More on the Gym and Some Other Stuff

I was preoccupied with some stressful things today and did not make time to go the gym to discuss the contents of my last post, but my plan is to do it tomorrow morning after a solid night of sleep.  I dread going in to resign from my membership, and I have given a lot of thought to the advice and opinions you shared yesterday.

I’ll decide what to do when I speak to someone there, but it’s important to note that it’s not the only gym in New Orleans.  It’s expensive, and I want to be a member of a gym that provides a healthy enviroment for its members.  I don’t need anyone to pat me on the back, but I won’t pay $80 a month to be bullied either.  My plan is to go in and respectfully explain that and see how the people at Elmwood Fitness react.

It’s still finals week too, and I have two finals tomorrow as well.  I had one Monday and one today, and I’m ready for a break.  I have a long list of things to do that don’t include school, and I’m looking forward to getting started on those tasks.

In the midst of preparing for finals I’ve also managed to have some fun with friends.  Matt, Shannon and I finished out two-day gingerbread home yesterday, and while it looks like kids did it we love it.  We made it from scratch and had a great time together doing it.

I baked cookies for one of my classes tomorrow as well, and I managed to avoid eating many of them.  I had one and a half, and I feel good about my food choices today.  My goal for tomorrow is to eat more vegetables and to drink more water.

What’s your goal for Thursday?

How Would You Handle This?

I joined a new gym, Elmwood Fitness Center, a few weeks ago, and I love the gym. I do not love the way I was treated on my third trip to the gym, and I have avoided going back since. I didn’t realize how much it bothered me until I drove up to workout yesterday afternoon.

I had my gym bag and everything that I needed to workout, but I convinced myself not to go in. I didn’t want to be mocked like I was last time I was there.

While swimming a mile in the pool I was mocked by a woman who snapped a couple of pics of me on her phone. She told me that I wasn’t doing myself any good swimming that slowly, and my response to her was that I was doing a lot more than she was.

If you read my blog you know that I have endured more than my fair share of hurtful words from strangers who think I’m worthless because I’m overweight. I experienced during my first few experiences in New York City, and I didn’t go back to that gym for a long time either.

I only used my free trial a few times, and now I’m paying for a membership that’s far from inexpensive that I don’t use. I think I’ve decided to go in and cancel my membership tomorrow, but I think that sucks for a few reasons:

1. I need a gym, and this one is conveniently located. There’s a branch close to my school and one close to my apartment.

2. I can swim laps outside all year because this is Louisiana and the pools are heated. There’s a pool inside too for days like today in which it’s too cold to be outside.

3. There are Zumba classes and a lot of other classes. I loved doing Zumba and looked forward to doing it a few times a week.

4. It’s big, and the staff is really friendly.

5. There’s a lot of space to shower and get dressed after my workout which means I can do it before school too.

I have allowed myself to miss out on something positive for myself because of something negative that someone did. The easy answer is “brush it off. Go back and forget about that person.” But doing that is exhausting. Google me, and you’ll see what I have a lot of experience in “brushing it off.”

My gym should be a place where I can go and sweat like an animal without being ridiculed. It should be a safe place, shouldn’t it?

My plan is to go in tomorrow to cancel my membership and to make membership aware of why I don’t plan to go back. I think they should know even if it doesn’t matter to them.

What would you do? Would you brush it off, or would you take issue with it? How would you resolve it and convince yourself to go back?

Update: I’m not saying that I’ll abandon all gyms. I have to have one, but if I’m paying $80 per month I expect to be in a place in which I am not harassed.

Aunt Janice and the Gym

When I woke up yesterday I felt a little lethargic, and I didn’t feel particularly motivated to workout (even though I knew I would.)  I procrastinated a little bit until Aunt Janice suggested that we go for a walk.  Walks with her tend to go on for miles so I agreed.

During our walk I told her how much I enjoy circuit training at the gym.  I told her about the ladder, the metal wall, the bosu ball and planks among other things, and we decided to cut our walk short and hit the gym.

