Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Gaining Health Not Losing Weight

I have finally made the decision to gain back my health. For me, this includes getting rid of some fat that has found its way onto my once (okay, a long, long, long time ago) athletic body.

This is not my first attempt at increased health. I have had success, more or less, with a variety of attempts. This time is the last time. Why? I am determined to make changes that are healthy and permanent. Hence the title: I Refuse to Diet!

To me, diet is the most obscene 4 letter word used. Not in its original definition, but as we typically use it.

I don't like the "losing weight" term either. I don't want to lose "weight"--that is too generic. And it puts the focus on the number on the scale, which I know is the wrong place. That is a guideline, but not a perfect way to identify a healthy body. I have known plenty of slender bodies that are filled with absolute junk food, cigarettes and other toxins.

Gaining health works for all of us. It doesn't matter if your body could use less (or more) fat, toner muscles, more vitality, more energy, fewer toxins. Almost all of us can improve our health.

Whew. Got that out of the way. Now, as I mentioned, I have a bit of fat that will be discarded (I am not losing it, so please do not return it). Okay, "a bit" is an understatement. I have a lot of fat to discard. And I am going to track my progress. Here. For you all to learn from.

I know that at times this will be easy. At other times it will be a real challenge. I promise to share my thoughts, feelings, successes and failures as I go.

Let me share my intentions. I will achieve my goal weight by my 50th birthday, which is in June 2008. This will not require a miracle, but it will require consistency and commitment. I will be able to buy clothes in a "regular" store. I will have the energy, stamina, breath control, lung capacity, flexibility and strength to do any exercise that I want to. I will eliminate the aches and pains I currently experience in my back, my knees, my hips and my feet.

Do I include photos? Do I tell my weight? I haven't decided about all that. For a couple reasons. First, truly pounds are not the final deciding factor, so is it critical? If I don't put it here does that mean that back in the deep, dark, ice-cream loving recesses of my mind I don't believe I will be successful? Or am I just to embarrassed at the my own image to put it out there until I have demonstrated that I can change it?

These are all good questions. I have decided that I don't have to decide today. For today, I have started. Actually, today is day 2, which is even better.

So, how is it going, you ask? Not bad. I have had moments of hunger. So I let myself have snacks. Rather than restricting my food intake I have chosen to allow myself anything I want to eat. That way, there is no feeling of deprivation. However, I have to be conscious about what I eat and drink, I have to be hungry, and I am working on healthy food choices and portion control.

Yes, I am following a "program". I will share more about it as I get into it more. There is some guidance to assist with healthy choices and I make sure I take supplements to get all the nutrients I need, and there is moderate exercise. Actually, pretty light exercise. For now, only 15 minutes a day.

I started yesterday, so on Sunday I did weigh myself and take all my measurements. I am noting my moods and how I feel. This will be part of that process.

The hardest parts so far have been 1. the exercises--even though they are only 15 minutes and are very "easy" I got a massive cramp in my left calf. It was very difficult to continue---but I did! I do not believe the cramp is "typical". I had 2 surgeries on that leg and I think the muscles are being used in different ways then they are accustomed...I know it will be better soon. What was really so hard about it was my own reaction to it--during the exercising I was berating myself because of the cramping. Instead of being gentle and understanding that the leg is getting some different action I beat myself up with thoughts of "what a wimp!" and "no one would ever believe you used to be a competitive athlete". Thank goodness I have a great support partner in this who helped me to realize what I was doing!

The second challenge for me was being hungry. I ate my meals and although not "hungry" I wasn't full. I was okay with that. In fact, I like the light feeling...and not feeling like I wanted to take a nap. But within 2 hours I was hungry again. It felt strange to realize that was okay--because it was okay for me to have a snack! I felt really proud of myself when I had a small serving of nuts and a nectarine for a snack.

The biggest success for me was also around food. I have not wanted to eat ice cream or any other junk food (and ice cream is my drug of choice) for two days. That might not sound like much to some people, but for me it is huge! Even when I was hungry, I wanted real, nutritious food, not junk.

So all in all, I am proud of days one and two. It is a good start to the rest of my life.

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