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I have weighed myself the past two mornings and am now down to 130.5 pounds. I’m also continuing with yoga and exercise as well as the diet. I think this is working for me!

I’ve been terrible the past week with keeping up with the blog. I promise I shall fill you in on the past week and all that I didn’t have time to share up to this point.

Today I weigh 132 lbs. This means I lost 6.5 lbs since January 6th, when it was 138.5. I really think I lost more like 8 lbs., as my average weight has been 140 for the past few years.

Here are side-by-side comparison shots (the left is today, March 3rd, 2013, 132.0 lbs, the right is the day I started, January 6, 2013, 138.5 lbs):

IMG_1346 IMG_1003_2

IMG_1353 Status photo

Quite a difference, even at just 8 lbs. My theory is that I must have gained muscle mass, because I do feel stronger and the weight loss was so gradual, that it would make sense that with dieting plus exercise, you’re gaining muscle while you’re also losing fat.

What now? I want to keep going! I want to get stronger and even leaner. Maybe another 5 lbs. to go and just keeping up the habit of daily exercise and eating right. I did it and I can keep doing it. I have to say, I’m pretty proud of myself.

Day 1 of week 6

This morning I thought about the importance of stretching before working out, especially if you are going to be doing a workout that puts stress on your hips and lower back. Almost all of the leg exercises in the “Impossible Abs” workout affect your hips: lunges and squats, for example. Running and jump roping will also do this. So it’s very important for those areas to be flexible and loose before working them.

I have found yoga to be a great stretching mechanism. I do yoga in a class once a week, but now that I’m doing Impossible Abs, I do yoga for about 10-15 minutes every morning to stretch out before working out.

By chance, I found out that Reebok offers short videos on yoga for stretching and I was surprised to find that the instructor does almost all of the same poses that I had already incorporated into my morning stretching routine. So here are three videos from that source to give an idea of the types of yoga poses (stretches, really) I have been doing and find very beneficial. I sincerely believe it is what has prevented my back from completely tightening up. I already have a weakness in that area of my body, so skipping stretches is not even an option for me, or I would be in pain all day.

Yoga for Crossfit
Yoga for Runners
Yoga for total flexibility

Day 7 of week 5

So now that I’ve done this program for 5 weeks, I’m wondering more and more why I don’t just continue doing what I’m doing. Just keep going after the 8 weeks are done. I know how the regimen makes me feel, both in my body and emotionally. I wrote this to my sister yesterday:

At the first of this year, right on January 1st, I made the decision to do something really nice for myself and that was to once and for all eat much healthier and to exercise daily. I had learned about a program that helps you to do that and has proven results. I read all about it and since it was very affordable to sign up, I did and started the “program” on January 6th. It’s for a minimal 8-weeks and you work out daily except on Sunday and you eat only healthy and whole foods, and skip anything with sugar, dairy or wheat in it. You also don’t eat anything in the family of beans or rice. So I’ve been keeping up with it, tracking my progress, and recording my journey. I have done 5 weeks and have 3 more to go, but I’m probably going to keep going after the 8 weeks because it’s become so easy for me to do. I’ve lost 4.5 pounds so far and just feel great.

I feel stronger and leaner and the food is helping to eat less and not feel so full after eating. I have some meat every day, eggs, some fruit and lots of vegetables and a little bit of nuts. For healthy oils I eat fish, olive oil and nuts. I have added a few things in, maybe once a week, of diary (like yogurt) or something like a cookie or piece of pie, but for the most part I’m strictly on this food program. It’s also called the Paleo diet, because it is based on foods that people ate in the paleozoic period, when people were hunters and gatherers. The theory is that after agriculture the health of people declined. They have compared bones of paleozoic people to those of later people and their teeth are healthier, their bones are stronger, they were taller, and there was less infant mortality. The science of human nutrition is still in infancy, but I read several books on this and it appears there is a lot to this paleo healthy diet theory. Many allergies are caused by foods like dairy and grains and when you think about it, our bodies were not made to digest food from farm animals or food grown on farms. We still have the stomachs and organs of our early ancestors and they ate what they could find in the wild. There might even be a correlation to many diseases we have now due to the consumption of grains and dairy.