We did circuit training in two minute intervals, and we did the things I just listed in addition to tackling the rowing machine,  the KeepItUpDavid Machine, I mean StairMaster, pulling the sled around the track and working our upper bodies before relaxing in the sauna.  By the time we left the gym we were both drenched from head to toe, and it felt awesome.

I was channeling Keep It Up David during this workout.

When we started doing planks she dominated them!  She held her pose for over a minute, and I beat my own personal best reaching 18.8 seconds.  (Hey! Don’t judge me.  A little over a week ago I didn’t know I could do them at all!)

Now that I know I can plank I'm determined to make it last longer.

And one of my new favorite workouts is climbing the wall.  It doesn’t seem tough at all, but if you do it long enough it will make you sweat.  I’m definitely sore as a result of that little wall!

I can't look to the side when I get higher. ;)

Upper body....Boom!

I’ve never really been a fan of working out with someone else, but that certainly has changed recently.  I’ve done cardio workouts with friends before, but I’ve never had anyone push me until recently.  Having someone there to tell me to keep going when I think I’ve pushed as far as I can inspires me to do more, and I’m definitely looking forward to more of that.  And may I just say that I adore the sauna?  (What can I say? I love to sweat!)

I have a full day planned which will include some fun stuff, but I plan to hit it hard at the gym again this morning.  What are your plans for the day?  What kind of workout will you do?

 

 

Silver Linings and Sweaty Accomplishments

The last several days have been great in some ways and not so great in other ways, but today I’d like to talk about a silver lining.  Last week during one of my interviews, I spent some time working out at the fancy gym that I’ve referred to in past posts.  The gym, which is actually called Peak Performance, is the nicest gym in the area, and several months ago I had to make a decision about whether I’d join that gym or not.

Ultimately, I knew that I couldn’t because it didn’t make financial sense I’m gone too much, but since then I’ve paid for a day pass on several occasions because I’m obsessed with the ladder.  If you read my blog or follow me on twitter then you’re probably already keenly aware of my love for this machine.

The ladder (aka Kenlie's favorite workout ever!)

Anyway, when we were trying to settle on a location for one of my interviews, I told the (charming and utterly handsome) reporter that I’d love to do the interview at my favorite gym!  And the folks at Peak were happy to oblige.  They were so gracious. I walked in expecting to do an interview, maybe use the ladder then move on with life, but what happened instead was pretty fantastic.

I walked into that gym and made friends with people who understood my struggles and my goals before I even explained them.  They welcomed me and accepted me just as I am, and they pushed me to test my own limits.  (This happened over the course of about 24 hours.  How cool is that?!)

Rocking the Arc Trainer...

When you’re my size (or any size really) walking into a gym can be intimidating to say the least.  I do it, and if you know me, you know that it hasn’t always been lovely.  I go to different gyms more often than the average person because it seems that I travel more than the average person.  But to walk in and feel welcome and accepted?  That doesn’t happen very often.  In fact, I’ve only had that experience in one other place, Richard Simmons’ studio in Beverly Hills.

Richard makes everyone feel welcome too!

Sunday afternoon I walked into Peak to talk with the owners about a few cool things that are happening, and approximately 3.5 hours later I left…sweating to the core.  My long time friend, M, was there with two of my new, super cool friends L and D.  They invited me to do a little circuit training with them, and they forced me to believe in myself even when I was unsure.  (These girls are tough, man…)

Old friends and new friends...all awesome...

After a few circuits featuring the ladder, the rope, the bosu ball, the arc trainer, the vertical wall and crab walks Meg suggested that I try a plank.  My immediate response was “Oh, I can’t plank yet.  I’ve tried it a million times.”  She said ” Yes you can…Try it a million and one times.  Just try.”  I tried and O-M-G I did it.  I didn’t just do a plank, I did lots of planks!  Suddenly I realized that I could do it so I tried doing it over and over, holding the pose longer each time until I was up to 12.8 seconds.

Making assumptions about me based on how I look would be a big mistake...just saying.

While a plank may not seem like a big deal to some, it was a dream come true for me.  And now I can check one more thing off of the list of “Things Kenlie Wants To Accomplish” even though I plan to get much stronger and fitter.

