So y'all know that I am working pretty consistently on fitness; running and biking and really trying.
Since we started counting (I have an Excel chart called 2008 Fitness Spectacular that measures weight, body mass, and bust, waist, hips. It calculates everything and is a thing of beauty) I have gained and lost the same 5 pounds over and over. Beloved has lost 12 pounds and 6 inches. And she's not even trying. Today I am at the exact weight I started at.
This is wrong. Maybe it's hard to change your body past 40 for anyone, but that ain't nothin' compared to adding menopause to the mix. What is UP with that?
So now I'm crabby and it would be best if you didn't even look at me now. 'Cause I'll slap you as soon as look at you.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
So y'all know that I am working pretty consistently on fitness; running and biking and really trying.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
I was having a hot flash and found myself furiously googling "menopause". In the interest of women everywhere, here are the top five facts that jumped out at me (in no particular order.)
1. Menopause is a natural and important part of every woman's life. Most women experience this stage after age 40 and spend a third of their life in this phase. (source: WebMD )
Emphasis mine. WTF? My doctor told me that the perimenopause phase "could last up to 10 years" - which is significantly less than one-third of my life - so someone's got some 'splainin' to do. I do not intend to spend 30 years or more in menopause.
2. Menopause often causes or worsens sleep disturbances. (source: multiple )
Apparently, part of the sleep disturbance symptoms during perimenopause and/or menopause may just coincide with the menopausal period and may not be of endocrinological (hormonal) origin. I say BAH to that. I have always slept well, and now I don't. I have at least 7-10 days every month where I have varying degrees of wakefulness - sometimes multiple times in one night, sometimes spending hours awake. And sometimes I'm hit with serious fatigue (so much more than just "tired". )
3. A diet high in soy has been shown in some studies to decrease postmenopausal hot flashes. (source: multiple )
I actually eat a lot of soy products and can eat an entire bowl of edamame in the blink of an eye, but what is the POSTmenopausal crap? I need something to reduce hot flashes NOW. But I have noticed that I crave soy when I'm having a rough day of flashes.
4. As estrogen levels drop, the small amount of testosterone that a woman produces may have more pronounced effects on her body. For instance, she may develop coarse hair on her chin, upper lip, chest and abdomen. (source: iVillage )
Oh, mama. No one ever told me about the whiskers. Why is this a secret? It's a terrible thing to touch your face and feel a sharp poke. Then you have to run to a mirror and make sure it isn't visible even though it feels like Rapunzel. But after reading this delightful tidbit I'm all frantic about the possibility of "chest and abdomen."
5. Symptoms that no one talks about so that when you experience them you think you are sick or crazy (but you aren't.) For me that includes sudden unexplained bloating not really tied to my cycle; inexplicable feelings of doom and dread; and inflammation in the joints.
I only just found these things out by poking around on the internet. When I say "bloating" I mean at an uprecedented level somewhere north of 5 pounds, and not knowing if you have gained weight or if it will be gone in a day or two. And as for doom and dread - there are days when I just can't shake feeling really nervous and down. I'm convinced of all kinds of depressing things and would generally prefer to just lie on the couch and watch Project Runway reruns. And inflammation in the joints really blows me away. For the past year I have been waking up frequently with very stiff fingers and lamenting that Arthritis was probably beginning. Now I suspect that it's hormonal.
There are other weird things that women report, too - like irregular heartbeat; itchy, crawly skin; bleeding gums; tinnitus; thinning hair; "burning tongue"; and occasional incontinence. These can all be symptoms of menopause - check with your doctor to be sure it's not something more serious. But isn't it good to know that it may all be part of "normal"?
So there you go. This change is BIG and can affect you both physically and mentally. It's strange and uncomfortable. But knowing about it helps.
Friday, September 12, 2008
Did I mention that we (Beloved and I) bought some property in the Catskills? It's a lovely rural area and we are going to build a house in a year or two. We've named it Owl Hill. Because I wanted to. And it is on a hill.
We have six acres with a barn that acts as a maternity ward for some local cows, a small horse stable, and a falling down shack. We have a stream and some apple trees, and a huge expanse of meadow.
So yesterday we were there and had to clean out 50 years of debris from the little horse stable thing. It was filthy and way hard, but it looks so good now! We pulled out more than a dumpster's worth of junk and (literally) shit.
So there is a link here to my fitness journal - first, cleaning out a barn is EXERCISE. Second, if you are carrying logs and planks and bales of barbed wire your menopause symptoms abate. Either that or you are so hot and sweaty anyway that hot flashes don't affect you. I recommend it.
