Friday, 26 October 2012

Day 300

Amazing. Mind boggling! Unbelievable but true! I have been on my journey to better health for 300 days as of today.  And what a journey it has been!
  1. Experimenting with foods personally suited to my body.The first steps along this crazy path were determined, bold, but running in many directions.  Grain or no grain; sugar or no sugar - what was best?  Raouf got into the habit of asking how I would be eating this week every Friday night before he went grocery shopping just so he could cook the meal-of-the-moment. I survived an elimination diet before the January 1, 2012 start date and dropped 24 lb in 6 weeks.  Rapid weight loss by most measurments but I ate lots of healthy food and felt fantastic.  With the elimination diet over and my observations indicating that grain and/or sugar were not sitting well with my body, I transitoned into various eating patterns, never totally eliminating either grains or sugar but including them to some small degree each week. I gained 4 lb back and felt the panic start to grow.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Gentle Yoga

My granddaughter shared one of the objectives in her school this year is to participate in 20 hours of aerobic exercise using different sports and activities.  She has decided to include swimming so far. I suggested Zumba would be fun and we could do it together.  I got "the face". You know, that one - "thanks Grandma but really - that is not cool" in her eyes and a little smile/grimace on her lips.  Of course, at twelve, she is bouncing between the little girl wanting to spend time with me to the almost teenager who just can't understand why anyone would listen to Janis Joplin - ever! Now I might actually be able to discuss that one choice with her and even agree to some of her points, but, in the end, there is one very real barrier standing in the way - multiple generation gaps! 

Monday, 22 October 2012

Stranger in My Closet

Feeling my loose fitting clothes this week - frantically going through my closet to pick what stays and what goes for fall and winter. Storing summer clothes with the hope I will never wear them again! Looking in the mirror over and over again not believing the slimmer face, smaller gut, diminished hips. Weirdly, I feel lost. Although I get excited sometimes I feel like there is a stranger in my closet wearing my clothes! I am driven to go out and buy a new wardrobe one size or two sizes smaller but then, I don't - money, waste, anticipation of even greater change - whatever it is, I just don't. It is such a mixed feeling - this freeing of the body to do what it wants - like I am not in charge anymore. I mean I am in charge of what I put into it, how I treat it, whether I move it - but I cannot control how it reacts to this new lifestyle. Weight goes down; weight goes up. New sagging skin shows up in one place and inches fall off in others. Knees feel better; muscles complain. Ankles slim down; jowls appear. I love it; I fear it! I want it; I run from it. I must breathe and wait - I will settle into this. It just takes time.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Spinning for the 60-Plus Crowd

My first Spin class was today. Much like my first Zumba class, I was distracted and headed out the door (at 5:30 AM!) without my workout wear which required a full trip back home to secure said shoes and towel. This made me technically 5 mintues late for my first class. As I walked in, the instructor greeted me with a fake smile and asked me if this was my first time. I answered - Yes (without the explanation formulating in my head that I haven't even been on a real bike for over a decade!). The fake smile disappeared briefly - and, then, she rattled off the instructions and before my brain had heard any of them moved to the front of the room to start the class - ON TIME! 

So, with little knowledge and a lot of foreboding, I try to read the digital screens centered between the two handlebars. I am able to just barely discern the numbers (why is it so dark in here?) when I hear the "OK - pick it up - let's go" and realize I haven't even started pedaling yet! I blindly start and watch the digital screens creep up remembering vaguely she said to get it up to 90 K - or was that just to establish my starting gear? Second screen does something like measure my wattage. I briefly toy with the picture of all of us lighting up indvidually like those blinking Christmas tree lights when we hit the magic wattage number ascribed to performing only to realize, upon glancing up, that all others are standing on their pedals going uphill. Whoops, hard to keep up with the team when my bike seems to be following a flat plain!  Oh yeah - the gear window needs to be changed.  Having totally missed what she indicated was my starting gear and even less informed about where I was to have it set now, I just pedal.  Too easy - no hill on my landscape - so, I flip the gear lever up four notches - ah, there's the hill!   Feeling it, feeling it - flip - down the hill I go - whee - coasting but, wait, no one else is taking a break.  I guess coasting means you are still supposed to keep pedaling. 

Well, about 10 minutes in I am eyeing the door, wondering how obvious it would be if this 62 yr old dismounted and scooted out - my butt is aching even though my legs have no problem moving around and around. But, I am NOT a quitter - no sirree - and especially not if 11 other people would be watching!