When I started my journey I exercised because I had to; now I do it because I love it.  I love how working out makes me feel.  My body craves it, and my heart loves it.

The good news is that I’m heading back to the gym today because one of the owners has offered to show me a thing or two, and based on what I’ve heard about her workouts I’m a little scared (in a good way.)

When I’m at Peak, I leave everything else outside and crave long, heart-pounding, sweat-inducing workouts, and that’s exactly what I need today.

 

 

 

 

Finals and Making Time For Things That Matter

I woke up Tuesday morning feeling the pressure that the day before a final exam often brings, and though I’m prepared I knew I’d spend a big part of my day studying.  And I did (with index cards and everything. ha)

If you know me, you may know that I often find clarity and peace when I’m sweating so before I hit the books, I hit the gym.  I did a 5k before working my upper body with free weights.  And I felt so much better when I left than I did when I arrived.

I was pretty pleased with my average heart rate too.

After my workout, I did a few other things that I had to do, then I entered study mode.  And I feel like I’m (mostly) ready for the exam though I plan to get to school early today to review with my friend and classmate, Melissa.

The rest of the week will be just as busy because I have a paper to write and another exam next week.  Those things matter, but my health matters too.  And making time to exercise seems to help me focus so I’ll be sure to do that even on high-pressure days.

How do you react to life’s added pressures?  Does exercise keep you centered?

 

 

Morning Workouts? Moi?

I did some things differently today, and they worked out well that way.  Last night I was in bed before 10pm which doesn’t usually happen unless I’m sick so I was up early this morning.

I studied for my quiz and worked out and showered before going to class, and I made an A on my quiz.  (Yay!)  I also managed to complete a pretty fast mile.  I typically stay around 4 mph or a little higher, but today I rocked my first mile at 5.27 mph.  That’s lightening speed for me!  Maybe I could like being a morning workout person.  Who knew?

I stopped at one mile then started over because I knew the next mile would be slower, and it was..

After I did my “quick” mile I did a couple of slow ones before working my upper body.  It wasn’t a long workout, but it was intense.  There’s something about being in the gym and sweating hard that makes me feel good about myself.  Obviously, it feels good to know I’m doing something good for myself, but it’s more than that.  When I’m sweating I’m able to let go of my negative thoughts because my mind is filled with the positives. And I carried those positives with me all day.

You may have noticed that this is my favorite exercise shirt. ;)

Exercise clears my head, and I like doing it early.  I think I’ll do the same tomorrow and see how I feel.  What do you think? Is it better to workout in the morning?  My preference is definitely afternoon or evening, but maybe that’s changing…I suppose time will tell.

What’s your preference?

 

Thursdays Matter Too

I’ve been doing things differently over the last couple of weeks, and I’ve been feeling healthy and strong as a result!   Earlier this week I shared my decision to eat with more regularity on Thursdays, and I did.  I also decided to workout before attending my meeting, another thing that I have never been comfortable doing before stepping on the scale.  And I was down 0.6 pounds.

Since I started my weight-loss journey, I’ve heard all kinds of advice from folks who have similar goals and interests.  My first trainer told me not to workout just before stepping on the scale because I’d weigh a few pounds more.  Several fellow weight-loss friends shared that they don’t drink as much or eat as much before the step on the scale….Some don’t eat foods that are high in sodium the day before weigh-in, etc.  You get the idea, and I’ve done all of these things too.

But I threw all of that out of the window yesterday, and I’m glad I did.  I am no longer afraid to be active or to fuel my body because it’s Thursday.  It was ridiculous to ever feel that way, but hey…I can admit it when I need to change.  And I’ve admitted it.

So instead of spending the majority of my day being sedentary (which is really unnatural and uncomfortable) I opted to hit the gym to do another 10 miles on the elliptical before I headed to my meeting.  Next time I’ll try to allow enough time to shower, dry my hair and change into my weigh-in outfit because I’d rather not show up drenched in sweat again.  (Sorry WW friends….Thanks for understanding!)  Seriously, I was soaked from head to toe when I arrived, but I felt good about doing what I needed to do for myself.