Friday, September 5, 2008
Now that I am exercising regularly and trying to get more fit and saying "well, I only want to be fit" (while secretly wishing to be a bombshell )-- I've been thinking about how the heck I got here.
So maybe you are reading this somewhat smugly and thinking "wow - 100 pounds. That would never happen to me!"
Oh, my naive friend - you have no idea. Don't think of it as 100 pounds - think of it as less than 10 pounds a year, over 15 years. See what I mean?
And it's like one day you wake up and say "how did this happen to me?" Not that it matters - what matters is getting fitter and healthier - but still.
So that's how it happens. Slowly and easily. Don't ever let up on your vigilence or your ass will take over the world. *sigh*
Do you think a 48 year old menopausal woman can get hot again? (And I do not mean "hot flashes".)
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
It's been a long, hot summer and not too much progress on the weight-loss front. Lots of mean surprises on the menopause front.
But I'm back with a new attitude and renewed commitment. Not sure why - maybe it's the "first day of school" syndrome.
I'm ignoring the lady-bits today in favor of fitness - went to the track and FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER ran all the way around (400 meters) without walking. Beloved was there for support, and although all the way around I told her that I couldn't do it, and then I did, I got some ornery bee in my bonnet and somehow PUNISHED her by running another 400 meters. I know. It's f***ed up.
So...if this old thing can run, so can you. I'm just sayin'.
PS - I should define "run". It means not walking, but has no relation to the concept of "speed" at all. A two-year old could easily keep up with me.
Friday, June 20, 2008
It turns out the "ups and downs" of trying to get fit and lose weight are not all that exciting on a day-to-day (or even week-to-week) basis.
I've gotta re-think this.
As of 6/1/08:
Monday, June 9, 2008
I don't even feel like writing - and since it was already 80 degrees at 6:30 AM (on the way to 99 for today) I just don't feel like going to the track. Leaving the bedroom AC is like getting smacked in the lungs with a hot, wet towel.
Beloved, that show off, has gone. She loves heat and is impervious to humidity; while I am like a beached whale barely able to move. Even my brain turns off.
Every year I wonder why I live in NYC when August rolls around with it's 1000% humidity days. But June? Oy.
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
I was feeling so strong recently but have been catching glimpses of myself in windows and am shocked - SHOCKED. It should be obvious but those of us that are significantly overweight don't always see ourselves clearly. We tend to concentrate on our best features, or on bits rather than the whole.
*Sigh* Trying to have a better attitude.
On the plus side, had a good workout with more running time than ever before. Focus on that and not your ass, Owlette.
As of 6/1/08:
Sunday, June 1, 2008
In fact, there are others getting in on the act now - the French Hairdresser and his boyfriend the Cowboy think it's all a great plan and are in with us now.
So we had already decided to ride to Central Park and have a picnic. The plan was to ride up to 59th St and enter the park, find a good spot, and maybe ride the big loop around the park since there are no cars on Sunday (about 10 million bikers and skaters, but that's a different story.) It's about 2.5 miles from our house to the Park - and more uphill than I realized.
But we ride up and cannot get across to the park at 59th - there is an Israel Day parade and it's PACKED with people. We had to ride all the way up to 86th St (another 1.5 miles) just to cross Fifth Avenue into the Park. The park was so full that we had to ride on the roadway up around the reservoir to get to the west side where the Cowboy was meeting us. (Another mile+, and MOSTLY UPHILL.)
When we got to the meeting spot I was done. We laid around, ate, talked, and generally enjoyed the beautiful afternoon. Beloved, of course, couldn't sit still and did the big loop on her own. There is no way I could have done all those hills.
But I was feeling pretty good if a little done-in when Beloved brightly says "Let's go all the way around the Battery and stop at the Seaport for a drink." (This would have added about an additional 6+ miles to our way home!) The French Hairdresser jumps all over it with his fancy bike, Tour De France outfit, and clippy shoes. I was so upset because there is really no way I could have managed that. I was sure I could get home without a problem, even going out of our way to go down by the Hudson, but adding more?
It totally deflated me. Why would Beloved suggest something like that? I'm really doing great with fitness, but I am NOT near that level yet. Shouldn't they both have known that? Yes, they should have.
So we had a great day, but I still feel like I held people back from having fun. So no matter that I did all the extra riding and the hills successfully, I still feel a little loser-ish. Gotta work on stomping out the negative voice. She's a pain in the ass.