Intervals - 10 of them - give your all people - just one minute of intensity X 10! Well, I can do that. With my eyes on the digital screens, I push it with all I have. Faster and faster, 100, 110, 125, 136 - I am flying.  Gear down - sheesh, I realize my easy ride is due to never gearing up.  By Interval #6, I am getting my groove on, giving it all I have and then some, and I am feeling good, people, really good.  Endorphins are kicking in, my breathing is great, sweat is running down my back and I feel like the Queen of the Road!  Interval 8 - I avoid a crash of spirit and keep pushing but my numbers are getting slower and that wattage - well , it wouldn't even light up an LED bulb - but I am sticking to this.  Interval #10 - last one - I dig deep, I put the pedal to the metal, and the numbers go up, and then down, then up, then down - I am running out of steam, slowing down but I am so close to the finish, I give it my last gasp and done! 

Well, not quite done - the stretching kicks in as the leader of the pack lifts her leg to to her handlebar. Ha! Ha! I say, hoping I haven't laughed out loud.  I climb off my bike using the common sense God gave me, and do my stretches a little closer to the ground. My leader approaches me rather quickly at the end of class and asks me if I am OK.  GREAT - I smile. And, I was - GREAT!   I shall return!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Zumba at 60-ish

So, my first Zumba class. First of all, I have never been in a recreation centre filled with parents, kids and various in-between-ers - at least not for the purpose of working out myself!  Lived in small towns most of my life and this is BIG CITY stuff to me! Finding my way through the crowd and the labyrinth of hallways and running paths (yes, they run around this centre) was the first test. I finally made it through the change room door. Not too late to change my mind, I thought, as I contemplated getting almost naked in a public change room. Oh Oh - Didn't come prepared with change for the lockers - was that a sign?  Finally decided I would just committ and stripped - well, not quite - but you get the picture (just blur out those parts!).  I sat and ate my fruit salad so I would not be starving afterward when I hit the dinner table and then marched down the halls with determination. I got lost! Yup, found myself in the fitness centre surrounded by steel and male muscles - funny how so few women were working out.  Finally I just followed some other women into a gymnasium full of basketball players. The "blue" gym was thankfully, past the basketball players, the badminton players and the street hockey players - way in the corner away from most of the windows.  At least we wouldn't have too much of an audience. Observed the crowd - 22 women, children and one man. This was a family Zumba class and I was the oldest person there!  Well, shake your booty, Grandma - we are going to Zumba. The leader was ridiculously skinny, could move like a back up dancer, and made the craziest faces to get everyone going in the right direction - almost as funny as the grimace on mine.  I noticed the six year olds watching and moving and jumping and laughing and doing it wrong, so, I figured, what have I got to lose but weight, right!  I got through the latin musc and loved the African beat that followed - got my groove on, tripped over my feet, walked in time when I couldn't figure out what else to do and then, THEN they brought out the hip hop tunes with all that attitude and grunting. Laughed out loud - I just don't have it! Kids loved it but I was so busy figuring out the moves and being shocked by the words I pretty much gave up following the leader! I did come home with a very sexy groin/hip rotation thing I never thought I could do though! GRIN! I think I will go back 'cause I ain't a quitter BUT I doubt I will become a Zumba enthusiast - Watcha, Gotcha, oh baby! 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Comfort Foods; Comforting Times

So many of us Canadians turn to comfort food in the fall and winter - I think it is programmed into our DNA!  My dear Raouf has switched from making salads to soup and I love it!  I think I am becoming one of those nostalgic people who relish in traditions. Soup, pasta, casseroles, stews - my spirit calls for that kind of comfort.

AND the smells of autumn seep into my heart - freshly crushed leaves under my feet; delicious candles that smell like pumpkin pie; bay leaf and parsley wafting from the homemade soup simmering on the back of the stove; and the sweet smell of cinnamon apple sauce cooling on the counter! Sage and savoury and thyme fast forward to turkey and stuffing and family and tables laden with all the trimmings.

The colours of autumn energize and warm the heart - I will treat my eyes to a beautiful fall bouquet of golden and rust marigolds. This year I think I will switch the focus from breads and pies and stuffing to the beautiful vegetables that are fresh and available: golden, green & orange squash, red beets, orange carrots,purple turnips, rust-hued sweet potatoes and glorious pumpkin.

Traditions lift the spirit - I will embrace my family. This Thanksgiving will be a gluten free holiday to ensure our young granddaughter feels 100% part of the celebration and is not having to eat her "own" pie or cake or stuffing!  I will take care of my own food choices too so I can feel free to indulge in all of the tastes of the season with relish and no painful, overeating marring my day. I will eat what I want and rejoice in the fact that I can!

Dancing brings joy to the soul - even if it is a combination of martial arts and the twist like my 3 year old grandson, Benjamin, demonstrated at a little garage party this summer.  Maybe a  Harvest Dance in our garage would make a few memories and add a little spice to a Thanksgiving dinner!

I will take comfort in the food that is shared; I will revel in the smells and the colours as well as the taste. And, I will count my blessings - the most comforting exercise of all!