I didn't lose my body. The body I have spent the last (number deleted) years living in is still here, where it has always been. I can't even say I want a previous version of my body back. That is not quite right. My body is always changing. I may not be able to make it look the way it did two years ago. That time is passed. My body will be what it's going to be. As I have learned so painfully in the past year, there are going to be times when I have limited control over how I look and feel.
I know these paragraphs have nothing to do with the main subject of this post. I wanted to say it anyway, because I realize I'm not the only woman who has referred to a change in diet and exercise, hoping to slim down, as "Getting my body back." In other words, women often feel the body they currently inhabit is somehow not the correct one. We feel we can and should revert to some earlier version of our bodies - ones that never had an injury, or experienced a pregnancy, or suffered from an eating disorder, or even went through puberty. We can't do this. We can only move our bodies forward. We take care of them the best we can and we concentrate on what we can do to make them stronger and healthier (not necessarily thinner) in the future. From here on out, I will not talk about getting my body back, but getting my fitness back, and moving my body forward both figuratively and literally.
As many of my previous posts have stated, I never thought it would take this long to recover from everything that happened last year. I imagined I would be back to the weight room, and back to the barn, and back to the dance and Zumba studios by spring. I couldn't imagine gaining more than 10 pounds.
That's not how life works. My body decided how long it was going to take to heal from both the hip surgery and the elbow tendinitis. At least I can say I am old enough and wise enough to allow that to happen instead of rushing things along and causing further injury. I used to wonder what it was going to be like on the other side of recovery. Now I know. It's not pretty. It's not close to where I want to be. I still have to deal with it and do the best I can with what I have.
I also can't blame injury and my body's slowness to heal entirely for the shape I'm in today. I let myself go. I had strong eating habits two years ago. I have become lax in my food choices since then. I have eaten too much food and made too many unhealthful choices. Although I rarely admitted it, I saw my period of convalescence as a vacation from good food choices. I think I believed I could just fix everything once I was able to work out regularly again. When I first had surgery, my appetite had decreased somewhat because I think my body was wise enough to know it didn't need as much food to function anymore. I let my love of good food and the desire to keep eating it override that sense of physical satiation.
Although it has been a year since my surgery, I still have twinges in my hip. I also can't seem to turn that last corner with my elbow. Still, as I know I am on the mend, I really want to start with more serious exercise and better nutrition habits. The question was what method I would use to become as strong as I used to be. What nutrition program did I want to adopt?
My first thought was that I should do another year of Lean Eating. I was so sure I should do that again, I put myself on the presale list for 2016. I started to rethink that decision. My reasoning was that by January I was sure to feel better, so I might as well start my fitness program in the new year. Then I wondered what would happen if I felt better prior to January. If I were pain-free in December, would I continue with poor habits in December, believing I could "fix" it in January? I had a strong feeling I would do just that.
Also, while LE worked well for me, there were aspects I didn't enjoy. The program is very self-promotional. They don't want those professional photo shoots to make you feel better about yourself. They want slick photos to use for their marketing. They also make it sound as if your coaching group is a small team. Your coach is working with another 200 women. It's not as personalized as it seems (although I will give my coach credit for the effort she made). Let us not forget that main drawback of LE It's expensive. Did I want to shell out another $1500? Getting it back in prize money would be quite a long shot. They don't issue prizes just for sticking to the program. They choose finalists who have extraordinary results. I don't lose weight easily. I will never have extraordinary results.
I know what Lean Eating entails. It requires several phases of weight training ranging from 4-6 weeks along with new nutritional habits every two weeks. I know what the main habits are. They still hang on my refrigerator. Many of the same habits are part of The Habit Project, which I did earlier this year.
As for finding the right exercise program, I first considered dusting off my copy of The New Rules of Lifting For Women. It is a seven-phase weight training program. I was using it post-LE to make sure I maintained a good training program. I made it to Phase 6 before I had my surgery.