As of 6/1/08:
Friday, May 30, 2008
We said good-bye to the company - the week actually went pretty fast. On Sunday 5/25 we weighed and measured - pretty good results! An inconsistent week still showed forward progress. Excellent!
As I wrote about here we had a really enjoyable ride up the West Side, with a stop for spontaneous kayaking. We did go to Zum Schneider, and some friends joined us. Our friend Bruce is an awesome massage therapist and educator - he is one of the founders of stone massage - (Call him for an appointment in New York or Miami!) - and when we got back home he looked at Beloved's ankles. He did some simple stretches while explaining that any injury needs blood and oxygen to heal, so by gently moving the muscles and tissues we can direct additional blood flow and increased oxygen to the affected site.
And sure enough, the swelling was noticeably diminished when he was done. A great start to the week.
And things are finally getting a little easier. The week's accomplishments:
- Exercised every day by accident and didn't notice until just now.
- Made it up the second hill in Jersey City 50% of the time. (The "big hill" still defeats me.)
- Made it up the first part of the ramp going to the East River Park. Might have made it up the second part but am still a bit glackity on the tight turns, and once I lose momentum it's all over.
- Asked Beloved when they moved the World Trade Center closer to our house. :) (That means no resting on the way to or from the WTC PATH station!)
- Maintaining a 1.5 mile walk at the track, with 4 hundred-meter running intervals.
- Lost 1.5 pounds!
As of 5/25/08:
We have company this week - a dear friend of Beloved's from Germany and her 8 year old daughter. They are wonderful guests, helpful and non-obtrusive (a real feat in an NYC apartment.)
Two important things are in play now: Beloved is caught up in being with her friend, and she somehow injured both her ankles running (showing off?)at the track. They hurt and are swollen, like a sprain. I told her last week that too much was as bad as nothing at all when she was exhorting me to run (to no avail.) I reminded her that we are over 40. I cried when she was clearly disappointed. Can't she see that I am working hard at this? That keeping on keeping on is more important than speed or "winning"?
As I continue my workout (stepping smartly) until finished, she is sprinting ahead and stopping to stretch or rest in between. It's a fundamental difference between us, I realize. She can beat anyone in the on-the-spot competition: faster, more capable of the push needed to win. So not where I am coming from.
This week I ride to the warehouse in Jersey City for the first time alone. My seat decides to slowly descend until the rack on the back is acting like a brake. I call Beloved in a slight panic since just moving the seat up spins the rack at a crazy angle. I really want her to come and rescue me since I knew this bicycle crap was total bullshit. And here is the proof.
She gives me some instructions, but I am not an engineer. It doesn't seem to work like she said. She is laughing at me (she has a very well developed sense of schadenfreude) and I am getting pissed. I give a curt "good-bye" and hang up in a huff. I consider abandoning the bike but the walk home is too far. I fool around with the seat and rack and finally understand how the "quick release" mechanism works. I adjust the seat and go on.
I am so incredibly proud of myself. It's a tiny little thing - but I fixed it. By myself.
The buoyancy crashes later in the day on the way home when I have to walk up the two hills from the warehouse to the PATH station again. I try telling myself that it's OK, that I really achieved something today with riding alone and fixing a problem -- but I don't listen. Why should I listen to an old, tired, fat, unable-to-do-slight-hills, out of shape mess?
We take a few days off to go up to the property we just bought in Sullivan County. So there is a break from the forced march since Beloved is distracted and slightly injured. Whoo-hoo!
And then I find out that I feel terrible. I feel huge and unable to move. Everything is an effort. I am so crabby that even I don't want to be around me. Even my in-denial brain can figure out that this is because I have gotten used to an hour of exercise every day, and now my body is in shock.
As of 5/18/08:
This is really hard. I am stiff and sore everywhere. It's not getting easier, and the hills still defeat me. Maybe some people are constitutionally unable to navigate hills. Did ya ever think of that? Humph.
I feel like an old lady. If it's not easier after two full weeks, why continue? Beloved is adding distance and speed every single day at the track. She is getting faster, and going further every day. And she looks like a real runner. I look like a plodding elephant.
I'm still struggling along with my mile-and-a-quarter. Biking home is terrible - the distance between Avenue B and First Avenue seems like a mile - up hill. She doesn't say anything, but I can tell she would like to go faster when we ride bicycles. I am using every last ounce of energy I have.
