Tuesday, March 15, 2016

A new start

I don't know that I have a single solitary reader or follower here, but I thought I'd give an update. Some of my past posts talk about starting anew, but they didn't last very long, and then there was no new post until I started again. This time I haven't posted or said anything, but I have made steady progress over the last couple of months.

Besides all the usual reasons to lose weight that I listed in one of my first posts here, there have been a few new factors that added impetus to the need to make some serious strides in losing weight. For one thing, at my last few physicals I've been told that my blood sugar and cholesterol are elevated - not enough to say diabetes or to say I had a serious cholesterol problem, but enough to warn that I was going that way if I didn't make some changes. Secondly, I was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation and told there was a surgery for it, but it was risky and only done in the case of three risk factors: being female, having diabetes, and having high blood pressure. Thankfully I have never had a problem with blood pressure except during one pregnancy. But I want to stave off diabetes for its own sake as well as avoiding this surgery. And lastly, my husband bought membership in a fitness center.

I never thought I would enjoy going to a gym or fitness center. One of the things I don't like about exercise is the time it takes, so it seemed better to just exercise at home rather than adding in driving and changing time. But when my husband joined, he got a free pass for me, so I tried it out for a week and decided to join as well. It's not far from home, so it's not much of a drive. There is a track for walking as well as a multitude of machines and a pool. My husband really likes the pool, but I don't know how to swim, hate changing out of wet swimsuits, and like to listen to an audiobook while I work out, so I am not inclined toward the pool. They have aerobic classes in the pool which I know are helpful by being low impact, but from what I have seen, I think I get much more of a workout doing what I am doing. What I do now is to walk a few laps to warm up, then use an exercise bike (one with poles that you can move back and forth to work your arms out, too - I am not sure what that's called. I thought it was a sitting elliptical, but discovered that's a different machine that hurts my knees). Then I walk a few more laps, then use the rowing machine, then walk another lap or two. When I first started, I could barely make myself do 7-8 minutes on the bike. Now I am up to 20. I had not thought I could do the rowing machine both because I don't have much strength in my arms and because of my knees, but I've found I enjoy it. I've only gotten up to 5 minutes, though, if I do the bike first. Another enemy of exercise for me is boredom, but there are a variety of machines to try if I get to the point that I want a break from these. I think knowing that we're paying for it is one thing that motivates us to use the gym rather than slack off, but I also like that it is climate controlled and the track is level (unlike my sidewalk at home).

I've been pleased with the progress, and I do feel more energetic. If I calculate my weight from when I was my heaviest last September, I have lost 13 lbs; if I figure from when I started at the gym at the end of January, it's more like 5 or 6.

And the exercise has spilled over into motivation for more control in my eating. The exit from the gym is filled with fast food places, and once I was planning on getting a breakfast biscuit after my workout, but when the time came, I found I really didn't want to counteract what I had just done.

Anther BIG step for me was limiting myself to one sweet snack a day. You might be thinking I need to do more than that, and you might be right. But as I said, this was big for me. I tended to keep snack-sized candy and mini cookies on hand because often through the day I wanted just a little something sweet. That would have been fine except that I indulged multiple times a day. One day I thought about trying to just eat one sweet thing that day. The hold sugar had on me was shown by the fact that I was anxious and nervous about making this commitment, even for a day. But I felt perhaps the Lord was nudging me that way, so I did. Then I had some blood work coming up later in the week, and thought I should try limiting my sweets until that day. I was amazed that it was not that hard once I made up my mind, especially after all the times I grieved at even the thought of it.  (Thank you, Lord!)

Now I am looking for ways to cut down, looking at different recipes that aren't casseroles held together with creamed soups, skipping the onion rings at the fast food place and getting a sandwich there rather than a burger, etc.

This seems to be working for me: taking small steps at a time rather than trying to revamp everything at once.

I know I need God's grace to keep on, that there will be times I am tired of it all. But I hope to continue on this trajectory.