Unfortunately my elbow, while better, is slow to heal entirely. I wasn't sure is I would be able to grip and lift significant weight. What if I started now with a light program while my elbow recovers, and then switch to NROLFW when I truly felt able to lift heavy again? Then I could combine the nutrition habits of the former programs in conjunction with the the new weight programs?
I was channel surfing while on the bike at the gym when I came across this infomercial
PiYo uses no weights (so I don't have to deal with pain from gripping or pulling), is low impact (easy on my bad knee), and is geared toward women (so everything is light with no serious upper body work). It would also be a major change from what I have been doing for the past 10 months and I think my body needs to be shaken up a bit. My hope was that by the time I finished the 60 day program, my elbow will be pain free and I will be ready for some serious weight lifting.
I almost want to make fun of myself for for doing something associated with Pilates. I generally make fun of Pilates as a useless exercise unless you're a true beginner with weight work. My muscles are probably in the beginner stage right now, so maybe it's not so useless. Besides, there is no longer a patent on the term Pilates. Anyone can call anything Pilates these days. PiYo didn't look like your typical, boring, lie-on-your-back-and-circle-your-legs-in-the-air-and-consider-it-magical kind of Pilates class.
I had a good plan together, but I realized that it lacks the one thing the LE (and Weight Watchers and every other pay-to-lose diet program) offers - accountability. When I was on LE, I had to give weekly weights and measurements, quarterly bodyfat checks, daily habit and workout check-ins, and monthly photos. I had someone to answer to. If I failed to keep up, my coach would check in with me. Paying the money for the program, knowing that I wouldn't receive a refund just for deciding I didn't want to do it anymore, gave me the motivation as well. I didn't want to throw money out the window (plus I had the chance to win prize money).
In the end, I decided I still don't want to pay. I will do this on my own. I have spent enough years trying to get in better shape that I have the tools to do what needs to be done. I just need to do it.
So my plan is that I will be accountable to this blog. I will record stats here. I will trust that there are some people out there reading it. If I don't keep up with my program, anyone who reads this blog will know I failed I want people to cheer me on, not be let down (or experience schadenfreude at my failure). If I believe I'm being watched, I'll be motivated to keep up.
The PiYo program is 60 days long. I will report in at the end of the first 30 days. I will do a nutrition habit for 30 days. Once I finish that workout I will move on to The NROLFW (if I am able). It is split into 7 phases that are 4-6 weeks long. For each phase, I will do one or two nutrition habits. For example, the first phase is 6 weeks, so I will do one nutrition habit the first 3 weeks and the second for the next 3 weeks. For a 4-week habit, I will do a nutrition habit for 2 weeks, unless I feel it needs more attention, so I will do that habit for the full 4 weeks.
My check in will consist of weight, measurements and photos that I will post on the blog. Weekly is too much blogging and too much measuring. I will periodically dust off the calipers and take bodyfat measurements (as long as I can find the mind-bending and baroque calculation methodology) I want this to be about how well I do the work, not just about the numbers. On a daily basis I will track for myself if I did the habit. I will post my success percentage on the blog post as well.
Here is my plan going forward. With the extra weeks in this phase I am giving more time to what Lean Eating calls "anchor habits". These are the ones that help you focus in on how you eat rather than what you eat. They are what creates built-in portion control.
Nutrition habit 1 (first 30 days) - Eat slowly
Exercise Plan: Piyo workouts according to the programs calendar. The Piyo schedule has your starting on a Monday and makes Friday a day off. I will be starting on a Sunday and making Saturday my day off (I will still be riding that day). My rotation of workouts will be exactly what is prescribed on the PiYo calendar. I will still be riding on Sunday as well as Saturday and dancing on Monday. I will be taking these next two months off from working at the gym, but I will get some workout variety in from riding and dance.
So here comes the part that's toughest to record - the stats. Where am I starting? What do I look like?
Weight: 151.8 (YIKES! I've never been this heavy before)
How do I look? Not too good at the moment. Let's see how I look a month from now.
See you in a month!
*Accounting for caliper margin of error. I may be was overestimating or underestimating skinfolds and readings, but the point is to see if I can make this number go down.