And while intellectually I am not expecting to lose any weight, emotionally I am working so hard that I expect to see significant loss.
I'm very discouraged. I've been getting bigger and bigger every year, and maybe that's my fate.
As of 5/11/08:
Sunday, May 25, 2008
But I lost a pound and 1.5" so maybe my metabolism is kicking up!
Since Beloved messed up her ankles (more in a future post) I suggested that we go not to the track but on a long bike ride. She agreed, but it was immediately obvious that we defined "long" differently.
I started to say "Let's go to the West Side and ride uptown until I'm half-way tired, then come back and try to go all the way around the Battery to the Seaport and then home." (My ulterior motive is to stop at the seaport for refreshment (and rest!) and then go to one of our favorite restaurants - Zum Schneider - as a special treat.) I was envisioning sort of going up to where the passenger ships dock around 53rd St.
(Extra Bonus! It's Fleet Week so lots of yummy sailors to look at!)
But Beloved interrupted with "Yeah! Great idea. Let's go up the West Side to the bridge." "The Bridge is the GEORGE WASHINGTON BRIDGE at One-freaking-hundred-SEVENTY-EIGHTH Street! The woman is clearly out of her mind.
But we are ready to go on this beautiful Sunday afternoon so more later. We'll see who prevails.
Update: We ended up going all the way to 79th St. It was an amazing day with perfect weather. At 79th St the New York City Downtown Boathouse was offering free kayaking in the Hudson River. I'm not afraid of the river, and I can swim. But I was afraid that I am just too big to do this. But I did it! And it was awesome!
As of 5/25/08:
Saturday, May 24, 2008
If I didn't mention it before, fitness is the goal here. And not just any old fitness - Fitness as Job 1. That means that there is nothing more important than improving my health and nothing can stand in the way of that commitment.
And believe me, I have looked for something (anything!) to get in the way.
So at the track... still walking at least a mile. Most days I do a mile and a quarter. My calves hurt and I am convinced I am getting shin splints. I don't dare complain.
Beloved is running for parts of our workout. She is trying to make me run (not working) and is also trying to make me do weird exercises. I look like the ballet-dancing hippos from Fantasia and refuse to hop around like that.
I know that she has my best interests at heart, but it's all too much. Every day I dread the Exercise Hour. I feel huge and clumsy and like I will never get anywhere. Maybe I'm too old to start this program.
Since we usually bike the mile over to the track, by the time we get home I am FINISHED. Why do people say that exercise gives them energy? I can hardly move and am so stiff every hour of every day. At night when I get up from my desk or couch to go to bed I move like I'm 110.
What have I gotten myself into?
As of 5/4/08:
What is that voice in my head that negates any positive action? It's a lot stronger than any other voice.
Beloved announces that we will ride down to World Trade Center to take the PATH train to my warehouse office in Jersey City. That's about 3 miles, plus a mile on the NJ side. All on city streets. Yikes. I had to rest twice, but I did it. I felt pretty good about that!
Riding home is a different story. To get to the train there are two hills - not steep (per se) but long. And steep enough that I huff and puff up them when I walk! I walk up both hills after a brief attempt at riding. I am embarrassed that I can't do it. It makes me pick a fight with Beloved. She shows admirable restraint. I am so tired after a day of work and riding back to the PATH station that we have to take the long way home because I feel too shaky. I walk up the slight incline to Broadway and we head across town to the Seaport. OH NO. Another hill up to Water Street. And this one with buses roaring past. I walk up on the sidewalk. I rest twice on the way home and hate myself.
I will never be able to do this (says the voice in my head, despite the fact that I DID do it.)
Friday, May 23, 2008
I fall on the floor laughing. She is not amused. I tell her I will WALK for a mile and see how I feel. She says through clenched teeth that I had better Step Smartly.
By the second quarter mile I am stepping a little smarter, and enjoying it much more than any treadmill in any gym. And like the only thing I like about the treadmill, I like that I can measure how far I am going.
I know it doesn't seem like a lot to walk a mile (stepping smartly) but I recognize it's a start. And while I secretly vow to increase it as time goes on, the Official Position is that This. Is. It.
See, Beloved is very naturally sporty. She was an Olympic caliber athlete in her youth. And she was always the winner. So she has this weird concept of pushing me beyond my capabilities as if some brilliant light will go off in my head and I will run in the marathon in November. The only thing that goes off is my bloody temper and I start to scheme about a divorce. Except I love her madly.
