Okay, so I last left us all in a giant pile of exercise excrement. Okay, maybe that’s not the best way to put it. I got back in touch with all the ridiculous, effed up messages I learned about exercise from my youth…again…and managed to stay conscious of the fact that nothing has changed in my present situation. IF I want to lose the rest of my excess weight, I have to find a way to exercise consistently.
I know how my Hot Mess brain works. If I can’t find something I enjoy, this isn’t going to stick. I think that’s how most brains work, honestly, but something changes in many of us when we see one of those ridiculous commercials for the latest nut job fitness craze, right? You know I’m right. You see a commercial for some ridiculous fitness thing and you’re suddenly telling yourself “Yes, I want to push my sedentary ass through this idiot’s insane crossfit nazi bootcamp! It’ll be fun! FUN, I TELL YOU!!!” Somehow these dickheads manage to motivate us into paying “just $19.95” for their flavor-of-the-month exercise video/book/torture class and we subject ourselves to pain and humiliation…for one day. Or two. And then we give up. Because that shit’s not fun!!! That shit’s just crazy, yo.
I can’t stand most personal trainers. I don’t like weight loss gurus and fitness nazis who just want to make money off of me. Or worse: they see me as their personal project. I am not a project to anyone but myself. Nope, trainers are not for me. Cardio is simple…and free. And, thanks to YouTube, we’re not at a loss when it comes to learning how to do simple resistance training. Free information is out there, so to tell me that I need your special kind of muscle killing bootcamp and you’re going to see me walk away. With a slight limp because I have hip pain right now. Don’t judge.
So here’s the short list of what this Hot Mess Princess needs in order to pensively start down the road to consistent exercise:
- No Zumba or other aerobics class with yippy yappy woohoo participants
- No personal trainers or extreme fitness
- Some kind of resistance training, which I will increase as I go
- Some kind of cardio, which I will increase as I go
- 10,000 steps a day…minimum
Let’s talk about that 10,000 steps a day goal for a minute. I mentioned in my last blog post that I once thought my Fitbit was a bit of a nagging bitch. Yeah, she was…but I was also not ready for exercise. I was still too resistant to the idea.
Now? Well, hell, peeps…I’ve lost 116 pounds and I’d like to lose the other 120 pounds while I’m still young enough to enjoy the hotness. Let’s get this shit figured out!
When I first dug my Fitbit out of the drawer 2 months ago, I wore it to figure out how many steps I was getting a day. Thanks to my sedentary job, the range was about 1,400 to 2,000. As a general rule, “they” say we should get 10,000 steps a day. I think “they” is the American Heart Association and a bunch of other people who are admittedly smarter than me in this area.
I think I set my first step goal at 4,000 for the first week or so. Then I increased it to 6,000. Before long it was 8,000. Now? Except for last week, which was hell week at work, I’ve had no problem getting 10,000 steps a day.
Can we just stop for a moment so I can step into the spotlight on center stage and do a couple really uncool fist pumps? SERIOUSLY!!!
1,400 steps to 10,000 steps in two months. EFFING AWESOME!!! And that’s with foot pain and, apparently, a hip that doesn’t understand it’s totally uncool to be a bitch to me when I’m trying to figure all this out.
Okay, let’s get back to business…
I forgot to mention one thing: I need to make all these changes with exercise WHILE continuing to be a bad ass and maintain my weight loss of 116 pounds. In addition to the nutritional changes I’ve made over the past two years, this also means that I need to find time to stitch. Probably the single most instrumental decision I’ve made in changing my eating habits has been to substitute my hobby of needlework for my former unhealthy hobby of eating everything in the house when I wasn’t hungry. And I can’t let that go…because if I decide I don’t have time for the incredibly therapeutic and calming activity of counting stitches and pulling a needle and thread through fabric, then I’m afraid that I’ll allow emotional eating to sneak back into my life. Isn’t that a given? I think so.
I can’t keep growing if I thumb my nose up at the healthy changes that have gotten me this far.
Let’s add one more problem to the fray: the current stitchy piece I’m working on has to be done in time to enter in the State Fair of Texas Creative Arts competition. It’s much bigger than I thought it would be, and with a full time job it’s been a challenge. At this point, I can probably get it done if I stitch for 5 hours a night Monday – Friday and get even more done on the weekends…but that’s all butt-sitting time!
I do have exactly 5 hours between the time I get home and the time I go to bed, but I won’t be able to take any steps or do any physical activity…so that means I have to fit it in before I get home. For that reason, I put a caveat on my 10,000 steps a day goal: I have to get all 10,000 steps in before I leave work.
