Weighty Matters

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Routine Change

I’m four days into the new program. So far it’s going pretty well. I’ve dropped some of the weight I gained. I’m doing the exercise routines. No lie, some of the exercises challenge me. In each routine, there is a woman doing the modified version of each exercise so that you can still benefit even if you aren’t quite up to the peppy, totally toned, I’m-an-absolute-fitness-beast level. Today, my body really felt the effort, particularly in my abs. Since I had to stop Zumba to protect my knee, I haven’t been crunching those abs and they made their discomfort known.

I do the full version of each exercise that I can handle. There are some, like jumping jacks or frog jacks, that I can’t do right now. So I do the modified version with good results. In today’s routine, I finally hit an exercise that I can’t do at all, even when modified. Called a Surrender, it requires quickly kneeling and getting up. I just can’t manage that motion smoothly enough to derive any benefit, even if I force myself to struggle through and do a quarter of the reps. It really bummed me out but I tried to put it out of my mind and substituted squats instead. Squats probably work a different set of muscles but at least they kept me moving.

On the set of the workout routine hangs a chalkboard sign that reminds us every effort is one day at a time, one pound at a time. Love it in all its 12 Stepness. Back at the beginning of the journey, thinking of having to lose more than 200 pounds overwhelmed me. Breaking it down to one pound at a time really helped.

The leader of the program said something today that also resonated. As we sweat together through the different exercises (I might not do them all great but I give them my all, moving up my heart rate and working up a real sweat.), she reminded us that the exercise is just part of the program. We have to follow the good, nutritional eating plan. In a nutshell, the message was to not put in all the hard, physical work and then blow it in the kitchen.

That thought stayed with me throughout the day. A short time ago, I had a thought on how I can offer the best protection to my own efforts and set myself up for the greatest success. I’m going to try changing my routine.

Right now, the most challenging time for me food-wise is at night. I eat a healthy dinner, drink a cup of tea and should be done for a couple of hours until it’s time for my final fruit as a snack. Should be done, but instead I’m frequently beset by the compulsive desire to eat something else or something more. I’m not hungry. I don’t need more to eat. These are false needs fueled by the eating disorder. Yet, I frequently fall into the trap. Maybe it’s only a few pistachios or a tablespoon of peanut butter, but the quantities don’t matter as much as giving into the behavior.

I do my workouts in the morning. After 30 minutes of pushing my body to go harder, stronger and faster, followed by a 15 minute or so dog walk, all I want to do is drink my protein drink and get ready for work. I have no desire to pick up anything else.

So, I wonder if working out at night will make a difference to my eating desires. If I spend 30 minutes working my muscles and elevating my heart rate so that sweat pours down my face and soaks through my clothes, will the energy and great feeling of accomplish counteract the compulsion to eat off of my food plan? Will it be easier to battle the urges?

I don’t know, but I’m prepared to find out, starting tomorrow. I’ll let you know if changing my routine helps.

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Cruise Day Two-Fitness For Sure

My room didn’t have a clock and I’d turned off my phone. Thankfully, my internal clock woke me up at 7:10 a.m. This was a full day at sea so I wasn’t rushed to get anywhere. The cruise-related events started later in the morning. I rolled out of bed, ate a banana in my room and headed for the promenade deck for a morning walk. Most cruise ships tell you how many laps equal a mile. On the Eurodam, they said three. I turned on my iPod and walked four laps for good measure. Off to a good start, I took the steps up 8 decks to the buffet restaurant.

Whether one has an eating disorder or not, buffets are a challenge. Buffets on a cruise ship are feasts waiting to be consumed. Everything looked and smelled delicious and temptation was very hard to resist, but I managed. It was also a bit of a challenge to get the servers to accept that I really did want only half a scoop of scrambled eggs. I guess they’re used to people filling their plates and stomachs. I stayed with the half scoop of eggs, a single sausage patty and a mini croissant. I ate slowly and mindfully and realized that I didn’t want everything on my plate. I took my tea and left, heading for the morning Wellness Program.

A trainer from the gym led our group through a series of moves that incorporated stretching, a little aerobic activity, some yoga and Pilates and just plain breathing and moving. I will admit that I was very happy to see that I could do all of the moves without strain but still felt like the routine gave me somewhat of a workout. Just to keep the movement momentum going, after that program, I found space on the aft deck to do a set of Tai Chi. This was my first attempt to do a full set on a moving ship. The gentle roll threw off my balance. The movement of other passengers around me, along with the plain beauty of the sea, distracted me and I messed up the sequence. I feel it was quite possibly the worst set I’ve done in months. I ended up repeating the kick sequence to work on my balance issues.

Like I said, I thought I’d done a terrible set, but when I finished and was putting my socks and sneaks back on, a woman came up and asked if I was a Tai Chi instructor! She’d thought that my moves were beautiful and graceful! We talked a bit about Tai Chi and its health benefits. I gave her the Taoist.org website URL and encouraged her to look for classes. (She and her husband both have issues that Tai Chi could help.) I also pointed out that if she can’t find Taoist classes, she should still ask at local hospitals, senior centers, etc. Many offer classes in some form of Tai Chi.

This was a great lesson for me. I was embarrassed by my mistakes. The woman helped me remember that, errors or not, I was still benefitting myself by practicing. Even more so, I was demonstrating the principle of making Tai Chi available to all by doing the form out in the open and being willing to chat about it later.

After a morning of fitness activity and exercise, I showered and got ready for a full day and evening of cruise activities. First up, the Gospel Hour featuring performances by a young bluegrass duo The Roys, followed by Larry Gatlin and the Gatlin Brothers. I’m a huge Gatlin fan, not only for their music but also for something that I observed more than 20 years ago. I feel like the whole story deserves its own post, so I’ll tell it all tomorrow. I promise!

For now I’ll just say that the rest of the day included more exercise via line dancing, taking the stairs and just roaming around the ship. I continued to do well with my food choices at lunch and dinner. I also rewarded myself with a wonderful lime and ginger scrub and massage. Bliss! Andy Griggs performed in one of the smaller lounges. Patty Loveless was the star of the Main Stage show. After that, I called it a night and went to bed.

On this first full day on the ship, I learned, or maybe reconfirmed, that old habits can give way gladly to new, healthier choices. I’ve never tried to be so physically active when cruising. I was never so happy to consistently eat more healthfully and mindfully. Sometimes the old resentful diet mentality can kick in where I feel deprived and whiny about the things or amounts I can’t or shouldn’t eat. When I went to bed I spent some moments just feeling the gratitude that I was happy about how I’d chosen to spend the day being active and eating right. I think this set me up for more success the following day!