I want to start by saying thank you to all of you who have reached out with comments, emails and on Facebook after last week’s post telling you all about my struggle with a chronic illness and weight gain. The support has been wonderful and has made me wish I said something sooner. I am sorry there haven’t been any new recipes this week, but right now I am trying to concentrate on being more active and not killing myself trying to work as well. Hopefully, by the end of the week or beginning of next week, I’ll be posting semi-regular again.
It’s been eight days exactly since I started on my weight loss journey and I’m feeling okay. For me, okay is pretty damn good. I haven’t started a diet plan as of yet. For now I’m just doing little and often. I just had a banana with my coffee. I’m not really keen on bananas (that aren’t baked into a bread), but it wasn’t too bad. I’ll get used to it. In about an hour I’ll eat some grapes and a small lunch this afternoon. More grapes later and a small, sensible dinner . I’m researching weightless plans though and will let you know if I decide to go another way.
Day one: I did a quick circuit training DVD because I was waiting for a package and couldn’t really go anywhere. My knees creaked and cracked the entire time. I swear sometimes I feel eighty.
Day two: I went for an hour long walk along the seafront (the UK version of a boardwalk, but instead of wood, it’s pavement) with a friend. I was really tired that night and again, my knees hurt like hell, but other than that there were no real side effects.
Day three: I walked on my own. Some days I’d rather be on my own setting my own pace and pushing myself when I feel I want to. I blare music into the headphones and just go. When I was fit and thin, I used to workout to fast paced music, but this week it was Tom Odell. The reason I chose him is because it’s mellow with bouts of faster paces. That and ‘Grow Old with Me’ makes me fall in love with my husband all over again which lifts my spirits and makes me feel lighter. I walked down to the local park, enjoyed the sunshine, and walked around the lake twice before heading back home which is at the top of a very steep hill. At the park, I stopped to rest twice thinking if I’m going to make it up that hill to get home, I better take it slow.
When I got to my road, I turned on ‘Grow old with me’ and it felt like having my husband there to encourage me the whole way. By the time I got to the steepest part, the music got faster and I pushed myself a little more and was able to do it without stopping to rest (unlike the following day when I lost my mind and tried to jog up it before making it to my next door neighbor’s house where I had to stop because I felt like I was dying). I walked for 48 minutes on day three.
Day four: It rained all day, but I walked anyway. After all, I live in England; I’m sure there will be a lot of days that I’ll have to walk in the rain. So I went to the park and went around the lake 3 times (without stopping) before it started to really rain and I headed home. The jogging part was a little excessive for day four, but I lived to tell the tale. Day four, I walked for an hour.
Day five: I rested. It was Saturday and my husband and son were home. We relaxed and played a marathon game of Monopoly before going to a friend’s for dinner. At dinner we discussed my first week of being active again. Our friends suggested I join the gym that’s fairly close to my house. To be honest, I didn’t want to join the gym. I’m feeling pretty out of shape, overweight and unattractive so going to work out in public surrounded by fit and beautiful people isn’t something I really wanted to do. They said, ‘You should do it. It’s what a 10 minute walk?’ (I don’t drive in the UK and couldn’t with my shoulder anyway) I didn’t say much about it, but it must of gotten my husband thinking a lot because on Sunday, we all walked down to the gym. It’s actually a twenty minute walk from my house. We took a tour of the gym and before I knew it, my husband talked me into it. Much to my surprise, we both joined. My husband is a builder who is naturally thin and quite muscular from his work. He’s never worked out a day in his life (other than his labor intensive work day). He told me he thought cardio workouts would do him good (he just turned 40 and I guess he’s feeling like he’s not getting any younger – either that or he’s trying to support me). We also signed our son up. He’ll be doing swimming classes once a week and they also have fun, ‘get fit’ activities for kids while the parents workout. How I’ll do the 40 minute walk (there and back) on top of a workout at the gym, I don’t know, but we already paid the extortionate membership fees so there’s no going back now.
Day six: I met with a personal trainer at the gym which they arranged for me. She looked about 12 years old and when I told her about my medical issues, she didn’t seem interested. I told her I can’t use my left arm for any sort of training (I have damage to the joint and have suffered with bursitis along with a frozen shoulder for the last 18 months and need rehabilitation). She took note of that, but didn’t pay much attention to the fibromyalgia or ankylosing spondylitis. I should have left there and then, but I told myself she was a professional and knew what she was doing. She took me around the gym and had me do various weight machines. She pretty much skipped the upper body, but had me do some chest flies (again, I should have left there and then). I felt it in my shoulder, but it wasn’t too bad so I told myself it was fine and she knew what she was doing. She had me do 5 different lower body machines. I started feeling my back go and should have stopped, but I thought, how will I ever get stronger if I don’t workout? I stayed.
At the end of our session she had me do squats holding onto these straps she set up for me. I did a few and asked if my form was ok (not wanting to hurt my knees). She said yes and looked over to the mirror which was blocked by some equipment. She said, ‘let me move some of that so you can see that you’re fine.’ Now what I didn’t mention was the fact that I had a lot of trouble finding something to wear to the gym. It all happened so fast when we joined, I never considered the right attire for working out in public. I walk in leggings that are made of a thick, wet suit type of material that makes you sweat more and is supposed to help you lose more inches as you workout. I wear long shirts and a hoodie with them, but the gym is a different story, I have to wear less if I don’t want to give myself heat exhaustion. Before leaving, I put the leggings on with a sports bra and tank top that was waist long. I tried not to look too closely in the mirror, threw on a hoodie for the walk over and told myself not to worry about it (thinking I’ll find some longer tops before going again). I asked the trainer not to clear the mirror. I told her, ‘No really. I don’t need to see’. She cleared the mirror and had me watch myself doing the squat. One look and I wanted to cry. I looked like someone’s middle aged, fat mom. Then I thought, ‘Oh my God, I AM someone’s middle aged, fat mom!’ I was humiliated. Last time I worked out in a gym, I was younger, thinner and dare I say it? – I was pretty hot (I just didn’t know it at the time). I could have cried looking at myself. After that, I didn’t hear a word she said. I don’t know if there was more she wanted me to do. All I wanted to do was leave. I thanked her and quickly left.
That night, I started having severe muscle spasms, my back, hips and knees hurt like hell and started to seize up. Worst of all my shoulder was really painful and when I went to bed, I felt like I set my shoulder recovery back six months and cried in pain every time I tried to move (laying down is always the worst).
Day seven (yesterday): I had a flare up and spent the day on the couch with heating pads. I was horribly fatigued and in a lot of pain. I sat there watching movies all day long feeling very sorry for myself and thinking that maybe I just can’t do it. Maybe this is it. Maybe I’ll never get any better.
The rest did me good because I feel better today. After I finish this post, I’ll go for a walk (but skip the strength training until after I meet with my Physical Therapist next week to discuss what’s best). I feel a pinched nerve in my back every time I take a breath, but I’m hoping it will pass and maybe the walk will do me some good.
My weight loss progress: Zero. I have lost no weight (much to my surprise. I expected a pound or two). Maybe it’s the bottle of wine I drank at my dinner with friends 🙂 or maybe it’s just normal in the beginning. In the past, I’ve lost nothing for a couple of weeks and then lost 4 or 5 pounds in a week. So, as long as my body cooperates, I’ll keep going and hopefully start seeing results in the coming weeks and months.