When the machine made me start over I did what I did last time. During the last mile, I did as much as I could going backwards...It's slower, but it works different muscles.

So…..I wish I had shown a bigger loss this week. (Don’t we always wish for that?)  But I’m satisfied with the loss and with my efforts.  I really can’t tell you how hard it has been to change these habits knowing that the scale wouldn’t reflect the work I’ve done all week.  But now it’s done, and I’m proud of myself which is really the most important part anyway.  I probably won’t drink a gallon of water or do 10 miles before every weigh-in, but I won’t be afraid to anymore either because if I’m eating well and exercising the scale will reflect that eventually.

Cooling off, but my hair was soaked, and my clothes were too...

What are your thoughts on exercising right before weighing in?  Do you do it, or do you believe it’s smarter to wait?  And if waiting is your answer, then how long do you wait?

 

 

Do You Exercise When You Don’t Feel Well?

It has been a long day, and I don’t feel 100%.  I woke up and faced the day feeling congested and lethargic, but I accomplished what I needed to accomplish which included a 50-minute evening workout.  Sometimes I choose to workout late as opposed to not at all, but now I want to sleep.  And I hope to wake up feeling healthy and rested.

Sometimes getting through a workout is a victory in itself...

 

Do you exercise when you don’t feel well?  How do you decide when to fight through it and when to rest?

 

 

Friends Who Understand, A Great Workout and A Plan

Yesterday I did some things that I don’t ususally do – some good things and some things that I wish I didn’t have to admit.  Let’s start with the things that I wish I didn’t have to talk about…my weekly weigh-in.  I skipped it.  Yep, that’s right.  For the first time since joining Weight Watchers in 2009, I skipped a weigh-in because I didn’t want to deal with the numbers on the scale.

As a monthly pass member, Weight Watchers allows me to attend unlimited meetings, and they don’t require a weigh-in to attend.  I just didn’t do it, and this behavior is a slippery slope that I am not willing to slide down so I’m saying it now – I will NOT skip another regularly scheduled meeting because I don’t feel like facing the music.  I just won’t do it so feel free to hold me to it.  Over the last week, my choices became progressively worse until yesterday when I decided that enough was enough.  Now I have to do it again tomorrow.

I also did something that made me feel good about myself.  I took Anne’s advice, and set a challenging fitness goal for myself.  I hit the gym and completed 10 miles on the bike, pedaling as fast as I could.  It takes me 5 1/2 minutes to do a mile which added up to a great cardio workout followed by 100 crunches.  I know I should feel good about being able to do 10 miles on a bike without much effort, and I do.  But I thought I’d feel exhausted, but I didn’t.  I think I’ll have to try 20 miles when I’m back at the gym Monday.  Until then, I plan to do my favorite Richard Simmons workout, “Party Off the Pounds.”

I’m traveling again tomorrow which means that I’ll have the opportunity to prove to myself that I can make healthy choices even when I’m away from home.  I’ll bring a gigantic English cucumber, grapes and bananas.  And this time, Cal is coming with me, and I think we’ll spend some time ruminating over his ideas to change my palate.  I think it’s okay to like sweets, but I don’t think it’s okay to let them consume my mind or control my actions as they sometimes do.

With the holidays quickly approaching, I’ve come up with a plan that will (hopefully) help me stay in control of my cravings and food intake.  Chubby McGee, one of my favorite blog friends (check out her blog here) spurred a thought for me that has turned into action, and it worked well yesterday so I’ll do it again tomorrow.  She said that she loves cupcakes so she allows herself to have one every week.  She budgets for it in her intake, and she walks to the bakery and back to get it.  By the way, I’ve done that before, and I think it’s a brilliant plan.

