch fits again, too!

My watch doesn't just fit, it's actually loose on my wrist now! I attribute my wrists, hands, and fingers being smaller now to the Depo birth control shot finally leaving my system after 2.5 terrible, long, torturous years of trying to lose weight but the Depo wreaking havoc on my hormones. But I believe the Depo to be TOTALLY and officially gone from my system!

How do I know the Depo is totally gone from my system? Well for starters, I lost 10 pounds in a little less than 2 weeks, that's how. And the last couple of menstrual cycles had been very heavy, like they had been before I began taking Depo. So, while I'm not thrilled to be having heavy periods again, it's a good sign!

That 10 pounds was most likely water weight or something that the Depo had been causing my body to store, and now it's gone. My body was so swollen from the chronic inflammation caused by the Depo. I don't really even know what exactly my body was storing inside itself, but whatever it was weighed 10 pounds that I'd been carrying around for the past 3 years. Yikes! It's a very scary thought that a supposedly "safe" prescription drug could negatively react with my body in such a severe, long-lasting way.

So, I'm thrilled to say that weight loss is happening, albeit not exactly in the way I imagined it. It took me power walking everyday from December to May to begin to actually lose weight. Then I lost those 10 pounds incredibly quickly. It's been almost 2 months since then, and the number on the scale has not moved since, but all my clothes are fitting looser, so I know that I'm still making progress.

The number on the scale is not everything. It is one indicator of health and weight, yes, but it's not the complete and accurate picture of a person's health. I know this. But, I still have 50 pounds to lose, so that number definitely needs to decrease. And I believe it will. It just seems like my body is losing weight and getting toned, but it's doing it in it's own way. So while it's difficult to remain positive sometimes when my weight isn't dropping, I have so many small victories that keep me on the right path.

So stay strong all of you, and never give up, and you'll get there! My new mantra is "slow and steady wins the race"

May 17, 2013

"Gentle" Running

I've been continuing to exercise by doing 40-min power walking sessions most everyday of the week, only taking one (or sometimes two) days a week off to rest my body.

I've also been adding in jogging.  I'm starting off very carefully with jogging, only jogging about two or three times for about 45 seconds during each walking session. 

When running, my back feels straight up & down, like it should, and my feet hit the ground UNDER my body, instead of out in front of my body, which is how running always felt to me.  My hips are stronger, my core is stronger, and thus running actually feels "natural" now.  Running has NEVER felt "natural" and "fun" to my body before!  I've always had so many muscle imbalances in my hips, core, and back, that it was always a struggle to put one foot in front of the other.  But not anymore :)

I'm terrified of going out too strong or running too much and getting injured.  That is the story of my life.  I'd run strong for a few months and gain mileage and feel pretty good, but then some muscle would suddenly decide it had had enough and would get pulled or strained, and I'd be laid up, practically unable to walk, for a week or two, and by the time I was healthy enough to run again, I'd lost all the ground I had gained and would be back at square one.  I remember once when I was slowly adding sprints into my runs and I pulled my groin muscle and was almost unable to stand by my own power, much less walk, much less run.  Even with ice, Ibuprophen, and rest, it lasted about 2 or 3 weeks.

So I'm going to take this running thing very slow! And I'm still doing mostly power walking and will continue to power walk, and maybe make my jogging repeats last a little longer each time, while focusing on my footfalls, my posture, and trying to envision a "gentle" running stance.  Running has never felt "gentle" to me, but it does now, which just goes to show how out-of-alignment and messed up my body has always been!

May 10, 2013

First Run Since December!

So I've been power walking for 40 minutes a day, most every day, since the first of the year. And I've lost 10 pounds, which is my first real weight loss in over 4 years, so yeah, I'm kinda THRILLED about it! I mean it; I'm ecstatic!

Today during my power walk session, I decided to jog a little to see how I feel, for the first time in months. And guess what? My legs felt stronger than they've EVER felt, and my hips felt like they were in a comfortable neutral position, which has never been true. My hips (and thus my back and legs) have felt like they were off-kilter and tilted outward instead of in a nice neutral position.

But not anymore! I ran probably 1/4 of a mile and felt SO great! It actually felt EASY! I'm pretty sure running has ever felt "easy" for me, but it did today! My body felt like it was strong enough to handle running and like I could continue running for a good long while if I wanted.

What an amazing feeling! And who would've thought that I could repair & strengthen my body by power walking? But I've been feeling like I've been gaining massive amounts of muscle in my glutes, hamstrings, and calves, not to mention that my lower-back pain has completely disappeared since I stopped running and began power walking.

So I'm going to incorporate jogging back into my workout regimen sparsely at first, and then continue with it as I get stronger! So stay tuned!

Oh I almost forgot! I'm doing to do some bragging here: I can hold a Plank for 2 minutes and 15 seconds now! My eventual goal is to be able to hold the Plank pose for 5 minutes; and I'm almost halfway there!

Photo caption: the picture below is my walking/running buddy, Levi! Look at those huge ears! :)

May 3, 2013

Can It Really Be True???

Hello faithful readers,

Guess what???? I've lost 10 pounds since I began power walking for 40 minutes most every day in January! You heard that right, folks!

Ten. Glorious. Pounds. Lost. By me.

