Thursday, April 23, 2009

Seraphim, the water baby.

I am just over the moon at how well I've done so far at my swimming sessions. I've only been doing a slow breast stroke back and forth, from one end to the other, but I can really tell only after 4 days of doing this what a difference it is making.

I'm starting to get my strokes down, one problem I have is that my frog kick is all over the place so I'm trying to slow down and concentrate on what I'm doing. Stroke to the sides with my arms while I'm pulling my feet up under my butt, point my hands outward and stretch while kicking my legs - propelling me forward. I did about twenty (many twenty-two, I lost count!) 25-yard laps today, then I did some legwork in the deep end, like bicycling, legs stretching to the side, and more practice with my frog kick holding on to the side.

My arms are as sore as can be, not painful, just a dull ache. I'm really feeling some soreness in my ab area (YEAH!!), but I can't really tell with my legs because they ache so much already!

Oh, but the feeling of being weightless for even just the 30-40 minutes I'm in there is just so awesome and relaxing on my joints. Although, I hate having to get out of the pool because once my feet hit solid ground I just feel so HEAVY! I mean, I know I am pretty heavy to begin with but you can really feel the gravity pulling you down once you don't have the water supporting you!

After I finish with my workout, I just bob. I totally relax and just let the water envelope me while I float. Niiiiiiice!

I haven't started going to the fitness center yet. I went over there Tuesday to check things out, but I just wanted my body to get used to the swimming before I added anything else to the mix.

I do so love swimming. I think it goes back to when my mom was pregnant with me, and she was sitting in my great-aunt's pool during a family get-together. My dad was so funny - he told her, "Carol, you better get out of there! You're going to drown the baby!" And he was serious!

My mom also had me take swimming lessons when I was 3, because she got scared after the little girl who used to live next to us drowned in a pond near their new home. To this day, the smell of pine cleaner makes me long for a pool to swim in (that's what they used at the YMCA where I took swimming lessons).

And then I was on the swim team for a few years when we lived in Bainbridge.

Anyhoo, I am enjoying my swimming so much I might drive in on Saturday for a session. I'll miss tomorrow because I have to get my allergy shot. Ah well. 5 days out of 7 is not bad at all!

Monday, April 20, 2009

A year in review.

March 24 marked my 1-year anniversary with Weight Watchers.

One year ago, I had high aspirations that by this summer I would be a lot lighter than last summer. I wouldn't be quite so self-conscious as this water-loving soul emerged from the dressing room probably not in a bikini but in a comfortable and perhaps flattering swimsuit. As we began shedding our winter layers, I was looking forward to wearing shorts without my thighs rubbing together, having the energy and less pain to finally do some walking around downtown Savannah and exploring this beautiful and historic city close-up, closer than you can get in a car or trolley tour.

Well, ain't gonna happen THIS summer.

And I'd like to blame it all on the medical problems that cropped up, and I am still dealing with, admidst my efforts to become healthier. Truthfully, it really is only part of my problem.

I am a food addict, I know it. This addiction is what makes it hard for me to eat the correct portions, makes it hard to fight strong cravings for food that I know darn well is not good for me. I don't know how I got to this point, but RIGHT NOW is the point where I am going to do my best to nip it in the bud.

I came to a very stark realization the other day. It was a post that a friend made on Facebook last week that spurred it:

"(NAME) Wonders why our self-preservation instincts don't override our self-destructive tendencies." To which I went on a tirade of how I don't understand why people who drive motorcycles feel the need to drive recklessly (like going 90-MPH on the interstate) knowing there's not much between them and the asphalt but the fabric of their clothing.

Well, that's not exactly what her thought process was, "It just popped into my head. Why some people choose to live unhealthy lifestyles and why some don't. And then I'm somewhere in the middle. I want to live a healthy lifestyle, but I don't always choose that path. Just a thought as I was driving in this"

That really got me to thinking. Yeah - every time I shove that Big Reese's cup, 2 scoops of Leopold's rum raisin ice cream, or peach fritter from Baker's Pride in my cakehole I'm being no less reckless than the motorcyclist driving at breakneck speed.

Another issue is this whole thyroid thing. As of my last appointment on March 3 with my endocrinologist, I was still showing signs of being in hyperthyroidism. I was pretty sure that the treatment had worked and I'd "crossed over" to hypothyroidism, because of all the weight I'd gained. That, combined with the weight gain from that medication I'd been on, I'd developed the attitude of, "Why bother trying if I'm going to gain anyway." So, I still continued to follow the Program, but only half-heartedly - and of course with the expected results. I am now a year later. As of December 20th, 2008 I had lost 51 pounds. Between then and now, I have been losing and gaining the same 39 pounds. And in my mind, I don't think, "Well, I lost 50 pounds already and this is just a small setback. I'll get back to that point again soon."

No, in my mind all I can think, "Dammit, it's been a f--ing year and I've only lost 12 pounds!!"

But since my friend made that statement, my mind has been all shaken up and the puzzle pieces seem to be falling into a more logical state. I think I now know what I need to do:

1) It's only been a little over a month since I last saw the endocrinologist and I won't see him again until June. SO, as far as I know I am still in hyperthyroidism mode and therefore will act as if my metabolism is revved up and use that to my advantage.

2) So what if I am in hyper- or hypothyroidism.....the MAIN GOAL is to get healthier, whether I lose any weight right now or not -RIGHT?? Then, as I get healthier and my thyroid issues start to be resolved, the weight will begin to come off.

3) Find what physical activities work for me, and work 'em! Walking apparently is a no-go for me because of the neuropathy. And, Russell and I have also discovered that with our sometimes-crazy schedules and my physical problems, it would be best for us to just be "on our own" in our efforts to get some sort of physical activity in. Russell likes to listen to OTR (old time radio shows, like Jack Benny, etc.), and he walks faster than I do so most of the time when we're walking he's ahead of me. And I usually end up quitting before him because I'm hurting.

The best physical exercise for me, and something I love, is swimming. And by a wonderful stroke of luck in the past few years the college has built a new rec center complete with a workout room. As long as I am working as staff here, I can have access to the pool and workout room for only $11 a month - how stupid could I be to NOT take advantage of that? Unfortunately, spouses of staff cannot use the facilities so Russell does his walk over at the indoor track and OTR thing - and that works for him. I have just started (2 days so far) walking the short walk over to the pool (indoor, so I could do this almost year-round) and swimming at lunch time and then after work I'll go to the workout center and so some strength training while Russell goes over and walks on the indoor track. Then, we meet at the car and go home! After a while, perhaps as Russell and I get more and more fit we can plan to do some physical activities together - like walking and exploring downtown, hiking in the mountains (I'm going to tackle Stone Mountain again one day!), or even something else I've been wanting to do - kayaking!

4) Get my eating in check. I like the whole motorcycle analogy - so perhaps now that I have that in mind every time I think of eating something bad I'll imagine myself on a speeding motorcycle. Another goal, something I did last night, was to half everything I had for dinner and put it in a divided plate and had that for lunch today!

5) Try not to beat myself up so much. Hey, guess what? I've lost 12 pounds this year!!! LIFE IS WONDERFUL!! (clap, clap, clap, clap!) (No, Russell, I'm NOT turning into Andrea..)

So, there's my plan. And here's to my next year on Weight Watchers. I'm feeling more positive and renewed already.