And her comment made me think about something that I did during my first year of weight-loss.  I ate fruits and veggies and lean proteins along with foods that were high in fiber.  I exercised regularly, and I ate a piece of cake almost every night.  Yep…I did it.  I had a serving of cake (7 points at the time) for dessert almost every evening, and it took a lot of pressure off.  I didn’t worry about skipping ice cream when my friends ate it, and driving past a bakery was no big deal because I told myself I’d enjoy something sweet later.  And it worked.   it allowed me to focus on everything I was trying to accomplish without the fear of eating too much later.

So that’s my new plan, kind of.  I don’t plan to eat cake everyday, but I will allow myself to have something sweet everyday, at least for now.  I have more than enough PointsPlus to eat nutritiously and stay satisfied while enjoying  half of a cupcake or a Kit-Kat.  I have me entire life to reform my nutritional intake and to figure out why I crave sweet treats, but I don’t want to spend my entire life trying to reach my weight-loss goal.  I’d rather do what I can to reach that goal asap and worry about the rest along the way.

So in addition to working out hard, I’m going to eat healthy foods that are rich in vitamins and nutrients – and have something sweet everyday.  That’s my plan, and I think it’s going to help me get through the holidays with success just as it did the first year.  Obviously, I’m no pro.  I’m just a girl who’s trying to figure it all out, and I have a feeling that while I might get a little flack for it, this plan is going to get me closer to where I want to be.

 

 

Here I Am Again

I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I started this blog for myself.  I wrote posts to keep myself accountable and to look back at victories as I climbed my personal Everest, and it’s one of the best things I’ve ever done.  Over the last year, I’ve written countless posts about getting back on track, hitting my internal reset button and figuring out how to move forward after I did it for so long, and today is going to be another post about taking one step forward and ten steps back then more steps forward. This hard thing (fixing my body and mind) is something I am determined to do – even if I have to work at it for the rest of my life (and I know that’s the most likely scenario.)   And I’m certain that my blog has helped me maintain the work I’ve already done.  I don’t want to guess where I’d be without the support and accountability I receive here.

It is no secret that I’ve struggled over the last year (though yesterday was better.)  I’m proud of maintaining, but in September I thought I had found my new groove.  I thought I had figured it out again, but I have not.  Rejoining a Weight Watchers group gave me a renewed sense of hope,  but joining alone is not where the magic happens!  The truth is that I’m struggling to control my food portions.  I don’t remember having this much trouble on a consistent basis when I started WW in 2009, but I am now because I’m not following the program – at all.

I can think of a few seemingly justifiable reasons to be struggling lately (death of my uncle, toe injury, new meds…)  But the truth is that the reasons/excuses are not as important as making the changes I need to make to adjust.  I worked out yesterday – 45 minutes on the recumbent bike, upper body and 100 crunches which didn’t bother my toe too much, but this is my first healthy day since Wednesday.  Eating more crap and drinking wine and beer is not exactly the way to counteract my lack of gym time, but that’s what I did this weekend.  Yes, my weekend was amazing, but I’d look back with fonder memories if I could look forward with more confidence.

Every Thursday, no matter how poorly or how well I’ve eaten all week, I find myself ready to start over…ready to tackle the next week…until Friday night or Saturday night. At that point, I find myself thinking that I can worry about it tomorrow…I’ll say to myself “I’m going to workout so why not eat this extra piece of bread (or three?)” and  I end up spending Monday through Thursday trying to undo the damage that I did Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  And while it makes absolutely no sense, I know some of you know exactly what I’m talking about so my goal for the next 7 days is to track my food intake and to sweat hard at least 5 times.  When I do that, it works so I’m going to exercise and eat foods that I’m not embarrassed to enter in e-tools.

I say no to myself pretty often, but lately I haven’t been doing it enough.  Over the last four weeks, I haven’t said no much at all (at least consistently,) and I haven’t said yes to the gym or to vegetables and other healthy habits.  And I don’t want these setbacks to become my new normal though sometimes it seems they have.  If you’ve ever been to my blog before then you know that this isn’t new for me, but you also know that I don’t give up.

I know I’m not the only one struggling right now.  I also know that I have to keep trying because I definitely cannot accept failure and/or defeat.  If losing weight was easy……..well, you know the rest…….