The week before Thanksgiving, this year, marked the end of my milestone of completing 12 straight weeks of workouts. I have found the winning formula (FINALLY!) for me (this is completely an individual goal): 2 days of weight training and 3 days of yoga. I know that I need to work on my cardio pursuits, but let me dwell in my major accomplishment, a bit, though. Side notes: Every weekend, we do lots of walking. Some weekday mornings, I dance to a few songs on my iPod, to get my day started off on a positive note. I also try to move and stretch throughout my work week, as well (ie. walking the property and taking the stairs).
What did I notice after these monumental 12 straight weeks of workouts? (1) I have muscle definition in my legs without having to flex them. I can honestly say that this is a first for me. I swear by squats. I love them. On a good day, I do three types of them! I keep hearing good things about squats (magazine articles). (2) My jean size is zero (Ann Taylor LOFT, Gap and Old Navy) (I actually need to get new jeans and donate my old pairs). My waist is smaller, but I did not really work on my abs (maybe something else I can work on, sometime, in the future, but it isn’t my number one priority). (3) Though, I don’t focus on pounds, my current weight is just a few pounds over my high school weight (I definitely have more muscle at this stage of my life). I just had a birthday recently (I’m in my 40’s) and I didn’t feel bad about my appearance (it’s bad enough how society reinforces how old a woman is; there are constant reminders, and I am speaking from experience). When I see old video of me, I see the chubby cheeks but, I don’t look like that anymore. (4) My energy level is better than it used to be. I used to be exhausted at the end of the night, with 3 pm being the major slump in my day. (I don’t depend on artificial energy. I limit my caffeine intake.) This is a major thing for me. Though, I didn’t think anything of it, until the new normal was concrete. This was a fairly recent revelation.
I would also have to credit my physical well-being to my work week diet (monday- friday); I’ve always known that it’s pretty much 75% diet and 25% exercise. I have hypertension so when my cardiologist told me I’d have to change my diet last summer, I made pretty dramatic changes. I dropped seven pounds, two pant sizes, chubby cheeks, and my double-chin (this was never my goal, it was merely a side benefit of getting healthy) by switching to salads (greens, with colorful veggies—sometimes I add wheat pasta or organic tofu to keep it interesting) for my lunch meal. I stopped eating sandwiches and chips for lunch. I made my own seasoning, without salt. I check all labels for sodium content. I do most of my grocery shopping at either Trader Joe’s or Sprouts. It’s a challenge, but with careful planning, I manage pretty well. The food prep can be a pain in the butt, sometimes, I’m not gonna lie. (This year, I took the extra step and limited my meat intake to once a day. I also make my own salad dressing, too.)
So, why all of this effort? The bigger picture is that I get to spend my days with my family, with a much better quality of life. I am not sickly (maybe a couple colds during the year), I don’t have an auto-immune disease, though I do have numerous, unknown food allergies. I do have some minor pain issues, but they are not what they used to be, pre-ablation. I am aiming for longevity. We have a young son, and I want to be here for him, as long as I can (motivation). I have a family history of heart disease, so I am just trying prevention (listening to my cardiologist was the best thing I ever did). I don’t smoke, I don’t do drugs, I don’t drink alchohol. I am fairly healthy. I want to keep it that way. I also want to do things naturally without the aid or dependence of prescription medicine (I already take a couple, but I don’t want to add to that list). I am proud of the fact that I did all of this on my own.