Monday, February 10, 2014

Layover

Today is my ten-month surgiversary.  Man, did this last month FLY!

Yesterday I stepped on the scale and saw my original goal weight on the display.  143.  I had to step off and step back on about six times before I'd actually believe that's what it said, but each time I did, it was the same.

So here I am.  Now what?

Well...I keep going.  I'm not done yet.  I've decided that although I've landed, it's just a layover in a place I wanted to visit - this is not where I want to stay.  I feel good, I feel healthy, I feel strong...but I don't feel finished.

Where is my final destination?  I don't know.

As I discussed in my previous entry, it's about fitness and health.  I am not sacrificing either to reach a specific number on the scale.  Granted, I understand that I'm carrying more than a few pounds of extra skin, but there's still a considerable amount of subcutaneous fat under some of that skin (primarily on my belly and thighs).  If I get my way, I'll have the skin removed and/or lifted within the next year.  In the meantime I continue to watch my diet, eat cleanly, and exercise at least four times a week in an effort to burn as much of that fat off as I can.  When I've lost all the fat I can lose and I'm as lean (not thin) as I can be - THAT is when I'll be done.  






Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Pump ME Up!!

Ja!


In recent weeks I have bumped my workouts up to four times a week.  I typically do a cardio and weight routine twice a week, yoga followed by spinning once a week (yeah, on the same day; I don't screw around), and then on Sundays I ski if there's enough snow.  If there isn't, then I hit the gym and do another cardio/weight day.  I also just signed up for a dance class, so for the next four weeks I'll be doing that once a week as well.

But despite my fitness regimen, which I keep varied so as not to get bored or burned out, I have been feeling lately like I need more.  As I've lost weight and my body has changed, so has its requirements.  When I weighed 260 pounds, I burned calories faster simply by virtue of moving my massive body.  Now at 145 pounds, I have to work harder to create a caloric deficit.  I still have fat to burn, despite some people's protestations to the contrary (more on that later), but my focus really needs to be on building more muscle so that my metabolism stays revved.  And while hamster-wheeling on the elliptical, following a machine circuit, and participating in other sports certainly have their benefit, I wanted some hard-core weight lifting incorporated in there, too.

But where do you start?  Some of those weights and benches and contraptions look pretty intimidating.  And heavy.  And like they could trap you and kill you in a most embarrassing way.

This would totally happen to me.


Luckily, I have the awesome privilege of working with a woman who just happens to have a degree in exercise science.  She's a pretty excellent person to begin with, but we talk all the time about workouts and diet and whatnot, so it's like a super excellent bonus every time I get to work with her.  Last week, after a couple months of trying to coordinate such, we finally had a chance to work out together.  Because Jessica totally knows her shit, I had asked if she'd help me devise an effective fat-burning and muscle-building routine that was less machine-based and made use of more free weights.  She was delighted to help me, so I bought her a day pass to my gym and we went.

My gym has personal trainers and I'm sure these people would be tickled to help me out, but I just felt more comfortable with Jessica.  Maybe it's because she knows me outside the gym and knows my personality; we frequently work together beginning in the wee hours of the morning, so she's seen me at my best and my worst.  No matter the reason; I was just glad to take her up on her offer.

She started me off with a short cardio warm-up - about six minutes; just enough to literally warm my body.  Then we moved into the weight room and she took me over to the cage.  The cage is big and scary looking, and any time I ever see anyone using it it's always a guy with a neck the size of my waist.  And you know, it's the Y.  It's probably the most diverse group of gym-goers I've ever seen in my life; people of all ages, sizes, shapes, and fitness levels.  But the guys who hang out at the cage...those are the dudes I'd want on my side in a brawl, okay?

I just hope if he's protecting me in a brawl he wears better clothes.


Then again, why would I need big muscle-y dudes if I could pump my own self up?  I'm not saying I want to look like this:

Yeah, not really my goal.  But go, girl.

But a stronger core is definitely something I want.  The stronger my core, the less plastic surgery I'll need down the road.  It'll also help with recovery time when that happens, too.

So we started with squats.  Using a 40-pound bar with no additional weights, Jess had me do two sets of fifteen squats.  Two words: Holy. Shit.  Then she had me do steps.  And she wasn't going to let me get away with a little aerobic step.  Nuh-uh.  She pulled a bench over that was a good 18 inches high and handed me two ten-pound dumbbells.  "Hold these and do fifteen steps on each side," she said.  I looked at her like she'd just told me to climb the Empire State Building.  "I can't."

That answer was not acceptable.

"Yes, you can.  And you will."

It took me awhile, but I did it.  Then we moved on to rows, then pushups, then stability ball crunches.  And then we did the whole shebang again.  And then we went back to the cardio room and I did 15 minutes of interval training and five minutes of cool down.

I was SHOT.  My legs, especially, were screaming.  Even after my most intense spinning workouts my legs have never felt so gelatinous, rubbery, incapable of holding me up.  I wobbled my way to the locker room and somehow managed to get my stuff and get out to my car.  Could I even DRIVE in this condition?  Jesus.  I did drive, and when I got home I chugged a protein shake and then collapsed on my bed.

I had to work early the next day, so I opted to stay in that night.  A friend stopped by and hung out for a couple of hours, and I was able to sit comfortably on the floor with my legs crossed during his visit.  I thought, "Well, that's not SO bad," and just kept getting up to stretch every once in a while.  And when I woke up the next day my legs were sore, but I was able to walk.  Barely, but it was manageable. But then I got to work and my boss said, "Hey Deedee, can you do me a favor and before you do anything else, would you put those boxes of coffee away?"

Putting those boxes of coffee away involved unpacking and stocking about 200 one-pound bags of coffee - on to shelves that required the use of a step ladder to access.  So for the next hour I climbed up and down three steps with several pounds of coffee in my hands.  I was sure I was dying the slow and painful death I've always been afraid of.  Little did I know the worst was yet to come.

After working eight hours on my feet, my legs were really, really starting to hate me.  I had a party to go to that night, so my plan was to chill for a bit, maybe grab a little nap in the meantime, and then get up, get ready, and go out.   But by that night, my legs were like, "FUCK! YOU!!!"  I was in a tremendous amount of pain, and I could barely move.  I had to hold on to furniture and walls to move around the house.  I was experiencing what is known as "Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness," or DOMS.  I skipped the party and, at Christopher's insistence, took a Tylenol.  I'd been avoiding taking anything for the pain because I hate taking painkillers, but it was bad enough to warrant one.  I looked for my tin of White Monkey Holding Peach Balm (yes, it's a real thing; I discovered it when I was in Thailand three years ago and brought some back because it was so amazing) but I couldn't find it, so I went to bed and hoped by the morning my legs would feel good enough to ski.

Seriously excellent relief for sore muscles.  Too bad I couldn't find mine!


As it turned out, there wasn't enough snow to ski, which was a relief because my legs were still killing me.  But I couldn't not exercise, so I ran my errands and then went to the gym to swim laps.  I hadn't gone swimming in years, but I joined the Y specifically so I could use the pool so it was about time I got in it!  I swam laps for 30 minutes, surprised at how well I seemed to do despite not having been in a pool in ages (the last time I did any actual swimming was in the ocean in Thailand.  The last time I swam laps in a pool was...I have no idea.  It's been longer than I can remember), and my legs actually felt BETTER after I did.

So what's the plan from here?  Well.  Tomorrow I'm going to the gym, and I'm going to do Jess' routine again.  Because that's just what I have to do.  Because what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. And eventually my muscles will cooperate, which is the whole idea.  And in the meantime I'll have to order some more of that balm.  I have a feeling I'm gonna need it.