Saturday, March 24, 2007

Those dogged last pounds...

Last fall, after a summer of schlepping several miles a day in cute sandals, I developed a case of Plantar’s Fasciitis, more commonly known as Heel Spurs. I won’t go into the actual damage I wreaked upon my usually reliable feet, but I’ll tell you it’s a painful, burning in your heel that makes you want to get off your feet right now! And the podiatrist concurred that I should have listened to Dr. Mother Nature as that’s exactly what I needed to do. (That and wear ugly old lady shoes with orthotic inserts.)

As a consequence I did very little walking through the winter. That lack of activity, far more than a modest amount of overindulgence during eating season (October 31 – January 2), resulted in a five pound weight gain.

As detailed in earlier postings, I went on my not-so-world-famous Ground Hog diet.

And, as some of you may also recall, I don’t like to exercise while I am dieting because I think that’s just asking too much of a human being.

However I did rely on some old standby tricks to boost my calorie expenditures.

  • I got out my pedometer to establish a baseline measure of my daily steps.
  • I parked further from the door at work.
  • (And if we’d had any buildings in the whole of Navajo County with an elevator, I would have opted to walk up instead of taking it!)
  • I took to drinking bottled water to increase the frequency of my visits to the ladies room.
  • Also, I relied on an increased number of senior moments. You know what I mean: You rush into a room to do something or… was it to get something? Anyway, you’ve forgotten, so you retrace your steps back to whence you came to see if you can recreate the thought. And maybe yes, maybe no. But at least you got in 40 to 50 extra steps!
  • Additionally, I assumed major responsibility of door duty for our dog, Big-Un (that’s Biggie in the pic). I picked up probably anywhere from 50 to 100 calories a day by getting up to let the dog out and then let the dog in, let the dog out, let the dog in, let the dog out, let the dog in…

Nonetheless, I am “plateaued.” That last pesky pound standing between me and achieving my weight loss goal is just not going to come off without my adding real exercise to the picture. For me, that’s walking.

Thanks to my ugly shoes, my foot is better. And the weather’s warmer, and, if the truth were told, I actually love to walk once I’m out there. In town, I enjoy peeking in people’s yards and getting their dogs all excited (I carry a large walking stick). Or when we walk in the country sometimes we see other animals beside rabbits (antelope and coyotes most commonly), and I am always dragging home dried up animal bones or unusual rocks. (Someone will have to explain to me sometime the human urge to collect souvenirs).

So I am going to start walking again today. And if you wish to join me, please do. Just remember: wear decent walking shoes.

Too soon old; too late smart.

E-you later, darlings!

Aunt Rose

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Keep movin'

Old age is the body slowing down; death is the ultimate lack of motion.

I was athletic as a kid, but, as an adult, developed an antipathy to exercise. Working for a living sucked my energy supply nearly dry. And who wanted additional activity as the work week blurred into weekends of more enervating stuff: cleaning, laundry, grocery shopping?

About five years ago, though, I bought a book that literally changed my life: 8 Minutes in the Morning by Jorge Cruise. It’s still popular and still in print.

Cruise was a minor fitness celeb until 8 Minutes elevated him to major guru status. The book itself is nothing out-of-the-ordinary – it’s solid and sensible with good organization, simple, do-able exercises, a fairly reasonable diet plan for losing two pounds a week, but, WOW, that brilliant premise.

I wonder how long he and co-author Tony Robbins (Yes, that Tony Robbins -- the master motivator) juggled numbers to come up with 8? Positively perfect! Not too long, not too little, but just right! And the idea of the morning routine works beautifully as well. Get your brief little exercise program out of the way and you are done for the day! None of this weaseling business that happens when you come home from work at night: “too busy,” “too tired,” “tomorrow,” “tomorrow,” “tomorrow….”

Five years later I still get up before breakfast, five mornings a week, and do my brief, little fitness workouts. These exercises have nothing to do, in my mind, with weight. I do them because (1) if I don’t, I don’t feel as good or vigorous during the rest of the day (Maybe it’s psychological? I don’t know. But perception is reality.) And (2) they are a habit.

It took me less than a month (about 3 weeks) to ingrain these exercises into my daily life. Five years later I'm still faithfully doing them.

The routines have changed over the years. Now I do three days of yoga, one day of “trunk work” (crunches, back extensions, wall squats, leg lifts – no lunges though; my knees are going). And one day a week I lift free weights. I started with two pound weights and, now, am up to ten pounds. But I’ve dropped lifting from two days a week to one because it takes my tired, old muscles that long to recover. Still, I have the buffest shoulders of any 65-year-old that I know!

On Saturdays, I clean house; on Sunday, weather or not, I and the old man and the dog head out to the weeds and chase rabbits. (The rabbits always win. We like to say everybody has a good time, and nobody gets hurt.)

And then, there’s the joy of walking….more about that next time…

My first issue of Weight Watchers Magazine arrived last week. What struck me was the endless number of full-page ads featuring sumptuous spreads of gooey treats and desserts (all allegedly non-fattening). But, excuse me. People are trying to lose weight here. And if I don't happen to have a quart of imitation, artificially inseminated, lo-fat, zero carb, Rocky Road ice milk in my freezer, I do have a half-gallon of genuine, full-octane Blue Bunny Burgundy Cherry Chocolate. Oh, woe!

My sis-in-law, Gloria, sent me a subscription to Eating Well Magazine at Xmas. It is by far the superior periodical: Great recipes, readable and interesting articles, and a focus on adjusting your lifestyle to become a healthier person, not just a thinner one. Highly recommended.

I was one pound short of my weight loss goal at the end of February, so I've stayed on the Ground Hog diet another week. My failure to lose was directly due to several days of pouty inattention to what I was eating, topped by a fine Tex-Mex dinner with friends where I overindulged a bit…well, actually, a lot. But I’m back on the wagon now.

E-ya later, darlings

Aunt Rose