Day 162 6:38 am. The alarm clock has gone off 4 times and is about to go off again. I have it pressed against my face, hoping the glare from the display will wake me up. Finally, seconds before it beeps again, I turn it off. I am now late for my kickboxing class. I consider whether or not I can use that as an excuse to skip working out today.
No excuses? I sit up and slowly, painfully walk to the bathroom. I am hoping for stomach flu, a sore knee or another valid excuse, but can find nothing. I get dressed, noticing that my workout tops is too large. I change into a smaller one to keep my breasts from flopping around and possibly injuring me or someone else. I find socks, dirty, and pull them on. I climb down the stairs, holding on to the railing, moving slowly, one step at a time.
Procrastinating I go into the kitchen and mix up a protein drink – Roadside Lemonade today. I snarl at the lumps and take the time to strain it. I look at the clock. Almost 7am. Surely it is much too late to go to the gym. I’ve missed class so what’s the point? I don’t want to be late to work. Then I remind myself that it’s Monday after Christmas ; everyone will be late. There is nothing pressing – so no excuse there either. Big sigh.
Noticing Successes I put on the hooded workout jacket I found at the Goodwill this weekend. I can zip it up, barely. Then layer on the hooded sweatshirt I bought at Target last month that was too small and is now a loose, comfortable fit and hides my belly, which feels huge today. I get my keys and finally, at 6:58, almost an hour late, I leave for the gym.
Moving – Finally I fantasize about traffic delays, a car accident, running out of gas, stranded travelers that need my help – but the road is clear and traffic is light. I make it to the gym in 6 minutes.I walk in and am greeted by Gui – the Brazilian fighter who mans the desk in the mornings. He asks how I am and I grumble about how hard it was to get there. He grins and tells me I’ve done the hard part – getting there. The working out is easy. I hang up my keys and try not to snarl.
Guilt My kickboxing class is still going on; I avoid the instructor’s eye as I take off one jacket and get onto the elliptical trainer. I start off at about 5mph jog and begin my mental warm up while my body warms up.
Replay I am 46 years old. 18 months ago I weighed over 300 pounds and my diabetes was out of control. I started walking and watching what I eat and lost 25 pounds in one year. 4 months ago I had gastric bypass. Now I have lost 84 pounds. My blood sugars are normal. I was a size 28/3x and finding it hard to find anything that would fit over my stomach. In July I started doing the Wii Fit and could only do 10 minutes at a time. After my surgery I started walking –I could only walk half a mile and it took me 10 minutes. I look at the display and realize I’m not going to make my goal of an 8 minute mile. I speed up anyway, and reach the mile in 8 minutes and 45 seconds. I will do another mile when I’m finished to make sure I can still brag about the fact that I can now run an 8 minute mile on the elliptical. (I am still too heavy and my knees are bad from several falls, so I am not running on anything else until I get below 200 pounds.)
Feeling the energy I am warmed up now and ready to stretch. I head upstairs where I’ve got the space to myself. I start with 15 minutes of stretching to reduce the chances of injury. I can bend over and touch my toes and put my knuckles on the ground with my feet together. Feet apart and bend over and touch my forehead to first one knee, then the other. Reach straight down and back to see how far I can touch behind me – feeling my hamstrings stretch out. I lean on the wall to stretch out my calves, then put up first one foot, then the other, stretching out my hip flexors while I try to maintain my balance. I couldn’t do that when I started here in October.
Upper Body Workout I am sweating so I strip off the second jacket before doing some trunk rotations, then small circles with my arms, bigger and bigger, then reverse. I stretch my arms, patting myself on the back. Good girl! Good girl! Then each arm across the chest, pulling it as straight as I can to stretch it out. Then some neck rotations and I’m ready to work out. I start to pick up the 10lb weights, then choose the 12 pound ones instead. I find the weight bench and do 12 chest presses. Press up, clink together twice, and down. The first set is easy. I rest for a minute, then go for 15 reps. It was definitely time to crank it up to 12. One final set of 15 and I switch to the barbell. 20 pounds feels light, so I try the 40. Too much. I find the 30 and head back to the bench. I do 15 and realize that this is actually too light – I should have stuck with the 40. I do 3 sets of 15, promising myself that I’ll switch up to 40 next time. I rack my barbell and wipe off the sweat and grab a drink of my protein drink.
Legs The leg press has over 300 pounds on it, so I remove 100 and settle in. I keep my hand on the safety grip, just in case the knees are not up to the weight. 7, 8, 9 , – 10. I rest for 30 seconds then start another set. 10, 11, push! 12! Gasping for breath I rest for another 45 seconds then do the final set – pushing for 15. I will definitely feel these later.
Levitating I crawl out of the leg press and stumble over to the chin bar. I cannot do a chin up. I cannot do a pull up. I can however, stand on a stool and jump up in the air and try to hang there for as long as possible. This is actually an improvement over just jumping up in the air. I try for 15 and then hit the ropes. Literally – flipping the heavy ropes first up with one arm, then with the other, trying to get a rhythm and keep them both moving and rippling. It is so heavy, I can only do it for 30 seconds. If the trainer was there, he would have pushed me to keep going but without him; I give up too soon.
Sit ups I switch to floor work and do 60 Russian sit ups with the heavy ball. Then 10 pushups, (on my knees – I still can’t do a “real” pushup, but I’m getting closer!) Then flip over for butt raises for 25. I do 2 more sets and I’m done. I pick up the 8lb medicine ball and try to move it from hand to hand, keeping my arms straight out. It feels too heavy and I wimp out and use the 6lb, which is too light.
More Arms I switch to tricep dips and push myself to do them til they burn. At 25 they are burning. At 30 I give up and stop, rubbing my sore upper arms.
Last 15 minutes I look at the clock. I still have 15 minutes so I get on the treadmill for 3 minutes at a 4.5 mph walk. My knees remind me why I don’t run and I get off and onto the elliptical. I push myself to do half a mile in 4 minutes and then I’m done. I grab my drink and my towel and zip into my two workout jackets, noticing that my stomach is maybe not as huge as I thought it was this morning. I feel lose and sweaty and ready for a shower.
I love everyone Gui congratulates me as I leave and says I’m looking thinner. I resist kissing him and thank him, smiling as I head out the door and home to breakfast – oatmeal with protein powder, banana and peanut butter. I race upstairs to shower, not noticing the stairs that 2 hours earlier felt like Mount Everest.
Feeling Good I shower and dress in a jacket and pants I bought from the Goodwill –losing 5 sizes in 4 months means being creative about my wardrobe! I do my hair and makeup, noticing that I can see cheekbones again. I race down and pack my lunch and two snacks, kiss my husband who hugs me and tells me I’m definitely thinner and race out the door for work.
The Rules This is one of THOSE days. A day when I didn’t give up. A day when I pushed myself and didn’t let all the excuses in my head win out over the basic rules I’ve set for myself:
- Exercise rule: Do some kind of exercise 6 days out of 7. Work out at least 3 days a week, 4 is better. Walk, bike or swim the other days.
- Eating Rule: Eat real food, balanced in protein, fat and carbohydrates. Avoid white stuff like flour, potatoes and white rice. No more than 8 ounces of food at a time – eat every 2-3 hours.
- Mind game rule: there are no excuses, just reasons. If I jump off track, get back on with the next meal or the next exercise opportunity.
Good girl! Good girl!
This is a post from December that I previously posted on BariatricEating.com