You know what, though? I’m doing it. I’m actually doing it…and between my Fitbit and my better attitude towards exercise, it’s been a little bit fun. Friends at work are sending me challenges. So are you guys! I’m friends with tons of blog fans on Fitbit and I love hearing from you guys. It’s not unusual for me to get more than 2 or 3 different challenges from you.
And the resistance training? I’ve started that ball rolling by carrying small weights on my walks with me. I have the kind that wrap around my hands so I don’t have to hold them. These aren’t exactly what I have, but they’re very similar (click the image and you’ll go straight to them on Amazon).
Okay, so let’s recap a bit MORE of what I’ve done:
- Gave up fast food
- Gave up soda
- Stopped emotional eating by picking up needlework instead of Cheetos
- Increased my daily steps from 1,400 to 10,000
- Set a goal to get my 10,000 steps by the end of my work day
- Started the resistance training by adding weights to my walks
I’m starting to feel like one of those guys at the circus or on old shows like The Carol Burnett Show that used to spin 10 different plates on really tall, skinny poles all at the same time. Remember that? If you’re too young to know what I’m talking about, well…you missed out on a hell of a useless talent. But it was kind of cool wondering if the dude was going to be able to keep all those plates spinning…
That’s what I am. I’m a plate spinner. It’s a lot of shit to do for a girl who used to only worry about what she was going to pile ON her plate. Let’s all stop for a moment so you can give me a high five. C’mon…let’s go…gimme some more love!
So I feel like I’ve succeeded in wanting to get my 10,000 steps a day and wanting to move more. It no longer feels like a chore to me. I want and need to continue my stitching, so I’ve made room for that and kept the step goal secure. I’ve started adding resistance. I need to start thinking about cardio…and that’s where the FUN part comes in.
I effing hate cardio. (Seriously, I’m going to show you the fun part but I think it’s important to first explain my shitty attitude.) I don’t know why I hate cardio, exactly. I don’t really care if I find out, either, because I just need to find fun cardio that I can do. And I guess I have Facebook to thank for this one, because I first learned about virtual races in my Facebook feed. I found Make Yes Happen.
Basically, you can sync various fitness trackers like Fitbit or Map My Fitness to your Make Yes Happen account. When you join a race, your steps are automatically logged and you earned Google street view clips for milestones along the route you’re virtually walking. It’s $25 to join most races and you get a sweet little medal when you’re done. Well, not little actually…they’re quite impressive. Some of the money for some races goes to charity. Other times I think it just pays for your medal and helps them keep the site and challenges going.
My first race was The Road to Hana. I’ve been to Maui, but I’ve never taken the Road to Hana…so I was interested in this one for sure. It was fun to see email updates rolling in. They told me where I was on the road, showed me what the view was, and sometimes pointed out interesting things to do at those places. It was particularly motivating to me towards the end as I neared my goal. I was pretty excited about getting that final notification that I’d completed The Road to Hana. As it so happened, I completed it on the first day I hit 10,000 steps on my Fitbit. It rocked. Getting the medal in the mail was even sweeter. You can see the video that I posted about it here on my Facebook fan page.
So the next race I selected was in honor of my home state of California. I chose the Pacific Coast Highway race, which is 113 miles. Something unexpected happened: because of my higher step count, I finished the race pretty quickly…and wasn’t even really motivated by much of it at all. And then I realized that I basically earned my race medal by walking in the tunnels under our building and back and forth to the ladies room…and that’s really not what I intended to use this for. I want these medals to mean something to me, and I want them to be more challenging to earn.
The Yes Fit community on Facebook is super helpful and supportive, so I asked around to other Fitbit users on how they manage this issue…and I’ve decided to disconnect my Fitbit from the virtual race page and log my steps and exercise manually. I don’t want to get credit for the first 10,000 steps each day. I want credit for anything over that and also for any cardio I do. THAT is more motivating to me.
So which race am I on now? I selected the Sleepy Hollow Redux race. I’ve loved that story since I was a little girl…and I love the movie (Tim Burton’s version and the Disney cartoon)…and I loved the tv show, at least until the writers started injecting their own political opinions into the script. I hate that shit. So the idea of virtually walking through the town of Sleepy Hollow is AWESOME!!!!! You can see the race here.
And that is what I’ve been doing to conquer the “I hate exercise demons”, peeps. I’m already having more fun than before…I’m cautiously optimistic that these changes will be fun enough to stick with, and then they’ll become habit. I have a very busy job that sometimes requires me to travel, and it can be a challenge to keep going during busy weeks…but I already get grumpy and miss walking when I can’t do it. So there’s a little ray of hope there. A little spark of promise. For now, that’s enough.
Interested in needlework? Try these sassy designs. *Not for the faint of heart