Saturday, February 28, 2009

Great Workout Today

After a 10-hour drive yesterday, I couldn't wait to get to the gym this morning. I worked hard and really enjoyed myself. Did several sets of squats, and got the best compliments from Donnie -- "You have the best squat form of anyone I have seen." "Perfect form." My trainers must instinctively know that I just THRIVE on that kind of feedback. Definitely felt strong this morning. Still working on figuring out the diet, in the context of my daily life. This week, I was out of town and there was simply no way I could eat the high-protein diet, so I just enjoyed myself and didn't beat myself up. I don't know but that keeping the mental focus strong is sometimes as helpful as the physical part. Sometimes!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Finally Figured out I Just Needed Some Carbs

My bottom line is that I want to be healthy. I love the idea of being thinner, too, but it is not as important ultimately as being healthy and enjoying my quality of life. I've tried to continue with as much of the Green Bean diet as I could, but have really been struggling. Finally, yesterday, I said the heck with it. I figure it was just the wisdom of my body overcoming the fuzziness of my brain, and surprisingly, I started feeling much more energetic yesterday and I noticed a HUGE difference today. This is so important as I have five children depending on me (some more than others!) for many things and wow it was great today to be able to focus on what I needed to focus on, after so many days of feeling like all I had energy for was a long nap.

Feeling stronger today: yes!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

I've Been Sprung From Green Bean Hell

My trainer suggested a meal plan to me around the first of the year. His words, "Let's see how this goes for 10 days with no cheats except your husband's birthday meal [on Dec. 31]."

This eating plan was a very strict, very low-carb diet, with a two-hour window each week to have a "cheat meal." The first two weeks I did very well, and the cheat meal was very satisfying, entirely devoid of guilt. I had definitely earned my cheat meal.

What was NOT in the meal plan was that my trainer developed some sort of personal issues that precluded him from training me (or anyone, for that matter). He "disappeared" and left me in Green Bean Hell.

I stuck with it for another two weeks, but as with all experiences I have had with high-protein, low-carb diets, my body eventually rebels. I was willing to do the diet for a short-term jumpstart on weight loss, but as the days dragged on, I was less and less able to be successful with such an extreme eating plan.

Had my trainer been able to stick around, I think he would have gradually adjusted what I was eating. And I know there are resource people at the gym to whom I can go to work on nutrition. Which I still plan to do.

But, for now, I've jettisoned the high-protein strict diet. What to put in its place? Perhaps a modified version of what I have been doing. Not sure. Bottom line is I want to be healthy and frankly, I feel great when I am eating high-protein, low-carb. There just must be some variant of it that would work better with my lifestyle and physiology.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Taking the Long View on Protecting my Back

My trainers have consistently remarked on the work ethic I exhibit when I work out. Seems that they enjoy seeing a woman who pushes herself and is able to lift relatively heavy weights. It has come to my attention recently, though, that I may want to be extra careful as I lift heavy weights, in terms of what it may be doing to my back long-term.

I certainly hear comments from all sorts of people that they have one type of back trouble or another. I simply would like to continue to enjoy my workouts and make sure I am taking the best possible care of my back.

I did some internet research and I found conflicting info, as per usual, but I also found a site with this helpful info:

**Weight lifting back pain is a common side effect of resistance based exercise.
**Make sure to always use good posture and form when lifting.
**Do not attempt more than you are capable of lifting.
**Do not twist your waist when lifting or putting down weights.
**Using heavy weights, or lifting when your muscles are overtired, are very common causes of weight lifting back pain.
**It is crucial not to lift heavy weights with a bent back. The vertebrae are much stronger when the spine is straight.
**I prefer to keep the weights moderate and the repetitions higher. I do not do any power lifting and usually keep the weight to about half of my ability to lift.
**Common sense should be your guide.

I would think that working out with a personal trainer would be safer than working out by myself because the trainer can correct my form, if necessary. My trainer often comments that I have excellent form when squatting or doing deadlifts. Deadlifts are the exercise that I worry the most about.

I have decided that for now I will continue these exercises, with the following changes: First, I will ask my trainer to hand me the weights when the exercise does not include the motion of picking them up. Squatting while holding two 25 lb. weights is a different movement than picking up the weights from the floor. Second, I will ask my trainer to be very careful with my back, especially when it comes to deadlifts and squats. Third, I will request that my trainer keep my back health in mind when he is training me. And fourth, I will remember that as fun as it may be to get the bigtime compliments for lifting something so heavy, the momentary pleasure may not outweigh the potential long-term pain.

Take care of your back! It's the only one you get.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Two Steps Forward, One Point Five Steps Back

You know those five babies I told you about in my first post? Well, they are growing into children who still seem to need all kinds of things from their mother. Hence, the lack of posts lately. I can't blame it all on them, but I can sure try.

So, there have been all kinds of days since I last wrote, with many of them seeing very good nutrition as well as cardio and workouts. However, over the weekend, there was some big emotional stuff going on as we had the funeral of my father on Sunday.

Last evening, after eating well all day, I just really had to have some Special K. I don't know whether it was a physical need, or an emotional one, but I often find that I get to a place when I am eating high protein that NOTHING will do but carbs.

Those two bowls of Special K were just what I wanted and they seemed to satisfy whatever hunger I was feeding. Back on the wagon this morning, and making sure my response to last night is to just give myself grace. Perfection is not the goal!

Looking forward to my workout today.

Feeling stronger today? A tentative yes this morning.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Hang On!

I promise I will be back soon!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Exercising in a Difficult Time

Although I am a happy and positive person, I am going through something quite difficult right now. My father, with whom I am very close, is nearing the end of his life. Today, during the time I would normally do my cardio, I was at my parents' house, sitting with my father, scratching his back and murmuring soothing words. I came home this evening from their home, and realized I hadn't done any cardio today. Of course, 99 people out of 100 would excuse me for the day under the circumstances (and I'm one of the 99). But I have learned that rather than being a chore, cardio has the effect of energizing and encouraging me, physically and mentally. So, after I ate my proscribed meal, I got on the treadmill and did an entire cardio workout. I feel better. The earth wouldn't have collapsed if I had just curled up with a good book, but now I actually have enough energy to go back over to my parents' home and be there for them as much as I can for a few more hours.

Today's workout: 40 minutes interval training on treadmill.
Listened to while working out: Stephen Curtis Chapman, Andrea Bocelli, Don Henley, Annie Lennox, Clannad
Weight: 153.6
Water intake: Nearing goal of 1.5 gallons. 1 quart to go.
Feeling stronger today? Whenever I complete a workout or a cardio session, I do feel stronger. Today I am feeling not as strong as I watch someone I love suffering.