Well, I shall see if I can maintain this kind of eating but so far I’m really liking it and I don’t miss cheese or sugar or bread as much as I thought I would. I may try to introduce brown rice and whole grains back into my diet later, but I also might not. I want to see how things are with me after the 8 weeks and then decide.

In any case I feel good, both physically and emotionally due to this effort. It is the first time I have really done something this consistent, outside of work. I have tried to eat healthier before and exercise more and just didn’t keep it up because it felt too “hard.” Or I didn’t have the time to cook or I didn’t have the ability to get up early enough to exercise. But I’m very surprised by my change of heart because I have been cooking more and getting up earlier and I just decided this was more important than doing other things and to keep with it, especially as I figured if I didn’t like it after 8 weeks, I could stop. But I’m really liking it and am so glad I started. It’s good feeling like I can do anything if I set my mind to it. Sometimes you need that to break out of your rut, your regular old existence. The last quarter of last year I felt like I had fallen in a rut, I wasn’t really doing anything constructive with myself. I was just passing the time. I now feel re-energized and am so optimistic about the future, about this year, about my life.

I’ve shared my experience with others too, friends, some other family by telling them about it. “How are you?” they ask. “What have you been doing lately?” So I tell them, working out, eating healthy, following a specific program and diet. They are all interested in hearing about my experience.

I haven’t yet shared my blog with them, but maybe I will. After all, I am writing here and publishing it to the public, why not get them to come and let them make comments? It is a rather personal journey but also one I’m happy to share, in case anyone else wants to do it too, or might feel inspired to do something similar. I can undergo a little bit of embarrassment, I suppose, for the revealing photographs. Anyway, no need to feel weird about it, I guess, as it’s not nudity and it’s something I’m quite proud of.

I’m not embarrassed to say that for someone who just turned 45, I care about the way I look but most importantly how I feel about myself. I think it’s that I’ve always felt much younger in my mind than my body’s age. That’s a good thing, they say. I have also been pretty lucky in that I have stayed looking fairly young for my age. Some people are surprised when I do reveal how old I am. It’s therefore not at all something I keep hidden from people. I am my age, why lie about it? Especially if they respond with, “No, really? You look so much younger!”

My weight this morning is 133.0. Another pound lost and down 5.5 lbs since I began the program. Here are the photos from this morning:

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Day 7 of week 4

I really can’t believe it has been 4 weeks and I’m half-way through! I’m so proud of myself, for losing those 4.5 lbs and also for the nutrition and exercising that I’ve been maintaining throughout this entire time. I’m just as enthusiastic about it now as I was in the beginning. In fact, I feel even better about it, because I’ve come this far and because I’m starting to see such great results, and I feel so great too. I like the way clothes are fitting better, I like that less is jiggling around. I just overall feel so much better and it’s also been a good thing for me emotionally.

I saw this video on the woman who did the Julia Childs cooking blog, Julie Powell (the movie “Julie and Julia” is based partly on her blog). When asked why she wanted to do it, she said it was “to do something everyday that was something specifically for me.” It was her way of getting out of her rut, to feel creative, to see if she could do it (a challenge), and to feel good about herself.

That is exactly why I wanted to do this Impossible Abs program. It was to get me out of my rut and to feel I can handle a challenge and succeed. You have to start somewhere, right? I knew I needed to get into better shape, I knew I wasn’t happy about the way my body was getting flabby and fat and I just needed to get going on something to fix it. So I did.

I am so glad I did, and even if I don’t make it to my end goals of lbs and inches off, I will be happy anyway, because I can continue on and keep going and find other ways to help me reach my goals.

One thing I did notice when I went walking yesterday is that my back is still in rough shape. I have always had a weak back, a back that will easy feel sore when I walk or stand for long periods of time. Also especially if I haven’t stretched in a while and then try to do something strenuous. I don’t know what I can do to minimize my back pain. I do the yoga and that helps. Now that I’m doing stretches every morning, I thought I’d feel much better, but in the end, I still am stiff because I sit all day long at work. And my bed is not the best bed either, it’s rather stiff and doesn’t allow my joints to relax, my shoulders and hips are always sore when I wake up. But stretching is the one thing that does help, even if it is mimimally.

