Sunday, August 4, 2013

Seven Month Check In!

I very nearly called this post "Retreat!  Retreat!" but it sounded too urgent and a wee bit militaristic, which is pretty much the polar opposite of what this post is about, so I kept with the established "monthly check in" theme.

At the start of July, I added regular daily workouts to my (still developing) routines.  I've de-cluttered most of the house, so it was high time I began to take a look at the clutter I carry around with me body-wise.  As I said before, I know what I ought to eat, and I've made some healthy changes in those directions, but my sweet tooth leads me to despair sometimes.  But what really bugged me was that I just didn't feel strong - and I wanted to.  So I had started experimenting in June with workouts and quickly figured out a few things:

  • I had to be realistic - why was I doing this?  My goal isn't to become a runner (no offense to my friends who go that way) or bench-press my body weight - I want to get fit, lose that same fifteen pounds that insists on sticking close to me, and have energy throughout my day.
  • I needed to pick something that I could do in my house - past history has shown me that gym workouts don't work well for me with my schedule.
  • I needed something that didn't require equipment.
  • I needed something that made me break a sweat, yet was short enough that I could do it often.

So I settled on three days of half-hour interval training (short bursts of intense activity, followed by shorter periods of less intense movement) and three days of strength training (starting at one set and adding another set every two weeks - I'm up to three and am aiming for four).  I'm experimenting with substituting one day of yoga for one of the strength training sessions and my regular half-hour walk is still part of my daily round.  How to do this?  Welcome to YouTube!  I have a regular set of videos I use (there's a boxing one and [hangs head] one that's designed around 70s pop music) and I might expand those after I've done this routine for eight weeks (I'm just about to start Week Six) - we'll see.

Not much change in either weight or inches, but I have to say - I feel better.  More energy and I'm beginning to feel stronger.  I'm going to keep with it - I'll report back in another month.  And I've heard that no matter how slowly I go, I'm still lapping the me that sat on the couch, so there's that.

This past weekend, my routines were disrupted a bit as I kept a promise to a friend and went on a women's retreat in the mountains.  I've never done such a thing before and I wasn't at all sure.  (Seriously.)  I have to say, it was magnificent.  We stayed at a Catholic retreat center that was basic (not rustic - all the modern amenities were there) and far enough removed from the world that you actually had time and space to listen to the clamor in your own head and work to still it - I thought of it as dealing head-on with my mental clutter.  The center had extremely limited Wi-Fi, which turned out to be a godsend for me.  I've become a touch tech-dependent and I believe it did me a world of good to unplug for 40 hours.  I left the iPad plugged in and used it as an alarm clock and noted the amount of water I drank, but that was it.  No logging my food (yummy summer camp style food, by the way), no checking Facebook or e-mail or news.  (OK, I did call to check in with FryDaddy, but this was massive unplugging for me!)  Obviously, I'm plugged back in, but I think that's going to change some this next month - unplugging meant I paid more attention to the people around me, instead of being that Jimmy Buffett lyric about "taking Polaroid pictures that are never in focus/Just to look at when they finally slow down."

This weekend was marvelous.  And these women are inspiring - tough, funny, honest, and quick to see the best in you.  Really, I want to be these women when I grow up.  Thanks to their example, maybe I'm a little further along that path today than I was last Thursday.

It's going to be a good month!

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