She isn't happy unless she is exhausted after a workout. I am conscious that I have to bicycle home after this. And that I want to live to tell about it.
So there you have it. The first week we settled into two forms of exercise -what I thought of as gentle biking and gentle walking. I either walked 1-1.5 miles on the track or biked for 4-6 miles.
And it was good.
As you may have predicted, Beloved has other plans.
As of 4/27/08:
It turns out that she supports that position. Huh.
So we get on our bicycles and she wants to ride to the Seaport (about 3.5 miles.) I freak out and flatly refuse. But I will ride to what I call "The Seals" - a cute little alcove in the East River Park that is full of statues of cavorting seals and water spouts. It's about 2 miles to The Seals, I think.
Off we go, down 6th Street towards the bridge over the FDR and so into the park. I'm already tired. We get to the bridge with its two inclines up. I get off and walk the bike up. Hills have always defeated me.
Off to The Seals. I can hardly breathe. Oh my God, I'm gonna die. Only grim determination gets me back home. I'm wobbly but at least I did it.
And then Beloved advises me that we will be doing this and more every single day. (Apparently World Without End, Amen.) We fight and the net result is that I get one day off per week. I know something is wrong with this but I feel victorious anyway.
As of 4/27/08:
I guess I am only a good-ish (or maybe not even!) person because I lied to you. Even though I meant to start this blog right away, I have actually been on "the project" (so to speak) since 4/27. I hope that doesn't make what I say in the future suspect.
It's just that the first weeks were so hard that I wanted to commemorate them - because maybe another seriously overweight person will get some inspiration from it.
So I'll double post some highlights until we're up to date. Feel free to ignore the "old info". And try not to hate on me.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
So I have to commit, right? It's too much and too overwhelming. So today's commitment is to fitness. Even if I don't lose an ounce, I will be fit. (And if I don't lose significantly MORE than an ounce, I will also be pissed.)
Beloved is super-sporty and naturally athletic and wants a major commitment from me for at least an hour's serious exercise every single day. Is she out of her freaking mind? I'll probably have a heart attack.
On the other hand, she is fit. Maybe she knows something?
So here's the deal: For this week, I will commit to at least 30 minutes a day of some kind of cardio. I can re-commit next week.
And here's the new twist. No fancy gym or special equipment. It's Spring and we'll ride bikes or use the track in the park. I haven't ridden a bike in 20+ years. Last time I got on a bike with some friends I was mortified because I was so slow and it was so hard. I picked a fight with Beloved and then spent the afternoon in tears and mortification.
So she is fixing up a bike for me. It's purple and pink. She got me a nice cushy seat cover and a basket. We did some gentle riding and it was fun (ish.)
We also have an understanding that if I have to rest, I rest. That if a "short" ride takes an hour, so be it.
Today, we ride.
Current Stats as of 4/27/08
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
How did this happen to me? I got on the scale and I have gained 100 pounds over the past 16 years. I'm tired and crabby and hate my clothes (that's right - it's the CLOTHES) and I don't even recognize myself. I'm a good person! I donate to charity! I volunteer! I help my family and friends! I vote!
HOW. DID. THIS. HAPPEN? I am a total heifer.
I'm totally going to kick some ass over this. Only I think that the ass that needs kicking is my own.
The thing is, that I already know it all. Oh yes, how to eat right, portion sizes, exercise, blah blah blah. I know that I am supposed to love my body the way it is. That there are lots of nice clothes in plus sizes. That true beauty is within. I'm an inspiration to others with my vast store of knowledge. They come to me and I give great advice on working exercise into your daily routine; on cooking healthier; on loving your self just the way you are.
But if you don't even feel good in your own skin, something's gotta give.
Oh, and here's another thing. I saw the last episode of the Biggest Loser. In the before pictures the people look miserable and unhealthy. And wearing bicycle shorts and sports bras is just not a good look on the overweight. And then I realized that I weigh more than some of the contestants. Ergo, my before picture would be worse.
My Beloved has said flatly that she thinks I'm going to die if I don't do something.
It's not like I sit around eating bon-bons all day. I walk a lot (but that's all.) If I lived someplace where I went everywhere in a car I would probably weigh twice as much! And it's not like I don't know about nutrition - I eat a lot of healthy foods, with lots of variety. Hmmm - maybe it the "lots" that's the problem?
HOW. DID. THIS. HAPPEN?
So I am going to let my Beloved be a sort of trainer. Ha. She has no idea what she is getting into.
Current Stats as of 4/27/08