I'm beyond thrilled. I'm ecstatic! You know how fitness experts always say that once you begin working out hardcore, don't be surprised when your weight number on the scale stays the same, or even increases? They say not to freak out if the number on the scale doesn't decrease right away, because you're building muscle, and muscle weighs more than fat. So I suppose it makes sense if the number on the scale doesn't decrease right away. But it had been between 4 and 5 months for me.

I've been power walking most days of the week for 40 mins each time since at least January, possibly earlier, and I'm JUST NOW seeing legitimate weight loss.

I had been noticing for awhile that the muscles in my legs seemed to be getting stronger and more defined, and that's because I was building muscle by all that power walking. And strong muscles are a GREAT thing, but what can I say? Perhaps I'm a bit vain, but what I'm most thrilled about is that number on the bathroom scale going down.

I'm losing REAL fat, for the first time in almost 5 years!!!!

My goal weight: 155 pounds
My current weight: 198.5
Starting weight: 208
Pounds Lost: 9.5

I've been aiming to eat around 1,750 calories a day, limiting my sugar and increasing fruits & veggies, and power walking 40 mins at an intense pace.

I've been losing around 1.5 pounds per week, and I hope it continues! Praise The Lord for FINALLY experiencing healthy weight loss!

March 20, 2013

The Plank--One of My Favorite Exercises!

 I stumbled upon a blog called Running for Dummies the other day, and I wanted to share the love with all of you beautiful people.  This is an awesome site and I found a helpful blog post about doing the Plank exercise, and Tips for Holding a Longer Plank, which I'm totally going to try as soon as I finish this post.  :)

I'm also going to do a plank challenge and try to perform one long plank everyday, to see how long I can hold it.  The author of RFD says that she holds the plank for as long as she physically can every single day, and now she can hold a plank pose for upwards of 7 straight minutes!  Wow that's insane!

I haven't timed myself in a long while, but I'm probably around 1:30, so I've got quite a ways to go!  And I'm off to plank!  I'll post my results here! 

January 28, 2013

Walking for Weight Loss!

Ladies and Gents,

I'm proud to announce that I have lost 4 pounds!  I haven't seen this number on the scale in several months now, so I'm very thankful that all my workouts, cutting calories, and going to bed hungry every night have paid off a little bit!  Now to just keep going!

I've been a bit derailed this past week though, because I came down with the flu and took several sick days off from work.  But aside from some lingering severe sinus headaches and pressure, I'm almost back to 100% health.  I'm hoping to get back to my daily power-walking schedule here really soon!

Escali Health Monitor Digital Bathroom Scale (Google Affiliate Ad)

January 11, 2013

Kick My Butt Workout!

Do you see that video over there on the right side of my blog, toward the top of the page?  Well my friends, that is an equipment-free, 3.5 minute-long video showing simple body-weight exercises that will tone muscles, get your heart rate up, and burn fat!

I've been doing this video this week for the first time.  The video instructions say to do this workout on 3 non-consecutive days of the week (for example: Mon, Wed, Fri).  The point is to perform the moves as a circuit (no rest in between moves), then rest for 1 or 2 minutes, then complete all the moves non-stop again.  Do this cycle of all the moves without resting, a total of 3 times. 

And you try to do each move for 1 minute.  

Let me admit that, after trying to do each move for 1 whole minute, that I only got about halfway through the video before I had to stop because my muscles were shredded and I was gasping for air. 

I did this workout again today, in lieu of jogging in below freezing temps and snow, and held each move for about 30-45 seconds instead of a whole minute.  I got 3/4 of the way through the video this time before having to give up for the night! 

Let me add that I am praising this video simply because I believe in it.  I am NOT getting any financial (or otherwise) compensation from Women's Health Magazine for this.  None.  This was just a "free" video they had on their site for bloggers to put on their blog.  That's it.  But this workout really is great and is truly difficult. 

Some of these moves are tried-and-true, like burpees, jumping jacks, and pushups.  Most other moves were new tweaks of moves I've seen before.  But what I love so much about this workout is they are moves that I can do in my bedroom, no fancy equipment required, just using my own body weight and gravity as my tools.  I also love how uncomplicatingly simple these exercises are, and the lady performing them in the video does a fabulous job of concisely explaining and demonstrating them. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts about this workout!  Please try it and tell me what you think!  Were you able to perform each exercise for 1 minute? 

January 8, 2013

Love 'em or Leave 'em Race!

February is quickly approaching, and that means one thing:  My good friend Stacy and I are running the Love 'Em or Leave 'Em 5K race in Seattle on February 9th, 2013!  This will be our very first race of the new year, and I'm very excited about it!

I'm especially excited for this race, because it has given me a specific goal to train for.  That last 5k race Stacy and I completed was in July I believe.  Over the Christmas holiday break, I took almost 3 whole weeks off from running--YIKES!!!  But I ran last night for the first time since Christmas, and I gotta tell you that I felt great!  I'm very sore today, which was to be expected, but I was able to run for 35 minutes, which I was not expecting.  I figured I would only be able to run for about 15 minutes or so, since it was my first time back in awhile.  So I think this 5K race will go just fine and it's always good for me to have a motivating reason to get out there and run, especially when the weather is rainy and dreary ALL THE TIME, like it is here in Seattle in winter. 

I just want to stay inside by the fireplace and drink gallons of coffee, but I've got a race to train for! 

photo credit: http://promotionevents.com/valentines/index.htm