If I need to take it easy walking, running, perhaps even biking, I had better find a way to strengthen my back. I was doing the yogalates which is strengthening (Pilates) along with stretching (yoga) for several years up until last December. I just do yoga now and maybe that is my problem. However, now I’m doing the workouts in the IA (Impossible Abs) program. IA does for me what Pilates was doing. It makes me stronger. And I think in the end I will be stronger than I was before. I’m certainly not going to give up until I can do a set of real pull-ups without the pauses or feet touching the ground. It may be worth it for me to go to a gym and to tell them about my back and perhaps there are exercises they can recommend.

All I know is that after Saturday’s walk (and also having lifted some heavy things earlier that morning when I picked up some things from Paul’s old apartment) my back, legs and hips were killing me. I don’t want my back to limit me in being physical, so I have to find a good way to work with this.

Today I weighed myself for my end of 4th week mark, exactly half-way through the program and I am at: 134.0 lbs.

Not bad. If I continue to lose a pound a week or so, then I will be down to 130.0 by the 8th week. Really hoping this happens.

I would be very happy with 130, although I’d still probably try to go for 128 eventually, or perhaps even 125 if that is possible. I’d like to have a very low body-fat percentage. The ideal for a woman who works out is between 12 and 17% and I remember being at 17% when I was in my twenties. I would be happy with a 17% ratio now in my forties.

Photos of me now:

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I don’t see much of a difference from last week, but then I really didn’t expect to.

These four compositions show a little bit what has changed since 3 weeks ago:

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The newest photos are on the right side, the oldest on the left. I will try to make sure that I get the exact same angles and lighting for the subsequent photos. It’s very hard to take photos of yourself when you’re by yourself!

Day 7 of week 3

So here we are at the week 3 mark. I weigh 135.0 lbs, which means I only lost half a pound since last week. A bit disappointing. However, I am not going to let it discourage me, as I am going to assume that my body’s composition is changing and perhaps I’ve gain muscle mass. Who knows, it’s hard to tell, but I’m not going to get discouraged only 3 weeks into this.

Yes, I had hoped I’d be further along as far as the weight loss. But in any case, I am happy with my body so far and I definitely am looking more toned in my abdominal area. Still more to do on my arms, but the abs are coming along. See here:

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As far as measurements, I don’t seem to have changed from last week either.

I’m still going to go for my goal of 128 lbs. There are still 5 weeks to go, so I think it’s possible.

Day 3 of week 3

This morning I woke up without the alarm at probably 6 or 6:30 but I was being lazy and didn’t get out of bed until 7. So I didn’t have time to do my entire workout. I did one round and then decided to do the rest after I get home tonight.

I’m glad I can wake up without the alarm. Now I just need to force myself out of bed as soon as I wake up. Otherwise the whole purpose is kind of moot.

The workout today was the strengthening workouts, all indoors, which I was glad about as today it is freezing here in Boston. If I had had to do sprints today, I likely would’ve skipped them, as I would’ve frozen my ass off. I don’t have the right kind of running gear (clothing) to run outside in freezing cold weather. I may have to address this if it remains being as chilly as it was today.

I feel stronger. I am able to do go higher when doing the pull-ups on the bar and I can do more reps of the body-row exercise and even the squats and lunges. I am therefore building muscle. So I do wonder if my lack of losing “pounds” has more to do with that I’m losing fat but at the same time am gaining muscle so the difference in weight isn’t going to be as noticeable. The more noticeable items are going to be the measurements.

I did the waist/hip ratio measurement that Robb Wolf’s book says to do and I came out at a .74. He says women over .8 need to be concerned with their health.

I had Thai yoga last night and although that’s not a strengthening form of yoga (all the exercises are for lying down), it is a flexibility-assisting form of yoga and in addition there is Thai massage involved and Portia, the instructor, has been helping me with my shoulders and neck. That is where I tighten up. I know it’s because I sit at a computer all day and that I have bad posture when sitting. I try to improve on it, but it’s not always easy when you sit for that long. I do take stretch breaks every 30 minutes or so, but not all the time.

Countdown

Completion of 8-Week Impossible Abs programMarch 4th, 2013
8 weeks completed!

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