Friday, June 03, 2011

Beginning a Healthy Life

On the weekends, I'm going to start keeping a diary of my efforts to move toward a healthier life style. I want a written record for myself and decided some of you might be interested, too. If not, just skip the weekend blogs.

On March 1, I rejoined Snap Fitness, a local gym that is part of a national chain here. Snap Fitness has several things in its favor:
  1. It's not far from my home.

  2. It's open 24/7, which means I can work out after 9 PM at night--a time when I am wide awake and physically loose.

  3. I didn't have to sign a year's contract with all kinds of ugly clauses. I go month-to-month for about $35, and I can ask them to not bill me for several months if I know I'm not going to be able to attend.
I decided early on that I would do a mile a day on the treadmill and then mix up other exercises in addition. My internist recommended changing my routine every three weeks to keep my body from settling into a rut. She also recommended working out four or five times a week for 30 to 45 minutes.

After three months, I've found my pattern. Two weeks of the month I do five nights a week and, two weeks of the month, I do four nights a week. Which nights depend on my own schedule and preference. I'm not rigid about it. Right now I'm spending an hour each time I work out. I started at 40 minutes a visit the first month, went to 50 minutes the second month and am now at 60 minutes.

Diabetes doesn't run in my family; it gallops. I am controlled by diet with a pill a couple of times a day. I have made small changes to my diet over this three months. Initially, I started by having oatmeal with cinnamon and blueberries five days a week. Then I added a 10:30 AM snack (usually a Kind bar--they are fabulous--see here) and a 3:30 PM snack (usually an apple and cheese, or a banana and guacamole. I HATE peanut butter).

Lunch is where I concentrate my day's carbs. I'll have a loaded baked potato or--another favorite--Jimmy John's roast beef sandwich with lettuce, tomato and mayo.

The hardest thing for me has been giving up processed foods. I'll talk about that another time.

I started listening to my body more and learned that I NEED to eat between 5:00 and 6:00 PM. I usually have some protein (veal scallopine--the easiest thing in the world to make), or a piece of chicken or beef fajitas. If I'm going out to dinner with friends, I have the same thing.

I like a snack before I go to bed. I don't care if all the experts say you shouldn't eat before you go to sleep. My body demands a snack. My three most common snacks are the Kind dark chocolate and cherry cashew bar, or pineapple cream cheese on Ritz crackers or just grapes.

In three months, I've lost 15 pounds and overall about 12 inches. I do my own measurements so that the gym isn't giving me hooey in an effort to keep me as a member. I've gone down three pants sizes.

This is kind of a sad story to tell on myself, but here it is:

About six weeks into my little program, I noticed lines forming under my rib cage on either side. I realized they were the beginnings of abs. I started calling them my "baby abs." Each week the lines became more pronounced. My abdomen also started hurting almost all the time (largely because, during the day while I was walking or driving, I would suck in my gut and hold it for the count of 30).

This week, I got out of the shower and realized there was a vertical pouchy place in the shape of a diamond between my two horizontal ab lines.

I panicked. I thought, "Oh, my God, I've herniated myself!" Then I stared at it closer and ran to the Internet to pull up a diagram of a set of abs (see here). I quickly realized it was my linea alba making its first appearance. The linea alba is a long strip of fascia--fibrous tissue that runs down the middle of your abdomen, splitting the six-pack into its sections. So now I have a vertical baby ab in addition to my horizontal one.

Of course, I've been pulling up my shirts all week to show my baby abs to my nearest and dearest! My loved ones have been very tolerant.
That's it for this week.

3 comments:

Kayanna Kirby said...

This sounds great. Keep up the awesome work.

Maya Reynolds said...

Thanks, Kayanna!!!

jeffrivera said...

Congrats for moving forward toward a healthy lifestyle. Maintaining your health is very important nowadays. Keep it up!